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This work outlines a strategy for how the contemporary left should build progressive alliances. It takes a 'drawing lessons from history' approach, focusing especially on the exchanges of ideas that took place among European progressive movements and authors between WW1 and WW2. These exchanges bridged ideological and partisan divides between socialists and liberals of various stripes, and included prominent British figures-e.g., John Maynard Keynes, Clement Attlee, John A. Hobson, G.D.H. Cole, and Ramsay MacDonald- as well as their contemporaries in Austria, the Benelux, and Weimar Germany. This work seeks to connect these interwar debates to the questions raised by the current crisis in social democracy, and the somewhat contrasting backdrop this provides to the Labour party's recent electoral and polling positions. Rather than letting the relationship between 'radicals' and 'moderates' on the left in current political discourse be defined by the 'reformist' or 'revolutionary' nature of their aims, the work makes the case for today's social democrats to adopt a cross-party and cross-class 'unity strategy'.
This book presents two major texts and selected shorter writings by the social-democratic thinker and politician Eduard Bernstein, translated into English in full for the first time: The German Revolution: A History of the Emergence and First Working Period of the German Republic; How A Revolution Perished; and articles from Vorwarts and other socialist periodicals. Written in the aftermath of the 1918 German Revolution and the end of WWI, they address the overthrow of autocratic rule in Germany, and provide a live chronicle and retrospective assessment of the Weimar Republic's foundation. Bernstein gives a detailed chronology of the German Revolution and its intellectual, economic, and political context, and offers a historical analogy in his account of the 1848 French Revolution, which differs in key respects from that of Karl Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. Drawing on his own experience of the events he describes, he revisits the socialist debate over 'reform or revolution' that he himself had provoked at the turn of the 20th century, and consciously seeks to wrest ownership of the Revolution's legacy away from the Spartacist and communist left. In these works, Bernstein exhorts social democrats to rally behind the nascent Republic and resist the siren-calls of its militant opponents on radical left and right, and he engages with themes of party unity, political violence, democracy, and the role of ideology that have echoed through left theory and strategy ever since.