by Eric Vilain
Unlike its French counterpart, the German bourgeois was incapable of thinking in national terms. Timorous, hesitant in practice, they displayed in the places where they talked – especially cabarets, says Bakunin – extravagant goals that irritated him to the highest degree. They fell into the most extreme abstraction while being incapable of giving a universal meaning to their objectives. Unlike the French bourgeoisie of 1789, they were not aware of their true interests and created fictitious ones. They were frightened, they did not connect themselves to the peasantry whose mass had constituted a formidable lever in France. They were incapable of conceiving a political alliance with the Slavic nationalities dominated by Prussia and Austria; on the contrary, they summoned them to acknowledge the subjection in which they had been for centuries. Bakunin shows that Marx and Engels had the same blindness as the German democrats. While the armies of Year II of the Revolution had been moved by ideas of universal emancipation and had crossed the Rhine as liberators (for a short time, it is true), the German bourgeois expected nothing but the constitution by the Monarchy of a great unified Germany including the Slavic territories.
Chapter 3 of Bakounine politique, Révolution et contre-révolution en Europe centrale
Éditions du Monde libertaire, 1991.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AS ARCHETYPE: 1848 OR THE FAILED 1789 OF THE GERMAN BOURGEOISIE