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Red Library: A Political Education Podcast for Today's Left

Mar 10, 2019

Comrade Courtney is on Red Library this week to discuss Adam Przeworski's book on socialism, capitalism, and electoral politics. This one is especially relevant for anyone active in organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America or interested in the relationship between socialist strategy and electoral politics in the U.S. 

We tackle some of the history of socialist parties engaging in electoral politics and the contradictions and still-open questions they faced in trying to organize for power and bring about the transition out of capitalism into a socialist future. Spoiler alert: it didn't really work out. Our hope is that this episode can give ourselves and our comrade-listeners out there some insight into why and how not to repeat history yet again. 

We start off discussing the Erfurt Program which could very well be new for listeners. 

The Erfurt Program was adopted by the Social Democratic Party of Germany during the SPD congress at Erfurt in 1891. Formulated under the political guidance of Eduard BernsteinAugust Bebel, and Karl Kautsky, it superseded the earlier Gotha Program.

The program declared the imminent death of capitalism and the necessity of socialist ownership of the means of production. The party intended to pursue these goals through legal political participation rather than by revolutionary activity. Kautsky argued that because capitalism, by its very nature, must collapse, the immediate task for socialists was to work for the improvement of workers' lives rather than for the revolution, which was inevitable.

For a good summary and overview of Capitalism and Social Democracy, check out this link


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