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Author: Lars T. Lih
Lenin’s What is to Be Done? (1902) has long been seen as the founding document of a 'party of a new type'. For some, it provided a model of ‘vanguard party’ that was the essence of Bolshevism, for others it manifested Lenin’s élitist and manipulatory attitude towards the workers.
This substantial new commentary, based on contemporary Russian- and German-language sources, provides hitherto unavailable contextual information that undermines these views and shows how Lenin's argument rests squarely on an optimistic confidence in the workers' revolutionary inclinations and on his admiration of German Social Democracy in particular. Lenin's outlook cannot be understood, Lih claims here, outside the context of international Social Democracy, the disputes within Russian Social Democracy and the institutions of the revolutionary underground.
The new translation focuses attention on hard-to-translate key terms. This study raises new and unsettling questions about the legacy of Marx, Bolshevism as a historical force, and the course of Soviet history, but, most of all, it will revolutionise the conventional interpretations of Lenin.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Austrian socialist thinkers such as Otto Bauer, Rudolf Hilferding, Karl Renner, and Max Adler emerged from and helped transform Austrian Social Democracy into one of Europe's best organized and most effective political and social movements. Equipped with extensive introductions that outline the intellectual and political background within which the Austro Marxists worked, these volumes represent the most thorough effort to date to provide a representative sampling in English of the Austro-Marxists' key theoretical ideas and their approaches to politic action. Drawing on their writings from the early twentieth century until the collapse of Austrian Socialism in the 1930s, these volumes illustrate the conceptual richness of Austro-Marxist thought and the enduring challenge that socialists faced then and now in the realization of their hopes.