Rediscovering Lenin

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

Lenin Rediscovered is an important and powerful contribution to our understanding of Lenin’s Marxism. However, it is also flawed by an attempt to push too far the claim that Lenin was a consistent ‘Erfurtian’ or Second-International Marxist. The dynamics of a mass political party and social movement are very different from even the most representative theoretician. The reality of German Social Democracy was certainly more problematic than what Lenin was able to glean from the very best of Kautsky’s writings. This became apparent to Lenin in 1914, when he recognised that he had been building a very different kind of party from the actual SPD. It may be possible that the SPD and the RSDLP (Bolsheviks) were both ‘parties of a new type,’ but it is also clear that they were not parties of the same type. There was much that Lenin had in common with Kautsky and Bebel ‐ but he was doing something that was, in important ways, quite different.

Rediscovering Lenin

in Historical Materialism

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