THIS book appears at the moment of the Second Congress of the Communist International. The revolutionary movement of the proletariat has made, during the months that have passed since the First Congress, a great step forward. The positions of the official, open social-patriots have everywhere been undermined. The ideas of Communism acquire an ever wider extension. Official dogmatised Kautskianism has been gradually compromised. Kautsky himself, within that "Independent" Party which he created, represents to-day a not very authoritative and a fairly ridiculous figure.
None the less, the intellectual struggle in the ranks of the international working class is only now blazing up as it should. If, as we just said, dogmatised Kautskianism is breathing its last days, and the leaders of the intermediate Socialist parties are hastening to renounce it, still Kautskianism as a bourgeois attitude, as a tradition of passivity, as political cowardice, still plays an enormous part in the upper ranks of the working-class organisations of the world, in no way excluding parties tending to the Third International, and even formally adhering to it.
The Independent Party in Germany, which has written on its banner the watchword of the dictatorship of the proletariat, tolerates in its ranks the Kautsky group, all the efforts of which are devoted theoretically to compromise and misrepresent the dictatorship of the proletariat in the shape of its living expression--the Soviet régime. In conditions of civil war, such a form of co-habitation is conceivable only and to such an extent as far and as long as the dictatorship of the proletariat represents for the leaders of the "Independent" Social Democracy a noble aspiration, a vague protest against the open and disgraceful treachery of Noske, Ebert, Scheidemann and others, and --last but not least--a weapon of electoral and parliamentary demagogy.
The vitality of vague Kautskianism is most clearly seen in the example of the French Longuetists. Jean Longuet himself has most sincerely convinced himself, and has for long been attempting to convince others, that he is marching in step with us, and that only Clemenceau's censorship and the calumnies of our French friends