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‘The revolution in permanence’ (1 November 1905)

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Chapter Summary

In 1899, at the height of the revisionist controversy, Franz Mehring defended the theory of permanent revolution against Bernstein's attacks in the pages of Die Neue Zeit. Against Bernstein's accusation that Marx and Engels had pursued a 'Blanquist' (i.e. putschist) tactic during the revolutionary years 1848-9, Mehring pointed out that they had never over-estimated the 'creative power of revolutionary violence for the socialist transformation of modern society'. For them, the important thing was to seize as many positions as possible from the counter-revolutionary powers; in that sense they opposed the cowardly Philistine clamour for the 'closing of the revolution' and demanded instead the 'revolution in permanence'. What was the weakness of the European Revolution of 1848 is the strength of the Russian Revolution of 1905. Its moving force is a proletariat that has understood the 'Revolution in Permanence' that the Neue Rheinische Zeitung formerly preached in the wilderness.

Keywords: 1905 Russian Revolution; Bernstein; Die Neue Zeit; Franz Mehring; Marx; Neue Rheinische Zeitung; permanent revolution; proletariat



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