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WWI and the struggle for an internationalist left

10:00am Thu 28 Mar

About this session

4 August 1914 was a decisive turning point for the socialist movement. The capitulation of the majority of parties of the Second International to pro-war chauvinism exposed a fundamental division between reformists and revolutionaries.

This talk will examine the developments in the socialist movement that explain the abandonment of an anti-war standpoint by the leadership of key parties such as the German Social Democratic Party. It will then focus on Lenin's role in attempting to develop a principled anti-war standpoint and lay the basis for a working class movement to end both the war and the capitalist system that breeds wars.

Recommended Reading

War on War: Lenin, the Zimmerwald Left, and the Origins of Communist Internationalismby R. Craig Nation
The World War I debates that forged the socialist approach to warby Mick Armstrong (forthcoming)in Marxist Left Review
Lenin and Trotsky on Pacifism and Defeatismby Brian Pearcein Labour Review
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