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, 9 September 2012

German Revolution, 1918

There's a new book out, All Power to the Councils! A Documentary History of the German revolution of 1918 - 1919, ed. and trans. by Gabriel Kuhn (PM Press: Oakland, 2012). It's too late for my book (which discusses the German revolution.

On 10 November 1918, a socialist government was formed in Germany. The same day, socialist leader Friedrich Ebert secretly agreed with Wilhelm Groener, Chief of Staff of the German armed forces, that the army would be used for internal policing duties, and that the workers’ councils would not be permitted to build up parallel governing structures.

A lot of the political tension that followed was due to debates about whether democratisation was compatible with leaving the traditional reactionary state personnel in place.

Here's the hard left, as recoded by Kuhn:

The government made a fatal mistake in leaving the old officers etc in place: "Had the government abolished the authority of army officers, had it removed the generals from their posts, then these men would not openly hatch counterrevolutionary plots today. ... the government has reinstated bureaucratic power and done everything to to protect the capitalists' safes by disarming the proletariat and arming the bourgeoisie. (107) [Liebknect, 'Confront the Counterrevolution!, 15 December 1918].

Violent counterrevolution was anticipated: "A war of starvation and - if need be - a German Vendée against the proletarian centres of government are being prepared." (95) [Karl Liebknecht, 'That Which Is', 21 November 1918]

The state apparatus had to be smashed and replaced: "... workers have to replace all the traditional organs of bourgeois class rule. Federal councils, parliaments, and municipal councils must give way to workers' and soldiers' councils. The workers have to occupy all posts, monitor all administrative activities, and adapt the needs of the state to their own class interests and to socialist demands." (101) [Rosa Luxemburg, 'What does the Spartacus League Want?', 14 December 1918].

This was the basis for the development of German communism.

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