By Doug Enaa Greene
December 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — More than a century ago, Eduard Bernstein claimed that it was time for socialists to abandon their revolutionary goal of overthrowing capitalism. He argued that the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) should adopt a reformist approach that strictly relied on legal channels, such as elections in which socialism could slowly be voted into power. To support his position, Bernstein cited the authority of Friedrich Engels, who had allegedly reached similar conclusions in one of his last works. Citing Engels’s introduction to Marx’s Class Struggles in France, Bernstein argued, “Engels is so thoroughly convinced that tactics geared to a catastrophe have had their day that he considers a revision to abandon them to be due even in the Latin countries where tradition is much more favourable to them than in Germany.”1 Bernstein is not alone in claiming Engels for reformism; he was later joined by others such as Karl Kautsky, Ralph Miliband, and Santiago Carrillo.2 Even the American democratic socialist Michael Harrington, who otherwise viewed Engels as a “distorter” of Marxism, had no problem using him to vindicate a democratic socialist strategy: “In his 1895 Preface to a new edition of Marx’s Class Struggles in France, Engels summarized the democratic strategy in sweeping historical terms…. Engels’s turn toward what can only be called democratic socialism was a critically important deepening of the idea of socialism itself.”3
By Gavin McCrea
Melbourne: Scribe, 2015,
352 pages, A$29.99
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Review by Barry HealyAugust 13, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For those hankering to know what Friedrich Engels’ erect penis looked like, page 37 of this novel is for you. “In its vigours, it points up and a bit to the side”, says Lizzie Burns, the first-person narrator of the entire story.
She goes on: “Its cover goes all the way over the bell and bunches at the end like a pastry twist. Before he does anything he spits on his hand and peels this back.” Engels is quite enamoured of his member, it seems.
Gavin McCrea’s Lizzie Burns is a brilliant narrative voice and his writing sparkles. Lizzie’s rich brogue and her incisive humour are wonderful.