Guilt of the KPD/ Schuld der KPD

Chris, London 100423.2040 at
Sun Dec 10 02:00:36 MST 1995

Jim J on 3rd Dec made a commendably firm and precise
criticism of Barkley Rosser:

On Sun, 3 Dec 1995 ROSSERJB at wrote:

>      Aaaah, there goes Uncle Lou again.  If I remember
> correctly, the Communist Party of Germany collaborated
> with the Nazis against the Social Democrats.  Hmm, some
> great resistance to Hitler.  And then there was that funny
> little agreement between Molotov and von Ribbentrop.  But
> then we know that Uncle Joe was just a "state capitalist,"
> so we can write off anything he did.

	Based on the above: Rosser; if you are going around calling
yourself a communist or a marxist, please CEASE and DESIST from doing so!
There's little doubt in my mind that you are some kind of right-winger /

Chris 10th Dec:

Concerning Rosser, I think it is clear that Barkley would not
call himself a communist or a Leninist, but he would 
consider calling himself a marxist.

The precise passage that Jim criticises is in a knock-about
style which cannot do justice to the possibilities that
Barkley can bring as a professor, so long as he does not
have to apologise jokily for being a professor on this list.

In one sense it is idealist to criticise the SDP for 
the rise of Nazism. The material base in capitalist 
societies means that some sort of liberal or social
democratic party is a high possibility as a political 
fact of life. It will develop, flourish or wither 
according to its own internal contradictions and 
interaction with other social forces. It mediates the 
needs of a section of the electorate for reformist 
adjustments to the capitalist system. 

A marxist standpoint however is an analytical one, 
above these class forces, with the possibility of 
deciding where and how the interests of the working class
and working people are best advanced. It is a question of 
consciousness. Therefore in so far as any party can 
consciously be steered in another direction (far from the 
easy thing that many contributors to this list seem to 
assume), the question of the guilt of the KPD (Communist
Party of Germany) for sins of omission and sins of 
comission, must be considered in a wholly different light
to that of the SPD.

The question of the culpability of the KPD in the rise
of Nazism, is therefore an extremely serious question. 

In exchanges with Wolfgang, I have been able to confirm
that discussion of this was effectively censored in East
Germany, where the research could have best been carried
out, until shortly before the collapse of the DDR.

The concrete details require elucidation, and it would be helpful
to know how far the research has gone. The Moscow and Berlin
archives will now be accessible.

The central charge is that until late in the day, the KPD continued
with idealist bravado to pursue a "class against class" line
promoted by the Commintern, which failed to unite with the 
great majority of social democrats, to isolate the Nazis, who were 
able to take power on a minority vote.

In 1935, The 7th Congress of the Communist International brought in 
the line of the United Front against Fascism. The leading speech
by Dimitrov, hero of the Reichstag Trial, though not in form, 
yet in content, was a massive, massive self-criticism by the 
communists for the class against class line.

The core proposition follow:

"Comrades, millions of workers and working people of the
capitalist countries ask the question: How can fascism be 
prevented from coming to power and how can fascism be overthrown
after it has attained power? To this the Communist International

"The first thing that must be done, the thing with which to begin, 
is to form a united front, to establish unity of action of the
workers in every factory, in every district, in every region, in 
every country, all over the world. Unity of action of the 
proletariat on a national and international scale is the mighty
weapon which renders the working class capable not only of 
successful defence but also of successful counter-attack against
fascism, the class enemy."



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