Review: The Revolutions of 1848

The Revolutions of 1848
The Revolutions of 1848 by Karl Marx
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The most well known piece of Marx’s earlier political writings and journalism included in this selection is the Communist Manifesto, which is as resonant as ever. The remainder primarily consists of a selection of articles from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, the newspaper Marx edited in Germany during the 1848 revolution before being tried, acquitted, and going into exile. With a basic yet insightful introduction from the translator David Fernbach to set the context, these articles chart the revolution and Marx’s changing interpretation of what was going on. There are still some significant insights here on the tactics of the left towards the middle class parties, nationalism, and a surprising amount on what a working class seizure of power might look like.

Just occasionally the writing feels a little too wrapped up in the moment to have wider relevance, and therefore only of historical interest – not surprising as they were written in the heat of a specific political moment. They are nonetheless very readable for all that, and with insight into Marx’s developing thinking.

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