About the

Third

Party Congress of the CP Ger/ML

 

EXCERPTS

CONCERNING

THE PRINCIPLES OF

BOLSHEVIK PROPAGANDA AND PARTY BUILDING

 

Subsequent self-critical comment to our

3rd Party Congress

(from New year 1976/1977)

written by Wolfgang Eggers
Chairman of the KPD / ML
( on April 20, 2007)



Again

about the premature decision

of ending the first building phase of our party.

 

Not only the fourth party congress, but already the third Party Congress noted:
(Quotation from the report of our comrade Ernst Aust to the 3rd Party Congress):

"With this party congress the most important period of the first stage of our party building comes to an end. Stalin formulated this stage as follows:
"To win the vanguard of the proletariat for communism (i.e. to form cadres, create a communist party, develop the program and the basics of tactics). Propaganda as a basic form of work."
Our party has fulfilled these essential tasks."

(Ernst Aust)

This decision was based on a serious misjudgment.

Lenin taught us in his book "Left-Wing Communism, an infantile disorder":

„As long as it was (and inasmuch as it still is) a question of winning the proletariat's vanguard over to the side of communism, priority went and still goes to propaganda work." (Lenin, Volume 31, pages 93-94)

This quotation by Lenin was not finished by Ernst Aust because he followed the false assumption that the avant-garde of the proletariat allegedly would have "already been won over to communism".

Either one uses this quotation to justify that propaganda is no longer the top priority, or to remain faithful to Lenin's combat task by continuation of propaganda in priority , namely as long as the next stage of party building has not matured. But what is the next stage of party building ?

Completing the Lenin quote would have helped to avoid our party's mistake. Aborting the quote in the middle helped to justify the mistake of ending the first phase of party building. (...)

So let us complete Lenin's quotation which comrade Ernst Aust had used incompletely in his report to the Third Party Congress:

"But when it is a question of practical action by the masses, of the disposition, if one may so put it, of vast armies, of the alignment of all the class forces in a given society for the final and decisive battle, the propaganda methods alone, the mere repetition of the truths of 'pure' communism, are of no avail." (Lenin, Volume 31, page 94, Left-Wing Communism, an infantile disorder" )

This quotation is of decisive importance.

The second phase of party building is defined by both Lenin and Stalin as the phase for leading all class forces to “ final and decisive battle”.
In time of our 3rd Party Congress [1976-77], the Party (and even less all class forces) was not yet matured for the “ final and decisive battle”. This fact cannot be denied.


And to emphasize the question of guiding the masses to the revolution in the second phase of party building even more clearly, I would like to let Lenin talk about the further conditions required - in continuation and completion of Lenin's quotation:

"In these circumstances, one must not count in thousands, like the propagandist belonging to a small group that has not yet given leadership to the masses; in these circumstances one must count in millions and tens of millions. In these circumstances, we must ask ourselves, not only whether we have convinced the vanguard of the revolutionary class, but also whether the historically effective forces of all classes—positively of all the classes in a given society, without exception—are arrayed in such a way that the decisive battle is at hand—in such a way that:

(1) all the class forces hostile to us have become sufficiently entangled, are sufficiently at loggerheads with each other, have sufficiently weakened themselves in a struggle which is beyond their strength;

(2) all the vacillating and unstable, intermediate elements—the petty bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeois democrats, as distinct from the bourgeoisie—have sufficiently exposed themselves in the eyes of the people, have sufficiently disgraced themselves through their practical bankruptcy, and

(3) among the proletariat, a mass sentiment favouring the most determined, bold and dedicated revolutionary action against the bourgeoisie has emerged and begun to grow vigorously. Then revolution is indeed ripe; then, indeed, if we have correctly gauged all the conditions indicated and summarised above, and if we have chosen the right moment, our victory is assured." (Lenin, Volume 31, page 94,Left-Wing Communism, an infantile disorder" )

Let's summarize:
Lenin has shown the connection between

1) Forming the avant-garde of the proletariat in priority by propaganda = pre-revolutionary period = first phase of party building
and
2) the second phase of party building = the party as a fully equipped combat staff, which has fulfilled all the pre-conditions specified by Lenin for leading the decisive battles of the masses of millions in the revolutionary situation, up to the seizure of power of the working class.

It depends not only on the willingness of the party to want to lead the masses, but also vice versa, whether the masses are willing to let the party lead them in the last and decisive battle.

"The Party cannot lead the class if it is not connected with the non-Party masses, if there is no bond between the Party and the non-Party masses, if these masses do not accept its leadership, if the Party enjoys no moral and political credit among the masses". (J. V. Stalin, THE FOUNDATIONS OF LENINISM, chapter 7, on the party)

And also the Stalin quotation on the first stage of party building is presented incompletely in the report to the 3rd Party Congress of the KPD/ML. Whereas, the completion of the Stalin quotation could have helped our party to avoid the mistake of ending the first phase of the party building premature .

Stalin formulated the following prerequisites for the second phase of party building, which must first have been created, but which did yet not at all exist at the time of the 3rd party congress:

"Where is the central organization which is not only able, because it has the necessary experience, to work out such a general line, but, in addition, is in a position, because it has sufficient prestige, to induce all these organizations to carry out this line, so as to attain unity of leadership and to make hitches impossible?

    That organization is the Party of the proletariat.

    The Party possesses all the necessary qualifications for this because, in the first place, it is the rallying centre of the finest elements in the working class, who have direct connections with the non-Party organizations of the proletariat and very frequently lead them; because, secondly, the Party, as the rallying centre of the finest members of the working class, is the best school for training leaders of the working class, capable of directing every form of organization of their class; because, thirdly, the Party, as the best school for training leaders of the working class, is, by reason of its experience and prestige, the only organization capable of centralizing the leadership of the struggle of the proletariat, thus transforming each and every non-Party organization of the working class into an auxiliary body and transmission belt linking the Party with the class." (J. V. Stalin, THE FOUNDATIONS OF LENINISM, chapter 7, on the party)

What is the "forming of the avant-garde of the proletariat" in the first stage of party building? It is primarily about what we Communists want to win the proletariat's avant-garde for? It is not a question of whether we have won the avant-garde to stand at the top for this or that demand of the masses and to develop the mass struggle for it, but to win the vanguard of the proletariat for communism (see Lenin: Left-Wing Communism, an infantile disorder")

The second phase of the party building is not about this or that demand, with which millions of people can already be mobilized, but solely about leading the millions to revolution, the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the conquest of the political power of the working class with the aim of communism ! That is what Lenin teaches here. Everything that is not yet sufficient must first mature in the first phase of party building, and as long as it is about winning the avant-garde of the proletariat, it is about communist propaganda in the first place. And that's what Lenin teaches here. We have to take these two principles to heart, we have to be disciplined about them, we have to keep these fundamentally different things apart, we can't lump them together, we can't make hasty decisions about conditions that do not yet exist, and which are not yet objectively maturated.

The lesson from the party history of the KPD / ML, especially from the resolutions of 3rd and 4th Party Congress reads:

In a non-revolutionary situation, the KPD / ML can never declare the first phase of party building to be over. Without a revolutionary situation, the KPD / ML cannot go on to the second phase of party building. Instead of correcting this wrong decision of the 3rd party congress, the 4th party congress did not only confirm it, but even further continued to implement this wrong decision, which led straight into the arms of the Trotskyist "Koch"-leadership.

The fact that the party began to carry out its vanguard actions was not a mistake, but a necessary and correct step in order to come closer to positions of the mass actions and to gain its own action experience. The mistake was much more that it stopped before the party matured as a vanguard of the working class. Instead of completing the first phase of party building (the party had been busy for a few years trying to overcome founding-opportunism, the circle group system, work out its Bolshevik line, set up the program, etc., etc.), instead of consolidating the first stage of the party building, the KPD/ML began hastily to impose itself the burden of the second phase of party building and had to suffer shipwreck, because of course it had overextended itself with this task. Overestimation of the party forces and overestimation of the forces of the labor movement, as well as underestimation of the forces of revisionism and the forces of the class opponents, these were the reasons for the wrong decisions of the 3rd and 4th party congress, namely the ending of the first stage of party building.

Our actions were militarily disciplined, prepared and precisely carried out even almost in commando-style. All party levels were involved in this, from the central committee to the individual cell member to the sympathizer. The party not only tried it out in practical combat, not only did it develop new methods of fighting, it also showed the party an unbelievable unity and strength, and consolidated itself internally - actions from a single source, a party like a man. The party, which was initially a self-sufficient force within itself, has now become a self-sufficient force on the street. The KPD / ML gained respect especially through its militant actions and, last but not least. The KPD / ML formed a self-contained fighting group of the working class. This force, which the party developed in the process, could not be overlooked optically by the party flags carried along, not even for the bourgeois media, which began to spill out their public rubbish bins on their front pages above us "chaots". We could not have achieved better propaganda than through the media of the bourgeoisie.This propaganda could not be topped even not by millions of our own party leaflets. That helped us a lot to draw attention to the party. The level of awareness of the KPD / ML was greatest at the time of the 3rd party congress, and this has not been achieved to this day. All of this shows that this was the right way for the party to push ahead with its construction by means of active class struggle. However, he was neither properly recognized and promoted by the 3rd or 4th party congress, but even banished to the left-wing sectarian corner. The opponent of the class was not only impressed, but was astonished and reacted accordingly in a panic. At no point in its history has the KPD / ML experienced its own strength on the one hand and the weakness of the bourgeoisie on the other more consciously and clearly than in these party actions - eye for eye - tooth for tooth !! The party learned in its actions at Karlstor in Munich, Dortmund and Brokdorf, to name just a few, how important it is to involve the masses step by step in our actions, to inspire them, to let them participate in our actions. Even most of the leftist groups and parties followed in our action's footsteps . We were literally at the forefront of the struggle and all other organizations, non-party activists followed us, the KPD / ML. What stood in our way was pushed aside and marginalized. We did not fear the violence of the bourgeoisie. Not the KPD / ML was beaten by the police but, vice versa, the police was beaten by the KPD/ML. If we stormed forward, we carried everyone else along with us. Here the party should have continued, expanded and deepened its combat actions. That was the right way to become a real fighting party. The bourgeoisie reacted accordingly and increased the pressure on the party and, of course, also sent more and more subversive forces into the party. This had not been without consequences. The party lost its militant spirit gradually, not only in terms of propaganda, agitation and organization, but what was most dangerous also in terms of fighting against opportunist influence within the own ranks. However, this remained hidden behind the success stories of the creation of the party's new mass organizations, especially the RGO and finally the party's factory and trade union work.
Later, when the Trotskyites took possession of the party, the actions of the party looked very sad, no more revolutionary momentum, no central guidance, routine demonstrations - without revolutionary moodand enthusiasm, undisciplined and poorly prepared and catastrophically organized - pure listless exercises - a deep disappointment for us "elder" members. My heart ached to watch this catastrophic development. The party was unrecognizable. There was less and less advance. At first I thought that the worm was only in our powerless actions on the street. Only later did I realize that the faltering presence on the street was due to the ideological decay of the party, not just the ideological decay of the liberalistic leadership, but weariness and waning of party discipline had crept gradually into the Party base. What had become of our proud fighting party? A lame bunch - a total tragedy - a shame for us who had built up the party under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust! And the bad thing about it - we had done too little about it, we even tolerated it to a certain extent, to the point of unbearableness when we boiled over and digged up our old hatches against anewed liquidatorism. We, the old party members, had the hatchet firmly in hand but as a minority in the party.

We had to experience painfully that the struggle against liquidationism will never stop. As soon as the one liquidators where defeated the next liquidators crept out of their rat holes. We had to pay dearly because we weighed ourself in safety after every victorious battle against liquidationism. Never bury the hatchet against the liquidators!

True the slogan: "The party is stronger than all liquidators!" - but true is also that this has to be proved again and again in every following battle. It is so hard to build up the party. But it is much harder to rebuild the liquidated party. We had to master both of it.

* * *

Only the revolutionary party of the world proletariat can serve as this General Staff. The world proletariat without a revolutionary world party is a world army without a General Staff.

Stalin's writings: "The Party Before and After Taking Power" (1921),and "On the foundations of Leninism" (1924) help us in how the Leninist party of a new type has to be built up in its different stages of development.

Stalin begins neither with the party in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat nor with the party in the revolutionary situation, but with the party in the non-revolutionary, in the pre-revolutionary period.

And this is precisely the period in which our party was at the time of its third party congress, "in the period of more or less peaceful development" (Stalin, Volume 6, page 149). [ Forming the Party as the advanced detachment of the working class by recruiting into the Party its best elements. In this period is the party not yet able to lead mass movements ]

During this time, when the party first developed as a vanguard, it could not yet be the organized troop of the working class, the highest form of class organization of the proletariat, and much less an instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat, because the conditions for this were not at all matured, and by the way, conditions which arise quite independently from the party building.

The class struggle does not follow the conditions of party building but vice versa, the party building follows the conditions of class struggle. Of course, the party has been the party of the dictatorship of the proletariat right from the start of its founding, intervening in the class struggles with actions, propagating the dictatorship of the proletariat among the masses, presenting itself as a party of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but that does not mean that as a party just founded, it can establish the dictatorship of the proletariat the very next day. That does not depend on the degree of the party's own strength, which the party has already reached at the given moment, but on many other factors that determine when the dictatorship of the proletariat can be conquered and when not, when the one phase of party building ends and when the next one begins. It's actually easy to understand.

The party develops all of its peculiarities, as outlined by Stalin, only in the course of the class struggle, in the various periods of the class struggle, before and after the seizure of power by the working class. The party building phases do not "create" the periods of the class struggle, but vice versa, in the different periods of the class struggle the party develops its stages of party building.

The party must be structured in such a way that it can actually perform all its combat tasks optimally under every given conditions namely independently from its own stage of development.

A party that wants to develop into the lead group of the working class must be constructed very differently than a party that leads the proletariat to the socialist revolution. If the party is initially a self-sufficient force, its further party building depends largely on the development of the working class, on the working masses, they determine the development of the party and no longer the party on its own, not independently of the masses , as in the founding phase. One cannot "transform" the laws of party building with party congress resolutions, neither "revolutionary" nor "radical". They cannot be repealed or replaced by other laws. One can better apply the laws of party building to avoid mistakes, to promote party building better, but one can neither transform nor abolish them nor skip them.

First of all, the spontaneous labor movement itself is more of a "background" in the founding period of the party, because the party first works out scientific socialism, which it then carries to the masses, independently and in spite of the spontaneous labor movement. Without revolutionary theory there is neither a revolutionary movement nor a revolutionary party. The party is only so far revolutionary in practice as its revolutionary theory by which it is guided.

It is not violating the dialectics of party building when the participation in class struggle is imperative for every Bolshevik party starting from the moment of founding, independently how far it has already developed scientific communism (programm, general line, creating a strategic plan etc.).

Stalin wrote:

"Whoever wants to be a member of our Party cannot rest content with merely accepting our Party’s programmatic, tactical and organisational views, but must set about applying these views, putting them into effect." ("THE PROLETARIAN CLASS AND THE PROLETARIAN PARTY")

Before you can raise the masses to the level of the party, the party must first create its own level. The party cannot really be the working class party if, like Stalin, it teaches:

"The Party must be, first of all, the advanced detachment of the working class. The Party must absorb all the best elements of the working class, their experience, their revolutionary spirit, their selfless devotion to the cause of the proletariat. But in order that it may really be the armed detachment, the Party must be armed with revolutionary theory, with a knowledge of the laws of the movement, with a knowledge of the laws of revolution. Without this it will be incapable of directing the struggle of the proletariat, of leading the proletariat. The Party cannot be a real party if it limits itself to registering what the masses of the working class feel and think, if it drags at the tail of the spontaneous movement, if it is unable to overcome the inertia and the political indifference of the spontaneous movement, if it is unable to rise above the momentary interests of the proletariat, if it is unable to raise the masses to the level of understanding the class interests of the proletariat. The Party must stand at the head of the working class; it must see farther than the working class; it must lead the proletariat, and not drag at the tail of the spontaneous movement.

Only a party which adopts the standpoint of advanced detachment of the proletariat and is able to raise the masses to the level of understanding the class interest of the proletariat-only such a party can divert the working class from the path of trade unionism and convert it into an independent political force." (The Foundations of Leninism, VIII, THE PARTY,The Party as the advanced detachment of the working class.)

These Stalinist pre-requisitions were not fulfilled with around 800 members of the KPD / ML in the first party-building phase, it far away from being a party which was supported by the broad masses (not to speak about leading the masses' majority).

Stalin wrote in: "THE PROLETARIAN CLASS AND THE PROLETARIAN PARTY" (1905): on the "general features of our Party":

"The proletarian party, being a fighting group of leaders, must, firstly, be considerably smaller than the proletarian class with respect to membership; secondly, it must be superior to the proletarian class with respect to its understanding and i t s experience; and, thirdly, i t must be a united organisation.
In our opinion, what has been said needs no proof, for it is self-evident that, so long as the capitalist system exists, with its inevitably attendant poverty and backwardness of the masses, the proletariat as a whole cannot rise to the desired level of class consciousness, and, consequently, there must be a group of class-conscious leaders to enlighten the proletarian army in the spirit of socialism, to unite and lead it in its struggle. It is also clear that a party which has set out to lead the fighting proletariat must not be a chance conglomeration of individuals, but a united centralised organisation, so that its activities can be directed according to a single plan."

 "People first unite, first they organise, and only then do they go into battle. The more compact the organisation in which the Party members unite, the better will they be able to fight, and, consequently, the more fully will they apply the Party’s
programme, tactics and organisational views. (...) "

"To be a Party member one must apply the Party’s programme, tactics and organisational views; to apply the Party’s views one must fight for them; and to fight for these views one must work in a Party organisation, work in unison with the Party.

Our Party is a united organisation of leaders."

We shall briefly recapitulate: The proletarian army entered the arena of the struggle. Since every army must have a vanguard, this army also had to have such a vanguard. Hence the appearance of a group of proletarian leaders—the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. As the vanguard of a definite army, this Party must, firstly, be armed with its own programme, tactics and organisational principle; and, secondly, i t must be a united organisation. To the question—who can be called a member of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party?— this Party can have only one answer: one who accepts the Party programme, supports the Party financially and works in one of the Party organisations."

The disorganizing effect of the intermingling of party and class, the intermingling of the party as the highest form of class organization of the proletariat with the other organizations of the working class, the intermingling of the party with its transmission belts, the opportunistic influence of these disorganizing ideas have often be fought by Lenin and Stalin. If you blur the lines between the party and the masses, you cannot raise the masses to the level of the advance party, you cannot fulfill the party's role as the organizing core of the entire working class. This is valid for all stages of the party building.

Stalin wrote in: "BRIEFLY ABOUT THE DISAGREEMENTS IN THE PARTY Committee of the R.S.D.L.P." (1905):

  "We shall be asked: But surely the working class gravitates towards socialism? Yes, it gravitates towards socialism. If it did not, the activities of Social-Democracy would be fruitless. But it is also true that this gravitation is counteracted and hindered by another -- gravitation towards bourgeois ideology.

It must not be forgotten that meanwhile the bourgeois ideologists are not asleep; they, in their own way, disguise themselves as Socialists and are tireless in their efforts to subordinate the working class to bourgeois ideology.

Here is what Lenin says:

    'The working class spontaneously gravitates towards socialism, but the more widespread (and continuously revived in the most diverse forms) bourgeois ideology nevertheless spontaneously imposes itself upon the working class still more."* This is precisely why the spontaneous working-class movement, while it is spontaneous, while it is not yet combined with socialist consciousness -- becomes subordinated to bourgeois ideology and gravitates towards such subordination.' (Lenin; "Whar is to be done?")

"If that were not the case, Social-Democratic criticism, Social-Democratic propaganda, would be superfluous, and it would be unnecessary to "combine the working-class movement with socialism."

In order to be able to combine the spontaneous movement of the working class with socialism, the proletarian ideology, scientific communism, Bolshevik theory and tactics do not have to be reinvented, but it definitely has to be developed further and implemented, i.e. the knowledge about the present and future social changes is necessary to enrich and further advance Marxism-Leninism.

In the first phase of construction, the party is not yet in a position to put an end to the gravitation of the working class towards bourgeois ideology and to overcome the spontaneous character of the labor movement. The main driving force behind party building in the first phase is the further development of Marxism-Leninism, the renewal of revolutionary theory, the party program, and communist propaganda based on it. The first priority is to provide the working class and the masses with instructions for revolutionary action. It is about raising the class consciousness of the working class, that it has to get rid of the influence of the precailing bourgeois ideology , that the working class is made aware of its historical mission, that it is made familiar with the goals of communism, etc. The aim is to win the revolutionary elements of the working class for participating in the first phase of the party building.

The point is that the party carries scientific socialism into the masses and simultaneously participates in the struggles of the masses. We must help the most advanced forces in society to use their own experience to convince themselves not only of the theory but also of the policy of the Communist Party.

Stalin wrote:

What is scientific socialism without the working-class movement? -- A compass which, if left unused, will only grow rusty and then will have to be thrown over board.

    What is the working-class movement without socialism? -- A ship without a compass which will reach the other shore in any case, but would reach it much sooner and with less danger if it had a compass.

    Combine the two and you will get a splendid vessel, which will speed straight towards the other shore and reach its haven unharmed." - ("BRIEFLY ABOUT THE DISAGREEMENTS IN THE PARTY Committee of the R.S.D.L.P." (1905)

Fusion of party and class and mass, fusion of scientific socialism and spontaneous labor movement cannot mean that the one gets dissolved in the other. The party is and remains indispensible in its leadership role of the class and the masses. The party would expose itself to the danger of its liquidation,if it fails to combine scientific work and the spontaneous labor movement. The party then would either form the tail of the spontaneous movement or would pull back itself into the theoretical ivory tower.

It is the duty of the world party to imbue the world-proletarian movement with Marxist-Leninist consciousness and thereby lend the global spontaneous working-class movement a world communist character.

Before the party can gain the confidence of the masses it must gain the confidence of the most advanced elements of the working class (first building phase of the party).
And in the second phase: The more the masses view the party as the party "of their own", the more they put their own destiny in the hands of their party. Recruiting new party members by means of the party work among the masses is the main driving force of the organizational development of the party. This peculiarity of the development of the role of the masses (who are mainly still influenced by anti-communism and and influence the party negastively in the one or the other way) from the role of an obstacle to party building to the role of their main driving force and from the role of main driving force to the role of the restoration of the bourgeois ideology and thus hampering the party's role of the vanguard (quantitative flooding with new party members, lowering the qualitative level of party members, thereby necessitating party cleansing , the raising of the qualitative level of the party members etc. etc.) is one of the main elements of the Marxist-Leninist dialectic of the organizational party building of the Leninist Party in all its pahases of development. In the beginning of the party building it is more risky to open the party doors to new members. We have to be very carefully. However, in the second and particularly in the third period the party will be stronger and is better consolidated. The party is surrounded by communist masses, so that the party can rely on the masses. This is not yet possible in the first phase of the party building because the party is surrounded by masses who are mainly influenced by capitalism and not by communism. It makes a difference in party building whether the party recruits new members from the masses of the capitalist society or masses of the socialist society because the masses in capitalism are not identically with the masses in socialism. This difference must not be mixed up in party building.

Stalin wrote:

"But the Party cannot be only an advanced detachment. It must at the same time be a detachment of the class, part of the class, closely bound up with it by all the fibres of its being. The distinction between the advanced detachment and the rest of the working class, between Party members and non-Party people, cannot disappear until classes disappear; it will exist as long as the ranks of the proletariat continue to be replenished with former members of other classes, as long as the working class as a whole is not in a position to rise to the level of the advanced detachment. But the Party would cease to be a party if this distinction developed into a gap, if the Party turned in on itself and became divorced from the non-Party masses. The Party cannot lead the class if it is not connected with the non-Party masses, if there is no bond between the Party and the non-Party masses, if these masses do not accept its leadership, if the Party enjoys no moral and political credit among the masses." (J. V. Stalin, THE FOUNDATIONS OF LENINISM, chapter 7, on the party)

It is only when the level of the advance party is completely in line with the level of the class, that the process of building a party is over. The transition from socialist class society to classless society will come to an end, and thus both the working class as a ruling class and its leading party will gradually become an "obstacle" for the development of the classless society of communism.

The law of building the Bolshevik Party is to gradually raise the level of the forces of the entire class society to the level of the Communist Party from period to period:

First, to raise the working class to the level of its organizing, leading core is the organization of the unconditional Consistency of consciousness, revolutionary thinking and action of the party and the masses in the pre-revolutionary period to a level, to such a degree that is sufficient to win the proletariat's avant-guard for communism (party building: the proletariat recognizes its class interests ), then the organization of their unconditional agreement in the revolutionary period of the socialist revolution, which is sufficient for the seizing of power by the working class (party building: the proletariat not only recognizes its class interests, but struggles by all means to enforce them practically, revolutionarily) towards the bourgeoisie), and finally in the post-revolutionary period of the dictatorship of the proletariat (party building: the proletariat maintains and defends its power against the restoration of capitalism) - and finally the withering away of the party, the working class, in the transition to classless society (the proletariat deliberately removes all obstacles from the old socialist class society: party dismantling).

This means that the law of building up the party only loses its effectiveness at the time when the ideas of communism fully correspond to the communist society and when all aims of the party will have been completely achieved.

The first step is to win the proletariat's avant-garde for communism. It is an illusionistic view, a rightist deviation of party building, if one wanted to lead already a mass struggle for the daily demands in the first party building phase. Leading the struggle for daily demands is economism if not combined with leading the struggle for socialism. You can wait for socialism until Santa's never day because the prevailing consciousness of the masses will remain the anti-communist consciousness during the first phase of the party building. The masses who follow us on the street to fight for daily demands are therefore far from following us in the fight for communist demands, too. How can the masses take to the streets for communism if they do not yet have a communist consciousness? Even a general strike does not automatically develop communist consciousness. Mass struggle alone does not lead the masses to the socialist revolution. This is only possible if mass struggle is consciously waged, if it is carried out communistically, if the masses have already convinced themselves of communism. So it is not enough if the party confines to create and spread communist propaganda. Decisive is to solve the question how to help the masses to get rid of their own anti-communist prejudices. To solve this question, you first need an avant-garde that is not only equipped with this consciousness itself, but also knows how to anchor communist consciousness in the masses. It is not just a question of how strong the party is in order to carry communism into the masses, but ultimately it is also a question of how far the consciousness of the masses will be ready to follow communism. The 3rd and 4th Party Congress did not deal with this answer. The party did not even put this question to the agenda. It is not only important that a Communist Party feels strong enough to lead the masses, but whether the masses are willing to be led by us communists. Ignoring to regard the evaluation of the given degree of the consciousness of the masses as a basis for the decision of ending the first period of party building and to start the second stage anyway - that is a sectarian mistake. In the Political Report to the Fifth Party Congress, Comrade Ernst partially pointed out this mistake.

Building a party is not a quantitative question and also not an organizational-technical question of how many masses a party can or cannot lead, but to which political positions the masses can already be led, and to which not yet . This is primarily a question of awareness, namely how far has the Communist Party already equipped the most progressive part of the working class with the ideological weapons of Marxism-Leninism, how far has the most progressive part of the working class practically implemented Marxism-Leninism in the class struggle and how not far yet? How far and how deep has Marxism-Leninism been carried into the masses by the party and anchored there that at least that progressive part of the working class has developed so much communist consciousness, so much class-fighting experience that they mobilize the masses not only for their daily demands but also for their future communist demands. How many masses follow the party in its fighting for the violent socialist revolution? If the 3rd and 4th party congress decides that the first phase of party building has ended, then at least all these questions should have been already clarified beforehand. But there is no evidence of this at either the 3rd or 4th party conference. Unfortunately, these Party Congresses looked only at the party's own development of consciousness, not at the development of the consciousness of the working class, let alone at the development of the consciousness of the masses, at the development of the consciousness of all social forces. And that is why the conditions for this decision were far from being met, it was a premature, a wrong decision, a decision that was based on overestimating the consciousness of the masses, not to mention the party's self-overestimation. In the meantime 30 years of party building have passed, we have gained enough experience from the labor movement to understand that the decision of the 3rd and 4th party congress, to end the first party building phase, must of course be withdrawn. The conditions were not ripe for making this decision with all its serious consequences. And this is all the more true under today's conditions.

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.

In his report, Ernst evaluates the following election result:
“In 1974, our party took part in elections for the first time, namely in the Hamburg elections. By doing so, it counteracted the efforts of the bourgeoisie to ban us as a criminal organization and thus created the legal basis to exploit the legal possibilities. Another reason for this decision was to use the choice as an indicator of our influence among the masses. (...) The election result of 0.3%, that is 3,000 votes cast for the socialist revolution, is a good success. ”(Page 83)

But what are 3,000 votes in relation to the millionfold mass of the electorate? Can the party really lead the masses with 0.3% of the votes, can that be the reason why the first phase of party building is over? The election result rather confirms Lenin's formula. This is also an indicator of the stage in which the party building was actually only in the beginning. With 0.3% of votes it is difficult to speak of the transition to the second stage of party building. With such an election result, the Bolsheviks would certainly not have finished building up the first party phase.


The report states:
"But who are the working masses to whom we turn? Are these the few hundred in the circles, the tens of thousands of colleagues organized in the SPD, who at best make up two to five percent of the working class? No, to whom we mainly turn at the moment is the progressive of the 95 percent undocumented workers, they are the revolutionary workers of our people. ”(Page 85).

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.

Long live comrade Ernst Aust's KPD / ML! Red front !

Long live Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Enver Hoxha!

Wolfgang Eggers

Chairman of the KPD/ML

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

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