— J.S. The Foundations of Leninism
State planning a key ingredient for technological progress
“Global warming is the most urgent environmental challenge of our time. The raging debate has yielded numerous international summits among the world’s leading economies, but little has been achieved in terms of actually stopping or reversing the escalating threat.
Clean energy car,
Shanghai Expo, 2010
U.S. officials have consistently dug in their heels and stalled progress by demanding that countries with underdeveloped economies bear a greater share of the burden of emissions reduction. And China is their favorite scapegoat.
Yet China has invested billions of dollars to increase clean energy in recent years. Governmental policies and incentives encouraging energy efficiency have enabled the country to become one of the world’s leaders in clean-energy industries.
According to a recent report in the Seattle Times, “Overall clean-technology investments in China reached $34 billion last year, more than any other country and almost double the U.S. investment of $18 billion.” Initiatives also “include a cap on carbon, aggressive fuel-efficiency targets and a plan for $700 billion in investments over the next 10 years.”
This year alone, China has received more financing for clean energy than Europe and the United States combined. In the second quarter, funding for clean-energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and low-carbon technology rose 72 percent to total $11.5 billion, compared with U.S. investment of $4.9 billion.
Kunshan, a city located an hour outside Shanghai, has become a leading center in the development of solar power, wind power and biotechnology. A goal has been set there to produce 400 million to 500 million solar panels.
Taiwanese manufacturer Motech Industries started mass production of solar cells in Kunshan just two years ago, but already demand is exceeding capacity. A company demonstration center displays “miniature homes of the future, with green roofs and solar-powered lights, new types of small wind turbines and ultrathin solar-cell material that can be used in roofing or curtains. They even have a model handbag designed to tap sunlight to charge cellphones.” (Seattle Times, Aug. 8)
This year’s Shanghai Expo was the largest of its kind in history, drawing more than 30 million visitors. It featured exhibits including electric cars, solar and wind power, and even power derived from algae. One of the electric cars absorbs carbon dioxide while simultaneously emitting oxygen.
In addition, utilities are being required to sell renewable energy to consumers at discounted rates. There will be a 50 percent subsidization of the investment cost for solar-power systems; and a 20 percent reduction in energy intensity coming on the heels of a 14.4 percent reduction in 2009. Energy intensity is the energy consumption per unit of economic output. (Associated Press, Aug. 9)
Leading polluters scapegoat China
Despite these remarkable Chinese achievements, U.S. government officials have continued to stall progress in climate change talks by demanding that developing economies—particularly China—bear a larger share of the burden of emissions reduction. U.S. pundits and politicians see China’s increasingly rapid rate of development as a threat to U.S. global economic dominance.
China is developing at an impressive pace. Its economy grew at rates of 11.9 percent and 10.3 percent in the first and second quarters, respectively. The country is fifth in annual percentage increase in industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and construction. In terms of total spending on fixed assets, such as factories, homes and inventories of raw materials, which provide the basis for future production, China ranks third. In contrast, the United States comes in at number 116 and 145, respectively, for the same indices. (CIA World Factbook, 2009)
China has become the world’s largest energy consumer and carbon emitter—but one in every five people on the planet live in China. Its population is well over 1.3 billion people; the U.S. population is just about 310 million people, far less than one quarter the population of China. As a result, China is still well behind much of the world in per capita energy consumption and emissions.
In fact, one would have to combine all historically dominant colonial powers—the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Japan and Australia—and some of the dominant contemporary U.S. puppet regimes—Israel, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia—to even come close, yet still shy, of the total population of China.
The key to China’s clean-energy policies
The key to understanding the differences in development of clean-energy technologies between the U.S. and China is the continued presence of the Chinese Communist Party at the head of the state.
It is precisely because China’s energy sector is largely state-owned that the Chinese government is able to implement clean-energy policies.
In the United States, there is no centralized energy policy. Fossil fuel energy interests, as well as the emerging clean-energy industry, are controlled by private capital. The amount of resources invested into these industries, and the resulting dominance of one form of energy production over another, are entirely determined by how much profit they yield and their strategic value for U.S. capitalists.
Through decades of imperialist war, CIA-sponsored coups and the funding of loyal client regimes, the United States has secured control over or access to some of the world’s richest oil fields. This has yielded mega-profits for energy companies and a strategic advantage over other leading economies.
A sector of the U.S. capitalist class is becoming increasingly interested in the investment opportunities offered by the clean-energy industry. Further, some worry about U.S. dependence on oil. But even with all of that taken into account, the influence and power of oil interests, as well as the military-industrial complex interests to which they are inextricably linked, remain far superior.
As a result, while U.S. politicians and investors may tout clean-energy technology as the future opportunity for growth in industry, little action has been taken to promote it.
The U.S. Senate, for instance, recently failed to pass even problematic energy legislation to cap carbon emissions by utilities and set new renewable-energy standards. Opponents, likely all recipients of funding from the fossil fuels industries, claimed it would increase energy prices and restrict economic growth.
The contradictions in China
For the past three decades, increasing sectors of China’s economy have been transferred to capitalist forms of property. Private enterprise has developed, foreign corporations have gained access to the country’s economy and collectivized agriculture has been dismantled. However, in spite of the many capitalist reforms, socialism has not been fully eradicated. Public ownership of the means of production and central economic planning still exist, even if to a lesser degree than in the past.
Socialist and capitalist development are in direct contradiction. Central planning has allowed remarkable achievements in clean energy, but because of capitalist-oriented policies, these achievements have at times come at a price for China’s working class.
For instance, to reduce industrial waste, the Chinese government recently called for the closure of 2,087 factories with poor energy efficiency by the end of September, including 762 cement factories, 279 paper mills, 175 steel mills, 192 coking plants and an unspecified number of aluminum mills. Truly socialist planning would include guarantees to the workers in these industries, including the right to a new job and any necessary retraining, but capitalist policies of economic development have eradicated many of the protections Chinese workers once enjoyed.
China is attacked day in and day out in the U.S. corporate media, not because it has strayed from socialist principles, but because it has not fully adopted capitalist principles. A working-class critique, on the other hand, recognizes China’s remarkable achievements and defends its right to pursue economic development free from U.S. interference, without losing sight of the impact of capitalist development on the working class.
The remaining elements of socialist planning made it possible to prioritize clean energy in China. Without the active involvement of the Chinese Communist Party, the needs of capital would have taken precedence over all other considerations. Only through socialism—the eradication of the profit motive and private corporate authority over the economy—can rational decisions be made to restore and protect the environment.”
by J. Slavyanski
1. Constantly insist that Marxism is discredited, outdated, and totally dead and buried. Then proceed to build a lucrative career on beating that supposedly ‘dead’ horse for the rest of your working life.
2. Remember, any unnatural death that occurs under a ‘Communist’ regime is not only attributable to the leaders of the state, but also Marxism as an ideology. Ignore deaths that occur for the same reason in non-Communist states.
3. Communism or Marxism is whatever you want it to be. Feel free to label countries, movements, and regimes as ‘Communist’ regardless of things like actual goals, stated ideology, diplomatic relations, economic policy, or property relations.
4. If there was a conflict involving Communists, the conflict and all ensuing deaths can be laid at the feet of Communism. Be careful when applying this to WWII. Fascist movements who fought against the Soviets or Communist partisans are fine, but try not to openly praise Nazi Germany. Save that for private conversations if you must do so.
5. You decide what Marxism “really means”, and who the rightful representatives of Communism were. Feign interest that Trotsky was somehow robbed of power by Stalin, despite the fact that you hate him as well.
6. Constantly talk about George Orwell. Quote from Animal Farm or 1984. Do not worry about the fact that Orwell never set foot in the Soviet Union and both of those books are novels.
7. Quote massive death tolls without regards to demographics or consistency. 3 million famine deaths? 7 million? 10 million? 100 million deaths total? You need not worry about anyone checking your work, which is good for you seeing that you probably haven’t done any.
8. Everyone ever arrested under a Communist regime was most likely innocent of any crime. Communists only arrested harmless poets and political prophets who had a beautiful message to share with the world.
9. Everything Stalin did or didn’t do had some sinister ulterior motive. Everything.
10. Keeping with the spirit of #9, remember that Stalin was an omnipotent being, perhaps an incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, who had full awareness of everything going on in the Soviet Union and total control over every occurrence which took place between 1924 and 1953. Everything that occurred during that time was the will of Stalin. Stalin knew the exact details of every criminal case that took place during that era and out of his boundless cruelty, had tons of innocent people shot for no reason regardless of where they were or their position in life. Being omnipotent, he was not dependent on information passed up from tens of thousands of subordinates.
11. Constantly attack ‘Communist’ regimes for actions that occur in capitalist regimes up to this very day.
12. Claim that Marxism is utopian because of its description of a possible future society. Alternately claim that Marxism failed because it never gave a detailed description of how a Communist society would look. Do not pay attention to the massive contradiction here.
13. Start referring to Marxism as being some kind of religious faith, Messianic, or whatever other spiritualist bullshit you can come up with. When people point out that you can draw similarities between virtually any political ideology and other religions, ignore them.
14. Remember the one-two anti-Communist attack: Attack the post-Stalin system on economic grounds, and claim it just doesn’t work. Since an informed opponent will most likely point out that actual socialist economics did indeed work during the Stalin era, and in fact worked very well, attack that era on human rights grounds.
15. Two words - Human nature. What is human nature? For your purposes, human nature is a quick explanation why political ideas or systems you don’t like are wrong.
16. Bolshevik revolutions were carried out with violence and bloodshed. Bourgeois revolutions were all carried out by democratic referendums, and there was no violence whatsoever.
17. Use words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ constantly. Do not accept any challenge to define these terms.
18. Communists can be for or against whatever is popular in your particular area. If you are preaching to a right-wing crowd, Communists are for degeneration and homosexuality. If you are preaching to a more mainstream audience, Communists were homophobic. Essentially, Communists are for moral degeneration and puritanical prudery at the same time. Again, do not notice the contradiction.
19. Constantly flog Stalin over the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, while totally ignoring massive support and collaboration with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan on the part of America, Britain, and France, long before the war and even after in some ways. As usual, do not allow your opponent to examine the context of the non-aggression pact.
20. Praise the newfound “freedom” of Eastern Europe. Ignore the massive depopulation via migration, plunging birthrates, huge alcohol and drug problems, political instability, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, sex trafficking and child prostitution, organized crime, high suicide rates, unemployment, disease, etc. Who cares about all that when you have freedom of speech?!
21. Constantly talk about the culture of fear in Communist nations, about that ‘knock on the door’ in the middle of the night. Ignore the ‘kick in your door in the middle of the night, stick a shotgun in your back, and haul your ass out of bed etc. because you are suspected of dealing,’ a normal occurrence in the American War on Drugs.
22. Attack Communists for suppression of religion. Attack Islamic fundamentalists for not being secular. What contradiction?!
23. Do not notice the irony that the US is currently fighting an incredibly expensive, losing war against an opponent which it funded, supported, and even handed its first victory in Afghanistan.
24. What should you say when confronted with all the continuing and often worsening problems in the world today, and asked for a solution? FREEDOM!! (Repeat as necessary until your opponent goes away)
25. Nothing from “Communists” can be trusted. Unless it somehow works in your favor, ala Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’ from 1956, or anything Trotsky wrote.
26. Communist leaders were ‘paranoid’ for devoting so much time to security against counter-revolution. Ignore the mountains of evidence, including the restoration of capitalism in the East Bloc, that this threat was indeed real.
27. Communist regimes were never popular. If proof is presented in various cases to show otherwise, claim that the people were brainwashed. Make no effort to consider the budgetary and logistic constraints on such an undertaking.
28. Communist propaganda is crude and primitive. If someone mentions Red Dawn or worse, mentions the J. Edgar Hoover-endorsed comic book series known as The Godless Communists, run away.
29. Praise secularism in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘pluralism’ until faced with a Communist. Then play the religion card.
30. Atrocities and other bad things that happen under non-Communist regimes are the fault of individual ‘bad people’. Anything bad that happens under a ‘Communist’ regime is the fault of the ideology and system. And Stalin.
31. Being an anti-Communist means not having to have any sort of ideological consistency whatsoever. Preach populist left-wing pseudo-socialism 90% of the time, and then compare the capitalist system to “Stalin’s Russia”(if you never really studied the subject, just read 1984 and Animal Farm). Complain about capitalism 99% of the time, but balk when someone suggests Communism as an alternative. Far right wing Fascist? Constantly complain about cultural degeneracy under capitalism, while remaining fanatically opposed to Marxism for no discernable reason save for your affinity for historic nationalism.
32. If you’re an anarchist, keep pointing out the ‘failure’ of Marxism while ignoring the fact that your ideology has a 100% failure rate throughout its entire history. Blame those failures on Communists, or stronger military powers. Ignore the fact that the most wonderful society is worthless if it can’t defend itself from reaction.
33. Neo-Nazi? Communism is Jewish!! Debate over.
34. Neo-Hippy? Tibet!
35. Constantly condemn the genocide that allegedly occurred under Mao, while ignoring the US’ relations with China established by Nixon, and the massive role capitalist China has played in the modern US economy. When you want to talk positively about China, it’s a capitalist country. If you need to criticize it, it’s still ‘Communist’.
36. Claim Marxism is not empirical. Neither are neo-liberalism, ‘democracy’, or ‘freedom’, but don’t worry about that.
37. Always insist that despite the location, country, historical era, past experience, and all other factors, Communists must want to recreate a modern-day copy of Stalin’s Russia, and all that entails according to you. Do not notice the inherent idiocy in this concept, such as your particular country being already industrialized, and not having a historical problem of severe backwardness.
38. Learn to use the magic word ‘totalitarian’. This word allows you to link two ideological opposites, Communism and Fascism.
39. Ignore the fact that socialist states experienced more economic problems parallel to the number of market reforms they made.
40. When challenged about numbers or historical context, resort to labels like “ruthless tyrant”, “cruel murderer”, and such. Remember, people like Stalin were mass-murderers because of all the people they killed, and we know they killed all those people because they were mass-murderers. It totally tracks!
“Patrick Stewart is Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin and sums up the main theoretical aspects of the revolution quite well in BBC’s The Fall of the Eagles (1974).”
How can this be real? Am I still asleep?
Some SPD propaganda from the 1920s, expressing their feelings about communism. Their refusal to align with the Communist party, murder of revolutionaries like Rosa Luxemburg, and parliamentary excuses for the Nazis led to the rise of fascism in Germany.
“In November 1918, the German working class overthrew the old state and its victory was total:
“In November, 1918, the Revolution was the work of the proletariat alone. The proletariat won so powerful a position that the bourgeois elements at first did not dare to attempt any resistance” (Kautsky, Introduction to the third edition of The Proletarian Revolution, 1931).
How was this victory of the proletariat turned, in the course of the following 15 years, into its exact opposite? Social Democracy is the answer.
Although German Social Democracy had originated on the basis of the revolutionary programme of Marxism and had a long and glorious tradition, in the imperialist era opportunism, parliamentary cretinism and corruption, and the economist politics of trade-unionism, had made increasing inroads into the Party. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 completed this process, with the Social Democratic Party openly and unashamedly siding with Kaiser Wilhelm, German militarism and the bourgeoisie. Adopting the slogan of ‘defence of the fatherland’ in an imperialist predatory war, German Social Democracy, like its counterparts in other European countries (the sole honourable exception being the Bolsheviks in Russia), betrayed the working class and trampled underfoot the banner of proletarian internationalism. The November 1918 revolution was organised by scattered revolutionary elements who had gathered, in the very difficult conditions of war censorship and Party censorship, in the illegal Spartacus League (founded in 1916) and the Independent Socialist Party (founded in 1917).
The Social Democratic Party played no part in the victorious 1918 revolution. On the contrary, it was opposed to the revolution from the start. In his libel lawsuit in Berlin in 1922, Scheidermann declared:
“The imputation that Social Democracy wanted or prepared the November revolution is a ridiculous, stupid lie of our opponents” (quoted in R Palme Dutt, op.cit. p.109).
At the time of the outbreak of the revolution, Social Democratic leaders occupied ministerial positions in the Coalition Government of Prince Max. In the critical period, their executive called upon the population not to support the revolution. But the moment the revolution had triumphed on 9 November, Social Democratic leaders rushed to Liebneckt and the Independents begging to be included in the leadership of the victorious revolution and form a joint government. Ignoring Liebneckt’s advice, the Independents fell for the bait in the name of ‘unity’ and formed a coalition with the Social Democrats, i.e., with the enemies of the revolution, the open agents of the bourgeoisie. Thus, where all other means had proved useless, bourgeois influence was restored at the heart of the new regime through the treacherous Social Democracy.
Far from destroying the old state machine - the army, police, judiciary and the reactionary bureaucracy - the Social Democratic government protected the old regime at every step. Instead of arming the proletariat for the defence of the revolution, it not only ordered the disarming of the workers but also armed and equipped special counter-revolutionary corps under the command of the ultra-reactionary monarchist officers. And it is these White Guard troops who thus went on to drown the proletarian revolution in blood. Liebneckt and Rosa Luxemburg were brutally murdered, their murderers going unpunished and openly gloating in their crime under the Social Democratic government. Steadily and systematically, with the application of limitless terror, the resistance of the workers was broken from the end of 1918 through to 1919. With the defeat of the 1918 revolution by Social Democracy, the basis was laid for the subsequent rise of fascism.
Far from acting out of blindness, folly and stupidity, as their apologists would have us believe, the Social Democratic leadership were driven solely by a burning desire to “save Germany from Bolshevism”, that is, to save capitalism. To achieve this aim, Social Democracy was prepared to commit any crime, perpetrate any outrage, against the proletariat.
While the illegal armed counter-revolutionary formations were protected and tolerated by Social Democracy and by the Entente, the attempt of the workers at self-defence through the formation of the Red Front was brutally suppressed by Social Democratic Interior Minister in 1929. Thus was built the Weimar Republic, which existed from 1918 to 1932, on the basis of a coalition between the bourgeoisie and Social Democracy. The latter was in power throughout this period. During the greater part of these years it was part of the Federal Government (from 1918 to 1925, under the presidency of Ebert, and from 1928 to 1930 in the Müller cabinet). The principal police President posts were held by Social Democrats. In view of this, it is not an exaggeration to say that fascism grew to power under the protection of Social Democracy.
While on paper the Weimar Republic was “the finest democracy in the world”, in truth it was a figleaf for the maintenance of the reactionary institutions of the old regime. It appealed to the old-time monarchists and generals to defend it against the communists, and it indulged in the indiscriminate violent suppression of the workers, with frequent recourse to martial law and emergency powers against the proletariat. This is what the eminent American bourgeois journalist, Mowrer, who harboured no revolutionary sentiments, had to say of this ‘democratic republic’:
“A virgin Republic that appeals to old-time monarchists and generals to defend it against Communists! Inevitably it falls into the enemy’s hands …
“What can be said for a republic that allows its laws to be interpreted by monarchist judges, its government to be administered by old-time functionaries brought up in fidelity to the old regime; that watches passively while reactionary school teachers and professors teach its children to despise the present freedom in favour of a glorified feudal past; that permits and encourages the revival of militarism which was chiefly responsible for the country’s previous humiliation?
“What can be said for democrats who subsidise ex-princes who attack the regime; who make the exiled ex-Emperor the richest man in deference to supposed property rights … This remarkable Republic paid generous pensions to thousands of ex-officers and civil servants who made no bones of their desire to overthrow it. ” (E A Mowrer, ‘Germany puts the clock back’, quoted in R Palme Dutt, op.cit. pp.114-115).
These were precisely the conditions within which, fascism utilised the widespread discontent, economic hardship and universal anger against the humiliating treaty of Versailles with its crippling tribute. It was only able to do so, however, because German Social Democracy, which had leadership of the majority of the working class, far from giving leadership on these issues, had completely identified itself with capitalism and the regime of Versailles and with wholesale repression of the proletarian masses. To crown it all, the bourgeois ‘democratic’ regime helped fascism to build up its armed formations by protecting it from above and giving it assistance through the state machine - the police, the judiciary, the army and the big capitalists - right up to the moment of finally placing it in power.
German fascism stood no chance of attracting the masses and building for itself a mass base without pretending to stand for ‘socialism’. So Nazi propaganda was characterised by an eclectic mix of contradictory and unscrupulous demagogy, with its frenzied anti-Semitism, wild anti-capitalist rhetoric, and chauvinist denunciations of the treaty of Versailles. In his Mein Kampf, in a sentence deleted since the 12th edition in 1932, Hitler wrote:
“The German has not the slightest notion how a people must be misled, if adherence of the masses is to be sought”. Hitler’s model was the British war-time propaganda, which was the object of his admiration as the finest example of the art of demagogic lying.
The dramatic expansion of German fascism from 1930 to 1932 is explained by the fact that the world economic crisis not only undermined the whole basis of stabilisation and of the Weimar Republic, but it also undermined the position of Social Democracy, which was very closely associated with them. The economic crisis and the Brüning hunger-regime finally exposed the utter bankruptcy of all the promises and fairy tales of Social Democracy about peaceful democratic progress and ever-rising prosperity under the conditions of capitalism. With the progress of the spread of disillusionment with Social Democracy, the class-conscious workers passed to communism, the politically backward elements crossed to the camp of fascism. Between 1930 and 1932, while Social Democracy lost 1,338,000 votes, the Communist Party gained 1,384,000. With the undermining of Social Democracy, with this weakened and discredited Social Democracy no longer able to check the growing advance of communism, and the consequent polarisation o society into two clearly-defined hostile camps, German capitalism required new methods and new tools. Faced with an unprecedented economic crisis, the bourgeoisie was in desperate need and in a hurry to wipe out the social gains of the 1918 Revolution in the field of wages, hours and social legislation, which had hitherto furnished the main basis for the influence of Social Democracy among the proletariat. Instead of the concessions of the first few years of the revolution, capitalism now had to put the workers into the straitjacket of Draconian measures of economic hardship. To achieve this aim, in view of the existence of a powerful Communist Party, with a strong and rising influence in the working class, and the declining influence of Social Democracy, German capitalism needed new - and naked - forms of dictatorship. Unceremoniously Social Democracy was pushed aside from the Federal Government, and replaced in the summer of 1930 by the Brüning dictatorship, which ruled without parliament by emergency decree, but with Social Democratic support. It was from this period - from the time of the Brüning dictatorship - that the overwhelming majority of German capitalists and landlords completely transferred their allegiance to National Socialism, hitherto only partly supported, as the instrument of their terrorist dictatorship. Had Social Democracy been prepared to ally with communism for a joint resistance to the hunger offensive of the Brüning dictatorship, it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that the capitalist offensive need not have succeeded. But, in the name of the policy of the ‘lesser evil’, Social Democracy supported the Brüning dictatorship’s hunger decrees and attacks on the workers. In so doing it strengthened capitalism, weakened the workers’ front, disorganised the proletarian ranks, and played right into the hands of fascism. This disorganisation of proletarian forces in the critical period of 1930-1932 meant that the initiative, and the gains from widespread hunger and want, which ought to have strengthened the proletarian camp, passed instead to fascism.
Before the Nazis came to power the Communist Party and the Red Trade Union opposition issued calls to the Social Democratic Party and the General Trade Union Confederation for joint action of all labour organisations against the then impending wage offensive (April 1932 appeal) and for the organisation of a general strike for the repeal of emergency decrees and the disbanding of Storm Troops (20 July 1932 appeal). Both these appeals were rejected, the second on the spurious ground that the call for a general strike was provocative and that the ballot box was the only instrument for opposing fascism. A third appeal for a united front was issued by the Communist Party on 30 January 1933 after the installation of Hitler as Chancellor. There was such a groundswell of support for this call that, although it did not respond officially, the leadership of the Social Democratic Party was compelled to explain its refusal in its own publications. While specifically rejecting any joint action against Hitler on the spurious ground that, as he had assumed power legally he should not be opposed, it proposed a ‘non-aggression pact’ with the Communist Party, i.e., abstention from mutual verbal criticism. The fourth call for a united front, made on 1 March 1933, after the burning of the Reichstag and the unleashing of unbridled Nazi terror, was also left unanswered by the Social Democratic leadership, as the latter was busy at the time trying to come to an understanding with the Hitlerites for the toleration of Social Democracy under fascism. Ignorant quarters have levelled the criticism that the Communist Party’s emphasis on the ‘united front from below’, and its failure to appeal directly to the leadership of German Social Democracy and the trade unions earlier than 1932, contributed to the failure of the working class to frustrate the fascist advance to power. This criticism is totally groundless, failing as it does to take into account the actual conditions then prevailing in Germany. When the Social Democrat, Severing, in his capacity as Minister of the Interior, was shooting down the workers’ May Day demonstrations in 1929, it would have been pointless to have appealed to the leadership of Social Democracy for a united front against the attack on the workers. However, with the expulsion of the Braun-Severing government by Von Papen, an opportunity for such an appeal presented itself, and the Communist Party sent its proposal to the Executives of the Social Democratic Party and the General Trade Union Federation for a united front. The firm rejection of the Communist proposal by these two bodies ensured the victory of fascism.
Thus the united working-class front, which alone stood any chance of defeating the Hitlerites, was made impossible by the stubborn refusal of Social Democracy to co-operate with the communists - a refusal which paved the way for the victory of fascism. This attitude of Social Democracy’s flowed directly from its line of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie and reliance on the bourgeois state - a line which it pursued even in the conditions of dictatorship, in the name of the ‘lesser evil’ under Hindenburg, Brüning and Von Papen, declaring that they were a ‘lesser evil’ than the outright victory of fascism. Far from being a lesser evil, these forms of dictatorship were merely preparing the ground for the complete victory of fascism and destroying, step by step, the resistance of the working class. Their work completed, they handed over state power to the Hitlerites. Hindenburg was installed as President with the support of Social Democracy. Within a year he had had installed Hitler as Chancellor. And even after the victory of the Hitlerites Social Democracy refused to oppose it for the reason that, having come to power ‘legally’, it was a ‘lesser evil’ than an ‘illegal’ Nazi terror.
Failing in their efforts to secure the co-operation of Social Democracy for a united working-class front against the encroachments of capital and the dictatorial regimes, the Communist Party succeeded in bringing about at least a partial united front from below, resulting in increased working-class resistance, which culminated in the Berlin transport strike of November 1932. The strike was led by the Red Trade Union opposition after the trade-union officials had rejected a massive vote of the workers for a strike. Parallel with this, the November 1932 elections reflected the rising working-class resistance: while the Nazi vote fell by 2 million and the Social Democratic vote fell by 700,000, that of the Communist Party rose by 700,000 to nearly 6 million. Von Papen was forced to resign on 17 November, and his resignation was followed by long negotiations between Hindenburg and Hitler. In view of rising working-class militancy, it was considered inopportune to instal Hitler in the Chancellery. Accordingly, Von Schleicher was made the Chancellor. He, by granting a few concessions to the working class, for which he received the plaudits of the Social Democratic and official trade-union leadership, duly succeeded in lulling the resistance of the working class who were under the malignant influence of Social Democracy. Once the necessary conditions were prepared, Hitler was installed as Chancellor, on 30 January 1933. The ebbing of the fascist tide, as reflected in the November 1932 election, far from marking its annihilation, as was being trumpeted from every roof-top by Social Democracy, merely convinced the bourgeoisie to hasten fascism’s rise to power before the latter’s stock should have irretrievably sunk and that of communism have risen to dominance.
“After the losses of the National Socialists in the Reichstag elections of November, German ‘Big Business’ decided that the immediate danger was that the National Socialist Party might disintegrate too rapidly” (C B Hoover Germany Enters the Third Reich, 1933, p.64 - quoted in R Palme Dutt op. cit. p.125).
So Big Business decided to instal fascism in power with the sole aim of enabling the latter to use the state for rebuilding its strength and shattering all opposition.
The sapping of the German working-class will to resist had been effected not by fascism but by Social Democracy, whose leadership was treating the prospect of a Nazi government in a favourable light. Thus, in April 1932, Severing went on record as saying: “The Social Democratic Party no less than the Catholic Party, is strongly inclined to see Herr Hitler’s Nazis share the government responsibility” (quoted in R Palme Dutt, p.127).
On coming to power, Hitler armed the Storm Troops and incorporated them into the state’s ‘auxiliary police’ with special responsibility for the policing of the elections due to be held on 5 March. He suppressed the whole of the Social Democratic and Communist press, arrested leading militants, banned all working-class gatherings and propaganda, unleashed a reign of terror, and held elections in these conditions. These elections, held under “the shackles of vile terrorism”, as the Daily Herald of 4 March 1933 correctly stated, and accompanied by gross irregularities (in some districts the polling figures exceeded the electorate), could hardly reflect the wishes of the German people. Ignoring all this, Social Democracy eagerly resorted to the plea that now Hitler had a “democratic mandate” it was not justifiable to oppose him save as a “loyal parliamentary opposition”. Taking parliamentary cretinism to its logical absurdity of supporting a fascist terrorist regime because it had a majority in Parliament, albeit a rigged majority secured at the point of a bayonet in elections held under terror, Stampfen, the former editor of Vorwärts, wrote:
“The victory of the government parties makes it possible to govern strictly in accordance with the Constitution.
“They have only to act as a legal government, and it will follow naturally that we shall be a legal opposition; if they choose to use their majority for measures that remain within the framework of the Constitution, we shall confine ourselves to the role of their fair critics. ”
For his part, Kautsky, at one time the leader of the Second International and considered the best theoretician of Marxism after Engels’ death, but long since degenerated and gone totally rotten, wrote:
“The dictatorship has the mass of the population behind it. ”
Kautsky had travelled a long way since he wrote his famous Road to Power in 1906. Beginning with opportunism on the questions of the tasks of the proletarian revolution in regard to the bourgeois state, through his support for the imperialist First World War and his opposition to the proletarian revolution in Russia, he had rolled down to the bottom and into the gutter, writing pieces embellishing the Hitlerite regime as founded on mass support.
W N Ewer, diplomatic correspondent of the Daily Herald, wrote that Hitler’s triumph was “… a victory for democracy, ” for he had “come to power by the most strictly constitutional means … Of course there was a certain amount of intimidation. There always is … The figures indeed are proof that the election was practically free” (‘Why Hitler Triumphed’, Plebs, April 1933, quoted in R Palme Dutt, op. cit. p.128).
An exactly similar view was expressed by Maxton, the Chairman of the Independent Labour Party:
In this way Social Democracy attempted to cover its subservience to fascism by the barely-disguised device of first ignoring the conditions of terror under which the election of 5 March was held, and then use this mockery of an election as providing a legitimate mandate for the fascist regime.
Social Democracy’s disgraceful, degrading and despicable line was to continue after the election in a vain attempt to curry favour with fascism. The speech of the Social Democratic leader, Wels, at the opening of the Reichstag on 23 March, was an important expression of this line. He, as the leader of the party, openly resigned form the Executive Committee of the Second International, accusing the latter of spreading “atrocity stories” against the fascists. The leadership of the trade unions declared its readiness to co-operate with the Nazis, hailed in their press as the fascist “revolution”, as a triumphant “continuation of the 1918 revolution”. It stressed that the common enemy was communism, and that their ‘socialism’ was a “German affair” (Sozial Demokratischer Pressedient, 9 March, 1933, quoted by R Palme Dutt, op. cit. p.129). Reaching the depths of degradation and treachery to the working class, on this basis, the central executive committee of the trade unions gave an official call to the workers to participate in Hitler’s May Day.
“The trade union leaders have sealed their reconciliation with the new rulers of Germany,” wrote the Daily Herald of 24 April 1933.
The attempt by the reformists of Social Democracy to play the role of a recognised tolerated adjunct to fascism failed, in part owing to the fact that a huge number of workers in the big factories rejected their leaders’ calls and stayed away from the Nazi May Day parades. Once it was crystal clear that the Social-democratic leadership’s grip on the workers was inadequate to serve fascist ends, straight away on 2 May, the Nazis seized the unions, amalgamated them into their own labour front, marched their leaders into prison, and in their place appointed Nazi functionaries.
“The Leiparts and the Grassmanns”, declared Dr Ley, the leader of the Nazi Labour front, “may profess their devotion to Hitler; but they are better in prison” (quoted in R Palme Dutt, op. cit. p.129).
For its part, the Social Democratic Party traversed the same path of humiliation, degradation and capitulation, followed by dissolution. On 17 May all its members in the Reichstag voted for the fascist government’s resolution and joined in unanimous acclamation of Hitler. Much good did this grovelling do for them! All the property of the Social Democratic Party was confiscated, and on 22 June the organisation itself was declared ‘dissolved’.
With this, Social Democracy was compelled by the bourgeoisie to continue its disruptive work in the conditions of illegality - conditions in which it could be of greater use to the ruling class in the event of a revolutionary upheaval than if it were to closely and openly identified with fascism.
The sole honour of consistent opposition to the bourgeoisie, and to fascism in particular, belongs to the Communist Party. The balance of class forces during the period under discussion did not crown its efforts with success, but the fact that its line was correct, and that it pursued this line in the working-class movement without fear or favour - of this there cannot be the slightest doubt.
In view of the above, we may list the following as the decisive causes of the temporary victory of fascism:
The strangling by Social Democracy and the trade unions of the 1918 revolution in the name of ‘democracy’ and the restoration of the power of capitalists, landlords and old reactionary institutions;
The support by Social Democracy and the trade unions of the successive emergency and dictatorship regimes leading up to the assumption of power by the Nazis;
The rejection by Social Democracy and the trade unions of a united working-class front;
The refusal by Social Democracy and the trade-union leadership to resist Hitler on his accession to power or on the commencement of the Nazi terror.
As R Palme Dutt correctly pointed out: “The experience of Germany from 1918 to 1933 is the classic demonstration before the international working class of how a working-class revolution can be destroyed and squandered and brought to the deepest abyss of working-class subjection. It is the classic demonstration before the international working class of where the path of bourgeois ‘democracy’ leads, step by step to its inexorable conclusion” (op. cit. pp. 131-132).
In Austria too “The victory of the proletarian revolution … was fully in the grasp of the workers in 1918-1919, and was only prevented by Social Democracy. This is common ground, and is admitted by the Social Democratic leaders themselves. Otto Bauer describes the situation at the end of the war in his book ‘The Austrian revolution of 1918’:
“ ‘There was deep ferment in the barracks of the people’s army. The people’s army felt that it was the bearer of the revolution, the vanguard of the proletariat … The soldiers with arms in hand hoped for a victory of the proletariat … ‘Dictatorship of the proletariat!’ ‘All Power to the Soviets!’ was all that could be heard in the streets.’
“ ‘No bourgeois government could have coped with such a task. It would have been disarmed by the distrust and contempt of the masses. It would have been overthrown in a week by a street uprising and disarmed by its own soldiers.
“ ‘Only the Social Democrats could have safely handled such an unprecedentedly difficult situation, because they enjoyed the confidence of the working masses …. Only the Social Democrats could have stopped peacefully the stormy demonstrations by negotiation and persuasion. Only the Social Democrats could have guided the people’s army and curbed the revolutionary adventures of the working masses … The profound shake-up of the bourgeois social order was expressed in that a bourgeois government, a government without participation in it of the Social Democrats, had simply become unthinkable.’
“The role of Austrian Social Democracy was thus in fact exactly parallel to that of the German. The power of the workers’ revolution was deliberately destroyed by Social Democracy in the name of bourgeois ‘democracy’” (R Palme Dutt, op. cit. p.137).
The development of fascism in Italy, Germany and Austria reveals all too clearly that the role of Social Democracy is crucial in the accession of fascism to power. Without understanding of this inter-relationship between Social Democracy and fascism, it is impossible to understand capitalist politics since the end of the First World War, which marked the open desertion of Social Democracy, representing significant sections of the working-class movement, especially of the trade-union and parliamentary leadership, in all the imperialist countries to the side of the bourgeoisie.
The further evolution of Social-democratic parties since then has played a big part in defeating working-class revolutions in the years immediately following the first world war, in the growth of fascism in the subsequent years, and in the fight against communism since the Second World War.”
From “Bourgeois Democracy and Fascism”.
Comrades from North America: The Stalin Society of North America has recently started up, a sister group to the wonderful organizations in Pakistan, and the UK. If you are interested in learning more, or having your (thoughtful and polite) questions answered about Stalin and the USSR, visit the facebook page at “Stalin Society of North America”. The group is off to a great start with nearly 150 members in less than a week, and invaluable resources posted regularly.
Гражданская Оборона-Долгая Счастливая Жизнь
Я помню! Я горжусь!
Marshal Zhu De, his real name which could be roughly translated as “Red Virtue”. 1 December 1886 – 6 July 1976
A heroic figure of the long march and the civil war who overcame obstacles like severe long-term opium addiction, and became a leader of millions noted for his humility, soft-spokenness, and personal magnetism. Born into a wealthy family, he gave up all of his inheritance to the Red Army, and joined them in struggling against imperialism.
Once a group of traitors came to kill him in his sleep, but could not see him in the darkness. Zhu cried “Don’t shoot me, I’m only the cook! Don’t shoot a man who can cook for you!” appealing to his enemies stomachs. When they led him out into the light, he drew a concealed weapon, killed one of them, and escaped. This incident granted him the nickname “Chief of Cooks”.
Zhu would always march in the same condition as his soldiers, often without shoes, food, and dressed in rags. He led small forces in daring assaults, against impossible odds. His feats were so revered that folk-legends around his name sprung up all over the country, including that he was invincible, and could fly.
While not a saint, and not actually able to fly, Zhu led a remarkable and revolutionary life, and really puts all the “heroes” I learned about in history class to shame.
if you ever want to know why some communists get along with republicans better than democrats just watch king of the hill
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