Bebel, August- (1840-1913) Formerly a worker, he co-founded with Wilhelm Liebknect the German Social Democratic Party in 1869. A Reichstag deputy from 1867. Opposed Franco-German War in 1872. Sentenced with Wilhelm Liebknect to two years imprisonment from treason. Leader of SPD and the Second International.
Bernstein, Eduard - 1850-1932. Member of the SPD, first theorist of reformism within the German Social Democracy (Second International). He held that Marxism was no longer vaild and had to be "revised". In his view, socialism would come about through the gradual democratization of capitalism. The workers' movement therefore had to abandon the policy of class struggle for one of class collaboration with the "progressive" bourgeoisie. Bernstein's work Evolutionary Socialism was attacked by every noted Marxist of the period. Nevertheless, the theory and practice of revisionism became dominant in the most important Socialist parties throughout the world and led to the collapse of the Second International at the outbreak of World War I.
Von Bismarck, Otto - (1815-1898) was head of the Prussian government from 1862, first Chancellor of the German Empire from 1871 to 1890. He unified Germany under Prussia and the Hohenzollerns, and was a vehement enemy of the labor movement. As Chancellor he introduced the Anti-Socialist Law of 1878, which banned the SPD.
Black Hundreds - Popular name for the Union of the Russian People - a league of the most reactionary monarchists and nationalists who employed methods of criminal terror against the revolutionaries and were the chief instigators of pogroms in Russia.
Blanquism - A theory of insurrection by a select clique of conspirators, usually contrasted to the Marxist concept of mass insurrection. Blanquism is a subspcies of putschism (the German word for a sudden attempt on the seats of power). The name is taken from Louis Auguste Blanqui, French revolutionist, 1805 - 1881. Blanqui himself pariticipated in all the French uprisings from 1830 through the years of the Paris Commune (1871), spending thirty-three of his seventy-six years in prison.
Bogdanov, A. A. - (1873 - 1938) The most wholehearted of Lenin's supporters at the time of the split with the Mensheviks in 1903. In 1909 became leader of the Vyperod group in the Bolshevik Party, together with Lunacharsky and Gorky, which later broke with Lenin's faction.
Bolsheviks / Bolshevik Party- The word Bolshevik means 'majority' in Russian. Originally part of the Russian Social Democratic Party, split from the Mensheviks (minority) in 1903, forming two wings of the RSDP, until emerging as a separate party in 1912. They believed that the working class should unite with the poor peasants, taking the lead in a struggle against all bourgeois society, not only for the overthrow of czarism, but for the inauguration of a labor republic and a socialist state, and the spread of international revolution. Under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, it led the October Revolution of 1917.
Bonapartism - A transitional form of government between the regimes of parliamentary democracy and fascism, based on dictatorship and military force during a period when class rule is not secure. A strong government which appears to stand 'above parties' and 'above classes' due to relative equilibrium between the working class and the bourgeoisie. It is based on the military, police, and state bureaucracy rather than on parliamentary parties or a mass movement. So called after Napoleon Bonaparte, the classic example of Bourgeois Bonapartism. Stalin's totalitarian regime and others like it are classified as Proletarian Bonapartism.
Bourgeoisie - The class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor.
Bukharin, Nikolai - (1888-1938) Youngest of the Old Bolsheviks, a member of Bolshevik Party in Moscow until escaping abroad in 1911. During First World War, after being arrested in Sweden for anti-militarist activities, participated with Trotsky in editing Russian paper Novy Mir in USA. Returned to Russia after February revolution 1917. Member of Bolshevik Central Committee from July 1917, and later editor of Pravda. During the revolution and civil war was a 'Left Communist'. As such, opposed the peace of Brest-Litovsk and issued a factional paper, Communist. However from 1923 on increasingly adopted right-wing policies.
In Russia he argued for the slow building of 'socialism in one country'
through policy of accommodation to the peasants; internationally this tended to mean
surrendering the independence of Communist parties to bourgeois nationalists and left
Social Democrat and trade union leaders. Between 1923 and 1927 Bukharin worked
hand-in-glove with Stalin against the Left
Opposition. In 1928 Stalin broke this alliance. By end of 1929
Bukharin had been removed from all positions of importance in the party and Comintern. After capitulating completely to Stalin,
was made editor of Isvestia in 1933, only to be framed and
executed in the last of the Moscow Trials in 1938.