Transformation of Austrian Socialism,The

By Kurt Leo Shell

Hardcover : 9780873950053, 305 pages, June 1961

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Table of contents


I. Austrian Socialism—Past and Present
Early History: 1998-1918
The Growth of the Mass Party
The Party as a State within the State
Left and Right in World War I
Social Democracy in the First Republic: 1918-1934
Coalition and Achievements
The Party in Opposition
Impending Civil War
February, 1934: Days of Defeat
The Period of Illegality: 1934-1945
Organization of the "Revolutionary Socialists"
"New Men" Versus "Old Social Democrats"
Destruction and Dispersal
Social Democracy Revived: 1945 and After
Reorganization of the Party Machinery
The Provisional Government
Elections and Coalition
The Demise of "Integral Socialism"

II. Problems of Organization
The Rejection of the R. S. Organizational Concepts
The Party's Name
Cadre Organization Versus Mass Organization
The Problem of Socialist Shop Reform
"Proletarian Core" and "Marginal Strata"
A Party of the Proletariat?
Ancillary Organizations
The Mass Party—Occupational Stratification
Miscellaneous Organizational Changes
The Socialist Youth Organization (Sozialistische Jugend; SJ)
Problems of Reorganization
The Ambiguity of Function
SJ and Party: Confrontation of Generations
The Revival of Trade Union Organization
The Establishment of a Nonparty Trade Union Federation
Organizational Structure of the Trade Union Federation
The Trade Union Federation and the Socialist Party
The Socialist Fraction
Party-Trade Union Alignment
Labor Peace
The Communist Challenge
Work Council Elections
Chambers of Labor
Parliamentary Democracy or Chamber State?

III. Party Structure: Hierarchy, Participation, and "Inner Democracy"
Party Structure
The Party Leadership
The Party Bureaucracy
The "Cadre" of Party Functionaries
Length of Party Membership
The Age Structure of Party Membership
Development and Distribution of Party Membership
"Socialist Education"
The Party as a "Democratic Community"
The Party's "Democratic Constitution": The Organizational Statute
Oligarchic Tendencies
The Party Conference (Parteitag)
The Composition of the Party Conference
Stability of Leadership
Accumulation of Offices
Nomination for Public Offices
Party Discipline and Inner-Party Opposition
Party Discipline Enforced: The Case of Erwin Scharf
Party Unity in the Face of the Communist Threat

IV. The Ebbing of Marxist Theory

The Marxist Base
Socialism and Democracy: The Austro-Marxist Discussion
Definition of the State
Parliamentary Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship
Revolutionary Socialism
The Disappearance of Theory
Democracy Triumphant
Austro-Marxism Today
"Humanitarian Socialism"
Changing Attitudes Towards Soviet Communism
The "Capitalist West"

V. The Permanent Coalition
Coalition and Opposition in the First Republic
Principle or Tactics?
Renner's Argument for Coalition
The "Permanent Coalition"
Criticism from the Left
The Lack of an Alternative
The "Ghost of February, 1934"
The Coalition Facts
The "Proporz"
Problems of Church and School
Sources of Traditional Conflict
Attempts at Conciliation
The Continued Struggle Against Clericalism
Equality of Educational Opportunity
VI. Toward a Socialist Economy? (Part I)
Some Questions of Economic Principle
The Marxist Heritage
The Acceptance of a Mixed Economy
Cartels and Competition
Equality, Efficiency, and Incentives
Socialization in the First and Second Republics
Bauer's Scheme
History and Scope
Organization of the Nationalized Industries
Principles and Spirit of Administration
Planning of Production

Toward a Socialist Economy? (Part II)
"Plant Democracy"
The Work Council Acts
The Failure of "Codetermination"
Consultation in Nationalized Industries
The Wage-Price Agreements
Private Versus Public Saving
Tax Policy
Welfare Services
Public Housing and Tenants' Protection

VIII. Socialism in the "Age of Fulfillment"
The Feeling of Uneasiness
The Change of Objective
The Sources of Socialist Inspiration
The "Felt Needs" of the Proletariat
Equality of Opportunity
"Scientific Socialism"
The Utopian Vision
The Rise of a Class
Causes and Disappointment
Socialist Ideals
Socialism and the Proletariat
A Socialist Way of Life
Resistance to "Rethinking"
The Failure of the Left

Appendix 1. The Electoral Position of the Socialist Party in National Elections Since 1930
Appendix 2. Elections to Chambers of Labor and Work Councils
Appendix 3. The Ten-Point Program


As most political observers know, the powerful socialist parties of Western and Central Europe are facing a profound crisis due to their departure from the Marxist slogans of their youth and their increasing inability to define the meaning of "socialist" goals in the prosperous mixed economy of individual enterprise and welfare state now in full blast in most European countries.

In Dr. Shell's judgment the Austrian Socialist Party exhibits this transformation most clearly. A modern "mass" party, containing more then ten per cent of the entire Austrian population as dues-paying members, it is no longer full of the sound and fury of Marxist class-war slogans. Instead, its traditional labels conceal a loss of direction, of clear sense of mission, and of the "State within a State" function originally envisaged.

In tracing its history, its personalities, and achievements from World War I to the present day, Dr. Shell presents a complete and authoritative picture not only of the Austrian Socialist Party, but of what may well be the shape of things to come in the other Socialist parties of Central and Western Europe.

Kurt L. Shell, recently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Harpur College of the State University of New York, and presently at the Institute for Political Science at the Free University of Berlin, was born in Vienna in 1920. Forced to emigrate by the Nazi occupation of Austria, he worked in a London bakery before serving the U. S. Army on the Italian front. After the war, he studied and received his bachelor's and master's degrees at Columbia University, taught at the University of Minnesota, returned to Columbia as instructor in Public Law and Government, and in 1955 received his Ph. D. after a leave of absence to do research in Vienna. He was guest lecturer at Cornell in 1958 and Fulbright Professor at the Paedagogische Hochschule in Berlin in 1959.

He is the author of a number of articles and is now working in West Berlin on a new book. In response to a question about his personal life, he responded: "Married, no children, two cats. "