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Vanguard of the RevolutionThe Global Idea of the Communist Party$
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A. James McAdams

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196428

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196428.001.0001

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Internationalizing the Party Idea

Internationalizing the Party Idea

(p.102) Chapter 4 Internationalizing the Party Idea
Vanguard of the Revolution

A. James McAdams

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that the same factors that made the Bolshevik Revolution possible in Russia—above all, the catastrophe of World War I—had the opposite effect in Europe. There are four key cases discussed here: Germany, Hungary, Great Britain, and France. In different ways, communist leaders sought to present their ideas about the path to socialism as uniquely suited to move Europe forward. But for equally different reasons, each ended up accepting the Communist International's (Comintern) directives. The communist party in Germany advocated a mass-based conception of revolutionary action that contrasted sharply with Lenin's advocacy of a conspiratorial vanguard. Hungary's communist leaders attempted to transform their society according to a radically voluntarist conception of party rule during the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. Well before the British Communist Party was even formed, the party's founders were overshadowed by the postwar popularity of the reform-minded Labour Party. Finally, France's communists seemed to have the greatest chance of establishing an independent identity.

Keywords:   Germany, Hungary, Great Britain, France, Communist International, Comintern, socialism, communist leaders, revolutionary action

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