New translation of Julius Martov’s ‘World Bolshevism’ available

September 2022 Forums Events and announcements New translation of Julius Martov’s ‘World Bolshevism’ available

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  • #228108
    DJP
    Participant

    New paperback and digital version of Martov’s book is available from here. The pdf is free to download.

    World Bolshevism

    This translation includes chapters missed out in the previous translation by Herman Jenson and has a worthwhile introduction by the translator, Paul Kellogg. It looks like Paul Kelloggs book about Russian politics during the Martov era “Truth Behind Bars” may be worth a look too.

    • This topic was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by DJP.
    #228113
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Started to read the PDF

    Shame he didn’t know or mentioned the SPGB re-publishing of State and the Socialist Revolution, keeping Martov’s idea circulating.

    As usual, the Party does not get the credit it is due.

    His extensive bibliography refers to Tony Cliff and others like Monty Johnstone but it seems the SPGB does not deserve any reference. Par for the course for academics.

    Perhaps a possible Socialist Standard review of the book and it being sent to him will bring to attention his omission.

    #228114
    DJP
    Participant

    Shame he didn’t know or mentioned the SPGB re-publishing of State and the Socialist Revolution, keeping Martov’s idea circulating.

    I doubt he knew about it, but why would he? Unfortunately, outside of party channels it doesn’t seem to have been publicised anywhere (try searching on Amazon for it for example) and would have suffered from being a staple-bound pamphlet rather than a spined book.

    #228116
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Yes, we will definitely mention this in the Socialist Standard. Part of the previous English translation will have been made from a German or French translation, so this version, all translated from Russian, will be more accurate.

    #228138
    sshenfield
    Participant

    I have bought a book by another prominent Menshevik theorist, Theodore Dan, The Origins of Bolshevism (London: Secker & Warburg, 1964). It’s a long book, I’ve hardly got into it yet. I see that copyright has been claimed by the translator, Joel Carmichael.

    #228188

    Some types of intentional ostracism have been placed on Martov, and the main fault falls on the Leninists and the Trotskyists because he was able to prove that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were mistaken and that the Russian revolution was not a socialist revolution and the concept of Soviet did not apply to Russia it was not a worldly phenomenon. He was able to prove that there were not any differences between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. He really did an excellent job and he was one of the real Marxist and socialists that existed in Russia

    PS: A translation into the Spanish language was done to the pamphlet published by the SPGB

    #228244
    sshenfield
    Participant

    There is an interesting difference between Dan’s approach to the understanding of Bolshevism and Martov’s, though they were both recognized Menshevik theorists. While Dan emphasizes the specifically Russian roots of Bolshevism, Martov — as his book’s title implies — views it as an international phenomenon, a regression in working class consciousness brought about by wartime conditions. He sees it as an ideology characteristic of a new class of soldiers and sailors whose ties to industrial or agricultural production have been greatly weakened (or in the case of the youngest cohort never existed).

    #228252
    ALB
    Keymaster

    When I first read Martov’s theory as to why Bolshevik tactics were popular among some sections of the working class outside Russia I found it disappointing and could understand why the 1939 translation left it out.

    To see support outside Russia for Bolshevik tactics as coming mainly from ex-soldiers is unconvincing and doesn’t fit the facts, not even in the defeated German and Austrian empires and certainly not in Britain, France and Italy. I know it was written in 1919 when it was not clear how things were going to develop. In any event it didn’t take long —a couple of years — before the Bolshevik government changed its tactics and abandoned immediate insurrection for electing left wing governments.

    Dan of course was writing much later and able to trace the origin of Bolshevik ideas and tactics to a section of the Russian anti-tsarist revolutionary movement. But, if I remember, he still saw Bolshevik Russia as in some way basically socialist (because it was based on state ownership) rather than as a form of capitalism.

    #228441
    sshenfield
    Participant

    Yes, there was a split in the emigre Menshevik movement. Dan was conciliatory toward the Bolsheviks. He thought that though authoritarian the Soviet Union was still a classless socialist society and predicted that it would become more democratic and humane over time. The ‘Martov group’, which included Abramovitch, said that Dan was no longer a Menshevik. They denied that the USSR was ‘genuinely’ socialist and said that the Communist Party was a new ruling class. However, they rejected the concept of ‘state capitalism’ and tended toward the view that the USSR was a new form of the ‘Asiatic mode of production.’ They also seemed to identify with the ‘democratic socialism’ of West European labor parties.

    I think Martov was right to link Bolshevism not only to Russian but also to West European and in particular French elitist revolutionaries (the Jacobins, Babeuf, Blanqui). Lenin derived inspiration from both traditions.

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