On the Formation of Marxism

Karl Kautsky’s Theory of Capitalism, the Marxism of the Second International and Karl Marx’s Critique of Political Economy

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Karl Kautsky was, for three decades before the First World War, the main authority on the intellectual heritage of Marx and Engels, the founding fathers of Marxism. His interpretation of Marx’s Capital and the basic laws and contradictions of capitalism was the standard reference point for both the foes and allies of Social Democracy. Jukka Gronow’s On the Formation of Marxism analyses Kautsky’s impact on the self-understanding of the European labour movement from his dispute over Revisionism with Eduard Bernstein to his polemics with V.I. Lenin over Imperialism and the Russian Revolution. Despite many political differences, Gronow shows that these authors shared a common understanding of the basic nature of capitalism, which in important respects differed from Marx’s critique of political economy.
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Biographical Note

Jukka Gronow, Ph.D. (1986) is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He has published monographs and articles on social theory, modern consumption and the history of the Soviet Union, including Caviar with Champagne (Berg 2000).

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction

PART I: KAUTSKY’S MARXISM

1. Organised Capitalism, the General Cartel and the Proletariat
2. The Dispute over Revisionism
3. The Theory of Immiseration, Socialist Consciousness and the Intellectuals
4. Socialism as Science
5. The Capitalist Law of Appropriation: Kautsky’s Interpretation of Karl Marx’s Economic Thought
6. The Centralisation of Capital and Monopoly Formation
7. Imperialism and the Relation between Industrial and Agrarian Countries
8. Imperialism and Its Alternatives
9. Imperialism as the Last Stage of Capitalism
10. Theoretical Sources of Kautsky’s and Lenin’s Studies on Imperialism
11. Imperialism as the Truth about Capitalism
12. Parliamentary Democracy and Revolutionary Tactics
13. The Question of Democracy and Dictatorship: Lenin’s Critique of Kautsky the Renegade

PART II: MARX’S MARXISM

14. The Immanent Critique and the Natural Rights Theory
15. John Locke, Adam Smith and Karl Marx’s Critique of Private Property
16. The Principle of Labour
17. The Theory of Increasing Misery and the Critique of Capitalism

Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Readership

All interested in the history of Marxism and the European Social Democratic labour movement.

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