After my post on terror and Marx, I knew I would have to reread chapter 7 of Shlomo Avineri's The Social & Political Thought of Karl Marx. In this chapter Avineri discusses Marx's assessment of the French Revolution and the terror which grew form it.
According to Avenri, Marx viewed terror as "less a means towards realization of a revolutionary aim than a mark of failure." Marx felt (unlike the Jacobians or Blanquists) that a revolution could not occur simply by fiat or by political will.
The revolution requires not force but bringing into being the socio-economic conditions that the political will rest upon.
The future critics of Marx would have a great deal of success uncritically identifying him with the worst of the Jacobian (terrorist) traditions of insurrections and secret societies. Marx understood that unfair identification would be a critical blow efforts to create a theoretical framework to change the political and socio-economic structure.
Many Marxists have deplored the wasted time spent by Marx against "Herr Vogt" when he should have been writing and finishing Capital. But Aveneri insists that "Marx rightly understood" what Vogt's successful charges would do to him. While Marx may have proved the libel case against himself false, he seems to have lost that case to History.