Karl Kautsky

Socialism and
Colonial Policy


The following remarks were written down immediately after the International Congress and were intended to appear in Neue Zeit before the Essen Party Conference. I had assumed that at this Conference there would be a great debate on the principles of colonial policy, and hoped to make it more fruitful by grounding my viewpoint more thoroughly than could be done in the course of a ten-minute speech.

However, my work became too extensive and was finished too late. I only completed it on the Sunday the party conference started. And, moreover, the Conference did not bring the great debate that was expected, but only a discussion on the minor question whether David’s point of view in Stuttgart had been different to that of Ledebour and myself. To our great astonishment this was disputed to the extent that the whole thing was called a squabble over words.

In view of this I was, after Essen, in some doubt as to whether the work still merited publication, as a dispute stigmatised from the outset as hair splitting could not reckon on much interest. But soon after the party conference discussion of colonial policy started up again; as it had to, because far from being mere quibbling, it is a discussion of highly important material differences. Thus it did not seem to me unnecessary to make the attempt to contribute to the clarification of the question by publishing this work.


K. Kautsky
10 October 1907


Last updated on 11.12.2003