A. Thalheimer

Three Weeks of the Way of the German Majority Socialists

(1 October 1921)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. I No. 1, 1 October 1921, pp. 8–9.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The newspapers of the German bourgeoisie are joyfully welcoming the decision of the annual party convention of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, recently held at Görlitz, which opens the way for a coalition from Stinnes to Scheidemann.

The bourgeoisie has indeed won a great battle within three weeks. The revolver shots at Griesbach which killed Erzberger formed the prelude, Görlitz constitutes the end – for the time being.

A sense of dismay and shame is gathering headway among the workers not excepting the followers of the Social Democratic Party, who feel they have been tricked.

That feeling can be easily understood, for it is fully justified. Immense masses get ready for an attack and – find themselves in the arms of Stinnes and Stresemann, the representatives of capitalism. To begin with a “united proletarian phalanx” and to end with co-operation with the party of the large industrial concerns and the bank capital – that is indeed a record which is not equalled every day.

The workers must now clearly comprehend why matters have progressed that far and where they stand at the present moment.

Both these questions can readily be answered if the mist of phrases is swept aside with which the petty and great bourgeois parties have shrewdly beclouded the issue, and if what has occurred during the three weeks is called by its proper name, a clash between the great classes sheltering behind the various party names.

The centre of the battlefield was held by the great bourgeoisie, the large industrial concerns and bank capital, which is represented by the German People’s Party. On its right we find the landed interests, officers, reactionary government officials, the Tories in short all of whom are politically represented by the German Nationalist Party. Then comes the hero of the battle, the petty bourgeoisie, represented by the Democratic Party, the Party of the Centre and the Majority Socialists, officials of the federal government and a number of state governments. Finally we see the working class the majority of which is still being led by the petty bourgeois parties.

The defeat of the working class absolutely coincides with the defeat suffered by its political pilot, the petty bourgeoisie.

We shall recapitulate the various phases of the struggle. First phase; The great bourgeoisie believed itself menaced by the growing discontent of the petty bourgeoisie and workers, who are rebelling against the continuous decline of their standard of life. Disagreeable taxes on property are looming in the background; the petty bourgeois in power talk about imposing levies on real estate. Hence the petty bourgeoisie must be intimidated and a fist be held under their eyes. The intimidation was performed by the shots fired at Erzberger, while the fist held under they eyes of the government was represented by the great bourgeoisie’s sabotage of the instalment on the reparation payments due to the Allies.

Everybody knows that the monarchist gangs are in the pay of the great industrial concerns and the bank capital, that Ludendorff and his kindred are but so many puppets at the mercy of their wire-puller, the great bourgeoisie.

Second phase. Petty bourgeois democracy is valiantly preparing for battle. The S.D.P. gives out the watchwords; “Don’t stop at half measures, second revolution, protect the republic, chase the monarchists in the background!” Millions of workers respond to the battle cry; “down with the reaction” And now, under the eyes of the threatening masses comes the dramatical turning point.

The petty bourgeoisie gets scared of the proletariat and retreats valiantly. Great as its fear is of the monarchist counter-revolution, it has even greater fear of a proletarian revolution. The murderous dagger of the monarchists is anything but pleasant; it is nothing, however, compared to the steady tramp of the masses drawing up for battle.

This state of mind of the petty bourgeoisie is reflected in the “moderated state of siege” secured by its government in Bavaria, by means of which the monarchists are being played with, but which will if the need for it arises become a sharp weapon against the proletariat

The great bourgeoisie understood the situation at one glance. The Peoples Party, which is today as always the source of money for the monarchists watchdogs of its safes, all of a sudden declared itself in favour of the republic. The phalanx of the proletariat has terrified the petty bourgeoisie. So why not come to an understanding? All that is necessary is the lowering of the Hohenzollern flag and the hoisting of the republican flag instead. Under the flag of the republic the great bourgeoisie solemnly bows down to the petty bourgeoisie, which trembles at the sight of the red flag.

Third phase. Offer by great bourgeoisie to lend money for the reparation payment due. Thus two flies are killed with one stone. Taxes are warded off their safes and the petty bourgeois government is formally bought.

Fourth phase. The scene is laid in Görlitz where the petty bourgeois falls, tears in one eye, joy in the other, into the outstretched arms of the great bourgeoisie. The latter, however, is nothing if not thorough. Its hirelings in Bavaria and elsewhere are continuing preparations at top speed, for one never knows what might happen some day. At the present time petty bourgeois democracy is protecting the safes draped with republican odours more effectively than would the rifles of the Hohenzollern vassals. But who can tell for how long?

The workers, though they have been tricked, have not been defeated.

Petty bourgeois democracy has gone on the rocks. Görlitz represents the beginning of the end.

The Majority Socialists declared that a coalition with the great bourgeoisie was the last means whereby civil war could be avoided. Subjugation under the great bourgeoisie is indeed a sure remedy against civil war.

But there is a joker in the deck, the workers; they cannot submit to the great bourgeoisie, even though petty bourgeois democracy advises them a thousand times to do so.

Last updated on 10 January 2019