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

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

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 3:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


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

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

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Fbi attempts on my life A19 4:25AM

Paraphysique du non-dit A19 1:31AM

Paraphysique de l'autocensure A18 1:06AM

Darkness Rises Hack MOD Generator A17 3:18PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen, Saturday, October 6th A16 11:21AM

Illegal Russians Invited to West Bank at Invitation of Israeli Government Outside jewish A16 12:39AM

Nous sommes le système A15 11:30PM

HDD Dolum A15 4:34PM

Prosecuted: Have you had an experience that changed your opinion of the justice system? A15 2:55PM

Post-capitalist Perspectives A15 5:09AM

Big Brother chez vous, Big Brother partout A13 11:18PM

Change Links August 2018 A13 6:56PM

Vietnam Labor Watch Tackles Outside and Inside Exploitation of Nation's workforce A13 6:40PM

What it means to be an artist A12 8:28PM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 4:09PM

Video: Lawrence Tribe: To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment," 59 min A12 10:11AM

Génétique de l'environnement A12 3:32AM

Video: Thomas Frank: Rendezvous with Oblivion, 58 min A11 12:48PM

Philippines – Duterte 2 Years on: Destructive, Divisive, and Despotic A11 1:29AM

Anarchie et anarchisme A10 4:13AM

July 2018 Honduras Coup update A09 11:23PM

The iranian Backed Militia Hezbollah Bombs Communty Center in Argentina July 1995 85 Dead A09 6:50PM

The Shortwave Report 08/10/136/18 Listen Globally! A09 4:19PM

Paraphysique du taulard A09 1:58AM

Pantarchy: Voluntary State and a New Catholic Church: Stephen Pearl Andrews A07 7:38PM

Against Market Radicalism A06 4:02AM

Négoce du vol organisé A06 12:59AM

Paraphysique de la litote A05 1:48AM

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