The farce of french politics revisited

The way I understand Marx’s ideas on the French Revolution of 1848 is that he regards more or less the revolution as a farce within itself. I found the paragraphs in which he explains the second period of the revolution quite interesting and I was reminded of a film by Benoit Forgeard under the name Gaz de France(2015).

Marx states, “The bourgeois republic signifies in general only the political form of revolution of bourgeois society and not its conservative form of life.” In other words, he suggests that in an attempt to be revolutionary and stand united with the other classes against the proletariat, the bourgeois republic arms society with “watchworlds” that allow each one of its allies to crusade and “save society” from its “enemies”. So, the bourgeois republic remains as despotic as the bourgeois monarch by holding on to the title but without actually effecting any kind of change.

Gaz de Franceis a French satirical comedy film about an incompetent president who hides behind his publicity team as he is incapable of facing the complaints and demands of the public. A secret consultation meeting takes places in the basement of the palace in order to find a good excuse for the president’s incompetence as everyone’s job is to ensure that the president remains likeable among the crowds. In this case, the monarch would be the president, the allies would be the publicity employees and the enemy would be the public.

Marx writes, “Instead of society having conquered a new content for itself, it seems that the state has only returned to its oldest form.” The farce therefore of the revolution is the revolution’s very own ineffective potential.

I think the application of the farce that Marx is talking about leads to the creation of absurdist humour and can be found in the depiction of contemporary politics.

One comment

  1. Marx writes about the French Revolution failed to bring about any change in society, which leaves the “new” political system open to criticism and mockery. This allows comedy to satirize politics and its inherent lack of change. The clip chosen shows how this stagnation in French politics was a problem in 1848 and today.

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