men make their history
do not make it as they please
chosen by the past
Adapted from, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by Karl Marx between December 1851 and March 1852, and originally published in 1852 in Die Revolution, a German monthly magazine published in New York City and established by Joseph Weydemeyer.
According to Wikipedia, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon discusses the French coup of 1851 in which Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte assumed dictatorial powers. It shows Marx in his form as a social and political historian, treating actual historical events from the viewpoint of his materialist conception of history.
The title refers to the Coup of 18 Brumaire in which Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in revolutionary France (9 November 17s99, or 18 Brumaire Year VIII in the French Republican Calendar), in order to contrast it with the coup of 1851.
Mr. Marx wrote, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.“
Commenting on the changes brought on by the coup attempt, Marx writes:
” … fanatics for order are shot down on their balconies by mobs of drunken soldiers, their domestic sanctuaries profaned,
their houses bombarded for amusement –
in the name of property,
of the family,
and of order.
Finally, the scum of bourgeois society forms the holy phalanx of order and the hero installs himself in the Tuileries as the “savior of society.”
Of course, that was then in the 1850’s.
It would never happen here.
It would never happen now.
History doesn’t repeat itself but historians do, still it seems like what goes around comes around.