In the years after Karl Marx's death, Friedrich Engels wrote that a rising socialist movement could now advance by means other than violent insurrection. This didn't mean an embrace of existing institutions — rather, it meant recovering the mass democracy experimented with during the French Revolution.
Jean-Numa Ducange (Université de Rouen – Institut Universitaire de France) is author of Jules Guesde, The Birth of Socialism and Marxism in France (Palgrave, 2020).
On Bastille Day 1889, militants from around the world met in Paris to declare an international union of socialist parties. The Second International promised to spread the spirit of the revolution across borders, only itself to fall victim to nationalist passions.