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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Equivocation, equivocation encore equivocation. Kautsky argued against the notion of the EU; Kautsky predicted this; Kautsky predicted that.

What he says is that it would be a step backward for this, a step forward for that; he talks about "moderating" the bourgeoisie's peace terms-- the equivocation stands out in every sentence of that peace.

But keep on keepin' on, please. Denial is such an interesting method of presentation.

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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Lenin jumped on the word moderation as well, but Kautsky didn't mean a little less harsh peace conditions by the victor states; he meant things like general disarmament, no protectionism, national self-determination (democracy), no indemnities. So the contents of his moderation were "utopian" (in the good sense) demands. In 1914 it was indeed a speculative endeavor, as Kautsky himself says, because there was no way of knowing how much power and success socialist-democrats would have to push for an "advantageous" peace. I'll post the excerpt of the actual article that I wanted to be noted here again but in the open:

Quote:
That the outbreaking war would bring revolution, I nor Bebel have ever expected, and both of us were always thinking, to keep away any obligation of our party to revolutionary action at outbreak of war, because of the conviction that such an obligation could not be held after all.*

Already in June 1907, before the Stuttgart International congress, I developed this thought in a preface to my brochure "Patriotismus und Sozialdemokratie", where I showed, that we, as long as we lack the might, to grab political power during peace, also would not be able to prevent war. The attempts thereto were certain defeat. This viewpoint does not have to discourage us, if we only stay loyal to our oppositional fundamentals. Then in the course of the war the confidence of the masses must rise to us:

"The longer the war lasts, the more the masses will listen to us, the more our political standing and our political might will increase. Then, at the end of the war, we can count on great success."


Never are governments stronger as at the outbreak of war, and I can't recall any example in history, where a declaration of war was responded to by an insurrection in the own country. Even the bankrupt French Empire 1870 and likewise the Czar 1904 met no resistance at the opening of war. In contrast there is since a century in Europe no great war, whose end did not one way or another had a deep change of the political system in its wake. In as much, not due to direct results, that constituted the price of battle, but due to further consequences one can mark every European war since a hundred years as the locomotive of world history. Indeed, this locomotive travels fastest when the direct results of war are smallest and stand out of all proportion to the sacrifices.

When the danger is adjured, which threatens the country from outside, the peace situation recovered, the pressure of the outside enemy gone, then the internal battle lights up with all the more energy, the more any critical impulse during the war was limited, the narrower the oppositional might locked in, the higher it pents up.

The soonest this is to be expected in Russia, whose government already before the war found itself in unstable equilibrium and which in the war suffered the greatest defeats, at the same time has constricted most closely any critique.

We cannot yet know, which forms the impending collapse of Czarism will take. The only thing which one can reveal with certainty about the forms of a coming revolution, is, that it will look different then its predecessor. That must be so, since every revolution removes social and political conditions, through which it was generated, and makes it thereby impossible, that the next one resembles it, as this one is engendered from changed conditions. Even so revolutionaries and reactionaries portray a coming revolution still on the model of the past one and set accordingly their tactics, not to the benefit of development. Admittedly one can learn only from experience, but the experiences of past revolutions are only one part of the complex of facts of experience, from which we have to learn. We must always then try, to lay the experience of the whole previous social development and the present situation of society at the basis of our action. As no mortal is given to create this "universal cohesion", it is impossible, to speak with definiteness about the coming forms of a political system change.

It is accordingly today impossible, to know, which forms the coming collapse of Czarism will take. Certain is only that it will look different as the one of 1905. And it is to be expected that it will move the whole of Europe even deeper then the latter. Back then it sufficed to make all national differences and oppositions vanish. These, which today are so profound, so self-evident, so inextinguishable, were 1905 completely extinguished, the whole of Europe divided in two international camps, one conservative and one revolutionary. On the neighbour-countries of Russia, namely on Austria and the Balkan states the effects were enormous.

The comrades Pernerstorser and Leuthner not only declare war on the Russian government, but also on the Russian people and want to cut if off from Europe and ban it to Asia, since it only brings harm to Western culture. And yet Austria's biggest advance, the last election reform, was won through the pressure of the Russian revolution. Without the uprising of the Russian people the grim denouncers of Russian "Volksimperialismus" would hardly have arrived at their present Reichsrat mandates.

Russia is today no longer merely the country of despotism, against which Marx and Engels in the past demanded war, but the country of revolution.

If we cannot yet know, which forms the coming revolt of the Russian people will take, it cannot be doubted that it will find powerful repercussion in Western Europe. And this must practically be far more potent than one decade ago.

However the war may crop out, that it will leave Europe in the deepest misery, is certain. The production process will be in deepest disruption, it will lack capital just as the for the run of production irreplaceable proportionality of individual sectors of productions. Inflation and unemployment will besiege the proletarian masses, which greatly swell through the destruction of countless small businesses in commerce and industry. At the same time the emergency takes political expression in new taxes, which equal double or treble of the last ones. Their jolting political effect is increased hugely further, when the peace brings a new era of arms race, whose fundamentals and costs by the results and experiences of this war must soar infinitely above the situation before the war.

The tendencies of capitalism to immiseration of the proletariat, which in the last decades seemed temporarily overcome, will then assert themselves with the same terrible vehemence, which they attained a century ago after the close of the world war in England.

But how completely different the proletariat stands today as back then! From irregular outbreaks of despair against individual objects, which constituted the property of capitalists, from wild machine destruction and arsons has come a powerful, firmly ordered movement, on whose agreement to war policy the governments now everywhere put the highest value. One can think as one wants about cooperation of government and workers movement, as symptom of the power of the latter it is an extraordinary occurrence. The cooperation will nowhere be able to outlast the war, the consciousness of power will stay with the masses, also the most intimidated parts of them. And at the same time the ruin of the middle class must bring them a powerful influx, which will not leave it without animosity. The layers who were until now the most firm dam of the establishment, will most decisively long for its overcoming, which has become unbearable to them.

When the subjective, that is the in the minds of people operating conditions, which push towards socialism grow, then not less the objective, in the things and relations, that make possible its realization, to which Eckstein already pointed in his article on war and socialism.

The large business in industry will predominate more as ever and at the same time the control of banks over industry will become absolute. The disarray of the production process though will at the same time be so high, that its regulation by governments, banks and communities will be indispensable.

That cannot happen without application of large means, which the public has to bring, which however are used for saving capital profit.

Then powerful struggles will light up about, whether these means secure capitalism and will transform into an industry-feudalism or whether state regulation of production instead of capital serves the proletariat, thus will be a socialist one.

These struggles will culminate in the struggle for political power. If therein the proletariat wins, then socialism is moved within tangible reach.

Such are the perspectives which we today have to reveal to the proletariat. As bold as they are, they are far less illusionary as the bourgeois state of the future of a mitteleuropean trench community, for which now a row of socialist try to convince the working classes.

The idea of Mitteleuropa is carried by a convinction, that the coming peace can only be truce, in which it holds to arm oneself for the next war.

This idea we oppose with the idea of a peace, which allows friendship and free intercourse with all peoples. We oppose to it the idea of the struggle for socialism, which warrants us eternal peace.

* the same was said by Luxemburg http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxembu ... s/ch07.htm

But what action should the party have taken to give to our opposition to the war and to our war demands weight and emphasis? Should it have proclaimed a general strike? Should it have called upon the soldiers to refuse military service? Thus the question is generally asked. To answer with a simple yes or no were just as ridiculous as to decide: “When war breaks out we will start a revolution.” Revolutions are not “made” and great movements of the people are not produced according to technical recipes that repose in the pockets of the party leaders. Small circles of conspirators may organise a riot for a certain day and a certain hour, can give their small group of supporters the signal to begin. Mass movements in great historical crises cannot be initiated by such primitive measures.



Lenin underlined this passage as problematic, but later said the same thing http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... ec/04b.htm

On the question of combating the danger of war, in connection with the Conference at The Hague, I think that the greatest difficulty lies in overcoming the prejudice that this is a simple, clear and comparatively easy question.

“We shall retaliate to war by a strike or a revolution” that is what all the prominent reformist leaders usually say to the working class. And very often the seeming radicalness of the measures proposed satisfies and appeases the workers, co-operators and peasants.

Perhaps the most correct method would be to start with the sharpest refutation of this opinion; to declare that particularly now, after the recent war, only the most foolish or utterly dishonest people can assert that such an answer to the question of combating war is of any use; to declare that it is impossible to “retaliate” to war by a strike, just as it is impossible to “retaliate” to war by revolution in the simple and literal sense of these terms.


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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Quote:
That the outbreaking war would bring revolution, I nor Bebel have ever expected, and both of us were always thinking, to keep away any obligation of our party to revolutionary action at outbreak of war, because of the conviction that such an obligation could not be held after all.*


Not at the outbreak, but as a consequence, that was the point that he missed. Kautsky had a distinctly unMarxist apprehension of the cause, and purpose of the war.

Quote:
"The longer the war lasts, the more the masses will listen to us, the more our political standing and our political might will increase. Then, at the end of the war, we can count on great success."


Sure, but you have to be saying something for the "masses" to listen to you.

Quote:
We cannot yet know, which forms the impending collapse of Czarism will take. The only thing which one can reveal with certainty about the forms of a coming revolution, is, that it will look different then its predecessor.


Wrong again. We know which forms the collapse of Czarism would take. It had been pre-shadowed in 1905.

Quote:
But what action should the party have taken to give to our opposition to the war and to our war demands weight and emphasis? Should it have proclaimed a general strike? Should it have called upon the soldiers to refuse military service?


As a matter of fact, yeah, at the very beginning urge the refusal of military service; oppose the production of munitions; and the loading of transport with war materiel-- that's how you say something that the "masses will listen to"- later on as the war fever is chilled by the endless procession of caskets. No, you don't proclaim a revolution, but you certainly do proclaim your opposition; you oppose all funding for the war effort; you oppose the conscription, while sending your party members into the army to agitate; you picket conscription centers. You expel all those in your party who explicitly or implicitly, passively or actively support the bourgeoisie.

Ultra-left? Not hardly. Basic, integral to class struggle.

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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:29 pm 
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S.Artesian wrote:
Quote:
That the outbreaking war would bring revolution, I nor Bebel have ever expected, and both of us were always thinking, to keep away any obligation of our party to revolutionary action at outbreak of war, because of the conviction that such an obligation could not be held after all.*


Not at the outbreak, but as a consequence, that was the point that he missed. Kautsky had a distinctly unMarxist apprehension of the cause, and purpose of the war.


That is the point he is stressing. For the cause and purpose of the war it would be interesting to create a separate thread.

S.Artesian wrote:
Quote:
"The longer the war lasts, the more the masses will listen to us, the more our political standing and our political might will increase. Then, at the end of the war, we can count on great success."


Sure, but you have to be saying something for the "masses" to listen to you.


He is presenting the bold prospect of European civil war in this essay against the idea of a Mitteleuropean trench community. In his journal the Die Neue Zeit he engaged constantly against the national socialists (his term). He also e.g. wrote a pamphlet against the trend which Lenin denounced (but didn't criticize head on) as Imperialist Economism; http://archive.org/details/Kriegsmarxismus


S.Artesian wrote:
Quote:
We cannot yet know, which forms the impending collapse of Czarism will take. The only thing which one can reveal with certainty about the forms of a coming revolution, is, that it will look different then its predecessor.


Wrong again. We know which forms the collapse of Czarism would take. It had been pre-shadowed in 1905.


He is making the point that it will go beyond the 1905 revolution (interesting hint) as will the consequences on the West.

Quote:
But what action should the party have taken to give to our opposition to the war and to our war demands weight and emphasis? Should it have proclaimed a general strike? Should it have called upon the soldiers to refuse military service?


S.Artesian wrote:
As a matter of fact, yeah, at the very beginning urge the refusal of military service; oppose the production of munitions; and the loading of transport with war materiel-- that's how you say something that the "masses will listen to"- later on as the war fever is chilled by the endless procession of caskets. No, you don't proclaim a revolution, but you certainly do proclaim your opposition; you oppose all funding for the war effort; you oppose the conscription, while sending your party members into the army to agitate; you picket conscription centers. You expel all those in your party who explicitly or implicitly, passively or actively support the bourgeoisie.

Ultra-left? Not hardly. Basic, integral to class struggle.


Sorry to be unclear, but that passage I added from Rosa Luxemburg's Junius pamphlet. The things you mention are pretty basic to class struggle indeed (as Maoist groups in West Germany spread papers in army barracks). But the problem with Kautsky (and Luxemburg) was I think that they didn't have majority of party membership behind them. So nationalist leaders like Eduard David or a representative like Ludwig Frank were comfortable and ready to split the party if the fraction didn't support war credits. That is very bad reflection on the level of class consciousness in the ranks of the party to be sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:14 pm 
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Or as Mises says:
Quote:
The government was fully aware that the Social Democratic workers would back it in the event of war. About the few orthodox Marxians the administration leaders were less assured; but they knew very well that a wide gulf separated these doctrinaires from the masses, and they were convinced that the bulk of the party would condone precaution-ary measures against the Marxian extremists. They ventured, therefore, to imprison several party leaders at the outbreak of the war; later they realized that this was needless. But the party’s executive committee, badly informed as it had always been, did not even learn that the authorities had changed their minds and that there was nothing to fear from them. Thus on August 3, 1914, the party chairman, Ebert, and the treasurer, Braun, fled to Switzerland with the party funds.†

It is nonsense to say that the socialist leaders in voting for war credits betrayed the masses. The masses unanimously approved the Kaiser’s war. Even those few members of Parliament and editors who dissented were bound to respect the will of the voters. The Social Democratic soldiers were the most enthusiastic fighters in this war for conquest and hegemony. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_ ... &Itemid=27


And about the situation of Kautsky et al.:
Quote:
The very small groups of zealous Marxians—probably never more than a few hundred persons in the whole Reich—were completely segregated from the rest of the party membership. They communicated with their foreign friends, especially with the Austrian Marxians (the “Austro-Marxian doctrinaires”), the exiled Russian revolutionaries, and with some Italian groups. In the Anglo-Saxon countries Marxism in those days was practically unknown. With the daily political activities of the party these orthodox Marxians had little in common. Their points of view and their feelings were strange, even disgusting, not only to the masses but also to many party bureaucrats. The millions voting the Social Democratic ticket paid no attention to these endless theoretical discussions concerning the concentration of capital, the collapse of capitalism, finance capital and imperialism, and the relations between Marxian materialism and Kantian criticism. They tolerated this pedantic clan because they saw that they impressed and frightened the “bourgeois” world of statesmen, entrepreneurs, and clergymen, and that the government-appointed university professors, that German Brahmin caste, took them seriously and wrote voluminous works about Marxism. But they went their own way and let the learned doctors go theirs. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_ ... &Itemid=27


The point applies to Marxism in general (this relates to what Platypus is always babbling about; the relation of theory and praxis, see also their upcoming convention: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=23f ... 132d3acc4d). It's not just that Marxists risks providing just empty cover for practical opportunism, but that Marxism was regarded as such by the majority of the practical people. I don't think many (like daily party militants) bothered to read Kautsky’s writings in Die Neue Zeit or translated it into praxis. It was to them probably ivory tower theorizing. And I think same for Pod Znamenem Marksizma (http://libcom.org/library/under-banner-marxism, I made an ignored thread about it here, also on ICC forum which got like an incredible high number of readers, yet no response) in SU. And also I would add the writings of social-democrats after the war, such as Die Gesellschaft. Internationale Revue für Sozialismus und Politik (here is a partial bibliography; http://en.internationalism.org/forum/10 ... mment-3142 , notice Benjamin's Left-wing Melancholy was published in it; http://rethinkingcapitalism.ucsc.edu/wp ... ncholy.pdf ). And the fact that 3 important Marxist publications such as these have been and continue to be ignored by the left is again proof of how Marxism (as theory) is regarded as old books gathering dust on shelves. Just what does it say that "we marxists" feel dislike to even read anything by Kautsky (I admit I also don't feel compelled). His main work on Materialist Conception of History is not even referenced in passing anywhere; http://archive.org/details/DieMateriali ... auffassung


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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Who said the social-democrats betrayed the "masses"? They "betrayed" Marxism, and struggle for the abolition of capital. Russian workers were no less caught up, originally, in the war fever. In the early stages, Bolsheviks agitating against the war were chased out of factories and threatened with lynching.

But Mises claim to "unanimous" approval for the war by the "masses" is ********. You know that. Nothing's "unanimous."

So the anti-war Social Democrats in Germany were "isolated"? No ****, Sherlock. Again, so what? The the SPD was a party of bureaucrats, functionaries, parliamentarian prior to the war? That's supposed to be news? What were they doing all those years before the war? Besides making themselves comfortable?

Yeah ok, so the whole 2nd Intl was capitulationist, as an institution, and the war made that manifest, and a few separated themselves and opposed the bourgeoisie, opposed the war as the product of capital, the abolition of which required the abolition of capital. Good enough-- in that vital process of sorting out, where was Kautsky? Was he arguing that the war was a product of capital, of the inexorable conflict between means and relations of production and the only solution to it was international class struggle.

Jog my memory, did Kautsky write the appeal to the toiling masses developed at Zimmerwald?

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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:24 pm 
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hmm, I found that the publication date of the article of Kautsky I linked in the second post (http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky ... ussian.htm) is 31 August 1917, in Die Neue Zeit. It is actually a first section of an article titled Stockholm, the second section (p.508) speaks of the (attempted/upcoming) Stockholm peace conference.

p.505 DNZ vol. 35; 1916-1917 Band 2.

All issues during the war of Die Neue Zeit are online: http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007392254

Here Lenin on Stockholm
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... ep/08b.htm
problem with Kamenev
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... aug/29.htm
On Zimmerwald
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... ep/15b.htm

Quote:
We must withdraw from Zimmerwald immediately.

By staying there for information only, we lose nothing, but we are not going to be held responsible for the comedy of “waiting” for Stockholm.


So anyway, about the Russian revolution, Kautsky in August 1917 wrote:

Quote:
And so, of necessity, the third stage of the revolution must come: the revival, yes the intensifying of the struggle between the classes which united in overthrowing the old government. Through this stage, too, the Russian revolution must inevitably go. No cleverness of tactics, no terroristic recklessness can prevent it. It will be the deciding stage of the Russian revolution, albeit not its most joyous one. It lacks the glad joyousness, the unfounded hopes of the first stages. But it is the most important period, that period which will determine its historic character, in which the significance that coming generations will ascribe to it, will be decided.


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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Well, here's the thing : Look at that last quote from Kautsky. Exactly what is he talking about. Does he define, in class terms, what this deciding stage is. When he says this period will "determine its historic character"-- does he specify what the determinants are? Why is there this studied, deliberate, lack of clarity in the midst of a revolutionary struggle?

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 Post subject: Re: Russian revolution was predicted
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:13 pm 
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He did so here; http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-work ... revolution
and some (unconvincing tbh iirc) speculation of its influence on Lenin's April theses;
http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-work ... ril-theses

I think neither Lenin saw socialism as immediately on the agenda in Russia. On the other hand even in a majority peasant country Kautsky as well believed (see his book on Georgia) there could be taken steps that point beyond the economic conditions (so he, like Lenin, is not a so-called orthodox stage-ist).

In the Stockholm article there is another point which shows the similarity to Lenin, namely Kautsky speaks of a Third International, in case the majority socialists reject peace talks. That is, a really effective split (convincing for the masses) of the entire international social-democracy, because the talks would force the majority socialists to take a stand (for or against socialism). This is the key point also for Lenin, of how to make an effective split from the pseudo-socialist garbage like Eduard David.


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