The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: Aijaz Ahmad in conversation with Vijay Prashad of Leftword Books
Chief Editor of Leftword Books, Vijay Prashad is in conversation with scholar and historian, Aijaz Ahmad on Karl Marx's 1852 text, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. In 1848, as a response to the crises of industrial capitalism and a hierarchical political order, the French citizens organized political demonstrations and a historic popular uprising. It came to a head in early 1848, with Parisians of all classes taking to the street, barricading against an onslaught of attacks from French soldiers. The monarchy fell, and French society began to organize itself politically, seemingly to the left.
However, in December of 1848, the election of Louis Bonaparte signaled the growing conservatism of the French bourgeoisie. After a few years of political contention, Bonaparte carried out a coup, dispersed the Legislative Assembly, and declared himself emperor of France. This date, is what is referred to as the Brumaire.
Marx writes The 18th Brumaire to explain why and how the revolution of 1848 in France had led to Louis Bonaparte’s coup d’état in 1851. It is a study of the classes of French society, the French bourgeoise, and an important take on peasant revolution.