imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"

by Martin Beck & Ingo Stutzle (ed) Monday, Apr. 16, 2018 at 3:45 AM

In the figure of Bonaparte, the state made itself independent over society at a time when the bourgeoisie lost the capacity to rule the nation and the working class had not yet gained that ability.


Book Review of "The New Bonapartists"

By Martin Beck and Ingo Stutzle (ed)

[This reading sample of the 2018 book is translated from the German on the Internet,]

["These forces are powerful even where they do not (yet) govern. They all represent a revival of nationalism as an ideological pillar and an authoritarian style of government."]

Ten years after the beginning of the global financial crisis, all hopes for an end of neoliberalism and a breakthrough to better times are disappointed. Instead, a bitter conflict rages between those who hold to the status quo and propagate a continuation and the advocates of nationalist, racist, and anti-modern positions. At present, the left obviously has only a spectator role in the social struggle around the future of capitalism. No one talks about its overcoming anymore.

In Europe and elsewhere, authoritarian and nationalist parties and movements are strengthening: US President Trump, Chancellor Kurtz in Austria and Turkish head of state Erdogan since 2014. In Eastern Europe, Putin governs in Russia, Orban in Hungary and Kacynski's Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland. In France, every third voter in the last presidential election supported the Front National and in Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the third strongest party in the Bundestag.

Even where these forces do not (yet) govern, they are powerful and change the social conditions and political discourse. In Central- and Eastern Europe, a series of right-wing governments have become established in the last years and have several outward things in common with all their differences. They all stand for a revival of nationalism as an ideological pillar and for an authoritarian style of government, mostly embodied by (charismatic) leaders. Their goal is the anti-democratic reconstruction of the state – particularly, restricting the separation of powers – as a basis of democratic legitimation by elections. All this is coupled with a right-wing claim of exclusive representation where the supposed will of the people is executed by politics. The "simple people" are pitted against "intellectuals, elites, and the establishment." That is the constant theme.

In the meantime, a hectic search for explanations for this rise of political currents is underway. Isolated attempts were made to fathom this phenomenon with the help of Karl Mark and his Bonapartism analysis in his 1852 treatise "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" [1].Fragmentation of the classes, deadlock in the social hierarchy of power, renunciation of the middle class on political rule (and even on democratic achievements) in favor of economic power, independence of the executive, and mediated rule of the masses – are the central catchwords of Marx' "exemplary analysis of plebiscite dictatorship" (Herbert Marcuse). [2]

In the "18th Brumaire," one of his most important political writings, Marx described in detail how and why the February revolution of 1848 in France ended in a counter-revolution. After the worker rebellion was crushed in June 1848, Louis Bonaparte, popular among the people, was chosen president the same year. On December 2, 1851, Bonaparte revolted and awarded himself dictatorial powers. A year later, he was appointed emperor after a plebiscite as Napoleon III. "In the figure of Bonaparte, the state made itself independent over society at a time when the bourgeoisie lost the capacity to rule the nation [3] and the working class had not yet gained this ability" without putting in question the social rule of the bourgeoisie. Bonaparte's government supported itself on the "lumpen-proletariat," the "waste of all the classes," [4] and a large part of the conservative farmers who - isolated from one another – did not form any class and therefore their interests could not be represented. Aren't conditions similar nowadays in the many de-industrialized regions of the US, England, Germany or Poland where people either fear for their jobs or hire themselves out in jobs that do not allow more than survival? Do charismatic figures exploit this situation to establish authoritarian regimes under their leadership?

Micha Brumlik sees Louis Bonaparte's ghost of the past in Donald Trump and draws parallels between the situations and the classes that brought both to power, not only parallels between the characters and works of the persons. In the age of globalization and digitalization, the industrial working class of the West seeks its salvation in a "semi-fascist Bonapartism." "Referring Bonapartism as a specific form of authoritarian rule legitimated in a social-demagogic way to regimes like those of Victor Orban or Vladimir Putin seems discussable. The Hungarian philosopher Agnes Heller and the former president of the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Klaus Staeck, explicitly describe Orban as a new Bonaparte. [5]

For Wolfgang Michel, "the cause for the rise of autocratic rulers is the self-disembodiment of democratic systems" which, as Marx described in "18th Brumaire," is a "process of self-surrender of the parties to the autocratic ruler who transformed the Second Republic `very legally' into a monarchist dictatorship." [6]

Can the return of authoritarian regimes nowadays be understood with an appeal to the "18th Brumaire"? This question is discussed in this anthology. This ambitious project is marked by one peculiarity. The texts do not simply present the authoritarian forms of rule in the different countries. Rather the authors analyze the social reasons for the developments and explain them with a common theoretical approach, Marx' Bonapartism analysis.

Right at the beginning, Marx in "18th Brumaire" wrote that people "make their own history" under given and traditioned circumstances but not of their own free will, not under self-chosen circumstances. Marx' analyses focused on the social conditions that constituted capitalism and flowed into an analysis of capital in his main work "Capital" (1867). At the time of his Bonapartism treatise, he knew politics was powerful and could not be reduced to will and "fixed ideas."

In "Eighteenth Brumaire," he revised a postulate formulated a few years earlier in the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" published by him and Friedrich Engels. There we read class struggles are the motor of history and the working class is the revolutionary subject. Now Marx recognized "the defeat of June 1848" made the workers "unable to fight for years"… Marx traced "how the class struggle in France created circumstances and conditions that enabled mediocre and grotesque persons to play the hero's role." [7] If a Marxist text is undogmatic, it is "Eighteenth Brumaire."

All temporal diagnoses are superficial without social analysis and criticism that emphasizes why something exists and why a revolution changes suddenly into an authoritarian coup d'etat supported from below. The attempt to understand present or past authoritarianism with Marx is more than a temporal diagnosis. He saw capitalist conditions as class conditions and cited "given and traditioned circumstances." In the "Eighteenth Brumaire," Marx reflected on the "structure of the political" [8], related "structure and the history of events" and connected "cultural- and theoretical action" considerations with "class-, economic-, democratic-, ideological-, organizational- and differentiation-theoretical perspectives." [9] Marx proved himself here as a social scientist in the best sense.

Bonapartism is more than an instrument. Rather, the social-theoretical approach is helpful. Marx developed his analysis with the help of a specific historical-social situation and did not only bring or force an interpretation of events. To apply the Marxian Bonapartism analysis as a universal key for authoritarian regimes would be dogmatic and bad social science. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the authors come to different conclusions. Societies with strong right-wing parties (Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy) and countries where the right-wing constitutes the government (Austria, Poland, Russia, Turkey and the US) are analyzed… Frank Deppe understands the rise of "authoritarian, anti-democratic movements and regimes after 2008" as an organic expression of a crisis." [10]

"The whole world cheered him as the deliverer of society," Marx wrote about Bonaparte's effect in his time. Our world has not come that far… Smashing the bureaucratic-military machine is the precondition of every real people's revolution on the continent." [11]


[1] Karl Marx: Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte, in: Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels: Werke [MEW], Berlin 1956ff., Bd. 8, S. 111–207; Seitenangaben in Klammern ohne weitere Angabe beziehen sich auf diese Ausgabe des Textes.

[2] Herbert Marcuse: Nachwort, in: Karl Marx: Der 18. Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte (1852), Frankfurt a.M. 1965, S. 143–150, hier 146.

[3] Karl Marx: Der Bürgerkrieg in Frankreich, in: MEW, Bd. 17, S. 313–365, hier 338f.

[4] Kritisch zum Begriff Lumpenproletariat vgl. Peter Bescherer: »Wo Schmutz und Blut zusammenfließen«. Problemzonen eines linken Klassenprojekts, in: Prokla 175, 2/2014, S. 255–270.

[5] Vgl. Michael Brumlik: Der 18. Brumaire des Donald Trump, in: Die Zeit, 2.3.2017, S. 19; »Eine Art Bonapartismus hat Einzug gehalten«. Interview mit Agnes Heller, 18.11.2011, unter:; Orbans Bonapartismus, 19.1.2012, unter:

[6] Vgl. Wolfgang Michal: Schulz, Karl Marx, Napoleon, Trump und die Verteidiger der Demokratie, 7.2.2017, unter:

[7] Karl Marx: Vorwort zur zweiten Ausgabe (1869) »Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte«, MEW, Bd. 16, 358–360, hier 359.

[8] Diethard Behrens: Perspektiven des »Historischen« oder der 18. Brumaire von Marx, in: Rolf Hecker u.a. (Hrsg.): Klassen – Revolution – Demokratie. Zum 150. Jahrestag der Erstveröffentlichung von Marx' »Der 18. Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte « (Beiträge zur Marx-Engels-Forschung. Neue Folge 2002), Hamburg 2003, S. 14–53, hier 53.

[9] Urs Lindner: Marx und die Philosophie. Wissenschaftlicher Realismus, ethischer Perfektionismus und kritische Sozialtheorie, Stuttgart 2013, S. 221f.

[10] Zu Letztgenannten vgl. Murzban Jal: On the Rise of Bonapartist-fascism in India, in: Mainstream, 55 (2017) 39; Wolfram Schaffar: Die Eiserne Seidenstraße. Chinas Politik der Hochgeschwindigkeitsbahnen und ihre Auswirkungen auf seine Nachbarländer, in: Prokla 181, 4/2015, S. 609–627, hier 611.

[11] MEW, Bd. 33, S. 205.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy