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T. Stamm

Nazis, Cops Provoke CPG

Von Schleicher Uses Fascists to Bolster Bonapartist Regime

(January 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 4, 28 January 1933, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On Sunday, January 22, tens of thousands of Fascists made a demonstration in Germany. In clashes with workers and Communists one worker was killed and a hundred were wounded. According to the press the occasion was the anniversary of the death of a Fascist killed in an assault upon workers. Touching sentimentality! The Kaiser sent a wreath of flowers to lay upon the grave.

Had the demonstration for this sort of human rubbish been part of the usual Fascist tinsel of bluster and burlesque pomp it could have been set down as another item in the ledger of the working class account with these agents of capitalist reaction, to be settled in full and forever by the proletarian revolution. But there are aspects of the demonstration that mark it as an event of great significance for the German and international working class and its vanguard.

In Berlin the Fascists invaded the heart of the proletarian districts to assemble in front of Communist party headquarters. Alone the Fascists would not have dared the anger of the workers. But the Fascists were “guarded” by the largest police mobilization ever made in Berlin. This was a sinister united front between the Fascist hordes and the Bonapartist police. This fact gave the demonstration a character of the highest political significance. It was not a memorial meeting at all, but an enormous provocation of the workers’ vanguard. Under the circumstances the party correctly refused to be drawn. That is to its credit.

In the mind of every worker questions will arise: Why was the party not able to arouse the masses of workers to resist this hostile demonstration in its stronghold? Why could it not call on the social democratic workers to join with it against their common foe? The knowledge of its ability to do so would have made the demonstration in red Berlin impossible.

To ask the questions is to hint at their answers. The demonstration succeeded in establishing the weakness of the party. This must be said openly. The reason is to be found in the false theories of the Thaelmann-Stalin leadership which harnessed the party to the yoke of social-Fascism and erected barriers across the line of march to the unity of the working class. That is why the socialist workers today remain under the bloodstained flag of the Noskes and Scheidemanns. And that is why the party had to suffer the humiliating insult of a Fascist demonstration in front of its windows. The demonstration was another warning to the party leadership to redress its line and begin, without delay, the approach to the social democratic workers and trade unions through their organizations, mobilize the whole class for the extra-parliamentary struggle against the Bonapartist, Fascist and social democratic pillars of capitalist reaction.

Having escaped disaster on one reef the party leadership is still unable to steer by the charts of a Leninist course. It has not assimilated the lessons of this “memorial meeting”. It is now embarked on a course of counter demonstrations lasting a week. “We have numbers too” seems to be the essence of their reaction to the Fascist insult and provocation. Such demonstrations are significant when they are manned by workers following a correct policy. In the present situation these demonstrations must take place on the basis of the extra-parliamentary united front. Otherwise they are futile protests against the Fascist outrage.

That is one aspect of the events of January 22. The united front between Von Schleicher’s police and Hitler’s mercenaries is a new and striking development in the German situation. What is the meaning of this co-operation?

In the interregnum of the Bonapartist regime of Von Schleicher the class situation has not stood still. The economic crisis has continued to deepen. Unemployment is rising again. Dissatisfaction with Von Schleicher is growing. He has successfully postponed the convening of the Reichstag for a time but on its next assembling he may find himself and his cabinet forced out, the precarious equilibrium of his Bonapartist regime disrupted by a rising tide of working class struggle.

The united front of Hitler and Von Schleicher was a maneuver directed against the spearhead of the working class. Von Schleicher utilized the Fascist troops to provoke the Communist party to struggle under unfavorable conditions; to drown its defense in blood and make bloody reprisals against the working class; to appease the restlessness in the Fascist ranks with this “dress rehearsal” by this means to bolster his regime; this was the game of Von Schleicher and Hitler.

To accomplish this, Hitler moved up to the firing line. The time is not ripe for his special services of unrestrained murder and pillage of the working class organizations. But it may be soon in the calculations of the world bourgeoisie. The working class throughout the world must be on guard, alert.

Some shifts are taking place in the world situation but the key is still in Germany. Some shifts have taken place in the German situation but the slower tempo has not altered the basic issue. It is still: Communism or Fascism. The workers must tell Von Schleicher and the bourgeoisie that the alternative to Bonapartism is not Fascism but that the solution to the problem is the proletarian revolution. Everywhere the workers, and particularly the Communist vanguard must raise, their voices with the Left Opposition to demand that the C.I. and the German party throw overboard the ruinous theory of social-Fascism and adopt the Leninist united front to unite, the German working class around the banner of Communism for the proletarian revolution.

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