[Marxism] How the German Communist Party adapted to nationalism in the early 1920s | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 6 10:37:47 MDT 2019

In my follow-up commentary on the El Paso killer’s manifesto, someone 
took issue to my pointing out that the German Communist Party adapted to 
fascist ideology in the early 1920s. I had called attention to Karl 
Radek’s eulogy to Albert Schlageter, a member of the Freikorps—the 
rightwing militia that killed Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. 
Additionally, I referred to a speech by Ruth Fischer that contained 
anti-Semitic rhetoric, designed to appeal to fascists in a mass meeting.

In comment #7 at 
he wrote:

	Radek was never a “National Bolshevik”. In the early 20’s his views 
reflected the official policy of the Communist International, which he 
represented in Germany.

When I responded that his comment omitted any reference to Ruth 
Fischer’s anti-Semitic demagogy, he dismissed her as having nothing to 
do with Radek in another comment: “Ruth Fischer was always a ultra-left 

The problem, however, is that Karl Radek and Ruth Fischer had a history 
together. As Comintern emissary, Radek endorsed the policies of the 
ultraleft leadership that had been responsible for the 1921 March Action 
that was an ultraleft fiasco. Two years later, a new leadership had 
replaced Fischer but a new tendency had developed that was just as 
misguided as the earlier ultraleft adventurism—an adaptation to German 
nationalism that historian Werner Angress calls the “Schlageter Line” in 
chapter 11 of “Stillborn Revolution: the Communist Bid for Power in 
Germany, 1921-1923”. Developed during the United Front period, a 
correction of the earlier ultraleft strategy, it hoped to exploit the 
nationalism that was gestating in Germany during the 1920s as a result 
of the Allies punishing treaty.


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