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Book Reviews

Bolshevism. By Rudolf Sprenger, Redline Publications, 2004.

One of the greatest obstacles to socialism in the twentieth century was Bolshevism. A key text in that ideology was Lenin's 1902 book, What Is To Be Done? There was nothing particularly new in that work, being the general outlook of the Second International, but it did lay out clearly the idea that leadership was needed for a working class which was incapable of emancipating itself. Rudolf Sprenger (real name Helmut Wagner) wrote this eloquent demolition of Leninist elitism in the early 1930s, published in New York in 1939 and favourably reviewed in the Socialist Standard that year (see /spgb/archive/sprenger(1939).pdf). Sprenger argues that the Russian Revolution was a bourgeois rather than a proletarian revolution.

The pamphlet is priced at £2.00 plus 50 pence postage in the UK. Inclusive airmail price to Europe is 5 euros, and to the rest of the world US$7.00. Overseas orders should be paid for with currency notes. Order from: Redline Publications, PO Box 6700, Sawbridgeworth, CM21 0BS, UK.

LEW

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Penguin Books have published in their Modern Classics series a new edition of this working class classic by Robert Tressell. Price £8.99. Well worth reading if you’ve not got a copy already –  despite the odd choice, to write the introduction, of a one-time “ministerial adviser in the Labour government of 1997-2001”, odd because Tressell was a member of the SDF, whose members had some knowledge of Marxian ideas, enough anyway for them to see through Labourism.