Friedrich Adler


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Adler, Friedrich

 

Born July 9, 1879; died Jan. 2, 1960. A leader of the Austrian Social Democratic Party and a theoretician of Austro-Marxism; son of Viktor Adler.

Between 1907 and 1911, Adler was a privatdocent at the University of Zürich in the faculty of theoretical physics. He joined the social democratic movement at that time. A follower of Mach’s philosophy, from 1911 to 1916 he was secretary of the Austrian Social Democratic Party. V. I. Lenin criticized Adler’s view in his work Materialism and Empiriocriticism. From 1914 to 1916, Adler was a member of the so-called Marxist Left, a centrist group in the Austrian Social Democratic Party. He favored the “neutrality” of the proletariat with respect to the imperialist war and denied the need for a revolutionary mass struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie in his country. On Oct. 21, 1916, he shot and killed Stürgkh, the head of the government. V. I. Lenin called this act of individual terror “a Kautskyite act of despair” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 49, p. 313). Adler was condemned to death, but the sentence was commuted to long-term imprisonment. After his release by an act of amnesty (Nov. 1, 1918), Adler resumed active work in the party and openly became a reformist. He was one of the leaders of the Second and a Half International (1921–23), later becoming secretary of the executive committee of the so-called Socialist Workers’ International (1923–40). In the last years of his life, Adler was connected with the leadership of the Socialist International. He fought against the communist movement and rejected any attempts to unite the workers. Denying the existence of an Austrian nation, Adler welcomed the Anschluss. From 1946 he lived in Zürich.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 18, pp. 47–48, 53, 59, 117, 329–30.
Lenin, V. I. Ibid., vol. 37, pp. 388–93.
Lenin, V. I. Ibid., vol. 40, pp. 136–39.
Lenin, V. I. Ibid., vol. 41, pp. 4–5, 12, 19–20.
Lenin, V. I. Ibid., vol. 49, pp. 311–14.

M. A. POLTAVSKII

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Part of a two-volume set, this first volume aims to bring a wide-ranging and representative selection of the works of Austro-MarxismAEs leading thinkers, including Otto Bauer, Karl Renner, Rudolf Hilferding, Max Adler, Friedrich Adler, and Otto Neurath to an English-speaking audience.
One of his close friends was Friedrich Adler, a physicist and radical socialist who in 1916 assassinated the Austrian prime minister as a protest against the country's war policy.
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This reflected the beliefs of many of the leading male socialists of the day, such as Otto Bauer, Friedrich Adler, or Julius Tandler.