Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov
Georgi Plekhanov ( Russian Георгий Валентинович Плеханов , scientific. Transliteration Georgy Valentinovič Plekhanov ; born November 29 . Jul / 11. December 1856 greg. In Gudalowka today to Lipetsk , † the 30th May 1918 in Terijoki , Finland , today Russia) was a Russian journalist and philosopher who combined the experience of the failure of the Russian fanatical and social revolutionary terrorist movement, the Narodniki , and Western European Marxism .
Followers of the Narodniki
Plekhanov came from a middle-class Russian landed gentry, but joined the revolutionary movement in his youth. In 1876, as a 20-year-old student, he was a speaker at the first Russian workers' demonstration where red flags were shown. At first he was close to the Narodniki , but soon distanced himself from their terrorist methods. In the group “Black Redistribution” he pursued agar-socialist goals. In contrast to other Narodniki, the young Plekhanov referred in his first theoretical writings to the importance of urban workers who were closely associated with the peasantry and who, like the peasants, still clung to the old community ideals.
Exile and the Labor Liberation Group
He became the spiritual father and first party leader of the Russian Social Democracy , in the establishment of which he took part in Geneva in 1883 . The Liberation of Labor ( Oswoboschdenije truda ) group, founded by Plekhanov, Pawel Borissowitsch Axelrod , Wera Ivanovna Sassulitsch , Lev Grigoryevich Deitsch and Vasily Ignatow, set itself the goal of translating socialist literature from Europe into Russian and fighting the Narodniks in Russia . In this context, Plekhanov wrote his own theoretical writings, in which he pointed to the development of capitalism in Russia and the leading role of the working class in the liberation movement. According to him, the Russian working class would first have to complete the process of Europeanization of Russia initiated by Peter the Great at the beginning of the 18th century and fight for political freedom before it could strive for socialism.
His work Socialism and Political Struggle (1883) represented a completely new conception in the history of the Russian socialist movement. In this work, Plekhanov pointed out that, due to the backward circumstances, the village population is not only less capable of political initiative than the industrial proletariat, but is also less receptive to the revolutionary ideas. That is why the industrial proletariat must take the lead and fight for democracy and socialism. To seize power, the working class would have to create its own political party instead of using its energies behind the narodniks' conspiracy strategies. But that presupposes an enlightened working class. Under the conditions of Russia where there was neither a modern economy nor an organized proletariat , a revolutionary dictatorship of the intelligentsia could have fatal consequences. It could lead society to a patriarchal and authoritarian communism , with a socialist caste running national production. The basic concept of this publication found its expression in the 1880s in two draft programs for a social democratic workers' party in Russia.
In his other theoretical writings, he repeatedly referred to capitalist progress in Russia, which would inevitably lead to a strong labor movement. In his work Our Differences of Opinion (1885) he sharply criticized the Narodniki and showed statistically that the irreversible capitalist economic conditions would lead the village community to its ruin. He advised building a revolutionary workers' party as soon as possible. For him, the workers' party could only develop in close connection with international socialism. He took part with other Russian socialists in the founding congress of the Second International in Paris, where he declared against the Narodniki: "The revolutionary movement will triumph in Russia as a workers' movement, or it will never triumph."
The second part of our differences of opinion was entitled On the History of the Development of the Monistic Concept of History . According to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, “a generation of Russian Marxists was brought up” on this work . In this book, Plekhanov pointed out that Russia could no longer leave the path of capitalist development that it had taken with the abolition of serfdom in 1861. According to Plekhanov, the village community, which Karl Marx saw as the “base of the social rebirth of Russia”, thus as a possibility for socialism, must be destroyed by capitalism. It was not the peasants who were able to liberate the country, but the labor movement in alliance with other revolutionary social classes.
Plekhanov became known internationally for his work on historical materialism .
For Vladimir Ilyich Lenin , whom he first met in Geneva in 1895, he was the theoretical father and friend figure until they fell out in Geneva in 1900 . It was about the establishment of the magazine Iskra (Искра - Der Funke), which should become the central organ of the party. Plekhanov would have liked to have located the newspaper in Geneva, also in order to be able to exert greater influence himself, but Lenin and Alexander Potressov succeeded in ensuring that the publishing location was initially Munich. Lenin later noted with disappointment that Plekhanov had treated them like "stupid boys" and wanted to make them "slaves". For him, Plekhanov has since been a "fallen idol". After the publication of Lenin's work What to do? In 1902, in which he explained the leading role of the revolutionary intelligentsia in the labor movement and the principle of "democratic centralism" , Plekhanov accused him of giving up a core idea of historical materialism , namely that being determines consciousness, class consciousness thus grow out of the material situation of the workers.
At the second congress of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Russia (RSDLP), which took place in Brussels and London in 1903, there was agreement that, according to the historical laws that were believed to be the first, a bourgeois revolution would introduce capitalism and democracy in Russia, and only then could the proletarian one Revolution bring socialism. But Plekhanov spoke out against “making a fetish” of universal suffrage . If necessary, the party should disregard an election result that is unfavorable for it. On the question of party organization, the party split into two wings: Lenin's Bolsheviks implemented the cadre principle , the more moderate Mensheviks remained in the minority. Plekhanov initially sided with Lenin. In 1904, however, he applied to the Central Committee of the RSDLP to expel Lenin “because of Bonapartist tendencies”, which finally sealed the rift between the two. In the following years he tried to use his reputation as the “father of Russian Marxism” to balance the party wings. Increasingly, he shifted his activities to literary and scientific work. In 1912 he was expelled from the RSDLP with the other Mensheviks. During the First World War he advocated the Tsarist war aims. In the February Revolution of 1917 and the period of dual power , he remained politically ineffective. After the outbreak of the October Revolution , he had to evade the Bolsheviks to Finland, where he died of tuberculosis a few months later .
Critic of economism
Together with Axelrod, Plekhanov was one of the first critics of so-called economism :
"We do not rebel against agitation for economic reasons, but against the agitators who do not know how to perceive the economic clashes between workers and employers in order to develop the political consciousness of the proletariat."
- NG Tschernischewsky . JHW Dietz, Stuttgart 1894 (2nd edition "Vorwärts" bookstore Paul Singer, Berlin 1911, 3rd edition Berlin 1920).
- Anarchism and socialism . Verlag der Expedition des "Vorwärts", Berlin 1894 ( digitized version ).
- Contributions to the history of materialism. I. Holbach . II.Helvetius. III.Marx . JHWDietz, Stuttgart 1896.
- Henrik Ibsen . JHW Dietz, Stuttgart 1908 (supplementary books for Neue Zeit No. 3).
- The basic problems of Marxism. Authorized translation by M. Nachimson . Verlag JHW Dietz Nachf., Stuttgart 1910 (also "Small Library", Stuttgart 1920).
- N. Lenin / G. Plekhanov: LN Tolstoy in the mirror of Marxism. A collection of essays with an introduction by WM Fritsche . Publishing house for literature and politics, Vienna / Berlin 1928.
- The basic problems of Marxism . Edited by D. Rjazanov. Authorized translations from the Russian by Karl Schmückle . Publishing house for literature and politics, Vienna / Berlin 1929 (Marxist Library Volume 21).
- About the role of personality in history . Neuer Weg publishing house, Berlin 1945.
- About materialistic conception of history . Neuer Weg publishing house, Berlin 1946.
- Contributions to the history of materialism. Holbach Helvetius Marx . Neuer Weg publishing house, Berlin 1946.
- Art and literature. Foreword by M. Rosental. Editing u. Commentary NF Beltschikow. Translated by Joseph Harhammer . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1955.
- About the role of personality in history . Verlag Philipp Reclam, Leipzig 1965.
- Alexander Uschakow / Pyotr Nikolajw (ed.): Art and social life . deb Verlag das Europäische Buch, Berlin 1975 ISBN 3-920303-18-0 .
- The basic problems of Marxism . Progress Publishing House, Moscow 1975.
- On the question of the development of the monistic conception of history . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1975 (licensed edition: Verlag Marxistische Blätter, Frankfurt am Main 1975 ISBN 3-88012-337-3 .
- Contributions to the history of materialism . JHW Dietz Nachf., Berlin / Bonn-Bad Godesberg 1975.
- About the role of personality in history . Verlag Marxistische Blätter, Frankfurt am Main 1976 ISBN 3-88012-419-1 .
- On the sixtieth anniversary of Hegel's death. In the appendix: BA Tschagin: GW Plekhanov - An excellent theoretician of Marxism . Arbeiterkulturverlag / Edition Kultur u. Class, Düsseldorf 1978.
- Socialism and political struggle . VTK, Frankfurt am Main / Gelsenkirchen 1980 ISBN 3-88599-000-8 .
- A criticism from our critics. Writings from the years 1898 to 1911) . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1982.
- Anarchism and socialism . Neuer ISP-Verlag, Cologne 1995 ISBN 978-3-929008-87-6 .
- The 1917 revolutions . BasisDr, Berlin 1997 ISBN 3-86163-090-7 .
- 1917 - between revolution and democracy. A selection of articles and speeches from 1917 and 1918 . Berlin Debate, Berlin 2001 ISBN 3-931703-81-9 .
Article "New Time"
- Bernstein and materialism In: The new time: Review of intellectual and public life. 1897-98, 2nd vol. (1898), issue 44, pp. 545-555.
- The abolition of peasant liability in Russia . In: The new time. 1903-1904, Volume 1 (1904), Issue 7, pp. 199-205.
- The proletarian movement and bourgeois art . In: Die neue Zeit. 1905-1906, 2nd volume (1906), issue 27, pp. 10-25.
- The socio-political conditions in Russia in 1890 . In: Die neue Zeit. 1890-91, 2nd vol. (1891), issues 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52. pp. 661-668, 691-696, 731-739, 765-770, 791 -800 and 827-834.
- Civilization and the great historical rivers . In: The new time. 1890-91, Volume 1 (1891), Issue 14, pp. 437-448
- GJ Uspensky. Popular fiction and the modern development of Russia. A literary study . In: The new time. 1891-92, 2nd Vol. (1892), Issues 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52, pp. 678-683, 718-723, 750-757, 786-794 and 819-822.
- Konrad Schmidt against Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels . In: The new time. 1898-99, Volume 1 (1899), Issue 5, pp. 133-145.
- Materialism or Kantianism? . In: The new time. 1898-99, Volume 1 (1899), Issues 19 and 20, pp. 589-596 and 626-632.
- NG Tschernischewsky . In: The new time. (1890), No. 8 and 9, pp. 353-376 and 404-442.
- Russia before a regime change . In: The new time. 1894-95, Volume 1 (1895), Issues 8 and 9, pp. 228-234 and 266-273.
- About the beginnings of the doctrine of class struggle . In: The new time. 1902-1903, Volume 1 (1903), Issues 9 and 10, pp. 275-286 and 292-305.
- How the bourgeoisie commemorates its revolution . In: The new time. 1890-91, Volume 1 (1891), Issues 4 and 5, pp. 97-102 and 135-140.
- On the sixtieth anniversary of Hegel's death . In: The new time. 1891-92, Volume 1 (1892), Issues 7, 8 and 9, pp. 198-203, 236-243 and 273-282.
- 1882 Marx, Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party
- Karl Marx: Theses on Feuerbach
- Friedrich Engels: Ludwig Feuerbach and the outcome of classical German philosophy
- Predrag M. Grujic´: Čičerin, Plechanov and Lenin: Studies on the history of Hegelianism in Russia . Fink, Munich 1985 ISBN 3-7705-1753-9 .
- Detlef Jena: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow: Historical-political biography ; Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin (East) 1989 ISBN 3-326-00325-0 .
- Michail Jowtschuk , Irina Kurbatowa: Georgi Plekhanov: A biography . Dietz, Berlin (East) 1983.
- Richard Lorenz: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow . In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism . CH Beck, Munich 1991, pp. 251-263 ISBN 3-406-35089-5 .
- Thies Ziemke: Marxism and Narodničestvo: Origin and Work of the Group “Liberation of Labor” . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Bern / Cirencester / UK 1980 ISBN 3-8204-6681-9 .
- Literature by and about Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow in the catalog of the German National Library
- Newspaper article about Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow in the 20th century press kit of the ZBW - Leibniz Information Center for Economics .
- Plekhanov Archive in the Marxists Internet Archive
- Publications by Georgi W. Plekhanov digitized
- David North , Vladimir Volkov: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow (1856-1918): His position in the history of Marxism
- Richard Lorenz : Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow . In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism ; CH Beck, Munich 1991, p. 252.
- Richard Lorenz: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow. In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism . CH Beck, Munich 1991, p. 253.
- G. V. Plekhanov: Socialism and the Political Struggle , online at marxists.org, access on 23 October 2017th
- Richard Lorenz: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow . In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism . CH Beck, Munich 1991, p. 254.
- GV Plekhanov: Our Differences , online at marxists.org, access on 23 October 2017th
- Richard Lorenz: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow . In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism . CH Beck, Munich 1991, p. 256.
- Richard Lorenz: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow . In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism . CH Beck, Munich 1991, p. 256.
- Gerd Koenen : The color red. Origins and history of communism . Beck, Munich 2017, p. 583 ff.
- Gerd Koenen: The color red. Origins and history of communism . Beck, Munich 2017, p. 586.
- Gerd Koenen: The color red. Origins and history of communism . Beck, Munich 2017, p. 587.
- Gerd Koenen: The color red. Origins and history of communism . Beck, Munich 2017, p. 648.
- Carola Stern , Thilo Vogelsang , Erhard Klöss and Albert Graff (eds.): Dtv-Lexicon on history and politics in the 20th century . dtv, Munich 1974, vol. 2, p. 520.
- Richard Lorenz: Georgi Walentinowitsch Plechanow . In: Walter Euchner (Ed.) Classics of Socialism . CH Beck, Munich 1991, p. 257.
|SURNAME||Plekhanov, Georgi Walentinowitsch|
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Плеханов, Георгий Валентинович (Russian); Plechanov, Georgij Valentinovič (scientific transliteration)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Russian journalist and philosopher|
|DATE OF BIRTH||December 11, 1856|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Gudalowka (Tambov Governorate)|
|DATE OF DEATH||May 30, 1918|
|Place of death||Terijoki, today Selenogorsk near Saint Petersburg|