The world of Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire is in no way the world of the Manifesto of the Communist Party in which we were “compelled to face with sober senses” overwhelming objective developments taking place or unfolding before our very eyes. This world is replaced in short order…by a world inaccessible to our “sober senses,” a world where illusions exert real force and are in fact the conditions on which action is based…. The external world no longer carries any obvious meaning; we are faced instead with the inscrutability of images that are impenetrable to the underlying reality to which they are supposed to refer, or which they purport to represent (Paul Thomas, Alien Politics: Marxist State Theory Retrieved, 101).
This description of the Second Empire as a world of masquerade and appearence reminds me of Benjamin’s Arcades; but it also reminds me of Marx’s description of the state in On the Jewish Question. Read more↴