Despite a century of debate and criticism, Marxism as a mass ideological practice has remained an elusive topic. This book examines Marxist socialism as a mode of understanding and self-understanding treasured and transmitted by thousands of anonymous militants. It focuses upon the Parti Ouvrier Francais, the 'Guesdists', an archetypal movement of Marxism's 'Golden Age' before the First World War, the period when Marxist socialism evolved from sect to mass movement. Thousands of French socialists adopted Marxism due to the effectiveness of vulgar Guesdist polemic rather than Marx's profound theoretical works, and entire communities were converted to an austere but messianic socialism which still affects French politics today. This book traces the doctrine's birth through conflict with liberals, proto-fascists, and anarchists; its 'making' of a working class, and its attempted seduction of the middle class; and its confusion before the alternative social visions of the Catholic devout, racist nationalists, and feminists.
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(234mm x 156mm x 33mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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