STATEMENT ON THE GERMAN SITUATION AND ON THE
11 March 1933
5 March 1933 Rundschau, ii, 4, p. 91
To the workers of all countries
The crisis continues. Unemployment is steadily increasing. Hunger and poverty are overtaking ever new sections of workers. The capitalist offensive is taking on sharper forms. The bourgeoisie are launching out on a campaign against all the
political and economic achievements of the working class. Fascist reaction is gripping one country after another. The establishment of an open fascist dictatorship in Germany confronts millions of workers in all countries with the urgent need to organize the united fighting front against the fascist offensive of the bourgeoisie, above all the German bourgeoisie, who, step by step, are robbing the workers of all their economic and political gains and trying by the most brutal terror to crush the labour movement.
The chief obstacle to the formation of the united fighting front of communist and social-democratic workers was and remains the policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie pursued by the social-democratic parties, which has now exposed
the international proletariat to the blows of the class enemy. This policy, known as the so-called policy of the 'lesser evil', has in fact led in Germany to the triumph of fascist reaction.
The Communist International and the communist parties of all countries have repeatedly declared their readiness for a joint struggle with social-democratic workers against the capitalist offensive, political reaction, and the war danger. The communist parties were the organizers of the joint struggle of communist, socialdemocratic, and non-party workers, despite the leaders of the social-democratic parties, who systematically broke up the united front of the working masses. On 20 July last year, after von Papen had thrown out the Social-Democratic Government of Prussia, the KPD proposed to the SPD and the ADGB the organization of a joint strike against fascism. But, with the approval of the entire Second International, they described this proposal as provocation. The KPD repeated its proposal of joint action at the moment when Hitler seized power, calling on the SPD presidium and the ADGB presidium to organize defence against fascism, but again was met with a refusal. Even more. When in November last year the Berlin transport workers went on strike against wage reductions, the SPD broke their united fighting front. The course of the international labour movement is full of such examples.
Now the bureau of the LSI has published, on 19 February of this year, a statement on the readiness of the social-democratic parties affiliated to it to form a united front with the communists to fight against fascist reaction in Germany. This statement sharply contradicts the entire previous behaviour of the LSI and the social-democratic parties. The entire previous policy and action of the LSI justify the CI and the communist parties in doubting the sincerity of this statement, made at a time when in a number of countries, and particularly in Germany, the working masses are taking the initiative in organizing the united fighting front.
Nevertheless, in view of fascism's offensive against the German working class, unleashing all the forces of world reaction, the ECCI calls on all communist parties to make a further attempt to establish a united fighting front with the socialdemocratic working masses through the social-democratic parties. The ECCI is making this attempt in the firm conviction that the united front of the working class on the basis of the class struggle is capable of repulsing the offensive of capital and fascism and greatly hastening the inevitable end of all capitalist exploitation.
Taking into consideration that, because of the variety of the practical fighting tasks confronting the working class, arising from the varied conditions peculiar to each country, an agreement between the communist and social-democratic parties on defined actions against the bourgeoisie can be most successfully carried out within the individual countries, the ECCI recommends the communist parties of the individual countries to approach the central committees of the social-democratic parties affiliated to the LSI with proposals for joint action against the capitalist offensive and fascism. But the negotiations to this end must be based on the primary
conditions for joint struggle. Without a concrete programme of action against the bourgeoisie any agreement between the parties would be directed against the interests of the working class. The ECCI therefore proposes the following conditions as the basis for any such agreement:
(a) Communists and social-democrats will at once begin to organize and operate defence against the attacks of fascism and reaction on the political, trade union, cooperative and other workers' organizations, on the workers' press, on the right to assemble, demonstrate, and strike. They will organize joint defence against the armed attacks of fascist groups by mass protests, street demonstrations, political mass strikes. They will set about organizing committees of action in factories, employment exchanges, and working-class districts, as well as detachments for selfdefence.
(b) Communists and social-democrats will start immediately to organize the workers' protest by meetings, demonsrations, and strikes against any wage reductions, any worsening of labour conditions, attacks on social insurance, the reduction of unemployment benefits, dismissals.
(c) If these two conditions are accepted and executed, the ECCI considers it possible to recommend the communist parties to refrain, for the period of the common struggle against capital and fascism, from attacks on social-democratic organizations. Anyone who violates the conditions of the agreement in carrying out the united front must be fought mercilessly as
strikebreakers disrupting the workers' united front.
These conditions, which will be put to the LSI, are also valid for those parties, such as the ILP, which have proposed a united fighting front to the Comintern.
The ECCI, which makes these proposals in the sight of the international working class, calls on all communist parties, in the first place on the KPD, without waiting for the results of negotiations and for agreement on a joint struggle with socialdemocracy, to set about organizing joint fighting committees with social-democratic and all other workers.
The communists have shown in years of fighting that they stand and will stand, not in words but in deed, in the foremost ranks of the struggle for the united front in class actions against the bourgeoisie.
The ECCI is firmly convinced that social-democratic and non-party workers, regardless of the attitude of the social-democratic leaders to the creation of the united front, will overcome all obstacles and together with the communists will
build the united front not in words, but in actions.
Today, when German fascism, in order to crush the workers' movement in Germany, has organized an unparalleled provocation (firing of the Reichstag, forged documents about insurrection, etc.), every worker must recognize his class duty in the struggle against the capitalist offensive and fascist reaction.