Adler, Max

(1873–1937)
   Adler was born and died in Vienna, and his greatest significance is as a leading figure in the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and as a major contributor to Austro- Marxism. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Vienna and became a lawyer, but his real time and attention were devoted to sociology, philosophy and his political activities. In 1903 he helped to establish a workers’ study circle with Karl Renner and Rudolf Hilferding, and in 1904 he co-founded the Marx-Studien with Hilferding. Adler was also a frequent contributor to the German Social Democratic Party journal Der Klassenkampf. He served in the Austrian Parliament from 1920 to 1923 and from 1920 to 1937 he was Professor of Sociology at the University of Vienna.
   Adler was on the left of the SPÖ. He viewed parliamentary democracy as a mask for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and advocated its replacement by a dictatorship of the proletariat. However, he called for this dictatorship of the proletariat to be achieved via legal means and with the minimum of violence. He was also critical of the Bolsheviks for having established nothing but the dictatorship of a minority. He supported the workers’ council movement as part of his strategy for achieving communism peacefully. His theoretical contribution to Austro-Marxism consists in his application of neo- Kantian and positivist ideas to Marxism. He sought to elaborate epistemological foundations for Marxism as a sociological theory.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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