Eduard Bernstein and Mikhail Bakunin: used to disarm the modern left. Both the Fabian/ revisionist ‘democratic socialists’.

Containing our movement in ‘safe’ forms

Mike Macnair continues his discussion of the US left’s Kautsky debate by considering the arguments of Eric Blanc.

Eric Blanc’s February 2019 Jacobin article, ‘Why Kautsky was right (and why you should care)’,1 not only carried a provocative headline, but came from an author whose prior political writing and activism placed him substantially to the left of Vivek Chibber and James Muldoon, with whom he was polemicising. Blanc was at least between 2010 and 2018 a member of Socialist Organizer, the organisation in the US aligned to the international Lambertist-variant-Trotskyist ‘Organising Committee for the Reconstruction of the Fourth International’, based in France. He has more recently joined the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). He has also prominently been a schoolteacher militant and the author of a book on the recent US teachers’ strike movement.2

The core of Blanc’s case is:

Following Lenin’s arguments in his 1917 pamphlet The state and revolution, Leninists for decades have hinged their strategy on the need for an insurrection to overthrow the entire parliamentary state and to place all power into the hands of workers’ councils. In contrast, Kautsky argued that the path to anti-capitalist rupture in conditions of political democracy passed through the election of a workers’ party to government.

This is backed (within this article) by the core claims that:

1. Kautsky’s failure to oppose the war in 1914 was rightly understood as a betrayal of his previous ideas, not as their continuation, but that it arose from failure to grasp the role of the union and party bureaucracy.

2. The ‘insurrectionary road’ is to be rejected, because

... democratically elected governments had too much legitimacy among working people and too much armed strength for an insurrectionary approach to be realistic.

... Not only has there never been a victorious insurrectionary socialist movement under a capitalist democracy, but only a tiny minority of workers have ever even nominally supported the idea of an insurrection.

The ‘insurrectionary road’ in Russia, he argues, “toppled an autocratic, non-capitalist state, not a parliamentary regime”.

3. Kautsky recognised the anti-democratic elements of the capitalist state, and that a workers’ government would face bureaucratic, military, etc, resistance and the working class would need to back it with general strikes and other measures.

4. The ‘Kautskyan’ policy was in practice successfully applied by the Finnish Social Democracy in 1916-18. However,

Unfortunately, this strategy has been attempted in practice few times since Finland. For almost a century, much of the far left has been politically disoriented and marginalised by attempts to generalise the Bolshevik experience to non-autocratic political contexts. At the same time, the vast majority of elected left governments have never even tried to move down Kautsky’s suggested path due to the moderating pressure of labour bureaucratisation and the immense economic power of the capitalist class.

Blanc argues that taking Kautsky’s strategic line (as he interprets it) as a starting point is necessary, because “Without first winning a democratic election, socialists won’t have the popular legitimacy and power necessary to effectively lead an anti-capitalist rupture.” And, beyond this point, he argues that there are three advantages:

First, moving away from dogmatic assumptions about the generalisability of the 1917 model should help socialists abandon other political dogmas, including on pressing issues such as how to build a Marxist current and whether it’s okay to ever use the Democratic Party ballot line ...

Second, reclaiming Kautsky’s strategy should prompt socialists to focus more on fighting to democratise the political regime - a tradition that has gotten lost since the era of the Second International ...

Lastly, upholding the best elements of Kautsky’s approach is important for helping leftists take the electoral arena more seriously ...


Blanc’s critics have to a considerable extent responded to this argument in two directions - one which is right, but inconsequential, and the other plain wrong.

The argument which is right, but inconsequential, is that Blanc’s narrative involves a fairly clear falsification of the history of the Russian Revolution, which involved just as much ‘electoralism’ as the activity of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) - and, so far as October 1917 can be called an ‘insurrection’ (which, for Petrograd, is questionable), it took place in the name of the only general elected body in the country - the pending Congress of Soviets - to forestall an expected coup against that body (and was, in fact, backed by a majority of that body when it met). Thus the arguments of Mike Taber and John Riddell.3

This point is inconsequential for two reasons. The first is (partially) made by Blanc: whatever is the true account of what happened in 1917, the Communist International afterwards claimed that it, on the one hand, and Germany and Italy, on the other, showed the necessity of an insurrectionary road - and it is on the basis of this Comintern line that the modern far-left conception has developed.4

The second is that, however much the Bolsheviks were committed to democracy and to electoral work, it does not alter the point that Russia/the tsarist empire (here, it must be said, including Finland until the German Reichswehr and the Finnish Whites drowned the Finnish revolution in blood in 1918) was profoundly different from the parliamentary regimes of the ‘west’.

It is a mistake to say that the difference was universal male suffrage, because Britain (and several other parliamentary regimes) at the time did not have universal male suffrage. It is equally a mistake to say that the difference was ‘responsible government’ (power of the parliament to remove the government) or, for that matter, the role of the aristocracy in government, because both these features of the Russian regime were shared by the German and Austro-Hungarian regimes as of 1917-18 (and the role of aristocracy in government was shared by Britain, among other ‘western’ states).

The real differences were three. The first was already pointed out by Kautsky in 1918 in his notorious The dictatorship of the proletariat. As of February 1917, Russia was obviously facing unavoidable military defeat, and was unable to supply both its armies and the cities which made its war matériel. The political regime at the top was consequently already in acute crisis when International Women’s Day saw the outbreak of mass protests, which in turn led to the collapse of military discipline in the Petrograd garrison. Germany and Austria were not in an equivalent position until autumn 1918 (and even then in Germany Hindenburg-Ludendorff managed to conceal their responsibility for the defeat from the western front army).5 Defeat did produce revolutionary crisis in Germany, contrary to Kautsky’s expectations. The Entente powers, though they all faced serious mass movements at the end of the war, had the prestige of victory to sustain them.

The second is the presence of pre-capitalist relations of exploitation in the Russian countryside, and hence of - by late summer 1917 - a jacquerie in the countryside against the tsarist landlord class, supported by the Bolsheviks’ adoption of the Socialist Revolutionaries’ distributivist land policy. This barred the aristocracy from mobilising the country against the city, as it had done in 1905 and after. In contrast, the 1919 Hungarian soviet regime, created by a united front of socialist and communists, damned itself to be overthrown by a jacquerie by purporting to nationalise the land; while in German Austria and much of Germany 19th century land reforms had already created a market-oriented class of family farmers - the natural backbone of political conservatism.

The third difference is that the tsarist regime had pursued a policy of police suppression both of trade unions and of socialist parties. The ‘absolutist’ ideological reasons for doing so were no doubt supported by the very practical point that the regime needed to attract foreign direct investment in order to modernise and, given its weak infrastructure and so on, all it could offer investors was the severity of its labour controls. But the consequence was that only very little had been done by the regime to build up a state-loyalist tendency within the labour movement. The nearest approaches to such a policy began during the war: the conscription of recalcitrant factory militants into the armed forces, and the attempt to build ‘war industry committees’. But these both worsened the situation of the pro-war provisional governments in 1917. The conscription of militants disrupted war production and helped radicalise the soldiers and sailors by adding ‘agitators’ to their ranks.6 The ‘war industry committees’, and analogous measures to use committees to improve rural production and grain distribution,7 provided an example for the pro-war wing of the socialists to improvise soviets after February as support for the war effort - but the soviets became democratic institutions, and their creators lost control to the Bolsheviks and left SRs in summer-autumn 1917.

In contrast, the German and Austrian Social Democratic parties had both been legal since 1890, and there were already visible in both (a) bureaucracies and (b) state-loyalist trends - and in the trade unions, before 1914.8 Workers’ councils - Räte - were created in both Germany and Austria in 1918, factory councils in Italy, and ‘councils of action’, as well as radical shop-stewards’ committees, in various places in Britain. But most clearly in Germany and Austria, the existing social democratic party and union leaderships were state-loyalists and retained the support of the majority of the working class, and hence of the councils, for long enough to suppress or marginalise communists and other radicals, who wanted to turn these bodies into instruments of a counter-power.9

The third of these points was already made by Trotsky in 1923 in Lessons of October against the fetishism of soviets,10 and repeated by him on more than one occasion - notably in the 1931 piece on the Spanish revolution, which I quoted in my previous article.11

These points make inconsequential the objection to Blanc’s argument that it falsified Bolshevism, because Blanc’s basic point is that the forms of the Russian Revolution in 1917 will not be repeated, since they reflected the particular dynamics of the fall of tsarism, not the general dynamics of proletarian revolution. And, while Blanc’s particular argument is unsound, the basic point is plainly true; and the third point above was already made by Trotsky - that the state-loyalist right wing of the workers’ movement will not repeat the Mensheviks’ and right SRs’ error of setting up workers’ councils and leaving them in existence until revolutionaries win a majority, so that the struggle for the revolutionaries to win the majority away from the state-loyalists has to take a different form.

The argument which is flatly wrong is that made by Charlie Post against Muldoon and Chibber, and by several other authors against Blanc. It is the standard narrative that Kautsky’s scabbing in the face of 1914 - and all the more in 1918-19 - is to be attributed to his having a “passive” political approach; a “unilinear” or “undialectical” method, etc, etc. These arguments are in substance the arguments of the German lefts, but also actually shared by the German rights - for whom an ‘active’ approach to politics meant the promotion of coalitions with the liberals. And a part of the ‘actionist’ lefts, as I said before, went over to the right: notably the fascists Benito Mussolini and (ex-syndicalist) Robert Michels in Italy, as well as the pro-war Die Glocke tendency of Parvus and others in the SPD. I have given reasons for rejecting the argument in my last article in this series12 (and elsewhere) and will not repeat them again here.

Critics have also made a point which is inconsequential in itself, but tugs at a thread which somewhat unravels Blanc’s claims about Kautsky’s strategy; and another point which, again, pulls at the threads of the claims.

The first inconsequential point is that that the Finnish revolution ended in a savage and bloody defeat at the hands of the Reichswehr and its Finnish allies. The point is inconsequential because it is not that the Finnish Social Democrats won parliamentary elections which led to the defeat, but that the Russian Red Guards were unable to stand up in open battle against the German eastern-front field army in December 1917-February 1918, with the result that German and Swedish regular forces were available to form the spinal core of the Finnish White army. Trotskyist suggestions that, if the Finns had acted earlier or created a Cheka, or carried out this or that measure of expropriation, they could have won on their own13 are obvious nonsense. There was not the slightest sign of the German eastern-front field army breaking up before November 1918, and even then it remained intact for operations against the Bolsheviks in the Baltic states (requested of the German Majority SPD leaders by the Entente powers and accepted by them).

Moreover, this Finnish history could hardly be relevant to a revolutionary party which won a clear majority in US House of Representatives elections on the basis of an open anti-constitutional platform, which had mass political support reaching into the US armed forces, and which proceeded to denounce the Senate, presidency, Supreme Court and so on as anti-democratic or ‘burn the constitution’14: the US is not a small and largely disarmed country, and there would not be available a foreign force (hence immune to fraternisation tactics) equivalent to the victorious Reichswehr eastern-front field army.

The point, however, tugs at a thread of Blanc’s argument, because until 1910 Kautsky argued - as Marx and Engels also had - that the capitalist state would not wait for the working class to win a parliamentary majority, but before it did so would take initiatives to prevent it - whether war, as Engels suggested (and in fact happened) or a coup of some sort.15 Thus Kautsky in The Social revolution (1902):

... bourgeois liberalism disappears in the same degree that social democracy increases. At the same time that the influence of social democracy grows in parliament the influence of parliament decreases.16

And in The road to power (1909):

It must not be forgotten that our ‘positive’ and ‘reformatory’ work not only strengthens the proletariat, but also arouses our opponents to more energetic resistance to us. The more the battle for social reforms becomes a political battle, the more do the employers’ associations seek to sharpen the antagonism of parliaments and governments toward the labourers, and to cripple their political powers.

So it is that once more the battle for political rights is being forced into the foreground, and constitutional questions that touch the very foundations of governmental life are becoming live questions.

The opponents of the proletariat are constantly seeking to limit the political rights of the workers ...17

The second point is made by Gil Schaeffer in a contribution to the debate in New Politics.18 This is that it is odd that, on the one hand, Jacobin should have carried some excellent articles exposing the undemocratic character of the US constitution; and that Blanc should then write theory with the idea that socialists could win a (legal, effective) Congressional majority under this undemocratic regime, and form a workers’ government which would then lead to mass action in defence of it. Rather, Schaeffer argues: “The battle to democratise the political system is not just a plank among others in a democratic socialist platform: it is the leading edge of the class political struggle that makes socialism possible.” This pulls in a different way at the same strand of Blanc’s weaving.


Is the US, as Blanc asserts, “a capitalist democracy”? Is it a “democracy” at all?

The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who was a critic of democracy, wrote:

The proper application of the term ‘democracy’ is to a constitution in which the free-born and poor control the government - being at the same time a majority; and similarly the term ‘oligarchy’ is properly applied to a constitution in which the rich and better-born control the government - being at the same time a minority.19

On this basis it would be pretty clear that the USA is not a democracy, but an oligarchy.

German Protestant constitutional lawyer Johannes Althusius, writing in 1618, summarily defined democracy in this way:

Democratic power is that which is granted to certain individuals out of the population by exchange, turn or succession, at certain times, and who are chosen by a universal body of fellow citizens for a particular circumstance, so that by assembly, company or tribe they might administer the state.20

This is closer to the USA, but inconsistent with the permanent offices of the judiciary, civil service, army, and so on.

The most succinct modern statement of the meaning of political democracy is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address reference to “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.21

Again, on this basis, the modern USA does not seem to be a democracy: rather, it is a ‘government of the people, by the professional politicians, judges, civil servants, army and police officers, for the payers of party-political contributions and political advertisers, and for deep-pockets litigants’.

In fact, it is perfectly clear that the US constitution is, like the British (from which it is derived), not a democratic, but a mixed, constitution. It contains elements of monarchy, albeit elective: in particular the presidency, but also single-person offices in states (governors) and in cities and towns (mayors, police commissioners, etc). There are elements of aristocracy - in particular the judiciary, and the ‘free market in legal services’, and the unrestricted right of the rich to buy amplification for their voices.22 And there are - limited - elements of democracy: in particular, elections, trial by jury (so far as it continues to exist), freedoms of speech, assembly and association (more limited than freedom of speech), the right to bear arms, and so on.

Eric Blanc has elsewhere, while arguing for the ‘dirty break’ policy (for socialists to run on the Democratic Party ticket until they have enough support for an open break), pointed to the polling regulations consciously adopted to force choice between the two great, corrupt cartels of Republicans and Democrats.23

Why, then, call the US a ‘democracy’ and suggest that its highly controlled elections are ‘democratic’?

Code words

In around 1976, I attempted to join the Labour Party. Andrew Smith, who was then a pretty junior Labour Party activist (he was later MP for Oxford East), asked me if I was “a democratic socialist or a revolutionary socialist”. My answer, that I didn’t think these concepts were inconsistent with each other, was enough to get me excluded.

My answer was, of course, in line with the arguments of Mike Taber and John Riddell in response to Eric Blanc. And, on the face of it, there is no inconsistency.

Six to eight years later, in the early 1980s, ‘democratic socialist’ was in Britain a tag for the Labour ‘Bennite’ left opposed to the rightwingers who had recently split the party to form the short-lived Social Democratic Party. More than a decade from that, the left had been sufficiently purged and/or cowed to allow Blair’s 1995 rewrite of clause 4 to begin: “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party ...”

The problem is that both ‘democratic socialist’ and ‘revolutionary socialist’ are code words carrying political overtones which do not emerge immediately.

When Andrew Smith asked me if I was “a democratic socialist or a revolutionary socialist”, and when Tony Blair adopted the formula “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party ...”, this expression was code for constitutional loyalism; and in this context “revolutionary socialist” meant no more than ‘not constitutional loyalist’.

In fact, the ‘democratic socialism’ of the Bennite left actually still had the same character, in spite of Tony Benn’s Arguments for democracy (1981). The point is that this trend was willing to adopt democratic and republican reform proposals as desirable, but not as a part of a minimum programme, which stated conditions for supporting a government. As a result, Bennism remained a ‘democratising’ trend within the Fabian/Bernsteinist mainstream. And, in turn, its limited elements of constitutional critique were at the end of the day marginalised in its political practice.

The same is true of Michael Harrington’s ‘Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee’, which is at the root of the current DSA, after its 1973 split from the cold-warrior Social Democrats of America. The DSOC consisted of left Fabians/Bernsteinists, like the Bennites, but remained within the basic frame of lesser-evil coalitionism and gradualism.

The other side of this coin is that “revolutionary socialist” is also code, from the point of view of its supporters. Here “revolutionary” is made to mean something more than ‘favouring the overthrow of the constitutional order’, or even ‘favouring the overthrow of the constitutional order and the creation of a new constitution, under which the state is answerable to the working class’.

Rather, as I said earlier, in this trend, the Comintern’s claims that at the end of the day there has to be an insurrection are made into a mass strike strategy or strategy of dual power, which in turn leads to strikism and streetism without regard to the content of the ideas put forward; and also to the idea of the ‘revolutionary party’ as a general staff of the mass movement, and therefore as an organisation characterised by military centralism.

I pointed out, in criticising Charlie Post in my last article in this series, that at the end of the day the arguments which support this approach are substantially the same as Bakunin’s critiques of Marx and the Marxists in the late 1860s and early 1870s. These arguments are given ‘Marxisant’ cover by being attached to Rosa Luxemburg’s The mass strike, to György Lukács’s History and class-consciousness, to Leon Trotsky’s ‘transitional programme’ derived from the Fourth Congress of Comintern, in The death agony of capitalism and the tasks of the Fourth International. These forms of ‘cover’ do not alter the underlying point that the line of this ‘revolutionary socialism’ is to reject political and electoral action of the working class forming itself into a party: Bakunin’s critique of the Marxists.


But then there are two questions posed. The first is: what is Blanc doing with ‘democratic socialism’ language?

Insofar as he is merely rejecting ‘revolutionary socialism’ in the code sense, in which it is used by a good many of his critics, this is entirely justified. The Bakuninist strategic line failed already in the 1870s and has continued to fail repeatedly ever since. It is not merely that it has failed, because this is true of (as yet) all our projects. It is that it has not got anything like as far, in terms of mobilising the masses, threatening capital or winning partial gains, as the Second International project of building a workers’ political party, and a movement around it, on the basis of a clear, short minimum-maximum programme.

It turns out that ‘Marxising’ Bakunin’s project of consciousness-raising through strikes, demonstrations and insurrections and not in electoral and other work does require the undemocratic ‘invisible dictatorship’. Hence, the ‘mass-actionist’ left produces short-life extravaganzas, which leave behind only demoralisation (Seattle, ‘Occupy’ and so on), small, tyranny-of-structurelessness, anarchist cliques - and bureaucratic-centralist sects, like Rosa Luxemburg and her co-thinkers’ Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, or the US or British de Leonist Socialist Labour Parties. The failure of the attempt of the US International Socialist Organization to distance itself from the worst aspects of this tradition after its 2001 split from the British Socialist Workers Party points up the objective dynamic in which anti-electoralist mass-actionism carries with it bureaucratic sectarianism.

But is Blanc, on the other hand, going all the way to ‘democratic socialism’ in its Bennite or DSOC sense? If so, we should anticipate that the case for constitutional critique which Blanc usefully makes will find itself submerged by the false description of the existing mixed constitution as “democratic”; and the case for a socialist ‘rupture’ through the election of a radical government will be limited in the usual way through lesser-evilism to gradualism; and Blanc will have travelled (in the weaker US context) the path which took former French prime minister Lionel Jospin from Lambertism to (modern French) social democracy.

The second question, which is posed by this option, is how it came to be the case that the only political choices apparently available are, on the one hand, more or less leftwing versions of Fabianism/revisionism or, on the other, ‘Marxisant’ versions of Bakuninism.

A part of this is a real issue. The Majority SPD became not only state-loyalist in the most brutal sense, but also committed to coalitionism, from 1918. Kautsky collapsed politically in 1914, and again in 1918. The wing of the USPD to which he was attached rejoined the Majority SPD in 1922. The SPÖ in German Austria, which came nearer to maintaining the pre-war Second International positions, was largely smashed in 1934. The exile social democratic groups after the victories of fascism in Italy, Germany and Austria moved somewhat to the left, but essentially towards the Comintern, for the obvious reason that the USSR survived.24

Nonetheless, the ‘centrist’ Austrian workers actually had the honour of going down fighting in 1934 - which neither the German SPD nor the Communist Party of Germany did in 1933. The practice of the mass parties of the Second International as ‘states within the state’ was to some extent revived after the war by the mass communist parties in Italy, Greece, France ... But the Liebknecht-Bebel strategy behind it, which Kautsky had attempted to theorise, was not revived.

What was revived after 1945 were the ideas of Fabianism and the ‘revisionist’ wing of the German Social Democracy before the rise of fascism. The very clear responsibility of this trend for the rise of fascism was completely obliterated from standard histories. On the contrary, the western historians of the cold-war period were sedulous in asserting that the only real options available were either the coalitionism and constitutional loyalism of the right or the wrong, but romantic, ultra-leftism of Luxemburg and the left.

The revival of Fabianism and ‘revisionism’ followed on from the actions of the British and US states (through occupation authorities in Germany and Austria) in setting the terms on which the social democratic parties could be revived. And, as I have pointed previously, some of the historians commonly cited by the left had direct involvement in Allied intelligence operations in the 1939-45 war and immediate post-war period: Carl Schorske, the historian of German social democracy, served in the US Office of Strategic Services; Peter Nettl, the biographer of Luxemburg, who took the same line, was employed in British military intelligence in the immediate post-war period; and so on.

I referred above to the predictions of Marx, Engels, and Kautsky that the capitalists and their state would not stand idly by and wait for the social democrats to win a majority. They imagined the issue in terms of some sort of coup - just as Blanc’s left critics tend to imagine state operations against a workers’ government in terms of Chile. The reality, however, is that the state apparatus routinely intervenes in order to manage elections. It does so through legal-regulatory controls; through ‘fake news’ like the 1924 Zinoviev letter and the present ‘anti-Semitism’ defamation campaign; and through clandestine support for intellectual interventions in trends within political parties.25

Both the Fabian/revisionist ‘democratic socialists’ and the Marxisant-Bakuninist ‘revolutionary socialists’ have thus swallowed whole what is best explained as an intellectual operation of Nato’s cold-war intellectual agenda to contain the workers’ movement in ‘safe’ forms. Fabianism is safe because of its constitutional loyalism; Marxisant-Bakuninism is safe because it condemns its practitioners to ineffectiveness.

So far, this series has consisted almost wholly of negative criticism. The next and final article in the series will look at what the positive lessons might be for political strategy.

Eduard Bernstein and Mikhail Bakunin: used to disarm the modern left. Both the Fabian/ revisionist ‘democratic socialists’ and the Marxisant-Bakuninist ‘revolutionary socialists’ swallow whole what is best explained as an intellectual operation of Nato’s cold war intellectual agenda to contain the workers’ movement in ‘safe’ forms. Fabianism is safe because of its constitutional loyalism; Marxisant-Bakuninism is safe because it condemns its practitioners to ineffectiveness


  1. . www.jacobinmag.com/2019/04/karl-kautsky-democratic-socialism-elections-rupture.↩︎

  2. . Blanc is acknowledged as a “Socialist Organizer comrade”, along with SO leader Alan Benjamin, in a May 2018 PhD dissertation available online. This affiliation goes back at least to 2010: www.sopode.de/InfoInter40SonderNr.pdf. The book is Red state revolt: the teachers’ strike wave and working class politics London 2019.↩︎

  3. . Taber: https://johnriddell.com/2019/04/06/kautsky-lenin-and-the-transition-to-socialism-by-mike-taber; Riddell: https://johnriddell.com/2019/07/09/on-the-democratic-character-of-socialist-revolution.↩︎

  4. . ‘The democratic road to socialism: a reply to Mike Taber’: https://johnriddell.com/2019/04/11/the-democratic-road-to-socialism-a-reply-to-mike-taber.↩︎

  5. . S Stephenson The final battle Cambridge 2009.↩︎

  6. . For the conscription of militants see K Murphy Revolution and counterrevolution London 2007, p28.↩︎

  7. . War industry committees: https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_industry_committees. Grain production, etc: P Holquist Making war, forging revolution Harvard 2002, chapter 1.↩︎

  8. . (a) and (b) because these groupings were separate though overlapping: the state-loyalist trend was not exclusively composed of bureaucrats and not all party and union officials were state-loyalists.↩︎

  9. . D Gluckstein The western soviets (London 1995) provides evidence of the wide spread of workers’ council-type organisations. For the influence of the SPD on the German councils see P Broué The German revolution London 2006, pp158-68; and, for the SPÖ in Austria, O Bauer The Austrian revolution London 1925, chapters 8-10.↩︎

  10. . www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/lessons/ch8.htm.↩︎

  11. . www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1931/spain/spain01.htm.↩︎

  12. . ‘Organisation or “direct actionism”’ Weekly Worker September 5.↩︎

  13. . Eg, ‘Lessons of the Finnish Revolution of 1917-1918’: www.marxist.com/lessons-of-the-finnish-revolution-of-1917-1918-part-one.htm.↩︎

  14. . S Ackerman: www.jacobinmag.com/2011/03/burn-the-constitution.↩︎

  15. . A Nimtz Lenin’s electoral strategy from Marx and Engels through the revolution of 1905 (Basingstoke 2014) quotes relevant passages on pp24-29.↩︎

  16. . www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1902/socrev/pt1-3.htm#s6.↩︎

  17. . www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1909/power/ch08.htm.↩︎

  18. . https://newpol.org/marxism-the-democratic-republic-and-the-undemocratic-u-s-constitution.↩︎

  19. . E Barker (trans) Politics 1290b, Oxford 1948, p193.↩︎

  20. . Dicaeologia is translated by JJ Veenstra in On law and power Grand Rapids MI 2013, p36.↩︎

  21. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_Address.↩︎

  22. . Eg, Citizens’ United (2010) and other cases.↩︎

  23. . ‘The ballot and the break’ Jacobin December 4 2017: www.jacobinmag.com/2017/12/democratic-party-minnesota-farmer-labor-floyd-olson.↩︎

  24. . L Trotsky, ‘Progressive paralysis’ Writings 1939-1940 London 1973, pp36-43 offers a glimpse.↩︎

  25. . Some useful documentation in H Laville and H Wilford (eds) The US government, citizen groups and the cold war London 2006.↩︎