“Rosa Luxemburg’s reluctance to forma an independent revolutionary party followed her slowness to react to changed circumstances. It was a central factor in the belatedness of building a revolutionary party in Germany. In this, however, she was not alone. Lenin was no quicker to break with Kautsky than Rosa. There is no ground to the Stalinist story according to which Lenin was opposed to the revolutionary Left’s adherence to the SPD and continuing association with Kautsky (*). Actually, Rosa Luxemburg made a clearer assessment of Kautsky and co. and broke with them long before Lenin did. For some two decades Lenin looked upon Kautsky as the greatest living Marxist. A few instances: ‘What is to be Done?’ quotes Kautsky as he main authority for its central theme, and praises the German Social-Democratic Party as a model for the Russian movement. In December, 1906, Lenin wrote: some time now as its writer’; he described Kautsky as ‘the leader of the German revolutionary Social Democrats’. (Lenin, ‘Works’, XI, p. 330). In August, 1908, he cited Kautsky as his authority on questions of war and militarism. (Works, XV, pp. 173-176). In 1910, at the time of Rosa Luxemburg’s debate with Kautsky on the question of the path to power, invoked Kautsky as a Marxist authority in his dispute with Rosa Luxemburg on the national question. Only the outbreak of the war and the betrayal of internationalism by Kautsky shattered Lenin’s illusions in him. Then he admitted: ‘Rosa Luxemburg war right; she realised long ago that Kautsky was a time-serving theorist, serving the majority of the Party, in short, serving opportunism’ (‘Letter to Shliapnikov’, 27 October, 1914)” [Tony Cliff, Rosa Luxemburg, London, 1980] [(*) See, for instance, J.V. Stalin, ‘Some Questions Concerning the History of Bolshevism’, ‘Works’, Vol. XIII, pp. 86-104; ‘Dokumente’, Vol. II, especially the preface: F. Oelssner, ‘Rosa Luxemburg’, Berlin, 1956] [Lenin-Bibliographical-Materials] [LBM*]

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