Joseph Buttinger was one of the last of a now almost extinct species, a self-educated worker- intellectual. He was born in a provincial Austrian town into a working-class family. His father was a highway builder and his mother a servant. He was almost entirely self taught, since his family could not afford the expenses necessary for higher education. Having joined the Austrian Social-Democratic party as an adolescent and having later become an active provincial leader, Buttinger acquired his culture and knowledge largely within the ranks of his party. He read his first book at age fifteen. Yet he then moved from glass worker to political educator and leader in very little time.
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