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‘The consequences of the japanese victory and social democracy’ (July 1905)

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Chapter Summary

Karl Kautsky's expression 'revolution in permanence' was used in the West-European Marxist press to analyse the 1905 Russian Revolution. The Russian Revolution revived agitation within German Social Democracy in favour of the political mass strike. When Kautsky criticised the Cologne resolution, the central organ of the SPD, the Vorwärts, accused him of being a doctrinaire ideologue who preached the neo-anarchist utopia of conquering political power through a political mass strike. While Kautsky and Luxemburg contended with theoretical and trade-union revisionists in Germany, Kautsky's assessment of Russia in the wake of Japan's victories provided crucial encouragement to Russian advocates of permanent revolution in 'Revolutionary Questions' and in 'The Consequences of the Japanese Victory and Social Democracy'. In the historiography of Russian Marxism, Trotsky's work eventually became the defining treatise on permanent revolution. In addition to Japan and China another enormous region that was revolutionised by the Japanese victory is India.

Keywords: 1905 Russian Revolution; East Asia; German social democracy; Japanese victory; Karl Kautsky; permanent revolution; political mass strike; Russian Marxism; Trotsky; Vorwärts



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