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Advancing Revolution

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Abstract

For Babeuf, the Revolution of 1789 opened enormous possibilities, putting into practice ideas which had previously seemed to be mere abstract speculation; it also posed enormous political and practical problems. Nineteenth-century historians such as Cabet and Marx were able to distinguish between a ‘bourgeois’ or ‘democratic’ revolution on the one hand and a ‘socialist’ revolution on the other. No such distinction was available to Babeuf. Already before 1789 he had formulated a rather vague ideal of a society based on perfect equality. He perceived the Revolution as a process unfolding in the direction of that equality. How far and how fast it would unfold he could not know: his concern was to push it as far as it would go. At each stage of the Revolution, individuals and groups would proclaim that the revolution had gone as far as necessary and that the time had come to call a halt. Babeuf’s stormy and erratic evolution was that of one who carried on pushing until the very end.

Keywords

Perfect Equality Press Freedom Revolutionary Process Practice Idea Vague Ideal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Ian H. Birchall 1997

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