Heckert ‘Explains’ the Debacle

The Stalinist Hypocrites Answer the Roll Call


From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 27, 20 May 1933, p. 3.
Originally published in Unser Wort, organ of the German Left Opposition.
Transcriebd & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

“Hypocrites will be found to say the Opposition is criticizing the party which has fallen into the hands of the executioner. Blackguards will add: the Opposition is helping the executioner. By combining a specious sentimentalism with venomous falsehood the Stalinists will endeavor to hide the Central Committee behind the apparatus, the apparatus behind the party, to eliminate the question of responsibility for the false strategy for the disastrous regime, for the criminal leadership: that means helping the executioners of today and tomorrow.” – Trotsky: The Tragedy of the German Proletariat (The Militant, April 8, 1933)

* * *

“But the S.P.G. has nevertheless found an ally. This ally is Trotsky. Being a political zero in the workers movement he has nothing to lose; he goes licking the Fascists’ boots, hoping to have himself talked about and to come out at any cost, even if only for one small hour, from political oblivion. Marauding scoundrel that he is, he drags about everywhere where workers’ blood has flown in search of some political racket. The working class of Germany is suffering bloody sacrifices. Hundreds of Communists have been massacred in Germany, thousands of Communist and the best leader of the German working class, comrade Thaelmann are imprisoned. But the ally of the Welses and Leiparts, Trotsky exerts his utmost in throwing the responsibility for the Fascist seizure of power from the shoulders of the social democracy on to those of the C.P.G. But what is the real meaning of the Hitler-Trotskyist platform of the “united front,” conceived in order to justify the social democracy ...

“It is in this cruel fashion that the facts have exposed the counterrevolutionary meaning of ‘the platform’ of the social Hitlerite Trotsky, who has strained himself to prove that the social democracy and Fascism are not twins but antipodes. Under the appearance of a united front, Trotsky, Hitler’s auxiliary, is straining himself to impose on the German working class the social Fascist tactic of the ‘lesser evil,’ that is to say, the reactionary united front which brought Hitler into power.” – (Fritz Heckert: What is Happening in Germany?Rundschau, No. 10, Basle.)

Fritz Heckert, member of the C.C. of the C.P.G. has made his report on the situation in Germany to the E.C.C I. His report has appeared in its entirety in the International Correspondence. It has been unanimously approved by the E.C.C.I. This only characterizes the ‘’internal democracy” of the Stalinist regime. This demonstrates to what lengths the callousness of the Stalinist grave diggers of the world revolution has gone. Consequently it is not a discussion with Heckert that we have here but rather with Stalinism

Heckert poses the question: Why has Fascism succeeded in taking power in Germany? After setting forth the fundamental [1] realignment of class forces brought about through Fascism, he goes on to prove, with wearisome scholasticism, the permanent betrayal of the social democracy. The policy of the social democracy leads the proletariat to ruin – that is self-evident. The vanguard of the world proletariat, saw that in Aug. 4, 1914. Today the question is not whether or not the social democracy has betrayed, but how it was possible for the social democracy to conduct such a policy for 20 years and yet succeed in rallying the working masses behind its banner. Heckert refuses to answer these questions. How did it happen that the masses who were deceived and betrayed by the bourgeois republic, should find their way to the Fascist counter-revolution instead of the proletarian revolution? The Fascist party is not older than the Communist party, it did not have more time to win over the masses. Evidently, Fascism disposes of the material support of capitalism, but its ranks are recruited out of human dust. Its ideas spring from the barbaric middle ages. It is not capable of solving social questions.

Communism, on the contrary, bases itself on the force of the first workers’ state on the earth. It groups around it the flower of the nation, the proletarian vanguard. Its ideas are the most progressive of the 20th century. It alone is capable of solving all the questions of social life. How then was Fascism able to triumph over the petrified Weimar democracy, how was Communism defeated?

“Fascism Victorious ... and the C. I. Correct”

Heckert maintains that while Fascism was victorious, the policy of the Communist party was, nevertheless altogether correct. The policy of the C.P. which led to the seizure of power by Fascism was correct. The C.P.G. had foreseen the inevitability of this Fascist development. Heckert says literally:

“Have the C.P.G. and the Comintern foreseen the inevitability of this. Fascist development of the social democracy? Did they warn the workers in advance against it? Yes, they foresaw and they forewarned. As far back as 1924, comrade Stalin had already given a steady definition of the development of social democracy toward Fascism which has been unexcelled in its exactness and in its incisiveness, a definition which became the basis of the program of the Comintern and the policy of the C.P.G.

“‘Fascism,’ said comrade Stalin, ‘is a fighting organization of the bourgeoisie, an organization which supports itself upon the active support of the social democracy. The social democracy is objectively the moderate wing of Fascism. There is no ground for assuming that the fighting organization of the bourgeoisie can achieve decisive success in the struggle or in the conduct of the country without the active support of the fighting organizations of the bourgeoisie. These organizations do not negate one another, but rather supplement each other. They are not antipodes, but twins ...’ (The fighting organizations of the bourgeoisie today lend their active support to the social democracy by killing social democrats, destroying trade union headquarters and suppressing the entire S.P.G. press. That is how this whole business of supplementing really looks – H.E.)”

This development was, then, inevitable? Then the C.P.G. lied when it signalized the proletarian revolution as standing before the gates? Why did the C.P.G. exist at all between 1924 and 1933, if this development was inevitable? To be consistent in “building up its policy upon this inevitability,” it should have been dissolved in 1924.

There was one voice which did not consider this development inevitable. That was the voice of Trotsky and the Left Opposition. Heckert knows it. He knows that its prominence and its authority are powerfully on the upgrade in Germany. Cognizant of this, he unloads his bad conscience in outbursts of wrath of unprecedented shamelessness.

Heckert and His Straw-Man

Heckert begins this section of his speech with a dastardly misquotation. Revolutionary Marxism rests upon truth, Stalinism upon lies. Since the Stalinists are powerless in fighting against genuine “Trotskyism,” they falsify the views of the Leninists and then fight against their own falsifications. Heckert lies when he says that Trotsky demanded in his article in the Manchester Guardian of March 22 (see the Militant of April 29) that the basis of the united front with the social democrats be the “defense of the parliamentary form of government and the mass trade unions.” What did Trotsky’s article really say?

“Social democracy is unthinkable without parliamentary government and mass organizations of the workers in the trade unions. The mission of Fascism, however, is to destroy both. A defensive alliance between Communists and social democrats should have been based on this antagonism.”

What consequences did the Left Opposition draw from the existence of this antagonism?

“It is necessary to force the social democrats into a bloc against Fascism ... No common platform with the social democracy, or with the leaders of the German trade unions, no common publications, banners, placards! March separately, but strike unitedly! Agree only how to strike, whom to strike and when to strike! Such an agreement can be concluded even with the devil himself, with his grandmother and even with Noske and Grzezinsky. On one condition, not to bind one’s own hands.” (Trotsky: Letter to a German Worker-Communist, Member of the C.P.G., December 1931)

“We must therefore openly tell the social democratic, the Christian and non-party workers that the Fascists want to bring the downfall of the present (Brueniug) government in order to seize power themselves: we, the Communists, consider the present government as an enemy of the proletariat, but this government supports itself upon your confidence and your votes; we want to fell this government in alliance with the Fascists (Referendum) against you. If the Fascists should attempt an insurrection, we Communists will fight against them to the last drop of blood – not in order to support the Braun-Bruening government, but in order to guard the flower of the proletariat against suffocation and extermination, in order to protect the workers’ organizations, the workers press, not only our own, the Communist, but also yours, the social democratic organizations and press We are prepared to defend any workers’ home, any printshop of worker’s newspapers against the attacks of the Fascists. And we demand of you to come to our aid in case danger threatens our organizations. We propose to you the united front of the working class against the Fascists.” – (Trotsky: Against National Communism, August 1931)

(Continued in the next issue)


1. At the XI. Plenum, we recall, Manuilsky declared that only a bourgeois liberal can detect any contradiction between Fascism and bourgeois democracy. Is Heckert not “fundamentally,” something of a “bourgeois liberal?”

Last updated on 7 September 2015