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Lenin

What is Socialism?

Extract from a Socialist Party contribution to a panel on the subject organised by the Platypus Society on 23 March.

In 1893 in Britain William Morris took the initiative for the publication of a Manifesto of English Socialists which declared:

'Our aim, one and all, is to obtain for the whole community complete ownership and control of the means of transport, the means of manufacture, the mines and the land. Thus we look to put an end forever to the wage-system, to sweep away all distinctions of class, and eventually to establish national and international communism on a sound basis.'

That this was signed by such non-Marxists as GB Shaw and Sidney Webb shows that, at that time, the difference between reformists and revolutionaries, possibilists and impossibilists, was not so much over what the aim was as over how to get there.

Book Review: 'Lenin Life and Legacy'

Come to bury not to praise

'Lenin: Life and Legacy', by Dmitri Volkogonov (Harper Collins 1994. £25.)

The author of this 500-page book is a high-level Soviet Army officer who from the mid- 80s held the post of Director of the Institute of Military History and in August 1991 became Defence Adviser to President Yeltsin. Initially trained as a philosopher and historian, he researched and wrote a biography of Stalin in 1985 which found some disfavour in the military hierarchy, reinforced in early 1991 by his "un-Soviet" views in a history of World War Two.

Bordiga and the First World War

The concluding article on the political ideas of Amadeo Bordiga up to 1917

In an article in Avanti, the newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), in August 1914 Bordiga identified as a dangerous development 'a sympathetic feeling for the Triple Entente [the alliance between Britain, France and Russia], not only justifying, but praising the attitude of the French socialists, to support that Italian socialists should hasten to fight in defence of France’. This was to become the position of Mussolini, at that point editor of Avanti.

For Bordiga, the concept of ‘fatherland’ was by definition anti-socialist and a defensive war on its behalf inconceivable. In September, in an article in Il Socialista on ‘Avanti and the war’, he addressed Mussolini's attitude openly, criticising the ambiguity of the line he had taken on the war in the party’s newspaper.

Book Reviews: 'Karl Marx', & 'Lenin'

Marx and Lenin - Distorted Views

'Karl Marx', by R. W. Postgate. 1s. 6d.

'Lenin', by R. Palme Dutt. Is. 6d. (Hamish Hamilton, Ltd., 90, Great Russell Street, W.C.1.)

The above two booklets form part of a series purporting to deal with the pioneers of Socialism and issued at a uniform price. Containing less than a hundred pages each, it is obvious that the subjects suffer a great deal from compression. This is particularly noticeable in the case of Marx. Unfortunately, this is not the only serious defect.

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