Ferdinand Lassalle was the founder of the General German Workers Association (ADAV), which is considered as the first organized labor movement (at least in Germany) and would later evolve into the modern Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Despite his early death he remained a very popular figure all the way till the Russian Revolution - both in Germany and among the socialists/communists in other countries. Thus, he was featured prominently in the early Soviet propaganda - his books were translated, streets and children were named after him, major events of his life were mentioned in calendars, etc.

However, the mainstream socialism and communism would later distance themselves from Lassalle - e.g., see Mythes et mémoires du mouvement ouvrier. Le cas Ferdinand Lassalle by Dayan-Herzbrun. In some later communists writings he would even be referred to as "fascist" (e.g., in Isaiah Berlin's biography of Karl Marx.)

There are multiple reasons why Lassalle would be criticized by mainstream Marxism:

  • Already in his lifetime he quarreled with Marx
  • Despite the Lassalle's early death, he was rivaling with Marx in popularity for at least half a century afterwards (see, e.g., the poster for Gotha congress featuring Marx and Lassalle, apparently their equal size photos also appear in 1913 congress of SPD.)
  • Lassalle opposed violent revolution - advocating instead for universal suffrage and political fight via parliamentary influence (he notably hoped this way to co-opt the Bismarck government as an ally against bourgeoisie. It is even argued that French socialists policy of joining government in this period was inspired by Lassalle's ideas.)
  • Lassalle was advocating for a strong nation-state and development of the socialism within national boundaries (which is arguably how socialism is viewed today by mainstream western socialists, even though this earned Lassalle's the accusations in nationalism.)
  • Lassalle's leadership style was markedly authoritarian/populist (which is probably why he was linked to "fascism", together with the previous bullet - although he died in 1864, well before fascism took shape.)

Were Lassalle supporters/sympathisers/admirers persecuted after during purges in the same way as one persecuted, e.g., Trotskyism? Was there an organized campaign? Were any exiled, sent to prisons, executed for such views? Was anyone rehabilitated from such charges in post-Stalin period?

To follow up the comment by @Semaphore: whether there was a widespread following for Lassalle in early Russia might be also part of this question. As I indicated above, he was still as popular as Marx among the German communists, so early Russian communists who had been in exile before revolution, might have also considered him as a figure equal to Marx.

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    Were there even any Lassalle supporters to persecute under Stalin...? He had been dead for nearly seven decades before Stalin came to power
    – Semaphore
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 13:42
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    Skimming the Russian sources, it's unclear to me whether Lassalle was considered relevant by Soviets. He receives a small amount of recognition as an early socialist but that seems to be about it.
    – SPavel
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 14:25
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    @SPavel Dayan-Herzbrun argues that there was deliberate suppression of Lassalle's legacy in the Communist movement, and particularly in the USSR - this was not uncommon practice. Trotsky and many others also disappeared from history books - so I wouldn't count recognition by canonical texts or lack thereof as a proof here, e.g., SPD still considers Lassalle as its founder. This is why I asked specifically about campaigns and evidence from documents related to arrests, executions, etc.
    – Roger V.
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 14:34
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    Yes but people made statements on the record to the effect of " I was a Trotskyite wrecker and now I condemn him" whereas I wasn't able to find such statements being extracted on the topic of Lassalle.
    – SPavel
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 16:51
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    My grandfather told me about a couple he knew that named their kids Revo and Lution. It was a different time. (amusingly Lution - a girl - came first and for some years, until the boy Revo was born, people were confused)
    – SPavel
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 18:16


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