The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…

Matthew Wright

I spotted some protestors a while back in central Wellington. “Aha,” I said to myself, “the people’s revolution is happening a century too late.” But it wasn’t. It was a group of public servants wanting a pay rise.

Me, in Versailles where the French had a bit of a revolution a couple of centuries back, starting about a century of them in France alone…

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the western world was riven by upheaval; the radical left – the ‘reds’, after the colour they had adopted as their symbol. They advocated a philosophy that had roots in the social turmoil that followed the Industrial Revolution, given focus by some of the teachings of Karl Marx, and which drew further detail from the manifesto of Parisian students during the ‘Communard’ of 1870-71 – hence its name, ‘communism’.  And at the end of the First World War…

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