RESOLUTION ON THE KPD
[ EXTRACTS ]
Bericht der Exekutive, December 1922-May 1923, p. 67
The Comintern Executive welcomes the convening by the KPD Zentrale of the conciliation conference which is to eliminate the obstacles that have for some time hampered united action by all members of the party. The Executive Committee observes that all communist workers in Germany are filled with the desire for party unity . . .
... and in this the EC sees a pledge that after the conference, after the decision of the Executive, and once the central committee has finally taken up its position, debates about former differences within the party will be reduced to a minimum and carried on calmly, objectively, and impersonally, so that they will promote and not hinder party work.
The differences within the party arise from the slow pace of revolutionary development in Germany and the objective difficulties this causes, producing both right and left deviations in the party. ...
It was the right deviation which the Executive and the fourth Comintern congress had in mind when they spoke of the dangers inherent in the application of united front tactics. These tactics were applied by the right-wing elements not as a method of detaching the working masses from reformist policy, but as a method of adapting the communist party to the reformist leaders.
The KPD Zentrale, whose policy has in general been correct, has not always managed to combat these dangers promptly. In some of its moves it lent support to right-wing tendencies by failing to note the danger, as for example when the Zentrale, in its resolution on the political situation and the immediate tasks of the proletariat submitted to the Leipzig congress, spoke of the need to use 'as a point of contact the illusions and prejudices and needs of the broadest masses of the socialdemocratic workers', or when, in the same resolution, it said the workers' government would 'carry on the fight with the instruments of power available in the bourgeois state'. These turns of phrase are certainly incorrect. ...
If the communist party fights against the dangers threatening the bourgeois State from the fascists, although it is the party of proletarian dictatorship and not of bourgeois democracy, this does not imply attaching ourselves to the democratic illusions of the socialdemocratic workers; it is in defence of the immediate interests of the working class, which cannot, it is true, be satisfied by democracy, but which would be in an even worse position under white-bourgeois rule than under bourgeois democracy. . . .
When the workers' government begins to put its programme through, and has to defend its existence against the bourgeoisie, at that moment it must destroy the instruments of power of the bourgeois State and create proletarian instruments of power. ...
It is by the use of such phrases that the Zentrale has fed mistrust in circus within the party which tend towards left deviations.
In those circles, represented by the Berlin and Hamburg district committees sound proletarian elements are dissatisfied because the CP is not yet able to conduct the struggle for the direct seizure of power. . . .
They fear that by fighting for the immediate and elementary interests of the working class, the party will become a reformist party. . . .
The Zentrale was right in opposing these left deviations when, as in the Ruhr question, they might have led us into isolated struggles (e.g. the demand by the minority for the occupation of the factories in the Ruhr), in which the party would have suffered severe defeats; or when, as in Saxony, they would have isolated the KPD from the proletarian masses who were finding their way to us. But the struggle against left tendencies can be carried on successfully only if the KPD Zentrale eliminates, primarily by a struggle against the right-wing elements, the reasons for the revolutionary mistrust of the left.
The Executive notes that the representatives of the opposition, in the statement signed jointly with the Zentrale at the conference, recognize that 'the existing tactical differences are not so great as to hamper collaboration of the majority and minority in the party'. This is an admission that the charge that the policy of the Zentrale and the majority would lead to the liquidation of the communist party and of the communist theory of the State is unjustified. . . .
As to the practical questions of KPD policy in dispute, the Executive has the following to say:
the German proletariat in the Ruhr is between the upper and the nether millstone—the German and the French bourgeoisie. So long as there is no revolutionary movement in the unoccupied area and among the French working masses, so long as there are no signs of widespread disintegration among the French occupation troops, any attempt to occupy the factories would mean that the proletariat, dependent on the French occupation authorities, would have to supply them with the coal, and French imperialism, with this trump in its hand, could more easily reach agreement with German imperialism. The German bourgeoisie would then let loose on the communist workers all the scorpions of unleashed nationalism...
By the correct application of united front tactics, the KPD has been successful in convincing the social-democratic working masses of the harmfulness of a coalition with the bourgeoisie. Unfortunately it failed from the first to conduct the struggle for a workers' government in Saxony as part of the struggle for a workers' government in the Reich. It was not strong enough to move the Saxon working class so far that from its revolutionary struggles a revolutionary coalition government of social-democratic and communist workers might have arisen worthy of the name of workers' government. Support of the social-democratic Government on the basis of concrete conditions marking a step forward was therefore the only means which (1) guaranteed our contact with the social-democratic masses, who were in a state of ferment, and (2) at the same time did not impose on us full responsibility for the social-democratic Government. . . .
The Executive reminds the KPD that the question of a workers' government cannot be satisfactorily solved within the framework of the individual Lander; that on the contrary the danger exists that a solution within an individual Land may compromise the idea altogether. It is therefore of vital importance for the party to exploit the threat of using the Reich Executive against the social-democratic Saxon Government, and the danger of fascism, for a broad and energetic campaign throughout the Reich for a Reich workers' government. Only if the broadest working masses throughout the Reich rally for the struggle against the bourgeois Reich Government and for the formation of a workers' government, will they find the determination to ward off the blows of the counter-revolution against the positions already won by the workers in the Länder. . . .
The German bourgeoisie, defeated in war, are compelled to wage a struggle against victorious Entente capital, are compelled to strain again and again at the chains of the Versailles treaty. Concerned with maintaining their rule over the working class, and pursuing for this purpose a counter-revolutionary policy, they are nevertheless playing, in relation to Entente capital, a revolutionary disintegrating role. While prepared at all times to serve as the watch-dog of international capital, if the Entente bourgeoisie were inclined to grant German capital the conditions for its restoration, the German bourgeoisie are forced, because of the failure of their efforts to reach a compromise, to pursue the revolutionary policy we have indicated. In their struggle against the Entente they cannot rely on the popular masses; on the contrary, they are condemned by history to repulse those masses. The German bourgeoisie can no longer act as standard-bearers of the national struggle for liberation; they are incapable of fighting seriously and victoriously against the Entente, nor are they really prepared to do so. Therefore in the long run the national and nationalist sentiments which they have released will be turned against them. It is the task of the KPD to open the eyes of the broad petty-bourgeois and intellectual-nationalist masses to the fact that only the working class, once it is victorious, will be in a position to defend German soil, the treasures of German civilization, and the future of the German nation. Only the German working class, when it is in power, will be able to win the sympathy of the popular masses of other countries, and so make it more difficult for the imperialist Powers to carry through to the end their policy of annihilating the German nation. . . .
Only the working class can by its victory bring about the closest relations with Soviet Russia, which is growing steadily stronger, and so create the basis for new advances by the German people.
The decisions of the conciliation conference, with their careful consideration of the Executive's directives enumerated above, provide a basis for the united cooperation of all the party's forces. For this reason the Executive insists that no organs be established and no measures taken which might enlarge the differences that have not yet been completely eliminated.
The Executive therefore recommends the Berlin organization to refrain from asking approval for a special discussion organ, and it recommends the Zentrale to issue a discussion supplement to the Rote Fahne, to be published twice a month, in which questions newly arising for the entire party can be critically examined. The Executive takes for granted that the Zentrale will allow adequate space for dissenting opinions in this supplement, although of course it is the business of the Zentrale to decide whether or not a particular question should be discussed at any given time; it is obvious that when the Zentrale, after hearing all points of view, has decided on a particular tactical line, it cannot be criticized while the action in pursuit of that line is in progress. . . .
The Executive calls on the representatives of the Berlin and Hamburg organizations to desist from work in other districts. A unified party policy is impossible if two political party centres exist simultaneously. The differences within the party were examined in the various resolutions of the party congress; they are under discussion in the central committee. The party is aware of the differences and the local organizations are able to keep themselves informed about the questions in dispute without the intervention of the representatives of the Hamburg and Berlin districts.
While rejecting any step which might deepen the differences still existing, the Executive requests the Zentrale, in order to complete the work of the conciliation conference, to establish more intimate links with such important proletarian centres as Berlin, Hamburg, and Essen, by strengthening the representation of the opposition on the Zentrale by one representative from each of the said districts, to be nominated by the local organization. The three representatives of the opposition elected at the Leipzig congress to the Zentrale have shown by their work that they do not regard themselves as representatives of a separate group, but as representatives of the entire party. . . .
Stronger links with the oppositional districts will improve the party's striking power and help to crown the work of the conference: to make the KPD a unified vigorous revolutionary communist party.