Ben Lewis & Lars T. Lih, Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle (2011)
“We are on the field of battle. The audience in the hall is divided in two sections: it is as if a knife has cut them sharply in two. Two parties are present.”
Zinoviev’s four hour speech to the Halle congress of the USPD is both one of the great forgotten orations of the 20th century and a turning point in the history of the German workers’ movement. Now it is (finally!) available in English – along with Julius Martov’s rejoinder – with a wealth of supplementary material. Essential reading.
“Should the German communists join the Communist (or Third) International? If the question no longer sounds very pressing, many of the arguments and answers that emerged from both sides in this debate have proved remarkably relevant to everything that has happened since. A political drama of the highest order … I could not put this book down.”
Professor Bertell Ollman, Dept. of Politics, New York University; author of ‘Alienation’ and ‘Dance of the dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method, and other works.
“Ben Lewis and Lars Lih are to be commended for making available to a new generation these speeches at the 1920 Halle Congress of the USPD, one of the most remarkable moments in the history of the European socialist movement. The debates at this conference – held at a crucial turning point when the spectre of a European-wide socialist revolution haunted political tendencies of every persuasion – touched on the most critical issues of revolutionary transformation, such as the relation of socialism and democracy, the question of whether radical parties need to obtain majority working class support in promoting the seizure of power, and the relation between spontaneity, consciousness, and organization. This volume represents a critical contribution to rethinking these issues anew for the twenty-first century.”
Peter Hudis, co-author ‘The Rosa Luxemburg Reader’
“At a time when the left still remains far too often ignorant of the events of the German revolution and its aftermath from 1919-1923 it is a great thing when a young scholar and activist like Ben Lewis makes available the record of the Halle conference in English. Lars T Lih whose, enormous contribution to the study of Lenin’s thought all serious revolutionaries now surely recognise, has also contributed to this excellent project. We are fortunate and can only hope that Lewis in future will make more such texts available to the movement.”
Ted Crawford, Revolutionary History Editorial Board
“An important contribution to the history of communism by a promising young scholar working alongside the highly-respected Lars T Lih.”
Daniel Gaido, National Research Council (Conicet), Argentina. Co-editor, with Richard B. Day, of Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record (Brill, 2009).