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Mary Bell

German Communist Party Against Soviets

(16 July 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 29, 16 July 1945, pp. 1& 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

No more communist than their American counterparts, no wiser after a dozen years of fascism, no less treacherous to the interests of German labor movement than they were in 1933, the Communist Party of Germany has issued a manifesto (June 25) revealing Stalin’s aims in Germany.

The main points in the manifesto are:

  1. Repudiation of the Soviet system for present-day Germany.
  2. Support of free enterprise and the profit system.
  3. Declaration of the guilt of the German people for fascism, since they “became a weapon of Hitler and his imperialistic masters.”
  4. A confession of self-guilt, because “... we also feel ourselves guilty, inasmuch as, despite all sacrifices costing our best fighters, we were not able, as a consequence of a series of mistakes, to force an anti-fascist unity of workers for the overthrow of Hitler.”

The statement that the German communists are opposed to soviet, i.e., workers’ democratic councils, should cause no one to lift an eye-brow. In Russia – and the Communist Parties all over the world merely echo the policies of Stalin – the soviets were long ago dissolved. And in country after country that the Russian armies have overrun, it has been Stalin’s policy not merely not to foster soviets, but where they sprang up spontaneously from the ranks of the anti-fascist workers, ruthlessly to exterminate them.

For Private Property?

While the communists are the foes of workers’ councils, on the other hand, it would be stupid to take their manifesto seriously when it says they uphold private property and the profit system. The manifesto itself gives a clue to their real intentions ,when it states that all German property owners and landholders “except the Nazis and rich collaborators” may retain their property and lands. That “except” covers the bulk of all German property owners. The bulk of large industrialists and large landowners are precisely those who supported Hitler. They were the “rich collaborators.”

The resolution therefore serves Stalin’s professed and already executed purpose: to pilfer, pillage and plunder German property for the benefit of the Russian bureaucracy. It has been unsensationally disclosed in more than one news dispatch that this is exactly what the Russian army has been doing.

Therefore, the manifesto plays up prominently the support it pledges to free enterprise for one reason. That is to soothe the apprehensions of the Anglo-American allies who, as imperialist rivals of Russia, are wary of the incorporation of German assets in land and property into the Russian sphere of influence.

The accusation of “guilty” in reference to the responsibility of the German workers for fascism also has to be assessed in terms of Stalinist policy. This point, too, serves Stalin admirably. It allows him to vassalize the workers in Germany and totransport others to the Russian slavehold in the same cattle cars that were used by the Germans to transport Russian workers toHitler’s forced labor camps! For if the German workers areguilty and fascist-minded, there attaches no moral guilt to Stalin’sactions.

The debasement of the communists, in “confessing” their own guilt, reveals the role Stalin has assigned them. First, it is a warning to any communist who still has illusions that his party has any revolutionary or socialist goal, that this is decidedly not the case. Stalin has his NKVD (secret police) to deal with any member who has gotten “out of touch” with the party line during the years of fascist repression and still tries to act as a leader of the working class towards its emancipation.

Communists Are Guilty

This is not to say that the communists are not guilty for the victory of Hitler and the present barbaric plight of the German workers. Acting on the theory of “social fascism” at the period of Hitler’s coming to power, they considered the socialist and trade union leaders as the main danger. They considered Hitlerism only a passing evil, after which their day would come! This theory made it possible for them to repudiate any united front actionwith other workers’ organizations and even to hold united fronts with fascists. When Hitler’s armed bands were terrorizing the workers, the socialists forbade their workers’ militia, the Reichsbanner, to fight back, while “The League of Red Front Fighters,” communist militia, had abandoned its former policy of strike the fascists wherever you find them.

Wilhelm Pieck, one of the communist leaders who signed the present manifesto, uttered this policy of capitulation on the eve of Hitler’s assumption to power, on February 26, 1933, “Let the workers beware of giving the government any pretext for new measures against the Communist Party.”

The more the Stalinists excuse themselves, the more they accuse themselves of their betrayal of the workers. The German workers were ready, willing and able to strike down fascism. It was their false leadership that frustrated them and paved the way for the forced labor camps. Stalinism has long been, and still remains, the main danger in the working class movement, to German labor and all labor.

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Last updated: 14 December 2017