Loren_German_revolution.mp3

Loren_German_revolution.mp3


I mean I don’t know this collection okay
when we get started I just want to call everyone’s attention
I put translations of the most important initials up there on as I talk I’m
generally going to use the initials but just so everybody knows what they refer
to I don’t know if we’re going to really get to
see a seizure of power if we do it’ll be at the end and rather schematically but
I just want to call your attention the fact that Nazi in German it comes from
National Socialist German Workers Party it’s really important to understand that
the Nazis made real appeals to the working class not very successfully but
they they considered themselves to be a party that was for a workers revolution
but a German workers revolution so something that’s often lost in
translation when people just say Nazis or National Socialists okay Cynthia
referred to what we’re joined today is a lecture and I I correct you to say that
this is a discussion and facilitation and I really encourage people to ask
questions as we go along and hopefully I’ll manage to cover this stuff in an
hour and a half or two at the outside and then we can really get into it but
feel free if I make references to anything you don’t understand to just
interrupt okay the first thing very generally I made a map of Germany
because some people may not be familiar with where all these different cities
are now as I said when I was handing it out it’s unfortunately in Spanish but I
think most people much the spellings are pretty much the same you notice for
example that about the eastern this Eastern about one-fifth it’s now part of
Poland and before that it was yeah well it’s it’s essentially it’s been part of
Poland since Poland reappeared on the map after World War one and then over
here is and even more this is I believe still part of Russia this area here but
at one point you know this and this is world war 1 and this was after Germany
had given up territory particularly and was so-called there was this blank space
here between critics Barragan and the East that was land that Germany had to
give up after its surrendered in world war 1 so Germany used to be pretty a
pretty large country I mean it still is it’s still the biggest country and
Western but anyways I’m referring to CDs oh you know occasionally point at this
map you notice that the map is basically it’s a map of religious affiliation in
Germany and we might think that’s not terribly important for what we’re
talking about but in fact a difference between Protestant and Catholic and
Germany is still very not like it was during the Reformation when people were
burning each other and fighting wars and things like that but still there are
areas that are very culturally Catholic and culturally Protestant material here organizations and of the sheet about
affiliation membership things like that I mean I made 15 so have one more so
okay so let me just say a few words a background the first thing one thing I
wanted to mention for those of you might find all this discussion of the teens
and the 20s to be somewhat ancient history several points first of all in
order to understand the political spectrum of today basically you have to
have a road map and the road map is historical it’s based on things that
happen in some cases a long time ago like Stalinism for example I mean there
aren’t too many people today in the world
call themselves Stalinists but there plenty of people who are Stalinists in
my opinion and to understand with how that all came about you have to
understand where Stalin came from you know it’s come up in discussions before
the people you know it’s kind of a blur blink you know what is the smartest this
league and what is the RCP and what are all these different Maoist and
trotskyist groups and what are these anarchist groups and so on and they
generally tend to have historical affiliation so that’s one important
reason to sort of understand this background the second the second thing
is I wanted to point out some very interesting parallels between Germany
and the period we’re talking about in China today and this is not just
something I made up in in China in various think tanks all kinds of people
are studying exactly the stuff we’re studying an earlier German history in
order to understand better what parallels and differences there are
because Germany a hundred and twenty years ago was a rising power and
challenging the power of France England and the United States and today China is
a rising power challenging the power of the United States and the parallels
continue that China is full of I don’t know exactly how many but probably 200
million workers you know who become more and more active and combative and in the
same way since we talked about the theory of permanent revolution before in
the same way that Germany was the weak link of the world capitalist system
above all in 1848 Russia was the weak link in 1905 and 1917 I would say one
could argue that China is the we clink today that is it’s a place
where capitalism is really emerging very powerfully and at the same time the
country has to adapt itself to its new role in the world market we can talk
about this towards the end because to me it’s one of the most important aspects
of why this stuff is really still alive as historical questions okay now I just
want to go into a little background about German history in order to make
clear what a unusual country it was in the period we’re talking about now I
didn’t make a map of Europe as a whole but with imagination we can conjure it
up Germany started as you’ll see in a minute German history was a series of
disasters and misfortunes was one of the reasons that kind of shaped it you know
come today or until recently at any time anyone wrote a book about German history
the question in the background whether it was about the 13th century of the
19th century it was always why did Nazism happen in Germany it’s kind of
like with Russia you can’t pick up a history book about Russia whether it’s
talking about Peter the Great or Catherine kind of the Great and where
the question is not somehow pose why did you know Russia go the way it was well but one of the answers to that question
is that first of all Germany’s geographical location it’s right in the
middle of Europe and it has no real natural boundaries of defense so armies
from other countries were rolling over Germany all the time but that before
let’s say before the the Reformation before the rise of Protestantism which
was in some sense the beginning of a kind of bourgeois revolution in Germany
Germany was one of the richest parts of Europe this was before the North
Atlantic became important before Spanish and Portuguese and other voyages that
developed slave trade and made shifted the whole balance of the European
economy away from the center and the real center was between Germany and
Italy and trade was going north and south by the 17th century that Germany
had become something of a backwater and in fact so that Italy because then
France and Britain and the North Atlantic could have replaced them so
that’s you know first the first bad thing that happened to Germany No then
in 1525 or in the early 1520’s the Protestant Reformation took off and
the Protestant Reformation struck a real chord in Germany probably more than
anywhere else no Martin Luther and his famous 95 theses and the way in which
large parts of the German population rallied to Luther for all kinds of
reasons it generally didn’t have that much to do with religion as such but
when people were just sick of being exploited by the Catholic Church and
having to pay tithes and having to pay for births and funerals and having to
have everything mediated through a priest who spoke Latin you know one of
the most important things Luther did was translate the Bible into German people
could really know what it was about and it all started nicely from Luther’s
point of view but pretty soon it got out of hand and there was a peasant uprising
in what more large parts of Germany was very radical and one of the most
important figures in this was a guy named Thomas moon sir was kind of a hero
and rightly so in Marxist history I mean all through the the history of the East
German East Germany the German Democratic Republic and there was a
300-foot high statue of thomas müntzer somewhere i don’t know if it’s still that you mentioned by the way let’s be
clear on this – when I say Germany at this time and for many years afterwards
this Germany was really a linguistic expression that is incredibly disunited
and that wasn’t that and it was in the interest of all the major European
powers to keep it and disunited which was another one of its shall we
say misfortunes so the peasants revolted and scared the hell out of the landlords
and the peasant Wars took place Frederick Engels wrote a great book
called the peasant Wars in Germany which I highly recommend as you know probably
more insightful about German history than a hundred books by academics you
might come across and the of the forces of holding over the peasants of course
were poorly armed they had no military training pitchforks and staves and
things like that and they were opposed by the Knights you know the great they
greatly outnumbered the Knights but to show the limits of the kind of
revolutionary ideology Marx and Engels said winter was a communist who came 300
years before his time at key moments and battles the peasants would stop and wait
for a sign from heaven telling them what to do next
and then they would be slaughtered by the
by the Knights so in a relatively short time all of the peasant uprisings were
put down and the result was and for hundreds of years this kind of
conservative very servile ideology that survived in the German peasantry that
made it rather different from some other peasant trees that actually rose up and
won like in France or earlier in England okay the next misfortune was something
called the 30 Years War which was fought from 1618 to 1648 and as I said Germany
was completely disunited at this time and most of the different small kingdoms
and so on were not directly involved in the war it was just that because of this
problem of no natural boundaries the war was completely fought on German soil for
30 years with plundering looting Catholic oh and by the way this of
course was a reformation war Catholic armies against Protestant armies huge
battles and at that time not that estranged so much but at that time
soldiers didn’t really get paid they just looted so the winning side tenants
are just carted off all the crops and anything else of value in the areas that
were captured this went on for thirty years and when it ended one-third of the
population of Germany had been killed or had died from plagues and so on so this
and that was what really finished off Germany as an economic power for the
German area for 200 years it was just recovering there were
totally abandoned small towns and villages wolves running in the street
we’re just absolute desolation after it was truly the Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse so the next thing that happened was the
French Revolution I was in 1789 and ten years later Napoleon took power and
conquered all of Germany and extended into Russia and that is an interesting
episode because in fact Napoleon it was kind of like when the Red Army moved
into Eastern Europe in 1945 in spite of being Stalinists and everything else you
might care to mention they carried out serious land reform and Napoleon did
something of the same thing I mean Napoleon actually in western Germany
which was always in the cultural sphere of France Napoleon has remembered rather
favorably because he broked the power of some of the old feudal landlord classes
and and that power was never really completely restored but when Napoleon
was finally defeated Germany and Central Europe sank into a period of deep
reaction which lasted for over 30 years from 1815 to 1848 so I was under 25
years and this time Russia of different major parts of Germany and down here in
the southeast the Austrian Empire the Habsburg Empire was the most powerful
Empire in Europe had done those three powers conspired to enforce a counter
revolutionary kind of repression of everything you know from education to
the kinds of books that got published and not to mention of course political
so there was this long winter that continued in the 1840s that was finally
broken by the next misfortune in German history which was the revolution of 1848
now one of the things I want to emphasize
and this presentation is the way in which I think what Marx and Marxist
generally always wrote about Germany was that the bourgeoisie came too late
the bourgeois revolution had happened in England or had happened in France but
when German the German bourgeoisie which was never terribly courageous was ready
to really try to get political power the German economy had already created a
significant working class or let’s just say a wage labor class in cities and
towns that could challenge it from the left and that’s what happened in 1848
that suddenly now it starts out with the two usual liberal phrases but soon red
flags were appearing and demonstrations confrontations and as Angles points out
and another a very good book that I recommend called revolution and
counter-revolution in Germany those two books will give you an excellent
overview of the whole development of German history the bourgeoisie recoiled
and basically sort of started to make peace with the status quo in that time
you know the most important part of the status quo was the emperor pressure
pressure being this large eastern area of Germany that had a very large young
pure class Ju and keer those were those were feudal landlords by that time of
course agriculture had been partially capitalized they were producing for the
world market but still the kind of social structure and relations and mores
that cultural ambience was very still very futile and so the those three
powers it was actually called the tripartite alliance the holy alliance
sorry Russia Prussia and Austria maintaining a stranglehold on all of
European politics that was a uprising in Spain and 1830 tube and
French armies invaded to put it down under the pressure of the holy Alliance
that’s how that’s how totally they had the situation locked up okay so as you
see that Germany really had a problem having a real bourgeois revolution even
as it became capitalist so the next disaster was the unification of the
country that was carried out by Bismarck I’m sure most of you have heard of
Bismarck this mark himself was a young kur very skillful politician and at that
time the bourgeoisie had been trying to unify the country because that’s what
the bourgeoisie does the bourgeoisie builds a nation-state
and their conception was what was called the large German solution which means
that it would include lots of land that was part of the Austrian Empire and
their idea was with Austria and the German lands together Prussia would be
isolated and the country would be liberalism would be more possible well
Bismarck very skillfully isolated the Liberals and unified the country under
what was called the small German solution which meant excluding all the
Austrian lands and who did this by a series of wars in the 1860s Bismarck for
example studied the civil war in the United States he was very interested in
the use of railroads and machine guns in modern you know because they were
unknown at that time in warfare in Europe so he was had a real world
perspective and he unified the country through three wars from 1862 to 1870 now
the last war was the franco-prussian war which in which Germany defeated France
and set the stage for the Paris Commune the entire Paris Commune took place with
the German army just right outside of Paris in case
got out of hand the French reactionary forces weren’t able to handle it and
significantly the German socialists who are about to form the German SPD a few
years later opposed the war from an internationalist point of view they said
no German soldier should die for this you know in theory whatever whatever
word they use war against France was I think the last time that ever happened
as we shall see okay so again and again what could be
called the progressive border our forces were stopped in their tracks defeated
stymied and so on it’s so Germany emerged as a capitalist power but
without a real bourgeois democracy it was a extremely authoritarian modern
country with the junker class sharing power with and really dominating
politically the bourgeoisie they were I won’t go into details but there were
many key confrontations where the Yonkers just put put the bourgeoisie and
its place and ran the country you know in order to preserve their power in this
large eastern agricultural zone it’s only there’s only one the Red Army
occupied eastern Germany in 1945 but these people were finally expropriated
okay no now we could get into the current subject but I I think this
background is important because one of the questions that’s come up before is
why was there no Revolutionary Party in Germany comparable to the Bolsheviks and
I think one of the one of the important other things you can see from all this
stuff that I just mentioned is how the country remained highly decentralized
even when it had this authoritarian Prussian regime and Berlin the pressure
was there were there were four or five other poles or power that even after
unification after they’d been defeated by Bismarck
literally or sometimes militarily you know it just wasn’t quite a command
economy in the way that the Soviet Union became was saved with Stalinism so now
we’ve covered a lot of ground before particularly in the first meeting about
Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin and so I’m not going to go over all of that again of
course drive everybody crazy but I do want to
mention just a couple of things to keep in mind one of the things that Mitch
German is so interesting even today today Germany is China’s number one
industrial trading partner as I said Chinese academics and advisors are
studying the German case not just historically but also today because for
example Germany after World War two introduced a very modernized set of
labor relations in which they allowed right I think it’s right in the
Constitution allowed for works councils in factories not workers councils not
Soviets running the factories but works councils which mean that the workers get
some seats on the board of directors and sort of have some say some union
factories for example that would have been moved to lower wage countries
stayed in Germany because of the pressure of these works councils it’s a
it’s a murky situation and I’m not meaning to imply that German workers in
Germany have they certainly have more power than in the United States and so
China is very interested for example with all the labor unrest that they’ve
got hmm well maybe we should have some work councils maybe we should make
workers code responsible for managing what’s going on so the but getting back
to why as German is so important and why was it so important in some sense all
the ideologies of the 20th century came out of Germany
communism Marx fascism which the forces that led to the Nazi seizure of power
and there were ideologies in other countries as well that in Melissa we
need to power 11 years before Hitler but nonetheless you know Germany really put
fascism on the map globally the welfare state Bismarck was a pioneer of the
welfare state starting then the 1880s this the rising socialist movement all
these militant workers is getting out of hand
he created old-age insurance health insurance and other kinds of benefits
that we associated with the modern the quickly disappearing modern capitalist
state these were innovated by Bismarck corporatism that is there’s a different
kind of idea that there are workers and peasants and capitalists together should
manage society in some way it was also pretty much a german german creation so he may have been the first one you know
to use it but there are german predecessors their predecessors
elsewhere too I mean the Catholic Church was really into corporatism wrong before
that ever was any real corporatism but Germany had what’s his name LaSalle who
we talked about last week or the week before I mean he was essentially a
corporatist he wanted to him socialism meant all workers having cooperatives
and revolution wasn’t even really necessary to bring that about
okay so just to hit the highlights of a couple of things we’ve talked about
before the second internationally was a International the first international
collapsed in the 1870s because of the Marx anarchism confrontation the second
international was founded in 1889 and by the early 1900’s there were large
parties calling themselves socialists in Germany the SPD France French Socialist
Party the British Labour Party which got going in 1906 these were all parts of
this second international but one thing there was this very important the second
international was nothing like the Third International there was even with the
prestige of Germany which after all that’s where all this Marxist theory
came from Karl Kautsky was viewed that’s kind of the Pope of Marxism at this time
I mean he really kind of ruled about what was acceptable and what was worth
attacks and what wasn’t the idea of German the German party telling the
French party what to do were imposing discipline on some other foreign part
for a party for its own political purposes as the communist government and
Russia did starting in the 1920s it was unthinkable it was a much looser
Association a Bismarck fell in nine 1890 been in power for over thirty years and
he fell essentially because people you know people at the top of the German
government saw that the working class was getting out of control and this mark
had been the Socialists anti-socialist laws in 1878 for 12 years it wasn’t
quite you know they weren’t wiped off than that they were still allowed to
participate in elections things like that but they were highly restricted in
terms of meetings publications they were producing all kinds of books and
pamphlets in Switzerland and smuggling them into the country but by the time
this mark fell those the social SPD become a major force in the German
parliament not a majority by any means but still you know it was it was
becoming the largest single party and so they felt that you you know Bismarck was
getting old they felt it was time for you know new faces you know kind of like
dreaming an Obama right after the crisis and 2008 or something like that you know
a facelift on the political class we talk to first
our first meeting about the revisionism debate and this again is an important
development that goes on through this whole period the the rise of people who
are saying you know this marks of stuff let’s forget about it it’s just too
apocalyptic it’s you know it’s always talking about the final crisis of
capitalism and we see the German working-class is living better every
year and what crisis and and this was articulated by several leading party
figures and they were very heavily put down by Rosa Luxemburg and also by
Kowski Kowski was the keeper of Orthodoxy but what was developing go
into the silver more what was developing was essentially three different currents
in the German working-class movement that were the was the left rosa
luxemburg now her pamphlet the mass strike express probably better than
anything else I could think of no that the way in which party apparatus is no
she never says they’re not necessary but she does say that they do not declare
mass movements and they do not bring them into existence they can intervene
in them guide them and so on but now as she puts it the mistakes of a mass of
genuine mass movement and motion are better than wisest decisions of the most
intelligent Central Committee this is what really got Lenny
the Bolsheviks starting to attack roses or spontaneous it’s on then there was
the center that was headed by Kowski orthodoxy and Rutenberg and Trotsky
began to fall out around 1910 and that was at that point that when they just
talked about what was happening on the right the right was centered in the
trade union bureaucracy and even though at every party congress the left and the
cat scouts key center always won the debates you know voting for more
orthodox Marxist we believe in socialism we believe in revolution now in reality
in the daily practice of the SPD the conservatism of the trade union
bureaucrats was getting more and more influential and by 1910 Rosa had had it
with Katz key and this is important for contemporary debates if you ever have to
deal with any Trotskyist they always say Rosa Luxemburg should have should have
founded a vanguard party just like linning did well in fact Lenin right up
to 1914 still looked at kutsuki as the most important Marxist in Europe and as
I mentioned I think the first week you know he couldn’t believe it when the
German recipe gave voted for war credits for Germany in night in August of 1914
he thought though newspapers were fakes produced by the police and so there’s
Rosa who had seen that Kowski you know had resigned from the revolutionary
movement four years before women and yet joining us today are still banging away
about party this is a very complicated question why wasn’t there a push for an
independent Revolutionary Party because Rosa by this time had no illusions about
the SPD the for those of you who looked at some of
the readings I sent out already in 1908 and Harland there was a small group of
people who are effectively left communists who broke with Dutch social
democracy and set up their own party now as far as I know they never became more
than 500 or a thousand people on till World War one then but they were some of
the most talented people in the Dutch movement and the Dutch working class was
very militant if you read the boring a stuff the stuff that I sent out the
second the second time I mean there were militant mass strikes going on in
Holland from 1902 1903 on right up to World War one and the three figures
Herrmann border Anton panic Hawk and Henrietta Roland Holst these were very
serious theoreticians panic rock entered the mass strike debate with some
articles in 1909 that Lenin thought very highly of as a matter of fact all
references to panic occur in Lenin’s writings up until after the Russian
Revolution are very positive and if he thought panic oh yeah well that’s after
you know I mean and by the way that’s not what we looked at fact that panic
rocks writings were also very influential in the United States in the
left wing of the Socialist Party there were no the international socialist
review not to be confused with the current publication of the iso was read
in 20 or 30 different languages and some great articles by Pannekoek there were
there were left in workers up in Boston and Finnish workers out in Minnesota who
were deeply influenced by panic rocks mass strike perspective and when the
Communist Party was founded in the United States in 1919 they had a hell of
a time bringing these people over through the
Moscow line because they were such mass strike three editions so you know panel
thought had very wide influence and Herrmann drivers influence came a little
later Henriette Rowland host was she was less radical she kind of oriented toward
the center to some extent and by the way these people were all famous artists and
scientists which is another interesting point that we would be kind of surprised
today if if an astronomer like Panik up wound up as the theoretician of one of
the most radical wings of the movement or poet like Herrmann border I mean
Herrmann borders most important palm is still read index schools today as the
national poem that’s kind of like Millville and America or something like
that hmm now these literary and scientific people
having such procedure well probably the reason for that similar to things we’ve
talked about with the Bolsheviks is that at that time there was a very
significant gap between the small minority of educated people people with
kind of high bourgeois culture and the mass of workers and the you know the
best of them tried to hook up with the working-class movement in whatever way
they could it’s the case of panic rock for example very and gore very
successfully panic art I’ve traveled all over Germany before World War one and
was teaching in different party schools with Rosa Luxemburg they were they were
actually very close this brings me to another important point for the
revolution itself you notice up here in northwestern Germany the cities of
Hamburg and Bremen well those were ports that were open to the world in a way
that most cities in Germany which were land black were not
and therefore they were always kind of more liberal in the bourgeois sense and
more radical than the working-class sense than almost any other city except
for Berlin and this is where panic Rock and border had their biggest influence
so I’ll come back to that momentarily okay so the Dutch so the war starts in
1914 the SPD collapses along with all the other major parties of the second
international except for the Serbians the Italians and the Americans who wind
up opposing intrigued by their own countries into the war I mean another
significant episode is the mass demonstrations in this chant was just
something that should indicate the limits of mass demonstrations all over
Europe against the war in the last days of July in 1914 and Rosa Luxemburg was
on the platform in front of two or three hundred thousand people I believe in
Brussels probably in Brussels and she fainted on
the platform and she said you know I know that in two or three days all of
these countries are going to vote to enter the war on their on the side of
that bourgeoisie and that most of these people will go along with it not too
many tangents but people in 1914 had no idea what modern warfare was about the
only really modern wars had been the u.s. Civil War and the very brief
franco-prussian war in 1870 which lasted a couple of months and no one imagined
the firepower of modern artillery the use of machine guns you know airplanes
had not yet really begun to be used for military purposes but it was just there
was a kind of festival not kind of there was a festive atmosphere all over Europe
there’s people were just kind of bored black bourgeois society and you know
when when the war was declared everyone just thought it was a great adventure I
mean almost everyone imagined that the war would be over by Christmas time this
is in August and for example the French army marched off to the front against
the German army with the officers wearing extremely colorful uniforms with
big feathers and and on horseback with Sabres no it’s just this kind of
unreality about what was about to happen and what did actually happen as you know
was this meat-grinder of four years in which fifty thousand people would be
killed and captured tutus two miles of the front and then the next day the
other army would charge back and recapture that and another fifty
thousand people would be killed and this just went on and on the the front
essentially ran from you know all along the border of Germany from Belgium down
to Switzerland and then of course that we’re furthest further fighting in the
east but not so much trench warfare so the populations and the political
parties were just totally unprepared for what happened and as we discussed the
first first meeting these little minorities of people Rosa Luxemburg when
in the Dutch council communists a few people in France a few people in Britain
you know kept their heads opposed the war but they would risk their lives
going out into these celebrating crowds to try to agitate against the war
now this changed over time you know you may have heard some liberal professor
say well World War one showed that nationalism is much more powerful than
Marxism look what in August 1914 well just look what
happened a few years later as the reality of the slaughter and the
meaninglessness of the slaughter you know had really set in
I mean it’s I’ll just highlight a couple of episodes that sort of show that starting in late 1916 for example the
German army and mutant aid excuse me not Army Navy mutiny up here in Kiel which
was the main port from which the German opera German Navy never was anything
nearly as powerful as the British Navy but some bright-eyed Admiral decided to
send the whole feet out to fight the British Navy which was blockading the
country relatively late in the war and the sailors mutiny and took over all the
ships and took over a keel and this was a real warning shot to all the to
everybody who was watching what was going on in early 1917 a french general
named de ville decided to launch an offensive on the Western Front you know
where everything was bogged down and it was such a slaughter that again there
was a massive mutiny and special divisions of the French army had to be
brought in from all over the place to put it down and the repression was so
great that to this day the the government archives on what happened and
that may have never been opened you cannot see no one can see them except
maybe some you know highly somebody with high connections in the military so you
know more and more you know the peace the social peace that had been
established at the beginning was breaking down all over the place and
that’s when these different forces go into motion but there I meant I
mentioned briefly the Dutch left and the you know the Dutch left is kind of a
mess it’s really the German ducks left with
this great influence that panic order and others had up here in these North
very militant North West working-class areas the Russian Revolution just the
February Revolution when the Tsar was overthrown was another thing that
radicalized the situation very interestingly in the United States
Woodrow Wilson who was president was watching all this very carefully and the
famous fourteen points that you’ve probably heard about in our high school
Civic class or something like that they were issued as a direct response to the
Bolshevik Revolution because Wilson realized that it was a war of propaganda
between the West the board wat Western powers and the new Russian Revolution
that have just taken power so there’s a big bulgy geopolitical
element to it the united states army intervened and the war in the spring of
1917 and began to turn the tide and this is also important for understanding the
revolution what happened up until even after the u.s. intervened the it really
looked like Germany was winning the war we talked about this was last time the
the Treaty of brest-litovsk which the Bolsheviks signed under duress in early
1980 or didn’t sign but in a case they gave away like one-fourth of all Russian
territory to Germany and Austria so on the eastern and this allowed Germany of
start moving troops to the Western Front and so things are looking pretty good
and the lines were all holding on the Western Front pretty much nevertheless
in September of 1918 with all of these and strikes beginning to really
accelerate the high levels of the German General Staff looked at the situation
and they just decided it’s all over we’ve got a surrender and we’ve got a
surrender on the best terms possible and thinking that they were maybe peace
without annexation or something like that so a lot of times when you look at
Buju our histories the decision to surrender and Wars makes it look like
it’s just based on external situations but the kind of maybe the implicit thing
of the presentation you’re putting out is that they’re also considering the
internal dynamics of their countries of whether revolution whether they will be
overthrown themselves that’s all the mutinies and whatnot so they are that’s
definitely a dynamic and what’s how long to fight when to surrender there’s
always the mention of the internal politics of all the countries involved
in war I mean in the United States as Woodrow Wilson was intervening I
understand some of you watch the Warren Beatty film Reds the other night Wilson
got reelected in 1916 on the slogan he kept us out of war and a few months
later he declared war on Germany and from 1917 to 1920 the US government was
repressing the IWW pretty much unprecedented levels of repression with
thousands of people jailed lynchings IWW offices being burned
burned down and shut down by people’s militias essentially middle-class people
so there was a very acute awareness of the explosive nature of the internal
situation in the United States as the u.s. entered the war because there was
there was a lot of opposition to the war as well
and and the British and the Americans above all were watching the situation in
Germany very carefully I mean because there were strikes going on in Britain
as well and they knew that the German working class had these militant
traditions and after the war anything could happen as a matter of fact Germany
was blockaded Germany was under blockade during the war the blockade was
maintained for a year or two after the war ended why because they were
controlling food shipments to keep revolution under control and where
things you know people you know hungry starving people who tend to go into the
streets and make revolutions and in Austria the monarchy had been overthrown
exactly for that reason in Hungary there was a revolution well they didn’t
actually take power till 1919 but the Allies knew the Allies being France
France the United States and Britain they knew that they had to deal with the
internal situation in all these countries that were in the process of
cerumen because they saw what happened in Russia okay so now we get into a very
complicated stuff I haven’t really thought too much about
the German Revolution for a very long time until people expressed interest in
in talking about it here but I spent a lot of time over the last week kind of
reviewing and putting together the stuff and you know looking at it to me it
really some level of fears as kind of a blur so I’m sure those of you who are
hearing about it for the first time or reading about it for the first time also
experiencing something of a blur I sent out two books to everybody who was on
the list and by the way anyone who didn’t get the notices please talk to me
afterwards so I can put you on the list for further emailing but the book by
yield ovair excuse me Shawn Varro which was debated pseudonym 1970s by John
Barrow and Denis or Chia on the revolutionary the German communists left
is a good source I’ll talk about a little later I have my doubts about some
of it some of the people I know in Paris really hate that book for what might
appear to be sectarian reasons but the book the second book I sent out by
Philippe chlorine a on the I think it’s called the German and Dutch communists
left I think it’s more reliable but I’ll get to that that these are those that
those are x y&z kinds of considerations let me just try to touch on the a B and
C anybody so Germany surrenders and driven Emperor
the Kaiser flees to Holland and crowds pour into the downtown areas of all the
major cities in a blah blah Berlin I think I’ve mentioned the first week that
just to show where the working class was politically in terms of consciousness
with the million people and the main downtown square Berlin on the day the
the Kaiser left at one end where the Social Democrats who were getting ready
to crush the revolution by arms if necessary proclaiming the German
Republic and at the other end where Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht the two
best-known anti-war agitators who had spent most of the war in jail announcing
the creation of the German Soviet republic and there were wild cheers at
both ends of the square there was a lot of a lot of confusion about what was
going on in and the way in which Germany had collapsed even though there’s no
question that in their personal communications that top German
commanders had said hey this is all over this legend arose that became known as
the stab-in-the-back legend that Germany was winning the war and that like there
was the Jews and the Socialists who had knife the whole thing and this persists
that this was a major myth in the rise of Nazism so crowds pour into the downtown areas
of main cities and all over Germany the workers soldiers and sailors councils
and red flags flying everywhere and the army just being essentially demobilized
on both fronts and but it’s important not to fetishize
these councils because a lot of them were not revolutionary and this came
this became clearer in the course of the events from 1918 onward that just
because people set up soviets and workers councils doesn’t necessarily
mean that they’re ready to have a communist revolution and this was one of
the problems that rosa luxemburg and Leibnitz had been dealing with the
situation they were not totally aware of this because it was of course it was
dazzling here’s the German Kaiser who ruled the dynasty that had ruled for 350
years packing up and leaving town I’m gonna just back up briefly to explain
the political developments during the war if you looked at either one of those
books or the short article by marine a on the German communist less we know the
broad outlines that during the war the anti-war sentiment in the Social
Democratic Party became quite significant and in nine early 1917 a
large minority was booted out of the party for disloyalty to the war effort
and they founded this USPD the independent Social Democratic Party of
Germany I’ll just refer to it from now on as you SPD and these included Katsuki
Bernstein who was the theoretician of revisionism all the center politicians
left with the USPTO as did Rosa and leave now and other leaders of the of
the hard left but you know very quickly there was obvious that they were
incompatible and within a year shortly before the war had ended this
the left concentrate itself as the Spartacus one the Spartacus league but
I’ll call it the sporadic was one to avoid confusion with the contemporary
sclerosis Lee yeah they were a minority probably in all of Germany they had five
hundred thousand followers whereas the US PD had about five million followers
and the social-democratic the true conservative or reformist social
democrats had about six million followers this I’m talking about as it
turned out in the first elections after the war and then within the sparticles
one there was already a split underway and that’s from the far left has these
evolutions but it is developing splits and this tension arose even before the
collapse of the government and the German military surrender between Rosa’s
faction Roza of course was in jail almost all this time but with people and
the sparkle founded the spot it was blend with the so-called ikd which were
the left communists up here that’s the end of independent communists of Germany excuse me International communist of
Germany and they their real base was up here in these radical cities Bremen and
Hamburg and elsewhere another really interesting aspect of this whole
development was but these people known as the revolutionary shop stewards and
they were centered in Berlin and they were sympathizers of the Spartacus boom
early on they were against the war they met almost every night for some time
during the war they were coordinating actions in the underground
and in some other key cities and they were totally went over to the sparticles
Flint I had a quick clarifying question according to this map as the Spartacus
ikv and the radicals yes are they all still part of the US PD as
tendencies as fractions yes although they’re not independent groups see then
they all by the way I want to explain that while I was photocopying this this
side over here got cut off but this is basically the syndicalist forces that
were concentrating different kinds of unions for direct action workers groups
and things like that and I frankly don’t know that much about them for the
narrative I’m developing they’re not I don’t think they’re terribly important
so I apologize for that but sorry yeah if AUD and then other groups that became
moved in and out of the far left during the teen years from 1918 to 1920 123 in
your presentation I’m wondering if you’re gonna go into a little bit about
how I know roses concern was not forming a sect or becoming isolated from the
working class so she was always trying to navigate a relation pretty complex
relationship to the US PD but was when he read Trotskyist histories they kind
of slammer hard because they’re like she didn’t break with the US PD and I you
know ended up muddling a clear organizational position okay yeah you
know that is true Rosa felt very strongly the need not she
weren’t you know her friends she was very friendly with the Dutch ultra-left
people and they were and particularly with Henrietta Roman host what kept
saying frozen what are you doing in that rock
before this party why don’t you break out and start your own group and she
said you know better to be part of a mobile performance
mass group than to be a small sect on the sidelines that was her attitude and
that is why she continued after the collapse you know after the Revolution
so to speak by the way the first head of state after the Kaiser left was a Bert
who was one of the key right wing socialist I mean the situation was so
dire okay the only people they could think of to put in power after the
Kaiser left was the SPD and I should mention that for a year before that the German military had been in contact with
the right wing of the SPD preparing for this situation there was something
called the Werner Schiedam impact Scheidemann was another wretched
right-wing SPD politician Brunner was a German General and they worked out a
deal that the Kaiser goes the SPD will take power and the military will support
the right wing so everything kind of fell into place such as it was they they
I was just about to go to that but but yes I mean those are that’s the those
are the hardcore followers of panic Aachen quarter of them up in those
northwestern cities and and they they gave Rosa a hard time also about not
breaking immediately with the USPD no they later when when this split
finally happened this was after Rosa was killed and the
communist party affiliated with the USPD to form a new mass party you know the
ikd people said they’d rather have five million wretched reformist left-wing
social democrats than to have 50,000 workers that would that what that is I
certainly it’s not how much imagine but that kind of was the result of her
policies no no I think well yeah I mean clearly they were you know they were
longshoremen other people connected to the ports but I think also some you know
important industrial workers as well but clearly the the atmosphere of the port
the constant interaction with foreign influences and things like that was one
of the reasons why those cities were more open and more radical than some of
the city is in in the heartland okay so the right wing of the SPD takes power
with the support of the military and given that it’s a revolutionary or a
proto revolutionary situation they had to move very carefully because here are
all these people out in the streets waving red flags and talking about the
establishment of a German Soviet republic and so very quickly I put these
two guys the rules of the peace would stop Nazca and friedrich ebert who I
just mentioned a bird is now the head of state Nazca is key and mobilizing this
group called the fry core fry choir just were no it’s kind of like the French
Foreign Legion I mean these were people who had spent the entire war and the
trenches very battle-hardened very reactionary I’m a they had where they
were pulled off of the Front’s fighting against the Bolsheviks and the worker
uprisings that were going on in Finland and in the Baltic countries and in the
western part of Russia there’s a really remarkable book a bit
long a big flavored by postmodernist language but really remarkable called
male fantasies I can’t remember the author’s name but you can find it under
that title and this guy goes through the Diaries and newspapers and somehow it
gets transcripts of the dreams of these fry court people and it’s filled with
and I just of course anti-semitism but that was the least of
it what they were really into was incredible massaging and Jewish
communist women were to them you know I mean Rosa Luxemburg was the symbol of
everything they despised and they reveled in capturing and killing
communist executing them but they were particularly vengeful and violent with
women communists that they captured so these were not nice people and there
were tens of thousands of them and they were brought into Berlin by the Social
Democrats and this is something that at the time again we have to remember you
know we look back on you know world wars massacres and things like that that’s
not something that we relish but we were kind of used to that kind of catastrophe
but at this time all of after a hundred years of relative peace a peaceful
development of capitalism and so on you know this was just also completely new
so the right part came into Berlin and street fighting started in January 1919
there the KPD was founded at the very end of 1918 by these two factions and
rosa luxemburg and the people around her who were the leaders of the party
we’re extremely cautious about it and what they were even more cautious about
was the creation of a third international which they were being
pressured into by the Bolsheviks because you know their feeling was Russia you
know this is this backward country I mean they defended the Russian
Revolution down the line Roza wrote some great articles in which he
said you know yes the Russian Revolution will be strangled in defeat but it will
be strangled above all by these cowardly social democrats who will just sit back
and let it happen i mean that she blamed the reformist leaders of Western
European social democracy more than anybody for the isolation of the Russian
Revolution and she also in one of her very last articles and the KPG daily
newspaper I just imagine you know it’s a daily communist newspaper and it was
just one of 15 or 20 daily KPD newspapers all around Germany just to
show you the depth of the revolutionary sentiment at that particular time one of
her last articles says in previous class wars throughout history the opposing
side entered battle of under their own banners class against class but today
what we’re seeing is the counter-revolution entering the battle
under the flag of a German of a Social Democratic Party if the question were
posed clearly capitalism or socialism the great mass of German workers would
have no doubts about which way they wanted to go but we have entered this
period in which no question can be posed quite a G divor quotes this passage and
the society to spectacle if you recall it’s really one of what a very powerful
thing that she wrote Rosen and liebknecht were murdered two weeks later
street fighting started in Berlin and the fry core didn’t have too much
trouble mopping up the Communists people who were in the streets it was there was
no mass strike backing it up that was it wasn’t exactly like Occupy against the
NYPD but it was it was it was it was a pretty one-sided battle because behind
the Frye core who were after they were just paramilitary volunteers but behind
them was the German army and the police it is interesting however that the
polute Chief of Police of Berlin at this particular time after the Revolution was
a member of the US PD and he actually helped he managed to keep the police off
the backs of the communists for I think he was ousted shortly after this but you
know it just shows what happens in revolution socialism in the government a
left wing a left Social Democrat as chief of police and so on Rosa and
Liebknecht are hunted down arrested and they were murdered by the FRA Corps in
January 15th so about two or three weeks after the creation of the KPD and the
depression came down very hard and continued for the next few months and a
number of other major figures were also assassinated in that period including
should I put him on the list yes the second name Leo Yogesh as he was Rosa’s
partner for the better part their adult lives also a very brilliant polish
Marxist revolutionary yes but Gustav wanderer was in honor cos
yeah I’m just he wasn’t in Berlin he was but I’m glad you mention it’s a great
yeah he was a great firebrand very good writer
very good revolutionary but the tensions are developing between the Spartacus
faction of the KPD and this ikd group from the northwest with sympathizers
elsewhere and this is where it gets very work now what were the issues between
them one was Rosa wanted to participate in the parliamentary elections for the
National Assembly in January 1919 the ikb said we are not interested in
elections they were an agreement on breaking with the trade unions and
seeing the trade unions as hopeless and irrecoverable again but all of them
agreed that the question of forming a new international that would tend to
fall under Russian control was something to be avoided at all cost and this
remained a sentiment in the KPD for at least a couple of years after after the
revolution now the the rest of the history of the German Revolution is and
I tried to hit the high points in the second page this handout but like I say
it really it really becomes a blur and what’s probably most striking about it
is that there’s one Revolutionary insurrection after another all over the
country but never coordinated always in one city always crushed in isolation so
for example it as a dress was just mentioning the
Bavarian Soviet Republic was declared in April of 1919 with a lot of very
brilliant anarchists and communists leaders Gustav Landauer
Eric museum and and others proclaiming this variance over the public but notice
for example that Munich is right in the middle of one of the most densely
Catholic and therefore conservative I shouldn’t say therefore and conservative
areas of Germany and no so it was kind of a extreme split between the city and
the countryside and within a week that Bavarian Soviet republic was isolated
and crushed by in this case they didn’t need to use paramilitary troops I think
they just the army finish them off then in the spring of 1920 so this is now a
year and a half after the revolution in the creation of the Communist Party
there’s this very important event called the cop which cop or some right-wing ka
double P with some right-wing politician who was backed by a lot of these
paramilitary elements as well as people in the army and he’s tried he staged a
coup in in Berlin and expected to the whole country would follow but in fact
what happened instead was a general strike throughout all of Germany and
this is significant because it shows that even though you know even though it
was a question of bringing and basically what the result of the general strike
was to bring back this wretched socialist so-called socialist government
that the workers knew that these far-right elements behind cops were
preparing a bloodbath against the working class and the general strike was
intended to stop that now people have argued ever since about
whether they should have pushed on for revolution or what what exactly was
expressed in that but it was really it was really the last time that there was
a nationwide expression of working-class hostility to the move to the right one
of the things I was talking briefly last week with Tom about this it’s just
amazing how I forgot to mention this period from 1918 to Hitler took over in
1933 is referred to in German history as the bimah Republic it’s violent called
the Bible Republic because the Constitution was written in the city
called Lemar which is on the map just a little bit south of you know it’s not
important it’s a small town it’s famous because that’s where Goethe sort of held
quote it has a kind of cultural symbolism some symbolism and Germany but
the bimah Republic the entire judiciary remained the judiciary of the pre 1918
period and therefore filled with judges who were monarchists and proto-fascist
and so on so that through this whole 15 year period every time a right-wing I’m
a cop for example I think he got six months in jail for trying to stage of
crew every time a right wing or far-right individual or group came
before these courts you know they would get a slap on the wrist whereas any
leftist involved in anything would either be sentenced to death or given a
very long prison term so there it was a right from the beginning this Weimar
Republic was a very shaky operation in 1922 this very charismatic guy named
Walter rotten it was a Jewish businessman who
foreign minister and he was assassinated by far-right terrorist group and again
there were mass demonstrations all over Germany probably some strikes and so on
and as as far as I recall the people who killed them were never never arrested
and some of them after world war ii reimburses famous writers and things
like that it was it was just the whole city just as in one would expect in any
capitalist bushwa democracy everything was tilted towards repressing
the left and we’re at best slapping the right on the wrists
since I mentioned red now I want to go into another element of sort of
geopolitics that played an important role starting you know because of the
Russian Revolution but this starts with a guy named Carl Reddick who is on
business all Radek like Rosa Luxemburg and the your vicious was a poll or maybe
even a with Wayne in but it’s one of one of these people who spoke five languages
was active and the revolutionary movement all over Central and Eastern
Europe came to Berlin as a common term emissary in early 1919 and a very
talented guy politically kind of all over the map you know one day he was
sympathizing with the ikd the next day it was sympathizing with somebody
farther to the right these are very quickly arrested but it was an arrest
like very few others which he basically held court in his prison cell in Berlin
for several months he’s a very important guy and he was very well known not just
in left-wing circles and so for those two months
all kinds of top-level businessmen and military figures as well as people from
the left and the trade unions were coming to read excel it was like a salon
and its erratic of course you know I became kind of the expert on the German
question for the Third International for the Soviet government and so on and shortly after this there were it was
already a momentum for a kind of rapprochement between Germany and the
Soviet Union no matter who was in power in Germany
and this is really incredibly interesting I don’t know I should go off
on too much detail but it’s just so interesting that I want to say a few
words about during the you recall last time we were talking about the Red Army
and David Poland in the summer of 1920 with the hope of sparking a workers
revolved in Poland and being on the border of Germany when the german
revolution happened and at this particular time some members of the ikd
were in in moscow and they met women and women pulled down a map of germany and
said sorrow comrades our army will soon be on the eastern border of Germany
where do you expect the revolt to break out first here in eastern Prussia and
they all just kind of looked at each other because it would be like saying
where do you expect the revolution to start in Mississippi and Louisiana next
week you know it’s the most conservative part of Germany and this already gave
the eye candy people a certain sense that women was a little out of touch
with what was going on there but the important thing is that as a result of
these of all this fighting that was going on and not just not just on in
Poland the Polish German border but also up here
in the Baltic States Lithuania Latvia Estonia and in Finland where there was a
vicious civil war going on between the Reds and the whites which the whites
unfortunately won with help from the Western powers the German army the
German High Command was coming into contact with the Red Army and the top
levels of the Red Army and there’s a very murky history that goes from 1919
right up to the Stalin Hitler pact of 1939 that these ties were really never
broken now in 1920 Germany made its first steps towards a kind of diplomatic
approach MA with the Soviet Union which already was a slap in the face of the
Allies the Allies had imposed this treaty called the Versailles Treaty on
Germany in spring of 1919 very draconian treaty just unbelievable reprobate
reparations I think it was calculated that Germany would finish paying these
reparations in 1950 and the German army was restricted to 100,000 reservists all
kinds of cutting edge factories and other other equipment were shipped to
the Western to France and Britain it was really a what they call a Carthaginian
peace where Germany was left with very little and I needless to say this pop
this treaty was very unpopular and the Social Democrats who signed it were
further uh you know considered to be traitors at first they had knife the
German war effort in their back now they signed this horrendous treaty and it was
a lot of the leaders of the SPD were Jewish it was very easy to play up the
fact there’s a Jewish conspiracy selling out the country it was right-wing
propaganda right up to 1933 when Hitler took power and Hitler tore up to their
side treaty he agitated against it through all those
15 years along with everybody else on the right and the far right and most of
those reparations were never paid so Germany and Russia begin to have
diplomatic feelers and the first thing that happens is that German
industrialists are allowed to build factories in the Soviet Union this is in
1920 while the Civil War is still going on they were allowed to build military
make military equipment and other key materials that had military use I of
course got interested in this I looked into it a little bit some of the people
on the German side actually traveled to Moscow and met with Lenin and Trotsky
and I have to say it’s critical as I am of Lenin and Trotsky I could not find
any smoking guns it was a very straightforward pragmatic deal we need
this military equipment you need some profits so we’re going to let you build
these factories but it was one of the ways in which these ties between the two
governments began to be established around this time there’s a very colorful
character and Colonel max Bauer who had excelled in crushing several
working-class uprisings he travelled to Moscow he’s met at a ceremonial dinner
with Lenin and Trotsky further contracts assigned and then max Bauer goes on to
China where he becomes a consultant to Xiang kai-shek and the German the
Chinese Nationalist Party will be dealing with this next week and he’s
involved in crushing the Communist workers in Shanghai and Guangzhou in
1927 so there’s a kind of a set of relationships that are being set down
here and I don’t want to draw any conclusions I mean some people think
that this or allowing German factories to be built in
the Soviet Union was another step towards the emergence of the Soviet
Union as a nation-state that was pursuing nation-state aims and you know
to hell with the international movement one we can talk about that but this was
going on in 1922 a formal agreement called the
Treaty of Rapallo who was signed and the guy who engineered it on the German side
was this guy Walter rat now and for his trouble he was promptly assassinated by
these far-right underground groups another getting was also is hard to keep
a chronological narrative going because so much is going on all over the place
the cop coach happens in March of 1920 it fails because of the general strike
and in the Ruhr the most industrial area of germany it’s the true industrial
heartland if you want there’s a there’s an uprising that lasts for a week it
results in the forming of what was known as the Red Army of the Ruhr which was
formed out of workers militias they even had a little Air Force and they fought
of course the German army moved in very quickly time to call it was a yes as a
receipt of the Copts which there was a social democrat who was concerned that
the workers in the Ruhr area had never given in their weapons they were still
armed and so there’s some evidence that the initial incident that sparked was of
course the main incident was the cop push but this social democrat he wanted
the workers to rise up because they would be thought they would be isolated
and they were and therefore they could be easily they could be relatively
easily defeated but it was quite a battle
that was probably the most extended armed confrontation of the whole
revolution in which thousands of workers were killed during the repression and of
course afterwards after they were rounded up I was in Germany last fall
and I stopped off of this sky I know in the Ruhr who’s a kind of a historian
meaning a Crow’s 25,000 books in his library but that’s another story
and he knows a lot about this nothing much of significance has happened in the
world for a very long time and he said yes it’s very curious that there’s a
magnificent three volume study of the Ruhr revolt unfortunately not translated
I’m thinking of making there like a twenty page outline of it you know
that’s gonna take a while I said when this guy was writing this book which was
in the 70s he came around and tried to find people who have experiences in this
and it was just almost forgot it was just like it never happened
he talked to people who had actually fought I mean of course a lot of the
most class consciousness when you’re conscious and militant people have been
killed it’s not them later or during the Nazi period but it was just like a
hidden historical amnesia like you like you can’t believe I guess like you know
Vietnam today in the United States and one person in a hundred could say five
interesting things about so the Ruhr uprising is crushed and then after that last week I mentioned the March action
March 1921 again this is a central German this is basically down here south
of Berlin in another industrial area where also the workers had not given up
their weapons factor you know the dust had settled in 1918 1919 and both the
Communist Party and the left communists the KPD I’m sorry I forgot to mention
that in fall 1919 the KPD as a majority left the KPD where I think
may even have been expelled and formed the ke AAP ki which lasted only a couple
of years as really a mass party and when I say mass party it was maybe fifty
thousand people or a hundred thousand people I’d like to have a deaf communist
group in the United States with fifty or a hundred thousand members but I mean in
Germany at that time given all the other forces on the left and the right you
know didn’t have a lot of weight but so there broke both cape sorry well
Pannekoek definitely Gorder but there were you know I think panic Rock had
been kicked out of Germany since he was a Dutch citizen quarter was in Holland
probably the most interesting guy in the KPG at this point was a guy named max
Holtz hol Z who was a working-class firebrand incredible speaker and great
street fighter and strategist and he kind of excelled in these kinds of
confrontations and he managed to don’t play a leadership role in in the March
action and then an escape to the Soviet Union and wrote a autobiography which I
haven’t read which is supposed to be you know really good
what happened he died later much later I don’t know in what circumstances so that
the both the Communists and the okay anybody else have a question
both the cupcake kpj and the KPD have troops people on the ground in central
germany and there’s tremendous hesitation on in both parties actually
about the wisdom of an uprising at that time and the great majority of workers
in the immediate area in fact are hostile to the march action which
involves seizing some factories and you know with armed militias and getting
ready to fight the police and the army in fact the majority even the great
majority of workers kind of held back and so once again even though people
like max holds organized brilliant resistance for a couple of weeks the
uprising was crushed I think a thousand workers were killed many more arrested
and sent to jail for long terms and there was much hand-wringing and
accusation afterwards interestingly the head of the KPD a guy named Paul levy
was mentioned it was kind of a disciple of Rosa Luxemburg but with none of roses
talents he was opposed to the march action and but it was kind of out of his
control and he wrote a pamphlet called against push ISM and he published it
before the March action and for his troubles he was expelled from the KPD
linen actually privately agreed with levy but because he broke party
discipline by publishing this conflict nothing was said in the KPD itself there
was a lot of criticism of the March action as well that it was poorly
prepared and isolated and you know I think the term adventurous was used so
this was not really a sticking point between the two the two parties at that
point I mean there was a lot there was a lot of hesitation on both sides and
ultimately it was kind of an ill-considered action further isolated
the revolutionary elements on the left rough communists and the best people so
that was the spring of 1921 and as I mentioned last week I I really see that
as kind of the turning point of the whole world revolution after World War
one failure of the March action the question of Kronstadt and Russia Soviet
Union the Anglo Russian trade agreement which sort of normal I it was the first
time that relations were normalized with a capitalist country the MEP the new
economic plan which opened up the market to the peasants which were they were 85
percent of the population and then finally also lesser-known
the rep the Soviet Turkish commercial treaty also of march 1921 in which
Ataturk the leader of the Turkish nationalists was recognized and
supported with Soviet money and weapons while he was crushing the Turkish
Communist Party was established a certain kind of precedent which would be
followed many times in the future so it was just well none of these events were
particularly coordinated what they showed was a pulling back of the
revolutionary wave that Trotsky said right after 1917 the world revolution is
a matter of months and then by 90210 maybe it’s a matter of
years of course Stalin moved in to this whole discussion saying look the world
revolution is off the agenda we’ve got to deal with our situation and he
launched this formulation which I think I mentioned before socialism in one
country something unheard of in the Marxist tradition up to that point so that the egg that’s kind of blended now
there just let me add a couple of more points discussion the the situation in
Germany was going from bad to worse so you may recall the mass inflation of
1922-23 when German pensioners and other people were literally pushing their
weekly pensions down the street and wheelbarrows in 1 billion mark notes
issued massively by the central bank it was just the exchange rate between the
mark and the dollar went from four or five in World War one up to two or three
billion to one by 1921 to 22 it was just a chaotic situation and workers were
constantly striking if for no other reason because they had to keep up with
inflation and the workers didn’t do too badly and the people who really got
screwed were the middle class and pensioners who had bought of all these
war bonds during the war they would cash them in and the money they would get
back with brought box of mattress or pay for lunch or something like that I mean
the life savings of the whole German middle class were wiped out and also all
the debt of German industry was white so they came out of it very well the
working class didn’t do too badly it was the people who had no organizing
strength who just got absolutely hammered by this inflation so the
situation was deteriorating and there was this one last attempt at a
revolution in the fall of 1923 their vain thought discussion of sending
Trotsky to Germany to run the German Revolution the way he had run the
Bolshevik seizure of power but it never happened
I don’t know what would have happened but finally in October of 1923 the
combination of this crisis there was Hitler’s push in Munich an attempt to
seize the munich government which failed and at the same time a completely
botched uprising in germany i think i mentioned last time that the Comintern
analyzed the situation decided to call it off sent telegrams and the guy with
the telegram who was supposed to notify the Homburg working class that the
insurrection was off this is the last train and so they rose up and they were
crushed in isolation and interestingly as I point out the very end here the
weapons that the German army used were from the Soviet Union not that the
Soviet Union had sent them for this purpose but they were weapons that were
part of this deal in the German Soviet record okay I’ve talked too much so why
don’t we move to questions and discussion and see what you know you can
flesh this out more in terms of these different factions and what what this
means for today all right one last thing you know again it’s the parallel the
parallels and differences with contemporary China that I think are the
most interesting aspect why this stuff is not just
ancient history for edification on the cold winter night okay first of all
Germany was the most dynamic industrial country in the world at this time with
the exception of the United States around 1870 or at the latest 1880 both
Germany and the United States past england as leading industrial powers and
in some ways germany’s development was more interesting than the United States
because it had this statist top-down element that I mentioned with Bismarck
I thought but it went much farther than that for example in 1870 in the United
States there were no graduate schools if you wanted a better graduate school in
the 1870s 1880s and really up until the 1930s you went to Germany particularly
in the sciences and in mathematics and it wasn’t just graduate schools there
was technical institutes that were innovating all kinds of stuff and
engineering steel production chemistry electronics and so on it was it was in
that way the most advanced industrial country in the United States was copying
it mad with all these people coming back from studying there I mean none other
than wev Dubois went to graduate school in Germany between about 1908 and 1909
1912 he took classes from sociologists like Maxie
and just that’s how widespread this fascination with Germany was when the
United States finally decided to have a central bank which was created the
Federal Reserve Bank was created in 1913 he was copied from the German central
bank there are congressional studies over several years so we’ve got to have
something like this so Germany became this model so in terms of class
composition it was a highly skilled workforce not only were there technical
schools and in tribute to this day for example Germany has these apprenticeship
programs that it’s definitely a class tilted kind of thing sort of you know
like tracking in the United States around the age of sixteen if you’re not
going to go to the University you go to one of these apprenticeship schools or
and turn it turns out you know hundreds of thousands of skilled workers in their
late teens every year so one of the reasons that today China and Germany
have such close trade relations with journey exporting so much machinery and
cars and equipment and so on to China is because of this highly skilled workforce
that I mean by comparison the US workforce just so there was this high
level of labor formation the real core industrial areas that as I mentioned
earlier the main one was over here in the Ruhr Ruhr area bordering on Holland
Belgium and France Bavaria was little industrialized and then the area around
Berlin and I would say no and then Hamburg and Bremen were kind of port for
an export oriented but with some industry as for the class
composition within this there’s no question that there was a division
between these skills workers were relatively well-paid and a larger mass
of unskilled workers but as for breaking it down by industry or vibration I I’m
not really in a position to do that terms of ethnic fission there was a lot
of Polish integration into eastern Germany a lot of poles worked as
agricultural laborers and there’s been some anti polish feeling about that
anti-semitism in Germany was essentially aimed at the middle class there were to
my knowledge and there was a huge Jewish working class in Poland and in some and
in some parts of Russia and other Eastern European countries but to my
knowledge there wasn’t much of a Jewish working class appointment Jews were you
know the anti-semites played on the fact that the Jews played a key role in
banking and owned a lot of department stores and other things that were
associated with but to my knowledge anti-semitism played
next and no role in the working class itself I mean the Social Democrats they
just to flaunt their internationalism and their relative advanced progressive
character used to run Jewish go they went out of their way to run Jewish
candidates and well-known right-wing anti-semitic areas and when all of this
was just kind of unheard of you know it’s kind of like the rise of black
politicians in the United States after the 6th there was just something that
came as a result of some fundamental transformation of German society but am
i answering your question okay take some other questions we can come
back to that I was thinking that I mean there’s so
much written about the German Revolution and all the stuff and I was thinking you
know it might have been a good idea along with borrow Oda and the whirring a
chapters to read Lenin’s pamphlet as well as quarters answer to the camp now
which is also a brilliant the gist of length Lenin wrote this in the spring of
1920 and the the two targets in it are the German left communists the K a PD as
well as the Dutch left and the board Edith’s now we’ll we can take this up
and actually maybe for our last session when we deal with left communism we
should read Lenin’s pamphlet no because it’s a good introduction from the other
side yeah many years ago I went to the library with that pamphlet ER and I
looked up all the people that Lenin was denouncing what do these people have to
say that’s kind of how I stumbled on to tradition which at that time of course
not much was published about it even to this to today there’s not a
great deal that’s published but much more now when Leonard was basically
saying the argument was the model of the Russian Revolution is the model for a
revolution in the West and this was the process that Rosa Luxemburg had been so
worried about that that by the very nature of being the only country with a
ostensibly Marxist party in power that they would take over the Third
International and even though it was obvious to everyone including the
Bolsheviks that Germany as a working-class was much more
important and more powerful than the Russian working class like what what
what Lenin was trying to hammer home but it was calling you know infantile
sectarian quality of the Western European left honest for their refusal
to enter into alliances with other forces now this involved at different
times that the I believe it was the third Congress that at the third
Congress 1921 the KPD was expelled from the third international they set up a
new international with some other left communist forces centered in Amsterdam
which unfortunately only lasted a couple of years and Trotsky made a speech this
was after crunch daddy said we hear a lot of talk these days about the need
for a third revolution well if you’re gonna have a third revolution why not a
fourth international surely being overwhelmed by numbers will not be the
problem of a fourth international if one day such an organization has ever found
– it’s just one of trotsky’s many prophecies that’s why I’m
definitely applying to him so but but Lenin was trying to do what the real
core of it as I recall was the question of the United Front now what is the
United Front and the term has been used and abused ever since but at that time
it meant essentially aligned with the Social Democrats for the left-wing
Social Democrats for example you see here that ultimately I didn’t mention
that ultimately the KPD fused with the majority of the u.s. PG and founded a
new the new but that’s what we came the NASS communist party that was in 1921
sorry 20 1920 and for diga down in Italy was polenta
sizing all this time about the dangers of a absorption of the left-wing Social
Democrats most of whom not just in Italy but everywhere in Europe had supported
their own country in World War one and in fact there’s a very nice continuity
between left Social Democrats who voted for war credits for their own
bourgeoisie who would in the left-wing of the socialist parties after the war
and who became Stalinists five years later so there was a there’s a certain
kind of logic in their evolution and Brigitta was adamant the commentary
ordered the Italian Communist Party know you’ve got a fuse with the left-wing and
the Socialists imported Eva said no way so that’s how he gets into this pamphlet
but he’s he’s really not mentioned that much the real force of Lenin’s polemic
is aimed at the KPD and the Dutch left communists for their infantile refusal
to make alliances with other forces now in his reply Hermann border was along
with panic on the two most important leaders of the Dutch left he wrote this
open letter to Conrad weddin which you can find on the vidcom
and it’s really quite remarkable and in retrospect it all seems very obvious but
here’s this guy you know a poet not really that well known outside of
Holland and Germany taking on Lenin who was at the height of his press division
in 1920 say look Lenin what you’ve got to understand is that the revolution in
Russia triumphs because you had the support of the peasantry the peasantry
didn’t love you they were suspicious of you you stole the whole program of the
left-wing of the socialist revolutionaries by agreeing to the
seizure of land and 18:17 as if the Bolsheviks had any
choice about that the peasant seize the land and handed it out among themselves
which was not the Bolshevik program the Bolshevik program was nationalization of
the land and the creation of collective farms voluntarily but nevertheless those
were the circumstances and that was what neutralized the peasantry in the Civil
War no matter what the whites tried to do they could never convince the
peasantry that they weren’t going to bring back the landlords which is
exactly of course what they intended to do so the alliance between that’s kind
of a hammer and sickle what is the hammer and sickle it’s a symbol of the
Alliance of the working class and the peasantry but this was not on the agenda
in Western Europe in Western Europe it was in quarters words the working class
stands alone and cannot ally any other political force now one might say right
that in some cases the revolutionary working class party could say to say
peasant smallholders and landless workers in the countryside gotta
recognize capitalism is headed for large-scale capitalist agriculture it’s
gonna wipe you out we offer you as a doomed social class we offer you the
best possible way out and on that basis you could make an alliance but to ally
with above all with the Social Democrats who have just drowned 100 evolution in
blood a couple of years earlier in Germany we’re getting ready to do so in
other places there’s just something that the many communists as well as left
Commons just could not swallow and that’s what Annan was trying to hammer
away back but but the real issue in both the case of Libya and the Dutch left was
to say that this dual revolution revolution proletarian revolution in the
cities were a revolution in the countryside land to individual
doesn’t smallholders that this was the model for world revolution this is where
the russian dominance of the international really made itself felt
most forcefully because from that point on nobody could argue with the Russian
party and the Russian state you know which was using the third international
as one aspect of its foreign policy so that that’s the thing but I think when
we get to the left communist in our final meeting we should definitely read
Lenin’s pamphlet and maybe know that and quarters reply it something like that okay
I made noises last week about carrying this whole story up to the seizure of
power and Hitler but I really think we’ve covered enough ground today maybe
we can deal with that but but you know to put it very briefly right after the
events that I was talking about in 1923 the last uprising and Homburg Hitler’s
failed which Germany stabilized for four years along with the rest of the
capitalist world and as a result the different extreme parties kind of went
into the woodwork then came the 1929 crash which hit Germany harder than any
other country except the United States and both women in the US areas about 30
to 35 percent unemployment at the depths of the depression 1932 but in that
period starting in 1928 okay I’ll try to make this as brief as possible 1924 to
1928 the period of stabilization was a period of we refer to 1928 to 1933 as
the third period nobody says first period or the second food but the
first period was up to Lennon’s death 1924 the events we’ve been talking about
the second period also nobody uses is the period of the
stabilization the most important event going on at that time was the defeat of
the Chinese Revolution ultimately in 1927 there was a period in which Bukhara
and the coup Carmen right as we discussed was more or less calling the
shots King Comintern policy so there would be people in all countries who
oriented towards the Buchanan’s right who are running the communist parties
trying to make alliances with progressive elements of the bourgeoisie
it was sort of a dress rehearsal for the Popular Front of the 30s 1928 Stalin has
defeated McClaren and Trotsky excuse me as a defeat of the trotsky’s defeated
the left he turns on the conga and shifts over to what actually was called
the third period the period of class against class which meant the Social
Democrats are fascists or to use the term at that time social fascists took
them more dangerous than the actual fascists in a number of countries like
China and Vietnam the Communist Party set off into these really adventurous
kinds of actions with the slogan Soviets everywhere that’s why it was referred to
as a kind of an ultra black period and this had serious implications nowhere
more than in Germany where you had this mass Social Democratic Party a
significant communist party by that time the left continents faded away and this
rising Nazi Party and for all this period from 28 to 33 the Communist Party
was directing its fire against the for Democrats and and actually you know
in some for example and believers in 1932 the Social Democrats were running
the state government in Prussia and the tramway workers went on strike in Berlin
Communists and Nazis together picketed in support of that strike and this
happened in a number of places around the country they were you know they were
both out to torpedo the Social Democrats they did successfully but the German
Communist Party slogan was after Hitler us that was that was their life and even
in 1934 when they were in the concentration camps and their
underground newsletters they were still peddling this third period line that the
Social Democrats were more dangerous than Nazis so it didn’t end well now in
some sense you could say that after Hitler us became was verified when the
Communist Party got East Germany after the but that was not the plan so that
that’s kind of what makes the final link between these early years I mean nothing
much of importance happened in the so-called second period but the third
period was just a an absolute disaster and and many just want so many social
democratic and communist workers at the base wanted to work together they knew
this was madness and they in some places committees were established Trotsky on
its island off the coast of Turkey is issuing these pamphlets which are read
by a few hundred people calling for a United Front from below to fight against
the fascists but it had you think more it was like like did this
classic its class line that’s what you know it’s like let’s see just imagine
some you know just imagine some situation arose here in which some part
of the Sirius left was called upon to ally with Obama liberals I mean that
that’s what I was the way in which German communists felt about the SPD the
SPD had crushed the revolution of 1918 and 1923 they had brought Franklin to
Berlin and killed Rosa Luxemburg it wasn’t difficult to portray them as
reactionaries but no distinction was made between the SPD leadership and a
lot of SPD workers who were and they SPD for all kinds of historical reasons and
you know certainly did not buy into you know these crimes of the leadership but
it was just it was just historically it was just too late to you know over
enough people to the idea of uniting against the fascist okay unfortunately that that’s over here
in this part that kind of got cut off when I was photocopying but and as I
said I don’t I don’t really know enough about the a AUD AUD e etc etc these
different groups that were generally attacked syndicalist whether they were
or not that was what the slogan of the KPD and later the KPG was out of the
parliament out of them out of the unions and you know because the unions were
directly involved in crushing the revolution under social democratic
leadership so then of course the kgt the KPD after lenin tracked down and after
they sort of decided to go along with a general line of the third international
they went back to both parliamentary activity as well as the units but the
left communists generally tried to form independent organizations that they
refer to as they used the german word formula which does not mean Union and
German which is just it they they presented it as an organization that
synthesized the political party with the workplace struggle group essentially and
I don’t know that any of them were terribly successful
I mean maybe fifty or a hundred thousand people participated in these different
groups and they might have been important for a year or two but the
after the Cape Cape apd left the KPD in 1919 they they just never really got it
together I mean whether or not it was a question of not having a
centralized party I don’t know but they just couldn’t crystallize a pole I mean
after all the the Revolution was ebbing on a world scale who was ebbing in
Germany there was defeat after defeat with which these are the KP beyond a
Capon you could do much about Tim bye-bye
I don’t know that the K APD’s ideas were ever really tested in any prolonged
period I think there were too much a creation of this immediate revolutionary
situation and once that situation ended just wasn’t much left of it but it’s an
important question than that I wish I could say more about it I think that’s
if you know if you look in the further chapters of that book by brewery name he
has a whole history of what happened to the the KPD and the other left
communists both in Holland and Germany after the defeat when they retreated
into being essentially small sense and one of the important points that he
makes is that border and panic are in the very early 20s were absolutely not
an Tea Party they’ve wanted to have a communist party they just didn’t want
the Roscoe than in his version of the Communist Party later with the kind of
councilors who emerged in the late 20s early 30s
people like Paul Maddox senior who very serious
mark mark sister addition they sort of invented this idea of council ISM in
which the need for the Communist Party just disappeared so that’s that’s an
important distinction the Douro said that in nazi germany no
practice is possible i’m wondering to what extent any of these organizations there any reconstitution very
interesting Communist Party maintained an underground organization in Germany
throughout most of them were there in concentration camps or in exile but some
people in Germany managed to form a form an underground of sorts I don’t recall
that you had any great successes but for example in 1943 Great Britain had begun
Great Britain in the United States had begun the serious bombing of Germany
there’s a famous episode where a German countess some aristocratic woman who had
fled the Nazis was living in London ran into Winston Churchill at a cocktail
party and said so how is the bombing of Germany going then Churchill says oh
great and tonight we’re hitting Hamburg and Bremen and we’re going to be bombing
above all the working-class neighborhoods where the Communist Party
has its strong as strongholds so one aspect of World War two that you rarely
read about is the way in which on both sides the Nazis and the Allied powers
they were focused on avoiding a repetition of what happened in 1918
the Allied bombing of Germany was aimed at working-class neighborhoods it was
not aimed at factories they wanted to paralyze production so they bombed the
workers and said of the factories at the end of the war 80 percent of all German
industry was still intact what had been bombed were the working-class
neighborhoods and bridges and railroads to prevent goods and people meanwhile
the Social Democrats are some Democrats I’m sure they had their or underground
organization but they were in exile in places like Britain where they were
being cultivated for the post-war period and so when the war ended the Russians
came in in the East and they they quickly put pro-moscow communists in
power and the rest of the country was divided between a French a French and
American and the British occupation zones and the intelligence agencies of
both Britain and the United States were busy setting up anti-communist social
democratic unions and political offices and things like that as well as getting
all the Nazi war criminals out of the country and to South America where they
could play a counterinsurgency role later on it’s really a very pretty
pretty picture but the anticipation of the open I forgot to mention the Gestapo
the German secret police also was really concerned about a repetition of 1918 and
they were following what was going on in the working class very carefully with
this in mind there’s a British historian named Tim Mason who has written in a
series of books about them based on the Gestapo files about what was going on in
working class and how you know they even though there was generally quiet not
that many strikes although there were strikes under the Nazis you know they
they were just handing in weekly reports on what was going on and all the key
industrial zones and and then finally actually somebody else has found
material on you know kind of youth gangs in the working class that emerged during
the war that would go around at night you know writing an anti-nazi slogans
and carrying out low-level sabotage Vilonia I think Ronnie tribe but Ronnie
also writes about he writes about the whole working class room under the Nazis
as well it was absolutely not a quick
cut-and-dried picture of refreshing I mean the Nazis knew very well that they
had to keep that keep the workers as happy as possible after shutting down
the union’s shutting down the sort of SPD and the KPD wages real wages rose
significantly in Germany starting in about 1936 there were some strikes in
kind of chokehold places where the Nazis had to settle that’s broadly speaking
the picture after the war the under the Soviet occupation the KPD leaders
returned from from the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe they set up a Stalinist
regime and what became East Germany the different occupying powers in the West
were setting up using the Social Democrats under the Communist Party was
legal in the three Western occupied zones until I believe 1956 I was getting
about ten percent of the vote but it was nothing like didn’t just did
have the influence that have had from before the war there was a great episode
as the Soviet Army was coming into Berlin there were freeing people from
prisons and things like that and they they freed the inmates of a mental
asylum and one of one of the inmates was a veteran of the 1918 revolution who
somehow got to a print shop that had these huge posters printed up declaring
a republic of Soviets and workers councils and plastered them all over the
Linden the Red Army and the Congress party were going somewhat crazy trying
to figure out you know what what this was we serve acts of resistance
where I had to be conducted in secrecy with there a less formal leadership was
it more just spontaneous self activity behind the strikes and the youth gangs
was there still kind of was there still kind of like rigid and and various
structure of all these different groups and ideologies are very very far well
for example in the concentration camps the KPD
which had the best organizational experience they very often became the
Capo’s in the concentration camps the Capo’s were like enforcers of the german
prison guards and military and there was a lot of settling of scores between
different factions by these people hmm so there’s one case in which party
discipline was maintained III frankly don’t know I would think that in the
conditions of the underground things were not terribly well coordinated you
know because people were being picked up all the time and the cells were
extremely isolated from each other there is one interesting case of Alfred’s own
Rachel who some of you may know he wrote a really interesting book on mental and
manual labor member of the Frankfurt School he also wrote a book about the
Nazi economy he was employed and when Hitler took over by one of the big
industrial firms in Berlin and he was totally underground as a communist he
managed to continue that job for three years into the Nazi period and he was
essentially putting out a newsletter for the company on the financial and
economic situation and so he had access to virtually everything that was going
not so while he was putting out his newsletter for the company he was also
writing for the underground communist press driving the Gestapo absolutely
crazy as these brilliant analyses of the week-to-week developments at the top
levels of German banks and corporations were appearing in the communist press
but they finally figured out who it was unfortunately so and Radle was able to
escape led to written but by and large I mean the Social Democrats I think they
survived essentially with the support of the United States and above wrong with
the British they were they were being groomed to return and we established
themselves at the expense of the Communists and being helped by the
Allied airforces who are destroying you know the communist strongholds and you
know the big cities so that end was somebody like villi brunt for example
who became Chancellor of Germany in 1969 he was a SPD theater he was actually to
the left of the SPD but was in exile during the war and he was one of these
people who was groomed by Western intelligence for a role in German
politics after 1945 I can’t remember the details but during the Watergate
hearings of 1974 7,500 was exposed that he was being paid by the CIA the whole
time he was the mayor he was the mayor of Berlin through most of the 60s 7
that’s how he kind of moved up moved up to River world up and moved out any more
questions um Rosa Luxemburg was talking about
Lenin critiques of each other and there was one thing she said about
or Geraint said about Luxembourg’s intentions were wrong but her outcome
was correct and woman’s intentions are correct but his outcomes which which of
the phrasing is the reading that you said you didn’t the most recent or the
first one okay um so and who was saying that her intentions were wrong in terms
of the creation of the KPD okay well that would be somebody who would be
sympathetic to Lenin but kind of recognizing that in the long run Rosa
was possibly on the National question okay without a clear idea what exactly
the people were referring to I’m not sure I understand the question
I don’t recall the passage but there’s no question that our Rosa was right that
the cream I mean so much happened after the battle between men and and
Luxembourger in terms of part of your organization that it’s hard to it’s
really hard to blame Lenin for Stalin this and I mean full-blown install and
then there’s authoritarian aspects of women’s kind of conception to party but
it was nothing like what it became under Stalin so somebody is saying that Rosa
was right in criticizing Lenin’s view at a party and that thought was proved to
be so later on I mean I’m sure that’s not
that that would be an example of it I’m sorry I’m just not without but I did
want to mention the first thing is the first book I sent out by burro and if
you who who read those chapters okay and the second thing that I sent out by the
run on the German and Dutch left by Maria egg we read those okay oh I’d
totally forgotten that very nice book it was available in English and he actually
sent me I contacted him and he sent me that copy which as I emphasized pleased
you’re not forward don’t put it online it’s about to be come out it’s a book
but it’s it’s just much more seems to me much more balanced I mean the thing that
really raised my eyebrow with the burro or ta boy was when so they just have
almost contempt for Rosa Luxemburg yes Rosa Luxemburg was on the right wing of
the debate in the newly founded Commons party why because she wanted to
participate in the elections for the National Assembly and maybe done one or
two other questions whereas the ikd the hard left Communist no Parliament no
unions etc okay she’s on the right but the Rosa Luxemburg was towering figure
of the revolutionary movement up to that point I mean she was killed
two months after the Revolution she didn’t really have time to develop a
thorough position on a lot of these questions maybe she would have continued
in that in that direction but she was extremely suspicious of Lenin and the
Bolsheviks and what they would do with a communist international once that was
created and and the there’s a kind of contemptuous dismissal in the the burro
burro is as I said it’s the pseudonym refused of a I just I kind of forgotten
about that so that’s how I got ahold of poor Ynez book and which I think is it’s
just much more balanced and much more favorable towards recognizing
Luxembourg’s role even though bringing himself agrees with that the left
communists that she was wrong in those formulations in the last couple of
months of her life so and basically what we’re getting to this meeting of
communism burrow and or Chia at that point as far as I know is still coming
from a very hard boardy disposition and actually I think they go farther than
Gordeeva I mean were digging himself had great respect for Rosa Luxemburg even
though he true agreed with the left communists but he recognized that she
had been a towering figure and it’s the board gigas attitude towards democracy
that is really what is behind the way in which burrow and or to just kind of
dismiss Rosa Luxemburg you know I mean where do you use formulations about
democracy are well how shall I say they leave something to be desired
particularly in light of everything that happened with Stalinism but you know
poor did most of those writings were in the late teens and early 20s before
anybody had ever heard him for diva consider it fascism to just be an
episode of bourgeois ruling that was not that different from any other one and he
considered Stalin’s greatest crime was that it was a prude honest well you see
how it works out it makes some sense but you know just you know the those classic
writings of where diga were all done before the fascism or Stalinism had
really morphed into what they what they ultimately became now maybe they would
have said the same thing that this waiter I don’t know but so even though
there’s a lot of valuable material in the borough or Tabor I think worrying a
book was much it just it’s just much more balanced around the course of
people thinking about like what could make permanent revolution in 1917 it
really specifically making the point that a Germany needs to have this
revolution so I was just wondering why what is it because the class composition
with Germany is it just to have another country wife who was writing listen I
think the Bolshevik Party was specifically saying like Germany needed
Strebel needs to have a revolution so we can bring that was the the center
centerpiece of the Bolshevik strategy they always were saying we’re a backward
yeah Lenin once made a speech what is the Soviet Union this was 1921 or so he
said Soviet Union is a backward country with a pro working class communist
parties in power what will the Soviet Union be after the German Revolution it
will be a backward country with substantial aid from our fraternal
communist government for communist communist government in Germany other
words they had no illusions about Russia being anything but a sort of advance
action in this much wider battle rather and that the Senate way the center was
Germany and that’s why because it was the most power
full industrial country it was just it was they their idea and it was the idea
of Rosa Luxemburg and the German communists as well you know you know
after a german revolution german industry would be able to help the
development of the soviet union in a way that would never happen if germany the
russia just had to deal with a lot of capitalist powers i mean it was just the
strategically most important country and if that had been a revolution in germany
there probably would have been a revolution and half a dozen other
countries as well okay I hope I didn’t talk too much next
week let’s do Maoism the reading for that I
will suggest is the article which I wrote about nine months ago a year ago
called notes towards a critique of maoism and Schumann is going to come up
with a one of the 200 replies most of them hostile he’s going to choose one of
the more intelligent ones and we’ll read that for a kind of balance and so we’ll
deal with malice in the week from today then I unfortunately will be out of town
the following Sunday that’s the 20 that’s the weekend of the 29th and 30th
so I hope that we can just have a vacation and meet the following week to
deal with left communism as such particularly the German Dutch and
Italian and someone asked me to explain I come down on all these questions I
mean you probably think that some pretty clear idea of that from what I’ve said
about these other countries etc and you know people want to continue on their
subjects that’s fine with me so Cindy to join

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