Mother of all questions...

Lueko Willms Lueko.Willms at
Sat Sep 27 17:37:57 MDT 2003

   We are approaching the question which is being discussed under the
heading "Party building" and sectarianism -- can a group elevate
itself just by an act of will from sect to mass party and mass
leadership, just by shrugging of any habit of sectarianism, can the
working class as such, just by itself make a revolution, take power
out of the hands of the capitalist exploiters and elevate itself to
the status of the new ruling class? 

   Can class consciousness be created by decree? And then be enforced
by the thought police? 

   Can we jump over the stage of millions of people acquiring
consciousness of their own situation, and more importantly, of their
power to overcome that situation by their own  activity, of their
ability to take their own destiny in their own hands and rule society
better than the small gang of proprietors? 

   A week ago I wrote about that film "Rose street" (Rosenstraße)
which shows how under the most horrible conditions self confidence of
the masses arises by acting together, earning success and experience.
But this takes time. This very first mass defiance of the fascist
regime in Germany took place 10 years after the devastating defeat
which completely destroyed any form of collective and independent
organisation of working people. 

   One of the leading Bolsheviks and leader of the great October
Revolution said that the working class as such is just exploitable
material, only by acquiring consciousness does it become itself and
turns itself from object of exploitation into subject of action. 

   This acquisition of consciousness is impossible without acquiring
experience and evaluating these experiences. In this process it is
inevitable that some will be faster and more or earlier committed
than others, and that the explanation of these will help the others,
slower or more backward, to follow. This vanguard, if I may call it
by this name, will also increasingly be able to create situations
where such experiences can be gathered more intensely, be proposing
and leading activities for an increasing number of people. And, when
the moment is ripe, initiate to take power out of the hands of the
exploiting minority, as the Russian revolutionits did in October
(November) 1917. 

   The same Leo Trotsky, who was the president of the committee to
lead that takeover, wrote twenty years later, that the crisis of
humanity is just the crisis of proletarian leadership. 

   And this crisis showed itself in the sharpest way in the 1930ies,
when fascism inflicted a devastating defeat to the working class in
Germany, thus opening the way for the continuation of the
interimperialist war which was just interrupted by the October

   Nestor Gorojovsky might say that the German workers are themselves
responsible, or that they had no chance, as he explained for the 1973
coup in Chile, because they had a terrible enemy against them. 

   Well, this is not true. Fascism in Germany could have been
averted; the KPD, the Communist Party, had the key in its hands, and
it let them drop -- under instigation from the Moscow advisers
(Nestor, if you want, I can add some condemnation of the SPD, too,
but that wouldn't mean anything here). 

   Nestor is right when he points to the fact that the Russian
Bolsheviks built their perspective on proletarian revolutions in the
West, especially in Germany. Well, these revolutions did not
materialize, in large part due to the lack of a proven leadership. 
   These defeats, of course, had a conservatising effect on Russia,
and this in turn -- in the materialisation of the conservatizing
effect in the leadership of CP and USSR -- caused retreats and even
treason in other parts of the world. 

   So far for now. 


Lüko Willms
Frankfurt/Main, Germany 

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