George Plekhanov

Trotsky: The Russian Marxists and Terrorism (1909)

Published on: Thu, 02/01/2014 - 15:43

[Note: Evno Azef was head of the military section of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. That party waged a war of systematic individual terrorism against the leading bureaucrats of the Tzarist State. In 1909 Azef was exposed as a long time police agent.

Though Marx himself had expressed the greatest admiration for the Narodnik men and women who were hanged for killing Tzar Alexander II, in 1881, the Russian Marxists came to oppose the tactic of individual assassinations. To it they counterposed the education and mobilisation of the working class and, as some of them sometimes put it, an

Why socialists do what we do

Published on: Wed, 05/09/2012 - 20:03

What are we for? For what overall defining purpose do revolutionary socialist organisations labour to raise funds, recruit members, publish and sell literature, organise meetings, and so on?

The Australian socialist group Socialist Alternative tried to answer these questions directly in an article in its July 2012 issue, "The case for a revolutionary socialist party", by Diane Fieldes.

The effort deserves close attention. Socialist Alternative is now probably the strongest revolutionary socialist group in Australia; it used to be much smaller than the ISO (now Solidarity) or the Democratic

The origins of Bolshevism: Plekhanov's "The Tasks of the Social-Democrats in the Famine"

Published on: Fri, 24/09/2004 - 00:00
Author

George Plekhanov


Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part
Introduction, by Sean Matgamna: How “many ideas to few people” serves mass agitation.

Earlier articles have recounted the pre-history of the Russian Marxist movement in revolutionary populism. Before we go on to describe the work of the first Russian Marxist groups, the Group for the Emancipation of Labour and later its offshoot, the Iskra/Zarya group, we will first ask, with George Plekhanov: what is the socialist movement, and what do socialists do? Plekhanov, the pioneer of the Russian Marxist movement,

The roots of Bolshevism. Plekhanov: father of Russian Marxism

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 14:53
Author

Sean Matgamna


Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part
"The task of our revolutionary intelligentsia therefore comes, in the opinion of the Russian Social Democrats, to the following: they must adopt the views of modern scientific socialism, spread them among the workers and, with the help of the workers, storm the stronghold of autocracy. The revolutionary movement in Russia can triumph only as the revolutionary movement of the workers. There is not and cannot be any other way out for us."
George Valentinovich Plekhanov, speaking at the Founding Congress of the

The triumph and defeat of Narodnaya Volya

Published on: Tue, 23/03/2004 - 08:12
Author

John O'Mahony


Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part

John O'Mahony continues his series of articles on the roots of Bolshevism

"The Russian proletarian is no novice in the revolutionary movement. You know that it was a worker who blew up the imperial palace in February 1880. The very idea for this action was conceived in a workers' group."

G V Plekhanov and Vera Zasulich, Letter to the International Socialist Congress, 1891

"And our proletariat? Did it pass through the school of the medieval apprentice brotherhood? Has it the ancient tradition of the guilds?

The origins of Bolshevism: The workers awaken in Petersburg

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 08:25
Author

John O'Mahony


Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part

John O'Mahony continues his series of articles on the roots of Bolshevism

Populism "denied a future to Russian capitalism. The proletariat was assigned no independent role at all in the revolution. It happened accidentally, however, that propaganda designed in its content for the villages found a sympathetic response only in the cities... assembling only the intelligentsia and some individual industrial workers".

Leon Trotsky, The Young Lenin

The Workers' Union of South Russia (described in my last article)

The origins of Bolshevism: The first workers' unions

Published on: Wed, 25/02/2004 - 01:29
Author

John O'Mahony


Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part
John O'Mahony continues his series of articles

"The question of the city workers is one of those that it may be said will be moved forward automatically by life itself to an appropriate place, in spite of the a priori theoretical decision of the revolutionary leaders".
G V Plekhanov, in the journal of Zemlya i Volya

The history of the beginnings of a labour movement in Russia is a subordinate part of the history of populism. The first Russian labour movement was a populist movement. It was initiated by populists

Marxism and populism in Russia

Published on: Thu, 22/01/2004 - 16:17
Author

John O'Mahony


Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part
By John O'Mahony

In the first instalment of this series I traced in broad outline the populist revolutionary environment in which Russian Marxism emerged.

In the mid 19th century a great wave of radical, leftist, people-oriented - "populist" - rebellion developed among the educated youth of Russia. In 1874-6 the populists "went to the people" in the countryside with revolutionary socialist propaganda and failed.
The populist movement Zemlya i Volya (ZiV) then tried to rouse the peasants to immediate revolution

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