Austrian socialist Otto Bauer, like others in the too often forgotten “Austro-Marxist” school, sought to build a mass workers’ movement that could win parliamentary democracy — and then go beyond it by establishing a socialist republic.
William Smaldone is E. J. Whipple professor of history at Willamette University, the coeditor of a two-volume collection on Austro-Marxism, and the author of Rudolf Hilferding: The Tragedy of a German Social Democrat. His latest book is “Freedom is Indivisible”: Rudolf Hilferding’s Correspondence with Karl Kautsky, Leon Trotsky, and Paul Hertz, 1902–1938.
Austrian socialist Rudolf Hilferding, author of the magisterial Finance Capitalism, used the tools of Marxism to develop a rigorous understanding of the changing capitalist economy while making the case for a socialism that put freedom and democracy at the center of the project.
Amid the radical upheavals of the early 1900s, the Austro-Marxists tried to marry revolutionary aims with reform-minded practice.