Friday, 23 February 2018

Taking a Stroll Down Memory Lane (iii).

I suspect one must be really interested in Marxist and socialist history for the name Eduard Bernstein to ring a bell. I am and I have already written about him, without focusing specifically on him.

The bottom line is that Bernstein has been forgotten, but he would be a case study in the unintended consequences of the kind of charlatanry the liberal/leftish intelligentsia mastered.

You can imagine, then, my surprise some three years ago, when I found these gems left in comment threads of another blog:
“The main debate is, of course, old. Eduard Bernstein got drummed out of the International for arguing that piecemeal reform could work and was infact (before WWI), working. The mainstream Marxists at the time were not happy to hear this claim. Bernstein's book, _The Preconditions of Socialism_, however, is really very good and very unjustly ignored. There's excellent discussion of this in Sheri Berman's really very good book, _The Primacy of Politics_. I'd highly recommend it (and Bernstein's book.)”
And again:
“More generally, I think it's worth it for people to look at Eduard Bernstein's mostly forgotten _The Preconditions of Socialism_. Not because Bernstein, who had been one of Marx's literary executors, has the magic formula for today, but because it's useful to see the ways that he had noted, as early as the 1910's that many of the economic predictions of Marx had not happened, and that the world had changed in ways Marx had not predicted, and that therefore people wishing to be loyal to the spirit, and not the text, of Marx needed to change, too. Unfortunately, he was more or less run out of the "mainstream" Marxist/socialist movement for this heresy, but a significant part of European social democracy was built along the lines he suggested. For the general moral it is still worth reading.”
In situations like these I avoid naming names or providing links. This time I will make a partial exception. The author of those two comments identifies himself as Matt. I don't think under the present circumstances that information could be misused.

We don't know who Matt is in real life, but I do know something about him from this attempt to resurrect Bernstein: he's full of shit. The difference between him and Bernstein is that Bernstein was an opportunist and a slanderer who knew he was lying and betraying the socialist movement as a whole and a man much better than himself.

Matt may not know it.

Whatever the case might be, it doesn't really matter. Because his two comments give me an opportunity to set the historical record straight. Friedrich Engels deserves better, and so do socialists.

But there's more. There's much wisdom in Faulkner's remark: "The past is never dead. It's not even past". This is a current political issue and it's been one for a while. No better example than that of Germany itself, where an irresponsible attempt is being made to "reform" the image of the SDP.

Those corpses must be re-buried.

This is going to be a long and unpleasant journey, but necessary nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. Ol bird ur my hero. <3. keep up da good work.:D
    -- the oo