K is for Karl – Revolution (Episode 3)

K is for Karl – Revolution (Episode 3)


One day the people of Paris
decided to stop work, build barricades and
overthrow the government. That’s what we call a revolution. I’m Paul Mason and
in this episode we’ll look at … … what Karl Marx learned from two
revolutions happening here in Paris. In 1848 the French monarchy
was overthrown. Within days the revolution broke out in
Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, and Milan. “Who’s in charge?,”
the elites of Europe asked. Fingers pointed to the
author of the Communist Manifesto, holed up in Brussels, Belgium. The police immediately put Marx
on a train to the French border … … minus his luggage. Marx arrived on 5 March 1848. He went straight to a
mass meeting of the most radical organisation in Paris:
the Society for the Rights of Man, where he made a speech. He said, when a ship is caught in a
storm, time to throw somebody overboard. And meant the rich. The upper middle class,
the bourgeoisie, had led the revolution. They wanted democracy. But the mass of people
in Paris were workers. They wanted democracy
plus social justice. Marx knew that the overthrow
of the monarchy was just the start. In June 1848, the middle class
threw the working class over board. This, the first ever photo
of a social struggle, shows the barricades workers erected
as the bourgeois crackdown began. Thousands were killed. This is the exact spot,
where that barricade was built. Marx’ lessons from these
events still hold good. Struggling for
democracy is not enough. You also have to end poverty,
unemployment and inequality. That is going to scare the rich. This, defending democracy but fighting
for social justice at the same time, is the basic problem in
all the recent uprisings: from Occupy Wall Street
to the Arab Spring. Marx said, if you don’t attack
the elite’s economic power, it will attack you. After the 1848 revolution failed,
a dictator ruled France for 20 years, the self-styled
emperor Louis Napoleon. Paris became the world’s
pleasure capital, the city of light. Napoleon widened the streets,
so nobody could build barricades. But in 1871, they did
build barricades, only bigger. These remarkable photographs
show the working class as it took control of Paris and
launched the Paris Commune. The Commune wasn’t just
a political revolution, it was the social revolution
Marx dreamed of. People drove government
out of working class areas, and Marx knew,
the Commune was different: It abolished the standing army,
turned factories into worker’s co-ops
and legalized sex-work. People didn’t just take control of the
state, they took control of their lives. When the French army retook Paris,
they killed 30,000 civilians. It’s one of the first political
massacres of modern times. I’ve reported from the Arab Spring,
Occupy, the revolts in Greece and Turkey. None of them went as far
as the Paris Commune, which aimed to replace
the state with people power. Karl Marx never wrote
a revolution manual. If he had,
it would have said two things: First: Democracy is not enough,
keep pushing for social justice. Second:
You can’t take over the existing state. You have to bring power
closer to the people. Subtitles:
linguatransfair.de

3 Comments on "K is for Karl – Revolution (Episode 3)"


  1. If we kick the Tories out of local government in London on Thursday your life's work will have been one of the building blocks that enabled it. You can't demolish knowledge. Thanks Paul from a Bolton lad.

    Reply

  2. Thanks. it helps to understand marx philosophy and its relevence to contemporary world.

    Reply

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