About the

Fourth

Party Congress of the CP Ger/ML

 

Subsequent self-critical comment to our

IV. Party Congress

(New year 1978/1979)

by Wolfgang Eggers
Chairman of the KPD / ML
(written on 15. 3. 2007)

 

EXCERPTS CONCERNING THE QUESTION

'Propaganda-' -

or [?!]

Fighting Party ?“



"'Propaganda' - or fighting party?"

- Had this question been put right or wrong ?

 

What does it mean if with the slogan: "Main danger = left-wing sectarianism" the party was liquidated from the right, that is, through right opportunism?

And what does it mean if the slogan: "'Propaganda' - or fighting party?" has been turned around into a slogan: "Propaganda - or 'fighting' party?"

What does it mean when the 4th Party Congress decided to fight the main danger of left-wing sectarianism while - at the 5th Party Congress - the right-wing majority of the party took decisions which sealed the right-wing degeneration and finally our liquidation?

Many questions about the fate of our party.


We fought against left-wing sectarianism while right-wing opportunism gained power over the party.
We fought against a liquidatory minority at the 4th party congress and were already faced with a liquidatory majority at the 5th party congress.

We built up the mass organizations in the fight against left-wing sectarianism, and it was precisely these mass organizations that the right-wing opportunists had instrumentalized for the liquidation of the party.
We fought against being bossed around and ended up in liberalism.


We fought for adherence to iron proletarian discipline and were ultimately faced with an undisciplinary party leadership.


We fought against fractionism at the 4th Party Congress and were almost liquidated by fractionism at the 5th Party Congress (and after).


Comrade Ernst Aust said in his report at the Fourth Party Congress:
"We had seen already far enough the overriding of democratic centralism in the party, the emergence of anti-Marxist-Leninist ideas and notions. We did not desire to repeat such experiences of the so called "struggle between two Lines and factionism. We didn't want to follow the Maoist slogan "Let a hundred flowers bloom" and "Hundred schools compete with each other." This poison of anti-Marxism and anti-Leninism would blossom in the KPD / ML."

All that what Ernst fought against in 1978 became a reality in 1985. These are the facts. At the first glance - all this is hard to believe and difficult to explain. However, on closer inspection this smoke screen dissolves quickly, one recognizes the principle of this development and thereby also learns to forestall such a "surprising" turn of development in the future and to avoid it in time. There are two reasons for this.
1. The correct resolutions of the 4th Party Congress were not correctly put into practice and
2. At the 4th Party Congress incorrect resolutions were adopted which favored the right-wing development of the party up to 1985 or paved the way for it. Taken together, the Trotskyite Koch clique created a breeding ground for the liquidation of the party, whereby point 2 had not yet been examined critically enough.

One of the weaknesses of the party was that the main danger of left-wing sectarianism was not revised in time, if at all, and that the main danger of right-wing opportunism was not recognized in time, i.e. that we were unable to avert this danger. That means: at that time we could not really understand and master the dialectical unity of the struggle against left-wing sectarianism and right-wing opportunism. We underestimated the double danger of revisionism, that revisionism tried to penetrate the party simultaneously from both right and “left” positions.

Just as opportunism wages a two-front war against the party, so the party wages its ideological, political and organizational two-front war against opportunism. If the party has to focuse on mainly combatting "left" opportunism, the opportunist forces on their part are attempting to lead a pseudo-struggle against "left" opportunism to disguise the preparation for shifting the main attack from "left" to right opportunism.

And the other way round:

If the party has to focuse on mainly combatting rightist opportunism, the opportunist forces on their part are attempting to lead a pseudo-struggle against rightist opportunism to disguise the preparation for shifting the main attack from rightist to "leftist" opportunism.

Result: the party was not almost liquidated from the main danger of "leftism", but from the main danger of rightist opportunism - see the result of the revisionist 5th Party Congress. This congress even did not put this decisive question on its agenda. There was no report on the implementation of the concerning resolutions of the previous 4th Party Congress. The question of the main danger was even kicked into the long grass after the Fifth Party Congress. The fact that the party was liquidated from the right opportunists initially proves that the party did not understand the changing tactics from the main danger of "left-wing" sectarianism into right-wing opportunism, that is, it had basically missed to thwart such turn from the main danger of "leftist" to rightist opportunism. Why did that happen?

We made mistakes in the way in which we implemented our "Two-Front Struggle, namely mechanically instead of dialectically. As a young party we lacked of sufficient experience in corecctly handling it. We had to learn from our failures.

As derived from the term "main danger", there are further minor dangers which form a dialectical unity. So, our victory over the "main danger" did not automatically mean victory over all the other branches of opportunism. Our two-front struggle is necessary for thwarting the process of transition of opportunism. The main danger is the rightist opportunism, but under certain circumstances (especially in revolutionary situations) it hides behind "left" opportunism which means nothing else but waging the struggle against the main danger of "left" opportunism.

The greatest danger does always result from our misjudgement about the overestimation and underestimation of the main danger and the minor dangers. When we fight against the main danger of revisionism on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, then the opportunists try to adapt Marxism-Leninism to "leftist" opportunism with the aim of replacing Marxism-Leninism by "leftist" opportunism. And this again is the starting point of the rightist opportunists to wage a pseudo-struggle against "leftist" opportunism with the aim of adapting Marxism-Leninism to revisionism. All this seems to be very easy to understand theoretically, but in practice this requires profound experience and knowledge of the tactics of the "Two-Front Struggle". The main problem is that the opportunists always act on the formal basis of Marxism-Leninism. This means that the opportunists pretend to struggle on the basis of the Marxist-Leninist Two-Front-Struggle, but in deeds they hide their opportunist actions against the party behind our Two-Front-Struggle. This is not easy to expose, even not for an experienced Bolshevik party.


"Two-Front Struggle" in words and fighting against "Two-Front Struggle" in deeds - this is the phenemenology of the tactics of the opportunists for the purpose of degenerating our party.

As we know, we can neither defeat revisionism by "leftist" opportunism, nor defeat "leftist" opportunism by means of revisionism. "Leftist" opportunism is only the disguised form of revisionism. We can defeat all sorts of opportunism only by our "Two-Front Struggle" if it is exclusively guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism.Our ack of experience in dealing with the dialectical unity (interaction) of left-wing sectarianism with right-wing opportunism within the party - that was the greatest danger for the 4th party congress. And because this danger was not recognized, the split of the party could no longer be prevented in 1985. If we have averted the "left" danger, the overall danger of opportunism does not decrease. On the contrary, the danger of opportunism is growing. And this danger must be even greater by law, because we have forced the class opponent to fight us more bitterly than before. The revisionist influence, both in the "left" and in the right robe, is an objective (not to be confused with the subjective) appearance in the party. The opportunistic phenomena exist until communist society. Opportunism remains a growing danger as long as classes and their parties exist.Opportunist resistance develops with the development of Marxism-Leninism. The strength of the party develops in the struggle against the opportunists. Basically, neither the main danger nor the secondary dangers can be completely eliminated (as long as the bourgeoisie exists), but only its dangerous dimensions can be suppressed or contained to pave the way for the fulfillment of the party's revolutionary tasks.

So there is no Bolshevik party that is not continuously and inevitably exposed simultaneously to both the main and secondary danger of opportunism. On the one hand revisionism tries to subject Marxism-Leninism to a bourgeois revision (on the formal ground of Marxism-Leninism) by right-wing opportunism. And on the other hand, the bourgeoisie tries no less to complicate and prevent the Marxist-Leninist revision of Marxism-Leninism on the formal ground of Marxism-Leninism by "left" opportunism, dogmatism, sectarianism etc.
The main tactic of revisionism is to combine these two procedures of the revision of Marxism-Leninism. For the purpose to revise Marxism-Leninism the opportunists use the main and secondary weapons on their part, namely as an answer to the ever higher level of development of the "Two-Front Struggle" waged by the party. The revision of the party line for its further improvement under changing circumstances of class struggle must always regard the possible danger of right and "left" deviation. There is no further development of the party without conscious use of our experiences with the "Two-Front Struggle". The implementation of the teachings of the "Two-Front Struggle" are not only valid within the vanguard party of the proletariat, but also within the proletarian class and within the toilers. The "Two-Front Struggle" against the bourgeoisie is indispensable on all ideological, poltical and organizational battlefields.
Applied to the 4th Party Congress and with regard to the 5th Party Congress (and after), we derive the following concrete conclusions:

a) ideologically:

The main left's sectarian liquidation weapon became blunt, especially with the dwindling influence of Mao-Tse-tung ideas. The secondary weapon, i.e. the open revisionism, was developed into the main weapon and in the following grades: in a hand stroke with the banishment of Mao-Tse-tung from the program = deletion of the teachings of the Classic Enver Hoxha from our program by the 4th Party Congress (!!!), then - after a certain amount of time had to be allowed to pass in view of the Stalin contingent - the attack on Stalin (which was much more difficult to achieve for our enemies than with Enver Hoxha) followed, and then finally followed the withdrawl from Marx, Engels and Lenin, the October Revolution etc. etc., that is, to completely target all Marxist-Leninist corner stones of the KPD / ML and bring them to collapse (5th party congress and its consequences: abolition of the KPD/ML program and replacement by a Trotskyist program, association with the GIM Trotskyists, Foundation of the "VSP" [= United Socialist Party] etc. etc.).

b) propagandistically:

With our slogan: “Propaganda” or “fighting party”, which we directed against the "left"-wing sectarianism, against the influence of the revolutionary phrase-thrashing of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals in the party, with which they tried to keep us away from fighting to win over revolutionary workers, disappeared.

So in order to prevent communism from entering the labor movement, the petty-bourgeois intellectuals were forced to formally focus on industrial and trade union work, on supporting the demands of the masses, on the position of propaganda of the "fighting party".

According to the revisionist motto: “Communist propaganda = Parteichinesisch [*] = sectarian”, we increasingly renounced open communist propaganda between the 4th Party Congress and 1985 (the year of the death of comrade Ernst Aust and with him the year of the liquidation of the party).


[*] REMARK of the Translator:
The German slang word for jargon and gobbledygook is "Parteichinesisch" - literarily: "Party Chinese". It is what uninitiated lay people used to call what was to them an incomprehensible language spoken and written among members of the KPD/ML.


The correct formula: "Communism - easy explained to the workers, that is to say, understandable for the worker", was misused by the rightist opportunists for their vulgarization and dilution of communist ideas, robbing it of its scientific and revolutionary character: "That what the worker does not understand is simply not to be propagated, and that's it."

In the end, this went so far that our just struggle against the "left" sectarianism was misused, not to point it against the left sectarians, but against us Marxist-Leninists ourselves, that is, against all those comrades in the party who continued to propagate communism among the workers.

We Marxists-Leninists in our own party were pushed into the corner of so called "sectarianists" and "dogmatists", thus by such a method which was not different from the usual method of the modern revisionists against us Marxist-Leninists.

In this way, our newspaper "Roter Morgen" lost its red color, its red content. Communism was withhold from the masses and finally declared "useless" or even as a "hindrance" for the work among the masses.

Communist propaganda at party events remained, but in contact with the masses it was increasingly kept behind the scenes. In this vacuum, more and more Trotskyist, revisionist, reformist, ie bourgeois content was filled until the "Roter Morgen" became a Trotskyist central organ. The communist propaganda was liquidated and replaced by Trotskyist propaganda. There was no longer any talk of socialist revolution, of Stalin and Enver Hoxha etc. And the propagation and practical implementation of our revolutionary party program had been pushed further and further into the background. At the same time, the action program (minimum program) was placed in the foreground instead. Finally, our Marxist-Leninist party program was officially transformed into a Trotskyist, revisionist-bourgeois party program (after the 5th Party congress).

The KPD / ML became a "fighting" party without communist propaganda, only to be transformed in the next step into a party with openly Trotskyist-revisionist propaganda.

Ernst Aust warned of the following danger:

“There is above all the danger of the so-called tail policy, that of running behind the movement of the masses, a party attached to the tail of spontaneous movement. Some comrades understand “deeply anchoring the party in the masses” to mean that they have to go down to the level of the broad masses. They argue as follows:

"The masses don't want to know anything about revolution, so you can't tell them about revolution; the masses are against Stalin, so one must not defend Stalin either; the masses are against the dictatorship, they understand the Hitler regime as such, so one cannot tell them about the need to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat; the masses don't read the "Red Morning", so we don't need a central organ, but a newspaper with 'sex and crime' to satisfy the masses. "

And then we're exactly where we don't want to be, in the swamp of revisionism".

And it finally came out that the Trotskyist clique Koch & Co had guided the KPD/ML straight into this revisionsit swamp.

c) organizationally:

The main liquidatory weapon of the pure `'propaganda' party (i.e. in the negative meaning of its isolation from the working class) became blunt when the party began to fight among the workers in the factories and the trade unions. The struggle to liquidate the party had to be shifted to the formal ground of the resolutions of the 4th party congress, it had to be shifted to the mass organizations. The importance of the party disappeared to the same degree as the importance of its mass organizations increased. (Party work truncated by working in the masses). While building the mass organizations, the building of the party was neglected. However, the more the organizational structure of the party fell by the wayside, i.e. the weaker the driving force for mass organizations became, the easier it was for the Trotskyist party leadership to finally dissolve the RGO and all the other mass organisations of the party. Ernst rightly emphasized in his accountability report:

"Wrong and a backing away from the hate campaign of the bourgeoisie and its agents is also the tendency to distance the party from the RGO (Revolutionary Opposition in the Union) or even to demand the party to distance itself from the RGO."

But all this warning of comrade Ernst Aust was disregarded and negleted practically after the 4th, and all the more after the 5th party congress.
With the alignment of the Fourth Party Congress, opportunism was forced to change its old ("left") tactic into a foothold of the new (right) tactic, which was initially concealed and later used openly.

A Bolshevik party that develops in the class struggle, which inevitably comes into contact with all class forces of society, that inevitably has to deal with elements that are alien to the class, cannot fundamentally prevent the penetration of anti-party elements. Only a sect of almost completely like-minded people can - to a certain extent - be free from any revisionist influences. Today we are in a similar decimated situation involuntarily, but we do not rise our situation to the level of a principle (Sectarianism). We do not favor remaining as a sect but strive for a Bolshevik mass party. Every party that is politically active in society cannot rule out the penetration of revisionist influences. It must face up to this fact, face up to these dangerous influences, process it, digest it in order to excrete it again. The danger of modern revisionism is always present, regardless of whether it carries out its main attack on "left" or right. Revisionism always tries to either liquidate the party organisation from the right with the support of "left" or vice versa to liquidate it from the "left" with support from the right.



Was the definition of the main danger = "leftist" really correctly understood and implemented?

 

In the report to the 4th party congress it says at the very beginning:
"If the central committee has now convened this party congress out of sequence, it is not because the party is in an exceptional situation that would have required the convening of an extraordinary party congress (... ) "

The changing of the decision of the 3rd Party congress ( "main danger = right") into the opposite decision of the fourth Party congress, ("main danger "leftist" would be, in my opinion, such an exceptional situation that would in any case justify the convening of an extraordinary party congress.
However, since it was "only" a matter of left-sectarian errors, of a left-sectarian deviation (and not a sectarian line of the party), I share Ernst's view.

It was indispensable for the party to overcome "left" opportunist errors for paving the way towards the direct support of the struggle of the working class ( to win the avant-garde of the proletariat). In my opinion, however, the weakness of the Fourth Party Congress lies in the fact that it did not distinguish clearly enough between a "deviation" (errors while implementing the correct line of the party) and a "main danger" (opportunist line), that it confuses these terms, sometimes one and sometimes the other term for the same situation used.

That would not have been so tragic from a formal point of view: it was about eliminating the left-wing sectarian deviation. But this task had essentially already been accomplished by the Fourth Party Congress. The resistance of the left-wing sectarians had long since been broken, and the left-wing sectarians had not even appeared as an oppositional group at the Fourth Party Congress. The "left" dogs no longer barked, the caravan had long since moved on.

At the Fifth Party Congress, Ernst stated in his political report on page 30:

“(...) we were glad that we had overcome the worst excesses of ultra-left sectarianism, the disregard for democratic centralism in the party ."

At the time of the Fourth Party Congress, there was no longer any current reason to change the decision of the 3rd Party congress (main danger = right). With regard to the later liquidation of the party by the right opportunists, this should of course have corresponding negative effects.

With the retention of the decisions of the 3rd Party Congress it would certainly have been much more difficult for the Trotskyites to lead their right-wing liquidation course finally to success. So they could calmly hide their right liquidation course behind their alleged "struggle against left-wing sectarianism" under the slogan: "main danger =" left ".

We should have prevented them from doing that in time. However, afterwards one is always wiser.

Ernst had taken a giant step at the 5th plenary session of the Central Committee to deal with the left-sectarian deviation. The whole party stood behind him, has shown in the unity that the party had coped with this danger in word and deed. At the current moment of the Fourth Party Congress there was no longer any serious danger from the ultra-left. The successes after the Fourth Party Congress have confirmed this. Ernst also correctly stated in the accountability report on the Fourth Party Congress on page 14:

"Because of the party's orientation towards overcoming the serious left-wing sectarian mistakes, the party congress alone would not have been necessary, because the Central Committee and the Politburo are fully operational."


Because of this statement, the logical question arises:
If the Central Committee and the Politburo thought it was “capable of working” enough (and this was undoubtedly the case) to get to grips with the serious left-wing sectarian mistakes even without the 4th party congress, then why did the fourth party congress not confirm and follow the 3rd Party Congress with its correct decision about: "main danger = revisionism"?

Why did the 4th Party congress replace it with the contrary decision on "main danger = left-wing sectarianism", even though the whole party had already overcome the leftist deviations ?
Is there a difference between "serious mistakes" and "main danger"? Certainly there is one. But did the 4th Congress recognize this difference, did it deal with this difference correctly?

There is grave difference between the term of "serious left-wing sectarian mistakes" ...

(and mistakes, even serious ones, can and must be corrected by the CC, namely without a party congress - which Ernst was absolutely right with!)

... and the term of the "main danger = left-wing sectarianism" .

This serious difference must not be ignored or even denied.

In my opinion, the main danger was still revisionism and not "left" opportunism.

For the genuine Marxist-Leninist struggle against revisionism it is however always and basically necessary to overcome ultra-left deviations and mistakes in this anti-revisionist struggle. However, this truth was unfortunately not recognized at the 4th Party congress.

Why is it usually necessary (at least preferable) to call a new party congress when the direction of the main threat to the party changes ? As a rule - (and this can be proved from the history of every Bolshevik party) - the determination, including the change of the main danger, should be decided in principle (exceptions confirm the rule) by a party congress. The 3rd Party Congress had clearly decided "Main danger = right opportunism" and rightly so. Then this decision is binding and must be implemented by the whole party in a disciplined manner, also by the CC and especially by the CC. With a contrary decision, the CC would break its discipline and violate the decisions of the 3rd Party Congress, would reduce the role of the 3rd Party Congress which Ernst had just rightly criticized at the 4th Party Congress. So it was at least statutorily, i.e. formally, absolutely necessary that an 4th Party Congress had decided the complete change to "Main Danger = Left Sectarianism" that the CC at least confirms, "approves" its decisions, has them approved by the Party Congress. But whether this was politically and ideologically correct - i.e. justified in terms of content - is a completely different, albeit much more important question. The formal procedure was correctly observed however the ideological content, the new ideological alignment of the party was wrong. The question of the main danger is not just any question of competence or potency, not a question of the ability of any body to work between the party congresses, but a fundamental political-ideological question of the consideration of a change of direction of the tactics of the class opponent, a question of the general line of the party, which decides on the life and death of the party, a question which concerns the whole party and can only be decided by the whole party, i.e. above all by the party congress as the highest body.
The general line of the party since its foundation was = fight against the main danger of revisionism. This must be remembered again and again as an anti-revisionist party. If the main danger is wrongly determined or if a change of the main danger is not taken into account in time by decisions of the party congress, this has serious consequences for a Bolshevik party, had serious consequences for the KPD/ML. In fact, these were really "only" serious left sectarian errors that we made, but not to be equalized with an alleged "main danger of left sectarianism". There can certainly be serious left sectarian errors in the fight against the main danger of revisionism (and there were indeed!). So there can be, in turn, serious right-wing mistakes in the fight against the main danger of left sectarianism.
But the correct decisions of the 3rd Party Congress regarding the determination of the main danger of revisionism should not have been revised by the 4th party congress because of some left-wing sectarian errors. Everybody knows that the revisionists prefer to attack us Marxist-Leninists as "leftists", "dogmatists", and Sectarians", so that the 4th party congress should have better been conscious about the consequences of its decision on "main danger = 'leftist' opportunism".


In his report, Ernst stated:
"In practice, the disputes in the Politburo and Central Committee were all about the fact that certain comrades, especially a certain comrade of the Politburo, resisted by all means, even intrigue and personal slander, that their grave violations of democratic centralism, their cliquism - and nepotism, their ultra-leftist course, were being addressed. (page 44).


How can the 4th party congress then turn the main danger of right-wing opportunism into a main danger of left-wing sectarianism - just because of anti-party attitudes of a "certain member of the Politburo"?!!


The party actually already had enough experience in the struggle against liquidation to know that the liquidators know how to paint themselves as "fighters against left-wing sectarianism" in order to divert attention from their right-wing opportunism, in their intention to weaken the proletarian line of comrade Ernst Aust and to overthrow it all the more easily.

To confuse the "serious mistakes" and the "main danger", to equate this, not to understand this difference, not to take this difference into account by differentiated action, caused in the long run a much more serious, grave damage to the party, as it should turn out in the end with its RIGHTIST liquidation in the year 1985:The fight against a left sectarian comrade at the Fourth Party Congress paved the way for the Trotskyite fight against our best Marxist-Leninist comrade namely comrade Ernst Aust - leader of our party !
Finally. comrade Ernst Aust remained the only genuine Marxist-Leninist comrade in a thoroughly corrupt Trotskyist-liquidatory, right opportunist Central Committee !
In contrast to the 4th Party Congress which struggled against a left-wing sectarian MINORITY in the CC, we Marxist-Leninists were facing a right-wing MAJORITY within the WHOLE party, especially after the 5th Party Congress until 1985.
Ernst Aust explained in his report:
"If this party congress once again underlines the assessment that left-wing opportunism is currently the main danger in the party, it in no way overlooks the fact that certain right-wing tendencies are also becoming apparent, against which we must also be vigilant and which must be fought. "
Although the party had recognized the serious "left" mistakes at the 4th Party Congress, it had wrongly elevated them to the rank of a main danger. Although the 4th Party Congress had correctly identified and named certain right-wing (retroactive) counter-dangers in the fight against left-wing sectarianism, it had not identified them as the main danger of revisionism, which is a big difference! Because: The main danger was and still is revisionism, which was then confirmed in the history of the party (not only in our party, but also in all other brother parties). It was and is the modern revisionists, who direct the fight against left sectarianism with preference to the Marxist-Leninists (in the Soviet Union against Stalin after his death), so also to the Albanian comrades, who split off from the revisionist camp and gave it a hard blow on the head. Thus it came about that at the beginning of the 1960s the Soviet revisionists defined "left sectarianism and dogmatism" as the main danger at their party congress.

The struggle against years of liquidation was not exhausted with the resolutions of the 4th Party Congress against the "main danger = left-wing sectarianism". From then on, the liquidators sailed only under the alleged "anti-left-wing sectarian" flag of the party, in order to continue the (hidden) liquidation of the party on its formal soil.
The RGO was dissolved and liquidated by the Right, i.e. by those forces that had still strengthened the RGO at the 4th Party Congress. The trotskyite leader, Koch, clung to the "fight against sectarianism" to lead the fight against comrade Ernst, against Marxism-Leninism, against the party, against comrade Enver Hoxha and against the PLA. With the help of the RGO, the liquidators first liquidated (replaced) the party's factory and union work, and then finally liquidated the RGO itself. It was the liquidators who acted OPENLY before the 4th Party Congress and HIDDENLY after the 4th Party Congress against the Marxist-Leninist Party becoming anchored in the masses and the proletarian
In other words: before the 4th Party congress = Marxism-Leninism without labour movement (open liquidation) - after the 4th Party congress = labour movement without/against Marxism-Leninism (covert, veiled liquidation for the purpose of restoring open liquidation).
If the party was directly targeted by the liquidators before the Fourth Party Congress, after the Fourth Party Congress the mass organizations were used as a way around it, by making them independent and alienated from the party, i.e. by removing them from the leading (political-ideological) influence of the party, and thus weakening, disarming, degenerating and liquidating the party. Going to the masses, actions, improving the factory and trade-union work, taking the proletarian class standpoint also in the practical activity among the masses - all this was an important step forward - turning to the proletariat, strengthening the proletarian line against intellectual elements of "left" petty bourgeoisie - this was the special meaning of the 4th Party Congress and was a great historical victory over the sectarianism which had hindered the development of the party so far.
Yes, "left"-wing sectarianism was an expression of the whole harmful, pulling back policy of the liquidators. However, with the slogan: "To the masses!"; with the widening and deepening of the party's anchorage among the masses alone, liquidation was far from being defeated, as it turned out.
In questions of daily politics, in questions of practical intervention in the class struggles, compromises can and must be found. For some comrades this went too fast, for others too slow. One can and must pull oneself together.
However, as far as questions of principle are concerned, there can be never compromises. That would lead the party to the degeneration, to the ideological death of the party.
Implementing the tasks of the struggle set by the 3rd and 4th Congress, one must not put quantity before quality and certainly not replace it, otherwise quality will gradually run the risk of falling victim to quantity. Inevitably, the liquidators continued to interfere in every question of how to expand and deepen the masses, they pushed themselves into the new fighting tasks of the party, because liquidationism is a PERMANENT current that has been created by social conditions and which the party has to deal with continuously throughout its history. If the liquidators got seriously beaten by the party, they only duck their head on the one opportunistic side, only to stick it out all the more cheekily on the other opportunistic side. The struggle against liquidation is never over; on the contrary, it intensifies with every development that the party takes forward. After the Fourth Party Congress, weaknesses became apparent in the continuation of the struggle against the liquidators. We were blinded by the successes in the work of the factories and trade unions, we did not look closely enough at these liquidators, and more and more right-wing influences crept in, which we ignored because of the successful progress of our work in the mass movement. The party neglected its struggle against liquidation and relied on the healing powers of the work of its mass organizations.

Of course, to a certain extent one can and must rely on the self-healing powers of the party, but this must not happen uncontrolled, not spontaneously. The members must always keep a watchful eye on this. There is no point in overcoming the left sectarian deviation BY expanding the mass work of the party, just as there is no point in overcoming the right deviation BY expanding the communist propaganda activity. The Party must oppose liquidation ideologically where it tries to put out its feelers against the Party, that is, already where it began to appear in the mass organizations. The overcoming of left-wing sectarianism must never be understood as a widening and deepening of mass work (or of any other party work at all); this already showed the germ of the later Trotskyist deviation and the party's increasing regression towards it. The Party must always conduct the struggle against liquidationism as an ideological struggle on two fronts, both against the right and against "left"; it must never evade this struggle, must never leave this field of struggle. In the struggle against the deviations, the party must not deviate from its correct positions, must not open itself to the other side or even expose it when it is defending one side in particular. The party must not waver in the struggle on two fronts, but must hold fast to its proletarian line and take countermeasures if necessary. Since the main danger in the Marxist-Leninist World Movement was and still is essentially on the right, the main danger "left" could at most be a temporary main danger ( = Stalin: Party as a self-sufficient force in the initial phase with certain unavoidable sectarian traits, deviations, weaknesses, errors etc.), the shift levers should have been changed back to the right main danger in time. If the main danger was already "left", it was in any case inadmissibly held on for far too long, especially in the critical phase when the party had already become heavily right-wing, i.e. in the deepest crisis in party history. The party should not have neglected the Marxist-Leninist theory, the communist education, the question of agitation and propaganda, the ideological two-front war. With the thrust: "Into the masses!" one should not have accepted the weakening of ideological, theoretical and propagandistic positions, but should have strengthened them further with the practical implementation. With the program we had made a great leap forward, but we should have built on it, should have advanced not only on the practical but also on the theoretical, propagandistic front, should have included the program much more in the fighting tasks which the rd and 4th Party Congress had set on the agenda. One of the main shortcomings of the period after the 4th Congress was the increasing theoretical-ideological weakness, if not carelessness.

Stalin pointed out:

"One of the dangerous shortcomings of our Party is the decline in the theoretical level of its members. This is due to the devilish pressure of routine work, which kills the desire for theoretical study and fosters a certain dangerous disregard—to put it mildly—for questions of theory." [Stalin, Volume 6, The Results of the Thirteen Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) - chapter: "The Party]

Us, the old party guard of comrade Ernst Aust became a minority in the party under the Trotskyite leader Koch. Through Koch the authority of comrade Ernst Aust was systematically and gradually undermined. In the liberalist admission policy, the ideological level of the new party members was criminally neglected. They were not raised to the level of us old party guard. We old party leaders refused to adapt to the general flattening of Koch's level of the party and protested against it, rebelled against it when it was almost too late. Because it failed to raise the level of the party members, the majority of the members could not be mobilized at the decisive moment of the attack on the Koch Central Committee. The party was gradually lost in the movement over a period of several years, by increasingly renouncing communist propaganda and hiding the party flag in public. There were so many practical tasks at the cell meetings that the theoretical training was adjourned or even dropped. This took on frightening forms in the early 1980s, and so the Trotskyists were able to proceed with their ideological work of disintegration ever more openly and rapidly. Self-critically, Ernst ended his political report to the Fifth Party Congress with the emphatic words with regard to the right-wing development of the party:


" (...) if we do not appear and argue as Communists, if we do not constantly improve our agitation and propaganda (...) if we do not, in short, nail our colours to the mast ! "

It would have been much more important, if comrade Ernst Aust would put this decisive matter to the beginning and not as a closing word of his report.


We must not forget Lenin. We were still in the first stage of party building despite all the successes in our practical struggle! In other words: main ideological-theoretical construction, propaganda, practical activity limited to winning the vanguard of the proletariat. One must not throw the baby out with the bath water, one must not forget in the struggle against "left"-wing sectarianism that despite all this we were still in this first stage of party building. As long as the vanguard of the proletariat has not yet been completely won, the party can turn itself upside down with the slogan: "To the masses!", but it will not yet be able to win the masses without the forging of the vanguard, let alone lead them. The transition to a new phase of party development cannot be forced by party congress resolutions or by the conjuring up of a multitude of mass organizations, but the development of the party is dependent on the actual development of the workers' movement, on the actual consciousness of the class forces in the given situation, under the given conditions, and not least on the strength and power of the workers to be won to the vanguard.

As Ernst later admitted correctly and self-critically in his political report to the th Party Congress, the intensifying development of the class struggles at the time of the 4th Party Congress and afterwards had been overestimated. On page 32 of his political report to the Fifth Party Congress he quoted from his previous report to the Fourth Party Congress.

"The class struggles have intensified considerably in recent years and there can be no doubt that they will intensify considerably in the coming years" [there page 70]. They did not intensify. Such a miscalculation naturally has consequences for the directive and decisions of the party". ( page 32 ) . "Such a thing can only lead to disappointment and resignation, as the past has shown, if the predictions made do not come true (page 33).

And what consequences this had, we saw in 1985. Above all Ernst had seen this self-critically, he had the courage to lay his finger on this wound. This overestimation of the development of the class struggles by the 4th Party Congress, the accumulation of the party with fighting tasks, still arose from a remnant of the "left" sectarian influence on the party. And it is also clear that these remnants of "left"-wing sectarian influence that could spur the development of right-wing opportunism. Because: it is not sectarianism but, ultimately, right opportunism that has actually pushed the party from its revolutionary positions and conquered power in the party. This must never be forgotten.

Now Ernst was concerned not only with the question of intensifying the class struggle, but also with the increasing importance of shifting the class struggle to the question of unemployment. Ernst was the only one in the party leadership who had vehemently advocated this in word and deed, something in which the right opportunists had no interest at all. They followed the trade union bureaucracy in its disdain for the struggle against unemployment. With the fight against unemployment, the Marxist-Leninists with Ernst at the top were pushed into "subordinate" battlefields of class struggle. In the party, the fight against unemployment was regarded as a "marginal issue" in company and union work. This is typical of the working-class aristocratic trade union leadership and is characteristic of its increasing influence on the Trotskyite Koch-CC. This reminds me of the history of the old KPD when the right opportunists accused Ernst Thälmann that he would allegedly turn the party of the working class into a "party of the unemployed". However, it has been shown not only in the history of the KPD, but also in the history of the KPD/ML, that there were non-party members with higher revolutionary consciousness and more intensive militant action, than the KPD/ML comrades who were sitting comfortable on privileged posts in the factory and trade unions ( and in the party, too!). The Classics of Marxism-Leninism have also pointed to this irrefutable fact, especially comrade Stalin. Conclusion:
In principle, attention to the proletariat, participation in the workers' movement, proletarian action, factory and trade union work, in short, practical participation in the class struggle is an essential component, indeed a characteristic of every Bolshevik party (for it serves to win over the vanguard of the proletariat, without which the party cannot lead either class or mass! In the first phase of party building, where ideological-propagandist work is the main side (see Lenin), however, participation in practical class struggle has a different meaning and value (winning the vanguard of the proletariat) than in the phase of mass struggle of the party (as a MASS PARTY winning the millions of masses for socialist revolution). This rushing ahead as a "mass party" is not right-wing but basically a "left-wing" mistake in the first phase of party building.

In the second phase, however, it is exactly the other way round that can be seen with Dimitrov's decision on his so called "popular front policy." With these right-opportunist decision of alliance with the bourgeoisie, the Stalinists where accused as "sectarians", dogmatists" and "leftists" who would allegedly undermine the "mass-line" of the Comintern. As we know, today, this kind of Dimitrov's so called "mass-line" paved the way to the final liquidation of the mass organizations of the Comintern, and in the end even to the liquidation of the Comintern itself. If one studies the Comintern documents after the 7th world congress, then you find no more communist propaganda in them, not to speak about the propaganda for the world socialist revolution. There are obviously parallels between the process of liquidation of the Comintern and the KPD/ML - namely the gradual seizure of bourgeois power in the party by means of the leadership of the revisionists!!
In the first phase of party building:
Behind the actionism - "To the masses!" - lies the petty-bourgeois impatience not to develop the proletarian propaganda party in a disciplined and consistent way in the first place. I come to the most important Lenin quotation in the question of the evaluation of the slogan: "'propoaganda' - or fighting party?". We must never forget what Lenin taught 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)

There is probably nothing to add or to oppose to this hammering sentence of Lenin, because the 4th Party Congress was surely about nothing more important than winning the vanguard of the proletariat for communism (see: Stalin) and not about winning over the millions of masses.

The proletarian vanguard has been won over ideologically, and this is impossible without communist propaganda.

So if propaganda, according to the teachings of Leninism-Stalinism, had to remain in the first place and not the opposite slogan should have been issued: "propaganda" or "fighting party". Nowhere in his entire lecture, which Ernst had given at the 5th plenary session of the Central Committee of the KPD/ML in July 1978, is this helpful and trend-setting teaching of Comrade Lenin, which was so important for the KPD/ML and which is tailored to the structure of the KPD/ML at that time, found anywhere. Ernst had used a number of different Lenin quotations against left-wing sectarianism, even from the same book: "Left-Wing Communism, an infantile disorder". How could he have overlooked or ignored this quotation which was so decisive for the KPD/ML? It would have been very easy to expose "left" sectarianism by means of this very sentence of Lenin. It would have been perfectly correct to define the contrast between Marxist-Leninist propaganda in the first place and "left"-wing sectarian propaganda in the first place as follows:

While Marxist-Leninist propaganda is in the first place to win the vanguard of the proletariat to communism, left sectarian propaganda is in the first place only because they can achieve their leading influence on the workers only with their higher education, that they can win the proletarian comrades only as an accessory, as costume jewellery which they put on to satisfy their own petty-bourgeois vanity, that the petty-bourgeois intellectuals use their communist knowledge as a means of power and pressure against the workers in order to justify their petty-bourgeois hegemony over the proletariat, to conquer leading positions in the proletarian party or or to defend that they act as indispensable schoolmasters to patronize, order and intimidate the workers etc. etc, which the "left"-wing sectarians, of course, cloak in revolutionary phrases.

In short, for the petty-bourgeois intellectuals, for the "left"-wing sectarians, it is primarily a matter of deceiving the vanguard of the proletariat with communist propaganda in order to drive it into the arms of the bourgeoisie. Throughout the history of the communist and workers' movement, "leftist" opportunism has always and in principle turned out to be an openly reactionary, petty-bourgeois current in the course of the class struggle. The role of the "left"-wing sectarians must be seen through by the Bolshevik Party as the role they actually play, a class-counterrevolutionary role:

the "left"-wing sectarians play the spiritual shepherd of the party, who leads the working class like a flock of sheep into the promised communist heaven. But what they conceal is that they take the detour via the slaughterhouse of capitalism for this - this is the naked truth they hide behind their communist hypocrisy.

It is precisely this mask of communist hypocrisy that must be ripped off the "left"-wing sectarians, because in the end they leave the working class to the ideological influence of the petty bourgeoisie. It is not, therefore, communist propaganda that repels and discourages the most progressive elements of the proletariat, but the fanatical phraseology of the intellectual petty bourgeoisie, which is foreign to the working class.

It is a bit of a cheek to assume that it is due to the communist propaganda itself, for example, if it is repelled and not understood by the most progressive proletarian elements. The allegedly "deterrent" effect of communism among the masses and the "therefore necessary" renunciation of communist propaganda - that is what the opportunists preach, as is well known.

Therefore, if we Communists do not yet understand how to win the vanguard of the proletariat with our Communist propaganda, that is no reason to remove Lenin's Communist propaganda from the first place - neither under the pressure of the "left"-wing sectarians nor under the pressure of the right-wing opportunists. Then it is rather a reason to raise our propaganda activity to a higher level, a reason to overcome our inexperience, our clumsiness, our sectarian mistakes as quickly and thoroughly as possible through all the more efforts, that is, to learn the craft of a good propagandist not only from Lenin, not only from all five classics of Marxism-Leninism, but also from our own greatest propagandist, comrade Ernst Aust. Initial weaknesses, sectarian errors, are quite natural and inevitable, because no propagandist falls from the sky ready. So when we speak of the main danger of left-wing sectarianism as a danger of petty-bourgeois intellectualist influence on the party, on the vanguard of the proletariat. It is essential that we separate from it the sectarian teething troubles, the initial difficulties of the party propagandists, we must not lump them both together, because they are two fundamentally different things. While we fight the first kind of sectarianism, which is class hostile to the party, without compromise or principle and cleanse it from our party, we must patiently and solidly correct, develop, improve and finally master the second kind of sectarianism, namely that of the natural learning process of an unexperienced comrade.

It is not without reason that - in the first phase of party building - Lenin speaks of "propagandist methods" and of the necessary "mere repetition of the truths of 'pure' communism" (Lenin, Volume 31, page 94). So Lenin did not at all turn against the repetition of the truths of 'pure' communism. He emphasized the propagandist methods and skills of propagandists. He was for everything that improved the skill of propaganda, the qualification of the propagandists and against everything that stood in the way of this, that is, against all the propagandistic shortcomings, clumsiness, sectarian methods, etc. etc. Lenin was, however, against such repetitions which could not lead to win over the vanguard of the proletariat, such as the prayer-mill-like sectarian methods of repetition. Study Lenin's propaganda and you will soon understand: what matters in repetition is the infinite variety (not to be confused with duplication in the sense of copying!), the variation and combination of the most varied forms of propaganda, under the most varied conditions of time, space, persons, groups, strata, classes, nationalities, nations, world propaganda, etc., etc. The propagation of communism is, of course, a creative activity, but this includes, first of all, making the spreading of communism available (repeatedly=multiplied) to new forces of society on a mass scale - organizing it! and secondly, that one must never cease to call the truths of 'pure' communism into consciousness again and again (repetition to revolutionize consciousness), especially when one has gradually distanced oneself from the truths of 'pure' communism, but on top of that seems to believe that the repetition of the truths of 'pure' communism is no longer "necessary". One cannot be satisfied with studying the classics of Marxism-Leninism only once - and already knows it all.

In every new situation, for every new problem that arises, we must repeat the study of Marxism-Leninism, we must consult the classical texts again and again to discover and draw new truths from them. The restoration of capitalism is based precisely on this fatal fact that the repetition of the truths of 'pure' communism was criminally neglected, vulgarized, so that communism gradually began to be forgotten. And didn't the revisionists do everything to make the truths of 'pure' communism forgotten? The repetition of the truths of 'pure' communism must not be neglected, either in the phase of winning over the vanguard of the proletariat, or in the phase of winning over the millions of masses to the socialist revolution, neither in the construction of socialism, nor in the struggle against the restoration of capitalism - and certainly not in communist society itself - the dissemination, the repetition of the truths of 'pure communism' always comes first, what else can it be? What if we communists start to put communist propaganda in a lower position, to put other "truths" first instead of the truths of communism? The result will be nothing but the prevailing of bourgeois propaganda. I think that the 4th Party congress had underestimated the significance of the continuation of communist propaganda - mildly said.

No matter on what grounds one displaces propaganda from the main position during the first phase of party building - one must not let oneself be provoked by the fight of the opportunists who equalize "pure" communist propaganda with "dogmatism"! But the fact that the Trotskyite Koch CC later threw overboard the truths of 'pure' communism, that the books of the classics ended up in the dustbin instead of in the hands of the workers, is and remains an irrefutable fact. I think this is probably reason enough to save the party from repeating the untruths of 'pure' Trotskyism - not least through our propagandistic skill.And although already ad been exposed, the "left"-wing doctrinaries were nevertheless satisfied after the 4th Party Congress, because they had succeeded in doing a disservice to the right-wing opportunists. Why was this a disservice to the Trotskyites ? Quite simply because, although the Marxist-Leninists in the party are the only ones who wage a correct fight against "left"-wing sectarianism, the right-wing opportunists appeared on their part on the formal ground of "their" fight against "left"-wing sectarianism, because this fight against "left"-wing sectarianism provides them with the best protection shield against being recognized and exposed as right-wing opportunists. And it was precisely this method that the traitor Horst Dieter Koch and his gang used. If the bourgeoisie had not succeeded in destroying the party with the "left" liquidators in the first step directly, the bourgeoisie was forced to liquidate the party by the hands of the rightist liquidators.
In this and other way, "left"-wing sectarians and right-wing opportunists work hand in hand - even if both currents make a big fuss about how "far apart", how "contrary", how "hostile" they are supposedly. Although the right-wing liquidators had almost liquidated the KPD/ML, the Marxist-Leninists have brought the party back on a Marxist-Leninist course despite the greatest defeat in its history, which in turn forced the bourgeoisie to continue its liquidatory course, was forced to build "left" and right splitting organizations outside and alongside the party, because it has not yet managed to penetrate the KPD/ML to force it to withdraw from Comrade Ernst Aust's revolutionary course.

Propaganda in the first place for winning over the vanguard of the proletariat means: (provided, of course, that the non-revolutionary situation is the given condition. And the KPD/ML had to start from this situation throughout its history until today). First of all, the Marxist-Leninists work out their propaganda in order to carry it into the workers' movement - only by means of their active participation in it, although this participation cannot be so great (in order to influence or even lead the movement to a significant extent) - precisely because of the still relatively weak forces in the first phase of the party's development. In doing so they actively support the concrete demands of the workers as best they can. By means of their communist propaganda the Marxist-Leninists endeavour to raise the consciousness of the workers to a higher level, i.e. to explain their fundamental class interests beyond their interests of the day. In doing so, however, the party must be fully aware of the fact that it is impossible(!) - i.e. objectively, i.e., independently of all its subjective possibilities - to reach and address already the minority, let alone the whole class, but only those class-conscious elements which the spontaneous workers' movement is able to produce at all in a certain phase of its development and which are most receptive to communist propaganda. We must understand - in view of the bourgeois cultural slavery generally prevailing among the workers, especially the prevailing anticommunism - that it is precisely this really infinitesimal number of the most progressive proletarian elements that we can win over as the vanguard of the proletariat in this party-building phase, which basically means nothing other than winning them over as members of our party. To emphasize it once again in the most blatant way. In order to win the vanguard of the proletariat, we must not allow, we must absolutely avoid deterring and repulsing it by repeating the truths of 'pure' communism, but at the same time we cannot objectively avoid or even prevent it, that we cannot yet reach the masses with communist propaganda and cannot even prevent the proletarian class as a whole, and even its majority, from being deterred and repelled (for some time to come) by it (all the more so and for a long time to come because the bourgeois, anti-communist consciousness prevails in the worker! ). Only when we have won the vanguard of the proletariat will we succeed - and this only step by step, in painstaking work - in anchoring the communist consciousness in the working class to the extent that we have managed to make the worker repel the class-alien, bourgeois consciousness, that the masses will no longer be deterred by communist propaganda but primarily by bourgeois propaganda ! We must not equate the quality of anti-communist consciousness not only in the working class but in capitalist society as a whole, not with its quality at the time of the emerging revolutionary workers' movement in Russia, at the time of Lenin.

Lenin taught that the overall interests of a society are higher than the interests of a class, so the party cannot limit itself to directing its propaganda exclusively to the proletariat. The vanguard of the proletariat should consist of proletarians in a ratio of about 8:2 (Lenin), that is, not just "purely" of proletarians (even if we had 100% proletarians at our disposal, because that would be precisely left-wing sectarianism and contradicts Marxism-Leninism, the revolutionary interests of the proletariat! - please refer to Lenin, if there should be any doubt about this), but also from revolutionary forces of all other classes. When we fight against left-wing sectarianism (especially against left-wing sectarian petty-bourgeois intellectuals), we rely not least on that small minority of such intellectuals who consistently and principled represent the proletarian line of the KPD/ML against "left"-wing sectarianism. After all, it was not the proletarian comrades all alone who had fought "left"-wing sectarianism in the KPD/ML, these were also intellectual comrades, and they did not do their thing worse than the proletarian comrades! It is a "left sectarian" mistake to advocate the nonsense that only proletarians could or should fight against "left" sectarianism, even though they are undoubtedly the comrades who must lead the fight against "left" sectarianism (defense of the hegemony of the proletariat also and especially in the communist party, not least by means of communist propaganda)! To expect more from the "mass work" of the party in this phase of development of winning the vanguard of the proletariat than to demand or force "merely" the winning of the vanguard or even beyond it is a "left" sectarian illusion, a childhood disease of communism - as Lenin put it. What is now meant by "left"-wing sectarian propaganda need not be repeated here, because no one other than Ernst could have put it more aptly and more vividly. The KPD/ML had published his lecture again in the early 1990s as a reprinted brochure: "Propaganda" - oder Kampfpartei ? We call on all comrades to learn from it for the future of our party.

The liquidators had hidden their "left" opportunism behind the mask of "Closer to the masses!"
After we had forced their defeat they had learn to continue their attacks hidden behind the formal basis of our Bolshevik struggle against "left" sectarianism. We had sent the petty-bourgeois intellectuals into the factory and into the trade union, but we did not get rid of them, we did not re-educate them, we let them develop as bourgeois, to the extent that they felt strong enough to "re-educate" the party! Of course it is right for intellectual comrades in the working class, in the factory, to be educated by their colleagues, but that alone is not enough to counter the danger of "left"-wing sectarianism. This is not a matter of automatism. Working in a factory among the workers cannot replace the ideological education of intelectuals by the party. If the party underestimates this, there are consequences: From the main fortress of the party, from the factory and trade-union work, i.e. where the best proletarian comrades were actually supposed to anchor the party in the factory, the liquidators seized their power in the party; so to speak, the party fell into their laps through their "factory base" all by itself, in order to liquidate them in this way into degeneration, into ruin. Neither at the time of the Fourth Party Congress nor at any time later was the Party a mass party, but it was a propaganda party in essence, which of course was also (from the beginning) a fighting party. The one does not exclude the other. And now we will complete the most important Lenin quotation in this context:

"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" )Lenin has put the word "pure" in quotation marks here, because communism is not abstract but always concrete, which cannot be otherwise with the quotation marks of the "pure" propaganda or the "pure" propaganda party. In his slogan: "'Propaganda' - or fighting party?", Ernst Aust had also put the word "propaganda party" in quotation marks. The Trotskyite leader, Koch, had "overlooked" the meaning of quotation marks. If one emphasizes the negative meaning of the 'propaganda' party, then one must not underestimate the positive meaning of propaganda, the propaganda in the first place of party building, one must not treat it stepmotherly, but as a Leninist one is obliged to emphasize its importance for the party unconditionally and to defend it against both the right and the "left" opportunism. Is the slogan: 'Propaganda' or fighting party? a slogan for the first stage of party building or also for the second stage of party building ? We are still in the first stage to this day and we have never been anywhere else since the party was founded. This does not depend exclusively on the party, but on many other conditions, including the concrete state of the labour movement itself. This is not a question that cannot be solved with a party congress ! These are the objective conditions of the achieved state of concrete class struggle !

The licentious construction of an "either-or" contradiction between the "propaganda" party or the fighting party is inadmissible, is absolutely anti-Marxist-Leninist - because the party is primarily the carrier of Marxism-Leninism in the labor movement - that was always a principle of the classics of Marxism-Leninism at any time and in any phase of Bolshevik party building. The struggle against "left"-wing sectarianism under the leadership of comrade Ernst Aust was right, necessary and justified. There can be no doubt about that. Be that as it may, there is certainly consensus that this slogan became problematic at least at the moment when the right-wing came to the helm when they not only stopped communist propaganda but replaced it with anti-communist propaganda. It was not when the Communist propaganda in the party gradually deteriorated that we intervened, which would have been necessary, but we did not in time start to defend Communist propaganda, to defend the Marxist-Leninist pillars of the KPD / ML. We did only begin to intervene too late, thus when the Trotskyites had already replaced it by anti-Marxist-Leninist positions of the Trotskyist Koch Central Committee. This showed that the party was not yet able to correctly assess its real position, that it was making progress in the fight against the "left" deviation, but that it was showing serious shortcomings in relation to the right deviation, which already began to emerge at the Fourth Party Congress.
A young party, overwhelemed by revolutionary enthusiasm, often runs the risk of overestimating itself, that is to say overestimating its powers, acting beyond its means, overusing its powers, and overshooting the target, not least in the fight against deviations, against the revisionist danger within its own ranks. To strain the party beyond its powers, to overshoot the target in the struggle against deviations, to allow the opposite deviation space for its development is a sectarian mistake. The party runs the risk of frittering up its forces, putting propaganda back from first to secondary place , which has encouraged anti-party elements to use the lever to liquidate the party at this weak point. The propaganda party and the fighting party are always an inseparable unit for a Bolshevik party - and not only in its first construction phase. It is a characteristic of both the right and the "left" deviation to weaken this unity of the propaganda and split the party, to liquidate the party in this way. With all the efforts in daily practical struggle, one must not neglect ideological vigilance; one must always keep Marxist-Leninist education and upbringing of party members up to date; one must not forget to convince the workers of Communism, to educate them as communist - of course in their fight and not outside of their fight. The introduction of communism from outside does not mean outside of the labor movement, not on the roadside of the labor movement, but in the center of the labor movement, on its barricades, in the factories, in the unions. And we do not only raise our flag at internal party events, but also on the barricades of the workers' movement. We are not afraid and unroll our red flag always there where it can be seen by the workers. Koch, however, gave up the party flag, that was his betrayal.
If you fight among the masses and have no more time to study Marxism-Leninism, if you neglect the ideological party building, then opportunism from all sides becoms dangerous. How should the newly won proletarian comrades lead the party if they are not trained to do so? The decisive reason for the degeneration of the party was not least this growing ideological and theoretical weakness of the party comrades. The old comrades no longer remembered what the party had once taught them, and due to overloading with leading tasks, there was no time left for the necessary further theoretical studies. And the young comrades were given insufficient, fragmentary and thus not thorough knowledge and skills.

Closeness to the masses, the action (not to be confused with spontaneous activism!) Is an essential feature of the revolutionary proletarian fighting party (which it already became with its foundation!), In every phase of its development, the Bolshevik party combines its (communist! ) Agitation and propaganda with its fight as the avantguard of the working class. Only in the first development phase does the mass attachment have a different, a special quality that differs significantly from the quality of the mass attachment of a mass party. Closeness to the masses is not the same in every phase of building the party. This difference shouldn't be equated or be confused. In general, the party cannot lead the masses in its initial phase because it is still too weak, which does not mean that it should not be anchored in the masses and should not be a fighting party from the start. Anchoring in the masses is a prerequisite for being able to lead the masses. But being able to really lead the masses in the first construction phase of the party is at most the case in special revolutionary (exceptional) situations. The fact that the party cannot initially lead the masses is in the nature of the matter, is not a drawback, cannot be eliminated with a two-front fight, but rather corresponds to the laws of class struggle. The Bolshevik party can only cope with such tasks which suit to its given state of development. Therefore, the party should set up only such sort of tasks that it can already perform conscientiously and carefully.

When the 4th Party Congress highlighted the success of the RGO in the works council elections, that is absolutely correct, it shows that the party was on the right course.
But if the 4th Party Congress directly compares it with the results of the RGO of Ernst Thälmann, one can not do the mistake of equating the level of party building of the KPD / ML with the level of the party building of the KPD of Ernst Thälmann. The crucial difference is that the KPD / ML phase was still forging the avant-garde of the proletariat, while the KPD Ernst Thälmanns was already in the phase of conquering the millions, "class against class", and that must not be simply "overlooked".
This mistake had a disastrous effect on the further development KPD / ML, had to gradually exhausted its revolutionary momentum, soon had to weaken the spirit of optimism at the 4th party congress and ended with disappointments, particularly among the proletarian comrades. We lost considerable members because ideal and reality were far apart from each other. The phase of winning the avant-garde of the proletariat must not be mixed up with the phase of winning the millions of masses.It is also true that winning the revolutionary elements of the proletariat is impossible without supporting the struggle of the masses which do produce their leaders from their midsts. Only in this fight we can win and forge the avant-garde.
Skipping a party's phase of development, putting an immature party into the position of a mature party, is nothing but "left"-wing sectarianism.
And rightist opportunism ? Rightist opportunism in the question of hampering the Bolshevik party building is to make the transition to the next phase more difficult , for example by delay, by using spurious, threadbare arguements like this: "The party (or the worker) is not already ripe enough for the next phase." / or: "One should not yet have taken up to arms!" etc.
Rightist opportunism is to force the party in a position of lagging behind the revolutionary movement, in a position of surrender before the bourgeoisie.

Less activities, but more thorough active work would have been better, more solid, would have saved us from exhausting our valuable but limited forces: To give an example: Instead of concentrating on only a small amount of 2-3 large companies for winning proletarians, the party sent all its intellectual comrades feverishly to 30 large companies (like Mao who sent petty-bourgeois intellectuals into the factories and into the fields during the Cultural Revolution) without winning any notable proletarian comrades (i.e. who had long enough worked in these factories). Revolutionary impatience has to be fought, particularly in the work of trade unions. The party did not suffer from a lack of work among the masses, but vice versa, it collapsed under the overloadof too much work among the masses, neglected its task of solidly promoting the ideological building of the party and carrying communism into the masses fulfill. The construction of `umpteen mass organizations was knitted with a hot needle, whereby the party itself fell by the wayside and thus did not grow and strengthen as a result, but on the contrary, lost more and more members. However, we did not become suspicious about this. The whole mass organization hysteria was a remnant of left-wing sectarianism that Koch could use to ultimately break the party's neck. He dissolved the leading role of the party in the mass organizations. In the end, the mass organizations actually were broken away from the party. The party was not orientated to lead the working class away from pure trade unionism and to transform it into an independent political force.. Instead of becoming a fighting party that will one day lead the proletariat to revolutionary power, the Koch Trotskyites transformed the KPD / ML into an appendage, into a serviceable element of their Trotskyist aims. The Trotskyites tried to destroy the KPD/ML as the fighting party for the socialist revolution. This was the main goal of the Koch-Trotskyists in the service of the bourgeoisie.Comrade Stalin had referred to the actual term "fighting party" in relation to a certain period, the new period, namely "the period of open class clashes, the period of revolutionary actions by the proletariat, the period of the proletarian revolution, the period of direct preparation of the forces for the overthrow of imperialism, for the proletariat to seize power ”(Foundations of Leninism, Chapter VIII: The Party).

This "militant party", as defined by Stalin, could not yet be the KPD / ML at the time of its Fourth Party Congress. A "militant party", that is the Bolshevik party especially in its second phase of party building, in the phase of mass struggles up to the struggle for power, namely when the revolutionary situation has matured. At the time of the Fourth Party Congress, however, no revolutionary situation had ripened, and which has not ripened to this day, even after 30 years. Stalin defined the party's new tasks in the revolutionary situation as follows:

"The new period is one of open class collisions, of revolutionary action by the proletariat, of proletarian revolution, a period when forces are being directly mustered for the overthrow of imperialism and the seizure of power by the proletariat. In this period the proletariat is confronted with new tasks, the tasks of reorganizing all party work on new, revolutionary lines; of educating the workers in the spirit of revolutionary struggle for power; of preparing and moving up reserves; of establishing an alliance with the proletarians of neighbouring countries; of establishing firm ties with the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries, etc., etc. To think that these new tasks can be performed by the old Social-Democratic Parties, brought up as they were in the peaceful conditions of parliamentarism, is to doom one-self to hopeless despair, to inevitable defeat. If, with such tasks to shoulder, the proletariat remained under the leadership of the old parties, it would be completely unarmed. It scarcely needs proof that the proletariat could not consent to such a state of affairs.

    Hence the necessity for a new party, a militant party, a revolutionary party, one bold enough to lead the proletarians in the struggle for power, sufficiently experienced to find its bearings amidst the complex conditions of a revolutionary situation, and sufficiently flexible to steer clear of all submerged rocks in the path to its goal.

    Without such a party it is useless even to think of overthrowing imperialism, of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat." (Foundations of Leninism, Chapter VIII: The Party)

Needless to say, at the time of its fourth party convention, our party did not have “enough experience at all to find its way in the complicated circumstances of the revolutionary situation.” Rather, the decision to end the first phase of party building showed that we had not yet once enough experience to find our way in the much simpler, "quieter" situation of the non-revolutionary situation. The militant party in Stalin's sense therefore presupposes not only subjective, but also objective conditions. In the strictest sense of Lenin and Stalin, one can differentiate the development of party building, i.e. the two party building phases, in that the party in its first building phase is more of a propaganda party in character and in the second building phase it is more of a militant party, although one does not make the mistake to regard this relationship as an irreconcilable contradiction, to contrast both, because both form an inseparable, dialectical unity in the entire party development, the one does not develop without the other - namely from beginning with the founding up to the complete party development.Accordingly, there are objective and subjective weaknesses in the party, which should not be equated or confused.
So it came to the alignment of comrade Ernst's slogan: "'Propaganda' party OR fighting party". The word "or" in this slogan leads to confusion and one-sidedness. There is no alternative between Propaganda-party and Fighting party. The Bolshevik party is always both a party of communist propaganda and a fighting party of the working class. Exaggerating one side of the party's work leads to the detriment of the other, and this has harmful consequences for the party. We can neither defend the fighting party against the propaganda party nor defend the propaganda party against the fighting party. The One leads to the rightist, the other to the "leftist" deviation of the party. It is the task of the Bolshevik Party to carry communism into the masses, into the fighting masses, of course - not only with leaflets, but also with our fists, to put it vividly. Basically, that was what comrade Ernst Aust meant and demanded when he spoke of "'propaganda' or fighting party?"! And in this direction of Comrade Ernst Aust, we Marxist-Leninists in the party also understood the struggle against "left"-wing sectarianism. Of course, the liquidators of the party understood and interpreted this only in their own way.
If the party renounces its (Marxist-Leninist!) Propaganda, then it is no longer a Bolshevik party (and that was the goal of the liquidating Koch clique). The banner of the revolutionary class movement of workers is Marxism-Leninism and the KPD / ML has to ensure the further development of revolutionary theory and its application in practice and at the same time protect it from distortion and flattening. But he party is also the avant-garde and part of the working class and thus leader and at least participant in the daily class struggle, not only part, but the leading part of the labor movement and thus a practically active fighting party against the capitalists and their state. A party that is not consistently anchored in the masses cannot become a fighting party, cannot become a Bolshevik party. But if this fighting party does not fight for socialism, if it has not worked out the revolutionary theory beforehand, what should it fight for without guidance on revolutionary action? The very essence of a Bolshevik party is to unite all the revolutionary characteristics of a fighting party and a propaganda party, otherwise it could not possibly make the connection between the labor movement and scientific socialism, which ultimately constitutes the real essence of the party. And neither as a pure fighting party nor as a pure propaganda party can it establish this connection. By itself, communism does not reach the masses. For this, the communists need an organization, the communist party, which takes part in the class struggle. Because: The masses can only be convinced by communism if they see that the communists have an organization that is visible in the workers' movement, in the class struggle - not only in its appearance, but also in terms of content, as Ernst Aust taught us. That means nothing else than that the Communist Party matches in theory and practice, in word and deed. And thus concerns also its identification BY the masses, BY the masses [= omnipresence , recognizability, persuasiveness of the party, appearance of the comrades as personified, publicly visible bearers of the party in the labor movement, etc. etc.]). So: unlike in the daily class struggle, you cannot do communist propaganda work without drifting into the sectarian waters. This is exactly what Comrade Ernst Aust taught at the Fourth Party Congress. The Bolshevik Party is the party of the working class that merges both the workers 'movement and scientific socialism into a revolutionary movement, that is, it promotes and strengthens the socialist workers' movement in every respect. Without a propaganda party, the communist party is only a fighting party that worships the spontaneous labor movement and not a conscious, revolutionary party of Marxism-Leninism. So if you defend the fighting party against the propaganda party, then the slogan "To the masses!" runs danger of being drown in the spontaneous mass movement and thus means to make the party superfluous = liquidation!
It runs the risk of drifting into a rightist waterway., the creation of mass organizations accelerates precisely this dangerous development, if the mass organizations are made to be the driving force, levers of right-wing development in the party. And this is exactly the direction in which the party has deviated from the Marxist-Leninist course. Everything was turned upside down: the Marxist-Leninists, led by comrade Ernst Aust, were finally antagonized as "left-wing sectarians" (!). Under the slogan: "main danger =" left "we were beaten by the right with our own anti-"left"-opportunist weapons!

The slogan: "'Propaganda' or fighting party" was initially misleading, and later, when the main right-wing danger increased, it also became clear that this was fatal for the further development of the party. Comrade Ernst Aust felt these consequences firsthand and we all Marxist-Leninist comrades with him, who were loyal to him and to the party. We have had to pay dearly for the correct fight of the party both against the "left" and right liquidators. The 4th party congress had achieved very well that the "left"-wing sectarianism could no longer act as openly as before, that it had to bow to the correct orientation towards the practical class struggle of the proletariat, but with the orientation "main danger = 'left'-wing sectarianism" the party has helped the right-wing liquidators to gradually bury our Marxist-Leninist positions. Going into the masses does not simultaneously mean leaving Marxism-Leninism, because that is right = adoration of the spontaneity of the labor movement, is nothing but a disdain of the necessity of bringing scientific socialism into the labor movement. So it came about that at first there was less and less to be read in the “Red Morning” about the Communist positions of the party, and later that anti-Communist positions were taken instead. The “Red Morning” developed from the central organ of a Bolshevik party to a central organ of a Trotskyist, anti-Marxist-Leninist party. When a party stops communist propaganda, it stops being a Bolshevik party.
With our fight against "left"-wing sectarianism, we wanted to eliminate the Trotskyist form of bureaucratic centralism, methods of commanding, as well as the Trotskyist form of party's "democracy", the intellectual discussion club - but finally the party ended up exactly in the hands of the Trotskyists in 1985.

On page 85, Ernst Aust reported:

"We must never forget that the wrong steps and mistakes of the movement can only be prevented, "if", as Lenin said, "one has constantly the 'ultimate aim' in view, only by appraising every step of the 'movement' and every reform from the point of view of the general revolutionary struggle, is it possible to guard the movement against false steps and shameful mistakes.” (Lenin, Volume 5, page 74).


“Under no circumstances is it permissible, as has been observed recently, that the party and the Red Guard are no longer acting independently. Under no circumstances is it permissible to neglect party work in the factory, for example the publication of party factory newspapers, when building up the revolutionary trade union opposition ”. (Page 86).
"It is correct that the party and the Red Guard - in whatever form - take together part in mass demonstrations in the economic and political struggle. But here they also have to make their advertisement by themselves by means of their own leaflets or newspaper sales. "


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.

(End of the excerpt of the self-critical comment of comrade Wolfgang Eggers. The whole, complete text is only available in German language).

 

 

 

 

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