Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869

Marx to Kugelmann
In Hanover


Written: London, March 3, 1869;
Source: Marx and Engels Correspondence;
Publisher: International Publishers (1968);
First Published: Gestamtausgabe;
Translated: Donna Torr;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan in 1999;
HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.

A very interesting movement is going on in France.

The Parisians are making a regular study of their recent revolutionary past, in order to prepare themselves for the business of the impending new revolution. First the origin of the Empire--then the coup d'etat of December. This has been completely forgotten, just as the reaction in Germany succeeded in stamping out the memory of 1848-49.

That is why Ténot's books on the coup d'etat attracted such enormous attention in Paris and the provinces that in a short time they went through ten impressions. They were followed by dozens of other books on the same period. It was all the rage and therefore soon became a speculative business for the publishers.

These books were written by the opposition--Ténot, for example is one of the Siécle [Century] men (I mean the liberal bourgeois paper, not our "century"). All the liberal and illiberal scoundrels who belong to the official opposition patronise this movement. Also the republican democrats, people like, for example, Delescluze, formerly Ledru Rollin's adjutant, and now, as a republican patriarch, editor of the Paris Réveil.

Up to the present everybody has been revelling in these posthumous disclosures or rather reminiscences, everybody who is not Bonapartist.

But then came the other side of the medal. First of all the French government itself got the renegade Hippolyte Castille to publish Les Massacres de Juin 1848 [The Massacres of June 1848.] This was a blow for Thiers, Falloux, Marie, Jules Favre, Jules Simon, Pelletan, etc., in short, for the chiefs of what is called in France l' Union Liberale, who want to wangle the next elections, the infamous old dogs!

Then, however, came the Socialist Party, which "exposed" the opposition--and the republican democrats of the old style. Among others, Vermorel: Les Hommes de 1848 and l'Opposition. [The Men of 1848 and The Opposition].

Vermorel is a Proudhonist.

Finally came the Blanquists, for example G. Tridon: Gironde et Girondins.

And so the whole historic witches' cauldron is bubbling.

When shall we be so far!