Boundaries of Utopia - Imagining Communism from Plato to Stalin (Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series)

Boundaries of Utopia - Imagining Communism from Plato to Stalin (Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series)

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0415703727

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The idea that socialism could be established in a single country was adopted as an official doctrine by the Soviet Union in 1925, Stalin and Bukharin being the main formulators of the policy. Before this there had been much debate as to whether the only way to secure socialism would be as a result of socialist revolution on a much broader scale, across all Europe or wider still. This book traces the development of ideas about communist utopia from Plato onwards, paying particular attention to debates about universalist ideology versus the possibility for "socialism in one country". The book argues that although the prevailing view is that "socialism in one country" was a sharp break from a long tradition that tended to view socialism as only possible if universal, in fact the territorially confined socialist project had long roots, including in the writings of Marx and Engels.

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in predicting only the disappearance of the ‘mutual isolation of nations and the contradictions between peoples [nationalen Absonderungen und Gegensätze der Völker]’, as well as of the ‘hostile stance of the nations’.21 The revolution would even help the proletariat to constitute itself as the nation. Engels mentioned the ideal of the ‘fraternisation of nations’, a principle he derived from the French Revolution and which surely did not entail the erasure of national identity.22 As we saw in a

entrepreneurs on the other. When that transformation is completed … the working class will occupy the place of the ‘people’, and the popular autocracy will turn into a dictatorship of the proletariat.17 The logic was impeccable: if the small producers could never be convinced of the advantages of socialism, as Marx and Engels thought they could, the only remaining option for the working class to gain a majority for the socialist revolution would be to become that majority itself. In his new book,

Chauvinism’, published in 1915 in the Bolshevik theoretical journal Kommunist, his close comrade Grigorii Zinov’ev mentioned the possibility of a ‘war of a proletariat that has been victorious in some country, and that defends the socialist system [stroi] gained by it, against other states attempting to vindicate the capitalist regime’.30 The term stroi leaves little doubt that Zinov’ev was not merely talking about a workers’ government but about a socialist economy. Militarised Marxism

1919 Treaty of SaintGermain between Austria and the Entente Powers prohibited it.44 From Bauer’s perspective, the road to socialism in Austria was now cut off. He resigned in July, even before the treaty was signed. In his July 1919 Eight Months of Foreign Policy, Bauer repeated that Austria was no economically viable state. ‘We are too small, too helpless to be free on our own.’ Separated from Germany, Austria was doomed to ‘a life of smallness and pettiness, a life in which nothing big can

writing about revolutionary war since 1915. He was truly and thoroughly sobered up. Despair to confidence In March 1919 Lenin classically formulated the view that the Soviet state existed in a ‘system of states’, and that its prolonged existence next to the imperialist states was ‘unthinkable’. ‘In the end, either the one or the other will be victorious.’16 But when the Bolsheviks were winning the Civil War in late 1919, Lenin’s despondency reverted to buoyancy. That is not to say that he

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