A look into the history of European Socialism… Utopianism… Communism… Marxism… Anarchism… Stalinism… Bolshevik Revolution… Trotskyism…


Fundamental concern for cooperation and social justice. needs of community over the egotistical individual. noncompetitive.

Socialists optimistic for better future through social change, viewed organized religion though not always the religious impulse as parasitical and w/o social worth except to the ruling orders. “the opiate of the masses” marx

Modern socialism differs from earlier, more secular belief in human rationality rather than divine laws. Following mostly from lower orders, strength in numbers, in solidarity, and only thru collective action could oppression be remedied.

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PLATOS REPUBLIC – First far reaching “utopian” speculation. Abolition of private property, the family and other guarantees of privacy or “selfishness”. central concern of creating an elite and virtuous, selfless citizens.

EARLY CHRISTIANITY – Reactionary protest need to return from a growing worldliness, sophistication and pride to simplicity and selfless virtue

CHRIST – Poor workingman whose utterances were full of condemnations for the rich and proud. “all things common.”

SIR THOMAS MORE Utopia, 1516- most famous and influential of proto-socialist ideas in renaissance and reformation- free of private property, no distinctions in dress, society so organized it is free of strife. views evil as an individual rather than a social problem.

PHILOSOPHES – from late 17th century (age of enlightenment) growing confidence in power of critical intelligence, reason and nature. optimism for the future and evolution. inclined to believe people generally ignorant, irrational and fickle, and that popular action was often irrationally destructive and often cynically manipulated by reactionary interests.

ROSSEAU – prophet of radical individualism rather than cooperation “discourse on the origin of inequality among men” 1755, force people to be free. influential to many revolutionaries/socialists.
Condorcet – Driven to suicide in the revolution, thomas paine

-Tendency of liberalism, based largely os a distrust of the masses, voltaire for example was attracted to “enlightened despotism” or rule by enlightened monarch with despotic powers to do for people what they weren’t clearsighted enough to do for themselves.

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LIBERALISM -Concerned with liberty or liberation, wanted a free market (not controlled by the state) freedom of assembly, speech and press, wanted equality of opportunity and equality before the law and lack of special legal privilege. Not social equality especially if it limited individual freedom.
Private property was guarantee of freedom and reward for superior individual achievement. viewed poverty as laziness or incompetence rather than lowly origin or overpowering impersonal forces.

KEY DIFFERENCE IN SOCIALISM AND LIBERALISM – socialists rejection of individual competitiveness, viewed it as destructive and that private property preserved unfair and harmful social distinctions.

LIBERALS/ WHIGS – Hostile to popular rule, feared would degenerate into mob rule, attracted to elitist, oligarchic rule- devoted to preserving powerful institutions (law courts, organizations to protect liberty, idea of privilege.

DEMOCRATIC RADICAL– (French Jacobin, English Radical) accepted popular rule as compatible with liberty, wanted to construct institutions that reflected will of masses. belief in competitive individualism private property in moderation, reflected collectivism. sympathetic to poor, opposed great divisions by wealth, remedy for poverty was hardwork, reticent at authority and socializing wealth.
in 19th century democratic radicalism attracted larger number of workers than socialism, considered more ideology of petty bourgeoisie lower middle class or small property owner.

ANARCHISM – An-archos in greek means “no leader” or “without authority” concerned to oppose authority out of longing for liberation, view society as ill because of states exploitation and social inequality.
want to abolish state and its means of repression (police, law courts) to end exploitation and gross inequality in distribution of wealth and property.
Many anarchists refer to themselves as “libertarian socialists” or communists. Anarchism opposes socialists belief in necesity of state but oppose wealthy and rich more.

COMMUNISM -Term varied but was used by Marx and Lenin to describe ultimate society which would come after an initial imperfect “socialist society”.

3 MAIN IDEOLOGIES OF THE 19TH CENTURY conservatism, liberalism, socialism.

LIBERALISM – in early 19th century attacked conservatism, on conservative political and social pre-eminence based on “unfair” and irrational priveledge. Later liberals focused on challenge to individual freedom that they believed was posed by socialists

SOCIALISM – First appeared as attack of liberal individualism, especially insofar as it was used to defend emerging capitalist system, borrowed from conservatism and liberalism; from formers sense of societies organic unity, its binding responsibilities and from the latters promise of liberalism.

Early constitution of 1791-the guiding principle, was favorable to bourgeosie interest. allowed only the very wealthy to take part in the political. 3/5 of adult population were relegated to status of “passive citizens” equal under law but with no political power.
certain passages were ambiguous enough to lend themselves to more extreme even proto-socialist implications “if a gov’t fails to serve this purpose, its citizens have a right and even duty to destroy it and establish a new gov’t
the right to revolution, to oppose tyranny.

NAPOLEAN (Following terror of 1793-94) went towards principles of constitution of 1791 (limited franchise, secure property rights, free trade) with emphasis on stability and elitist direction.

SANS CULOTTES – shopkeepers, believed in individual enterprise and small property

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Developed notion of equality beyond divine spark, beyond liberal belief in equality before law, rejected belief that climate & geography create important differences, granted that unhappy experiences in society or nature occur but fundamental equality remains untouched. believed in “virtue” (centering around selfless concern for others and a fair or equal destribution of goods) was more important that individual abundance. Had contempt for merchants thought they were motivated by antisocial greed and a readiness to exploit their fellow men.
Proposed to do away with private property – dissolving the potentials of greed. shared reactionist concerns of Plato, Christ, More, had low opinion of potentials of human rationality looked to stern regimentation under state control to deal with social parasites.

the only vice is avarice, all else stems from this” wanted to do away with possessions and possessiveness wrote the code of nature.

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First communist revolutionary, not leisurely platonic dialogues but hardhitting manifestos, was part Jacobin part beyond, spent terror period in jail, shortly after was executed. Bring proletariats working common people.

DEMOCRATIC RADICALISM – conservative right viewed them as men of intellectual pretension but with shallow understanding, clerks, artisans, school teachers, unsuccesful lawyers, out to destroy venerable traditions, insensitive to social value of privelidged order.

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THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809)
Most famous and influential, worked as shopkeeper, tutor and finally as a journalist in America, had little schooling was not an intellectual but knew the language of the reading publc.
attacked landed class and its priveledges, never addressed issue of private property, glorified competitive free enterprise and free market. was not particulaly sympathetic to lower class with no stake in society and prone to violence. thought education was remedy to poverty and inequality. believed in equality and opportunity.

UTILITARIANISM (or English Philosophical Radicals) – does it make people -all people, not just a select few happier? all institutions should prove their usefulness.

JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832)

JAMES MILL (1773-1836)
By gradual reform (not violent revolution) all systems should be replaced with more useful ones to increase pleasure and happiness for the largest amount of people. pleasure and happiness for the largest amount of people.
Bentham/Mill- believed in private property and forms of punishment where pain would exceed the happiness of whatever was to be attained thru crime.

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WILLIAM GODWIN (1756-1836) With no law, no state, no official morality, no church, people would be happiest, conflicts could be worked out thru reasonable discourse. advocated radical simplicity of lifestyle without property, luxuries and other stimuli for greed reason would blossum.


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Believed that competition creates advancement assures high quality, low prices, fair wages growing productivity. Believed that priveledges given to big companies, tariffs, trading rights, navigation laws and bounties were monopolies and corruption.
the highest good consists in virtue, a concept rooted in classical philosophy centered around notions of self abnegation, responsibility and social justice.
Utilitarianisms pain/pleasure had little appeal in France: it seemed lacking in nobility and appeared to promise a society of squabbling and solely self interested individuals.


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Hated Jacobins, had gift for colorful hard hitting language, wrote “rural rides” opposed industrialism, rejected corrosive rationalism of Paine, the philosophes, jews, foreigners, dissenters, evangelicals, university grads and socialists.
wanted dem/rad reform of parliament/ free trade, free expression, and careers open to talent.
Hated modernism, cosmopolitan civilization, rapid change foreign influence.
Emphasized community, organic unities and aesthetic delights of pre industrial life, and his distaste for acquisitive competitive qualities of early capitalism.


Immediate post Napoleonic period was temporary conservative and reactionary resurgence.
Early 18th also time of romanticism, which was liberating and even revolutionary in striving to break from rules and restrictions.
Led to revolution of 1848, people looked to a new utopia of the future with new brotherhood and social harmony taking advantage of new industrial techniques.

UTOPIAN SOCIALISTS – Marx and Engels said utopians failed to recognize the only “scientific” answer to the social question because their thought patterns resemb led those of the religious sectarian, the recent convert, the visionary, the romantic.

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Most Utopian of all, rejected industrialsim, eccentric writer, isolated thinker, proposed non repressive society, ewhere desires were satisfied and even cultivated. Like Rosseau and Jacoben Left he detested all things English especially industry. Believed in a tight society not ambitious individuals.

Disagreed with Benthams quelling of natural desires and Jacoben social cohesion thru repressive general will. thought manual labor dehumanizing, thought possible to make all work play, pleasant and desirable deeply satisfying psychically.
Believed in large community designed to encourage interplay of human passions. thought industrialsim too high a price to pay for increase3d productivity.

12 Passions of Fourier
SENSES – one for each- touch, hearing, taste, sight, smell.
SOUL-Friendship, love, ambition, parenthood.
DISTRIBUTIVE-”Butterfly” is human love of variety, society shoudl strive to eliminate all tedi8ous or otherwise unpleasant jobs and learning.
RIVALRY AND CONSPIRACY-competition would inspire passionate creativity.
DISTRIBUTIVE PASSION-The combination of two or more passions, the sharing of a good meal (sensual) while conspiring perhaps to arrange a sexual orgy with the couples at the next table.

Advocate of sexual liberation- accepting sodomy, bestiality, sapphism, pederasty, incest -any that satisfy god given needs of certain individuals.
Was radical feminist, rejected patriarchy., Believed that equality was impossible.

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ROBERT OWEN (1771-1858)
Englishman, self taught intellectual, accepted industrialism seeing in them promise of growth. introduced shorter hours, healthier and safer working conditions, after hours recreation, end to child labor, to his textile industry. Found success this way and profit suprisingly too, improved welfare and morale of his workers. thought factories encouraged social irresponsibility, destructive competition and heartless individualism. wrote a new view to society (1813)

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Where Fourier and Babeuf saw corruption and an immoral lack of concern for the common people Saint-Simon saw expertise, enterprise and sagacity.
He welcomed capitalist growth, he approved of English social ideologies where they were repelled by the falseness and unnaturalness of Parisian society he enjoyed company of brilliant artists, scientists and men of affairs. was concerned with unbridled individualism, was a theorist of Modernism (Liberated society of Abundance)
Enthroned productivity, organization, efficiency, innovation technological discovery. Condemned kings, nobles and prelates as useless and parasitical. thought that in current times they had become socially useless. Honored manual labor and condemned parasitical laziness.


LEFT – had favorable and sympathetic image of lower orders odf society as solid, unselfish egalitarianism productive and exploited

RIGHT – Regarded lower orders as brutish and ignorant, filled with petty jealousies.

MARXISTS – looked at factory workers as heroes and endowed with a redemptive mission


WORKING CLASS – earned a living thru manual labor, owns no property, whose pay is directly related to that labor. differs from a CLERK (or white collar) whose work is not manual, or a PROFESSIONAL who’s acquired highly valued knowledge and charges handsome fee to impart it.

SHOPKEEPER – Has manual work but their property their shops allows a degree of independence and security.

SKILLED ARTISANS – Owns his tools and workshop, possesses valuable skills, makes good money, puts in long hours of hard work, enjoyed position of petty bourgeoisie rather than worker

PROLETARIAT – Propertyless poor that no longer accepted as adequate the sporadic and meager charity previously ccorded it. which sought to generalize its condition by creating a “community of goods” unlike poor of the past, proud, combative, filled with indignation for the rich. numbers, courage, unity, its feeling that only through revolution can its aims be achieved. (threatened security of europe which needed private property to survive)
turned passions of working class from just political to social. Proletariats became subversive, rebellious workers.

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FRIEDRICH ENGELS – Sympathized with workers, lamented injustices saw in them great virtues and looked to a time when they would control society.

communism most popular to skilled workers, with some sense of organizational experience, relative financial security and basically literate.

Lowest ranks of society remained politically uninvolved and apathetic with little generalized consciousness of themselves as an oppressed group with threatened rights and long range goals. Especially true of earliest factory workers from rural areas who tended to be so disorientated, intimidated or overwhelmed by their new surroundings that organized resistance was far from their minds.

LUDDITES OF ENGLAND – Most famous for physically breaking machines, anti industrial conspirators. to exert pressure on employers, collective bargaining through intimidation because unions were not allowed nor strikes. Pursuit of profit be subordinated to human needs, legal minimum wage, prohibition of shoddy work.

CANUTS – Silk weavers, in 1834 had major uprisings, often lived in densely populated working class neighborhoods, where tensions of common interest and tensi0ons between master and journeyman turned to hatred. experienced in 1830’s loss of status because of changing economic/political conditions. created

MUTUALISM – Emphasized working class cooperation, self sufficiency, and control over working conditions through creation of producers cooperatives, free from predatory designs of merchants and from ravages of individualistic society and market economy.


Resurgence of Owenism, workers created cooperative trading stores linked by a systematic indictment of capitalism and profit motive.
Growth of unions aqnd union shops where workers goods were sold, many issuing their own newspapers.

LABOR EXCHANGE – value of all commodities is by the amount of labor that went into them, no money was involved, labor notes-amount of hours you put in. aim was to end exploitation of labour, turned into more dumping ground for unmarketable goods. mixture of idealistic owenites and freeloaders who hoped to benefit from owens generosity.

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ETIENNE CABET (1788-1856)

Large working class following mixed ideas of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen and Baboufian communists. had a newspaper, wrote journalism and novels, large type, uncomplicated arguments endlessly driven home with exclamation points, pro abolition of private property, communism is the answer called utopian because his simplistic arguments lulled workers into believing in easy remedy.
Fourier recruited from middle bourgeoisie, cabet had little appeal to them. cabets “Icarian communists” were largely from trades that experienced tough competition from ready made or factory produced commodities though not as much from factory workers.
Gradually moved from notions of class conflict and revolution to a pacificm and attraction to those disappointed by failures of communist conspiracies of 1839-41 was attached to a “true” christianity. Equality over productivity


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Worked with “Carbonarists” (Charcoal workers) A Babeuf conspirators survivor wrote popular book in 1828 refreshing Babeuf’s ideas and martyrdom.

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influenced AUGUSTE BLANQUI (1805-1881)
Plotted insurrections, survived death sentences spent more than half of life in prison. Archetypal revolutionary conspirator. like nearly every other revolutionary and socialist leader he came from a middle class family, was excellent student, wrote for Paris Globe had great faith in progress and science. didn’t believe in Fouriers fixed human nature which he thought ruled out possibility of steady improvement of human spirit.
Was more ascetic in personal habits and weas repelled by Fourniers glorification of desire. Theories resembled Babeufs more. Hadf deep sympathy for the poor, an abiding hatred of the rich and commitment to eventual communist society. Like Babeuf had simplistic view that class differences were juxtoposition of corrupt rich and virtuous poor who competed for limited wealth. violence was unavoidable was justifiable and necessary to plunder the rich. Did not directly related progress of human spirit to economic liberation promised thru productivity in factory system. thought progress was an independent factor, a force of its own.
Despite sympathy for poor, like Babeuf thought that in their ignorance the common people were not always able to recognize their interests. Believed in elitist leadershiip. siezure of power by conspiratorial revolutionaries would lead to establishment of a jacobin-style republic headed by dictatorial commitee of public safety.
Believed fundamental change would come not merely by propoganda (as Utopians would have it) but thru violent revolution and seizure.
Brutality of police in response to him and further regulations restricting legal organization of poor led him to create carbonari like secret society “society of families” composed of six families where leaders did not know the others until point of action. 2nd society created called “society of seasons” created uprising, seized strategic points on May 12th 1839. was dissoluted by National guard, Blanqui evaded capture for 5 months in attics, cellars, sewers in Paris.
As a result “Blanquism” was seen as revolutionary putschism (discipline and dedication) without mass support.


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German, example of artisanal worker associated with pre industrial handicraft lacking clear understanding of long range implications of modernization. Believed in return to what he believed was early christian society, where people not motivated by selfish and materialistic goals, believed in political and social conversion, not religious conversion.
Believed in Babeufs “conspiratorial elite” to overwhelm rich and introduce “precious principle of equality”

REVOLUTION IN JUNE – the “New Industrial Proletariat” predominantly artisanal workers on one side with significant workers from railroad industry in France acting in a class conscious organized fashion resulting in a portentuous clash between capital and labor of propertied and unpropertied.

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German/ Jewish born into a secularized Jewish family in Trier not far from French and Luxembourian borders.
Marxism a synthesis of German Philosophy, English political economy and French socialist theory.
influenced by

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HEGEL (1770-1831)
German Philosopher argued that progress or “the realization of reason in history” could not occur as a simple linear development without strife, confusion, and alienation all served rational purposes.
Dialectical” asserts pervasiveness of change thru strife. opposition and contradiction.
By studying history was means of a dialectical understanding could comprehend the workings of the spirit or Geist, the ultimate guiding force in history.
Young hegelians believed that political/ social change could come only after peoples minds had been chabnged. and that a mind had to be changed by reason, not force. Marx disagreed.

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asserted that conflict between subjective and objective world, and between mind and matter was imaginary. that god was a creation of mans imagination, man projects his own aspirations and ideal qualities onto the gigure of god. believed that man makes his own history conjures up heavenly world thru imagination and “self alienation” this fantasizing cause man to feel abased to suffer in comparison to idealized god. by abandoning god and religion only can man be free. will feel self worth and give love they wasted on god to humanity.

MARX wanted to realize all this wake up and then change things
Believed in collective or social nature of productivity and thought greed and egotism perverted this social quality.
Modern man did not produce for common good. they exploited labor and accumulated it in capital. thought mans worship of maoney replaced his worship of god and both needed to be rid for perfect society.
Sought a “material force that would achieve philosophy” a.k.a. the proletariats social revolution.

Throughout mans life was conflict of essence and existence, man strives in history towards the realization of his human potentialm which has to do with sociability, productivity (especially in direction of rational, harmonious and beautiful) desire for freedom and universality (from irrational constraints and limited visions) yearning for wholeness (for full development of all faculties, rather than stunted specialization.)

1843 moved to Paris, met Engels. 1847 began communist manifesto which contained some earlier tradition. vision of propertyless existence, preceded by a time of violent class stlruggle and eventual revolutionary showdown between bourgeoisie and proletariat.
After revolution of 1848 anticipating German revolution many german exiles hoped French revolt would promote further liberation. 1850’s and 1860’s were slow time for socialism Marx retired to his study from working with workers union in Germany.

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Describes state as an organ devoted to the oppression of one class by another. Emphasis on need to “smash” the bourgeoisie” state, replacing its bureaucratic rule with new organs of proletariat dictatorship and direct popular participation.

1850’s-60-s- realism, materialism, science and prosaic sobriety prevailed over aesthetic and emotional idealism of early 19th socialism was still associated with romanticism and utopianism though marxism and Proudhism stressed hard headed realism and practical sober agitation.

ENGLAND – Marxism not popular in England. workers believed that capital and labor could work harmoniously, widespread belief of liberal provenance that working class conditions would improve as overall wealth of society improves.

GERMANY-caught on slower but grew steadily, german workers had more trouble finding support with bourgeoisie liberals shared cause against the conservatives.

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Talented, flamboyant, ambitious and enormously energetic leader of German workers. Parallelled Marx in many ways. Lasalle was warmer less arrogant intellectually, drew many to him who only dimly understood his theories.

Lasalles Hegelian vision saw state as above society (rather than depending on it) with the ethical mission to resolve class conflicts, and he wanted to win state over to “socialism” moral ideas of working class.
Founded ADAV, new party of working class- firmly anti bourgeoisie, was widely assumed ADAV would introduce socialism once workers controlled democratized state. Operated on funds collected by enrolled masses of workers who paid modest dues. (other parties tended to be loose afiliations of prominent men who organized themselves periodically for electorate purposes and who relied on contributions from wealthy supporters.)
Marx and Engel feared Lasalle was looking to align the aristocracy and the workers against the liberaql bourgeoisie future German socialist leaders Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel also chose this aligning path.

Napolean III elected had “sufficiently ambiguous” enough image to appeal to all classes.
Workers leaders were unimpressed with his socialism that favored bankers and industrialists emphasized social order and encouraged efficient concentrated modern industry.

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PROUDHON (1809-1865)
Rejected system building and dogma, writings were often contradictory, believed in ownership of small omounts of property, didnt believe in violent revolt. Looked to change thru gradual reform, directed against modernizing techniques, industrial, capital concentration and beaurocratic management. was very traditional in matters of the home and family.
nativist hatred for things modern and foreign (like cobbet). Ideal state was decentralized and free cooperation, organized around an economic federalism of small productive units, credit cooperatives, insurance societies.

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Reputation large by 1870’s. threw himself into studies of capitalism which he denounced and set to prove it would pass away by developing internal contradictions. Conerstone of Marxian economics is

MARX’S LABOR THEORY OF VALUE to demonstrate how productivity creates value and becomes capital in context of modern industrial society.
Use Value -something made for immediate use like paper article.
Exchange Value-a commodity suitable for exchange on the market, produced primarily for that use value as labor time like owen had hoped had faults, lazy vs diligent, skilled vs unskilled, pleasant and unpleasant, dangerous and secure working conditions, notion of “socially necessary” labor, was way of averaging out factors as inefficiency or lack of skill.

Labor based on quantity necessary on average to produce a given commodity, not based on individual time expenditure.

Believed that working class grew more impoverished all the time for various reasons:

A. increasing proportion of “constant capital”, as capitalism advances, a relatively higher proportion of investment goes to purchasing machinery and plant (constant capital) than into the purchase of labor power (wages) which meant that fewer man hours would go into production. in turn rate of profit would decrease.

B. Technological innovation means continual desplacement of workers by machines. which creates reserve of unemployed, whose existence undermines any efforts by employed workers to force wages up.

Believed that this continual worsening would come to a revolt of proletariat against oppresdsors converting capitalism to socialism.
In other cases workers will be continually exploited although not becoming any poorer.

Previous economists associated fluxes in economy as relating to oversights or speculative activity of certain individuals rather than by the system.
Marx described them as declining rate of profit, which forced bankrupty on smaller units which was a godsend to large companies, they could then buy up the plants of former competitors at really low price.


The Capitalist, the benefactor of the exploited labor could live in style, but pressure from the system made it dangerous to spend rather than invest he must continually improve the techniques of production otherwise competitors will undersell him.
As large units corporations come into play the trend is towards monopolistic, contrilled, non-competitive production, away from laissez-faire. Based more on concentrated and collective rather than many individual small competitive firms.
Marx believed that the way modes of human production are organized is the underlying reality upon which the material environment (plitical institutions, religion, art, philosophical speculation) the institutional and ideological “superstructure” rest.
he felt that the new modes of production being introduced by the industrial revolution was the cause of all the social, plitical and cultural changes in Europe.
Felt that industrial revolution inspired the bourgeoisie ambitions further to gain complete control of the state “the bourgeoisie revolution”

Argued that “apologists” emerged to rationalize and disguise the true nature of new social relationships, of the new state forms (theorists like Smith, Bentham, Malthus, and Ricardo) delivered telling criticisms of the old order and justified the new. methodists emerged to serve new ruling class preaching to poor to bear their sufferings with humility and resignation. (who bellieved they were revealing universal truths and timeless relevances)

same way capitalist believed his success was due to personal merit and that the pverty of his workers was due to their laziness, ignorance, lack of ambition.
Marx believed both were prisonersd of “false consciousness” which was necessary to create change to socialism. In early writingsd Marx dreamt of an end of alienation in communism would entail the end of division of labor and the specialization of skills. one could work at whatever was appealing, whenever they wanted.
At age 50 finished first volume of what he considered his life work Das Kapital (1867) never finished the 3 remaining volumes.

1860’S-Saw revival of working class activity in France and establishment of ADAV in Germany.

Founded in London on basis of Poles struggle in Russia, marx was elected to draw up founding statutes. Was stressful for assoc. during Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and ensuing uprising in France. marx was pro German believed that a war of national unification for Germany resulting in defeat of napolean III and end of reactionary 2nd empire would be a progressive development.

After defeat of Paris commune formed and views were less socialist than nationalist under prussian rule 1848 Thiele (Prussian rule of Paris) put paris under siege of hunger and deprivation. Parisians ate zoo sanimals, then pets, stray cats, rats, grass, glue from wall paper/ furninture. paris on fire, bloody week of executions by Prussians. Famous battle at Pere Lachaise cemetary. 147 French “communards” lined up at wall and shot. now graves all around filled with French socialists and communists of late 19th and 20th centuries. Years of Prussian repression (1871)

Marx’s reflections on this period and the commune are the supposed Marxist foundations to Leninism.
Described this period as first example of working class rule in 19th century. thought commune an example of how power had to be seized from Bourgeoisie and then used to smash it (to destroy beaurocratic structures and replace with working class rule.


Highpoint of capitalism from 1850’s-1860’s followed from 1873 to early 1890’s by a “great depression” (mild compared to standards of 1930’s) Farmers/ Agriculturist looked for state intervention to create tariff barriers to slow down flood of cheap grains coming from N.America.

1870’s-1880’s-Workers looked to Marxism as most “scientific and sophisticated analysis of capitalist development. Blanquism and Proudhism paling in comparison.

GERMANY-Rapid economic development with disorienting ups and downs in market, german social democats could find in Marxism an understanding of their situation and also witness the disappearance of old trades because of the rapid expansion of large industry. the proletarianizing of the labor force and urbanization of Germany 1880’s very anti capitilast for germany looking for strong authoritarian state as remedy.

Bismarcks authoritarian reich elite of Junkers & Rhenish-Westphalian industrial magnates who were contemptuous of popular rule and were certain to violently oppose it. German socialists believed that thru an ultimate destruction of the state could will of German masses for democratic rule of socialism be expressed.

FRANCE-French marxists deffered from Gmn, was much less unified in France. Largest competition was Jacobin radicals competition also were Blanquists, Proudhonists, Bakuninists among older pre-Marxian, anarchist and utopian persuasions was a dizzing confusion of sectarian socialist confglicts unlike more unified Germany.

One of the many ironic aspects of Marxism in France was that some of Jules Guesde’s (Popular French marxist leader) most prominent opponents wer more familiar with and sensitive to the nuances of marx’s writings than he was. They objected to his stiff and authoritarian manners and his “taking orders” from Marx and Engels in London which they saw as an importation of German theoretical dogmatism and authoritarian practices in France.

Prominent opponent of Guesde, social theoretician of working class origin. had spent exile time in Germany. Preached “integral socialism” an eclectic mix of French intellectual traditions. Looked to all oppressed, not only workers or factory proletariats to take up cause of socialism to create new party. Wanted to create concrete reforms in local governing parties. Agreed with Blanc’s idea of state3 as financier of industrial cooperatives to republic in particular.

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Was a reformist opponent of revolutionary Marxists who accepted many basic proponents of Marxism. Believed in long range tendency towards economic concentration under capitalism. in evolution of increasingly hostile proletarian and bourgeoisie classes. in need of a proletarian party whose eventual goal would be conquest of political power by anyt means. even accepted that at some point a revolutionary dictatorship might be necessary. Rejected Guesdes revolutionary rhetoric, stressed that social militants should concentrate on reforms that were immediately possible “Possibilism” .
main difference between Possibilists and marxists had to do with immediate organization of party and issdue of path to socialism.
Guesde countered that this was illusdory and would not alloew real reforms, that by involving socialists in daily cooperation with bourgeoisie would dilute working class identity and obscure from workers their role in creation of a socialist society.

MARXISTS IN ENGLAND – were very weak through English economy was the most advanced in Europe with largest concentration of workers and it suffered more than France or Germany from depression

interested in notion of large role for state in opening up equality of opportunity and remedying injustices of industrial society.
other critics of capitalism emphasized more cooperation and “fellowship” as opposed to individualistic competition. Believed society is an organic whole not a collection of utilitarian individuals.

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Normally regarded as classic defender of individualistic liberalism towards end of life described socialism as superior to individualism as a moral and social ideal. had deep faith in gradual himan improvemnet towards a more “altruistic-socialistic human nature” Though he had doubts concerning socialisms immediate economic feasability.

Henry George’s single-tax nostrum- was enourmously popular single tax to the “unfair” fortunes gained through rent in land. Set many thinking in socialistic direction although he was by no means socialist.

1882-1892 trade union memberships doubled, influx of unskilled workers to “new unions” though there was no major party on left to challenge liberal party.

English like the Germans had a taste for domestic tranquillity and Marxist notion of revolution and seizure of power destruction of state (which meant revered English monarchy and parliament) were all distinct liabilities to the English.
English ruling order was also more flexible than Germany or France. English patriotic identity ande belief in a reasonable compromise Less prone to Europes ideological intoxication of which Marxism seemed extreme and foreign variety.

PROMINENT AND ENGLISH WITH MARXIST TENDENCIES – Poet/ artist William Morris, J.S mills sltepdaughter helen Taylor, Marx’s daughter Eleanor, and countess of warwick, Henry Meyers Hyndman (who assumed leadership of Social-Democratuic Federation.)


1889 meeting in Paris Guesdists and Broussists organization of rival congresss laid foundation for 2nd International Election of Liebknecht and Edouard Vaillant a former communard as joint presidents symbolized to the delegates the international unity and sense of brotherhood of the proletariat in contrast to the ever more hysterical nationalism and militarism of Germany and Frances ruling orders. (among ofhter delegates were flamboyant Italian anarchist who troubled the regular proceedings of congress.

Resulting in a sense of international unity and satisfaction that isolation of socialists and labor organizations in years following the commune to be ending.

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Published Evolutionary socialism purpose was to revise Marxism, bring it up to date was a prespected party intellectual, olde friend of Engels and loyal member of SPD since 1870’s when he had suffered exile for his socialist convictions
Denied that tensions or contradictions which would lead to violent revolution were inherent in capitalism, considered socialsim desirable but not inevitable. it would come gradually, reform after reform.
With statistics and facts he demonstrated that most workers were enjoying improved living standards showed that moderate property was being enjoyed by middle incomed and was increasing absolutely and relatively.
Members of bourgeoisie were not disappearing in large numbers to join proletariat. Many shopkeepers and peasants were proving themselves capable of resisting destruction at hands of large scale capitalist production. White collar petty bourgeoisie were growing thus, in social nor economic terms was capitalism developing in direction of proletarianization and violent confrontations.
Bernstein caused a furor in the SPD not because of debatable facts but because he was a former radical that came to agree with moderates that SPD was not a revolutionary party and thus should stop pretending to be.

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Strongly supported, dubbed “pope of socialism” sarcastically for his dogmatism. SPD’s leading theoritician opposed Bernstein. Insisted on proletarian nature of SPD, on inevitable disappearance of peasant petty bourgeoisie attacked revisionism.

His support came from conviction that many party members had that proletariat had a special mission; a historical role to play; and also they believed in the hostility of the bourg. in class conflict.
Revisionism with its unapologetic embrace of mundane reforms threatened to drain the social-dem movement in Germany of its mystique, of the element of millenarianism that attracted idealists and gave members a sense of special worth in a society whose established leaders harbored contempt for them.

Believed that even though (contrary to Marx’s theory of immiseration) that material conditions were better for workers in Germany and W. Europe that class conflict would increase politically and socially.
Many found Bernsteins “evolutionary Socialism” to be shallow and unsophisticated, too influenced by English utitltarianism/ Fabian Society reformis/ English liberalism.
Kautsky believed ideas of permeation of liberal opinion (transition to socialism) in Germany was ludicrous, Kautsky thought Germanys leaders too inflexible and unsophisticated to envision a long range strategy of “buying off” a part of workers movement with promises of political reform and continued economic advancement.
Was deeply distressed how successful this strategy was in England, where leaders of working class were far more enthusiastic about football than about social revolution.

BEBEL-accused revisionists of being mostly bourg. intellectuals or former workingmen now enjoying a bourg. existence because of their secure positions in the party. Charged that they had lost contact with the sufferings and revolutionary striving of the proletariat.

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JEAN JAURES (1859-1914)
Leading French champion in class-collaborationist reform tradition of 1880’s. Began career as member of the Radical Party, influenced by Malons writings grew to lead growing faction in the chamber of deputies known as independent socialist- who believed in a parliamentary gradualistic road to socialism was possible in France.

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Associate of Jaures was appointed cabinet post in new government, this was troubling for many Marxists (was first time since Blanc’s disastrous experiences in provisional gov’t of 1848) because unlike blanc, was not a move that bespoke hight political hope for fundamental social change.
Instead Kautsky felt Jaures and Millerand posed danger of being dominated by or absorbed into concerns and political activities of bourg. left. “so long as we preserve our proletarian character, corruption from other parties is not to be feared, if we give up our proletarian character, we lose the firmest ground under our feet and become a ball of the the most contradictory interests, like the anti-semites”
Also, he thought it shameful that Millerand be in the same cabinet as Gen. Gallifit a leader of military forces that had massacred the communards. Secondly he though because being so high level unnecessarily exposed him and his socialist supporters who had not yet established a firm proletarian identity to danger of compromise with the bourg.


At Paris congress of Internationalk 1900. Guesde and Italian socialist Enrico Ferri forwarded a resolution that forbade socialist participation in a bourg. gov’t under any conditions.

KAUTSKY – found this too restrictive and proposed to preserve necessry elasticity for unfathomable future by allowing participation only under extraordinary circumstances and with prior party approval (something Millerand dint have). Thes circumstances were revealing and remarkable prescient- “peoples war” against invasion of Germany by reactionary Russia, and if “fundamental Dem. institutions in a country were endangered, with a broad yet firm coalition of the left as the only remedy.


Unification of most important French Socialist Factions around largely Marxist party program. Revisionism and Ministerialism trampled to the dust.

JUARES – Suffered defeat by Guesdes and SPD, still argued with strong oratorial skills against strong hand of Germans in International, condemned new resolutions as ”trying to impose rules of action-or rather inaction-that are presently imposed on German party, which has no revolutionary tradition but rather one of receiving benefits-for example universal suffrage-from above
In reality German soc. dem.s was without power in their own parliament. their theoretical intransigence was a mask for this political impotence. Charged SPD of being inable to act.

Despite his eloquent resentments at Amsterdam speech which led a number of prominent independents to break with organized socialism-he made genuine efforts to live with the Amsterdam decision and Marxist program of new SFIO in name of International solidarity and lasting unity of French socialists. He suffered in years immediately following Amsterdam it ultimately allowed him to assum a position of SFIO leadership and international socialist community.


Anarchist thought was amorphous; recognized no master. offered fundamental alternative since Marxism accepted modern industrialism, plitical parties, use of parliament, and necessity of extended bourg. capitalism development. Anarchists rejected dogma, organization was unstructured and ephemeral.
Would tolerate no central body or beaurocrats giving orders. Had much in common with existentialism and a good bit of the romantic. Valued direct experience, intuition and action. Distrusted rules and regulations. of the systematic spirit or fruits of pure reason, of modern progress and “scientific” or deterministic answers, to what they considered ultimately unpredictable solutions of life.
Attitude contrasted period following 1848 which was dominated by science, industry, material progress and powerful nation-states were keynotes. Anarchists often considered losers in theri famous struggles:
Lost against 19th century Marxism, against growth of powerful centralized states, against Bolsheviks, against modernism generally.

Anarchist followers often scattered, inconstant and difficult to identify probably exceeded numbers of Marxists. Guesde, Malon and Brousse first were anarchists then became Marxists or reformists. While prominent Anarchists like Proudhon and Bakunin initially expressed admiration for Marx’s writings then turned against him.
Anarchism revived in twenty years following WWI when anti-positivist mood prevailed, rejecting uncritical glorification of science and material progress typical of 1850’s-1870’s affected Europe.
Exiscential-romantic rejection of modern state and society didn’t equate material productivity with progress nor recognized any clearly progressive inner logic to historical development.
Insisted on moral growth, independent of material factors leading to construction of soceity built on transcendental moral principles. commited to ab olition of authority, inequality and exploitation. an application of principle of justice.
Believed in action, not proclamation of airy ideals. Hence bomb throwing, dynamiting, assassinations. with expectation that such action would rouse masses to overthrow oppressors.
Most anarchists were however nonviolernt, though bombthrowers got most attention. though most expressed preference for violent acts against tyrannical authority. considered themselves revolutionaries, believed in sudden dramatic transformation of existing society. differed in opinions of collectivism, indivualism
PROUDHON-mutualism KROPOTKIN-anarchist communism BAKUNIN- anarchist collectivism

Most original and seminal thinker, was least socialistic of others. looked to decentralized or stateless federation of communes (in French sense of municipalities). and workers coops where means of production is posessed and not owned by individuals or small groups. and individuals assured of fruits of their labor, without exploitation by money lender, middleman or capitalist.
Recognized fundamental social nature of people remained suspicious of instincts, advocated retention of traditional patriarchal family was he believed fathers authority was necessary to control ineffaceably anti social tendencies in people. Was haunted by appreciation of harm people could do on antoher if leberty went completely unchecked, if all authority rejected, rule of father represented a basic minimum of authority.

Michael Bakunin image

Of Russian background. Marx’s great antagonist in first international, borrowed much from Proudhon, believed by late 1860’s imperative to adapt anarchist attitudes to growing reality of individual concentration. Replaced Proudhons individual possession with notion of possession of large scale voluntary associations. workers paid “justly” according to productivity.
More open to free society, human nature only needed full unqualified liberty to achieve perfection. Felt vice was due to trammels put on human spontaneity. Authority corrupts and crushes human spirit.
Believed that violent destruction of bonds of law police courts would lead to emancipated humanity. not chaos or tyranny of lawless. remarkable faith in raw human nature. Thought Proudhons ideal the independent, prudent, hard working skilled laborer resembled “bourgeoisified” betrayer of the workers cause. “the mass is unconsciously socialist…more earnestly and truly socialist than all the scientific bourgeoisie socialists put together”
Bakunin was engaged in endless plots, conspiracies, revolutionary uprisings, had a persistant “mephistophelean aura”…

peter kropotkin image

Also Russian, further departed from Proudhon and Bakunin by abolition of wage and price system entirely communistic ideal of nonpossesive society with common warehouse of goods. “from each according to his ability according to his needs.”
Kropotkin was more saintly, spent time in jail for propogandistic activities. emphasized constructive rather than destructive. matured intellectually in 50’s and 60’s made mark as a distinguished scientist and pioneering geographer. Intimate contacts with Siberian/Manchurian natives frontiers developed in him taste for simple uncorrupted life. “what right had I to the joy of these scientific inquiries when all around me was nothing but misery.
when what I spend to allow me to live in a world of higher emotions must be taken from the very mouths of those who grow the wheat, who had not enough bread for their children” – the conquest of bread.

Both Marx and Kropotkin though of bliss in terms of artistic creation and the “higher emotions” related to intellectual contemplation. Same sense of psychic liberation as well as release from economic and political constraints (Marx too foresaw the end of wage and withering away of the state) when class differences were no more. Same belief in “attractive work “ to replace drudgery of dehumanizing market and factory systems.
wrote mutual aid (1890) concerning natural sociability or cooperativeness of humans. Observations of animal life in Siberia, cooperation based on survival rather than competition. Scientific critique of widespread Darwinist “survival of the fittest”.

PROUDHON AND BAKUNIN believed that a dictatorship of proletariat exercised thru organs of state power would lead to dictatorship of skilled and otherwise advantaged workers, or even worse of bourgeoisie intellectuals who tended to rise to top of workers organizations. Danger of beaurocratism and tyranny of workers over workers.
“much of rank and file of movement was made up of artisans, of poor and primitive peasants, of shiftless rebellious sections of lower classes who Shaw called “the undeserving poor” who Marx dismissed as the”lumpen proletariat” anarchism strongest where industrialism was weakest, where poor are poorest. As progress engulfed classic fatherlands of anarchism it began to lose support.


Mostly in France also in Italy, Spain. group of anarchists disillusioned with results of conspiricies and terror and people from the French labor movement.
1880’s-1890s a distaste for political activity was growing amongst French working class leaders following the bitter experience of the Paris commune and the ensuing repressions. This was reflected in many of the syndicats of this time as former militant anarchists assumed influential positions. As a result French labor movement took on a very different complexion. Leaders emphasized class conflict and heralded a revolutionary general strike that would bring down capitalist order rather than focus on day to day reforms and compromises between capital and labor.
Expressing contempt for all politicians bourgeoisie or socialist and for all parliamentary activity.

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GEORGE SOREL (1847-1922)- “Reflections on violence”

writings on anarchosyndicalism, wrote on “myth” of the general stike, the powerful image or idea capable of motivating masses of people, of shaking peoples lethargy of giving their daily activies transcendant meaning. He was more interested in the struggle event a spectacle of the strike than the improvement of conditions/ goals of socialism (later considerd by Mussolini to be a “prophet of Fascism”.

1914 – CGT (Anarchosyndicalist general confederation of labor) had lost some of its revolutionary elan associated with peak years (1801-1808) drifted in more reformist direction with Frances growing industrialization.
Most anarchistic activity was in W.Europe, primarily latin countries. (in Russia not until 20th century and was soon obliterated by the Bolsheviks)


Borrowed heavily from Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin. Was distinct from populism in U.S (which was dem/rad and explicity anti-socialist.
Movement considered pre-Marxist. as many Russian Marxists went thru preliminary narodnick (or populist) stage. in way roughly comparable to anarchist stage of many wester Marxists.
Key concern was vaguely Bakunist fascination with common people, the uncorrupted peasant and rural indiginous. (largely for this reason they are not termed socialist since latter was so concerned with urban workers and industrial phenomenon) Populists were more stimulated to theory and action not by advent of dual revolution but by social question of rural Russia and problems of a tsarist state.

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The seminal “narodnik” theorist. “go to the people” admirer of all things Western and modern. Horrified by revolution of 1848 and the self satisfied and self centered bourgeoisie society that emerged in 1850’s and 60’s Looked to Russias native communal institutions and traditions. Wanted Russia to follow more humane and socialist path to modernization by retaining the village commune and coop workshop.
Much of Russias land organization into communes where private property didnt exist. Village elders saw redistribution of land at regular intervals to compensate for natural changes. death, marriage, birth. Herzen wanted to preserve this collectively owned management to prevent spread of ruinous individualism. Needed revolution to overthrow tsarism. Represented more Romantic-Idealist like early 19th century Western. Similar to Romantic 30’s and 40’s in West then change to realistic in 50’s and 60’s.

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N.G. CHERNYSHEVSKY (1828-1889)
Represented more realist generation following Herzen. Thought parallels Marx, though he read little Marx. Emphasized need for popular initiative in accomplishing revoltion. Class conflict is necessary aspect of historical development and that state naturally reflected interests of ruling class and class in power would not relinquish it peacefully. Believed Russias path to Moder industrial society would be different than the Wests. Chernyshevsky praised both communal decentralization and role of a rationally constituted state in organizing industry.

1870’s- Narodniks torn on issuies of desirablilty of large scale industry, could peasants be expected to rise up in revoltion? how naturally socialistic were they? how much leadership would they need? would violent action or peaceful propoganda do it?

1874- thousands of militant students spread to countryside to preach narodnik message to meet peasants. Rather than encountering oppressed people ready for action they were received with suspicion, incomprehension and indifference, many were turned over to police by peasants.

1875- many narodniks moved to Marxism.

BLACK PARTITION – anti terrorist group insisting propoganda the lifting of popular consciousness needed for revolt.

1890’s- vigorous capitalism appearing in various areas of Russia. Departure of peasants from their land to factories.

1898- RSDRP-Russian Social Democratic Workers party, modeled after SDP founded, proletariat arrival in Russia with industry.


Quarter century before WWI classic age of European socialism, optimism. new triumphs of SPD. in 1912 the largest party in Germany. French socialist unified and growing from 1905-1914.
Socialists in Belgium, Italy and Austria-Hungary. Congresses of socialist International more grandiose by patriarchy, Bebel, Juares, Plekhanov, Adler, Turati.

1890-1914- Great expectations and accomplishments. also renewed burst of industrial expansion (until war) per capita industrial production rose 40%, over 57% in France. Workers conditions improved (although benefits of growth in production were less for lower orders than for owners of capital and land.) In working masses who wer better educated, had more leisure, better health, above all had more psitive self image and higher aspirations led to growth of socialist movement.

GERMAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT- showed widening gap between leaders and broad masses. Leaders expressed exasperation with masses as lazy, lacking in foresight, concerned overwhelmingly with immediate pleasures and prone to alternate from unthinking rebelliousness to apathy. Ironically attitude of working class elite toward masses resembled tose of anti Dem-Bourg. observers.

leaders of French Anarchosyndicalists were unapologetic elitists who expressed contempt for average French worker.

Key event for classic age exaggerated elite-mass tensions, violence in Russia inspired anti-positivist mood and emphasis on action and revolutionary will.
Revived Narodnik movement to paralell Marxist RSDRP and also Liberal constitutional Dems or “Kadets” all calling for change in society and state.

Bloody Sunday”- senseless massacre by inept Tsar and government of Nicholas II on woment and children crowd of 200,000 march to Winter palace singing patriotic songs, headed by orthodox priest. Security panicked fired wildly into the crowd. Created waves of strikes/ riots, unrest in countryside, opposition united with cause soon fell to bickering and a period following was gloomy and despaired.

KAUTSKY who was more easygoing, genial, more supportive attitude to party leaders, more tempered by caution- feared widespread strikes would elude control of party leading to planless violence and possible repression.was prominent in these times following the Russians movement and was close to Plekhanov and Rosa Luxembourg who by late 1890’s was emerging as most articulate and fiery revolutionary perspective in SPD.

rosa luxembourg image

of Polish/ Jewish backround, emigrated to Germany retained leading position among Marxists in Poland. Thrived on conflict and confrontation. Intellectual, energetic, Prodded timid leaders of SPD along. (which didnt contribute to her popularity in party circles) even in Parties left she had many enemies, was difficult and abrasive (like Marx)
Luxembourg didnt fear spontaneous mass action, believed any errors masses might make expressing their resentments would be considered unavoidable aspect of their education of their growing class consciousness, of practical experience needed to make a successful revolution (a sort of innocence of the masses) Emphasized above all need for action by working class. (not like tendency of Bebel & Kautsky emphasized defensive, need for control, to endlessly postpone confrontation.)

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By 1905 revolution had established himself as man of stubborn tenacity, factional ruthlessness, unswerving dedication to cause of revolution. 1902 published pamphlet “what is to be done” which was accepted by RSDRP as pwerful statement in current controversy within the party. (Revolutionary consciousness can only be brought to workers from outside their immediate class experience by elite (professional revolutionaries, proper leaders) on contrary “ Economists” believed workers consciousness was firmly rooted in their economic and social experience and intellectual activists shoulnt push their beyond their immediate experience. the factories and workshops prepared them to understand.

Lenin stressed in hard hitting language need for elite professional revolutionaries, organized along clandestine and hightly centralized lines “general staff of the revolution” that could deal with dual problem of backwardness of working class consciousness in Russia and Tsarist despotism. Without this leadership Russian workers would have no more than Trade Union consciousness. they would percieve no more than the most immediate causes of their discomforts and would tend to content themselves with piecemeal reforms and indefinite perpetuation of plitical economic and social status quo.

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BOLSHEVIKS (1903) Bolshevik=majoritarian
Thru series of factional maneuvers Lenin and followers emerged as Bolsheviks (RSDRP had concluded that Lenin had taken their ideas too far so Lenin made his own party) Though Lenin was often the minority in the RSDRP his opponents within party Economists and Politiki were the minoritarians though they were the majority ironically.
Lenins model was efficient, smooth running beaurocratic machine of the SPD but intensified in its elitist and clandestine aspects because of peculiar Russian situation. Though he hungered for revoltion where the SPD did not.
This notion of “control” was sharpening the proletariats resentment. to direct it to plitical action. (whereas with Bebel and Kautsky it was preventing premature or intemperate action). Though Lenin was condescending he was never contemptuous.
Lenin wrote “the road to power” (1908)

KAUTSKY now seeming to reflect “leninist” character, abandoning his tactical flexibility in regard to other parties in parliament, often spoke as if he rejected possibility of any cooperation at all with Lib-Bourg parties. denigrated liberal-bourgeoisie.
Thought Russian peasants were potentially important revolutionary forcce, not necessarily the reactionary brutes or unreliable allies that many Marxists believed them to be. Stressed that without added push from peasantry, under general leadership of proletariat (and Marxist party) Russias weak Bourg. would duplicate, possibler ineven more cowardly fashion, the failure of the German Bourg. to overwhelm and eraqdicate old order. reaching instead to compromise with Tsarism. (spoke not of a proletariat revolution in Russia but of a Bourg. revolution driven forward by proletariat and peasant ) He believed Russia represented early stage of development with social revoltion in the future.
This was radical stage in Kautsky, he maintained “centristic” position in party between overly cautious parliament and heated enthusiasts of R. Luxembourg, he and Rosa began to differ.

Tensions appearing in SZPD with Mannheim Agreement and 1907 elections. Beaurocrats and Parliamentarians pulling party rightward, Rosa infuriated at parties impotence was reflected in many other parties of the International.

Imperialism, Nationalism, native uprisings in the Germany’s african colonies.

FRANCE 1905- Jaures assumes leadership of SFIO rather than Guesde or representative of Rev. left. Regarded as most attractive, beloved of prewar socialist leaders. Tried to bridge gap between reformists and revolutionaries in France, struggled against growing threat of war.

GERMANY 1912- SPD gained a million new voters, preceding war a unification with Bourg. left was attractive SPD had greatest number of voters in Germany, now became largest in Reichstag (over the Center Party)
Tensions because Moderates hoped that Lib-Bourg. would accept Soc.-Dems as necessary allies against reactionaries Rosa Luxembourg-found class interests and class identity of Bourg. could never be reconciled with those of proletariat.


1914 – Juares assassinated by nationalist fanatic. symbolized death of styles of prewar internation socialism. socialists now forced to deal with patriotism vs internationalism, reformism vs revolution, party unity vs doctrinal consistency.

Bolsheviks became leaders of renovated world socialism- a.k.a. “communism”
Revolutionary expectations one by one disappointed leaving divided and disillusioned social movement and Proletarian dictatorship in Russia with huge dilemmas.


Extreme left and anarchists respond with anti war revolutionary general strike. Centrals (Kautsky/ Guesde) more fatalistic, thought socialists had no power to stop war. thought war would result in social revoltion would come at end of war when major powers were exhausted. Right wing were patriotic and pro war. And all socialists found that the masses were not won over to socialistic internationalism.

Most were anti-war, humanitarian, pacifism and dread of massive bloodshed overwhelmed pure Marxian logic. Though they argued of inevitablility of war under capitalism. Doubted an aggressor could reliably be identified, also doubted that once identified adequate sanctions by socialism could be imposed. (this was especially troubling for center faction of German soc.-dems. theyu knew that though they had little influence over the foreign plicy deliberations of the German government that the huge SPD could not refuse to defend Germany. And that Germany with its advanced industy risked being overrun by Europes most backward and barbaric major power, Russia. And a general strike by SPD would really open Germany up to invasion.

Resolution that parties should strive to prevent war, but if war broke out, parties were obliged to make every effort to end it. including taking advantage of “the economic and political crises created by the war to arouse the population and hasten the overthrow of capitalist rule”.

1914- Antiwar demonstrations by SPD and SFIO. warnings to ruling class of possibility of revolution action if war breaks out. (though leaders saw it was clear this was not possible)
-when war came these same socialist leaders rallied with patriotic frenzy because to call for a general strike would have been suicidal and quixotic.
-Many recent resolutions were ignored. socialist leaders who pre-war had been strong internationalist Marxists, and admirers of SPD now wrote and gave fervent nationalistic, anti-german, even racist speeches and articles.
-Members of SFIO joined bourgeoisie leaders into cabinet of National defense-”sacred union of Frenchmen” where class conflict was put aside.
-SPD leaders joined in the war effort.
-Major powers looked to quick and dramatic victory.

1915- first organized socialist antiwar movement in Switzerland by Italian Socialists (PSI) in conjunction with Swiss socialists and of other neutral countries.


Hadnt been invaded in 1914 and experienced less fears and passions that overwhelmed Germans and French did.
Italty entered the war 10 months later abandoning former axis allies with grossly opportunistic reason obviously the work of small clique of politicians and demagogues the bulk of Italians remained uninvolved. Previous imperialistic campaign of 1911 by Prime Minister Giolitti into Libya had launched PSI into turmoil which resulted in expulsion of parties right wing which had approved Libya campaign. Party then swung to the Left led by young Benito Mussolini. In 1914 Italy was on verge of civil war, culminating in famous “Red Week”
all this led to brave opposition to war in Italy by all not just PSI and Socialists, Military took over strike PSI backed down to neutral position.

LENIN – Full of uncompromising certainty in these times of much fear and wavering from previous convictions. called everyone “pseudo revolutionaries” “social pacifists” made much distinction between “soft” and “hard” in movement. He wanted hards, reliable revolutionaries unafraid of violence.
Insisted there were no aggressors and defenders, no capitalist country in the right while others were in wrong. Only one fundamental cause for war-the imperialistic strivings of all European governments. thus no one socialist party had any more right to national defense than any other. the only Marxist response to imperialist war was call for revolution. Proclaimed that imperialism was also cause of patriotism among socialists. the profits that imperialistic capitalism reaped permitted it to buy off a section of the proletariat which he termed the “workers aristocracy”. Higher profits made for higher salaries which caused it to gradually lose its proletarian identity and to live life of relative affluence. composed of skilled workers and beaurocrats, it lost all desire for revolution. Even more it did its best to dampen spirits of rebellious exploited strata below. and to cooperate with bourgeoisie authorities by whipping up nationalist passions in working class.

– High profits by exploitation allowed capitalists to feel secure in rulership to fashion more tools of manipulation. Freedom of press (even socialistic press) right to strike, social welfare legislation- all were found useful by more prescient elements of ruling class as ways of pacifying the masses. “workers aristocracy”
Lenin’s use of previous Marxist orthodoxy was more far reaching, less flexible. other socialists Hobsen, Hilferding, and Luxembourg had also blamed imperialism for unexpected longetivity of capitalism and for nationilistic tensions but very few were willing to back Lenin after 1914.
“Turn the imperialist war into a civil war” he favored work stoppages, strikes, antiwar demonstrations and mutiny and revolutionary insurrections.

RUSSIAN MASSES – more easily manipulatable, prone to self destructive passions in coutry of widespread illiteracy, weak or non existent working class traditions and institutions, where desperate violent revolts had been common for centuries, ardent internationalism and revolutionary defeatism had wider appeal where masses had little identificaation with political institutions.

Bolshevik graphic

1917 –BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA, SPD split into opposing parties, mutinies on the French front. major working class insurrection in Italy, U.S entered the war.

SPD divided into patriots and anti war dissidents.
USPD formed -(New Independent socialist democratic party) of anti war which also contained various groups with seperate identities.
SPARTACISTS-Led by R.Luxembourg, formed kernel of what would be later German communist party. War brought her and Lenin closer, shared deep outrage of Patriotic sdocialism and belief in revolution to end war. she spent much of war in jail.


Collapse of Tsarist state in 1917. Old and no longer historically relevant “feudalism” cast aside, replaced by legal and political forms most conducive to capitalism. Free labor, individual rights, representative institutions, wage system, new stage of industrial growth would create proletariat, creating foundation for socialism.
Lenin, Kautsky, and Marxists thought because of Russias historically weak urban development and dependency on foreign capital investment the native bourgeoisie could not duplicate accomplishments of assertive, self confident, historically rooted bourgeoisie of France and England. could not be depended on for full bourgeoisie rrevolution and would likely sell out to Tsarist reaction, leaving task of building new state incomplete.
Lenin wanted Proletariat to unite with peasantry for a “revolutionary democratic dictatorship”. Lenin thought that it was possible for Russia to make a rapid move from Bourgeoisie to proletarian stages because of experience of previous revolution in 1905 there would be faster progress with less errors and increase3d hunger for socialism and war had caused enormous acceleration of historical trends, creating highly volatile situation and turning great numbers of Russia to revoltuionaries.

Nicolas’ failing government and mad monk advisor Rasputin who was assasinated by court nobles to save tsarism.
Working class of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) brought down tsarist regime, food riots led to general insurrection, complemented by mutinies in army led to Soviet of Workers and soldiers deputies.
Lenin was disappointed how soviet organization freely relinquished accoutrements of official power to the provisional government, a cabinet sized group representing a coalition of parties from the old Duma. Largely Bourgeoisie in composition hardly representative of revolutionary masses.
Lenin had expected them to push unyieldingly for Democratic-Radical state, instead they tolerated and supported procrastinations and empty promises of Bourgeoisie ministers of provisional government.
Wanted to destroy all remnants of Tsarism and begin preparations for proletarian dictatorship.

leon trotsky image

Theory of ‘permanant revolution”-argued that Russian proletariat after making Bpourgeoisie revolution for the Russian bourgeoisie could not be expected to rellinquish power. rather the proletariat led revoltion would blend yet into a second and proletarian socialist revolution. Trotsky joined Bolshevik party in 1917 (he had originally opposed them) saying that a party like Lenins was bound to lose contact with the masses and to assume power over them. in a dictatorship which would ultimately oppose Marxism. In turmoil of revolutionary Trotsky felt that Leninist party was essential.

LENIN – Expected provisional government to lose its credibility before the soviet masses who would then look to the Bolsheviks for leadership.
Uprisings followed and Bolsheviks were blamed, Lenin went into hiding, accused of being payed by Germans. Open warfare between Bolsheviks and provisional government/ soviet masses. Lenbin wanted to violently seize power, moderates in the party wanted coalition of socialists-menshevik, social revolutionaries and Bolsheviks-working through the soviets.
they thought that Bolsheviks woulnt last without aid of proletariat revolutionaries in the west. would be weak and isolated vulnerable to external and internal enemies.

TROTSKY – Urged gaining backing of soviets at second congress, thought masses would not understand coup d’etat (violent seizure) and thus Military-revolutionary comittee represented soviet masses. helped seize power from provisional government in November 1917.

BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION but also a Soviet revolution-Bolsheviks lifted to power by wave of popular indignation and resentment. Like a goldrush, peasants seizing land, soldiers deserting, workers took control in factories, nationalist minorities set up autonomous nations.
New regime began not by establishing order but by recognizing a decentralized disorder.
Revolution began as something very close to anarchist revolution (Lenins’s land program was almost exactly that of Social revolutionaries)
Council moved quickly to pull Russia out of the war, which allies opposed, also Left wing of Bolsheviks opposed who ruged “revolutionary war” against Germans that would inspire revolution of West to aid Russia.

1918-Assasination attempt wounded Lenin, organized Red Terror. directed by secret police against internal opponents of regime.

1919- anti Bolshevik white armies, Trotsky created Red Army to protect Bolsheviks.

1920- Red Army, Red Terror silenced/ destroyed major threats.


Russias industrial advancement inadequate to support socialism. Disruption of economy blockades by Allies, struggle with white armies. Communistic life in cities had led people to head for country to find food and fuel. With land seizure was less socialism than small scale private enterprise.
Bolsheviks posing as party of Proletariat, held onto power in defiance of traditional marxist assumptions. Survival of party and its revolution was suprising, miraculous even.


Tense time, anti-socialist feelings in the West, Lenins Bolsheviks getting press as terrorists/bombardiers embarrassing revolutionaries.

1918- German Reich beginning to collapse, similar to Russias fall of Tsar. Signs of revolution. Friedrick Ebert leader of SPD appointed temporary leader until elections. Was haunted by fear of violent revolutionaries overthrowing Germany with strong industry. Probably the most fit for socialism but because of economy, standard of living due to war, time was not ripe for revolution.
thought socialistic government could not rebuild war torn country, engineers, scientists itc. woulnt work with socialistic government.

(Differences between poor Russia and strong Germany led many to believe revolution would not work the same for Germany as Russia)

1919 – Murders of R. Luxembourg, Karl Liebknecht, and many revolutionary leaders in Spartacist uprising. Meanwhile Lenin, Trotsky and almost all other Bolsheviks escaped harm in july uprising seems no accident. (Bolsheviks more disciplined and clear sighted) Lenin/Trotsky more impressive strategists and tactitioners of revolution.)
German Social-Democrats by end of war very bitter, distrusting of party centralization because of split of SPD, USPD and KPD.

LENIN – Convinced that new parties of revolutionaries under Bolshevik leadership must be created. Started Comintern (First congress of communist International)

R.LUXEMBOURG – shortly before her death sent instructions to KPD delegate to oppose immediate creation of new international, she feared a hurried meeting would be overwhelmingly Bolshevik and would be unhealthy for international socialism and the progress of world revolution.

Leninists reaching out for appeal to Soviets, and to Anarchists/ courageous if immature revolutionaries, far preferable to cowardly social-democrats. found favor in the

ANARCHOSYNDACALISTS – ”Sovietists” who believed in central role of workers councils) and ‘Revolutionary Marxists.

Disciplined party, parliamentary agitation, trade union infiltration-calls for exclusions splits in other parties. Appealing for young with new jobs.

1920-21-many new communist parties created from “schisms” and breaks from other parties, working class workers tired and wary of new revolutionary adventures, less revolutionary zeal. time for reorganization.

March 21-Kronstandt garrison revolts vs. Bolsheviks Trotskys red army crushes them, were former admirers and backup for revolution.

Watershed time: Greatest period of revolutionary upheaval since 1848 had passed. In Russia, proletarian revolutionaries held power in contradiction to Marxist theory. Proletariat had failed to take power or even show interest in exercising it. thus new world communist movemnet was based on paradoxes.


1919-21 “Red Years” of communist conversion


1914 – was turning point, many workers and then leaders abandoned any pretense for internationalism and embraced German victory. Transforming position of Social-democracy in the Reich and relationship of German working class to German society. WW1 Brought big economic and political pressure (totalitarian war which required mobilization of a countries total resources couldn’t permit luxury of elitist class society)
to wage effective war mass participation was needed. SPD helped this and trade unions.

SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS – lead rallies to whip up war passions, facilitating movement of labor, justifying government war aims, also controlled strikes and stamping out left wing dissidence.
Acted out of patriotism but also expected compensation, to obtain promises of constitutional reform, when war ended. to gain popular support (wanted political rights and Liberal-Democratic institutions of English, American and French) many were more committed to a liberal constitutionalism than to socialization of means of production (although they thought one couln’t occur without the other)

1918 – Old authoritarian near collapse, large industrialists looked to organized labor and “paid price” to avoid social revolution. new framework of Industrial relations under capitalism. New relationships meant that social-democrats had broken out of pre-war isolation and become to certain extent part of new republic establishment through compromise. More than a reversion to Ministerialism (which too looked to a coalition of L and R) it was a coalition with the Right. Brings question of class collaboration: is it evil or enexorably destined to failure?.

New formal communist party KPD rejected any cooperation with SPD. (SPD determined not to be like Kerensky unable to choose sides and then be overwhelmed by a ruthless revolutionary minority) also entertaining a compromise with the military turning to junker generals for protection in case they attempted to form a government.


Likeliehood of allied blockade and intervention, hostility of countryside and urban petty bourgeoisie, refusal of bourgeoisie experts to cooperate in projects of social transformation. disunity of working class. Realized also a good portion of their support by voters was because of their moderate image, and more because of their stand against Bolshevism both in Germany and Russia.

1919 – SPD took over chancellorship with coalition of Democratic party and center party in agreement to repress revolutionary ledt in name of constitutional democracy.

1920 – outrage over Versailles treaty and new problems of state convinced reactionary plotters to mutiny and march into Berlin under leadership of

wolfgang kapp image

WOLFGANG KAPP – relatively unknown R.Wing activist, many generals who had devoted themselves to crushing revolutionary left decided not to aid republic and sided with Kapp.

SPD then called organized working class in one of most succesful General strikes and in 4 days brought Kapp conspirators down.

KARL LEGIEN – Leader of socia-democrats trade unions proposed labor government formed composed of SPD, USPD and representatives of catholic and social-democratic trade unions.
USPD refused (which would split in 1920 to join communists) new Weimar coalition of SPD Dem. party and center party formed which failed to take advantage of strike to introduce new reforms.
Elections in 1920 reflected deep disappointment by German workers and other Weimar coalition partners nearly half of SPD’s former voters left in fovor of USPD and Dem. party lost nearly 1/2 to parties of Right. (Voters polarized sharply left and Right and Weimar coalition no longer had majority in Reichstag)

SPD decided to “tolerate” new coalition but also refuse to join it. Socialists viewed this as a cowardly repercussion of participating in Bourgeoisie parliamentary politics.
SPD believed their many compromises with non socialists was reason for their decline. After “toleration “ a broad 4 party coalition formed.

BROAD WEIMAR COALITION – in 1921, center, dem, and peoples (big business) parties united, began gaining confidence of majority.

EBERT- elevated to presidency of Republic. he sought to strike a pose above party politics. Enforced general sense of Democratic-social power and responsibility.

1923 – hopes dashed by French invasion of Ruhr and subsequent disruptions in economy, state and society huge inflation. Grave situation benefitted parties of L and extreme R & SPD entered into full opposition of extreme R. Following years were of internal recovery and international reconciliation for Republic.

1928 – Weimar SPD republic in power again though didn’t have same pre war popularity. Death of Stresseman (General leader of Republic following Ebert) swung party to Right and led to disintegration of last weimar coalition in 1930.

Nazi movement had begun enormous expansion that would end in its triumph 3 years later.
Social-Democrats in direct opposition, tolerated minority coalition.

1932- Crowning irony, social-democrats support Von Hindenburg as only realistic alternative to Hitler

Von Hindenburg image

symbol of old regime, junker general WW! hero, considered lesser evil.
casused disillusionment in working class circles. and provided material for communist recruitment. Social-democrats had become defenders of Laissez-faire economics. Defended balanced budgets and gold standard. hesitated to advocate social services or public works if it entailed deficit spending. Above all they opposed any currency manipulation by government (as remedy for economic depression).

1931-32- Whether capitalism was still a viable solution was easily doubted but social-democrats and reformist socialists in most countries had little to offer as program to introduce socialism to transform capitalism in order to put machines of industry effectively back into production.


Socialism and labor movements in Great Britain very different from Germany or other continental countries.

-Marxism had failed to draw large following
-Dissatisfaction with Laissez-faire policies
-Still did not result in socialism or labor party with mass base while other countries were in classic age Britain was supporting conservative and Liberal parties.

1914-24- Revolution not realistic, working class was not split into contending communistic and democratic-socialist factions. Post war British-communistic party had only small majority.
Notion of seperate party of Labour (not necessarily a socialistic party but distinct from Leberal party came thru disillusionment with liberal commitment to deliver social legislation and refusal of liberal caucuses to accept trade-union delegates for parliamentary offices.


ILP-Independent Labour party (non marxist, formed 1893
SDF- Marxist
TUC- Trades Union Congress or TUC central body of organized labor.
FABIAN SOCIETY- unapologetic elitists who believed in full bodied socialistic society.

1906- Labour party elected 29 members to parliament during and especially after war party6 grew considerably from 1917-20 from 2.5 to 6.5 million. Party entertained complete independence from predicticting disintegration of European capitalism and introduction to democratic-socialistic control of Britains productive forces. Socialist platform composed by Fabian Socialists.

SIDNEY WEBB -”We need to beware of patchwork…what is to be reconstructed..is..society itself.

Totalitarian mobilization for war meant limitation of free enterprise and direct government managemnet of critical industry like railroads and coal mines. Workers conclusion that government intervention rather than leading to ruin could lead to better wages. less unemployment and broader measures of social welfare.

1922 – Labour was 2nd largest party, the official party of opposition.

1923 – Conservative party leader Stanley Baldwin suddenly decided to appeal to country to support a controversial protective tariff, labour increased its Representatives and gained majority.
This turn of events placed Loabour party leaders in Quandary, they desired governmental experience thouh it would not be exactly how they wanted it.

Ramsay Mcdonald elected head, well recieved by protesting L. Wing in spite of his upp-class appearance and tastes. he had look and bearing of a leader (important to interest of party in gaining public confidence.) was a good speaker and was particularly adroit in manipulating the parties factions to his advantage.
-he believed that his government should try to survive for as long as possible rather than lead a bold but short gobernment that would create propoganda for the necessity of socialism but then go down in a glorious defeat.
-his main accomplishments were in foreign affairs. reducing international tensions.

1924- conservative party defeats labour party

1926 -General strike, from workers as demonstration of working class solidarity and as a test of strength in industrial relations not as a move to overturn constituted authority.

English workers learned same lesson as French workers of 1920-unless a significant majority of democratic nation supports goals of a strike it has little chance of success.
Middle class opinion turned sharply against workers. Workers were stunned t o find so little support in what they perceived as a just cause against blind and selfish owners.
-conservative government was armed with emergency forces and middle class volunteers filled in where necessary. Strike fizzled and workers returned to longer hours and less pay, strangely tensions were very little.
Labour party growing labour once again dependent on support of Liberals

1929- Labour party takes power though once again parties role mostly limited to confines of non-socialist economic policies.

ironic note: both SPD and Labour party came back into power on eve of Europes greatest depressions and were obliged to shoulder the responsibility of capitalism in crisis. Labour party pushed into impossible dilemmas international decline of prices, labour refused to consider currency manipulation and so wage cuts and tax reductions were sought.

Labour refused to abandon free trade, and deficit spending was out since party believed in balanced budgets. trapped between demands of its supporters for socialistic legislation and the protection of wages on one hand and the objective needs of the British capitalist economy as part of a world economy in crisis on the other

1931- Labour party lost huge defeat, conservatives remained in power for the 30’s until WWII.


French communist party PCF created from the SFIO in 20’s began as largest working class party in France. and while SPD and Labour party entered into compromises of governmental participation. the post schism SFIO remained faithful to prewar patterns, refusing to participate in cabinet alliances with non socialist parties and asserting its continual belief in class conflict, proletariat revolution and socialization of means of production.

Thus while rejecting Leninism the SFIO din’t reject reformism. Made efforts to find a via media between the communist fundamental rejection of bourgeoisie institutions and SPD’s full involvement in them.

For example:
1921- SFIO having lost 3/4 of its membership to communists faced a bleak prospect, especially since converts were composed of large protion of SFIO’s youngest most ardent, most active members.
Moreover most of SFIO’s press including Juares’ “L’Humanite” was lost to communism as well as treasury monies, offices and archives.

-Main advantage was it retained most of parties more experienced leaders.,
-struggled through 20’s to rebuild, to recover from disaster at tours, involved re-attracting old members and attracting new ones.
were sensitive to accusations by communists that they had sold out, made efforts to prove they were the ones faithful to prewar tradition while communists had abandoned them.


Parliamentary Deputies
Usually members of reformist right wing, depended on voters who were not party members to elect them and tended to be conciliatory and undogmatic.

Party officials
were elected by card carrying activists, the “militants” for whom most ideological purity was important, generally more L.Wing and dogmatic.

Usually party officials had their way, first party congress after Tours was strongly anti reformist, not only condemned participation in non-socialist electoral coalitions and cabinets but even prohibited voting for budgets of bourgeoisie government. (reason was competition with communists and SFIO’s intransigent hostility to government)

thru 20’s- saw steady recovery, though in spite of efforts to appear more ideologically steadfast it din’t succeed in attracting unskilled industrial working class support. Instead support came from skilled workers and certain categories of white collar employees especially in state government and there above all among educators (industrial working class gravitated to communists and by late 20’s early 30’s SFIO and PCF came to have distractive socialistic foundations like in ‘Germany and other countries with democratic-socialistic and communistic parties.

1932- SFIO regained pre Tours membership of 120,000.

Followed Juares in leading SFIO. was intellectuals intellectual, a man of highly refined literary and artistic sensibilities from a wealthy Jewish family. “a revolutionary, in pearly grey gloves
had been personal friend of Juares and had similar interpretation of socialism. Most believed even his enemies that he had taken an active role in party out of socialist commitment and a sense of duty rather than personal ambition.
His wealthy bourgeoisie backround was turned in a way to his advantage as he was sacrificing secure status in respectable bourgeoisie society for the cause of socialism. In short he had an aura of personal integrity that was valuable in soothing party factionalism.

-also possessed remarkable intellect, subtle, penetratingm, thorough. Capable of making clear the most complicated and elusive issues., of finding his way to the essence of a question, had talent for reconciling the irreconcilable he resembled Juares in this way.

Blum viewed the podium not merely as a propoganda platform to denounce the capitalist world but also as a testing ground for socialists. the rulers of tomorrow.
-though he looked for revolutionary upheaval, he believed that for the unforeseeable future the SFIO should work out a constructive criticism of the present government. by doing so he reasoned the party was “serving and prleparing the revolution by demonstrating that socialist theory and action could inspire the most useful and just solutions for the present day”


PARTICIPATION- Blum could not participate by entering into a cabinet, when bourgeoisie parties dominated and when their representatives held the most important offices.
But a refusal to “participate” didn’t rule out electoral alliances and general parliamentary support.

CONQUEST- of power in which socialists would wield exclusive power and no longer honor bourgeoisie legality, must wait until economic and socialistic conditions were fully ripe.

EXERCISE-of power, in this eventuality socialists as dominant party of a coalition would take over the most important cabinet posts and over the most important cabinet posts and would give general direction to the government. However bourgeoisie legality would be respected and no attempt would be made to introduce socialism.

Blums distinction was worthy of Juares, it offered satisfactions to each of the parties factions and thus preserved unity while avoiding the sterile protest of the parties position.
also provided party with doctrinal underpinnings for its great moment in 1936 so government was less susceptible to charges of opportunism.

More forceful and articulate leaders of faction in SFIO. “Crown prince” of SFIO, struggled against Blums refusal to lead poarty into cabinet coalitions. Broke to form “NEO SOCIALISTS”
Began to flirt with fascist notions. spoke of need for new socialistic-dynamism and emphasize acts of will and aggression, recognized the need for authority nd the proper role of the nation state as rallying point for working class.
found echoes in Belgium by HENDRICK DE MAN-socialistic activist and university professor.
As young man was attracted to revolutionary Marxism but with Bolshevik revolution he like many others became disillusioned with dictatorial methods and discovered renewed commitment to personal freedoms guaranteed in western liberal democracies.
Thought parliamentary democracy of 20’s and 30’s were intolerably inefficient and all to often venal. Even workers parties were dominated by ambitious and self-seeking politicians more concerned with party intrigues. and advancement of their careers than with the workers cause. Though he never masked his distasted for the prevalent low maral and cultural condition of the working masses. he had a deep and persistant elitist tone. Sought to break out of stop gap deflationist remedies for economic difficulties of the great depression.
wrote with insight on workers concils mass democratic-nationalism and inadequacies of marxism in 20th Century.
wrote The Labour Plan as answer to dual problems of fascism and economic depression. believed great depression was biginning of end for capitalism.. looked to democratic government based on a “common front of all productive strata against the power of parasitic money”

-an alliance of working class and petty bourgeoisie around a program of socialism of banks and key industries that exercised a monopolistic control of the economy, as well as the takeover of the largest holdings of landed property.

1933-Belgian Labour party adopted this plan, De Mans ideas have oftewn been dismissed as Fascist in many ways his Loabor plan was prophetic, anticipating the Democratic Socialist management of economies that were still predominantly capitalist following WWII.

DEAT- Like De Man was ardent defender of appeasement, Deat became notorious Nazi sympathizer and lost all connection to socialistic cause.


Multinational Austria had Dual Monarchy, Social-democrats had to struggle with conflict between Marxist internationalism and Nationalist strivings of its citizens.

Dual Monarchy dissipated, Austrian social-democrats enter coalkition with non socialists at end of war but avoid errors of Ebert and SPD.
was reform of military, plice and court laws in general former elites deprived of the institutional foundations of their power under the monarchy.

mid 1920’s- social-democrats quit coalition build up formidable organization.


Social-Democratic world within the capitalist world in Vienna even more impressive than in Germany could conunt on 2/3 of vote. A viennese social-democracy coul substantially avoid contact with a world dominated by Bourgeoisie except in work place. Many workers lived in attractive apartments, built and operated by socialist-controlled municipalities could shop in socialist cooperative stores.
Listern to operatic performances at socialist subsidized opera house, play chess in socialist clubs.
Austrias social-democratic intricate network, the marvel of other European socialists, seemed to immunize Austrian workers against appeals of communism or fascism.

Power and prestige didnt extend far out of vienna, and a few other urban areas. in rural Austria much resentment and opposition.

CHRISTIAN SOCIAL PARTY- other principal party of Austri-Republic. drifted from post war cooperation to direct opposition.

Social-Democrats growing with every election, prediciting the proletariat takeover of Federal government.

would not anti-socialists resort to some kind of extra legal device to crush socialism if socialsim seemed to be growing inexorably? wasn’t this steady growht dangerous for socialists who adhered faithfully constitutional procedure. when their opponents very likely would not?

In austria the existence of two roughly equal parties contributed to a growing societal polarization, and inflexibility in parliament.

Tensions between social-democrats and christian socialists between countryside and city, between federal government and municipalities of Vienna.

bloody friday image
Aftermath of the Oxford Street bomb showing the body of one of the victims being shovelled into a bag.

BLOODY FRIDAY – working class demonstration got out of control and was fired on by police party called after for series of protest strikes

1933 – Nazi takeover in Germany, wave of Nazism rolled over Austria.
Christian Social leader Engelbert Dollfuss took over in a virtual dictatorship in desperate attempt to fight off social-democrats and Nazis. Wanted a “clerico-fascist” state to rule according to papal encyclicals.

Social-democrats saw no hope of preventing Hilerian domination unless some broad anti-Nazi coalition was formed. thus they chose to back Dollfuss as lesser of two evils. Dollfuss made som negotioations with Hitler while cleverly chipping away at social-democrats.


Grew in response to spread of capitalist industrialism very much influenced by the SPD. condemned revisionism and ministerialism.

Important differences:
Swedens ruling class didn’t introduce anti-socialistic legislators and social-democratic reps in Swedens parliament didn’t suffer the pariah status of German soc-dems of reichstag.

-General social divisions in Sweden less sever and urban workers were never so isolated from rural petty Bourgeoisie, or from peasantry as were urban orkers in Germany or Austria.


– was long established self confident nation
-had illustlrious history and anb unusually homogenous population who enjoyed uncrowded countryside and plentiful natural resources.
-Lower classes unusually well educated, literacy was widespread in working class before industrialization
-extreme nationalism and ethbnic insecurity that afflicted newer nations caused sweden less trouble.
-had long been removed from pressure of Europes poer struggles
-avoided involvement in imperialistic scramble of late 19th century and limitless destruction of WWI.

1911- Social-Dem leader Branting with party approval joined cabinet led by member of leberal party “participation” in power, cabinet formed to deal with knotty problems imposed by war going on around Sweden.

1920- social-dem party approved new party program stressing need for economic planning and proposed taxation as means for financing collective production.

Social-dems gaining political experience and public acceptance.

1928-had good fortune to be low in polls and out of power when great depression hit, and public dissatisfaction with way liberals and conservatives handled crisis permitted a comeback in 1932.

soc.-dems took bold new approach in proposing public expenditures to compensate for lack of investment in private sector without immediate or yearly balancing of the budget.
Government brought unemployment way down and paid off their debts incurred in initial stages of recovery. thus Swedish soc.-dems rode out turbulent 1930’s, avoided defeat at hands of conservatives or fascists and put countries economy in order.


THE RED YEARS 1919-21-Revolutionary optimism with civil war in Russia and repeated uprisings in the West.

1921-28- revolutionary pessimism when capitalism in West regained stability, soviet russia limped along with semi-socialistic, semi capitalist economy. and Western communist parties “purified” while trying to build up their cadres thru tctical cooperation with non-communist worjkers organizations.

1928-34-”Third Period” renewed revolutionary offensiver, russia worked on collectivising agriculture and rapid industy thru five-year plans and western communism launched into militant rejection of cooperation with non-communists

1934-39- “popular front” period, when struggle against fascism was paramount, and new and suprising forms of cooperation between communists and non-communists, anti-fascists were worked out.

in each period the internal politics and economic struggles of the soviet union conditioned the policies of the comintern far more than the internal needs of the individual non-russian parties.
as a result, some awesomely contradictory were to develop at times within Western communistic parties, situations in which factional and ideological issues with Many doctrinal issues which were assumed settled became twisted out of shape such as cooperation with social-dem parties and trade unions, participation in Bourgeoisie cabinets, colonialism and patriotism
issues were reinterpreted in ways that contradicted what had previously been accepted.

the definition of what a communist was became clouded in the late 20’s. the only unambiguous definition was…”someone who unquestioningly accepts directives from Moscow and who puts the good of the soviet union above all other considerations.”
in the end the Bolsheviks and then ultimately Stalin had their way, but not without appalling costs to non Russian communist movements.

Communism originated out of Bolshiviks response to a contradictory situation.

1924- after series of crippling strokes Lenin died.

Of particular importance among Lenins many talents was his success in winning the respect, fidelity and obedience of the leading cadres of his party. composed of ambitious, contentious and often jealous men.
was consitently able to cast a deciding vote and then consolidated his factional victory without humiliating or alienating those over whom he had triumphed.
he possessed a popular touch that endeared him to the apolitical and which helped him to assum a position in minds of masses as the benevolent tzar who cared for his people and understood their sufferings.
meanwhile Bolshiviks were weak internally and internationally.

loose coalition formed to oppose him, everyone feared him, he was most linked to Lenin as leader of 1917 Revolution his leadership of the military gave him direct access to a decisive source of power.

“Triumvirate” in main opposition to Trotsky: Zinoviev, Kamenev & Stalin.

stalin image

Stalin had low profile, he grew quietly in strength and largely unnoticed unti he was so well entrenched he was nearly impossible to dislodge.
Beaurocrat, a junior member who busied himsel with paperwork and the administrative drudgery others avoided.
In early 1920’s Stalin held a number of important posts, both in government and in party.

Commisaar of Nationalitiies-which gave him contact with and a substantial degree of control over roughly 50% of the population of Soviet Russia.

More importantly Head of Rabkrin-body charged with inspecting and overseeing all government agencies in order to ferret out corruption, inefficiency and excessive bureacratization. was able to make replacements throughout government with men loyal to him.

Member of Politburo-most important policy making executive body of party.

General Secretary- most important as he was given wide discretionary power, much of his later popular strength was related to influence that men appointed to him as party secretary.

LENIN – Was one of the first to be alarmed at potential power in many offices held by Stalin, but his health prevented him from taking action. He encouraged Trotsky to take up the offensive against him. Lenin wrote set of notes known as his “testament” in which he openly worried about Stalins accumulation of power.

Testament would not be seen until after his death and surfaced in rumours. contained criticism of many leaders in Bolsheviks and Trotsky as well perhaps this is why it was not used to remove Stalin early on.

TROTSKY – his reticent behaviour during this time remains puzzling on part of a man so decisive and courageous at other crucial times.

STALIN – appeared to most a paragon of modesty and self abnegation. whereas Trotsky was more ambitious and arrogant seeming rarely recognized his own error.

A series of speeches a war of words based on who was most Leninist occurred and Trotsky came out on losing side.

1925- Trotsky resigned military posts-destroying his one solid base of power. Zinoviev & Kamenev pressed for immediate expulsion but Stalin opposed saying Trotsky was too capable of a leader to lose. Stalin came across as reasonable, conciliatory admirable free of vindicativeness.
Once Trotsky had been successfully blocked from leadership, internal differences dissolved triumvirate Stalin moved Right towards Bukharin while Zinoviev and Damenev groped for new allies moving Left.

1925- Stalin stripped Zinoviev & Kamenev of their authority eliminating them as contenders.

1927- Dramatically dealt with TYrotsky and Testament in meeting of central committee. Had Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev expelled from party.

Trotsky then went into long “night of exile” murdered with a pickaxe by Stalinist agents in 1940. Zinoviev and Kanemev later readmitted to party after acknowledgment of their errors.


Late 1920’s comintern and parties within it stalinized-made obedient, uncritical, uncomplining executives of directives from Russia by Lenin and Trotsky, Zinoviev & Bukharin.
They had arranged for expulsion of Western dissidents who covered up embarrassing truths, who sw to it that W. Communists learned to recognize the ultimate good of communism was equivilent to the interests of the Soviet union.
All Stalin had to do was take over the comintern apparatus fashiouned by them , which was easy once he gained complete control over the state and party in Russia. this is how much Stalinism grew out of Leninism.

1929- Stalin lead Soviet Russia into its “2nd Revolution” of collectivization of agriculture and rapid industrialization


It is assumed that communism during this period would not plan for any seizure of power, rather they would cooperate with non-communist workers organizations and form a “united front” in the name of workers.
This would gain visibility for them and expose social-demoscrats as defenders of Bourgeoisie order.

Capitalism was in a fundamental crisis, so they could not permit meaningful advance in condition of working class. they would refuse demands for betterment of wages. Gradually workers would want revolution while Soc-Dems would try to water demands down to preserve existing system.

Various amibuities sapped the concept of meaning but also made party “flexible” in a way that suited the needs of the moment. United front criticized for “opportunism” and revolutionary passivism.

1922- members allowed much leeway, lack of discipline, extraordinary amount of confusion as to what party entailed basically begged for intervention of com-intern leaders.

GERMANY 1921- one of Moscows most significant efforts to intervene in a W. Communistic party. Soc-Dem gov’t instilled in Thuringia relying not on coalition with Bourgeoisie parties (like SPD) instead won support of communists who held balance of parliamentary power. (one of the few instances where soc.-dems cooperated with communists.)

1923- French occupied the Ruhr in retailiation for what they believed was Germanys bad faith effor to pay reparations. Gerlmany thrown into turmoil. Inflation sent many to poverty, workers lost confidence in trade unions, guerilla warfare erupted in occupied areas.
“Schlageter Line” created similar to united front entailing communistic efforts to exploit German Nationalism. Rallying the petty bourgeoisie to bannersd of revolutionary working class while splitting the ranks of the fiercly anti-communist extreme right. (not much of a success, nationalistic rith not split nor were petty bourg. attracted to communism.)

Communist plan for revolution building, pressureing KPD for seizure of power, quite different from Bolsheviks revolution.

gustav stresemen image

New Chancellor GUSTAV STRESEMANN unkowingly disrupted plans and put Germany back on its feet politically and economiclly by moving against extreme L and R, crushing Hitlers Beer Hall Putsch and outlawing the Nazi & Communist parties.

United Fronts “Rightist Leaning” strategies discredited and people associated with it, Brandler, Radek and Trotsky by implication. swings left in its policies though Soc-Dem and Communist cooperation not ruled out.

1924- Marked a turn in comintern policy. “Bolshevization” controlled strictly by party headquarters, effort to give more proletarian more pliant-character to leadership of W. Communistic parties.

Shock waves felt in more undisciplined France Hostility between R& L, Divisions

1923- Frossard realizes impossibility of reaching goals and leaves the party

TROTSKY – Devoted much attention in France had strong following in new communist party (mostly of anarchosyndicalists who later allied to cause of Communism)

by 1924- many of Trotsky’s French followers expelled due to comintern.

by 1927- Zinoviev’s final humilation and defeat in Russia of United opposition a new breed of Communist leaders came into power. “the sons of the proletariat’ far less intellectual but more disciplined, understood what leadership of Bolshevik Party in world communist movement meant.


Theory of “Socialism in one county” associated with Stalinism but was based on Bukharins writings.

Dilemma: what rate could Russia industrialize and modernize? Without Revolution in the West socialism in Russia was inconcievable.


had no colonies to exploit, no wealthy class to tax, nor could she count on a favorable balance of trade. remained economically isolated and backward, industrie3s devastated by revolution. needed agrarian production (which employed 80% of Russias production population) to finance her industrial growth.

in 1918-21 they had used “coercion” to obtain surplus capital and NEP (New Economic Policy) had been formed to introduce free trade in the countryside as a sort of emergency response to save economy from immediate collapse.

Bukharin feared evolution of Bolsheviks into an exploitive beaurocracy, especially with 1921 uprising and wide spread unrest in countryside. He saw parties isolation and vulnerability.

Left called for coercion or “plundering” of countryside in name of Marxist class warfare.

Bukharin called for firm and lasting nexus, alliance of city & country, Proletarian and peasant. Emphasized he was not a reformist or revisionist, still advoc ated violent revolution to seize power from capitalists. it was only after revolution he believed caution and conciliation was necessary.

Leftists thought Bukharins NEP would encourage rural capitalism and exploitation of poor. thought this contradicted party whos revolution was in name of oppressed, wanted dramatic “results” not slow workings of market and cooperation of city and country. Looked to massive and raped infusion of capital in industry. to essentially “exploit” and “expropriate” labor.

Trotsky suggested “militarization” of industrial sector, in order that production rise thru longer hours, stricter discipline and lower pay. He bemoaned “Democratic prejudices” that stood in the way.

Left-thought of expanding use of monopolistically influenced industrial prices.

Bukharin-Peasants would not accomodated themselves to prices, would refuse to trade or even to make added effort to grow crops beyond their immediate needs.

1924-28- Bukharin and Stalin doctrinally and factionally close, working together to defeat United Opposition. Bukharin more the theoretical defender of the NEP.
Harvests during this time good and industrial growht spectacular. However obvious social stratificaltion rapid, and the “Kulak” rural aggressive capitalist exploiter was prospering.

Bhkharin-hoped for socialization of middle and lower peasants. “collectivism”.

1926-27- rethingking slow process of NEP and considering intensifying industrialism and also growint threat of miliatry intervention from the West.

1927- War Scare and low market prices and low consumer good supply caused many farmers to withhold their crops until conditions bettered.


Caused panic and leading party figures put on “self taxation” obligating loans, requisitions, many peasants arrested and sentenced under law prohibiting concealment of grain. this weakened the NEP and nexus between country and city, peasants could stge work slowdowns, agricultural slowdowns that lead to city starvation. Confirmation of lefts assertion that party could not build socialism if it had to rely on the cooperation of a naturally anti-socialist class (rural peasants)

Confrontation set stage for “2nd revolution of collectivization” and 5 year plans which was Stalins answer to rural show of power.

Many of ideas that Bukharin had cautiously formulated at this time in reponse to L wing criticism were taken up by Stalin and gradually given an exaggerated form, thus giving Stalin ammunition to destroy them with. using Bukharins language.

Question: did Stalin’s extraordinary measures of collecting grtain provoke countryside? did he close down options and make restoration fo Nexus impossible?

STALIN – proclaimed need for “offensive against Kulak” creation of collectives in countryside, rapid planned development of heavy industry. Bukharin called this “Neo-Trotskyism” in horror.

large tensions now between Stalin and Bukharin.


Notion of collective farm could overcome the inefficiencies of smaller farms. Economics of scale could be introduced; large scale machinery, modern fertilizers, advanced technique could be used. Tightly knit organization made supervision and control of agricultural labour feasible, under watchful eye, peasants coulnt hoard grain, and could be subject to a factory like discipline.

Russia was not ready economically or psychologically most Russian peasants had no knowledge of machinery even if industry could produce them. and were people who lived by tradition and custom.
Peasants saw collectivism as a mad scheme by city revolutionaries and a form of war. they suffered still long hours, meagre food and wages.

late 1920’s-early 30’s- terrible years in city and country because of state. (not because of Capitalist like in England and Germany.) However Ruissia built up a Modern Industrial plant in a generation, entering ranks of world powers.

Following shocks of collectivism and reorganization of Industry between 28-34, even greater sufferings brought on mass purges of late 30’s, totalitarian warfare of 40’s and then another wave of purges. each time millions died, rarely has a people endured as much as Russians did between 1914 and the death of Stalin in 1953.

1936-1939 BLOOD PURGES

Universally condemned, so called blood purges because his disposal of party opponents previously had been beaurocratic rather than violent. In these years of pure nightmare his paranoia and lust for power led him to imprison, terrorize and execute to an unprecedented extent. Put majority of leading Bolshiviks to death, and 90% of higher echelons of army and almost all who had been in exile with Lenin.

Stalin became single dictator. secret police turned against many leading members of party and state. In late 30”s Russia ceased to be a dictatorship, party or state; all institutions took on an unreal quality. they became mere artifices thru which Stalin exercised an autocracy more powerful, absolute and terrifying than any other in the history of mankind.

early 30’s

sergei kirov image

Prominent among moderates leaders with independent postions of power. Intent not on replacing Stalin but by restoring “Leninist” party rule. (rule based on majority decisions and open discussion among party leading cadres. Also convinced harsh measures of collectivism and industry no longer necessary. Sought relaxation and liberalization.

1934 – Kirov assasinated, although Stalin led official mourning, it was believed he plotted murder thru secret police and used incident as pretext for mass arrests of those who resisted his exercise of absolute power.
Zinoviev, Kamenov and others arrested, tried and sent to prison.
Many show trials during these years, many based on highly implausible accusations, and most of accused confessed and trials followerd by immediate executions.

1938- Bukharins public confession and death. Stalin stamped out all internal threats.


Represented the greatest challenge ever to the hopes of victory for socialist ideals. Socialists and communists had to pay a terrible price to defeat fascists. Fascism is hard to pin down, less coherent than socialism, even anarchism.

Rose as a revolt against Bourgeoisie Liberal civilization and a yearning for pre-modern communities and verities. Like Socialism it appealed to publics anxiety over unfamiliar threatening modernism. Hitlers movement called National Socialism but where socialism accepted dual revolution and held enlightened values, favoring humanism and rationalism, the fascists were fundamentally anti-modern.

Fascists were willing to use tools of modernity but rejected enlightened values and embraced often in a crude fashion-notions like unreason, will, race, nation, aggression, destructiveness.

in 20’s while Europe in deep crisis, reeling from war and ensuing uprisi
ngs and civil wars, famines and epidemics, great depression people with hope for Liberal-Parliamentary institutions and an open society diminished.
Many were moved by Hitlers shrill denunciations of communistic socialism and Jews, the pwerful colorful propoganda and brutally simple propoganda techniques of fascists, the call to action, the taste for blood.


Dem-Soc. and Stalinism very weak in Italy. In post war years PSI, almost alone led by Mussolini tried to carry out resolutions of Socialist International. By 1914-15 he started speaking like allied patriotic socialists to horror of other party members, denounced as traitor and expelled.

mussolini image

Had never been much of a Marxist, his revolutionary enthusiasm owed more to instincts and teachings of anarchists, syndicalists and anti-positivist. Was a man of colossal vanity whose ambitions were little fettered by doctrinal or moral considerations. Attracted to the action, the dramatic, the violent and the glorious.
Was Gravely wounded in the Front, similar to patriotic socialists of France, England or Belgium who were willing to defend country but hadnt abandoned all precepts of prewar socialism.
His Nationalism was not linked with reformism or liberalism, he despised these tendencies like Lenin, had contempt for “softs” spoke in ascerbic, intransigent tones yet were capable of the greatest flexiblity in the pursuit of power.
He openly admired Bolsheviks success although he soon sawe advantage of an anti-Bolshevik stance in Italy. organized “Black Shirts”

black shirts mussolini


Composed of R. Wing university students, ex soldiers, dedicated to struggle against revolutionary socialism. Engaged in street brawls with communists and Socialists, attacked party offices, destroyed PSI and PCI printing presses, vandalism and terror campaign vs. “Bolsheviks” as they were collectivly labeled.

Attracted attention of large property owners and Industrialists (who stood to lose most in a social revolution) Property owners classes felt anxieties all thur Europe but especially in Italy due to growing unrest of working class and exalted rhetoric of leaders and because state seemed little interested to protect them.
Italian government under Giolitti ignored all threats and mobilizations for revolutionary strike which fizzled out with no government intervention. Exposing syndicalists as braggarts with no comprehension of realities of power.

1920- Revolutionary leaders painfully aware of lack of preparation for successful revolution.

1921- Contradiciton between rhetoric and action. Drove PSI to split into Communist and Socialist factions.

amadeo bordiga image

New communist leader. Believed proletariat revolution was rapidly approaching that vanguard party of communist professional revolutionaries had been created for the masses. Freed of influence of reformists and pseudo revolutionaries.

1923- removed from power replaced by ANTONIO GRAMSCI – Recognized as one of leading Marxist theoreticians of 20th century arrived too lated to stop Mussolini.

1922 had staged march on Rome and been given dictatorial powers for a year. “the growth of the party of revolution rallies the party of reaction.” Marx
gained popular support by glorifying state and enthusiastic nationalism. Restored order remarkeably, strikes ceased, fighting stopped, new calm, new efficiency new discipline prevailed. by late 20’s grew in power and popularity, nearly all opponents jailed , exiled or dead.

Mussolini’s regime was never as totalitarian, brutal as Hitlers or Stalins. Largely suppressed communism and socialism movements in Italy for a generation. In retrospect it is suprising how little the revolutionary socialists sensed the growing Fascist dnger and how prepared they were to fight them not only in Italy.
For example, 1923 Bulgaria- BKP (Bulgarian communist party) took neutral ground though they were very strong to R., Wing putsch supported by the police and officer caste against the peasant supported regime of Alexander Stambuliski. The BKP not only stood neutrally but applauded when Stambuliskis followers were executed but when new regime took over they proved much less tolerant of BKP than Stambuliski, belated efforts to stage a united front tactic in cooperation with stambuliskis forces failed and the powerful and promising communist movement in Bulgaria was thouroughly repressed.

During this time Russians/Moscow instructed W. Communists to maintain a pure unallied position instead of looking for a united working class vs. rising reactionary and Fascist danger. At this time Germany was looked at as the key western country in comintern calculations.

1928- Class against class policy- turnabout orders of Moscow to combat dem-socialism as the real enemy, while fascists treated as a subsidiary and transitory danger soc.dem leaders described as “social fascists” cominterns directive to reject all alliances in countries outside Russia. Not to mention United Fronts had seen a string of defeats (1923 Germany, 1926 Great Britain with general strike, and China in 1926.)

1928- In Germany United Front was not working as a way to infiltrate the Soc.-dems and winning over followers to communism. KPD, Reichstag growing, described growing Nazis as beginning of end, the rise to high fever before the death of capitalism.

Communism joined opportunistically with Nazi’s in demonstrations against Weimar Republic to employ nationalistic themes (vs. Bourg. democracy.)

hitler image


Not attributed solely to communists blindness and resulting divisions in working class. Points made regarding Mussolini were even more so for Hitler. Though divisions in working class made his work easier. It is highly doubtful that tyhe working class without the help of Germanys Bourgeoisie parties it would have been strong enough to prevent an eventual Nazi takeover. A fact of decisive importance is that popular support for Liberal Bourg. parties withered away in late 20’s early 30’s and rallied with startling force to the Nazi movement, the failure of the WEeimar Republic was a failure for the social-democrats.

the Depression was the last straw for those who had never enthusiastically supported the representative members of lower middle class who had felt aggrieved about the new power and status of organized labor during and after the war. who had seen their savings slip away to inflation of 1923 who enjoyed only a brief period of stability from 24-28 now abandoned Liberalism, whether economic, political, or cultural. For these disillusioned and resentful masses, Hitler offered irresistable attractions.

* It is difficult to deny National Socialisms dynamism, the genius of its leaders in new techniques of mass propoganda, its skill in organizing the previously unorganized and focusing the rage and frustration of millions of German citizens.

Junker generals and large capitalists in Germany were attracted to Hitlers ability to attract large numbers of ardent followers, they were not able to manipulate the Nazi’s but their support significantly contributed to Hitlers victory at a crucial time. The ease with which Nazism once it gained power to destroy organized labor was suprising whenther social-democratic, communist, or christian. Nazism remained primarily a petty bourgeoisie movement.

Several factors account for communistic docility. Nazi’s took over after an extended crisis and long after parliamentary democracy had ceased to function. hitler was only the last in a series of dictatorial, anti labor chancellors. Workers took a wait and see attitude, assuming Nazi’s would demonstrate their ineptness and inability to rule.
In moving against organized labor. Nazi’s showed considerable tactical skill. they preserved the illusion that some degree of legality and constitutional rule would be preserved. At same time they played upon divisions of German anti fascists making it easier to destroy them one by one. When Hitler appointed chancellorm, communists proposed to social-democrats and Free trade unions that a general strike be called, offer was refused (this was perhaps last chance of communism and social-democrats of making a credible showing.)

1933 – Reichstag burned to the ground. nazi’s describe fire as communist firsts step in a planned uprising, moved ruthlessly and effectively vs KPD arresting its leaders and taking over party offices and Newspapers. Soon after all trade unions dissolved and similar measures carried out vs SPD withing a few months, Nazis had gone further in terms of totalitarian domination than the Italian Fascists in many years. Socialists and communists in Germany suffered a huge defeat. especially considering KPD and SPD were the leading Democratic-Socialist and communist parties of W. Europe.


From early 33-36 vast changes occured, New alliances, diplomatically, politically and socially-Nazi’s out to dominate Europe. Soviet Russia emerged from 5 years of isolation and desperated struggle, proclaiming victory for collectivization of agriculture and rapid industrialization.

FRANCE- demonstrations against republic threatened Fascist takeover.

AUSTRIA- Dollfuss brutally repressed labor movement.

These movements encouraged unprecedently large alliance of the L.eft, known as popular front. Most important in France.

after 1933 was most important remaining continental democracty and if Fascists had power there, little hope for labor movement could have remained. Communist or Socialist or indeed for European Liberal Democracy.

1934- Coalition of R. Wing and Fascist anti-Republicans organizations launched protest demonstration ending up in 17 dead and 2000 injured, believed that was a conspiracy of French Fascists narrowly missing.

1935- Huge Anti-Fascist rally of radicals, socialists and communists. Soviets join league of Nations. Comintern now encouraged cooperation with dem-socialists, praised remaining liberal democratic patriotism in non fascist states. Across board those aspects of communist ideology that had most alienated non-communist ideology were drastically deemphasized, when a W. reporter asked Stalin about communist commitment to world revolution he replied that the whole idea was a “tragi-comic misunderstanding.”

to establish the broadest possible anti-fascist coalition. Which meant new unity of working class, but even more effort by communists to conciliate and rally the petty bourg. (the class most susceptible to appeals of Fascism.)

BLUM – announced he would head new party. he had carefully prepared his party to accept this eventuality, was ready to “exercise” power without attacking basic bourg. institutions in name of ridding France of Fascism.

Workers launch tremendous strike- seemed as if workers were spontaneously assuming control. French industry halted. strikes without a particular intention termed as “festival of the oppressed” a celebration in the Paris commune.

Blum demanded program of most thorough economic reforms in France Industry. Finally strikes ended.

Hitler took largest and most succesful gamble. Remilitarizing Rhineland, went against advice from Germanys military leaders and in violation of Germany’s treaty obligations. Secured from any advance from France, opened up whole range of military options for Eastward expansion.


franco image

July 1936- GENERALISSIMO FRANCISCO FRANCO raised banners of revolt vs. Spains popular front. Situation in Spain threatened to develop like Balkan crisis of 1914.

Mussolini and Hitler began to aid dictator Franco. France was Hesitant to oppose Franco and support Front because the social revolution developing under auspice of Spanish popular Front was dcisturbing for conservatives because of Spanish anarchistic atrocities, catholics appalled by dynamiting of ancient cathedrals, raping of nuns.

French Blum and British decided not to intervene in Spain. Nazis and Mussolini’s Italy took advantage of this to provide experience for German officers & to test new weapons. France was generally too divided to permit leaders to take effective action at this point. Internal divisions. “attentisme” a postponement of decisions because they threatened civil war within France itself.

1937- Blum lost initial excitement and elan of 1936 brought economic desappointments and divisions brought to light by Spanish civil war.


Defeat of armies of Spanish Republic in 1939 and signing of Nazi-Soviet pact marked cruel end to popular front era. These two events brought into question many of fundamental beliefs and committments of socialists and communists. These years of Fascist triumph were gloomiest and hardest for socialists ever.

spanish civil war image

Any civil conflict is chaotic, but repeated uprisings, pronunciamientos and strikes, cabinet crises and bitter factionalism characterized this. the Socialist factions alone- CNT, FAI, UGT, PSUC, POUM, all added to the confusion.
Certain areas of Spain experiencing a social revolution of major dimensions similar to Russia from 1917-20. Official Spanish Popular Front government was embarrassed by the social upheaval. Political authority dissapating. Propertied classes and elite often corrupt and inefficient. Country economically backward.
Barcelona however was economically advanced, otherwise peasant agriculturists prevailed. National minorities agitating for autonomy or independence. Generally a kind of indiginous anarchism prevailed, (like Bolsheviks) Spanish communism weak in beginning slowly to grow and exercise growing power resorting to a ruthlessness which exceeded Bolsheviks.

Major difference between the Bolsheviks of 1917 and Spanish communists in 36-39: Bolsheviks identified themselves with sponaneous revolution. Spanish communists did all they could to slow and reverse social revolution in name of preserving the Popular Front against Franco.
Social revolution threatened to alienate Petty Bourg. and Bourg. elements of Popular Front. This effective and anti-Fascist warfare and social revolution couldn’t go on at same time.

Communist thought only with greater discipline and centralization could war be effectively waged. and it was in guise of this effort to wage war that communists won support and increasing power. Support came by influx of foreign communist and so called International Brigades composed of L.Wing activists who volunteered to fight against Fascism in Spain. Prominent among were communists and Socialists whose countries had been overrun by Fascists known to fight with a desperated valor. Mostly from Italy and Germany, but also Britain, U.S. and other sacrificed their lives in great numbers.
Also mixed in to anti-Fascist battles were communists vs. Non Stalinist Marxists of (POUM) party of Marxist unification often termed “Trotskyist” but having no formal connection to Trotsky. Non Stalinists in Spain were treated much like dissident communists, subject to arrest in night, denial of due process, and summary executions and accused of wildly improbable acts of collaboration with Fascist enemy.

Disturbing contrast between communist selfless heroism and most abased treachory suggest a larger one in Spanish Revolution itself. George Orwell was Foreign volunteer – “Homage to Catalonia” came away with memories of warm and touchingly generous Spanish common people but couldn’t ignore that these same Spaniards seemed to lapse easily into gullibilities, suspicion, mendacity, and a stunning cruelty – attitudes which show suprinsing parallels with Russia.

Franco aided by Spanish officer caste, Italy and Germany slowly tightened grip acheiving final victory in early 1939. Anarchists and POUM spokesman declared communists a bad influence on common people. People believed that communists had sinister under motives, was not simply to defeat fascists. possibly to draw war out for as lng as possible to bring in France and Britain, signing of Nazi-Soviet Pact in 1939 convinced many of sinister motives. Deal between two rapacious totalitarian dictators to divide up lands of their neighbors.

STALIN – intitially wnet along with Western Anti-German orientation, possibly did things to avoid bloody Nazi-Communist showdown, also to provoke German vs West war and to pick up pieces afterwards. Generally believed he wanted to draw France and England into a general war with the West.
SPAIN- profoundly unstable Popular Front, whose members hated one another more than they hated Franco.

FRANCE – huge divisions uncovered by Spanish civil war.

Everyone afraid of Hitlers growing power, will he move East or West? Debate over which major power must take responsibility for failure to achieve an anti-German anglo-Franco-Russian alliance after Munich.
Concievably France England and Russia could have swallowed their suspicions for the moment to block Hitler, but for Poland and Russia to cooperate was far less concievable. Most Poles like most other Eastern Europeans preferred Hitler to Stalin. Even in France and England much of political Right felt same.

NAZI SOVIET TREATY – Turned Hitler West, allowed Russia to gain Polish territory, move Red Army West, and enjoy breathing space to prepare for Nazi attack if they won in the West. General belief that nothing could stop Hitler from going to war, however without this pact conditions for Russia and West in war would have been more favorable. Pact was a disaster for France, who was overrun immediately by Hitler.

Frances first reactions to pact were not entirely coherent or consistent. French communists were obliged to defend Soviet-Nazi cooperation viewed Germany as friendly power, viewed war as a revalry of imperialisms.

PCF – French “Foreign Party” overtly chosen interests of Soviet Russia over those of France.

hitler graphic

HITLER’S GERMANY – After failing to bring Britain to its knees thru bombardment and air warfare he turned on Russia in June 1941, at first seemed like they would win were slowly beat by 5 year plan and harsh winter aided Red Army.

War on Russia once again reversed relationship of communists inside and out of Russia to Western Democrats. Great Britain and Russia aligned communists in France began new resistance efforts. Now under cause of nationalism.

RUSSIA – WWII known as “Great Patriotic War” communists identified cause with mother Russia in centuries old German-Russian conflicts. New stage in the history of communism dominated by anti-German nationalism far more than by class conflict and the vision of proletarian-revolution.

1943 – dissolution of Comintern (until 1949) communist expansion in Europe and Asia (spectacularly)


In 35 years following WWII Soviet Russia emerged as a major power, no longer isolated and vulnerable but soon faced pwerful competitor in Peoples Republic of China.

1950’s – Stalinist control loosened and multiplicity of communist states and parties began to appear all over the world. New formations of anarchism to reformist socialism that accepted private property as means or production, market incentives and a meritocratic hierarchal society based on material incentives.

1970’s- major inflation and economic stagnation without remedy. Major problems with expansion of industry. conclusion that there were definite limits to expansion, mostly ecological and demographic.


It ws primarily Soviet Russia, not the U.S. that wiped out Fascism. Russia suffered huge casualties and destruction. Supervision of new territories was hard under guise of anti-fascist liberators. Most people Anti-Russian and anti-communist far more than areas of anti-American anti-capitalist. Czechoslovakia was pro-Russian.

COLD WAR – growing tension between U.S. and Soviet Union.

iron curtain image

1948 – IRON CURTAIN, nearly all Eastern Europe and Central Europe under Russian domination. Iron Curtain between Russian dominated and those looking for U.S. leadership. Russias/ Stalin would have took over W. Europe had not U.S. intervened.
Russia still vulnerable in face of U.S. aggression and willingness to use nuclear weapons. Insistencce by U.S. that popularly elected, W. Style democratic regimes be established of Russias Western borders, convi nced Kremlin of American policy makers hoped to undo Russias victories to extend American political pwer and economic influence in all of recently conquered territories.

U.S. Motivation- response to overriding concern to consolidate their countries control of world markets in order to find outlets for rapidly expanding productivity to avoid economic chaos of 30’s.

PARADOX FACING SOCIALISTS -”even more disturbing than possibility of serious deterioration in quality of life if growth comes to an end is awareness of a possible disastrous decline in conditions of existence if growth does not come to an end.

U.S. voters considered Stalin a murderor and oppressor, didn’t favor flexibility in dealing with him. large tensions between two superpowers, because of different historical experience, geopolitical situations, economic systems, and general cultures.

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TITOISM – Nightmarish Partisan victory years (similar to 36-39 Trotskyism) in Russia threatening communism. Was a communist regime in Yugoslavia not under russian control. Tito was leader most broadly popular since Lenin. Desired social revolution. Stalin failed to oust him and was stymied as far as military options because Tito had favorable land conditions and strong army.
Titoism was desire for Eastern European communist leaders to achieve greater independence.

1949-52- Show trials, massive arrests of anyone in East Bloc countries or previously involved in International Brigades of Spanish civil war. Purges by Stalin until his death.

1953- Stalins death.

Lavrenti Beria, feared head of secret police, reorganization of Stalins regime.

khrushchev image


Stalin’s Lieutenent Vieing for power deliviered 6 hour passionate speech “ on the cult of personality and its consequences” about breaking with former Stalinist policies, relating details of Stalins rise to pwer with accuracy and frankness previously unknown to party describing tortures and brainwashing to confessions to crimes never committed. Did not however rehabilitate Bolshevik dissidents like Trotsky, Zinoviev, or Bukharin, did not restart basic notion of world revolution. Broke with Stalinist theory by asserting war with imperialist powers was not inevitable and countries had right to explore alternate routes of socialism Implied truce with Tito and a gentler domination over communist lands.

1956- Uprising in Hungary, wanted free elections and Western style democratic institutions, Krushchev brutally put them down.

Krushchev had enemies by denouncing Stalin so harshly because he put into question the whole notion of “leading role” the infallibility of the Bolshevik Party which had been cultivated for so many years. He implied they were vulnerable and tragically wrong.

Hostility growing between Russia and Peoples Republic of China.

1964- Krushchev fall from power, leaders since hve been more sober and conservative, less of colorful if vulgar histrionics. Compared to Trotsky, Lenin, Bukharin many seem gray, aging, cautious, limited and uninspiring. Fear of radical change or passionate dissent.

POLAND – working class riots, led to major concessions and promises of reform.

CZECH – in 60’s stiff and centralized rule challenged by reformers, 1968 change in government came more open and tolerant communism, close to ideal of Rosa Luxembourg retaining socialization of means of production but for less centralized and authoritarian “Prague Spring” greeted with enormous enthusiasm all over world. Warsaw pact crashed in and put down his peaceful resistance reforms brought to end.

Liberation in East Bloc countries slowly.

HUNGARY (mid to late 70’s) paradoxically made most steady and permanent progress. Economy strong.

E. GERMANY – Became one of worlds major economical powers, material comfort.

1980 – Poland working class strikes rule becoming more repressive, corruption “Solidarity” trade union rallied working class and infiltrated and took over dominant party.

walesa image

LECH WALESA – emerged as national hero capturing admiration of world.

1981- communism declared martial law stifling solidarity faction, this was embarassing for communism who had always maintained control thru “leading role” underlined weakness of once monolithic communism. In Western countries, communism seen as backbone of anti-fascist resistance, and even more than in popular front era could assoicuiate cause with patriotism. Sought to broaden appeal by diluting barricades of revolutionism that characterized young communist movement and distance from Russian methods of rule.

late 60’s- not much revolutionary zeal, 80’s most broken with Russian communist party rule.

Prewar ruling elites, large industrialists criticized for cooperating with Nazis. Western communists found anglo-American military was vital to reconstruction of their countries and that they had power to repress any communist efforts for takeover.

PCF became “party of production” in goal of restoring France to prewar position of major power. any talk of revolution in France after war branded as “sectarianism”

ITALY 1945
Communist resistance took control of factories and meted out bloody justice to fascists. Italian communists entered coalition cabinet with non communists and took over important reforms like in France with capitalist structure remaining. Demoralized industrial nd financial leaders, got breathing break under all important American Supervision.
Cold war in 1947 put an end to this, afterwards western communists assumed more disruptive subversive stance.

1948 – Czech. was long western democratic and went to communist rule. Model of communist system based on opennes and respect for individual rights. How communism might work with a democratic tradition. This model also created crisis. “solidarity” also provoked sympathy to suppression.

1947-53 – most volatile cold war tension trend was for communists to be less revolutionary, abandon cult of personality. Destalinization, W. Communists found it very hard to think for themselves to apply new and unfamiliar standards in decision making. Russias critical attitude to U.S.

1980’s – Italy criticizing Russias rule, tensions but not as much as China vs. Russia.


created tensions with Russia and W.Europe promoting liberation and individualism and differentiation. also opened up cordial relations between China and U.S. – Nixon (former cold warrior) and fiercely anti-communist took steps to recognize mainland China.

60’s and 70’s- Soviets moved into Afghanistan, Soviety expansionism (fear of encirclement by U.S., W. Europe, China and Japan?)

80’s- limited notions of viloent class conflict, revolution, vague anarchism. Communist voter no longer attracted to concepts like proletarian-dictatorship, world revolution, or even socialization of means of production in any rapid or radical fashion.

Most advanced example of new face of communism. had long been known as lest Stalinist in W. Europe. attracted leaders of unusual imagination, flexibility, and intellectual ability. Antonio Gramsci, Palmiro Togliatti.

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– leader of party in 70’s, most respected politicians in Italy. Italian communists elected into many major offices, main opponents were Christian democrats.

1975 – peak in electoral support for Italian communists.

Eurocommunists” of 70’s included French and Spanish communists. underlined disparities in communist theory in countries without significant liberal-democratic tradition.

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SANTIAGO CARILLO – leader of Spanish communist party with long and unsavory Stalinist past.

ITALIAN COMMUNISM – more middle and upper middle class backround inclined to more sophisticated and intellectual approach.

FRENCH – Often working class in origen, retaining taste for dogmatism and heavy handed methods of 50’s “scratch an Italian communist and you find a liberal, scratch a French communist and you find a Stalinist.”


Never achieved monolithic organization and unity of purpose that characterized communist parties under Stalin.

after 45 – British labour party, Swedish social Democratic party and SPD assumed dominant electoral positions and gained considerable experience ruling their countries. Others like SFIO and PSI had more limited power and usually in coalition with other larger powers.
Most moved from position of doctrinaire socialism, tended to blame capitalism, private ownership of means of production and existence of social classes for most of diffuculties in human relations. Viewed achievement of good society as far more elusive and ambiguous than earlier socialists.

Democratic-socialists after war project image of moral earnestness, opennes and pragmatism predominantly middle aged and not known for boldness or originality. For many they seem no different than Liberal reformers.

declining support in all major parties of left (Radical social communism) althought communists declined slower and was strongest from 40’s to 70’s. SFIO dissolved and abandone3d name in 68, emerged as “the socialist party” by 78 regained position as Left Party with the largest following.

1981- Spectacular success for socialists. Mitterand won elections as president of the republic for 7 year term. He offered communism a chance to participate in new government. PCF asked to condemn Russias move into Afghanistan. New Government termed a “popular front” though Mitterand was in far better situation internationally and internally than Blum.

SPD out of power for 2 decades, ever since ill fated cabinet of hermann Muller in 1930. Social-Dems of E. Germany or DDR were absorbed into Socialist Unity power (which was controlled by communists.) thus Germanys remarkable postwar economic recovery as well as reentry as repected member of European political and diplomatic life were accomplished under Christian Democrats.

SPD 1959- adopted new program that put aside ealier theories of economic determinism and narrow identification with working class. Articulating a pluralist commitment to humanism, classical philosphy and Christian Ethics. A party of the people rather than of working class alone. moved away from Nationalism and extensive central planning, now accepted market incentives and private ownership of means of production. new slogan “as much competition as possible, as much planning as necessary.”

1966 – made coalition with Christian democrats.

1970 – non aggression pact with Russia, Chancellor Brandt exploring new cooperative and nonconfrontational relationships with Soviets, East Bloc and DDR. Brandt awarded nobel peace prize in 1971.

1969-79- Good years success with foreign policy and welfare capitalism less focus on previous goals of economic reorganization and social solidarity.

rather than being active in resistance or in exile during war, leaders had been part of a coalition cabinet since beginning of war. thus by 1940’s labourites oversaw a sort of Socialism in Great Britiain – in that everyone did their share in the war effort and that lower classes were rewarded for their vital effort. Labour ministers were repected. Government of Winston Churchill replaced by a Labour government. Socialized medicine, a takeover of the bank of England and Nationalization of many key Industries. Owners of industries compensated.

1960’s- 70’s – conservative and labour parties alternated.

1979- Margaret Thatcher conservatives attempted to reemphasize market incentives and private enterprise to get Britains stagnant economy moving. Huge unemployment hit, labour divided by factions.

Most enviable, became a very wealthy country. Social-Democratic rule but not a socialist society. but one of best run welfare states in world. private ownership, market economy, and self seeking individualism prevails.


Serious social and economic problems remain, many of most flagrant abuses associated with early industrialism. Quantity of wealth in Western societies has increased, though distribution has not changed. Power still exercised by narrow elites. Destructive competition, isolation, and a spectrum of hatreds – racial, religious, nationalist, ideological.

Socialist vision of human solidarity and psychic liberation appear distant. In past Socialist optimism based on belief in increased productivity of labour, thru industrial or technological advance was key to all problems of social relations. growth = happiness. Realistically growth threatens irreparable pollution, and population starvation eventually. New questions about progress and the workers role in it. no longer are workers uncomfortable.

On the contrary the worker is uniting with industrial owners to protect environment, urban sprawl, and unplanned growth.

herbert marcuse image

Modern marxist theorist. Proletariat no longer exists, social revolution will come by new groups: racial minorities, young people, and declasse intellectuals who stand outside the enticements of modern consumer society.

norman birnbaum image

industrial working class and its economic, social, political and especially in its cultural tastes can not be considered a force for progress. Looks to young people and intellectuals who are free of blinding obligations to established order, whose work allows them a degree of critical distance.

annus mirabilis 1968 (book of theories on advance of socialism)