Once deemed ‘the pope of Marxism’, Karl Kautsky (1854–1938) was the leading theoretician of the German Social Democratic Party and one of the most prominent public intellectuals of his time. However, during the twentieth century a constellation of historical factors ensured that his ideas were gradually consigned to near oblivion. Not only has his political thought been dismissed in non-Marxist historical and political discourse, but his ideas are equally discredited in Marxist circles.
This book aims to rekindle interest in Kautsky’s ideas by exploring his democratic-republican understanding of state and society. It demonstrates how Kautsky’s republican thought was positively influenced by Marx and Engels – especially in relation to the lessons they drew from the experience of the Paris Commune.
Listen to Ben Lewis discuss the book on [
this podcast] by LINKSE HOBBY.
Ben Lewis is a tutor and Wolfson Scholar PhD candidate in Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield. His publications include
Clara Zetkin: Letters and Writings (Merlin Press, 2015);
Karl Kautsky on Colonialism (November Publications, 2013); and
Martov and Zinoviev: Head-to-Head in Halle (November Publications, 2011).
PrefaceAcknowledgements Introduction: Karl Kautsky’s Democratic Republicanism
Part 1 Karl Kautsky, Parliamentarism and Democracy (1893)
Preface to the First Edition Preface to the Second Edition Introduction 1
Direct Legislation in Prehistory 2
Direct Legislation in Civilisation 3
Urban Democracy in Antiquity 4
The Representative System 5
Monarchical and Parliamentary Absolutism 6
Modern Democracy 7
Rittinghausen’s Proposal 8
Drafting Laws 9
Implementing Laws 10
Jurisprudence and the Press 11
Parliamentarism and the Parties in England 12
Parliamentarism and the Working Classes 13
Direct Legislation by the People and the Class Struggle
Part 2 Karl Kautsky, The Republic and Social Democracy in France (1905)
Clarifying the Dispute 2
The American Republic 3
The First Republic 4
The Second Republic and the Socialists 5
The Second Empire and the Paris Commune 6
The Constitution of the Third Republic 7
The Bourgeois Republicans at Work 8
Socialism in the Third Republic
Part 3 Karl Kautsky, The Development of a Marxist (1924)
Appendix: Synoptic Overview of the Drafts of the Erfurt Programme (1891)BibliographyIndex
All interested in democratic and republican thought, the history of Marxism, referenda and elections, and the nature of the French Third Republic.