Ernst Meyer

In the International

The National Council of the
German Communist Party
on the United Front

(19 May 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 38, 19 May 1923, p. 302.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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The adversaries of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) have for a year prophesied its rapid disappearance, or at least its reduction to an entirely uninfluential group. The scurrilous attacks of the Social Democratic Party, which speaks of the “putrefying, stinking corpse of the KPD”, were joined in by the adherents of the former Communist Working Union (KAG), grouped round Levi and Friesland, who left what they described as the “putschist sect”, the KPD., and joined the great “revolutionary” party, the Independent Socialist Party of Germany (USPD). In the meantime the USPD has entered upon a crisis which has led to lively conflicts in the press and in the meetings of this party. The so called decadent KPD has however able to score one success after the other. Its influence has considerably increased amongst the working masses and the number of its adherents has greatly increased in the elections of trade union officials and to the Shop Committees.

The last session of the National Council of the Communist Party of Germany took place on May 14th and 15th during these victories. Throughout the debates there was no evidence of any internal party conflicts. But on the other hand the discussions turned upon the tasks which the Communist Party of Germany has to fulfil both politically and in regard to organization. Even the question of the tactics of the united front which is still being theoretically discussed in some of the foreign parties, was not debated as a principle. The German Party has no need to ask itself whether these tactics are Communist and successful or not; for the German Party has been able to win the above-mentioned victories thanks to the application of these tactics. Of course, all tactics can be wrongly applied and it is natural that some organizations sometimes have done so. The National Council discussed these blunders openly, not with the intention of repudiating these tactics and abandoning them but to apply them the more thoroughly and consistently in view of our experiences hitherto. The National Council therefore considered it its duty fraternally to ask the foreign parties, in particular the French and Italian Parties to abandon all objections to the united front still existing in these parties in order to establish the united action of all sections of the Communist International, not only on the ground of discipline but on account of tried and proved practical experience.

Having in mind apparently the objections of Lenin that the decisions of the Berlin Conference were paid for too dearly, four comrades wanted to express, instead of unqualified approval of the conduct of the Communist Delegation at the recent conference, only their approval of the general line of conduct of the Delegation. The National Committee with 42 votes against 4 expressed its agreement with the Delegation. The resolution on the tactics of the united front and the demand for the Workers’ World Congress was unanimously adopted with the exception of three not voting. It must be pointed out, however, that in Germany no objections at all have been raised against the conduct or the delegation at the Berlin Conference, even among the district organizations represented by these three comrades. For the German Party the tactics of the united front are no empty phrase but a living issue clothed with flesh and blood. Also the demand for the calling of a Workers’ World Congress is for the German Party no mere organization question. The German party is fighting step by step against the other workers’ organizations for the will and consciousness of the non-Communist workers. The KPD appeals to all workers to fight against the increasing prices, against the taxes which will have to be increased in consequence of the Reparations Note of the Entente, and against the capitalist attack on the eight-hour day. The necessity for this struggle is apparent to the workers and they therefore urge their own organizations to come to an understanding with the Communists for joint action. The German Majority Socialist Party (SPD) is still able – as a result of its increased campaign of calumny against the Communists – to avoid collaboration with them and the struggle against the employers and the Coalition Government. The USPD, however, which up to recently frustrated all common action with the Communists, has in many places under the pressure of its own members been compelled to enter into relations with the KPD. The demand for the convening of the Workers’ World Congress now finds vigorous support among many organizations of the SPD.

How little the tactics of the united front are tending to make our party more complaisant toward the SPD and the USPD is shown by the situation in Saxony. Here the Communist Party has for a considerable period supported a Right Socialist and Independent Government. The increasing will of the masses to take up the struggle against the bourgeoisie and to resist the ever increasing impoverishment of the working population enables our party to submit to this Socialist Government certain conditions which will as a consequence lead to the intensification of the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the working class. In the event of the Socialist Government in Saxony refusing the amnesty, the demilitarisation of the police force, the abolition of the “Technical Emergency Aid” (official strike breakers) and the submission of all legislative bills to the trade unions and the Shop Committees – our fraction will overthrow the Socialist Government, force a dissolution of the Diet and conduct the election campaign under the slogan of the proletarian united front in the struggle against the bourgeoisie and for a workers’ government. The National Council expressly approved this policy of the section of Saxony and promised the wholehearted support of the party to our Saxon comrades.

In the survey of the political situation, the National Council mentioned the Russo-German Treaty of Rapallo. The opposition of the SPD and the USPD leaders to of this Treaty is caused by their fear that the Communists will be strengthened as a result and that a rapprochement towards the proletarian Russian State and an estrangement from the capitalist Entente will take place. The National Council stated in a resolution that the German Government from similar motives will also not be disposed to carry out the Russo-German Treaty honestly. The National Council therefore demanded that the German Coalition Government not resume in any form the policy of a “peaceful” blockade against Soviet Russia. The National Council expresses its opinion that a treaty concluded in the interest of the working population of Germany as well as of Russia will only be really carried out by a German Workers’ Government.

The best means for the Communists to obtain a footing among the working class both politically and in organization is through propaganda in the factories and trade unions. The National Council has therefore reaffirmed its former decisions according to which it is the duty of every Communist to work in the trade union organizations. The party is decidedly against any split and against any propaganda in favor of leaving the trade unions. The trade union officials who as a consequence of their friendly policy toward the employers, attempt by all means to prevent the revolutionizing of the trade unions, are responsible for the resignations and splits. But in this respect also our party has won new successes as a result of its persevering work. In spite of the expulsion of the most active Communists, the influence of the Communists in the trade unions is increasing.

The deliberations of the National Council were governed by the idea of the establishment of the united front in the struggle against the bourgeoisie, and recognition that the political successes of the Communist Party of Germany must be consolidated and strengthened by intensive organization. The National Council therefore made the the discussion of the organizing tasks of the Party a special point of the agenda. It laid down the principle that (he door must be open to every worker desirous of entering the party; in order to make impossible any future departure by the party from its root principles, which it has up to now been successful in preventing in its struggle with the Levi group, the party will continue the most intensive educational work amongst the old and new members.

Last updated on 2 January 2020