A good discussion with the author of the book by the titular name: How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions?
I reviewed Davidson’s book at Amazon, and it deals with a classic issue: the discovery by 1848 that the revolutions of modernism were not really doing the job. Here’s the review of the book:
Review of Neil Davidson’s book
Let me indulge in a gedanken experiment and perhaps blow a gasket by doing to the proletarian revolution what leftists have done to the bourgeois revolution: the revolution of 1917 even in its Leninist phase ended up in a class/bourgeois resolution in disguise: it would be hard to find the proletariat empowered by the Bolshevik experiment: the class domination of the ‘communist’ bourgeois in power as the one-party state controlling the market via state capitalism was not the solution to the ‘bourgeois revolution’: it was a bourgeois revolution. (This may not be so far from Davidson’s views???)
Let me troubleshoot the confusion by suggesting a project for a bourgeois/proletarian revolution in combination: a liberal/communist hybrid where the issue of the proletariat is reformulated. A communist revolution must be open to all classes on the way beyond class, and be able to recast the liberal rights revolution (the bourgeois revolution) to fit a communist appropriation of industrial, private property. The rights revolution got cashiered in the name of critique of the bourgeois revolution. But the issue of rights, which Lenin held in such contempt, is crucial: crucial to see the contradictions in the whole framework of rights, and important to recast rights to really do what was intended. The critique of rights sprang from the way that exploitation arose in the name of private property. But the solution was not the abolition of rights, as with the Russian Bolshevik experiment. And the focus on the proletariat, which seemed so appropriate at the time, seems misplaced now: the issue the the 99%, and the combined activity of groups from the bourgeoisie, and the proletariat, and any other class, acting in the name of revolutionary projects of communist principle. There isn’t going to be a proletarian revolution. We can barely find a proletariat. It is not the labor movement, as such.
We must therefore reconsider the ‘bourgeois/proletarian’ revolution as a cojoined entity that fights not for a class, the proletariat, but for the principles of a post-capitalist system that is communist, with a set of rights and liberties in the context of moving beyond the crisis of Capital.
The facts tell us that the ‘proletarian’ revolution was a bigger failure than the ‘bourgeois’ revolution. We must combine the two genres, with a communist framework that doesn’t champion any class, but instead projects membership in one universal class beyond the Revolution.