“In 1847 Marx undertook in the ‘Poverty of Philosophy’ a systematic criticism of Proudhon’s social and political ideas; and finally there came in 1848 a comprehensive, if brief, statement of the Marxian position in the ‘Communist Manifesto’. Almost simultaneously with the publication of this document, the 1848 revolution broke out in Paris, and was closely followed by risings in Germany. Marx, while seeing little prospect of a mass revolt in politically backward Germany, returned to Paris at the invitation of the Provisional Government, whose members regarded him as ‘a friend of freedom’ (1), and thence to Cologne where he became editor-in-chief of the ‘Neue Rheinische Zeitung’, which resumed publication as an openly revolutionary journal advocating a temporary alliance between the working class and the radical sections to the bourgeoisie. The King of Prussia dissolved the German National Assembly in November 1848. Marx and Engels had had but scorn for its members whose proceedings perfectly exemplified a phenomenon which they called ‘parliamentary cretinism’. Of this pathetic shortcoming the left-wing of the Assembly, the ‘elite and pride of revolutionary Germany’ as Engels ironically called them, were especially guilty. «These poor, weak-minded men, during the course of their generally very obscure lives had been so little accustomed to anything like success, that they actually believed their paltry amendments…would change the face of Europe. They ha, from the beginning of their legislative career, been more imbued than any other faction of the Assembly with that incurable malady parliamentary cretinism, a disorder which penetrates its unfortunate victims with the solemn conviction that he whole world, its history and future, are governed and determined by a majority of votes in that particular representative body which has the honour to count them among its members» (2). Reaction having re.-established itself in Prussia, the ‘Neue Rheinische Zeitung’ was suppressed and Marx was arrested and tried on a charge of treason. Characteristically, Marx harangued the jury on the subject of the impermanency of legal system when viewed from the standpoint of the materialist conception of history. «Here (he asserted), the code of laws which i hold in my hands has not created modern civil society. It happened just the other way. The civil society that arose in the eighteenth and developed in the nineteenth century found its legal expression in the code. As soon as it ceases to correspond with social conditions, the code will be as effete as waste paper» (3)” (pag 11-12-13) [John B. Sanderson, ‘An Interpretation of the Political Ideas of Marx and Engels’, London, 1969] [(1) J. Lewis, ‘Karl Marx: his life and teaching’ (1965), p. 98; (2) ‘Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany’ (1933), p. 92; (3) Quoted by A.G. Meyer, ‘Marxism’, (Harvard University Press, 1954), p. 8]