Saturday 11:45am

German reformism and the politics of Karl Kautsky

Theory
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At the turn of the 20th century Karl Kautsky was widely seen as the leading Marxist theoretician of the Second International. 14 years later the International was disgraced, having supported WWI and Kautsky was fast gaining a reputation as a renegade and a reformist. He argued against revolution and for the parliamentary road to socialism. In a scathing critique Lenin argued that Kautsky has become a “lackey of the bourgeoisie”. Today some on the left are attempting to revive Kautsky and use his reformism as a guide for our movements. This session will discuss the progression of Kautsky’s political views and the implications of his embrace of reformism in his time and in our own.

Readings

Lenin “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky”

Kautsky “The Dictatorship of the Proletariat”: https://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1918/dictprole/index.htm

Contemporary debates on Kautsky:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/01/karl-kautsky-german-revolution-democracy-socialism

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/03/karl-kautsky-socialist-strategy-german-revolution

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/04/karl-kautsky-democratic-socialism-elections-rupture

https://louisproyect.org/category/kautsky/

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