The Road to Power was a highly controversial political pamphlet published in 1909—an important document for the understanding of the Wilhelmine Empire and especially of the German Social Democratic Party and Kautsky’s role in it—and it was Kautsky’s last major attack on the revisionists’ hope for a gradual "growth in socialism" without any drastic changes in the political order. To this, Kautsky opposed his view of the political revolution that he hoped for and predicted as the achievement of parliamentary democracy and of working-class power through parliamentary majority. He believed that the initial democratization of the autocratic empire could be realized peacefully by electoral victories and trade-union political action.
The present edition contains an excellent new translation of Kautsky’s text; a scholarly introduction by John H. Kautsky; the author’s prefaces to three German editions; and the correspondence concerning Kautsky’s conflict with the Social Democratic Party’s Executive Committee regarding publication of his work.
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Karl Kautsky (1854-1938) was the leading theorist, interpreter, and popularizer, as well as the most authoritative champion of orthodox Marxism in the German Social Democratic Party and the Second International in the period of the Wilhelmine Empire. As such, he fought both Eduard Bernstein’s revisionism and Rosa Luxemburg’s radicalism, while as the principle representative of democratic Marxism, he bitterly opposed Lenin’s communism in the last two decades of his life.
John H. Kautsky is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on the politics of modernization and on communism and Marxism.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
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