[Marxism] Re: Fallujah and marxmail

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 23 15:42:18 MST 2004

>It seems that this concept of the united class front as strategy would 
>require a party quite different from the model we're familiar with by 
>default after the destruction of the Luxemburgist strain in the German 
>movement. In his best writings in the 1930s Trotsky seemed to be hitting 
>on the same concept. But his foundational commitments to the party as a 
>priestly vanguard blocked, in my own view, his own ability to  realize 
>that the united front tactics proposed in his writings on Germany and 
>France weren't compatible with his concept of the party.
>These remarks are best construed as musings and for that I apologize. But 
>I want to throw this raw idea out before re-reading Luxemburg and 
>Trotsky's material in the '30s.

This is a very important point. Although I had never considered it before, 
it strikes me that the united front tactic can have a sectarian logic if 
seen solely in terms of "exposing" the reformists you are in alliance with. 
Frankly, I have not really seen a good example of the united front in 
action since the 1920s except for the Vietnam antiwar movement which was 
hardly a classic united front of workers organizations.

More to the point, the whole conception of a united front was based on the 
experience of the German revolution, which hardly lends credibility to the 
notion of a monolithically counter-revolutionary Social Democracy. In my 
article on the German revolution, which was written in an attempt to get to 
the bottom of these questions, I wrote:

The decision to launch a revolution in Germany in the Fall of 1923 was made 
in Moscow, not in Germany. Germany had definitely entered a 
pre-Revolutionary situation. French occupation of the Ruhr, unemployment, 
declining wages, hyperinflation and fascist provocations all added up to an 
explosive situation.

The crisis was deepest in the heavily industrialized state of Saxony where 
a left-wing Socialist named Erich Zeigner headed the government. He was 
friendly with the Communists and made common cause with them. He called for 
expropriation of the capitalist class, arming of the workers and a 
proletarian dictatorship. This man, like thousands of others in the German 
workers movement, had a revolutionary socialist outlook but was condemned 
as a "Menshevik" in the Communist press. The united front overtures to 
Zeigner mostly consisted of escalating pressure to force him to accommodate 
to the maximum Communist program.


Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

More information about the Marxism mailing list