Karl Marx

Did Karl Marx's work/theories have any influence on how people acted, or what they did, during the Paris Commune. I was so glad to find this — – Over the course of his active life, Karl Marx' thinking about the revolutionary process naturally evolved and developed. His work must therefore be considered in its entirety to adequately understand his perceptions. It would be inaccurate to characterize Marx' analysis of the revolutionary process strictly on the basis of his early writing – such works as The German Ideology (1845-46) and the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844). A better understanding requires examining how the theoretical premises suggested by these introductory works evolved when tested in revolutionary practice. As a scientific thinker, Marx understood that the ultimate test of a theory is practice. The location for testing his ideas regarding class struggle – his laboratory – was the labor movement. How did the experiences of the two great revolutionary periods in Marx' life – the revolutions of 1848-49 and the Paris Commune of 1871 – change his thinking? The two crucial texts to understanding Marx's thinking about revolution are The Communist Manifesto and The Civil War in France. Of these, The Civil War in France is perhaps more important since it represents a mature statement of Marx' revolutionary theory. Written in the period prior to the great revolutions of 1848-49, The Communist Manifesto is primarily a theoretical anticipation – quite accurately expressed – of future revolutionary developments based upon historical research. However, The Civil War in France was written after the class struggle developed to the point that it introduced a new institution: The commune. No astute theoretician – neither utopian dreamer nor even a great materialist thinker like Marx – had imagined the commune. In fact, this new state form – the world's first workers' government – developed in spite of the influence of Blanquist conspiratorial theories and Proudhonist anti-statist anarchist ideas. The Paris Commune developed spontaneously from the process of class struggle: The need for a new political form arose and the commune was created to address it. In their 1872 introduction to The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels acknowledged the important influence of the Paris Commune on their thinking: In view of the gigantic strides of Modern Industry since 1848, and of the accompanying improved and extended organization of the working class, in view of the practical experience gained, first in the February Revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris Commune, where the proletariat for the first time held political power for two whole months, this programme has in some details been antiquated. One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz. , that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes. " (See The Civil War in France: Address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association, 1871, where this point is further developed. )[1] In addition, Engels would later cite the Paris Commune as an example of the dictatorship of the proletariat: Of late, the Social-Democratic philistine has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words: Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. [2] Marx once wrote that among his most important contributions was his identification of "the dictatorship of the proletariat" – the working class organized as the ruling class – as the key to the transition to socialism. [3] Should it be any surprise that Marx was tremendously inspired by the Paris Commune? Calling it "a new point of departure of world-historic importance," Marx recognized that the commune represented the first concrete manifestation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. [4] The experience of the Paris Commune provided practical answers to the theoretical questions only hinted at in The Communist Manifesto. What would a workers' government look like? How would it use state power to further the development of socialism? How would other classes respond to this worker's state? Why had previous revolutions failed?. .

Documentary on the basics of Karl Marx and Marxism.