[Marxism] Werner Angress’s “Stillborn Revolution: the Communist Bid for Power in Germany, 1921-1923” (part five, the conclusion)) | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Richard Fidler rfidler at ncf.ca
Wed Dec 4 14:55:50 MST 2019

Louis, I got as far as this, near the end of the second paragraph:
"The leaflet announced that any counterrevolutionary attack on the workers would be met by a general strike, and urged all proletarians to hum action committees and defense organizations within the next wry”, and to meet daily in the factories and other places of work hit discussions of the situation."

Could you proofread this text and repost it to your blog?


-----Original Message-----
From: Marxism [mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu] On Behalf Of Louis Proyect via Marxism
Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2019 1:38 PM
To: rfidler at ncf.ca
Subject: [Marxism] Werner Angress’s “Stillborn Revolution: the Communist Bid for Power in Germany, 1921-1923” (part five, the conclusion)) | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

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This is the fifth and final part of a series of excerpts from Werner 
Angress’s “Stillborn Revolution: the Communist Bid for Power in Germany, 

Part one reproduces the chapter “The Genesis of the March Uprising” that 
deals with the poorly conceived ultraleft March 1921 Action of the 
German Communist Party that was based on a strategy shared by the CP 
leadership and the Comintern representatives in Germany, including Bela 
Kuhn. Breaking with the German party, Paul Levi called it the “greatest 
Bakunist putsch in history”.

Part two reproduces the chapter “The March Uprising and Its Failure”. It 
gets into the incredibly counter-productive tactics of the CP that 
treated SP workers who failed to join their adventurism as class enemies.

Part three reproduces the chapter “Retribution, Recrimination and 
Critique”, which sums up the thinking of the German CP and the Comintern 
on what went wrong. The united front strategy was an attempt to avoid 
the ultraleft mistakes of the March Action but it failed to acknowledge 
its author Paul Levi, who was the only Communist capable of overseeing 
its application.

Part four reproduces the chapter “Revolution in Preparation” that covers 
another fiasco that took place only two years later during October 1923. 
It flows from the same difficult circumstances, namely the goal of 
overthrowing a government led by the SP. Since the SP head of the 
government in Saxony supported the CP’s goal, this was not out of the 
question. However, the failure of the CP to win over the SP rank and 
file precluded a positive outcome.

In this the final part, you will be reading the final chapter of 
Angress’s book, which is titled The Abortive “German October”. It 
describes the inability of the CP to rally SP workers around the goal of 
overthrowing a government that many identified with. As stated above, 
this was not out of the question given the misery of the German 
population in 1923. But it required a more intelligent leadership in 
both the German party and the Comintern, which at this point was led by 
Zinoviev. The final pages of the chapter discuss how Zinoviev blocked 
with the German CP’s ultraleft faction led by Ruth Fischer and Arkadi 
Maslow against Trotsky. In 1924, the Comintern adopted the 
“Bolshevization” measures that both undermined a thorough accounting for 
what went wrong in Germany as well as fetishized the organizational 
methods of Lenin’s party, which became the norm for “Leninist” parties 
until now.

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