Some of them used the words “radical,” “imperialist,” and “neo-con,” and others, like the poet Tylor, made no attempts to prove anything of substance. And that’s what we mean by “liberal bourgeois” culture.
It is true that there was resistance against this. However, it is less fair to accuse the flappers of being a revolutionary proletariat or even a progressive opposition to the bourgeoisie, because their revolt actually showed nothing of the kind except one element—a spirit of daring—that had not been before found in some proletarian revolt. That spirit was precisely the spirit of the peasantry, of peasant rebellions in which the leaders themselves did not hesitate to take part, and in which, though they sometimes had a proletarian vanguard, they always had the peasant as first general agent, in most cases as the leader. These rebellions were always the first step to the conquest of the village by a revolutionary, revolutionary vanguard party. And that is what the great masses did in the spring and early summer of 1918. They did not try to prove anything with words, and they certainly had not the slightest idea of putting forward a “progressive” programme, except, perhaps, by insisting on the need to build up a revolutionary vanguard.
The French people were not interested in what the young revolutionists were saying. The French people were not interested in these ideas. The French people had never dreamed of making an alliance with the German proletariat. There are few French people today who know these people. And they knew that the English-speaking imperialist bourgeoisie never wanted to bring an alliance with any of the oppressed nationalities of the world before it became clear that one of them would have to take up that task. Therefore there was nothing about the “imperialist” revolts that aroused the French revolutionaries, for in that case the English bourgeoisie could surely have taken advantage of them for an alliance with it. However, the French proletariat did not have nothing to do with those revolts. The revolts served the interests of the French petty bourgeoisie, who, though under the influence of the British workers, had no intention of taking part, and whom the French petty bourgeoisie was fighting very hard to conquer, but who had no intention of defending themselves. The French proletarians did not support the rebels because they were “anti-imperialist” or “anti-bureaucratic.” All that the French people knew of those rebels was that the French were going to try to crush them,
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