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.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Corporate Capitalism and the Origins of Communism

From about 1870, many on the Left began to worry that a new corporate capitalism was undermining the long-assumed association between liberty and bourgeois civil society. Here's David Beetham, from a very interesting article:

"Even a liberal such as Max Weber was compelled to admit that there was little similarity between the small scale competitive capitalism of the classical bourgeois period, and the cartellized, bureaucratized systems of production and labour control of his own day, at least in respect of their implications for political freedom. 'It is ridiculous in the extreme', he wrote in his 1905 study of the prospects for bourgeois democracy in Russia, 'to ascribe to modern advanced capitalism …any affinity with “democracy” or even “freedom” (in any sense of the word). All the forms of development are excluded which in the West put the strong economic interests of the possessing classes in the service of the movement for bourgeois liberty.'"

[David Beetham, 'Civil Society: Market Economy and Democratic Polity' in Civil Society in Democratization, ed. Peter Burnell and Peter Calvert (London: Frank Cass, 2003), 79]

It was partly this apparent de-coupling of capitalism and liberty that eventually led radicals like Lenin to disavow the traditional socialist policies of supporting the bourgeoisie insofar as it struggles with reaction, or of seeking power through - rather than against - parliamentarianism.

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