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Szabó, Ervin (1877–1918)

János M. Bak


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Ervin Szabó, a Hungarian sociologist and anarchosyndicalist , was born in Slanica (now a lost village in Slovakia). After studies in Budapest and Vienna he became a librarian, and from 1911 director of the Budapest Municipal Library (now bearing his name), which he made into a modern public library. A member of the Social Democratic Party from 1900, he was co-founder, with Oscar Jászi, of the journal Huszadik Század (Twentieth Century) , the organ of modern social science in Hungary, and a regular contributor to Neue Zeit (New Times) as well as, later on, to Mouvement Socialiste (Socialist Movement) . After failing to organize a successful opposition to the doctrinaire-reformist Social Democratic Party in 1905, he came to be ever closer to anarchists at home and abroad. While editing the first Hungarian translation of the selected works of Marx and Engels (1905–9) and keeping close contact with orthodox Marxists such as Karl Kautsky , Karl Mehring, and Georgi Plekhanov , Szabó became critical of their determinist views and the “Prussian discipline” of social democracy. He was convinced that “all social progress is the work of critically thinking intellectuals,” and turned against those “enemies of workers' socialism who use a falsified Marx as a weapon in the fight for state socialism.” Szabó's contacts with radical Russian émigrés in Vienna (in whose underground activities ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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