European Socialism between Industrialization and Deindustrialization

Undergraduate Lecture Course or Seminar

Protest movements in the present moment have offered a critique of political leadership, of socialist economics, and of state planning. On what basis have they done so? Ours is an opportune moment to look back to the history of 20th-century socialism, to examine the perspectives of its leading lights, as well as critiques of them written at the time. This course also serves as an introduction to the economic history of twentieth century Europe, through the lens of socialists politics. Students will write an intellectual biography of one of the authors we study, contextualizing their work historically and explaining one or more fundamental changes in their perspective over time. The textbook for the course is Forging Democracy, by Geoff Eley.

Week 1. Introduction

European Socialism in Context

Week 2. Orthodoxy

Karl Kautsky, selections from The Class Struggle
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 3

Week 3. Revisionism

Eduard Bernstein, selections from Evolutionary Socialism
Rosa Luxemburg, selections from Reform or Revolution
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 4

Week 4. The 1905 Russian Revolution

Luxemburg, selections from The Mass Strike
Anton Pannekoek, “Marxist Theory and Revolutionary Tactics”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 5 and 6

Week 5. Betrayals of 1914

Luxemburg, selections from The Junius Pamphlet
The “Zimmerwald Manifesto”
“Draft Resolution of the Leftwing Delegates”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 7

Week 6. The 1917 Russian Revolution

Vladimir Lenin, “April Theses”
Selections from The State and Revolution
Luxemburg, selections from The Russian Revolution
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 8

Week 7. “Left-Wing” Communism

Pannekoek, selections from World Revolution
Lenin, selections from Left-Wing Communism
Hermann Gorter, “Letter to Comrade Lenin”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 9

Week 8. German and Italian Uprisings

Otto Rühle, “The Revolution is not a Party Affair”
Fritz Wolffheim, “Factory Organizations or Trade Unions”
Amadeo Bordiga, “Workers’ Councils in Italy”
Antonio Gramsci, “Unions and Councils”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 10 and 11

Week 9. Communist Women

Alexandra Kollontai, “Theses on Communist Morality”
Alexandra Kollontai, “Sexual Relations and the Class Struggle”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 12-14

Week 10. Fascism

Leon Trotsky, selections from Death Agony
Pannekoek, “State Capitalism and Dictatorship”
Karl Korsch, “The Fascist Counter-Revolution”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 15-17

Week 11. Stalinism

Trotsky, selections from The Revolution Betrayed
C.L.R. James, “Russia – A Fascist State”
Hillel Ticktin, “Political Economy of the USSR”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 18 and 19

Week 12. From Hungary '56 to May '68

Cornelius Castoriadis, “On the Content of Socialism, Part I”
Guy Debord, selections from  The Society of the Spectacle
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 20 and 21

Week 13. Italian Feminism

Maria Dalla Costa, “The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community”
Sylvia Federici, “Wages Against Housework”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 22

Week 14. Italy’s Creeping May, 1968-77

Mario Tronti, “Lenin in England”
Mario Tronti “The Strategy of the Refusal”
Federici and Mario Montano, “Theses on the Mass Worker and Social Capital”
Sergio Bologna, “The Tribe of Moles”

Week 15. Eclipse

Adam Przeworski, “Social Democracy as a Historical Phenomenon”
Eley, Forging Democracy, Ch. 23-25