SPD, and Nazis

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Thu Feb 15 16:02:58 MST 1996

I wanted to comment on Gary's thoughtful return contribution on
the rise of Nazism in the 30's of [Wed, 14 Feb 1996 16:44:08 +1000]

I welcome the large amount of research detail and the attempt
particularly shown by the different voting patterns at different times
to look at the political system as a whole.

This is a contribution to the reanalysis of marxist history in a
forum that contains supporters of many tendencies, and it raises the
question of how we look with fresh and less dogmatic eyes at important
turning points in 20th century history.

I have reservations however about asking even colloquially whether the
SPD or the KPD were the "villains" of the story. But I have to admit
I think the main responsibility still falls on the KPD in this sense-
that its line (and indeed the "class against class line" which
dominated the Comintern from the later twenties) was seriously

It was replaced in 1935 with the line of the United Front against
Fascism which I feel too many contributors on this list assume
automatically implies a line of passive compromise with liberal or
bourgeois allies, and perhaps even a tailing after them.

I therefore agree with Adam Rose's comments that while laws against
racist language are valuable, there has to be a willingness to confront
fascism directly and not rely on the bourgeois state.

This and Gary's interesting piece do raise wider questions. Gary's
description of the electoral arithmetic and the dilemmas of the
"lesser evil" arguments, pose the question of how marxists can
(hopefully) support at least one major protagonist in the
parliamentary contest without limiting their perspectives to that
party. The whole system must be borne in mind.

Frankly I think we have to break with analysis that approaches this
from the point of view of one single party. That is why I still favour
the perspective of an extremely wide united front, which can embrace
the aspirations or 95% of the population, while at the same time
containing more politically and class conscious forces within it.

That may often mean analysing contradictions within the ruling class
and considering a strategy that could appeal to a section of the ruling
class on bourgeois democratic terms, not in order to win over
millions of bourgeoisie (the real bourgeoisie are numerically very
small nowadays) but in order to win over the millions of people
conciliating with bourgeois ideology.

eg a strategy that compromises between the interests of industrial
capital and the working class on the one hand and is hard on finance
capital and landed capital on the other.

So, just to ensure that not a single other subscriber could
possibly agree with me, let me illustrate this in the current
British situation by saying I would like to see Blair continuing and
extending his current policies, AND I would like to see a robust
socialist party championed by Arthur Scargill under proportional
representation, AND I would like to see a reawakened network of
marxist ideas and groups participating in many campaigns of civil

Less provocatively perhaps, let me say  I am arguing for the importance
of marxist analyses of the line up of forces in an electoral state,
whether it is Germany prior to the Nazi seizure of power,
or any example of a contemporary
state, that transcends the in some ways illusory phenomena of the
contest of the bourgeois (buergerlich) political parties.

They merely
oscillate around the centre of gravity of the balance of real class
forces, just as prices fluctuate around real values.


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