Date:    Mon, 02 Jun 1997 19:40:37 -0700
To:      marxism-international@jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
From:    Ben Seattle 
Subject: M-I: (POF-4) The German Social-Democratic Party & the Great Betrayal

Comrades and friends,

This is a brief survey.  Some of you may be able to supply necessary
correction to the history that I sketch out here.

       __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/

                           Chapter 4

                The German Social-Democratic Party
                      and the Great Betrayal
       __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/ __/

     "The European war of 1914-15 is doubtlessly
      beginning to do some good by revealing
      to the advanced class of the civilized countries
      what a foul and festering abscess
      has developed within its parties,
      and what an unbearably putrid stench
      comes from some source."
           -- Lenin, May-June 1915
           "The Collapse of the Second International"

Most of us know (or should know) something of the history of the German
Social-Democratic Party (the original communist party, advised and assisted
by Marx and Engels) which, on August 4, 1914, solemnly declared "In the
hour of danger we will not leave our fatherland unprotected" and voted for
war credits--and thereby put its stamp of approval on the mutual slaughter
of worker by worker known as the first World War.

             *                    *                    *

The German Social-Democratic Party consisted of something like an alliance
between different sections.  Some of these sections were further from the
conditions of the working class (and closer to a comfortable life-style)
than others.  When push came to shove (it always does) these sections
betrayed (they always do).  The problem was that the section which did not
betray (which became the Spartacists) found that, without the other
sections, it *lacked an apparatus* to communicate its views to the workers.

The historic failure of the left in Germany was not that they carried on
various forms of collaboration with a section which would eventually betray
the workers--but that for too long they were *organizationally dependent*
on this section.  The German lefts failed to build an independent
organization that could skillfully combine legal and illegal work and
function in the face of repression.  When the crisis hit (with the
declaration of war in August 1914 and the largely spontaneous revolution at
war's end in November 1918) the left was organizationally unprepared.  When
it counted, it seems that the Sparticists in Germany had no ruthlessly firm
centralizing force (ie: unlike the Bolsheviks had built over the years) to
guide the revolutionary enthusiasm of the workers and crush the
counter-revolution.  Because of this error, the centers of revolution in
each local area were one by one suppressed.  For this error, the principal
leaders of the left (Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Leibnecht and others) paid with
their lives.

4a. communication and competition

    "When you inquire into the causes
     of the counter-revolutionary successes,
     you are met on every hand with the reply
     that it was Mr. This or Citizen That who 'betrayed' the people,
     which reply may be very true or not, according to circumstances,
     but under no circumstances does it explain anything--
     it does not even show how it came to pass that
     the 'people' allowed themselves to be thus betrayed."
          -- Karl Marx, "Revolution and Counter-Revolution"

    "A very great defect in revolutionary Marxism
     in Germany as a whole is its lack
     of a compact illegal organization
     that would systematically pursue its own line
     and educate the masses in the spirit of the new tasks;
     such an organization would also have to take
     a definite stand on opportunism and Kautskyism."
           -- Lenin, July 1916, "The Junius Pamphlet"

Communication (between revolutionaries and workers) and the need for open
competition (between the revolutionary and reformist trends for the support
and allegiance of workers) are two themes that strike me as being of
interest here.  If, during the pre-war period, the left wing of the German
Social-Democratic Party (SDAP) had built its own independent organization,
with its own press organs and the ability to put out illegal literature in
the face of repression, it would have been in a much stronger position to:
a) educate the masses in the spirit of militant organization and 
b) expose the growing opportunism of the right-wing (mainly
   the trade union leaders and the more open reformists) and
   the center (Kautsky and much of the leadership) of the SDAP.

I should point out here that creating such independent organization would
not necessarily have been easy nor would it have guaranteed victory when
the inevitable crisis hit.  It is speculation to say that an entirely
different turn of events might have taken place.  Science does not permit
us to know the answers to such questions.  But such questions, about the
past, are not the issue anyhow.  The issue--is to apply these lessons today.

In reviewing some of the obstacles faced by the revolutionary wing of this
party, I am, somewhat artificially, dividing these obstacles into (1)
government repression and (2) the actions of the reformists who came to
dominate the party.  As the collaboration of the reformists and the German
military authorities developed, eventually there remained, as we shall see,
less and less distinction between them.

4b. Government censorship and repression

   "Not only in wartime but positively in any acute political
    situation, to say nothing of periods of revolutionary mass
    action of any kind, the governments of even the _freest_
    bourgeois countries will threaten to dissolve the legal
    organizations, seize the funds, arrest the leaders, and
    threaten other 'practical consequences' of the same kind."
          -- Lenin ("The Collapse of the Second International")

The German government steadily harrassed and censored the SDAP in the
entire period of its existence prior to the war.  The SDAP was formed (more
or less) in the period from 1863 to 1875.  (It was the founding Gotha
Congress of 1875 which prompted Marx to write the famous "Critique of the
Gotha Program" where he summarized a communist economy as: "From each
according to his ability, to each according to his needs!".)  Prussian law
forbid the formation of regionwide and state wide organizations and the
German party developed a quasi-legal system of "Vertrauenesmann" (ie: a
system of trusted contacts) to connect the local bodies.

The anti-socialist law (1878-1890) was introduced by Bismark which outlawed
the party, trade unions and the legal socialist press.  Electoral activity
was the only activity the law permitted.  By September 1879 the SDAP had
set up an illegal paper "Sozialdemocrat" that was printed in Switzerland
and smuggled into Germany.  Despite relatively heavy repression, the SDAP
increased its vote in the Reichstag elections from half a million in 1877
to 1.4 million by 1890 and became the largest political party in the
country.  By 1895, the party had 75 papers, 39 of which were dailies and
some of which had circulations over 100,000.

After the period of the anti-socialist law, there were still heavy
restrictions on what could be said in the legal press.  The Erfurt Congress
of 1891, for example, could not legally include in its program the demand
for a republic in Germany.

Youth groups, which sprang up spontaneously around the party in 1904-1906,
were illegal in most of Germany and by 1908 were illegal in all of it.  In
1907, Karl Leibnecht was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for his
pamphlet "Militarism and Anti-Militarism".

By the time of the first World War military censorship of all publications
prevailed and meetings to discuss anti-war politics were suppressed.  By
1916 the revolutionary wing of the party had finally organized itself
independently and was known as the Spartacists.  But without an
organization experienced in fighting repression, they did not have an easy
time of it.  In 1916 Liebnecht is arrested for "treasonous" statements in
his May Day speech.  Shortly thereafter Luxemburg, Mehring, Dunker and
countless other radicals are arrested under military orders of preventive
detention.  After the November 1918 revolution broke out, the reformist
wing of the party (which by now had finally manuevered itself into ruling
the country--as puppets of the military authorities) collaborated in the
assassinations of the imprisoned Luxemburg and Liebnecht. [4.1]

4c. Censorship of revolutionaries by reformists 

   "In the long run such a policy can only lead one's own party
    astray.  They push general, abstract political questions into the
    foreground, thereby concealing the immediate concrete questions,
    which at the moment of the first great events, the first political
    crisis, automatically pose themselves.  What can result from this
    except that at the decisive moment the party suddenly proves
    helpless and that uncertainty and discord on the most decisive
    issues reign in it because these issues have never been
          -- Engels to Kautsky, June 29, 1891
             (quoted by Lenin in "State and Revolution")

It should be noted that from the beginning the German Social-Democratic
Party was something of a mixed bag.  Opportunist views had always
circulated thru it.  Revolutionary views were often opposed or suppressed.
Marx and Engels both criticized the program of the founding conference at
Gotha.  Marx wrote his letter to Bracke (ie: the famous "Critique of the
Gotha Program") on May 5, 1875.  This letter was not published until 1891.
The letter of Engels to Babel in March 1875 was published thirty-six years
later, in 1911.

Engels wrote "Anti-Duhring" as a series of articles between September 1876
and July 1878 in order to oppose the rising influence of the reformist
Duhring.  One supporter of Duhring, Most, put forward a resolution at the
Congress of 1877 aimed at prohibiting the publication of these articles in
the party's central paper, "Vorwarts", on the grounds that, supposedly
"they do not interest the majority of the readers".  Another, Wahlteich,
wrote that Engels' articles had caused great damage to the party and added:
"let the professors engage in polemics if they care to do so, but the
Vorwarts is not the place in which to conduct them".  The prestige of Marx
and Engels, however, was such that the articles appeared with only a slight

Following the end of the anti-socialist law (1878-1890) there were
manifestations of struggle in the party between reformist and revolutionary
views.  Engels, near the end of his life, played a role here in denouncing
the opportunist and reformist views which would eventually come to dominate
the party.  In his June 29, 1891 letter to Kautsky (quoted immediately
above) Engels warned of the opportunism springing from "fearing a renewal
of the Anti-Socialist Law".  This letter was suppressed for ten years and
only published in 1901.

Bernstein provided a theoretical voice for all the reformist trends in the
party beginning around 1896.  There was a period of struggle against this
and Berstein's reformist theories were condemned by the Dresden Congress in
1903.  But the reformists views, while "officially" rejected, continued to
guide the actions and practice of the reformist wing of the party, centered
around the trade unions and the Reichstag deputies.  The rot continued to

The Russian revolution of January 1905 had a big influence in Germany.  A
strike of miners in the Ruhr basin broke out and rapidly spread out of the
control of union leaders to the whole mining region.  The strike involved
both organized and unorganized workers and raised not only economic demands
but a political demand that the Prussian state take responsibility for the
conditions in the mines.  The trade union leaders were unable to stop this
strike so they resorted to the tactic of leading it and then calling it
off.  By this time there were sections of the party press which were
denouncing this treachery.

The Jena Congress of 1905 reorganized the party somewhat.  By this time the
party had left, right and center sections but the left section seems to
have had had no *independent organization* within the party.  Rather, the
center of the party worked to keep the lefts captive to the illusion that
the party *as a whole* had a capacity for revolutionary development.

I will make a short note here.  I am not terribly familiar with any of this
history.  I have gotten most of my information from Lenin's "State and
Revolution" and a 1991 report from the Boston comrades of the defunct
Marxist-Leninist Party.  But I think it should be clear to readers today
that, certainly by this point, the revolutionary wing of the German
Social-Democratic Party should have been working to create their *own*
organization, similar to the way the Bolsheviks in Russia had created their
own independent organization.  Unfortunately, this did not happen for
another ten years, and then only in the midst of martial law and extremely
difficult conditions.

The revolutionary wing of the party was catching on to the irreconcilable
nature of the struggle against the reformist wing (which wanted to build
the party along lines that would leave it incapable of defying the
restrictions of bourgeois legality).  For example, Rosa Luxemburg (probably
in 1906) wrote:

     "The plain truth is that August [Babel--the leader
      of the German party] and still more the others,
      have pledged themselves to ... parliamentarism,
      and whenever anything happens that transcends
      the limits of parliamentary action, they are
      hopeless--no, worse that hopeless, because
      they do their utmost to force the movement
      back into parliamentary channels."

Rosa Luxemburg, about this time, wrote "Mass Strike, Party and Trade
Unions" which opposed the reformist wing of the party and their sabotage of
the motion towards mass economic and political strikes.  I have not read
this work, but the report I have indicates that the organizational views it
contained were quite weak.

Liebnecht, at the Mannheim Congress in 1906, proposes sustained
anti-militarist agitation among the youth but this is quashed by the party
leadership.  As we have seen, Liebnecht took this up on his own and was
imprisoned for his efforts the following year.  I think what this shows is
that such work could not be successfully carried out:
(a) by a party such as the German Social-Democratic Party
    (which appears to have been too far gone by then)
(b) by a small group in the absense of an organization
    capable of skillfully carrying out illegal work.

The relationship between the party leadership and the German military
authorities is continuing to develop.  Relationships such as this are
everyday events in politics and often are carried out with no "paper
trail".  But, prior to Liebnecht's arrest, an exchange takes place during
the Reichstag budget debates which partially illustrates this development:
Two of the party delegates are trying to be as patriotic as anyone else.
They say they would vote for the military budget under certain conditions
and add that they oppose harsh military discipline because it impedes
fighting efficiency.  The war minister responds that this is a welcome
stand but that if they really mean it==they should suppress the left press
in the party that is putting out anti-militarist propaganda, especially
Liebnecht, and suppress the youth movement that is carrying on propaganda
that undermines the national defense.  In this way the bourgeoisie points
out to the party leadership what they must do.

In 1908, in connection with new laws making youth groups illegal, the party
leadership works hard to skillfully liquidate this phenomena.  The party
tells the youth groups that if they disband, that it will set up a central
commission for agitation among youth manned by those over 18 and provide
legal cover for their work.  Some of the youth groups submitted to this and
some did not, but it provides a good example of how the party was by now
working to suppress independent political motion that was unacceptable to
the bourgeosie.

In February-April 1910, street demonstrations over lack of voting rights
break out at the same time as massive strikes by miners and construction
workers.  Luxemburg submits an article to "Vorwarts" (the main party
newspaper) saying that the party must work to support and develop this
motion or it will peter out.  Vorwarts refuses to print Luxemburg's article
and also censors out references to discussion supporting a mass strike
which is taking place at rallies and meetings.

Finally, in December 1913, Luxemburg starts up a periodical outside of the
party press, called "Socialist Notes".  Not too long after this, in
July-August, the war breaks out and martial law conditions prevail.  The
left, now known as the Sparticists, holds its first national conference on
January 1, 1916 at Karl Leibnecht's home in Berlin.  The Sparticists, in
addition to independent work, remain in the German Social-Democratic Party
(until they are expelled a year later) in order to:

   "cross-up and combat the policy of the majority in every way,
    to protect the masses from the imperialist policy pursued
    under the cloak of Social Democracy, and to use the party
    as a recruiting ground for the proletarian, anti-militarist
    class struggle".

This, in my view, was the correct attitude.  Unfortunately, by this time
much of the leadership of the Sparticists was in prison.

4d. Communist Cooperation and Competition with Reformists

   "The complete organizational severance of this element
    from the workers' parties has become imperative.
    The epoch of imperialism cannot permit the existence,
    in a single party, of the revolutionary proletariat's
    vanguard and the semi-petty-bourgeois aristocracy ...
    The old theory that opportuism is a 'legitimate shade'
    in a single party that knows no 'extremes' has now
    turned into a tremendous deception of the workers
    and a tremendous hindrance to the working class movement."
          -- Lenin, "The Collapse of the Second International"

Some readers may ask why I pose the tasks of the German revolutionaries as
forming their own separate organization--instead of simply purging the
reformists from the party as the reformist trend took root and developed.
After all, this logic goes, if the party is created to be a revolutionary
party, should it not fight to keep its revolutionary character ?  Why
should the revolutionary wing abandon the old party to a bunch of
reformists ?  Isn't this just like letting a bunch of creeps take over your
home ?

The first point here is that, various tactical considerations aside, there
is no big difference *in principle* between (a) the revolutionaries kicking
out the reformists or (b) instead simply creating their own organization.
The result is similar in both cases.  If the reformists are kicked out they
will simply form their own party of reformism.

Hence the differences between the two policies (a) and (b) above--amount
mainly to tactical considerations.  These revolve around such matters as
(a) the relative strength of the two sides and (b) questions concerning the
*political clarity* which is created in the process.

Often, in such a struggle, there are large numbers of people who are
undecided on the merits of the two sides--unclear on the consequences of
the ideology and practical activity of each trend.  Clarity in such
struggles often is only achieved as the result of *years* of very complex
struggle.  For example, it is not always the case that the reformists in
such a situation will create a banner on which is enscribed: "We are
reformists and will always crawl before the wishes and desires of the
bourgeoisie".  Things just don't work that way.

Further, there is often considerable sentiment from workers (usually
justified) that the various trends should cooperate (to a minimum extent)
in order to make progress on key tasks that everyone supposedly agrees on.
The reformists are frequently compelled, in this situation, to cooperate
with the revolutionaries--in order to avoid being exposed before the
workers as slimy opportunists.  The revolutionary trend in such a situation
is faced with the task (a common task for communists) of learning how to
cooperate with the reformists in such a way that they do not sacrifice
their integrity nor make unclear the differences between the revolutionary
and reformist orientation.  To the contrary, revolutionaries use such work
as an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of reformist
politics--and to win over sections who are wavering between one side and
the other.  As we will see, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were masters of
this--and that is why they were able to win the ultimate contest with the
reformists--by overthrowing them in 1917.

At a certain point, the struggle between the revolutionary and reformist
trends reaches a point of great clarity--and the actions of the reformists
*can be seen as open treachery* by workers.  At this point--for the
revolutionaries to remain in a common organization with the reformists
degrades the clarity with which the treachery of the reformists is seen.
This is the point of which Lenin speaks (in the quote above) of the
necessity for "complete organizational severence".  The Bolsheviks
maintained formal unity with the Mensheviks until January 1912.  By that
time their differences had matured, the Mensheviks were exposed and the
Bolsheviks had won over many workers--who by now were relatively clear that
it no longer made sense to demand that the Bolsheviks attempt to unite with
the Mensheviks. 

Even then, situations may come up where communists form a temporary bloc
with bourgeois or liberal trends in order to defeat a more pressing and
dangerous enemy.  This was the basis for the Bolsheviks assisting the
"socialist" Kerensky against the general Kornilov.  This was also the basis
for what should have been a bloc between the communists and
social-democrats in Germany against Hitler.

And this was the basis for the cooperation (to the extent that it took
place) between Mao's communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang against
the Japanese occupation of China.  Chiang hardly bothered to fight the
Japanese in the course of this temporary alliance with the communists--but
as a result of this--millions of Chinese decided that it was the communist
side that deserved support.  And tactics such as this led to the victory of
the communists in 1949.

Such tactics are often refered to as "United Front" tactics although I am
avoiding use of that term for now--because it has been so misused and
abused over the years to justify abandonment of independent working class
politics, especially as a result of the 7th Congress of the Comintern in
1935 (the "Dimitrov" congress, the "United Front Against Fascism").

4e. Reformist pressure transmitted via human medium

    "This forgetting of the great, the principal considerations for
    the momentary interests of the day, this struggling and striving
    for the success of the moment regardless of later consequences,
    this sacrifice of the future of the movement for its present may be
    'honestly' meant, but it is and remains opportunism, and 'honest'
    opportunism is perhaps the most dangerous of all...."
          -- Engels to Kautsky, June 29, 1891

No one can be a communist without having the bitter lessons of the history
of the German Social-Democratic Party, called by Engels (in "Anti-Duhring")
"the most revolutionary party history has known", etched forever in their
hearts.  The first epic struggle between revolutionary Marxism and
bourgeois reformism was fought in this party.  Revolutionary Marxism did
not win.  The reformist wing of the party gained strength over the years,
gradually securing a stranglehold over the party, while the revolutionary
wing engaged in daydreams.  The reformist wing finally achieved its aim of
state power--as fig leaves for and puppets of the general staff of the
German military high command [again, see note 4.1].  This is why the term
"Social-Democracy", which once represented revolutionary politics, is today
something of a cuss word in radical circles which oppose reformism.

While the circumstances of life in the modern world of the twenty-first
century will be far different than those of the nineteenth--the lessons of
this epic struggle, in which the immense pressure of reformism remained,
for too long, unopposed by *independent communist organization* --are as
fresh today as they have ever been.

             *                    *                    *

The trajectory of the German Social-Democratic Party was not some kind of
fluke but the result of a long and steady process of corrosion.  Similar
struggles between reformist and revolutionary trends took place in Germany,
Britain, Russia, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France and
Belgium.  On average, more than 90% of the leadership in each party
betrayed the workers and supported the war.  In Russia, also, the reformist
wing of "socialism" took power as an instrument of the bourgeoisie.  But
there the Bolsheviks overthrew them a few months later. ;-)

There are many lessons from the transformation of "the most revolutionary
party history has known" to an instrument of the German general staff.
This brief treatment cannot do these lessons justice.  But one conclusion
(which, I am convinced, is not fully appreciated by *the great majority* of
those who consider themselves marxists *today*) concerns *the means* by
which the pressure of reformism is transmitted to revolutionary
organizations and parties.  No words on paper (nor bytes in cyberspace) can
convey the all-consumming nature of this pressure to those who have not
fought it tooth and nail for years.

The pressure of reformism in transmitted not via the *threat of repression*
nor the *power of ideology* alone.  The pressure of reformism is
transmitted via a *human* medium -- a specific and *definite strata* of the
population whose *material interests* and political agendas are closely
bound to bourgeois interests.

This strata is frequently found at the heads of trade unions,
social-service agencies, media outlets, university faculties, non-profit
and religious institutions and many other venues.  This strata acts as a
*transmission belt* for bourgeois influence.

Revolutionary organizations find that the reformist pressure is transmitted
via a variety of *carrots and sticks* (ie: various forms of support,
assistance, endorsements and favorable publicity) which are given or taken
away on the basis of how well the organization conforms to the requirements
of *bourgeois respectability* (and bourgeois legality) and keeps its
distance from tactics which empower the masses and draw them into motion.

The pressure of this force can bend and break the most determined resolve
and the most sterling character with the same ease as a black hole can
swallow a planet or a star.  The pressure exerts itself as a corrupting
force which is presented as a series of "useful" compromises (ie: tone down
this leaflet just a bit because it will alienate us from the xyz strata,
who are useful allies for the struggle).

Revolutionary organizations face this pressure constantly, in which they
are offered (in various ways) concrete support and assistance (and
"success") from this strata--in the here and now-- *in exchange* for
abandoning (or deviating) from the decisive principles which can only yield
results over time.  Revolutionary organizations must deal with this
pressure and this strata with clarity and precision--because this strata
will be found around every corner and, if not dealt with consciously, has
the power to corrupt any would-be revolutionary force just as it did the
German party that was the focus of the attention and devotion of Marx and
Engels themselves.

The "agents" of this pressure, the individual human beings who transmit it,
are, as often as not, completely unconscious of the role they are playing.
Such people are consciously or unconsciously focused on their own material
interests and unaware of the bigger picture.  Not so the bourgeoisie !

The bourgeoisie is an extremely intelligent and *highly conscious* class.
They only pretend to be stupid to outsmart the fools, who seldom seem to be
in short supply.

The mechanisms involved here can be seen in the history of this first great
revolutionary party.  By 1895, as we have seen, the party had 75 papers,
more than half of them daily.  The combined circulation was in the hundreds
of thousands (or millions).  This press was very useful.  It linked the
party to the workers, reinforced a sense of class consciousness among the
workers and freed the workers from dependence on non-socialist sources of
news.  The press also provided employment for party intellectuals, freeing
them up to do research and journalistic work that would not have been
possible otherwise.  But the press on this scale had to be legal to
maintain the number of people it employed.  And this became a factor for
conservatism.  There was now a group of people in the party who would lose
their livelihood if the party lost its legal status.  And this would create
opinion in favor of conciliation to the government to maintain this status.

This, of course, is a small and modest example, of how the pressure of
reformism acts like the pressure of water miles under the surface the
ocean, penetrating every crack and crevice, no matter how tiny--pushing
with immense corrupting force everywhere at once and testing everything and
everyone.  No one who has not fought this force in the most bitter
circumstances can fully grasp its nature or its power.  This is how the
world works.

And the first, second and third items on the agenda for any would-be
communist organization--is how to resist this force.

   "But the whole thing is crystal-clear.  The immense strength
    of the opportunists and the chauvinists stems from
    *their alliance* with the bourgeoisie, with the governments ..."
          -- Lenin, "The Collapse of the Second International"

Today, in the U.S., countless examples could be given of political trends
which represent the influence of a strata tied to the bourgeoisie.  Of
these dozens (hundreds, thousands) of examples, one that is close to a
"classic textbook" example--is the newly formed "Labor Party".  Many
leftists and even "Marxists" swarm around the Labor Party like flies around
shit.  They imagine that if they eat enough particles of poop--that they
will be able to *transform* this piece of shit into something which smells
wonderful.  But no matter how many leftists kiss the ass of its
leadership--organizations such as the Labor Party are creatures *of, by and
for* the corrupt trade union hacks and are tied with a thousand and one
threads to the very conscious class which permits their existence.
Transform it ?  It would be easier to turn lead into gold.  

(to be continued)


Next week:  Lenin overcomes the "narrow circle spirit" (1902)
            and creates a party within a party (1903-1911)



[Note 4.1]

     The alliance (and the secret telephone line)
     between the head of the German Social-Democratic Party
     and the High Command of the German military

The following is from "Fascism and Social-Revolution" by R. Palme Dutt
(reprinted in 1974 by Proletarian Publishers in San Francisco, U.S.)
Chapter 6 ("How Fascism Came to Germany")
Section 1 ("The Strangling of the 1918 Revolution") pages 131-133:

"But the Social Democratic Government ... confirmed and protected the old
regime; maintaining the bureacracy and all reactionary institutions ...
ordered the disarming of the workers; and armed and equiped special
counter-revolutionary corps under the most reactionary monarchist officers ...

"What led the Social Democractic leadership to act in this fashion ... ?

"Blindness, folly, stupidity is the common answer of those who still seek
to apologise for them, in the face of the terrible sequel of their acts.

"But in fact the Social Democratic leaders acted with full consciousness of
what they were doing, and could not act otherwise on the basis of their
whole line.  For their one thought in 1918-19, as their subsequent memoirs
have abundantly shown, was to "save Germany from Bolshevism," that is, in
fact, to save the capitalist regime--always in the name of "democracy".
But they could only accomplish this in alliance with the most reactionary
and militarist classes as the sole force to crush the working class. ...

"The direct alliance of Hindenburg and President Ebert, the leader of
Social-Democracy, was formally sealed in an exchange of letters.
Hindenburg wrote to President Ebert in December 1918:

     "I address you because I have been told that you, too,
      as a true German, love the Fatherland above everything,
      suppressing personal opinions and desires ...
      In this spirit I have concluded an alliance with you
      to save our people from a threatening collapse."

"General Groener, Chief of the German General Staff at the time of the
November Revolution, gave the same evidence in the course of a libel case
at Munich in November 1925, that an "alliance" was concluded between the
old monarchist General Staff and Social Democracy to defeat Bolshevism.  He

     "On November 10, 1918, I had a telephone conversation
      with Ebert, and we concluded an alliance to fight
      Bolshevism and Sovietism and restore law and order. ...
      Every day between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. the staff of the
      High Command talked to Ebert on a special secret telephone.
      From November 10 our immediate object was to wrest power
      in Berlin out of the hands of the Councils of Workers'
      and Soldiers' Deputies."

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