Marc Lazar: The Communist Challenge. Five questions about Communism as World System

Abstract for the conference Das 20. Jahrhundert und der Erste Weltkrieg

It’s impossible to do an exhaustive paper on this topic. In these conditions, For this panel called “Order and Ideology” in relations to the topic of our Conference, I have selected five questions about Communism, but only the «Bolshevik Communism», this modern form of Communism of Twentieth Century, created by Lenin and based on the fundamental experience of USSR: What are we speaking about when we speak of Communist System?; What are the main features of the Communist System?; As historians, can we establish a clear chronology and visible sequences of this Communist System?; Did this Communist System was a Perfect Organized World System?; and to conclude: What memory remains of this Communist System and what is its legacy?

I give some elements of answer on the reality of the facts but also indicating some historiography controversies because it’s quite impossible to separate these two dimensions. Very often I will indicate the terms of the debates without giving my own position for favouring the general discussion among us.

Marc Lazar is professor of history and political sociology at Sciences Po. In Sciences Po he is Head of the graduate program in the History department since 2007, Dean of the History department and President of scientific Council since 2010. His research interests are Communism in France and Italy, the socialist left and Social Democrats in Western Europe, the changes in politics in France and Italy and the relations between the French left and the public service.


Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, concentrated around the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with distinctive and independent focal points. Through its globally operating institutes, the Foundation is able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and the host countries or regions of its establishments. By promoting scientific dialogue and merging academic as well as non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the Internationalization of research in its three fields of dedication.

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