Fighting Doctrines and Revolutionary Ethics

Youri Cormier

Abstract


The expression ‘Clausewitz connection’ has become the standard go-to term for showcasing how keen many Marxists were in citing and applying ideas from On War to their revolution. That being said, the ‘connection’ has often been exaggerated, and Azar Gat made this case effectively by digging up the original exchanges between Marx and Engels and showing they were by no means devout Clausewitzians, even though they read and commented at least sections of it. Gat’s intervention brings us much closer to reality, but nonetheless overstretches in the opposite direction. Using a similar method to Gat, this essay continues unearthing further details into the relationship, but adds another dimension, by considering the surprising fact that while the Communists were indeed citing Clausewitz, not as much as has been claimed, their Anarchists co-revolutionaries in the anti-bourgeois movement were not citing him at all. This exclusive relationship tells us something about how the two groups understood the ethics of political violence as ‘instrumental’ in the Clausewitzian tradition, or as a ‘right’ in the Hegelian tradition, and how this complicated the integration of Clausewitz into communist doctrine, and made him altogether irrelevant to anarchist doctrine.


Full Text:

PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.