Forwarded from Nestor (morphing)

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at
Mon Aug 4 19:14:05 MDT 2003

>>I think you're in danger of reading too much from the American experience
and generalising it to the European scene. There are some significant
differences between the experiences of the left in the States and in Europe
at least since the Second World War e.g. McCarthyism never really took off
in Europe and there were always open communists and lefties in leading
positions in trade unions<<

True of France or Italy. But Germany? I haven't been to Germany for a long
time now, but I remember how it was in the sixties. Anti-Communism was
quite powerful (there was that wall in Berlin, don't forget) and the
sixties far-left was generally quite isolated from the working class. The
main thing workers kept saying was: Ihr sollt studieren, statt zu
demonstrieren. - You kids have the privilege of studying that we don't
have, so work at your studies rather than charging around the streets. When
the May-June events broke out in France, workers told us: we don't want a
mess like that here.

Sure there were lefties in the unions but they were discreet about it. In
Goettingen we joined the May Day march, and my feeling was that there were
some lefties there but they had to use very cautious language. You're right
about groups like the KBW trying to break into the working class in the
seventies; I had a friend who was a KBW member and he took it seriously.
But as far as I could tell, they were basically a group of students and
ex-students. I read the KB-Nord paper for a while (for some reason it was
being posted to an anti-nuclear group in Melbourne) and the same seemed to
apply. In the absence of any working class radicalisation, they got
disappointed and moved right. I'm not sure the experience was that
different in Germany as opposed to America; including the influence of

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