OF THE SIXTH ECCI PLENUM
ON THE GERMAN QUESTION
15 March 1926
Thesen und Resolutionen, VI Plenum, p. 87
THE SITUATION IN GERMANY
The outstanding characteristic of the present situation in Germany is the acute economic crisis.
It has two aspects: one is the general crisis of the entire German economy provoked by Germany's international position, the Versailles peace treaty, and the Dawes plan. Germany has lost its colonies; export markets have been severely restricted by the tariff policy of many States, while Germany is compelled to expand production in order to provide the goods for the payment of reparations.
The impossibility of reconciling the basic contradictions in the general situation, the complications introduced by the Locarno pact . . . and the effects of the economic crisis—all this has led to a permanent political crisis.
Against this background of crisis a process of regrouping within the working class is developing. Under the pressure of circumstances the great mass of workers are turning more and more to the platform of united class struggle. The trade union and social-democratic leaders, on the other hand, are trying to march in step with the ruling finance-capitalists, to split the working class, to corrupt a part of the labour aristocracy.
. . .
This open treachery to the interests of the German proletariat is accompanied by the most servile support for all important measures undertaken by the bourgeoisie.
. . .
The hopeless prospects for a bourgeois Germany dependent on the favour of foreign capital, the advance of Soviet economic development, the workers' delegations and the effect they have in Germany—all these work in the same direction. The idea of the unity of the working class in the fight against capital is becoming the centre of attention of the entire working class.
THE ROAD TO WINNING THE MASSES
This general situation determines the chief tasks of our party. The only real way out for the German proletariat is the way of its emancipation from the double yoke of native and foreign capital. The only way out of the blind alley of economic decline, falling living standards, permanent political crises, enslavement and a semi-colonial status for Germany is the way of a Soviet Germany.
A workers' and peasants' government as the embodiment of Soviet power is now the watchword of the proletarian vanguard. It is one which cannot be put into effect without the support of the great majority of the proletariat. The KPD must consider the winning of the masses as its chief task.
. . .
Of late the greatest obstacle to winning the masses has been, and it still is, the ultra-left ideology of certain groups in the party.
. . .
They have completely forgotten the Marxist principle that tactics are determined by the given objective situation.
Completely incapable of noticing what was new, still less of correctly analysing it, they have carried over the old methods quite mechanically to the completely new situation. During the Frankfurt congress they fought stubbornly against the CI on the trade union question; during the fifth world congress they were opposed to the international unity campaign, and justified their attitude by arguing that these tactics were allegedly in the interests of the Russian Government and meant giving aid to the MacDonald Government; they failed utterly to find the correct approach to the social-democratic workers. Thus the ultra-left turned out to be the most troublesome element in the process of winning the masses.
We must emphasize in particular the wholly rotten and almost social-democratic roots of this ideology, which has openly liquidationist features. They speak of Russian 'red imperialism', just as the bourgeois and social-democratic press does, of the possibility of a 4 August 1914 for the CI, about alleged alliances of the Soviet Union with Japanese imperialism, about 'Russian necessities of State' in regard to
the Anglo-Russian unity committee.
. . .
The bourgeois social-democratic origin of such trends of thought is obvious. The CI declares that all the healthy forces in the party must be mobilized against this liquidationist ideology in order to eradicate it completely. The Executive trusts that the ultra-left workers will understand what harm threatens the party if it does not eliminate root and branch these ultra-left tendencies.
THE MASLOW-RUTH FISCHER GROUP
The Ruth Fischer group is the most vacillating, most unstable element in the KPD. The ideological basis of this group is lack of belief in the communist party, in the workers' movement, and in the proletarian revolution. For these reasons Maslow contemplates a delay of decades in the German revolution.
. . .
Such an attitude reflects the moods of a ruined and decaying petty bourgeoisie, not the rising wave of the German labour movement and the communist party.
With such an ideology it is utterly impossible to carry out a clear and determined policy; this explains the continual unprincipled vacillations of this group. On the most important questions at the Frankfurt congress the Maslow-Ruth Fischer group swung between the Comintern line and the ultra-left opponents of this line.
. . .
Finally the Ruth Fischer group allied itself with the ultra-lefts, whom it had been opposing, for a joint attack on the Comintern. The Executive replied with the open letter of August 1925 to the members of the KPD. Ruth Fischer signed this letter and thereby condemned her own attitude. But immediately after the return of the German delegation she organized an underground struggle against the Comintern line and a fractional struggle against the new party leadership.
. . .
The healthy development, the normalization, and the growth of the KPD therefore require the immediate liquidation of the Ruth Fischer fraction, with its double bookkeeping
in policy, its habit of saying one thing and doing another, its lack of principle, its diplomacy which harms the party and has shaken the confidence of the party membership in the leadership, of the leading cadres towards each other, and of certain sections of the party towards the Comintern.
. . .
The Ruth Fischer group has lost the confidence both of the Communist International and of the left party membership.
The enlarged Executive notes with indignation that Ruth Fischer has broken the undertakings assumed by her signature of the open letter. The Comintern Executive and the CC of the KPD gave her every opportunity to correct her mistakes and to prove by deeds that she is ready to work in the Communist International.
Nevertheless she continued her disruptive activities, her fight against Comintern policy.
. . .
The adherents of the Maslow-Ruth Fischer group must choose between the policy of the CC and the methods of unprincipled opposition. There is no middle road, no middle group between these two.
OVERCOMING RIGHT TENDENCIES
The enlarged Executive points out that there is still a danger of right deviations in the KPD, and a vigorous struggle must be waged against them. The new KPD leadership has fought vigorously against any right deviation that has made its appearance.
. . .
The enlarged Executive declares that only a complete misinterpretation of the new situation and the new tasks of the party could lead to the conclusion that the present course of the KPD signifies a return to the situation in the party before October 1923. The party is not going backwards; it is going forwards.
The struggle which was conducted against the Brandler group was not annulled by the change in the KPD leadership; its results were made secure.
. . .
THE LEADERSHIP OF THE KPD
The present leadership of the KPD arose in the struggle against right errors and was strengthened in the struggle against ultra-left errors. The group of workers at the head of the KPD is the nucleus of a truly Leninist party leadership.
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THE IMMEDIATE TASKS OF THE KPD
At the present time the following demands are at the centre of the workers' struggle:
1. The fight against the employers' offensive—the fight for the unemployed. . . .
2. Transfer of the Dawes burden to the propertied classes. . . .
3. Strengthening the unions. . . .
4. Fight against monarchism and fascism. . . .
5. Fight for the needs of the working peasants. . . .
6. Organizing an active struggle for the demands of young workers, working women, public employees, and the impoverished sections of the petty bourgeoisie.
The watchword which unites all these demands is the fight for an independent, socialist Germany, freely allied with the Soviet Union, with the class-conscious workers, and with all the oppressed peoples of the world.