Marxism and Revolution

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1993-11-01
  • Publisher: Yale Univ Pr

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This book offers a new interpretation of the origins of Russian Marxism, placing it firmly within the folds of the western European socialist movement. Moira Donald argues that the chief theoretician of German Marxism, Karl Kautsky, was a primary influence on Lenin and the Russian Social Democratic Party, and that only the revolution of 1917 severed the Bolsheviks from mainstream orthodox Marxism.
Donald contends that Lenin's thought was neither original nor especially significant in the development of Marxism, but that his ability lay in adapting his ideas to fit his revolutionary strategy. She places Lenin's writings in their historical context, showing that they were written as individual pieces, each with a specific aim and often directed within the Party. Lenin was a tactician rather than a thinker, says Donald, and even those areas of his thought that seem most original - the party, the role of the intelligentsia, and imperialism - reveal his significant debt to Kautsky. According to Donald, Lenin was not the only Russian Marxist to borrow ideas from Kautsky: Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution, which was to prove crucial when it was taken up by the Bolsheviks in 1917, was also influenced by Kautsky's thought.
Kautsky's relationship with the Russian Social Democratic Party has been widely underestimated because of the later split between them. Using a wide range of published and unpublished sources, Donald reveals how important Kautsky's role was in formulating the ideology of the Bolsheviks - the only effective revolutionary party in the socialist movement.

Author Biography

Moira Donald is lecturer in history in the department of history and archaeology at Exeter University.

Table of Contents

A Note on Sources
A Firm Foundation: Karl Kautsky and Russian Marxism, 1883-1900p. 1
Kautsky's role in the emergence of a movementp. 2
Kautsky, reluctant guardian of orthodoxy?p. 8
Party Organisation and the Split: Orthodox Theory, Unorthodox Practice?p. 16
The first debate on organisation: orthodoxy versus 'economism'p. 18
The second stage: Iskra and What is to be done?p. 24
The split: an outsider's view of events at the Second Congressp. 39
From sympathetic neutrality to hostile neutrality? The impact of the split on Kautsky's attitude to the Russian partyp. 57
Conclusion: orthodox theory, unacceptable practicep. 66
The Driving Forces and Prospects of the Revolution in Russia, 1905-1906p. 69
Revolution on the agendap. 69
A question of hegemony: with or without the liberal bourgeoisie?p. 77
The proletariat's ally in the revolutionp. 93
On the question of armed uprisingp. 107
To boycott, or not to boycott? A question of Duma tacticsp. 116
The Agrarian Questionp. 129
The orthodox backgroundp. 129
In search of a programme: RSDRP agrarian policy before 1905p. 134
In search of a programme: municipalisation, nationalisation or division? RSDRP agrarian policy after 1905p. 138
Kautsky's position in the agrarian debatep. 150
The Beginning of the End? Kautsky's Relationship with the Russian Social Democratic Party, 1907-1914p. 159
Internal developmentsp. 160
Kautsky and the Russian funds, 1907-14: a tale of two partiesp. 166
Kautsky's attitude to the Russians on the eve of the First World Warp. 176
The attitude of the Russian factions to Kautsky on the eve of the First World Warp. 180
The War: New Enemies and Old Friendsp. 188
The Warp. 188
Imperialismp. 201
The International and the Warp. 212
Revolutions and Renegadesp. 221
February to Octoberp. 221
The Bolshevik seizure of powerp. 231
Epilogue: Kautsky and the Russians: the last yearsp. 247
Notesp. 257
Appendix: Publications of Kautsky's work in Russian translationp. 290
Bibliographyp. 308
Indexp. 319
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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