Beginning in 1903, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was divided into opposing sections, one led by Vladimir Lenin, the other by Iulii Martov. Until 1917, Lenin and Martov, an anti-war socialist intellectual from a Jewish background, were equally prominent figures in Russian politics. Both wrote prolifically, and although the books, articles, and pamphlets written by Lenin remain readily available today, those by Martov continue to be difficult to locate in their original Russian or, for that matter, in translation.
A Russian-language edition of World Bolshevism was published following Martov’s untimely death in 1923, but it was not until 2000, after decades of censorship, that parts of the book were legally published in Russia. This edition, which includes an introduction by Paul Kellogg, makes Martov’s work available in its complete form to English-speaking audiences for the first time in a hundred years and reintroduces this important thinker to a twenty-first century readership.
Foreword to the 1923 Russian Edition
I. Roots of World Bolshevism
II. The Ideology of “Sovietism”
III. Decomposition or Conquest of the State?
Appendix – Marx and the Problem of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Notes from the 1938 translation by Herman Jerson
Iulii Martov (1873–1923) was the ideological leader of the Mensheviks in the first part of the twentieth-century. An anti-war internationalist, Martov theorized that Bolshevism’s rise to power leaned heavily not only on the working class, but also on a temporary new class produced by the end of the First World War, a class of peasants-in-uniform.
Paul Kellogg is professor in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University. He is the author of “Truth Behind Bars”: Reflections on the Fate of the Russian Revolution (2021) and Escape from the Staple Trap: Canadian Political Economy after Left Nationalism (2015).
Mariya Melentyeva is a scholar in Russian Imperial and Soviet history. She studies the interaction of liberalism with nationalism and socialism in the Russian western borderlands in the early twentieth century.