chapter  13
Louis Blanc, associationism in France, and Marx
Pages 13

What influence did France’s revolutionary socialism have upon Marx’s thought? This classical question, first posed in Lenin’s ‘The three sources and three component parts of Marxism’ (1913), is still not satisfactorily answered even today, even though accumulated biographical studies of Marx have grown to enormous proportions. But since supporting evidence concerning such influence is unlikely ever to be found in the literature, we will probably be forced to rephrase the question. In his The Poverty of Philosophy, The Communist Manifesto and other early works, Marx uses the term ‘association’, a term borrowed from French, as a crucial concept, for example in this passage from The Communist Manifesto:

When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose their character . . . In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.