Hitler Lays New Trap for Workers

Aims to Distract Attention from Mass Struggle of Labor
by Parliamentary Deception of March 5;
Social Democrats Join in Dupery;
Communists Still Tied Hand and Foot by Rejection of United Front

(February 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 7, 13 February 1933, p. 1.
Abridged version copied with thanks from the 4 Articles on the Rise of Fascism in Germany, The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism, vol. 1.
Additional transcription by Einde O’Callaghan.
Marked up by A. Forse & Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Adolph Hitler has made his aims clear beyond mistake in the first programmatic speech to be delivered for the national elections to be held in Germany on March 5: “A fight against class warfare and a fight against Marxism”, to go hand in hand with the destruction of the “parliamentary-democratic system”. If there could ever be any doubts before about the deceptive character of the March elections to the Reichstag, they are now entirely eliminated.

The idea that the present Cabinet combination of the Fascist, nationalist and monarchist reaction will attain a “legal” parliamentary majority in the coming elections of sufficient weight to enable it to rule with a constitutional Reichstag foundation, is scouted even by the bourgeois commentators in the press. Even if the “stay at home” vote is brought out in its entirety, there is the slimmest possible chance that it will cast its vote so solidly as to make up the required millions for a Hitler-Hugenberg-von Papen majority. Yesterday“s speech of the monarchist leader, Alfred Hugenberg, not only tacitly acknowledges the unlikelihood of this eventuality, but, in the words of the Herald-Tribune correspondent (February 12), has “let the cat out of the bag by repealing that the ‘government of national concentration’ ... intends to govern in the future by dictatorship, regardless of the will of the people.”

The Election Trap

Leaving aside for the moment the vain Hugenbergian dream of governing together with the Fascists – in view of the fact that the Fascists aim at complete hegemony, of the open rule by rifle and bayonet &ndaqsh; the speeches of Hitler and Hugenberg make it as plain as a pikestaff that the axis of the whole situation revolves not around the deliberate illusion of a sham parliamentary struggle, but on the extra-parliamentary battlefield of the class struggle.

That the social democratic leaders, who fear the unleashing of the militant class movement more than anything else, should seek to drive the workers into the trap, goes without saying. The present position of the social democracy of Germany is most crassly and stupidly stated by the yellow socialists of New York in the leading editorial of the Jewish Forward of February 3:

“Hindenburg’s authority will help the Hitlerists precious little in this case, for everybody knows that Hindenburg has not become a Nazi. He designated Hitler as Chancellor because Hitler represents the largest party in the country. But he has not given him the slightest dictatorial power. On the contrary, Hindenberg put into Hitler’s cabinet a majority of ministers who are indeed reactionaries but at the same time bitter opponents of Hitler’s program and he also secured himself against the Hitler government being able to rule for very long against the will of the Reichstag. What will happen further, nobody knows. Meanwhile, however, Hindenburg has not violated the Constitution. And Hitier is not yet a dictator but a constitutional Chancellor.” (Our emphasis)

Everybody has his role. That of the social democracy is base treason.

What is C.P. Doing?

And the Communist party? A position of more hopeless confusion, irresolution and hopelessness in the midst of a situation that cries out for clarity, determination and audacity, can hardly be imagined. The parliamentary elections as the axis of the struggle constitute an enormous and treacherous swindle. What is the party doing to counteract it? There is only one thing that it can and must do: organize the genuine united front of all workers’ organizations to launch the general strike, to mobilize the concerted strength of the German proletariat to crush Fascism. Is the party doing this? It has not even begun, for to begin it is imperative to throw overboard all the disastrous policies of yesterday which have rendered the party so impotent in the struggle. In the face of everything that has happened, the party still continues with its pernicious chatter about the “proletarian united front under the leadership of the Communist Party of Germany” (Inprecorr, No. 4), which is the old ultimatist policy: Socialist workers, recognize our leadership in advance or else there will be no united front!

The Fascists are already in power, but they have far from consolidated it. They have not yet even taken over the whole power. And this circumstance still gives the German proletariat time enough to act decisively enough to destroy the brown-shirted monster. The attainment of this end lies through the united front of the Communist party, the trade unions, the Social Democratic party, the Reichsbanner and the Red Front Fighters, which the former must immediately initiate.

Sunday, February 12, 1933

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