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Left communism is the range of communist viewpoints held by the Communist Left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views of Leninism held by the Communist International after its first two Congresses.
Two major traditions can be observed within Left communism: the Dutch-German tradition; and the Italian tradition. The political positions those traditions have in common are a shared opposition to what is termed frontism, nationalism, all kinds of national liberation movements and parliamentarianism and there is an underlying commonality at a level of abstract theory. Crucially, Left Communist groups from both traditions tend to identify elements of commonality in each other.
The historical origins of Left Communism can be traced to the period before the First World War, but it only came into focus after 1918 . All Left Communists were supportive of the October Revolution in Russia, but retained a critical view of its development. Some, however, would in later years come to reject the idea that the revolution had a proletarian or socialist nature, asserting that it had simply carried out the tasks of the bourgeois revolution by creating a state capitalist system.
Left Communism first came into being as a clear movement in or around 1918. Its essential features were: a stress on the need to build a Communist Party entirely separate from the reformist and centrist elements who were seen as having betrayed socialism in 1914, opposition to all but the most restricted participation in elections, and an emphasis on the need for revolutionaries to move on the offensive. Apart from that, there was little in common between the various wings. Only the Italians accepted the need for electoral work at all for a very short period of time, and the German-Dutch, Italian and Russian wings opposed the "right of nations to self-determination", which they denounced as a form of bourgeois nationalism.
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... The communist left was initially enthusiastic about the Bolshevik revolution, but lines of tension between the communist left and the leadership of the Communist International opened up very soon ... Left communists such as Sylvia Pankhurst and Rosa Luxemburg were among the first left-wing critics of Bolshevism ... Left communists see communism as something that can only be achieved by the proletariat itself, and not through the dictatorship of a vanguard party acting on its behalf ...
... Left communism is the range of communist viewpoints held by the communist left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist ... Although she lived before left communism became a distinct tendency, Rosa Luxemburg has been heavily influential for most left communists, both politically and theoretically ... Proponents of left communism have included Herman Gorter, Anton Pannekoek, Otto Rühle, Karl Korsch, Amadeo Bordiga, and Paul Mattick ...
... The uprisings of May 1968 led to a small resurgence of interest in left communist ideas ... Various small left communist groups emerged around the world, predominantly in the leading capitalist countries ... A series of conferences of the communist left began in 1976, with the aim of promoting international and cross-tendency discussion, but these petered out in the 1980s without having ...
... Part of a series on Left communism Concepts Anti-Leninism Revolutionary spontaneity Proletarian internationalism Class consciousness Class struggle Mass strike · Workers' council World ... Related topics Western Marxism · Libertarian socialism Council communism Luxemburgism · Ultra-leftism Libertarian Marxism Autonomism · Impossibilism Socialisme ou Barbarie Situationist ... Subcomandante Marcos Oscar Wilde Philosophies Anarcho-communism Anarcho-syndicalism Autonomism Collectivist anarchism Council communism Fourierism Gandhian economics ...
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