11 Pages

The role of the political party in the workers’ movement (Introduction to Marx’s ‘Critique of the Gotha Programme’)

This compact ar t icle , the final re-statement of Szabó’ s rejection of Social Democratic political, that is parliamentary, par t ies was written for volume 2 of his Marx-Engels collection, but he found it so important that he published it as an article in ‘Huszadik Század’ , pt II (1909, p p . 147-47) and also in French in ‘Mouvement Socialiste’ , pt I (1910, p p . 5-20). Taking his cue from Marx’ s most explicit statements on Lasallean etatistic illusions, Szabó develops his cri t ique from empirical data (on bourgeois votes for socialist par t ies and proletarian votes for non-socialist ones) and s tates clearly that through the German-type par t ies a ‘ new class’ of professional politicians have taken over the leadership , in no way express ing the in te res t s of the working c lass . These , he maintains, are represen ted only in the sphere of economic confrontation between workers and bourgeois , not in the political a rena . This article marked the final break of Szabo with Social Democracy: a pa r ty that s t rengthened bourgeois democracy and the s tate - though;i t may have served p r o g r e s - sive aims - was not the field with which a Marxist-proletarian theoretician and revolutionary had anything to do, not even as an oppositionary member.