Heckert ‘Explains’ the Debacle

The Stalinist Hypocrites Answer the Roll Call


From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 28, 27 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.

(continued from the last issue)

The “Hitler-Trotskyist” United Front and the C.I. March 5th Proclamation

But Heckert is attacking a platform invented by himself and only attributed to Trotsky underhand, when he says that not even (!) a Wels proposed such a treacherous platform to the C.P.G.! No, but the Socialist and Labor International proposed to the C.I. on February 14 a “non-aggression pact” and the same E.C.C.I. which unanimously endorsed Heckert’s report, in its reply of March 6 considered it “possible to recommend to the Communist parties, to refrain during the time of the common struggle against capitalism, from attacks against the social democratic organizations.” The C.I. is therefore prepared to renounce criticism of the policy of the S.P. which in its own words, has led to Fascism. This readiness goes even far beyond the platform invented by Heckert and ascribed to Trotsky and then again attacked by Heckert as “Hitler-Trotskyist.” the spineless bureaucracy winces under the blows of a period which it does not understand. At that, it has an inexorable opponent in revolutionary Marxism which makes it foam at the mouth.

Fascism has triumphed, the policy of the C.P.G. was correct. Trotsky has criticised this correct policy (which led to the victory of Fascism) and showed how the victory of Fascism could have been prevented, the workers’ organizations maintained, how this struggle could have been led directly up to the proletarian dictatorship. This is what the “social-Hitlerite” Trotsky did with his “Hitler-Trotskyist platform,” in execution of a “social assignment from Hitler” as the latter’s “auxiliary.”

The Marxist revolutionary Heckert, on the other hand, maintains that the defense of the mass trade unions on the basis of a united front with the social democrats would have been a deviation from Marx and Lenin and would have meant going over to Hindenburg. Marx and Engels recommended – according to Heckert – that the trade unions be delivered to Fascism, while Hindenburg demanded the united front of the Communists with the social democracy for their defense! The Stalinists are proud that they have stuck to “Marx and Lenin ...”

One sentence in Heckert’s article forces us to beat the alarm. Heckert says:

“The present Fascisation of the German social democracy is no accidental interlude, but the road which all social democratic parties will go under similar conditions to those in Germany.”

This is frightful! The Stalinists already today consider Austria, France, England as lost to Fascism! They have learned nothing from the German events! They have no desire, despite their manifesto of March 5, to take the path of the consistent Leninist united front tactic! They do not want to put the social democratic leaders under the pressure of the proletariat with this tactic and so to force them at least to enter into the struggle against Fascism! They do not want to prove to the backward masses in daily practice that it is necessary to break with the reformists if a determined struggle is to be conducted against Fascism. No, they consider the “Fascisation of the social democracy” as inevitable. That means that they consider Fascism as inevitable. That means standing by passively while Europe falls into social decay!

In order to prove that the policy of the C.P.G. was correct, that it did not, in contradiction to 1923, rob the proletariat more and more of all ability to act, Heckert is forced to resort to an arsenal of conscience-lies and to the incense of self-deception. The political system of the Stalinists, built upon lies, has collapsed in Germany. From this they draw the conclusion that it is necessary to lie still more profusely and shamelessly in order to conceal their bankruptcy.

Today the situation is such in Germany that the workers do not dare to speak aloud in the streets. They do not dare to gather in groups of more than three in their domiciles. Heckert, however, lies to the international working class, saying that the workers at the A.E.G. (General Electric) have driven the Nazis from the factory and that the same thing is happening in ever so many other cities.

It is furthermore an indisputable fact that up to the last moment the party was blind to the danger of Fascism. So, for instance, a certain Schwab wrote in the Communist International (German edition of January 10, 1933, p. 19):

“The 11th plenum of the ECCI put an end to the artificially constructed principal contradiction between the bourgeois democracy and Fascist dictatorship, and by that means gave the Communist parties important assistance in the struggle against social Fascism, The 12th plenum showed that so-called ‘classical’ Fascism did not and could not exist and that all the theories deduced from the history of Italian Fascism concerning the necessity of first smashing the working class were bloodless abstractions.”

Was the Party Prepared?

And Heckert lies when he says that the German Communist Party forewarned against the coming Fascist danger! According to Heckert, the C.P.G. was not surprised by Hitler’s seizure of power. The party, whose innumerable functionaries were stuck into jail in short order, whose apparatus was annihilated in the course of several days, was not surprised!

No, according to Heckert, it had just begun, freely, “with its own forces,” to organize some 300 strikes. Fortunately, he becomes somewhat more concrete in this instance and permits us to probe into these 300 strikes, of which 297 belong to the realm of imagination.

Heckert cites the strikes in Stassfurt, Harburg and Luebeck. What happened in Strassfurt? A one-hour protest strike against the shooting of the social democratic mayor, Hasten. The workers were aroused and decided to resist, but the reformists succeeded in stifling the militant sentiment in a pale demonstrative strike. According to Heckert, it was the C.P.G.’s “own forces” that organized the strike. In reality it was the impotence of the C.P.G. which prevented the transformation of this strike into a manifestation of power. In Luebeck, the social democratic Reichstag deputy Dr. Leber was arrested, it resulted in a general strike lasting several hours. Here too, the Communists, thanks to the conscienceless, bureaucratic policy of the Stalinists in the last 10 years, were unable to exert any influence.

What happened on occasions when Communists were attacked? What happened at the massacre in Eisleben? There, where the real forces of the Stalinists were showed up in full size? Not a. spark of organized resistance! What happened at the provocative parade of the Brown Shirta before the Karl Liebknecht House, and at the street battle in Altona? Where did the party succeed in organizing a sizable strike of political significance? Lies, nothing but lies ...

According to Heckert, the party did not restrict itself to organizing the united front “from below.” We will restrict ourselves to once more quote from the literature of Stalinists.

“It is clear that no united front can be made with these people (social Fascists). It is clear that our dispute with social Fascism ... will not be settled at some negotiation table, but on the battlefields of the final struggle and before the revolutionary tribunals of the German Soviet republic. And that holds, of course, for the little social Fascist factory councillor ... just as well as for his bigger brothers Zoergiebel, Severing, etc.” (Communist provincial press, quoted in Hermann Remmele’s article Mark Time! (Schritthalten), Communist International (German edition), March 1-15, 1930)

“Herr Trotsky and similar ‘counsellors’ of the proletariat want to propose to the working class such a policy as would separate the struggle of the revolutionary party against Fascism from that against social Fascism and oppose them to each other. According to this recipe, the C.P.G. should give up the struggle against social democracy today and make a bloc with the party of Hindenburg-socialism, With ‘Noske and Grezezinsky,’ and ‘fight’ Hitler on this basis.” (Thaelmann, Communist International (German edition), June 1932, page 283)

“Whoever demands today a bloc of the C.P. with the social democratic party helps the social Fascist leaders in the preparation and execution of their betrayal. Their role, like that of the social Fascist leaders, is an immediate Fascist role.” (Muenzenberg, Roter Aufbau, Feb. 15, 1932)

A Few Things to Explain

Heckert appears to be unacquainted with his own literature. He only knows that the party several times flew into a frenzy and then quickly, on such a “theoretical basis,” proceeded to make united front proposals. As – on July 20, 1932. After that, when the party looked itself over and noticed that not all of its bones had been broken it once again fell into the old rut. It carried on like this until its bones were actually crushed.

If the party clearly pointed out the danger of Fascism and pursued a consistent united front policy from the top and below, then Heckert ought to explain how the social democracy succeeded in maintaining control over the decisive masses of workers in the factories and in preventing Communist influence over them.

In reality the quintessence of united front policy looked like this: “Hey, social democrats, will you go with us? If you don’t, we will go with the Fascists.” In this way. the “Red Referendum” was rigged up.

Heckert’s memory has become somewhat feeble. We’ll refresh it. This type of united front tactic, these continual zig-zags in the meantime brought their effect. Fascism rules! This platform has been exposed in the meantime by the facts as direct service to Hitler. Proof that the platform of the Left Opposition led to the victory of Fascism cannot be conjured up by ever so many sleight-of-hand tricks on tlie part of Heckert.

For Heckert and the ECCI, the perspective is a particularly rosy one. Just as after the October defeat of 1923, as China in 1927, as in Bulgaria in 1924, so now the Stalinists deny the defeat in the same way as they denied the revolutionary situation previous to it. The workers are going over from the social democracy to Communism, the organization of the C.P.G. has remained intact, the struggles are as yet directly ahead of us ...

If the working class really wants an intact organization, one that is able to organize and lead to the struggles, then it must penetrate through the influence of the criminal Stalinist, lying politicians, form its cadres anew and draw the lessons from ten years of national and international Stalinism. Not to cling to fatal illusions, but also not to fall into passivity; not to capitulate before Fascism, but to organize the retreat and to bring it to a halt; to recapture the positions lost; to utilize the differences between the nationalists and the Nazis – that is the command of the hour!

Last updated on 7 September 2015