"Third Period" Stalinism

jmb2005 at columbia.edu jmb2005 at columbia.edu
Tue Nov 18 22:47:38 MST 2003

"You can pick the memory of Paul Levi by calling him a "rightist"
> or 
> "opportunist", but he was responsible for what KPD resistance
> there was to 
> the Kapp Putsch (rather a lot), and the third period started
> after he got 
> kicked out of the KPD. And although the example of the KAPD
> (those people 
> expelled by Levi from the KPD, although they later "came
> together" over the 
> March Action) intrigues me more than any other party North,
> South, East, or 
> West in terms of genuine potential for a US communist
> organization with a 
> large membership -- since I know there are large numbers of 
> anarcho-syndicalists who would join such an organization if it
> was by turns 
> appropriately "autonomistic" and well-scrubbed, and good comrades
> who would 
> like to be in the fight any way they can -- the Communist
> Workgroup he 
> briefly piloted is not too bad either as an example of a
> beyond-sincere 
> communist organization which was not intended to be a party." 

Actually, the "Third Period" line came years after Levi's expulsion 
from the KPD.  

Interesting, a number of important leaders of the KAPD eventually 
ended up with the Nazis.

" I don't come out of the Trotskyist movement (quite the opposite,
> although 
> I've never been affiliated with a Leninist party either), but
> "reform or 
> revolution" (originally Eurocentrist Daniel DeLeon's question) is
> not quite 
> all there is to the question of third period Stalinism.  The
> issue of party 
> autonomy (one which veritably afflicted the KPD, which had many
> able people, 
> for its entire existence) is also present.  The KPD was so busy
> defending 
> the Soviet Union, they didn't really get a chance to defend free
> Germany, 
> whether that would have been the Weimar Republic (freer than the
> *Bonn* 
> Republic) or its constituents."

The thing about "Third Period" Stalinism is that it had nothing to 
do with defending the USSR or whatever.  The KPD effectively 
defended the USSR around the time they were fighting the attempted 
counter-revolutionary and fascistic Kapp Putsch in 1920.  The issue 
is one of the United Front, whether you take an insanely ultra-left 
or a realistic
attitude towards reformists.  The difference is why Kapp was 
defeated (and the KPD came away from the incident very strong), 
while the NSDAP suceeded and crushed the Communists.  The KPD 
definitely had some 
(many) good people in the Party in the 1930's, but they made some 
mistakes they really didn't have to make and they got 
screwed for it.


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