“In Germany, it was already the case that ‘the bourgeoisie had the misfortune to arrive too late’ (65). Il failed even to win undivided power; and now, having secured for itself the political conditions necessary for free development of its passion for surplus-value, it has ceded power to the reactionaries… It was frightened by the insurrection of the French proletariat, which did not herald particulary cheerful prospects for the bourgeoisie; and it was horrofied to learn that the German proletariat – which in the 1840s had already expressed its dissatisfaction with what the bourgeoisie saw as mere imperfections in the political régime – was now ready to use revolution to secure the conditions needed for free development of its own ‘class’ struggle ‘against the bourgeoisie…Someone might well ask: ‘But doesn’t this contradict ‘The Manifesto of the Communist Party’ by Marx and Engels?’. The point is that Marx and Engels overestimated the progressive character of the German bourgeoisie. They only knew the experience of England and France, which suggested that… the historical mission of the bourgeoisie is the conquest of political freedom. They were convinced, therefore, that the coming revolution would result in the rule of the bourgeoisie itself, and that this new struggle would ‘begin’ immediately after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany. In that case, the bourgeois revolution would necessarily serve as the immediate prologue to the workers’ revolution. The tactics that Marx and Engels adopted in 1848-9 logically followed from these views. The wanted to go along with the bourgeoisie, and they quite deliberately took a position on the extreme left wing of bourgeois democracy, differentiating themselves only by their more extreme political demands. During all of 1848 and the beginning of 1849, they helped the bourgeoisie to wage ‘its’ political struggle, dictated its programme of action at each step of the way, energetically ‘pushed’ it in the direction of determined opposition, and themselves took the initiative in refusing to compromise… But all the work and efforts of Marx and Engels were in vain. The fact is that the workers and the most radical strata of the petty bourgeoisie ‘made’ the revolution. The bourgeoisie, as Engels said, only ‘endured’ the revolution, and he and Marx soon understood that they had excessively idealised the bourgeoisie, which turned out to be completely incapable of fulfilling ‘its own’ historical mission. Moreover, while Marx and Engels were expending their energy in giving a push to the bourgeoisie, the ‘already’ emerging workers’ movement saw its turn to act. The League of Communists began its own activity too late, and it accomplished nothing in the sense of linking its ‘final goal’ to the workers’ movement, which behaved perfectly ‘spontaneously'” [N. Ryazanov, The Draft Programme of ‘Iskra’ and the Tasks of Russian Social Democrats’ (1903)] [(in) Witnesses to Permanent Revolution. The Documentary Record, edited and translated by Richard B. Day and Daniel Gaido, 2009]