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2 Jan 2011
Russian Revolution
x replicates French Revolution very nicely in its implications
x there are still various interpretations—how it happened, when it happened, where it happened, the timeline
o it empowered the masses of the people, so that it was victorious masses—the Revolution is a good thing
o another interpretation was that it was an unwanted coup—that it put the country through misery, which Russia
finally broke through after many decades
o through these two interpretations, it usually comes out as tragic, inspirational
o however, your opinion really is influenced by your knowledge of history before 1917
o your opinion also influences post 1917 events in Russia but also throughout world
o your opinion = ideological ID—you can tell what a person thinks about history prior and after the Russian
Revolution by their thinking of the revolution
x “Workers of the world, unite!—Marx’s main quote and used as a slogan by socialists
x it didn’t just arise out of open-ended theory without precedence
x Karl Marx and Frederich Engels drew on philosophical influences
o 18th century enlightenment from the French Revolutionfirmly grounded to the world
o French utopian socialism—last greatest upheaval prior to Marxism was the French Revolution and Napoleonic
Wars and their representation of republicanism
o “German” romanticism—because both Marx and Engels are Germans, they are rooted in their time; romanticism
because just before German unification, Germans in the area around Prussia all were very nationalistic and
romanticized by the idea of a separate German nation
o classical economic theoryboth Marx and Engels were economists, so they thought in terms of numbers
x philosophical influences put into the context of times
o Industrial Revolutioncomes primarily from Engels who was living in London at this time and travelling
around in cities; his assessment is that it ruins the masses further; Dickens is quite similar to Engels
o “German” platform socialism comes from Marx—this is an emerging German socialism, not a French utopian
socialism, as it is dealing with a step prior to the French socialism; the German socialism that is emerging is
based on romanticism and a yearning for Germans to have their own nation
o Revolution of 1848both Marx and Engels are very anti-bourgeois (the very class they were from)
o soon becomes anti-capitalist with a proletariat focus; proletariat means the working class, the industrial labourer,
who as a result of the Industrial Revolution is used for his labour in this system of the economy
x immediate reference for these socialists were:
o Hegel: Philosophy of Right
Hegel determined that what is right is based on the money or materialism (primacy of $)
materialism is the basis of Hegel
rational formula coincidence
o dialectic (action Æ reactions)
o history = conversation material (money, wealth makes world go around)
x if all of this is not new and it is grounded in the French Revolutions, Hegel, and Revolutions of 1848, then what makes
Marx and Engels so new and Marxism so different
Innovation (Marx + Engels)
x history = haves vs. have-nots
o any period, any geographic location, any form of people can be divided into the haves and have-nots
x power = those possess means of production (the haves)
o what gives them power is production, the means of production or the materialism
x all social/economic/government/racial-tribal institutions Æ based upon history-power relationship
o no divisions or racial-tribal differences exists, they are all based upon the haves vs. have-nots
o the only real subject is economics, there are no racial differences, no social differences, no political differences
Æ everything is based on the economics
x therefore, in Marx’s view: History = Conversation Class-Struggle (Dialectic)
o it is always formulated in a cyclical way a cyclical formula
1) thesis (condition)—the condition is inherently flawed because it is based on differences
2) anti-thesis (conflict)—the have-nots try to overthrow the haves, to get what they want
3) synthesis (new condition)—the have-nots want their rights, which leads to civil war, and that stops
when the have-nots are able to overthrow their oppressors to become the new oppressors
o this is a cyclical formula because it continues on throughout history
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o according to Marx, history continues in this way because the oppressed overthrow their oppressors, then become
the oppressors, until they are overthrown
o History = Economic Expressions/Transition
o they made the idea that history could be further divided into economic transformations
the first state throughout the world was feudalism where land gave power
when this thesis leads to conflict, where peasants rise up against autocratic, then it leads to capitalism,
where power is the hands of the people who control property or production (the economic state in which
Marx and Engel were living in)
the next stage was socialism, where everything is equalized Æ according to Marx, there should be an
equalization of wealth in socialism, when the working class overthrow the capitalists
socialism is merely the equalization stage, whereby the gap between the rich and the poor are equalized
Æ leads to communism, the end, with socialism as merely a stepping stone
according to Marx, communism is the end and utopia is now created through this equalization process
communism is not so much the name of a party, but instead a goal
x transitions occur via revolution, war, conflict
o if you dont raise your voice, then the haves wont hand you your rights
x revolution is positive (progressive evolutionary)
o revolution signals the maturity of this society because they are able to learn that the differences are garbage
x capitalism is necessary evil
o you can’t get to socialism, if there is not enough wealth
o capitalism generates enough wealth Æ feudal societies cannot go to socialism, you need capitalism
x the revolutionary class is the proletariat
o in capitalism, the haves are the bourgeoisie, therefore they are also the imperial class
x the revolution will be mass/popular
o you cant have a revolution unless everyone is joined together
o it cannot succeed unless society likes the idea and are willing to revolt for their rights
x revolution occurs in highly industrial nations (UK, Prussia)
o the only emerging capitalist societies in society at that time were Great Britain and Germany
o therefore, revolutions occurs only in industrial nations
x nationality is less important than class affiliation
o race, creed, and culture are not as important, instead it is important that you are from the same class and support
the same ideas for the revolution to occur
Revolutions of 1848
x upheavals that threatened the rich people
x started by the bourgeois (the middle class), and the lower class joined in as well saying that if the bourgeoisie got their
rights than they should get their rights as well
x however, the bourgeoisie didn’t want this, so they sided with the conservatives and stamped out all the revolutions that
they had started because the bourgeoisie didn’t want their rights to be shared with those below them and the revolutions
weren’t even for democracy
x liberalism democracy
o “Civil liberty bestowed by state”—freedom endowed to the individual is decided by the state
o “State ranks rights”
o “Good for most”
o “Property is sacred”
o “Monarchy is best
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