Top 10 Marxists (non-Leninist) in terms of influence on Marxism through history.
Adapted from https://acatheunderground.wordpress.com/guide-to-communists-and-anarchists/
Top 10 Marxists (non-Leninist) in terms of influence on Marxism through history.
1. Karl Marx
Marx and Engels were the founders of the modern communist movement. Karl Marx’s most famous works are The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867). He and Engels gradually became more influential in the International Workingmen's Association (later known as the First International). Two of his shorter works were also published, Wage Labour and Capital and Value, Price and Profit. The academic discipline of sociology is influenced by Marx.
2. Friedrich Engels
Marx and Engels were the founders of the modern communist movement. Engels and Marx gradually became more influential in the International Workingmen's Association (later known as the First International). Engels edited Marx’s Das Kapital Volumes II and III for publication. Engels most famous works were The Condition of the Working-Class in England, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (one of the best-selling socialist books of the era) and The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.
3. Karl Kautsky
Karl Kautsky was the main figure of early ‘social democracy’ and ‘Orthodox Marxism’ and prepared Marx’s Capital Volume IV for publication. He founded and edited the influential ‘Die Neue Zeit’ monthly (then weekly) socialist journal. His other most notable work he produced with Engels, The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx. He also wrote The Foundations of Christianity and The Road to Power. Kautsky then left the SPD and wrote The Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Terrorism and Communism (in response to Leninists).
4. Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg was the leader of the SDKPiL (Social Democratic Party of Kingdom of Poland). She was also influential in the German SPD and the Second International. In opposition to World War I, she split from the SPD to found the Spartacus League (later the Communist Party of Germany) before her execution in the failed Spartacist uprising in 1919. Her most notable works are The Accumulation of Capital and Reform or Revolution.
5. Georgi Plekhanov
The founding father of Russian Marxism. Under Pavel Axelrod's influence, Plekhanov was one of the organizers of the first political demonstrations in Russia in 1876. In 1900, Plekhanov helped found Iskra (The Spark) newspaper to unite various independent local Marxist groups. From this emerged, the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP). Plekhanov outlined a history of materialism and bourgeois philosophers of the "great man theory of history" came under attack from the economic determinist point of view in his 1898 book entitled "On the Individual's Role in History." He defended revolutionary Marxism against the revisionist critics such as Eduard Bernstein.
Plekhanov was extremely hostile to the Bolshevik Party headed by V.I. Lenin. He criticized Lenin's revolutionary April Theses as "ravings" and called Lenin himself an "alchemist of revolution" for his seeming willingness to leap over the stage of capitalist development. Plekhanov always insisted that Marxism was a materialist doctrine rather than an idealist one, and that Russia would have to pass through a capitalist stage of development before becoming socialist.
6. Wilhelm Liebknecht
Wilhelm Liebknecht participated in the 1848 revolutions. He co-founded the German Social Democratic Party with August Bebel in 1869, growing it to the largest party in Germany. His most influential written work was No Compromise, No Political Trading.
7. August Bebel
Bebel co-founded German Social Democracy with Wilhelm Liebknecht in 1869. Bebel had trained as a cabinet maker, and in 1863, at the time of the founding of Lassalle’s German Workers’ Association, he found "socialism and communism" "totally unfamiliar concepts, double-duth words". Bebel was a member of the Reichstag from 1867. Sentenced with Liebknecht to two years imprisonment for "treason" (opposition to Franco-German War) in 1872. After they merged with the Lassalleans in Gotha in 1875, Bebel remained the unquestioned leader. His fiery parliamentary speeches – from 1868 he was continuously a member first of the North German and later the German Reichstag – are part of the history of German social democracy, as are also his books, above all his autobiography From My Life and Woman and Socialism. Woman and socialism (1879) was one of the socialist movement’s best-selling books. It was reprinted 22 times and translated into many languages. It was instrumental in forming women’s liberation movements in all countries where social democracy existed.
8. Daniel De Leon
In 1915 Lenin stated that Daniel De Leon was "the only one who has added anything to Socialist thought since Marx." Daniel De Leon (1852-1914) was an orator and elected newspaper editor for the Socialist Labor Party of America.
The SLP established in 1876 is the oldest socialist political party in the United States and the second oldest socialist party in the world.
De Leon joined the SLP in 1889 and launched the SLP newspaper. De Leon was the leading figure in the Socialist Labor Party of America from 1890 until the time of his death. In 1896 he had seen the union as the "shield" and the Socialist Labor Party ballot as the "sword." Even DeLeon's opponents were usually willing to concede that he possessed a tremendous intellectual grasp of Marxism. He was not a petty tyrant who desired power for power's sake. Rather, he was a dogmatic idealist, devoted brain and soul to a cause, a zealot who could not tolerate heresy or backsliding, a doctrinaire who would make no compromise with principles. He was perhaps the most significant and influential American Marxist in the period 1890-1914.
His key four lectures--Reform or Revolution (1896); What Means This Strike? (1898); The Burning Question of Trades Unionism ( 1904), and Socialist Reconstruction of Society (1905)--have been published together in a single book, Socialist Landmarks.
9. William Morris
William Morris was the main British representative of socialism and the Arts and Crafts movement. In 1883 he was founding and leading member of one of Britain's largest socialist parties of the 19th Century, the Social Democratic Federation. Morris co-authored the Social Democratic Federation manifesto. In 1884, with the support of Engels and Eleanor Marx, he split to form the Socialist League and edited, funded and was principal contributor to the newspaper Commonweal. He embarked on a relentless series of speeches and talks on street corners and in just 6 months attracted 8 branches and 230 members. By 1887 this rose to 550 members. Two of his best known prose works, the utopian News from Nowhere and A Dream of John Ball were first printed here in serialized form. In 1890 he left the Socialist League but he continued to write and speak for socialism to his death in 1896.
10. Paul Lafargue
Paul Lafargue, the disciple and son-in-law of Karl Marx, helped to found the first French Marxist party in 1882. Over the next three decades, he served as the chief theoretician and propagandist for Marxism in France. During these years, which ended with the dramatic suicides of Lafargue and his wife, French socialism, and the Marxist party within it, became a significant political force.
Lafargue was the subject of a famous quotation by Karl Marx. Shortly before Marx died in 1883, he wrote a letter to Lafargue and the French Workers' Party leader Jules Guesde, both of whom already claimed to represent "Marxist" principles. Marx accused them of "revolutionary phrase-mongering" and of denying the value of reformist struggles. This exchange is the source of Marx's remark, reported by Friedrich Engels: "ce qu'il y a de certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste" ("what is certain to me is that [,if they are Marxists, then] I am not [a] Marxist").
From then until his death, Lafargue remained the most respected theorist of the POF, not just extending the original Marxist doctrines, but also adding original ideas of his own. He also took active part in public activities such as strikes and elections, and was imprisoned several times.
In 1891, despite being in police custody, he was elected to the French Parliament for Lille, being the first ever French Socialist to occupy such an office. His success would encourage the POF to remain engaged in electoral activities, and largely abandon the insurrectional policies of its previous period. Nevertheless, Lafargue continued his defense of Marxist orthodoxy against any reformist tendency, as shown by his conflict with Jean Jaurès, as well as his refusal to take part in any "bourgeois" government.