In the winter of 1847, The Communist League met in London to sketch out a platform for the international communist movement. Previously, the communist movement was made up of disparate factions of various national, ethnic, and even religious flavors. What emerged from this congress of communist revolutionaries was a united movement. Following the meeting in London, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels took up the task of forging the preeminent radical polemic of the international socialist, the Communist Manifesto. Their movement thenceforth, and to the detriment of civilization, moved forward as a united international juggernaut. The communist’s drive to organize themselves into an ideological powerhouse was not the first of its kind, but one that profoundly influenced much of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Multi-national political movements are indeed an old concept. It should strike us as curious then that there has never been, as far as I can tell, an international movement focused on the tenets of individual liberty. Perhaps this is owed, in part, to the fact that those who advocate for liberty tend to be individualists, preferring self-sufficiency and individual effort to the collective mobilization that is inherent in large movements. Whatever the reason, it appears that while other, more destructive movements have risen to the international stage, the liberty movement has lagged in its ability to organize in such a way.
While there have indeed been revolutions inspired by the ideas of liberty they more often than not were limited to national stages and were of varying levels of success. The American Revolution, which acts as the primary inspiration for our current Tea Party movement, is the clearest example of the success of these ideas, but there have also been revolutions, similarly inspired, that failed to achieve the ends of they had set out to achieve. The French Revolution, for example, was inspired in large part by the same philosophy as the American, but it fell victim to revolutionary excesses and violence. Post-revolutionary France fell into a state of bedlam until the rise of the dictatorial Napoleon put the final nail in the coffin of their revolution.
While international organization might have been deficient for the liberty movement historically, it appears that that is on the verge of changing. For the first time, there appears to be a growing international liberty movement, springing forth from the roots of our current American civic reawakening.
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