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Old July 20th, 2011, 05:02 PM   #1
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The French Revolution and Communism. Related?

Would you say that communism in the 20th century, with the soviet union and all that, was a consequence or at least was inspired by the French Revolution? If so, that wouldn't that mean that the impact of the french revolution has lasted until the fall of the Berlin wall and beyond?
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Old July 20th, 2011, 05:26 PM   #2
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I'd say no considering the ideals of the French Revolution contrasted with Marxism and Leninism.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #3

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Russian Communism under Stalin was not actually Communism in the pure sense of the word and bore no resemblance to Marxist thought. Stalinist Communism bore a close resemblance to the regime it had displaced.
The concept of "pure" communism predates the French Revolution and is seen in the formation of the Levelers and the Diggers in the English Civil War.
Marx never expected communism to start in Russia. He believed it would come about in Germany and of course we have the Spartacus movement after WWI. The problem with "pure communism", equality for all is that it is impracticable, as was seen in the English Civil War and the French Revolution. Socialism is a different issue. Socialism is an attempt to redistribute wealth on a more even basis. That is practicable and economically sound.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 10:14 PM   #4
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Yes, you can see it as a two parts of the same social movement.

Communists certainly saw French revolution as their spiritual ancestor. And inspired themselves great deal by revolution. Not just ideology.

Word communism is French in origin and word commune was of course used during French revolution.

communism = commune + ism

Paris Commune (French Revolution) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old July 20th, 2011, 10:31 PM   #5

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Related, but not fundamentally inspired nor directly ideologically produced by the Revolution.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 08:03 AM   #6

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As I understand it from when we studied Marx and Engels at uni, the concept of a communist revolution was in many ways a second stage as it were of the development from rule by the aristocracy to communism. The kind of revolution seen during the French Revolution was that of the middle classes, or bourgeoisie if you prefer, rather than the revolution of the people by the people for the people, and this was the whole problem with the Russian Revolution...where the state had barely pulled itself out of the feudal system, and hadn't really had the supposedly pre-requisite bourgeois revolution.
Inevitably some communists would have viewed the French Revolution as being as part of their history of struggle, but the ideologies involved were very different. But then what was practised in the Soviet Union bore very little relation to communism apart from in name anyway.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #7
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The French revolution was revolt of the bourgeoisie against the established aristocracy, communism is the abolishment of bourgeois society and replacing it with a classless society of the proletariat.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 09:44 AM   #8
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I believe that the Jacobins and their Reign of Terror were the precursors of both the Nazis and the Bolsheviks.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 09:48 AM   #9

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I think Marxist historiography identifies it as a precursor and there are obvious parallels, but there are also clear differences. The French Revolution was a movement by the middle class to achieve economic independence and security and do away with the interfering monarchy which treated the French economy as a salary.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 11:07 AM   #10

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Perhaps related in sympathy as future "red" revolutionaries looked back on the French Revolution as a successful overthrow of a dominant society. Also in sympathy, communist revolutions of the 20th century tended to be atheistic, as was the French Revolution to a certain extent.

It seems, however, of far more importance was the Paris Commune. Lenin gave a high priority to Marx's book The Civil War in France (he was determined if his chance ever came, he would not make the same mistakes the Communards made.) When he died, his body was shrouded in a Communard flag. During the Russian Civil War the Bolsheviks were motivated by being constantly reminded if they lost they would suffer the same fate the Communards had suffered (massacre.) Throughout its history the Soviet Union paid ceremonial honor to the Commune. In 1964, the first three cosmonauts in space brought along three symbolic items: a picture of Marx, a picture of Lenin, and a ribbon off a Communard flag.
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