Eauz wrote:In La LibertÃ© Speech, delivered to the congress of the First International in Amsterdam on September 8th 1872, Marx discusses the possibility of a peaceful means to the revolution. This was only 11 years before the death of Marx. What I am wondering though is first, why, after all those years of researching and developing theories about revolution and worker struggles would he even propose this possibility? Secondly, did this suggestion help split the revolutionary members of society with the social democrats by providing justification for both sides as opposed to just a revolutionary struggle? Obviously, the majority of Marx's work was based upon the understanding of capitalism and developing revolutionary theories, but it just strikes me odd that it was mixed in with the other literature. As a side note, I've been meaning to discuss this but completely forgot about it until I was reading another piece of literature. Anyway, here is the quote and the link to the article:
I've actually heard it claimed that the quote you posted here was mainly an example of him trying to "cover his own ass" in a way, since he was living in England at the time.
But I think this question goes to the heart of the idea that there is a dichotomy between being a revolutionary and fighting for reforms. Many Chavez supporters would claim that Venezuela is an example of where Socialism has a potential to be built without a violent revolution, and that required working within the bourgeois state to help dismantle it (although it certainly hasn't become socialist yet of course).
There's another possibility too, and that's that a "peaceful revolution" could still be something other than non-violent. Take the collapse of the Soviet bloc for instance, they were "peaceful revolutions" but the governments themselves were overthrown by the people (and of course those revolutions were immediately hijacked for liberals to take advantage of) but in most cases, they lacked any major violence. Granted class struggle was expressed much differently in those countries at the time, but there can come a time in the West where the governments could just come to realize that "the game is up" and that the working class is going to take power without there having to be something like the Russian civil war for example.
And yet another interpretation is that he didn't predict the extent to which the bourgeois states would go in terms of things like Welfare reform to "appease" the working class, and the extent sophistication and lengths that they would go on to to divide the working class. I once had a professor claim "well he didn't predict that Capitalists would read Marx too"