My name is Marc Mulholland. I am a Fellow (lecturer and tutor) in the History Faculty of Oxford University. My College is St Catherine's. I come from Ireland.

This is a blog relating to my book published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservativism.
Now on sale here and here. If you want 20 per cent off the price, I can arrange that! Send me a message or leave a comment, and I'll tell you how.

The thesis my book is examining was rather pithily summarised by Leon Trotsky in 1939: "Wherever the proletariat appeared as an independent force, the bourgeoisie shifted to the camp of the counter-revolution. The bolder the struggle of the masses, the quicker the reactionary transformation of liberalism." [Context is here]

However, my book isn't a defence of Trotskyism, or indeed any particular ideology. It's a study of an idea that took shape in Left, Right, and Centre variations.

This blog has tid-bits not included in the book, and other thoughts that occur.

You can see book details at the
OUP website.



Friday, 27 July 2012

How Democracy Works

They following is a rather brilliant summation of modern 'bourgeois democracy', from the country which invented it:

The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people by persons of each class is altogether visionary [utopian]. Unless it were expressly provided in the Constitution that each different occupation should send one or more members, the thing would never take place in practice. Mechanics [wage-labourers] and manufacturers [artisans] will always be inclined, with few exceptions, to give their votes to merchants in preference to persons of their own professions or trades. Those discerning citizens are well aware that the mechanic and manufacturing arts furnish the materials of mercantile enterprise and industry. Many of them, indeed, are immediately connected with the operations of commerce. They know that the merchant is their natural patron and friend; and they are aware that however great the confidence they may justly feel in their own good sense, their interests can be more effectually promoted by the merchant than by themselves.

[Publius [Alexander Hamilton], in The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 1961), p. 214. My emphases.]

The Republican Party these days explicitly markets itself as a congerie of entrepreneurial 'wealth creators', familiar to the market-integrated electorate as managers and providers, seeking career secondment as political leaders. The Democrats only really differ by degree. The quote's a brilliantly prescient view, from as early as the 1780s Federalist Papers, of how democracy in a capitalist society pans out.

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