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The meaning of class struggle: Marx and the 1848 june days

Leipold, Bruno (2021) The meaning of class struggle: Marx and the 1848 june days. History of Political Thought, 42 (3). 464 - 499. ISSN 0143-781X

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Abstract

Karl Marx characterized the 1848 June Days uprising as a class struggle between proletarians and the bourgeoisie. But modern investigations have shown that the insurgents actually consisted primarily of artisans and not proletarians. They have also undermined Marx’s claim that one of the primary forces used to defeat the insur-gency, the Mobile Guard, was recruited from the lumpenproletariat, when in fact they shared the same social background as the insurgents. As a result of these findings, crit-ics have questioned the adequacy of Marx’s class analysis and concluded that he was wrong to describe the June Days as a class struggle. I argue that the empirical findings represent serious shortcomings in Marx’s account and need to be properly incorpo-rated into our understanding of the uprising. However, I challenge the characterisation of Marx’s class analysis and show that though the June Days were not the class struggle that Marx presented, they were still a class struggle in his understanding of what class struggle means.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/imp/hpt
Additional Information: © 2021 Imprint Academic. All rights reserved.
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2021 15:21
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 01:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/111611

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