E.Rosenhaft essay... Re: The role of gangs...

J. Red-Rebel at supanet.com
Wed Apr 10 00:45:33 MDT 2002


THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC (Intro paragraph)
Eve Rosenhaft

>From "The German Working Class", edited by Richard J. Evans, 1982

During the Weimar Republic, popular anxieties about the state of society
became focused on a field of problems in which youth, political radicalism
and a general brutalisation of social and political relations were assumed
to be directly linked with one another in peculiarly threatening ways. In
this field were to be found both the Communist Party (Kommunistische Partei
Deutschlands, KPD), the junior party of the working class, bearer of
revolution and political rowdyism, and the cliques (Cliquen or Klicken), or
youth gangs, of the urban centres. (1) This essay examines the actual and
formal relationship between the two forms of working-class organization in
Berlin. The points of contact between the two are interesting because they
existed on several levels: cliques and Communists met and mingled not only
in the rhetoric of the popular press and conservative authorities, but also
in the everyday life of sections of the working class. And Communist Party
policy was calculated to hasten both these processes. The KPD adopted a
style and rhetorical posture which implied that it accepted and even
welcomed the role, ascribed to it by its opponents and rivals, of a party of
outlaws. It also made periodic efforts to organize and recruit among the
cliques. The result was a more than usually self-conscious confrontation
between a proletarian culture and the expectations of the party that claimed
to represent the proletariat. .....

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