Talk: Revolution & Counterrevolution in Germany 1919 @ Vétomat Berlin 14-01-2019

Our new series of talks, discussions and presentations brought to you by Datacide and next:now is going into its fourth round on January 14th, 2019 with a talk about Revolution and Counterrevolution in Germany 1919 and beyond, by Christoph Fringeli.

As always at Vétomat, Wühlischstr. 42, 10245 Berlin

Doors open 7pm, talk will start 8.30

On January 15th, 1919, communist revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered in Berlin. They were only the two most prominent victims of the counter-revolutionary white terror that followed the attempts at a socialist revolution in Germany after World War I.
Only two weeks earlier they had been involved in the foundation of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). It was at a crucial moment of the revolutionary development that had forced the Kaiser to abdicate and saw workers and soldiers returning from the battlefield to set up workers’ councils.

The biggest of the workers parties, the Social Democrats (SPD), created a coalition with centrist bourgeois parties as well as with the military and the proto-fascist Freikorps fighters, who they used to squash the uprising rather than supporting the radical changes demanded by their base.

CF will look at the historic dynamic unfolding from the failed revolution, the developments of the communist movement in Germany and the contradictory ways these events are remembered and commemorated.

Marcel Bois: Kommunisten gegen Hitler und Stalin – Die linke Opposition der KPD in der Weimarer Republik – Eine Gesamtdarstellung (Book Review)

Marcel Bois
Kommunisten gegen Hitler und Stalin
Die linke Opposition der KPD in der Weimarer Republik – Eine Gesamtdarstellung
Klartext Verlag, Essen 2014
ISBN 978-3-8375-1282-3

boiskommunisten4

With this 600 page strong book Marcel Bois offers the first comprehensive overall presentation of the history and sociology of the left opposition of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in the 1920s and early 1930s. The emphasis is on a very detailed and scientifically documented depiction of those groups who left the KPD from the mid-20s onwards in the course of its Stalinisation. These were on the one hand the groups around the former leaders of the party such as Ruth Fischer, Arkadij Maslow and Werner Scholem, who with Hugo Urbahns and others, founded the Leninbund (Lenin-League). On the other hand there were the Entschiedene Linke (Decisive Left) and the Gruppe Kommunistische Politik around Ernst Schwarz and Karl Korsch respectively, as well as The Wedding Opposition and smaller groups like Bolschewistische Einheit (Bolshevik Unity). A bit later, the organisational roots of Trotskyism in Germany also emerged. The Spartakusbund linkskommunistischer Organisationen around Franz Pfemfert had a special position in the milieu of the left oppposition.

The founding conference of the KPD took place at the turn of the year 1918/1919 within two months of the end of World War I. Less than two weeks later, two of its most important leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, were murdered. There were several attempts from this time through 1923 to make the revolution in Germany happen, which all failed. Already in 1919 a back-and-forth started between more ‘left’ or ‘right’ leaning leaderships, and as early as October 1919 a large section of the party’s left were expelled. The issues at stake were the rejection of elections to parliament and the Leninist party concept by the left. In April 1920 this left constituted the Communist Workers Party (Kommunistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, KAPD), and took with them a large part of the membership of the KPD. This marked a decisive historical break in the international communist movement that was echoed in similar processes of regroupment in other countries. Lenin famously targeted the left with his nasty pamphlet “Left-Wing” Communism, An Infantile Disorder, denouncing its ‘opinion, declamations and angry ejaculations’ as ‘childish’, ‘particularly stupid’, ‘fundamentally wrong’ and amounting ‘to no more than empty phrase-mongering’. In the process he defended participation in parliamentary elections and reactionary unions, and effectively the dictatorship of the party over the dictatorship of the proletariat. The KPD in the meantime ditched the ‘right’ leadership under Paul Levi, who was appalled by the fact that the party had been dragged into the ‘putschist’ adventure of the ‘March Action’ in 1921. Levi then printed the previously unavailable – now famous – text by Rosa Luxemburg in which she severely criticised the Bolsheviks. [Read more →]