Let us defend the Marxist-Leninist line of the Factory - and Trade Union Work of the KPD/ML under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust

Let us rebuild the RGO in Germany !
Let us support the building of the Red International of Labour Unions !

1st of May 2003 - re-founding day of the R.I.L.U.

written by Wolfgang Eggers


This article was written in 2003.

In the meantime, the Comintern (SH) has further developed. But the lessons of comrade Ernst Aust and his struggle for the RGO, based on the RGO of comrade Ernst Thälmann, are still useful for the future development of the Comintern (SH), for the RILU and for the RGO.

On occasion of the campaign for the 100th anniversary of the Red International of Labour Unions, the Comintern (SH) decided to publish this English translation of the German text, written by comrade Wolfgang Eggers.

* * *


Explanation of the used German abbreviations (translated into English language)


RGO - Revolutionäre Gewerkschaftsopposition

= Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition - founded by the KPD of Ernst Thaelmann and re-founded by the KPD/ML of Ernst Aust in 1978. The RGO did not only organize the revolutionary wing within the yellow reformist trade unions but also organized the "unorganized" workers and unemployed. The RGO was the German section of the R.I.L.U. and aimed for its transformation into a Red Union in Germany.


GO - Gewerkschaftsopposition = Trade Union Opposition

Omission of the prefix "R" (RGO) = rightist opportunist deviation and faction, against the Party's revolutionary Trade Union line. Limitation of the decisive role of the party, independence of a "leftist" reformist trade union.


DGB - Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund

= Confederation of German Trade Unions founded in 1945. In time of the Weimar Republic the DGB was called ADGB= Overall Confederation of German Trade Unions. This is the umbrella organisation of the yellow reformist trade unions under the leadership of the Social Democratic Party in Germany.


DAG - Deutsche Angestelltengewerkschaft = German Employees Union [independent from DGB]


SPD - Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands = Social Democratic Party of Germany


DKP - Deutsche Kommunistische Partei - German Communist Party = Party of the modern revisionists in Germany founded in 1968 (geared by the Soviet-revisionists) - obeying constitutionalism of the German capitalist order.


"KPD" (ROTE FAHNE) - Maoist Split-Group of the 70ies [Parody on the old KPD of Ernst Thälmann]


KBW - Kommunistischer Bund Westdeutschlands = Communist League of West-Germany - Right-opportunist Split-Group of the 70ies (Maoists).


Horst Dieter Koch = This is the name of a Trotskyite who usurped the leadership of the KPD/ML in the beginning 80'ies. He replaced comrade Ernst Aust from his leadership of the KPD/ML. H. D. Koch was a Trotskyite who tried to liquidate our party and to drive it into the womb of the Trotskyite "Fourth International". He was also the liquidator of the RGO, our mass organization for the party's struggle in factories and trade unions.


"ROTER MORGEN" = "Red Dawn", central organ of the KPD/ML


KPD/ML = Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands / Marxisten-Leninisten; Communist Party of Germany (Marxist-Leninists) - founder (1968) and chairman comrade Ernst Aust (died in 1985).


RGI = Rote Gewerkschaftsinternationale; this is the German name of the "Red International of the Labour Unions" [RILU]






The class struggle is a necessity and an objective law for the development of the class trade union movement. To deny this reality consciously or unconsciously is to deny the class struggle itself.

It is the two diametrically opposed lines in the national as well as international trade union movement which express the irreconcilability of class interests between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie from the beginnings to the present day (different in one form or another, but coinciding in essence) as follows:

First, there is the reformist and revisionist trade union movement that predominates today, the bourgeois trade union movement, which fundamentally relies on the sanctity of capitalism to chain the proletariat to the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression and to perpetuate wage slavery. These unions are part of the imperialist system and serve the class interests of the bourgeoisie. They are unions that prevent the proletariat from liberating itself from imperialism through revolution. As history shows, under socialism, the bourgeoisie has been able to turn socialist unions into revisionist unions, degenerate them or liquidate them. It is also a historical fact that in the capitalist countries the Marxist-Leninist parties had their revolutionary trade union organisations liquidated or degenerated. In order to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism, the new bourgeoisie tries to infiltrate and revisionist degenerate the revolutionary trade union in order to finally transform or dissolve them into capitalist trade unions and reincorporate them into the existing reactionary trade unions as a 'left' trade union wing. This is mainly intended as a fig leaf function to prevent the critical trade unionists from organising independently and taking a revolutionary stand against the reactionary trade unions.

Secondly, there is the proletarian trade union movement, which exclusively represents revolutionary class struggle goals and mobilises the masses for their implementation, whose trade union organisations define themselves as proletarian class trade unions or campaign for their construction or reconstruction in order to link the daily demands with the slogan of shaking off wage slavery fundamentally and forever, of waging the class struggle against the bourgeoisie with the political goal of eliminating the capitalist order through socialist revolution. The red trade unions are needed by the proletariat as an indispensable revolutionary instrument, just as the Communist Party is needed to establish or recapture the dictatorship of the proletariat. Under socialism, the socialist trade unions serve to build socialism and strengthen and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and remain class struggle instruments against the restoration of capitalism. .

Every middle and centrist line inevitably and lawfully leads either to one or the other class standpoint and thus serves either the class of the proletariat or the class of the bourgeoisie. Never can a trade union serve both classes simultaneously and equally. Just as the classes are irreconcilably opposed to each other, so their organisations are irreconcilably opposed to each other, the class unions of the bourgeoisie and the class unions of the proletariat are irreconcilably opposed to each other.

Class reconciliation is, firstly, the class struggle instrument of the bourgeoisie to prevent the formation and seizure of power by red trade unionism in order to make the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat impossible and, secondly, to misuse the socialist trade unions for the restoration of capitalism in order to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The revolutionary united front policy in the factory and trade union is a class struggle instrument of the proletariat to reduce the influence of reformism and revisionism in the workers' movement and to overcome its split. In this, we are neither for "unity at any price", nor for "division at any price". As far as unity and division are concerned, we base ourselves exclusively on the teachings of Marxism-Leninism in the struggle against all forms of opportunism on the factory and trade union question.


The struggle of comrade Ernst Aust for the formation of a correct Marxist-Leninist factory and trade union line of the KPD/ML in the struggle against opportunism.


In the programme of the KPD/ML , drafted by comrade Ernst Aust, it says on page 259:

"While supporting and leading the economic struggle of the toiling masses, the KPD/ML at the same time shows the toilers the necessity of smashing the capitalist system of exploitation in the socialist revolution in order to put an end to wage slavery and exploitation and to win for all toilers a life of secure prosperity. Against all attempts of the bourgeoisie and its agencies to use the necessity of the economic and trade union struggle as a pretext to prevent the working class from the political struggle against capitalism, the KPD/ML educates the working class and the labouring masses to consolidate and develop their revolutionary unity in the struggles for economic demands, to lead these struggles beyond the framework of the demands of the day with the aim of weakening capitalism, i.e., to direct these struggles towards the requirements of the struggle for socialist revolution."

In order to be victorious in the socialist revolution and to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in a united, independent, socialist Germany, every factory must become a communist fortress and the revolutionary class trade union is indispensable. Comrade Ernst Aust fought for this goal. Even during his lifetime he successfully defended and developed this revolutionary line of factory and trade union work of the KPD/ML against the right and "left", but also against conciliatory and centrist opportunism. Looking around Germany today, it is clear that this struggle of comrade Ernst Aust against opportunism must be urgently defended, continued and brought to a conclusion. It is significant that our political opponents try to usurp the name of comrade Ernst Aust in order to fight comrade Ernst Aust with the name "Ernst Aust". We comrades, who ourselves have led the struggle for the revolutionary factory and trade union line of the KPD/ML alongside comrade Ernst Aust from the very beginning, can only shake our heads and fly into a rage at what the neo-revisionists have imputed to comrade Ernst Aust and the KPD/ML - which is exactly the opposite of what we have represented and fought with Ernst. Just as the revisionists tried to usurp the name of comrade Ernst Thälmann but fought his RGO policy, for example, so today the neo-revisionists are trying to usurp the name of our comrade Ernst Aust in order to fight his continuation of comrade Ernst Thälmann's RGO policy. Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust, the two leaders of the German working class and the best representatives of the RGO policy in the German labour movement, were defamed as "sectarians" by the revisionist enemies during their lifetime, while today, long after their death, they are lifted up to the revisionist heavens in order to field them against the Marxist-Leninists of today: The RGO politics of Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust, that was "something quite different back then", they are heard to say cleverly. "You can't compare that with today", "that turned out to be a mistake", "these mistakes must not be repeated", "the incorrigible", the "eternally strict", the "chaotic people are coming out of their hibernation", "misuse of Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust for old , The "chaots are coming back into hibernation", "misuse of Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust for old, evil sectarian purposes", one must "defend Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust today against the sectarians of today" because "they" have "renounced" Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust and are "cooking their own soup", etc., etc. These impertinences cannot be outdone, and we, as upright Marxist-Leninists, will not simply accept this in silence. In a word, the intention is to separate the Marxist-Leninists from their leaders Ernst Thälmann and Ernst Aust in order to be able to fight them better. This is the real intention of all revisionists with regard to Ernst Thälmann and of all neo-revisionists with regard to Ernst Aust. Just as Stalin defended comrade Lenin, especially after his death, in the building of socialism in the Soviet Union, so today we defend comrade Ernst Aust in the RGO policy of the KPD/ML as one of the most important organisational levers of the KPD/ML for preparing and carrying out the socialist revolution in Germany.

It is clear that we Marxist-Leninists accept this challenge, because neither the revisionists nor the neo-revisionists have ever represented the revolutionary factory and trade union line of the KPD/ML under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust, let alone fought for its practical implementation. But this is what we Marxist-Leninists of the KPD/ML have done for 35 years, that is, up to the present day, and we will continue to do so in the future. No opportunist will stop us from doing so. Those who try to disguise themselves with the name Ernst Aust in order to fight Ernst's revolutionary factory and trade union line in reality, we will tear the mask off their faces. These creatures shower Ernst Aust with praise, but NONE of them has ever published his articles, none of them has defended his programmatic line, let alone developed it further, none of them represents comrade Ernst Aust's line of the RGO, none of them represents his view that, strategically speaking, it is absolutely necessary to build own red trade unions one day. We defend comrade Ernst Aust not only in words, but also in deeds - and THAT is why we are attacked, because these gentlemen would like to put the cloth of oblivion over it and "rewrite" the history of comrade Ernst Aust and the history of the KPD/ML in their sense. But as long as we are around, they will be shipwrecked.

So now comrade Ernst Aust himself has his say. And with this, all those will expose themselves who have openly stood up in public for years against the RGO policy of comrade Ernst Aust. All these forces can NO LONGER hide behind Ernst Aust to fight us "with Ernst Aust", "who has also always fought against the sectarians!" That those who purport to "defend" Ernst Aust against today's "sectarianism" of the KPD/ML had, from the same political camp, poured the mud of sectarianism on comrade Ernst Aust - this is kept quiet as much as possible or historically denied. In any case, we have driven them out of our trenches with this documentation by Ernst Aust. This will make it easier for us to fight the "yes, but" opportunists we will face next. Among the opportunists in disguise is HD Koch, one of the Trotskyist masterminds behind the liquidation of the KPD/ML (AND the RGO, which intentional or not, is gladly swept under the table because: RGO and KPD/ML are two terms that are and remain inseparable!!!). Koch proceeded so skilfully that he was able to spread his Trotskyist line even in Albania. In his speech there, Koch considered the building of a class trade union "a fatal mistake". Well, trusting Koch was a fatal mistake of the Marxist-Leninists in the KPD/ML. In words RGO, but in deeds its liquidation!" This best characterises the line of the neo-revisionists on the question of the trade union policy of the KPD/ML. We also note self-critically that we were not entirely innocent of this betrayal of the RGO and that we were not vigilant enough and too lenient towards its enemies. We did not stick consistently to the RGO line. The party retreated to the right the greater the pressure from the DGB terror against our comrades became. Turning tail here, that was our biggest mistake. Koch, for example, limited the RGO to an opposition within the DGB and its programme to the action programme and company struggle programmes. But this is exactly a new version of the GO policy of the liquidators. But the word "revolutionary" stands for revolutionary elimination of wage slavery through workers' power. Action programme and workplace struggle programmes - all well and good, but what if the day-to-day struggles are not linked to the socialist revolution, if the RGO, which we ourselves built as communists, does not even allow us to spread our revolutionary ideas there. As a result of the Koch Trotskyists, not much is left of the factory and trade union policies of comrade Ernst Aust's party, the KPD/ML. Ernst was shunted off to the unemployment section so that this gang could dismantle and tear to shreds, unmolested, his Marxist-Leninist line on the factory and trade union question piece by piece. It was the neo-revisionists who carried out this shameful work, and it is the neo-revisionists who, since the death of comrade Ernst Aust, have been trying to prevent us from faithfully putting comrade Ernst Aust's RGO line into practice. They, who claim to be the successors of comrade Ernst Aust's KPD/ML, continue to fight against it as "sectarian". We have put a stop to this!

The road to Marxist-Leninist factory and trade union work in theory and practice was very stony and arduous, and errors and fluctuations had already become apparent during comrade Ernst Aust's lifetime, which he himself had been at the forefront of eliminating. These are invaluable positive lessons for today to rebuild the RGO policy on firm Marxist-Leninist foundations. The social basis for the difficulties in RGO politics was the potential of petty-bourgeois comrades existing in the party. Under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust, a bitter struggle was waged against this, hard work was done and it was possible to defend and further develop the Marxist-Leninist line in the factory and trade union policy of the KPD/ML. If today, in retrospect, we draw conclusions for the present situation, one thing is probably absolutely clear:

Comrade Ernst Aust's line on the factory- and trade-union work was and is based on a correct Marxist-Leninist line. The party's mistake on the main side was not to have held on to this line consistently enough and not to have developed it further in the right direction, so that today we have to start again from scratch in order to rebuild factory and trade union work in the spirit of comrade Ernst Aust. For this, the utilisation of the positive and negative experiences made and above all the study of comrade Ernst Aust's factory and trade union line of the KPD/ML is indispensable. Therefore, the publication of the authoritative documents of comrade Ernst Aust and the KPD/ML at that time.

We base ourselves here first of all on:
Excerpts from the keynote speech "On the Struggle of Two Lines in the Trade Union Question" (This keynote speech of comrade Ernst Aust was developed at the Second Party Congress of the KPD/ML ("ROTER MORGEN" No. 7, 8, 9 - 1971)

Speech by comrade Ernst Aust "Forward to the building of a revolutionary trade union opposition" in the summer of 1973 - exactly 30 years ago!

Excerpt from the report on the IIIrd Party Congress of the KPD/ML (held by comrade Ernst Aust at the turn of the year 1976/77, edited by the 4th CC in January 1977).

Extract from the report of the IVth Party Congress of the KPD/ML (held by comrade Ernst Aust in December 1978, published in the Theoretical Organ of the KPD/ML No. 1`79).

We will publish further documents by comrade Ernst Aust on the factory and trade union question. This has already been decided:

The fundamental line of the KPD/ML on the trade union question was systematically presented for the first time by comrade Ernst and summarised in the series of articles in "ROTER MORGEN" No. 7, 8, 9 - 1971. The right-wing GO (trade union opposition (without the Prefix "Revolutionary") concept was criticised and rejected by comrade Ernst Aust with the assistance of comrade Wolfgang Eggers.

The paper "Forward to the upbuilding of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition" was adopted as a binding guideline by the CC of the KPD/ML as a fundamental and systematic orientation of trade union work - and unanimously! This is still binding for us today. It defines the task and goal of the trade union in Marxist-Leninist terms:

"Trade unions in capitalism are organisations that represent the interests of the working people. Their task is to organise the resistance of the toilers against capitalist exploitation. While the party, as the highest form of class organisation, includes only the conscious militants, the trade unions are the first primitive basic form of workers' organisation. But the trade unions fail in their purpose if they limit themselves to dealing only with wage demands and other social questions (trade unionism only) instead of trying at the same time to change the capitalist system in a revolutionary way in order to finally fight for the liberation of man from capitalist exploitation. Or, as Marx and Engels tirelessly emphasised, `when they confine themselves to guerrilla warfare against the effects of the existing system, instead of at the same time working towards its transformation and using its organisational force as a lever for the final liberation of the working class, i.e. the final abolition of the wage system`.

Lenin also tirelessly opposed so-called `unionism only', the neutrality of the trade union, saying: `The class interests of the bourgeoisie inevitably lead to the endeavour to confine the trade unions to a narrowly limited petty work on the ground of the existing order, to keep them away from any connection with socialism, and the theory of neutrality is the ideological garment of these bourgeois endeavours'."

"If the working class leads only the economic struggle," wrote Lenin, " it loses its political independence, it becomes an appendage of other parties and practices treason to the great legacy: `The liberation of the workers can only be the work of the workers'." (Lenin; Vol. 4, p.367, German edition).



Red trade unions

- "Sectarian splitters"

of the trade union movement?


The revisionists attack us Marxist-Leninists as splitting the trade unions because we want to eliminate the bourgeois trade unions and build proletarian class trade unions. Comrade Ernst Aust answered the question of splitting the trade union as follows in his paper of summer 1973:

"What does splitting the union mean anyway? If we want to answer this question correctly, we must assume that the working class itself is divided. Namely, by the reformist ideology into the camp of the supporters of this ideology and into the camp of the revolutionary workers.

Our task is to eliminate this division, that is, to bring an ever larger section of the working class to the consciousness of its objective class interests. For this purpose, we lead the uncompromising struggle against the revisionist, reformist and all other bourgeois ideologies. The split of the union is the organisational expression of this struggle. As history proves, it is not carried out by the communists, but by the bourgeois trade union apparatus itself. It is then forced to split, in the form of mass expulsions, when the struggle of the communists has enlarged the camp of revolutionary workers to such an extent that it endangers the rule of the apparatus. Only then will the KPD/ML also set about building revolutionary trade unions."

But the KPD/ML will have to approach this task of building revolutionary trade unions. Comrade Ernst Aust has never left any doubt about the building of red class trade unions. This should be written into the books of all those who want to impute to comrade Ernst Aust that he would have spoken out against Red trade unions on principle. The RGO has certainly been one thing from the beginning of its foundation: a seed of the red trade union, and it cannot and must not be anything else.

Comrade Ernst Aust writes on this in his paper of summer 1973:
"Clearly and unambiguously it had said in the RED MORNING of August 1971:
In principle, in the long term, strategically, we must envisage the building of revolutionary trade unions.

In the Guiding Principles on the Trade Union Movement, the Workers' Councils and the Communist International ( adopted at the II Congress of the Comintern on August 5, 1920) it says in this regard:

`Since communists place the aim and essence of trade union organisation higher than the form, they must not shrink from splitting a trade union organisation in the trade union movement if the renunciation would be tantamount to renouncing revolutionary work in the trade unions, renouncing the attempt to make of them an instrument of revolutionary struggle, and renouncing the organisation of the most exploited sections of the proletariat`".

This shows that comrade Ernst Aust's Marxist-Leninist line on the factory and trade union question was built on the revolutionary line of the Comintern, which - 30 years before Ernst wrote his paper - was dissolved and which is being rebuilt by us today. 30 years after comrade Ernst Aust wrote his paper, the Red Trade Union International was founded again by us. Comrade Ernst Aust remained faithful to the tradition of the Comintern, just as we, as his students, remain faithful to this tradition. Comrade Ernst Aust correctly drew on the experience of comrade Ernst Thälmann's RGO of the KPD and his struggle in the Comintern, and not only defended these positions, but also applied them correctly under the new conditions. In this way, comrade Ernst Aust has earned historical merits. We continue this today in a principled way, namely neither right opportunist nor sectarian nor conciliatory.


Who - whom?

Red or yellow trade unions?

This is a choice the world trade union movement will never get past. This battle is coming inevitably, and it will one day be decided by the red unions. This is a truth that is lawfully approaching. Our tactic at present is the RGO, which does not prevent us from propagating the need for Red Trade Unionism today. However, the strategic goal of building Red Trade Unions became more and more lost in the course of the party's factory and trade union work, under the influence of the right wing opportunism already in the founding phase. Especially after the struggle against the main danger of "sectarianism", there was hardly any talk of it. With the slogan of anchoring in the masses, the right-wingers were all too happy to let the communist aims disappear in the drawer and cowardly took down the party flag, and then finally also took down the RGO flag - in other words, capitulation all along the line - these reprobate Trotskyist "heroes". Neither in the RGO documents nor in the party documents are there any indications that we have to work towards the strategic goal of smashing the imperialist DGB apparatus in the socialist revolution as well. Revolutionary strategy and tactics in the trade union question were not worked out clearly enough towards this goal. Tactics determined strategy and tactics became independent to the extent that they no longer served the strategy of building red trade unions, but even made it superfluous. The tactic was even opposed to the strategy and the strategy was thus openly buried. Neither in the founding documents of the RGO, nor in the pamphlet "What does the RGO want?" is there any reference to the old tradition of Ernst Thälmann's RGO and the tradition of the RGI and the Comintern, let alone the fact that the RGO must build on these old traditions and be guided by their fundamental resolutions, insofar as they still apply to the present situation. However, a trade union opposition only deserves the name of being revolutionary if it distinguishes itself from any "left" DGB opposition by openly professing and fighting for the elimination of the DGB and the creation of Red Trade Unions. Reform or revolution? This is the question that divides opinion on the trade union question. We need class unions of the proletariat and not class unions of the bourgeoisie. This is what we have to make clear to the trade union members, and above all to the growing number of the unorganised, and what we have to win them for.

Lenin described the work among the least organised but most exploited layers of the proletariat, its lower layers, as he says, as precisely a gauge of the revolutionary activity of the communist parties. So if we look at the DGB and the 5 million unemployed, surely no comrade today seriously wants to mobilise this mass of millions of unemployed for the revolutionary class struggle from the DGB, but will build a revolutionary unemployed trade union which will organise its struggle independently. If the Koch-Trotskyites tried to sideline comrade Ernst Aust with the party's work on the unemployed, they only sidelined themselves even more. Stalin also recommended that in revolutionary party work one should concentrate on independent struggle and independent organisation of the unorganised masses and not get hopelessly entangled in the undergrowth of the trade union bureaucracy. If we fight in the DGB, it is not because we want to awake illusions, but in order to convince the trade union members there to come over to the RGO and to get them away from the reactionary trade union leadership.


Conquest of the trade unions?

On the question of conquering the trade unions, comrade Ernst Thälmann warned against illusions. At the X. ECCI Plenum ( Ernst Thälmann, Speeches and Essays, Volume II - Economic Struggles, Tactics and Tasks) he expressed the view:

"The more consciously and actively the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition appears against social fascism, the more the masses group themselves around the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition, the more active and open become the exclusion and splitting methods of the reformist trade union bureaucracy. But we see in our own ranks certain tendencies of retreat, we see the capitulation of individual functionaries who shrink from the reformists' action. This struggle in the trade unions requires from us the greatest tenacity, the greatest revolutionary cold-bloodedness and also the ability to convince the masses that it is not we but the reformists who are the splitters of the trade union movement. Of course, our struggle for trade union unity is not a struggle as imagined by the right-wingers and conciliators, a struggle for "unity at any price", but it is a struggle for the revolutionary class line, for the creation of revolutionary unity against the social-fascist splinterers and splitters of the trade unions.(...)

There are tendencies in some parties which pose the question of conquering the trade unions as a question of conquering the trade union apparatus.

(...) Conquering the trade unions means first and foremost conquering the trade union m a s s e s for the tasks of the revolutionary trade union opposition against the social-fascist trade union bureaucracy and its policy of state and strike-breaking. In contrast to the Right Opportunists, we are of the firm opinion that by carrying the unorganised masses along independently in the struggle, we use them - even the honest class-conscious workers who are still in the camp of reformism - as levers of the revolution.

Ernst Thälmann argued against the conciliators :

"We know that the conquest of the majority of the proletariat does not take place within the framework of the trade unions, that this task cannot be solved within their framework, but in all fields of social life, in all proletarian mass organisations and, first and foremost, in the factories. Our Party Congress in Wedding (= name of the strongest working-class district in Berlin) said quite rightly that the struggle for the enterprises is in the foreground of our general policy. That the struggle between reformism and communism experiences its special intensification because it is at the same time a struggle against the three-way alliance of entrepreneurship, state power and reformist trade union bureaucracy." (Ernst Thälmann, Volume II, page 235 - German edition).

"Organise yourselves in the RGO in order to carry through a revolutionary policy in the trade unions, consistently directed against the entrepreneurs, to drive the traitors to the workers out of the trade unions and to conquer the trade unions." (Page 150; Programme and Action Programme of the KPD.)

Is this demand correct?
Yes, it is correct, both with regard to the conquest of the trade union masses, and with regard to the conquest of the DGB apparatus, when the revolutionary situation for this has matured. The billions of dollars of membership fees do not end up in the strike coffers, but are well invested in the capitalist trade union enterprises where hundreds of thousands of workers and employees are exploited and oppressed, just like in any other capitalist enterprise. The trade union leaders not only sit on the supervisory boards and executive committees, but are also thoroughly intertwined with imperialist state power, whether with the government or in the city council of some locality. The DGB is social order factor number one of German imperialism, and in doing so it does not shy away from fascist violence even against its own members. The working class must conquer the DGB in a revolutionary way, that is, free itself from reformism and revisionism, in order to break the chain with which the DGB has tried to hold the workers to capitalism since its foundation.
However, if one could "force the bigwigs" to do workers' politics and transform the DGB apparatus into a "revolutionary trade union apparatus", the workers would have done it long ago. If an RGO could do that, we wouldn't even need the KPD/ML. But the workers in Germany have not been able to conquer the yellow unions or even replace them with red unions in 100 years.

Our RGO was half smashed, and half allowed itself to be smashed, because revisionists sat down at its leadership and actively helped in its liquidation, whether after the death of comrade Ernst Thälmann or after the death of comrade Ernst Aust, both of whom had founded or re-founded the RGO in Germany. Only in the socialist revolution will it be possible to conquer the DGB apparatus, that is, to grind down the stronghold of the reformist influence of the bourgeoisie within the workers' movement and break its function as an imperialist trade union. A conquered DGB would already not be the same DGB that exists today. It would be halfway to a socialist DGB. But a camel would go through the eye of a needle before the DGB would become socialist. Never would the German imperialists voluntarily allow the revolutionary workers to get their hands on the DGB. Whoever does not submit to the trade union dictatorship of the DGB and rebels - is thrown out, the police ( and what is even worse, the colleagues -) are sicced on him, his breadbasket is taken away, he is physically and psychologically destroyed = social fascism. This is what happened to many of our comrades. As long as Germany is capitalist, there will also be capitalist trade unions in Germany, which would never share their power with the RGO or red trade unions, but fight them to the knife with the aim of destroying them. So when we communists speak of conquering the trade unions and make this demand, we do not mean to spread the revisionist illusion that one could simply take over the capitalist trade unions and peacefully transform them into socialist trade unions, by voting them out etc., i.e. within the framework of the capitalist order of exploitation and oppression. This is not the way to conquer the trade unions. By conquering the trade unions we rather understand that the workers snatch them out of the hands of the bourgeoisie and that the workers bring them back into their control - and this is only possible in a revolutionary way. If you want to conquer the trade unions, you must first win revolutionary trade unionists, with whom you will conquer the majority of the trade union members, and you will do this through years of persuasion of the deed. If we are prevented from doing our factional work legally as communists in the DGB, we will not renounce our revolutionary work and our revolutionary aims, ideas and principles, but will work there illegally and fight for every inch of legality. But we would never renounce to do revolutionary trade union work within the DGB among the trade union members and among the working masses in general, even if they try to put the shackle of trade union legalism on us. Nor would we refrain from creating new independent organisational forms for ourselves in order to realise our revolutionary trade union aims. We will knock the DGB apparatus out of the hands of the bourgeoisie as their instrument of domination. Tactically, the RGO is needed to prepare for this. Strategically, however, independent red trade unions are indispensable, as indispensable as the Communist Party itself. An opposition, no matter how revolutionary, is not enough. Therefore, from the RGO we must gradually create the conditions for its transformation into a Red trade union, we must convince the majority of trade unionists by deeds that it is more useful to realise one's demands in the Red trade union than in the Yellow trade union. As long as we can build legal forms of trade unions of our own, we will do so. Who should stop us? It is necessary to fight for the legal possibilities of independent organised forms of struggle even under the most difficult conditions - even if it cannot be done in any other way than illegally. Everything that is organised as a trade union outside the DGB and the DAG is banned in Germany, but also the communists in the DGB are banned from membership by the incompatibility resolutions. We must fight against this, because comrade Ernst Aust also fought against this - organised - with the RGO!


SPD and DGB in crisis

We communists are the only ones in Germany fighting against the split, because the basis for overcoming the split is the revolutionary class struggle in Germany, which we will lead. The revolutionary class struggle is the only way to unity against the influence of the bourgeoisie in the workers' movement. If we want to lead the masses to revolution, we must break the hegemony of reformism and revisionism, we must instil a consciousness of strength in the masses, the workers must be refuelled with offensive spirit and intransigence, the trade union members must free themselves from the shackles of the trade union bureaucracy, carry away the waverers, we must extend the revolutionary mass struggles, give them more and more a political thrust and direct them into decisive battles for the political power of the working class. The general attack of the bourgeoisie on the livelihood of the German workers must be answered with the general attack of the German workers on the bourgeoisie and its power in the state. Independent struggle must become the stimulus for mass mobilisation. We must not always wait for the DGB to take action, we can wait a long time for that, no, we must have the courage to take the initiative ourselves. The working class will march past the inaction of the DGB on the left. We have to march ahead and not behind.
The influence of the SPD on the DGB is fading away and the union leadership is in crisis because the pressure from above as well as from below is increasing. The struggle will come to a head and will no longer allow itself to be squeezed into the straitjacket of "social peace", bcause sooner or later this will burst.

What is the current weakness of the SPD?

In the fact that it has never in its entire history been so far removed from the trade union members as it is today, in the fact that it can rely less and less on the trade union members.

What is the chance that the KPD/ML can increasingly rely on the trade union masses?

In uniting the trade union members against the government, the employers and the trade union bureaucracy and mobilising them for militant resistance, which the trade union leaders shy away from because they are under pressure from the SPD/Green government or, on the other hand, have to half-heartedly open the valves to allow the pressure from below to come out the back. But if the union leadership keeps the tap absolutely closed with violence and rotten tricks, then we have to call on both the union members and the unorganised to united broad mass protests, wildcat strikes and other independent actions and organise or support them up to general strike and political struggles. This is the only correct answer to the crisis of the SPD. This would also be the answer that comrade Ernst Aust would give us: roll up our sleeves and mobilise the masses against the offensive of the triple alliance of the state, capital and the DGB leadership - put the whole strength of the party into this - of course without renouncing the propagation of our communist aims! Now is exactly the right time to rebuild the RGO. It is never so indispensable for our struggle as it is today! But even immediately after the death of comrade Ernst Aust, the KPD/ML has defended his RGO position uninterruptedly until today. With the publication of the RGO homepage, we have now created a collective agitator, propagandist and organiser to bring comrade Ernst Aust's RGO back to life, striving to overcome the mistakes made, but above all to make use of the positive experiences, and to build on the great successes of that time, which are our model.

It was Ernst Aust who established the contact between the RGO and the Albanian socialist trade unions and created the basis for friendly cooperation and thus also with the revolutionary trade unions and revolutionary trade union oppositions in other countries. We will continue this tradition of comrade Ernst Aust and keep alive the achievements of the trade unions in Lenin's and Stalin's Soviet Union and in comrade Enver Hoxha's socialist Albania. We will make the trade unions a school of communism.

However, you cannot make a proletarian revolution with the DGB and its reformist influence on the workers. One does not need to convince the colleagues in the factory and the trade union of this. Without trade unions, with the party alone, capitalism cannot be eliminated. This should also be obvious. You cannot lead the class struggle against the capitalists if you do not also lead it against the reactionary DGB. On the contrary. The class struggle against the capitalists can only be defined as such when the working class consciously sets itself the goal of freeing itself from the DGB, which betrays and stabbed us workers in the back. Without breaking the influence of the DGB on the workers' movement, the yoke of the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression cannot be broken either, because the DGB is an important pillar of imperialism. Without the DGB, German imperialism could not survive in the long run. The DGB must fall as an instrument of German imperialism, just as German imperialism as a whole must fall. Imperialism and all its tools must be smashed. Only on the ruins of imperialism can socialist trade unions flourish and it is for these that we communists are fighting. These things must be clear to us communists. They are fundamental doctrines of Marxism-Leninism from which we must not deviate, which we must defend and develop. The working class has never succeeded and cannot succeed in conquering the dictatorship of the proletariat with imperialist trade unions. That is why it is the Communist Party that takes the initiative for this. Thus, the old KPD created the RGO and the KPD/ML continued this work.


The working class needs an RGO to be able to wage a consistent class struggle in the workplace and the union.


The RGO is necessary to organise and carry through this class struggle against the betrayal of the DGB, which has placed itself at the service of the state and capital and has no interest in abolishing wage slavery in a revolutionary way - the very aim of every proletarian class trade union. Fighting for the old revolutionary, class-struggle tradition in the trade union presupposes communist fraction work within the DGB - but is not limited to the DGB. Even fomenting the contradictions of progressive sections of the rank and file against the leadership helps to strengthen the RGO and weaken the DGB. Even the smallest struggle for workers' demands is supported by us communists, even if we have to raise and push for these demands in the reactionary DGB. However, we do not do communist fraction work just for the sake of fighting for the day-to-day interests of the workers, but in order to win progressive trade union members for the RGO and ultimately for communism! The best trade unionist is the one who fights in an organised way against the betrayal and crimes of the DGB against its members and against the whole working class, with the aim of smashing the DGB as an extended arm of German imperialism and creating red class trade unions.


The RGO is necessary to lead a revolutionary class struggle not only with an RGO composed of progressive DGB members, but also to include, organise and mobilise the growing number of unorganised , resigned and excluded and dismissed, unemployed workers. This can only be achieved if the RGO is put on its own organisational feet and starts to organise independent strikes and actions, or to lead certain DGB strikes and actions beyond their framework and to go beyond it. For this, of course, you have to have your people in the DGB, otherwise this interaction - from inside and outside - will not work.


The RGO is necessary to create independent Red Class Trade Unions, which the working class needs just as much as its vanguard organisation, the KPD/ML, to prepare and carry out the socialist revolution, to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and to build a united, independent, socialist Germany. Strategically, the revolutionary essence of our communist trade union line always remains the same, except that the forms and tactics change in the individual situations and phases of the class struggle. Either yellow trade unions or red trade unions. The future will show which of the two unions will win or lose. One can only exist through the destruction of the other. There cannot and will not be a middle ground. This is not a tactical question, but a question of principle. This must be made clear to all comrades, but above all to the workers in the factory and the union. If we do not remain faithful to this direction and do not consistently strive for it in word and deed, then the RGO policy of the communists will fail again and again, it will either wither away in sectarian isolation and dissolve into nothingness or perish in the spontaneous (reformist-revisionist) movement and likewise dissolve into nothingness. The history of the RGO has proved this more than once. And it is necessary to draw the right conclusions from this. We can only advance the RGO policy if it is completely based on Marxist-Leninist principles.

* * *

The KPD/ML, under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust, also based itself on the teachings of Lenin on the trade union question, who stated the following:

"No doubt, the gentlemen `leaders` of opportunism will resort to all possible tricks of bourgeois diplomacy, will enlist the help of the bourgeois governments, the clergy, the police, the courts, in order not to let the communists into the trade unions, in order to drive them out of the trade unions in every way possible, in order to make them as uncomfortable as possible to work in the trade unions, in order to insult them, to agitate against them and to persecute them. One must be able to resist all this, must be determined to make any sacrifice and even - if necessary - use all kinds of ruses, stratagems and illegal methods, conceal and hide the truth, just to get into the trade unions, to stay in them and to do communist work in them at any cost" (Lenin, Vol. 41, page 40, German edition).

Lenin called it "unpardonable stupidity" to refuse to work in the existing trade unions, "that it amounts to the greatest service that communists can render to the bourgeoisie" (Lenin, Vol. 31, page 37, German edition ).

Just as Lenin taught that it is necessary to do communist work in the reactionary trade unions, comrade Ernst Aust, in his summer 1973 paper, stressed that the KPD/ML must do revolutionary factional work in the DGB unions with the help of the RGO:

"To do communist faction work presupposes that we are active trade unionists. That we not only attend shop stewards' meetings, representatives' meetings, members' meetings, delegates' meetings, trade union schools, training courses, etc., but also that we show up in the trade union halls and premises to discuss trade union and political questions there.... For us, faction work in the trade unions means propagating Marxism-Leninism, just as in the workplace, always bringing the question of reform or revolution into it. In this way, as experience has shown, it is possible to win the best trade union colleagues for the party, for communism. Fraction work also means sharpening the contradictions in the trade unions between the lower secretaries ( even if they can hardly be won over to us and the upper level with the aim of isolating the reactionary trade union apparatus from the mass of trade union members."

But we Marxist-Leninists do not allow ourselves to be called "sectarian" and "radical left" by the revisionists and neo-revisionists just because we attack trade union legalism in a revolutionary way and blow it up. This is an indispensable part of Marxist-Leninist tactics in the trade union struggle of any Marxist-Leninist party working in the reactionary trade unions. Likewise, we will not let the DGB forbid us from carrying out revolutionary agitation and propaganda there. Comrade Ernst Aust has always taught us this in word and deed.

Stalin also taught us never to limit ourselves to work in the reactionary trade unions. This means that comrade Ernst Aust draws on the classics when he always took the revolutionary stand of going beyond the framework of the legalism of the DGB trade unions in building the RGO. Stalin said in this regard:

"The same can be said of Serra. He does not approve of the German communists having gone beyond the framework of the existing trade unions in the struggle for the locked-out metalworkers and having broken that framework. He sees in this a violation of the decisions of the IV Congress of the Red Trade Union International. He asserts that the Red Trade Union International has instructed the communists to work only within the trade union federations. This is nonsense, comrades! The Red Trade Union International has not given any such instructions. To say this is to condemn the communist party to the role of passive spectator in the class struggles of the proletariat. To say so is to bury the idea of the leading role of the communist party in the workers' movement. The merit of the German communists is precisely that they did not let themselves be frightened by the talk of the trade union framework and went beyond this framework by organising the struggle of the unorganised workers against the will of the trade union bureaucrats (...).

If the reformist leadership grows in line with capitalism ( see the resolution of the VI Congress of the Comintern and the IV Congress of the Red Trade Union International), but the working class struggles against capitalism, can it be claimed that the working class, with the communist party at its head, can lead the struggle without to some extent breaking the existing reformist framework of the trade unions? It is clear that one cannot claim this without falling into opportunism. One could therefore well imagine a situation which makes it necessary to create parallel mass unions of the working class against the will of the trade union bosses who have sold out to the capitalists. We already have such a situation in America. It is quite possible that in Germany, too, the development will proceed in this direction" (Stalin, Werke, vol. 11, pp. 267/68 - 1929, German edition).

With a sharper intensification of the revolutionary class struggles, the degree of blasting of the DGB framework will continue to increase until it finally reaches the boiling point with the complete liberation from the chains of the DGB. The DGB will one day perish with the capitalism that created it, and the grave will not only be dug by the revolutionary workers, but the DGB will daily dig its own grave with its betrayal of the interests of its members. To the same extent that the trade union members see through the betrayal of their leadership, to the same extent that they are forcibly prevented from representing their interests in the DGB in a revolutionary way, to the same extent they will also realise that this yellow trade union is unsuitable for representing one's trade union interests and that one must build such trade unions oneself that make this possible. Comrade Ernst Aust knew the resolution of the VI Congress of the Comintern and the IV Congress of the RGI, quoted from it and fully supported this line.

Comrade Ernst Aust also took up Stalin's hint and gave a clear answer in his paper of summer 1973 on how the KPD/ML builds the RGO:
"In the planned building of a Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition we must proceed from the following principles:
On the one hand, we must not place ourselves above the masses, but we must start from the given level of consciousness of the masses, enlighten them, raise their consciousness, help them to organise themselves step by step according to the principle of deeply felt voluntariness, and gradually unfold all the necessary struggles which the internal and external circumstances allow at the given time and place. There are two principles here. One is: one must start from the real needs of the masses, not from those that we imagine. The other is: the masses themselves must want it, the decision must be taken by the masses themselves, not by us in their place.
On the other hand, having full confidence in the masses and relying on them does not mean worshipping spontaneity and giving free scope to negative factors. Rather, it means using correct methods and doing our work well so that the negative factors can be transformed into positive ones. Only under the leadership of the Party can the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses be unleashed. The activity of the broad masses can neither last long nor develop in the right direction nor reach a higher level in the absence of a strong leading group to organise this activity in an appropriate way."

Comrade Ernst Aust has clearly emphasised here the leading role of the party in the building of the RGO, but at the same time he has emphatically pointed out that the party must apply the Bolshevik principles and methods of taking into account the level of consciousness of the workers and mass connectedness, the correct (organisational) relationship between party and class.

This is quite a complicated matter, which requires great attention and in-depth study of Marxism-Leninism, as well as concrete study of the changing workers' movement itself. The RGO serves to link Marxism-Leninism with the workers' movement. It provides the necessary (organisational) link between the vanguard and the class. The RGO is a broad, loose form of proletarian organisation which differs in many ways from the highest form of class organisation of the proletariat, from the Marxist-Leninist party, from the pure cadre organisation. There, above all, the teachings of Lenin should be noted, who clearly distinguished between the broadest possible trade union organisation and the narrow organisation of professional revolutionaries, and correctly defined their interaction ( see the Comintern/ML training text:

"The Teachings of Marxism-Leninism on the Illegal Party Organisation and Conspiratorial Work" -

The RGO, as a loose organisation, is therefore not a cadre organisation of professional revolutionaries like the KPD/ML, nor can and should it replace them. But the RGO must also never be built independently and certainly not detached from the leadership of the vanguard organisation. The RGO includes members of the KPD/ML who come from the base of the party, the factory party cells, but also representatives of the party leadership from the closest circle of professional revolutionaries. But essentially the RGO is composed of non-members of the KPD/ML. They form the reservoir for future party members, for the factory party cells, also the reservoir for the cadres of the factory and trade union sections of the KPD/ML and finally for the narrow circle of proletarian professional revolutionaries within the KPD/ML. The RGO is a school of communism all along the line, both in form and in essence - always, of course, from the point of view of illegality and legality, whose relationship must be constantly corrected in the course of the class struggle. The RGO must protect itself and its members from the blows of the DGB in particular and the bourgeoisie in general. The strategic goal of the RGO is, of course, revolution, is socialism, is workers' power under the leadership of the KPD/ML, but always in connection with the masses and linking up with the daily demands of the working class, never detached from them. The RGO is an organisation which is the link between the KPD/ML and its core of professional revolutionaries and the whole class of workers. There are clear organisational gradations that mesh like cogs to mobilise and guide the workers' movement to socialist revolution; there must be exact adherence to the teachings of the classics so as not to make mistakes, and mistakes have been made aplenty because their teachings were not consistently studied and heeded.

Comrade Ernst Aust successfully fought against wrong tendencies in the building of the RGO, as the report to the Third Party Congress of the KPD/ML proves, even though mistakes were made which were largely corrected at the Fourth Party Congress. I was actively involved in this struggle against wrong tendencies in the building of the RGO as a comrade of the regional association Wasserkante and from there I vehemently supported and defended the line of comrade Ernst Aust.

Let us now turn to the report of comrade Ernst Aust, which he presented at the Third Party Congress of the KPD/ML. In it he dealt, among other things, with the party's factory and trade union work.

In the accountability report it says from page 72 - 76:

"The revolutionary trade union line of the party, as it had been laid down in the speech of comrade Ernst Aust in 1971 and in the resolutions of the II Party Congress, which clearly spoke of building the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition, they (Ernst here means the right-wing Krug-Barth-Sperandio faction - the author) wanted to replace with a line that had as its goal a new reformist trade union organization. They tried to cover up the absence of the revolutionary line demagogically by drumming out pseudo-radical phrases and issuing `flaming` appeals to the masses. For example, many articles of the following kind appeared in the RED MORNING: Under the headline: `Den Zechenbaronen das Handwerk gelegt` (Put a stop to the colliery barons), the article itself merely contained the demand for 15% more pay. With this method they were able to deceive some comrades.

A clear expression of this right-wing opportunist and at the same time sectarian `union opposition` (GO) was the `GO-Zeitung` for May 1, 1973, in which nothing more was to be found of the struggle for socialism, and the KPD/ML was mentioned only under `farther afield`. In line with this reformist trade-union opposition, they had tried in vain to persuade the party to participate in the reactionary May Day DGB demonstrations. Precisely on the question of the struggle, whether GO or RGO, there was fierce opposition early on from a few comrades on the Central Committee, from the Central Party Control Commission, and from the rank and file of the party, especially from the regional association Wasserkante. Criticism from below was systematically suppressed by the right-wingers and concealed from the Central Committee. Although they constantly talked about the base of the party and presented its 'approval' as proof of the alleged correctness of their right-wing line, in reality they ignored the will of the party.

They developed a bureaucratic concept of organization to prevent the comrades of the Presidium - except for their own representative - from actually leading the party, and tried to make one of their own, by means of a trick, the `general secretary`, in whom all threads were to converge. They engaged in a systematic trivialization of Russian social imperialism and tried to portray the actually existing West German revanchism as so dangerous that it was capable of overrunning the GDR in a blitzkrieg, while Russian social imperialism was so weak that it was forced to give way. They stooped to the theory that the superpowers had already passed the peak of their power, and declared West German imperialism to be the main war-monger because it was on the rising branch together with Japanese imperialism. This thesis they had already smuggled in veiled in documents of the II Party Congress.

They attempted to defame the entire work of the party up to the Second Party Congress, its consistent adherence to the principles of Marxism-Leninism, as "sectarian and hostile to the masses", and created the impression that it was only through their work that the party had arrived at a correct mass line. At the same time, they spread wild rumors about the party, denigrating leading comrades as 'pure theoreticians' who had no idea of practice or 'veterans' who had earned certain merits in the past but were now hindering the party's forward development.

In the spring of 1973, the struggle in the Central Committee intensified. First, it came to a head over the question of whether to organize a reformist `union opposition` (GO) or fight to build a Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition (RGI). On this question, the right opportunists succeeded in gaining a majority on the Central Committee, while the comrades who exposed this concept as reformist formed only a minority of four comrades, supported by the Central Party Control Commission. Immediately after achieving a voting majority on this question, the right opportunists went even further in their mood of victory. They demanded personnel consequences because the line of the majority of the Central Committee was no longer represented by the existing presidium - in order to get complete control of the party leadership and to be able to enforce their right opportunist program in other questions as well. With this demand, however, they could no longer prevail at this plenum.

For the whole party, this period was very difficult because the Central Committee was no longer a unified leadership and the comrades who consistently fought right opportunism were in the minority. However, the right opportunist factionists were mistaken in thinking that the leadership of the party would now fall into their hands. The minority of the Central Committee under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust intensified the consistent struggle against the wrong decision on the trade union question, in which they were supported by the revolutionary party base. It systematically exposed the entire right opportunist program of the Krug-Barth-Sperandio clique, exposed its factional activity, its violations of the decisions of the II Party Congress and the Central Committee.

This struggle was not supported by the majority of the Central Committee at the beginning, because some of the comrades themselves had right opportunist views and wrong ideas of unity, because they devalued the ideological struggle as a personal attack, wanted to treat the contradictions between us and the enemy as contradictions in the people, and showed a lack of vigilance against factionalt efforts. Only after several meetings of the Central Committee did the minority of the CC succeed in convincing the majority of the wrongness of their line. The comrades who had agreed with the right-wing line on the trade union question corrected their deviations and exercised self-criticism for their deviations and for their liberalistic behavior toward the opportunist faction. In the summer of 1973, the unity of the Central Committee was restored on a correct basis. The rightists, once exposed, admitted to having acted as a faction from the beginning. They were expelled from the party.

Throughout the party, on the basis of the orientation against right opportunism of the summer of 1973, policies were reviewed and leaders who insisted on right-wing positions were voted out. The Political Plan, which appeared at the same time as the Orientation, laid down the correct line on the most important political questions and oriented the political work. A year later, in 1974, the orientation against right opportunism was supplemented and deepened, and the common root of the right and `left` deviations was revealed.

In this context, we must self-critically ask the question, why were these people able to sneak into the leadership of the party in the first place and why were they not purged out earlier? For this purpose, one must consider the situation in which the party found itself at that time after the extraordinary party congress. It was severely weakened. There were few consolidated cadres. The central office worked with four comrades who had to do all the work, including the technical work, including the publication of the RED MORNING. In view of this situation, certain deficiencies appeared in the work of the central office. These were cleverly exploited by the right-wingers to portray the Central Office as `incompetent`, as not `progressive` enough. The Central Committee did not recognize the dishonesty of this criticism and, since there was not much choice of cadres, welcomed the fact that these `comrades` , who posed as excellent organizers and editors, as proletarians (Krug and Sperandio), who had been elected as delegates to the II Party Congress, wanted to strengthen the Central Office.

The mistake, explainable from the situation, but avoidable, was lack of vigilance and reckless trust. For if one had taken a closer look at the past of these people, one would certainly have come to the conclusion that they were by no means proletarian, but rather lumpenproletarian, work-shy elements, if one had taken more account of the fact that only a short time before these elements had presented the chief revisionist Ulbricht as a "revolutionary", as being in contradiction to social imperialism, that they had tried to annex the West Berlin section of the party to the "Red Flag Bochum group" [Split from the KPD / ML], and held the view that the main enemy in the workers movement was the SPD and that the struggle against modern revisionism was therefore not so important. At the II Party Congress, these right-wing deviations, already known at that time, were too little heeded, or their superficial `self-criticisms` were too quickly accepted, since their self-praises were believed."

We continue the publication of the accountability report to the III Party Congress, delivered by Comrade Ernst Aust, on page 94, quoting up to page 98, because this section deals concretely with the party's next fighting task: "Every factory our fortress!"

we must not assume that now that we have essentially worked out the program, the political line of our party, and adopted it at this party congress, everything else will take care of itself, so to speak. The propagation of the general line of the party is only the beginning of the matter; for it means only the desire to win, but not the victory itself. That depends solely on our work, on how we understand how to organize the struggle to carry out the party line. For this, it is absolutely necessary to have a clear picture of the party's next fighting tasks.

The next tasks of the party

Dear comrades!
We know that the class struggles on a world scale, as well as in West and East Germany and West Berlin, will continue to intensify in the coming years. This is happening regardless of our will. Our task in this is to give the practical movement of the masses, their spontaneous struggles, goal and direction, to open up for them the revolutionary perspective, to lead them on the right path to achieving the goal, the united, independent socialist Germany. For this purpose, it is necessary to point out some basic conditions that are essential for the correct approach to this task. For this purpose it is necessary to determine the focal points of party work, the fronts on which the party must work and lead the struggle.
Every factory our fortress!
It is necessary for the Party to immediately improve its factory and trade union work, especially that the building of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition (RGO) be expedited.
Every factory our fortress, that is the slogan under which the Party has conducted its struggle from the very beginning. Already in the statute the primacy of the factory party cells is determined. The growing class consciousness and the increasing readiness of the working class to fight are not only favorable conditions for strengthening the party in the factories. The party must now also use these favorable conditions to tackle the building of the revolutionary fighting organizations of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition.
Although the number of factory party cells and factory newspapers has multiplied since the Second Party Congress, there are still great deficiencies and weaknesses in factory and trade union work. As is well known, the main attack of the Right in the Central Committee took place in the field of factory and trade union work. After this attack had been repulsed in the hard struggle of two lines and the correct line, as developed by comrade Ernst Aust in his keynote speech "On the Struggle of Two Lines in the Trade Union Question" (RM No.7, 8, 9 - 1971) and at the II Party Congress, had reasserted itself both in the Central Committee and in the party, a general orientation against right opportunism took place, but no concrete orientation of factory and trade union work, as announced in the Political Plan.
The central factory and trade union department failed in concretizing the existing correct line; it worked in a workmanlike, unsystematic manner, did not evaluate already existing factory experience, and only now and then dealt with concretely existing problems facing the party. This led to general uncertainty at the base. Still existing right-wing deviations were not corrected in depth and in an understandable way. In some cases, this led to a mere shift to the 'left' and to uncertainties about the right way to act in the workplace. As a result, many of our comrades were dismissed from their companies. In the 1974 orientation, these errors were roughly analyzed, slight corrections were made, but again no concretization and specification took place....

There, where the Central Works Council and Trade Union Department succeeded in intervening in the party's works council and trade union work through a concrete orientation - as in the 1975 works council elections - there were corresponding successes. Thus, many comrades were elected as Red Works Councils. Unfortunately, again due to a lack of guidance, these successes could not be consolidated. In the meantime, several of these works councils have been dismissed. Thus, in summary, it can be said that the slogan "Every factory must be our fortress!" is far from being fulfilled. This decisive deficiency was also fully recognized by the party base, as expressed in the numerous corresponding motions to this party congress.

A main deficiency of our store stewards is obviously that they are often not clear about the correct action in the class struggle in the factory, how Red store stewards and store stewards have to work, how to analyze the factory work, how to work correctly in the union, what is the role of the factory struggle programs in the building of the RGO, etc., etc. Already existing experiences are not summarized. For example, it has been known for some time what difficulties of understanding the word "Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition" entails for the broad mass of colleagues. Mind you, not the word "revolutionaries," but the word "opposition." Most people understand it to mean resistance, contradiction, opposition, that is, opposition to the union. And this is how it is taken up by the modern revisionists and the trade-union bureaucracy and interpreted to the colleagues, namely: the KPD/ML is against trade unions, i.e., against the necessity of organizing in the economic, in the class struggle against the capitalists at the company and supra-company level.

This is a lie, of course, but how difficult it is to refute such prejudices, fomented by the class enemy and his revisionist agents against our party, among our colleagues, how much time is lost in explaining to them that we are not against but for trade unions. But precisely those that represent the interests of colleagues, workers and employees, and not those of the capitalists, that in the foreseeable future we are not thinking of founding our own unions, but that RGO policy means to unite all progressive colleagues who are in opposition to the reactionary union leadership, both inside and outside the union, i.e., union members as well as expelled colleagues or those who have left in protest, with the aim of isolating to the maximum the union leadership, these paid agents of capital in the camp of the working class, actively and leadingly intervening in the strikes, class struggles and actions on an economic, workplace and interplant basis, and linking them to the overall goal of the working class, its final liberation from the yoke of capitalist exploitation.

It is necessary that the new Central Committee, the new central factory and trade union department, summarize and evaluate the already existing experiences in the daily factory and trade union work, and they are not exactly few, so that clear instructions can be given, for example, about the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition, determination of tasks and goal, as well as its concrete working methods.

Since there will certainly continue to be a lack of central cadres who could promote factory and trade union work through oral instructions and discussions, it would be good to regularly issue worksheets on necessary topics and to train them through the local leaderships in seminars and weekend schools. This system would have to be supplemented by the publication of a periodical (for the time being every quarter of a year, DIN A 4), which would assume the role of collective agitator, propagandist and, above all, organizer for the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition.

A question for some leaders and comrades is still, for example, how we can build up the most expedient company party cells. It is clear: a company party cell consists of at least three comrades or candidates. At best, if only two comrades work in the company, one or two comrades can be included in the cell to support them. But then this is no longer a real company cell, but a party cell that has this company as the focus of its work. There are also district and local cells. They support the work of the company party cells in their area, e.g. by distributing leaflets, company newspapers, etc., or they try to establish contacts for the establishment of company cells and the publication of company newspapers through agitation and propaganda in front of companies located in their area. Comrades admitted to district and local cells must, after their admission, be referred to the party cell responsible for their plant (if there is one).

An important task for the factory party cells is to work with foreign colleagues. They are particularly exploited and have the same main enemy during their stay in Germany as we do. The correct initiation of agitation and propaganda among foreign colleagues (e.g., the preparation of a central program of demands and struggle) is part of our task of winning the vanguard of the proletariat for communism, for work in the party, because everyone who resides in Germany can become a member."

So much for the excerpts from Comrade Ernst Aust's report, which he submitted to the Third Party Congress of the KPD/ML. Let us now turn to the IVth Party Congress, where first of all a self-critical position is taken on the sectarian errors that were still contained in this report to the IIIrd Party Congress and which the IVth Party Congress endeavored to correct.


Excerpt from the accountability report of comrade Ernst Aust to the IV. Party Congress of the KPD/ML
(pages 13 - 27):

Deepening the orientation against 'leftism' and other opportunist errors

Turning now to the third item on the agenda of the Party Congress: in continuation of the tasks already set for the Party by the III Party Congress, to deepen the orientation of the work toward deep roots among the masses, this was not the decisive question why the Central Committee considered it necessary to convene the Party Congress as soon as possible. Because of the party's orientation to overcome the serious left-sectarian errors, the party congress alone would not have been necessary, for the Central Committee and Politburo are fully capable of working. The contradictions that have arisen in the Central Committee have by no means led to a paralysis of the Central Office, but have to a great extent increased its ability to act, which I am sure many comrades will also have noticed (...).
In practice, this Party Congress is a continuation, a deepening of the tasks that the Third Party Congress set us. This Third Party Congress was, despite certain weaknesses, as they are still expressed in the program and the report, an important milestone in the history of our party. Its importance lay not only in the adoption of the program and the revised statute of the party, but also precisely in the fact that it concretely determined the party's fighting tasks, the main fronts of the class struggle. Here the basis for overcoming the "left" sectarianism was already laid, even if in the accountability report itself elsewhere the right-wing errors are still presented as the main danger for the party itself. (...)
It is typical for this accountability report that besides the mainly correct, also wrong left sectarian positions in questions of the united front tactics, the struggle against reaction and fascism, the building of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition and the participation in DGB demonstrations, the denial of the left sectarian dangers for the party etc. are represented. In contrast to the current situation, the main danger in the party is right opportunism and not, as it was, 'left' sectarianism. So it was no wonder that in the implementation of the correct positions of the III Party Congress in the Central Committee there had to be clashes with those who held on to the opportunist, ultra-left views.
How were the next tasks of struggle of the party set in the report of the Third Party Congress tackled or realized?
It says: First: It is necessary that the party immediately improves its factory and trade union work, in particular that the building of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition is expedited."

"In this area, we have probably made the greatest progress in the past two years, although this progress must also be seen in relation to the situation before the Third Party Congress. For years, `leftist` and sectarian deviations had inhibited factory and trade union work. Their core, which was also evident on other fronts of the class struggle, was:

- That the party saw itself as a pure propaganda party, with a tendency to reduce all its activity to the proclamation of strategic principles and to global propaganda for the overthrow of capitalism, without this being accompanied by concrete revolutionary intervention in the day-to-day struggles;

- That the party did not consider the class struggle of the proletariat in practice as the main driving force of the revolutionary movement, largely distanced and isolated itself from the real class movement, and therefore did not make significant progress in winning over the most class-conscious workers;

- that the party did not create or work in mass organizations to carry its line to the masses and lead them in the revolutionary struggle, that it did not carry out a united-front policy and, accordingly, was unable to link itself closely with the class-conscious workers and bring them to the party in greater numbers.

These `leftist` sectarian views had penetrated the party early on from the student movement. They intensified especially after right-opportunist deviations occurred in the party's Central Committee in 1973. These petty-bourgeois comrades held their own views as reality and attacked as right-opportunist, as revisionists, anyone who disagreed with their subjectivist views. The proletarian comrades backed away from these massively presented attacks out of insecurity, out of fear of slipping into reformism and opportunism.

It is true that in the struggle against right-wing deviations there was a correct platform, "Forward to the Construction of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition" (Summer 1973), which tried to counteract a slide into sectarian waters by paying great attention to the trade union struggle, to the daily struggles of the workers. But this orientation, which nevertheless contained some exaggerations in the struggle against the right, never came to fruition. As a result, there was no longer any fundamental orientation in factory and trade union work. Quite massively, the 'leftist' sectarian tendencies then asserted themselves until the appearance of the party structure in 1974. By then, an ultraleft line had essentially prevailed in factory and trade union work. The consequences were:

No leaflet appeared anymore without the formal propagation of violent revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. At factory and trade union meetings, the problems of the colleagues were not addressed, but the propagation of the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat began stereotypically. Comrades refused to participate in warning strikes or in protest demonstrations organized by the union, on the grounds that they only served to get colleagues to let off steam.

The result of these `leftist` mistakes was that the comrades isolated themselves from their colleagues, that large numbers of them flew out of the plants and were expelled from the union. Where the party had gained influence in the DGB unions, as for example in Kiel, it was abruptly and almost completely liquidated. The orientation from the center by the RED MORNING was limited until the III Party Congress mainly to hammering into the comrades not to make any concessions from the revolutionary line. Literally:

"Even in the tariff movements (1975) and other economic struggles of the workers, our fundamental task is to unfold propaganda for the violent overthrow of the capitalist system in the proletarian revolution and to expose modern revisionism, its betrayal of socialism and the revolution."

Now it is undoubtedly correct to gradually prepare the working masses for future revolutionary battles and victory in the revolution. But whoever does this without linking up with their present consciousness, without introducing them step by step to the positions of the party, of the revolution, learning through their own experience in all the day-to-day battles, is acting opportunistically. The orientation that ultimately degraded the party, to put it exaggeratedly, to a record that stereotypically sounded "revolution-revolution-revolution" led to a great deal of insecurity among the party base, led to the view that it was safest to confine oneself to the general propaganda of revolution and socialism, especially since the struggle for small and smallest reforms was not infrequently defamed, even into 1977, as reformist, as revisionist. It is clear that such pseudo-revolutionary positions, which lead to the false thesis that the goal is everything and the movement is nothing, mean in essence renunciation of active revolutionary activity and thus leave the revisionists free field for their activities, with which they deceive the masses.


Successes in factory and trade union work

The fundamental change, the improvement of the factory and trade union work, the building of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition, took place only after the III Party Congress. Already in the early summer of 1977, the orientation of factory and trade union work took place in a fundamental article in the "Party Building". With the RGO program, with the orientation to the 1978 works council elections, the party grabbed the chain link that would subsequently lead to a rapid growth of the RGO. The orientation paper for the works council elections had said:
`Our intervention was correct when, at the end of the campaign, we could state:
1. by intervening in the works council elections, we increased the party's political influence in the workplace and won new colleagues for the party or brought them closer to the party.
2. we have united and organized, albeit loosely, a circle of colleagues along the lines set out in the RGO brochure.
3. we have united a section of the shop-floor workforce on the basis of a militant program of shop-floor demands and at least partially withdrawn it from the influence of the DGB apparatus and the DKP revisionists.`

Measured against these criteria, the party's policy and tactics on the works council elections proved correct. The most significant result, however, was that in the course of this campaign the RGO finally overcame its shadowy existence as the party's propaganda message and entered the stage of its practical construction. In the course of the works council elections alone:

- around 30 company RGO groups were founded - in the meantime, of course, there are many more - with 75% of the RGO members in the Ruhr region, for example, consisting of non-party workers.

- A total of 140 seats on works councils and staff councils were won, over 80 of them by party members, the rest by non-party RGO members and colleagues sympathetic to the RGO.

- A total of 26 lists were supported by the party, of which 22 could be considered RGO lists. In 16 large enterprises with more than 1,000 employees, the RGO lists won close to 8,000 votes. By comparison, in 1930, when the KPD had almost 190,000 members, the RGO won 36,743 votes in 20 large enterprises.

- Overall, the DKP found itself in an awkward position where the RGO lists appeared. Its current course of ingratiating itself with the trade-union apparatus and expanding its influence within the labor aristocracy conflicted with its aspiration to offer itself as a militant workers' party to class-conscious workers. By using the right tactics, revisionist circles such as KBW or the Rote Fahne (KPD) group could be condemned to insignificance in many factories.

What did the successes of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition in the works council elections show us? They show us that the colleagues see the works council elections mainly from the point of view of workplace and trade union problems: that many colleagues vote from this point of view, in protest against the old reactionary works council bigwigs and trade union leaders, without, for example, consciously deciding for the program of the RGO list, let alone for the party. So the successes for the RGO lists do not show that 10, 20, 30 % of the workers are won for communism. But they do show:

- the growing readiness of the working class to fight and that the party can put itself at the head of the class-conscious workers through the consistent realization of the united front policy;

- the process of detaching the class-conscious workers from the influence of the DGB apparatus, that the influence of reformism on the working class is being undermined by the development of the capitalist crisis;

- that the party is quite capable of uniting growing sections of the working class not only against the entrepreneurs but also against the agencies of the bourgeoisie on a class program.

The prerequisite for this, however, is that our tactics do not make the struggle against the DKP, for example, appear as a mere party dispute and interest it at most as an observer, but that we wage the struggle against reformism and revisionism as part of the struggle against the capitalists and on behalf of the working masses, as Lenin demands. As Marxist-Leninists we know: Modern revisionism means all-embracing betrayal of the interests of the working class, betrayal of the socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, as well as wheeling and dealing, strike-breaking, and so on. All this is absolutely correct, and we will never reveal this assessment. But how was the struggle against the DKP revisionists and others waged, for the most part, by us in the past? It was led:

- We fought against the DKP and other organizations led or influenced by it very radically in words, but in practice we largely left the field of practical politics, of action, of daily struggles to the modern revisionists, which was then still considered particularly principled;

- by largely limiting ourselves to pure propaganda vis-à-vis them and attempting to explain to our colleagues in principle the essence of modern revisionism, their counterrevolutionary theses of the "peaceful transition to socialism," their "anti-monopolistic order," the "state of the whole people," etc., which, however, interested them only marginally;

- in that, without differentiating between leaders and members, we often regarded DKP and also social-democratic colleagues - not a few of whom are subjectively honestly against capitalism, fascism and for socialism, even if ideologically completely confused - from the outset as enemies and not infrequently insulted them as traitors.

Such an attitude, however, convinces no one; it repels colleagues. In contrast to petty-bourgeois intellectuals, for whom individualism, splittism, circularity, competition are not at all abnormal, the worker generally strives spontaneously for unity, for solidarity, because he knows that only through united action can he defend himself against the attacks of the entrepreneurs, the capitalists, and achieve his goals. This spontaneous striving for unity, "you are against the entrepreneurs, he is against the entrepreneurs, you are for socialism, he is for socialism," the modern revisionists insidiously exploit by presenting themselves as defenders of this unity and trying to defame us as splitters, as splitters of workers' unity, of trade union unity, as chaotic people who are against unity.


Application of the tactics of the united front policy

How should we respond to this? By saying, "Splitters yourselves," by trying to explain theoretically long and hard to our colleagues why the modern revisionists are in fact the worst splitters of the working-class movement, that we are not for unity for unity's sake, but only for unity on a correct basis that serves the liberation of the working class, its goals?

Certainly, we must explain these things as well, but our main answer must be to apply the taltics of the united front from below. By being the ones who, together with the colleagues - regardless of their personal political views and party affiliation - formulate and set up their demands and try, according to our forces, to put ourselves in the lead in action, in the revolutionary struggle for the implementation of these demands. Only in the struggle for the interests of the proletariat can we, visibly to all our colleagues, expose the duplicity, the strike-breaking, the treachery of the revisionist and reformist bigwigs and win over class-conscious colleagues who have been seduced by them. For whether our struggle against modern revisionism is successful or not is shown above all by how many people we have already been able to withdraw from its treacherous influence. In this regard, we must note that, as a result of the left opportunist influences of recent years, this is not yet far off. Let us always be clear about this: Without having withdrawn the majority of the working class from the influence of the revisionists and reformists, we will not be able to win in a revolutionary situation.

Now, are there still weaknesses in the RGO work? Certainly there still are. Although in the meantime it has been renounced to demand for membership in the RGO the recognition of the violent revolution, there are still other sectarian views such as: A member of the RGO can only be someone who regularly attends membership meetings or who has understood quite fundamentally the character of the DGB apparatus. That is of course nonsense. How does a colleague join the RGO? First of all, because he is against the employers, because he is angry with the union bosses. He feels he's being taken for a ride, perhaps he hears or reads our program of demands and says, "Let's see, I'll join in". He belongs in the RGO! It is not important that he has already understood the whole RGO program in all details, that he attends every general meeting, what is important is that he is in principle ready to fight against bosses and bigwigs, capital and the DGB leaders who are in bondage to it, for the demands of the working class and to pay his RGO dues.

The RGO founding congress was certainly a great success and for our comrades a further step towards deep roots in the masses. But we must pay attention to one thing. The relationship of the RGO to the Party, for example, is not the same as that of the Youht organization to it. While the Youth Organization is closely tied to the party and recognizes its program as its own, this is not the case with the RGO. It has its own program, its own union-determined objectives, which of course include a commitment to socialism, simply because it is directly in the interests of the working class. Otherwise, it is an organization of the type of which Stalin said:
"...that the party members who belong to these organizations, as undoubtedly influential people, use all means of persuasion so that the non-party organizations are brought as close as possible in their activity to the party of the proletariat and voluntarily recognize its political leadership" (Stalin, Works, Vol. 6, pp. 157/158).

Our main weakness, however, is - and I would like to emphasize this here once again quite emphatically: Too little work is being done in the DGB unions. In a motion to the party conference, the comrades demand: The RGO must stand on two legs! They rightly think that one should not only work with those excluded from the union, with colleagues who are angry with the union bosses and have thrown away their union books, but also and especially within the union. The store steward elections are just as important as the works council elections for the further development of the RGO.


Working in the unions

This is important. The RGO must stand on two legs, with the work in the union being the more important, the mainstay. After all, union opposition does not mean in opposition to the union, but in the union in opposition to the reactionary, capitalist leadership. We are not left-wing sectarians who want to build up with the RGO a new - as Lenin once sneered with regard to the former German 'lnken' - 'squeaky-clean trade union'. That would be nonsense and the colleagues would ask: "Who concludes the collective agreements now, who leads the negotiations with he entrepreneurs, you or the DGB unions?" But this also leads to the demand: RGOers must be the best trade unionists!

In doing so, we must be cunning, clever and skilful in exploiting contradictions. And there are plenty of them. For example, that the union bosses, Loderer, Hauenschild, etc. cannot exist without members. Without members they become uninteresting for the capitalists, the monopolies. But members can be won and kept only if one does something for them, or pretends to do something. One must already bring certain activities. That is why the union bosses rely to a certain extent on DKP members, because they know that they are often active unionists and recruit colleagues for the union. This is where we have to pull the lever. We do not differ from the DKP trade unionists in that they are better and we are worse trade unionists, they are more active and we are less active. We differ from them in that, when it comes down to it, they beat the crap out of their colleagues, they stonewall, they grovel before the DGB bigwigs, while we stand by our colleagues and are ready to lead the struggle with them beyond the framework of trade union legality, i.e. also against the will of the trade union bigwigs, against the so-called peace obligation, etc.

The reactionary DGB leadership, in order to be able to do justice to its task as the agency of capital in the working class, is dependent on activists who are popular among the colleagues, communists as confidants. Here lies our opportunity. And there are very good examples - from the time before left sectarianism was predominant in the party - of comrades who had understood how to expand their influence in the union, as well as in the union youth.

Certainly, there are dangers in carrying out such a policy, which is absolutely necessary for the preparation of the revolution. Constantly the comrades, as well as the RGO members, will be exposed to the attempts of corrupting on the part of the capitalists and the trade union leadership, both at the factory and trade union level. This begins with higher pay for works council members and ends with the offer of a supervisory board post or other lucrative positions. It is clear that we firmly reject such offers. (If it is not possible to refuse the extra money as a works council member, we transfer it to the RGO account in a way that is controllable for all colleagues).

It is equally clear that comrades who allow themselves to be bribed, corrupted in any way, become labor aristocrats, are ruthlessly expelled from the party. Only the danger of labor aristocratic tendencies in our party is at present still very small in comparison with the still strong `leftist` petty-bourgeois influence.[admittedly, this changed in the 80ies ! - remark of Wolfgang Eggers]

But what about accepting or being elected to an honorary or even paid trade union position, can we accept them? Of course we accept them. After all, we will not give up the opportunity to expand our influence. But here, too, we must be vigilant. Never to allow ourselves to be corrupted, either politically or ideologically. Never to sink into union-onlyism. Never lose sight of the goal: to conquer the union masses, to isolate the bigwigs to a large extent from the union masses and to bring them step by step to the position of the party, closer to the revolution.

Yes, conquer the union! In the past, this slogan, correct in itself, was rejected in the party on the grounds that one could not conquer the trade union, that is, the trade union apparatus. Well, if one understands by this the possible democratic deselection of Vetter, Loderer, Hauenschild, etc., the disempowerment of the union bureaucracy by the union members, then this is of course illusory. As long as union secretaries and other functionaries with university degrees are sought by newspaper advertisements, there is not much to be done with 'democracy'. The reactionary union leadership will sooner exclude the majority of union members than bend to their will. It, which is itself part of the monopoly capitalist ruling apparatus, can only be deprived of its power in the course of the proletarian revolution.(emphasized by Wolfgang Eggers).

And yet it was wrong, a `leftist` mistake, to reject the slogan of the necessity of conquering the trade union. It was the rejection of this slogan, however, that led to the very underestimation of labor in the unions that has not yet been overcome. For us, conquering the union clearly means:

Isolation of the reactionary union leadership and bureaucracy by the majority of the union members and taking over the union leadership by its revolutionary representatives. When that will be, we cannot predict. It depends on our good work, but also on the intensification of class struggles and the maturing of a revolutionary situation.

But what about the slogan about the necessity of conquering the trade union apparatus? Is it correct? Let us listen to a "Resolution of the 10th Plenum of the ECCI on the Economic Struggle and the Tasks of the Communist Parties" in which it is correctly stated :

"At the same time, it would be a harmful opportunist illusion to assume that under present conditions - even with the masses of trade union members behind us - we can conquer the reformist trade union apparatus. However, this in no way means that the communists and the revolutionary opposition should be passive in the election of the leading trade union bodies. On the contrary, the struggle to expel all bureaucrats and agents of the capitalists from the trade unions, for every elective function in the trade unions, and especially for the lower trade union shop stewards, must become in our hands a powerful tool for exposing and combating the role of the social-fascist trade union bureaucracy."

Of course, in our work, in building up the RGO within the union, we have to be tactically clever in order not to be excluded right away. Whether or not we form an RGO bloc at trade union demonstrations, whether or not we participate in trade union demonstrations on May Day, is not a question of principle but of tactics and must be bindingly decided according to the given circumstances. However, it is always correct that we propagate the goals and slogans of the RGO on banners, leaflets, etc. on such occasions.

Taking a clear stand against the DGB apparatus

However, it is a retreat in the class struggle if a company party cell - although it has the possibility to do so - refrains from putting up its own RGO list, a clear position on the DGB apparatus, on the DGB leadership, only because it hopes to avoid being expelled from the union. Such an attitude is illusory and wrong, because it was precisely through our offensive appearance in the works council elections that the building of the RGO was rapidly advanced. Also wrong and a retreat from the agitation of the bourgeoisie and its agents is the tendency to distance ourselves from the party in the RGO or even to demand that the RGO distance itself from the party. Only through our offensive appearance and action as the best trade unionists, as the best fighters for the workers' interests, for the proletarian united front, will we anchor ourselves deeply in the masses, will we learn to lead them to victory in the socialist revolution.(Emphasized by Wolfgang Eggers)

In this context, however, we should immediately address another error that easily creeps in when comrades first come into contact with reformist, revisionist trade unionists, shop stewards, when they see that these are `active` trade unionists. Then one is easily inclined, because they are more active than the other colleagues, to judge them as more progressive, as better than the latter. But this is fundamentally wrong! Who is more progressive, the DKP man who develops a certain activity in the trade union sense, either out of honest desire or in order to curry favor with the reactionary DGB bigwigs, or the colleague, the revolutionary worker, who sees through the treachery of the bigwigs and, in order to get even with them, is not so active in the trade union but works in the RGO? One must not be confused. Why is a revisionist usually more active? To win colleagues for himself, that is, for his worldview, revisionism, betrayal of the revolution. For us, however, a colleague is ten times more valuable who is not yet so 'active', but who is honestly against the reactionary bigwigs in the DGB. He will fight with us tomorrow on the barricades of the revolution, while many of the revisionist trade unionists who are still so 'active' today will stab us in the back and betray the struggle.

Overcoming the left sectarian errors, the party's extensive isolation from the struggles of the masses, the denial of the importance of the struggle for reform, the disregard for labor in the existing trade unions, the rejection of the united front policy as a basic tactic of the communist party, the conception of the party as a mere propaganda party, whose only task in any situation is to proclaim to the working class that it must overthrow capitalism in violent socialist revolution - the overcoming of these sectarian, anti-Marxist views is an absolute necessity for the party if it is to make even one step forward in its anchoring among the proletariat and the working masses.

If this Party Congress once again underlines the assessment that left opportunism is currently the main danger in the Party, it does not in any way overlook the fact that certain right-wing tendencies are also making themselves felt, against which we must also be vigilant and which must be fought.

There is above all the danger of so-called tail politics, of running behind the movement of the masses, of hanging on to the tail of the spontaneous movement. Some comrades understand by `deeply rooted in the masses` that they have to go down to the level of the broad masses. They argue thus:

`The masses don`t want to know about revolution, so you mustn`t tell them about revolution; the masses are against Stalin, so you mustn`t defend Stalin; the masses are against dictatorship, they understand by it the Hitler regime, so you mustn`t tell them about the necessity of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat; the masses don`t read the RED MORNING, so we don`t need a central organ either, but a newspaper with sex and crime to satisfy them. ` And then we are exactly where we don't want to be, in the swamp of revisionism.

It is true that we must analyze, assess the real, the actual workers' movement. We must have no illusions about the state, the degree of the class struggles. We have to link up with the consciousness of the masses if we want to tell them something, explain something, move them to action. But it is wrong if we trot along behind the spontaneous movement, if we tell the masses only what they want to hear or what they already know.

No, comrades, it is the duty of the Party to lead the working class, to raise the masses to the level of consciousness, for the Party to lead the movement and bring socialist consciousness into it.

We want and need to connect with the masses, but we are not mass worshippers. It is ridiculous to judge a comrade's mass connection by how often he drinks coffee with his neighbors. Mass connection for us means first of all connection to the organized, especially proletarian masses! And the largest organization of the proletarian masses with about 7 million members is the DGB. Therefore, this is also a focus of our work.


To sum up:

Above all in factory and trade union work, our party - overcoming the `leftist` mistakes - has made good progress this year in particular. And we are thinking not only of the building up of the RGO, but also, and not least, of the party's generally already good intervention in the major strike movements of the year, the strike of the printing workers, the dockers, the metalworkers, and the steelworkers' strike currently in full swing. And we do not want to neglect to thank here from the rostrum of this party congress all comrades of the party and RGO for their exemplary commitment.

If we dealt so extensively with factory and trade union work here in the statement of accounts, it is because here, as before, lies the focus of our struggle tasks according to the motto "Every factory our fortress!" because here, as we saw vividly this year, further major class struggles are maturing."

In naming the focal points of the party's work ( pages 86-87), Comrade Ernst Aust pointed out something very significant, which unfortunately later became a bitter truth because it was not heeded:

"Under no circumstances is it permissible, as has been observed recently on many occasions, for the party and the youth organization to no longer appear independently. Under no circumstances is it permissible, in building up the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition, to neglect party work in the workplace, for example the publication of the party newspaper. (...) Under no circumstances must it be concluded from the rejection of the negative concept of the 'propaganda party' that the party may now stop or even limit its own agitation and propaganda. On the contrary, it must do better. Away from the phrase, to the concrete exposure, to the linking to the consciousness of the masses. For what purpose do we create an action program, for what purpose do we reissue the pamphlet 'What does the KPD/ML want'? But to propagate the party, its views and goals, to win people for the party, for its struggle. As before, the party will independently carry out political events on the most diverse topics, it will appear with leaflets, stickers, slogans and slogans as the Communist Party of Germany / Marxist-Leninists."

- the end of this article -



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by Wolfgang Eggers



But did we really follow these important warnings of Comrade Ernst Aust in practice? Who continued to sell the "Roter Morgen" in the 80s, as this was the case in the party's first ten years? The party comrades - overloaded with other practical tasks - no longer had the time for it and so their interest in newspaper sales was lost, and which was no longer controlled, too. That what Lenin taught about the indispenable role of spreading the central organ in the name of party building, this was no longer taken seriously. The study of the central organ became more and more superficial. Most of our comrades looked over quickly what did interest them and then they put the newspaper aside, hardly used it in practical class struggle, but stacked it in the basement. Articles that were of interest to one or another mass organization were copied out, certain contents were carried to the masses, but a central body was no longer needed because the party itself, as a carrier of communism, began to play an ever smaller role for the mass struggle. And vice versa, the pages of the Roter Morgen were filled with reports from the mass organizations, which replaced the general communist propaganda of the party. Internally some comrades critisized the neglect of RM sales, however nothing had changed. On the contrary, in the 1980s, fewer and fewer "Roter Morgen" were sold, circulation declined, the party's propaganda came to a complete standstill, the edition was reduced from weekly to 14 days editions, while other brother parties, such as that of the Danes, published their central organ daily. The "Roter Morgen" finally decayed as a forum for discussing Trotskyism, i.e. as Instrument against Marxism-Leninism, against the Marxist-Leninist party. The course for this Trotskyist liquidation of the most important instrument of party propaganda to win the avant-garde of the proletariat was already set at the fourth party conference when there was a campaign against the "Propaganda" party. Only after having gotten rid of the neo-revisionist Möller-Gang of the ICMLPO (today editor of "Arbeit-Zukunft") did the KPD / ML succeed in restoring the "Roter Morgen" as what it used to be, as a collective propagandist, agitator and organizer of the party.

Ernst Aust had clearly pointed out this danger:
"Under no circumstances must the rejection from the negative concept of the "propaganda party" be concluded that the party must now stop or even restrict its own agitation and propaganda. On the contrary, it has to get better. No more phrase ! Instead: Concrete political exposures, to raise the consciousness of the masses.

Why do we create an action program, why do we reissue the brochure : "What does the KPD / ML want?"? We did all this for propagating the party, its views and goals, to win people for the party, for its struggle. The party will continue to hold independent political events on a wide variety of topics, and will appear with leaflets, stickers and slogans as the Communist Party of Germany / Marxist-Leninists. ” (Page 87 of the report of comrade Ernst Aust).

Unfortunately, this enormously important paragraph, namely the defense of the positive concept of the propaganda party at the end of Comrade Ernst Aust's accountability report, has been completely lost in the broad campaign against the negative term "propaganda party". It should have been the other way round: 100 percent defense of the positive concept of the propaganda party in contrast to the negative concept of the "propaganda party". However, this correct direction has not been pursued. It would have been better to emphasize, to defend this central meaning of the "Roter Morgen" for the party building, but also to use the "Roter Morgen" as a collective propagandist, agitator and organizer for the new orientation of the party for its fight task. However, to this subject there was mention no word in the report to the fourth party congress.


The Marxist-Leninist determination of the

main danger

Finally, we have to draw another important lesson from our party history because of uncertainties that have arisen when determining the main danger, ie whether the respective main danger is a right main danger or a "left" main danger.

The KPD / ML is an anti-revisionist party. It strengthened particularly in the fight against modern revisionism, by uncompromisingly drawing the line of demarcation between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism of all shades ever more sharply. That goes without saying. But because it draws its strength from this struggle, it forces the revisionists to keep moving on the formal ground of Marxism-Leninism. It is therefore quite logical that the revisionists, faced by our barrage of criticism, must resort to the weapon of "left"-wing sectarianism, that is, try to continue their revisionism under the guise of "leftist" anti-revisionism.In the past, we regarded with the flexibility of tactics of the agencies of the bourgeoisie too superficially. So far we have spoken of the agency of the bourgeoisie in the communist and workers 'movement in general, but we have mostly never consciously considered that the bourgeoisie uses its agency tactics differently in the workers' movement and in the Communist Party. The bourgeoisie analyzes precisely which kind of tactic fits best according to the current changing in the development of our party.
The higher the adaptability of the bourgeoisie to intrude into our party, all the greater the opportunity for the bourgeoisie to adapt the party to deviationg positions, and with this, to pave the way to the revisionist degeneration of our party.The main danger in the workers' movement and the main danger in the party are connected dialectically, but they are not identical. One must not equate the two and also not put them against each other or separate them. Ignoring this difference poses a new threat to the party. The agency of the bourgeoisie works in the labor movement essentially no differently than in our party and in the communist movement, but not necessarily in the same form and tactics. It may well be that, for tactical reasons, it uses simultaneously reformism and revisionism as the main weapon in the workers' movement and "left" opportunism, sectarianism, dogmatism in the party and in the communist movement. It can use the same opportunism as its main weapon in one movement as well as the other, making the main danger the same. At the time before the 4th party congress it was really the case that the revisionists had no choice but to hide behind the "left"-wing sectarianism, because otherwise they would be immediately recognized, exposed and blown out with their open revisionism. With "left"-wing sectarianism, they could do much more harm to the party than with right-wing opportunism. However, because of this they did not give up the ideological weapon of right-wing opportunism, because with its help the revisionists appeared as masked "leftists" much more credibly, thereby infecting us more easily.
"Left"-wing sectarianism (and vice versa, right-wing opportunism) becomes much more dangerous if the right and “left” opportunists can pass the balls to each other. It is also known from our party history that "left" opportunists later turned into right-wing opportunists, thus they remained the same persons.
With the help of right-wing opportunism, the "left" opportunism increases its effectiveness in the Marxist-Leninist party (logically, the same applies in reverse!). So if the "left" sectarians appeared in the party, this was just limited to the party. In the labor movement, on the other hand, was not only at the time of the 4th party congress, but has remained unchanged from the founding of the party to the present day and the reformist and less the revisionist consciousness has always prevailed without interruption. It can not be otherwise, because we have not seen a revolutionary situation in Germany for decades, where the agitated, politicized consciousness of the masses could become susceptible to the "left" sectarianism and thus as a weapon of the bourgeoisie for strangling the socialist revolution , to strangle the dictatorship of the proletariat, to discredit the communist party. So in order to be able to actually combat the main danger of reformism and revisionism in the labor movement, it was absolutely necessary to remove the deviations of the "left" sectarianism in the party, this hurdle had to be removed at the moment when the party entered the labor movement started going in. So we not only have to wage a two-front war in the party, but also in the labor movement, which is tactically not automatically the same, but can take different, even opposite, forms.

Throughout the history of the Federal Republic we are dealing with a bourgeois workers' movement and not with a communist workers' movement, i.e. with a workers' movement in which - to put it like Stalin - social democratic, reformist, revisionist (bourgeois) consciousness prevails. Anti-communism prevails today among the majority of the workers (a completely different situation than in Lenin's time in Russia).
So if the party carries the communist consciousness into the masses, then not only our propaganda must be methodically correct, but also prepared for coping with prevailing anti-communist prejudices among the workers.
We must convince the workers that the bourgeois influence in their brain does completely contradict with their real life, with their objective class position in the capitalist society, with the contradiction between exploited and exploitors. The proletarian class consciousness must be derived from the daily life of the exploited workers. The own daily experiences of the workers are starting point and katalysator of our communist propaganda.
Only the class conscious workers do already know why their study of communist science is indispensable. For the majority of the workers, however, we must awaken its interest by means of detours. Some comrades are fooled into entering the minefield of lowest niveau of consciousness of some workers and run danger to interiorize it. We must start from the given low-level consciousness of the workers and rise it up to a higher level. To be not misunderstood, we do not create but (re-)awaken class consciousness of the workers. Class consciousness of the workers does exist independently from our communist propaganda. The problem is that it is overlaid and blocked out by bourgeois indoctrination. Thus, communist propaganda can only be effective with the method of removing the anti-communist indoctrination of the workers.

The bourgeoisie and its neo-revisionist lackeys fight against the lessons of the 5 Classics of Marxism-Leninism and call it "brainwashing". Who does brainwash ? The bourgeoisie ! Brainwashing has class character. The definition of brainwashing is the indoctrination of the consciousness of the one classes through the consiousness of other classes. The exploited working class is brainwashed by the exploiting bourgeois class for the purpose to maintain the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression. In the capitalist society the bourgeois consciousness rules over the consciousness of the proletariat, thus the proletarian class consciousness is heteronomous, is class-foreign consciousness, is brainwashed consciousness. In contrast, the communist consciousness is is the own consciousness of the proletarian class. The communist consciousness is thus not brainwashed consciousness but only the consciousness of the proletariat which frees itself from the brainwashing of the bourgeoisie.

"To the masses!" means to link to the given consciousness of the workers as a starting point , but by doing this, we must not forget to carry our communist consciousness into the labour movement. The reformist and revisionist labor movement must not infect the party and its comrades. From the reformist labour movement comes main danger of right-opportunism. into the party. This rightist danger of infection grows unavoidably with the degree with which we intensify our work among the masses. This is a problem to be recognized, that we must be aware of if we want to win and forge the proletariat's avant-garde. The problem does not solve itself by the slogan: "Into the masses!" That can lead to right (but of course also to "left") mistakes, if one is not careful enough or underestimates this problem. We must be aware about the danger of the penetration of the prevailing bourgeois consciousness of the labor movement into the party, one must cope with it, one must face it. On the one hand we must not trail behind the movement. On the other hand we must not rush ahead too hastely in this or that sectarian way. Comrade Ernst addressed this in his political report to the 5th party congress (page 38):

"Some worker say to us:

'Capitalism may have its quirks, but that's why I have my organization, the union. Socialism? I believe that you mean it honestly, and I think it's good if you work for my interests in the company. That's why I choose you as a works council. But your party? No need.'

That's what we've been hearing for years, practically as long as our party exists. ”

And on page 30 the report says:
"What about the striving of the working class for socialism, its fighting strength, its class consciousness? All questions that I think we paid too little attention to at the last party conference. Sure, we were glad that we had overcome the worst excesses of ultra-left sectarianism, the disregard for democratic centralism in the party. However, the congress mainly dealt with intra-party issues. No assessment of the class consciousness of the working class, the state of the labor movement, what the masses feel and think, but all the more questions of party development, ideology. "

However, Ernst had already correctly pointed out at the fourth party congress:
" It is right that we have to analyze the real, the actual labor movement. We must have no illusions about the status, the degree of class struggle. We have to build on the consciousness of the masses when we say something to them, explain them, want to get them to act. But it is wrong if we trot behind the spontaneous movement, if we only tell the masses what they want to hear or what they have long known. "

The political report to the 5th party congress then goes on to say:
" The class consciousness of the worker is not a constant variable, it is measured by the status of class struggles. The class consciousness of the workers, that is, the realization that the only way to improve their situation and to liberate them is to fight the class of the capitalists, that they act as a class of their own and in solidarity, that they have to gain influence over the state affairs, the workers do not impose themselves. In order for the working class to rise to a high level of class consciousness, it is necessary that it adopt the worldview that shows it the way to its ultimate liberation, scientific socialism, Marxism-Leninism. However, in order for this to take hold of the masses of workers, it must be brought into the labor movement from outside, that is, from an area outside of the economic struggle, outside the sphere of relations between workers and entrepreneurs. This task is solved by the Communist Party, which, according to Lenin, is the unification of the idea of ​​socialism with the mass movement of workers ”
(page 35).

Ernst Aust lists historical factors of bourgeois influences that have changed the class consciousness of West German workers since the 1930s. He then reported on page 36/37:

(...) The development of the working class from a“ class in itself ”to a“ class for itself ”, as Marx called it, is not an automatic, but a historical process in which there may be progress but also setbacks. There is a long way to go before a wage-worker consciousness, the basis of the trade union organization, and socialist class consciousness, the basis of socialist, communist political groups, develop. ”

If we compare Ernst's statement with his statements at the Fourth Party Congress, we can see that he was able to assess the development of the class consciousness of the workers much more realistically compared to the development of the class struggles in West Germany. One must therefore take into account the objective conditions that are prerequisites for the subjective conditions. Bourgeois influence on the working class has not become less, it has increased. However, since the living conditions of the working class have drastically deteriorated since the Fourth and Fifth Party Congress, the working class is becoming aware of the prevailing bourgeois influences all the more quickly and thoroughly, which means that they are increasingly in contradiction. And this is exactly where we have to use the lever of our propaganda, we have to deepen these contradictions with the political revelations and thus clear the way for the time being so that the (initially only the progressive) worker is ready to take up communist class consciousness. We have to learn that. Under today's conditions, a (mass-effective) spread of communism in the masses is not yet possible, even if we ourselves had the subjective party prerequisites for it (and would distribute millions of leaflets or work in 100 of companies, because that alone is not sufficient ), precisely because the process of developing communist consciousness is a historical, lengthy process - a long way - depending on the objective development of class struggles, not least on our class opponents, who are constantly intensifying their anti-communist propaganda. You cannot counteract this one-sidedly with decisions and directives, nor with 180 degree changes at a next party congress, with changing course, headstand or with the magic box, but only with iron discipline, perseverance, with unrelenting revolutionary efforts, with firm will and confidence, with the conviction of the correctness of our communist thinking and acting, with our good example, with our unconditional support of the struggles of the workers to improve their living conditions, regardless of the level of development of the working class.

In order for the party to steer its communist propaganda in the desired, uniformly closed direction, to extend it to the whole class and to the whole masses, it has to act differently in its build-up phase towards the most progressive workers on the one hand and to the working class and the masses on the other hand. Class consciousness within the labor movement is developed very differently. Therefore, in addition to our party program, the action program. You can't run into empty propaganda, go around with the watering can wherever there are actions and wait for something to sprout out somewhere. One has to differentiate party work in the labor movement in a targeted manner and, accordingly, to act differently in accordance with the different and contradicting developments in it. The consciousness in the labor movement is not the same, but infinitely multifaceted. You have to immerse yourself in the labor movement to understand the masses and you have to draw scientific conclusions from it to get the best result with the best differentiation. First of all, we have to concentrate on the essentials, the recruitment of the most progressive workers. These are the workers who are most in conflict with the bourgeois labor movement, with the bourgeois state, with bourgeois society, who are most advanced in their class consciousness, who are the most consistent fighters. We have to build them up solidly, educate them gently to communism and neither burn them in mass struggle nor in party work. Gaining the avant-garde of the proletariat is, as I said, a patient, lengthy process for which we have to take the time to focus. Everything else has to wait. You cannot get bogged down and conjure up about 10 mass organizations out of the hat if you have won 5 proletarians for the party. Only with the trained, most progressive workers won for communism do we create the conditions step by step and again step by step to be able to approach the masses more intensively. We have to take the crowbar out of our heads and learn to do patient, tough and sober party work.

That what we sow today cannot be harvest on the same day. Everything takes time - including the maturing of the proletariat's revolutionary class consciousness through our tireless party work on the one hand and through the increase of class struggle on the other hand.
We lost most of the comrades because of two reasons: no patience, no staying power. One can acquire these most valuable characteristics only in decades of permanent party work.

If the colleagues of a company elect comrades because they do good works council work (this is a FIRST step and just a step, if an important one, in order to instill confidence in communism), it does not mean that they choose him because he fights for communism. The communist works council work is just beginning, but it doesn't stop there! It's the same on a small scale as it is on a large scale. If the masses follow the party because they stand up for their daily demands, if they fight the ruling class, it does not mean that they are ready to follow the party to revolution, to communism. This is a FIRST step and just a step to gain the masses' trust in communism. The communist work of a communist party is just beginning, but it doesn't stop there! And in the first phase of party building it is precisely the task of the party to bring the most progressive forces of the working class, the most progressive forces in society as a whole, to the positions of communism, so communist propaganda comes first. You can lead the masses as much as you want, but not yet for the struggle for communism. First, the party must win the proletariat's avant-garde for communism. And only when this prerequisite is actually fulfilled (if possible more than) does the party step by step into the second phase of its party building, not before. How long the transition from one phase to the other takes depends on many factors, prerequisites and conditions, which can take considerable time in a non-revolutionary phase of the class struggle, but can take place more quickly in an approaching revolutionary situation. In any case, as you can see after 30 years, we were not at the moment facing a revolutionary situation, where the decision might have been justified. If we have understood from our own experience that it is wrong to take hasty decisions, we should of course not make the opposite mistake and delay the second party building phase unnecessarily if the conditions for this have long been met.

Let's continue with the report of comrade Ernst Aust to the 3rd Party Congress (1976/77):

“The party's propaganda activity is very high, according to its membership, if you compare it with before, before 1956. While it used to be the rule that the central organ's mandate corresponded approximately to the number of members, today it is a multiple. ”(Page 82).

It is not only about the collective agitator, propagandist and organizer of the party members (avant-garde of the proletariat), but also about the collective agitator, propagandist and organizer of the masses. In between there are worlds, in between is the first and second party building phase. The condition of the central organ has to be compared with the conditions of the Bolsheviks. Lenin taught the new Bolshevik parties to overcome the teething problems of communism. That was the reason why he set up this theorem. What does the KPD / ML do with it? It uses it the other way round, namely that this tenet underpins that the party no longer needs to heed it because it has allegedly already won the avant-garde of the proletariat. This is a grave mistake that runs through the entire later history of the party. History has shown that Lenin was right when the KPD / ML party congress decisions were wrong, which unfortunately also had an impact on party history. When it came to winning the avant-garde of the proletariat in Russia, the central organ of the Bolsheviks was already a mass organ, something that can never be said seriously about the Red Morning in its entire history. the "Roter Morgen" was known to only a small minority of the German working class. Anything else would be purpose optimism - far from reality, expression of the party's self-esteem, a "left" mistake, a party's teething problem.

Ernst was right when he criticized the fact that the party was not wasting all its strength in the struggles with certain "leftist" petty-bourgeois circle groups, instead of using it much more sensibly for work among the masses. If one considers these circle groups as agencies of the bourgeoisie in the Marxist-Leninist movement - and it is difficult to look at them otherwise - the tactic of the bourgeoisie consists in firstly, by ideologically small wars, to keep the Communist Party from its revolutionary tasks towards the working class and secondly, to cause confusion among the masses, to create confusion among the progressive forces of the working class, and to make their way to the party more difficult. Conversely, our party must not make another sectarian mistake and speak of “95 percent undocumented workers”. It is certainly true that the petty-bourgeois circle groups' influence on the labor movement was very small at the time, but that does not mean that the civil influence in the labor movement was small at all. We are not even talking about the reformist and revisionist influence here, but also have to include all other bourgeois influences such as the church and the parties from the liberals to the conservative reactionaries to the semi-fascist and fascist parties and their mass organizations etc. etc. All in all, one can assume that all bourgeois forces, taken together, rule the labor movement - together shaped by anti-communism. The doctrination of the vast majority of the working class was an anti-communist doctrine, and not only has it remained so today, but anti-communism has penetrated the masses much more deeply than it did at the time of the 3rd Party Congress prevailed. At the time of the 3rd Party Congress not even 1% of so-called "undocumented workers". Our mistake was that we idealized the working class, that we overestimated the real consciousness of the working class, regarded it as "undocumented", just as we overestimated our own powers. The idea had come to declare the phase of party building, hat of forming the vanguard of the proletariat, would be be over. Can you drop the basic form of communist propaganda work (first phase) and move on to the mass struggle (second phase)? As I said, this completely ignores the real consciousness of the masses at that time, in which bourgeois ideology prevailed! The greatest weakness of the party was not to overcome both the idealization of our proletarian worldview and the idealization of our revolutionary practice as necessary. At that time we had underestimated the forces of the bourgeoisie, their influence in the labor movement and overestimated the revolutionary forces of the working class, the consciousness of the working class and the influence of the party in the labor movement. With the Bolsheviks, for example, the unions only emerged after the party, the communist influence on the labor movement far outweighed the bourgeois influence, yes, the labor movement was mainly developed by the Bolsheviks, one could actually speak of a predominant communist labor movement. With us in the Federal Republic, it was and is exactly the opposite. Here the bourgeois influence on the labor movement has been predominant for over 150 years, with correspondingly deep roots of anti-communism. The Bolsheviks created the communist workers 'movement under completely different conditions, while we Communists here in the West we have to take account of a fight against strong battalions of capitalism within the workers' movement. Under such conditions, assuming the completion of the first phase of party building was smooth suicide and we comrades have suffered from the consequences of this far-reaching mistake in the party's self-assessment. We have decades of disillusionment and yet we have not let our revolutionary spirit be taken away. Today, we only handle our forecasts with more caution, more realism, do not allow ourselves to be discouraged by misjudgments, do not have to let ourselves be driven by artificial "Forward!" Slogans, hold on to our beliefs and continue to do our job persuasively, whether now the times are better or worse, whether we are stronger or weaker, whether we have little or many resources at our disposal, whether the class opponent is stronger or weaker etc. etc. etc. We continue our persuasive work among the masses in the modest scale, do what needs to be done in a disciplined manner and without batting an eyelid.

This revolutionary, mature stance of not only going through difficult times for a longer period, not just getting through them, but mastering them is what distinguishes us now and that is an advantage over the past, it is a further development in the fight against setbacks and resignation. We have become more mature and solid, the anti-communist wind blowing against us is not blowing us, we have withstood the pressure of the bourgeoisie for a while. In the meantime, our party is the only party in German history that has held on to communism, to the revolution without interruption, from the very beginning of its foundation over so many decades, without wavering, without degenerating. And even on a world scale, the KPD / ML with its longstanding existence does not have to hide behind other parties. In ideological terms, we have contributed some things on a world scale to the further development of Marxism-Leninism. There is nothing better than the KPD / ML and we are proud of that. We know that these difficult times will be overcome at some point, that the wave of the labor movement will bring us up again, that we now use the time to do our schoolwork, to think about our mistakes at the time, to uncover their causes and to analyze, draw the right conclusions for the future, improve our ideological qualities, allow ourselves the time necessary to carefully select and train new party members, gather our forces, and effortlessly concentrate them in the class struggle, if the Time has come. And this time will definitely come, there is no doubt about that. We only have to be careful not to arbitrarily determine this point in time according to our own ideas. Just as we made the mistake at the time to overestimate the actual revolutionary development of the labor movement like our party, we must of course not make the mistake in future of underestimating the revolutionary development of the labor movement and our party, and about our timing for the fighting Recognizing late, “oversleeping” the time and getting into late-night politics, that means lagging behind the revolutionary movement.


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Selected Works of

comrade Ernst Aust

in foreign languages


in German language




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From a talk with Ernst Aust

- Chairman of the

Communist Party of Germany (M-L)

November 30, 1979


The strikes, demonstrations and demands of the European proletarians, which are taking place at the moments of the great crisis through which imperialism and world capitalism are passing, will more and more assume a political character.

As you know, the economic strikes and demonstrations which are taking place at present in the countries of the European Common Market frequently end peacefully, in agreements between trade-union bosses or the worker aristocracy and the employers.

We think that work must be done to change this sterile struggle, this modus vivendi. We consider this struggle harmful to the proletariat and favourable, undisturbing, and to some degree surmountable for capitalism, because the results of it are temporary and do not harm capitalism much financially, because the concessions it makes as a result of the demands and the struggle of the proletariat are just crumbs from the enormous surplus value which it extracts from the exploitation of the working class and the mechanization of production.

The contradictions between proletarians and capitalists, between the rank-and-file unionists and the worker aristocracy, the union bosses, are becoming more profound and we must strive to make them more and more so. We think that capital and the worker aristocracy are bound together in a knot which must be severed like the Gordian knot. This knot consists of the laws which are nothing but the chains with which the proletariat has been bound to prevent it deviating from the course advantageous to capital. Therefore, the question which presents itself is to study the enslaving character of these laws which constitute the wall with which the present struggle of the proletariat is colliding, and in this direction you have many possibilities to study the situation to find and attack the weak points, to breach this wall and then to launch a frontal attack on the breach in order, eventually, to bring down the whole wall.

Of course, this is not easy. If systematic actions are not undertaken in this direction, and especially, when a great deal of explanatory work is not done with the army of proletarians, then successes cannot be achieved. Hence, the conditions demand that we should work inside the existing unions, but should also work to establish our own unions, which we must defend and use as a political weapon against capital and the union bosses to defend those economic rights which the working class has won through struggle, but we must also struggle for the true rights of the workers, that is, for their political rights.

The alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry, the progressive intellectuals, the unemployed of various strata, and the proletarian-worker emigrants who work in each separate capitalist country, is essential. Without this alliance, in this situation our struggle will remain restricted. In Germany there are many such forces, indeed, there are Albanians who have come mainly from Kosova, who, amongst other problems, have the problem of unemployment.

In order to achieve such an alliance, first of all, there must be struggle for unity of action of the proletariat, which is not achieved all that easily, because of the obstacles which the parties of the bourgeoisie, such as the social-democrats and the Christian-democrats and the demagogy of renegades from Marxism-Leninism, the modern revisionists, raise and the traditions which they have implanted. Unity is strong when it is established from below, from the base, proceeding from the real problems and needs of the workers, from the needs of the rank-and-file unionists, and in this way, according to the problems and circumstances, forms of organization for unity of action are created and the split with their reactionary union bosses becomes obvious.

The pronounced political content of the demands in strikes and demonstrations in which the new revolutionary leaders will emerge, will strengthen this unity. In the course of this struggle new forms of organization and leadership will emerge too.

Unity, this is the key problem of our Marxist-Leninist parties, the motto of which has always been and still is: «Workers of all countries unite!» This is achieved when attention is paid also to the slogan: «Workers of one country unite!»

This unity implies ceaseless struggle against those who combat it, hence, against the local capitalists and capitalist superstructure, implies struggle against the organization and ideology of political parties of the bourgeoisie and against capitalist exploitation.

Our struggle, then, is a great and extensive one. It is not easy, on the contrary, it is difficult. Naturally, this all-sided struggle does not discourage us or make us pessimistic, but gives us courage. Nevertheless, it cannot be coped with by the forces of the Marxist-Leninist party alone which, while standing firm on principles, must not be sectarian or opportunist either in thought or in action, otherwise it will withdraw into its own shell or become a revisionist party.

Therefore, our Party thinks that the problem of the unity of the working class and the forming of alliances on sound foundations with other strata and forces for specific issues, for minimum programs, in order to go over eventually to alliances of a broader character and more far-reaching programs, are decisive problems.

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Website of the



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Website of the RILU 


Red International of the Labour Unions

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Declaration of Reconstruction


effective date: 1st of May, 2003


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on the question of trade unions

- Comintern (SH) -


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Documents of the KPD/ML

Factories and Trade Unions


Documents of the RGO

of the 70'ies and 80'ies

Factories and Trade Unions


The 5 Classics of Marxism-Leninism