Kevin B. Anderson

Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire Today

Published in News & Letters, December 2002

Karl Marx published THE EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE OF LOUIS BONAPARTE in 1852 in the aftermath of the Dec. 2, 1851 Bonapartist coup in France that brought to an end the whole period of ferment that had begun with the 1848 revolutions.

In France it ushered in nearly two decades of authoritarian rule, as the Bonapartist state became a precursor of twentieth century fascism, setting up the first modern police state. All the while the regime also claimed to oppose slavery and to be acting in the name of the masses against the various monarchies of Europe. Among Bonaparte’s most reactionary adventures was the attempt to install a puppet ruler, Maximilian, in Mexico…

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