Karl Radek
Fourth Congress of the Communist International

Summary of Discussion on World Capitalist Offensive

November 17, 1922

Source: Published in Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922 (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/472-toward-the-united-front), pp. 462-474.
Translation: Translation by John Riddell
HTML Markup: David Walters & Andy Blunden for the Marxists Internet Archive, 2018
Copyright: John Riddell, 2017. Republished here with permission.

Comrades, the debate on the capitalist offensive expanded to some extent into a renewed debate on the Executive’s report and our policies. That could not be avoided, given that my report stated that our response to the capitalist offensive is the most important campaign and policy issue before the Communist International at this time. That is why comrades in the debate have been repetitive, and I must be so also. In responding in my summary to what comrades have said here, I must touch on questions that were actually exhaustively dealt with in Comrade Zinoviev’s report.

Regarding the character, form, and outlook for the capitalist offensive, the interesting presentation of Comrade Bordiga on fascism deserves thorough discussion, which I cannot undertake because my time has been very much restricted. However, some comment is needed on the remark of Comrade van Ravesteyn, who says he has perceived a certain contradiction between my remarks and those of Comrade Trotsky. That is a misunderstanding. When I spoke of a pull to the right in the bourgeois camp, I was thinking of their offensive. Comrade Trotsky spoke of a new wage of pacifism and social-reformist treachery. The difference lies in the fact that I am dealing with today and tomorrow, while Comrade Trotsky was speaking of the day after tomorrow, that is, the stance of the bourgeoisie when its offensive is exhausted.

However, let us return to the policy questions that were the main object of discussion. The capitalist offensive has required us to adopt the united front tactic, and we saw that it holds dangers on both right and left flanks. In the debate on the Executive report, we said that the dangers on the right are greater than those on the left. I stand by this opinion. At this time, the danger threatening our struggle and our tactic from the right does not consist only in the fact that a part of the Communist International is losing too much of its Communist face in the period between two waves of revolution. On the contrary, the main expression of this danger is the fact that under pressure of the capitalist offensive, large sectors of the proletariat have grown passive. Not only do they not attack the enemy, but they do not even defend themselves. From the point of view of the working class as a whole, this decrease in the will to struggle among broad proletarian masses is the greatest danger. The tactical question before us consists of how to strengthen the will to struggle, and what we must avoid in order not to diminish this will to struggle.

In my opinion, the Communist International’s overall line is directed against the passivity of the working masses and their inability to defend themselves – in other words, against the Social Democracy, the Two-and-a-Half International, and the elements in the Communist parties who do not adjust to the situation but rather capitulate to it. In this framework, the left errors bring grist to the mill of the centrists ('Very true!’) and here I give back to Comrade Urbahns the phrase with which he honoured me, but with the difference that I will seek to prove my point.

Comrade Urbahns makes an error in his speech that is more important than everything he says against our tactic: his assessment of conditions is wrong. In his speech, he said that my report was bringing grist to the mill of the centrists because I exaggerate the strength of the capitalist offensive and do not see that the proletarian response, its counteroffensive, has begun. As proof of this he cites the struggle for the eight-hour day in France and the factory council movement in Germany. The most important point here is that if you want to overcome a danger, you must first perceive it. If what Comrade Urbahns says is true, and the counteroffensive against capitalism is already getting under way, then the right danger would not be so great. To cry out that the Communist International is in great danger of bogging down, and in the same breath to say that the working class is already rising up – that blocks the path to real insight into the situation.

I do not know if we have already passed the highest point of the capitalist offensive. As for Comrade Urbahns’ reference to the struggle in France, I must ask what it represents. It represents the first defensive steps of the French proletariat. And as for Comrade Urbahns’ references to the factory council movement in Germany, I will only respond that I agree here completely with Comrade Hoernle. We must not overestimate this movement. Certainly it has great importance for us, because we are seeking local starting points to organise unified struggle. The factory council movement does not yet embrace large, broad masses of non-Communist workers, but even if it did, would that in itself signify a proletarian offensive? It would be a defence against the worsening of working-class conditions. We can only speak of an offensive if the masses have scored successes through the factory council movement and achieved control in at least one sector of industry. In fact they are just beginning to organise the defensive struggle, and already you are crying out that the counteroffensive has begun.

To assess reality in this fashion exposes us to the danger of being again thrown back – ten more times. The retreat of the proletariat has not yet come to a halt. Only here and there do we see the workers maintaining their positions, and already you are crying out that the counteroffensive has begun. You do not see the danger of working-class passivity. You need only examine the German movement in order to assess the fact that the miners were talked into the overtime agreement. What does that tell us? It means that the workers are prepared to work longer and have virtually given up the eight-hour day. Not only the trade union leaders, but the workers themselves have surrendered the eight-hour day by working longer.

And given that reality, we must say that in order to really fight back against the capitalist offensive, we must see it in its full dimensions and perceive the dangers as they are. There are dangers enough without us adding on illusory ones.

Comrades, we have acknowledged the capitalist offensive in its full scope. It was not easy for us to go over from a policy of uninterrupted assault on Social Democracy to the united front tactic, which brings with it inevitable dangers. Comrade Zinoviev’s first thesis pays close attention to the dangers of the united front, because we say that the workers must be united for the defensive struggle, but this must not lead Communists to forget that we are fighting for more than a crust of bread. And we are still the weaker part of the workers’ movement. Our press is still weak, compared to that of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals, whose press is strong. There is a danger in the united front that Communists who are not rock-hard will lean too much on the Social Democrats, that we will surrender our birthright, that we will not succeed in both fighting together with the Social Democratic workers against capitalism and at the same time showing them clearly the revolutionary perspectives of the struggle, and thus taking them further than the Social Democrats want to permit. We perceived this danger, and that is why we took up in the Expanded Executive the question of our tactic in the struggle for the united front against the capitalist offensive. And we are taking it up today.

Comrade Urbahns made a number of allegations here against this tactic of struggle against the offensive. First of all, he criticised us for utilising the tactic in the session of the three executives.[31] He did not say what our error was. He said that the tactic was carried out on an empty stomach. In my view, that is an allegation from an empty head. For Urbahns must either say no negotiations with the leaders, or he would have to say what was the nature of our errors in the negotiations with the Social Democrats and the Two-and-a-Half International.

Urbahns: The criticism concerned a lack of preparation for this action.

Radek: Then please permit me to turn this allegation against you. The Executive issues theses that provide theoretical preparation for our actions. The parties know this. All of them send representatives, who know very well what is at stake. We want to force the Social Democrats to struggle together with us for the eight-hour day, against the danger of a new war, against wage reductions, and to resist the capitalist offensive against Soviet Russia. Therefore we must exert the greatest pressure, in every city and every country, on the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals.

How can this pressure be exerted? By the Executive in Moscow or the delegates in its sessions? No, the parties must do this. And here I must stress what happened when we came to Berlin. The first thing that happened after we came to Berlin was an appeal to the organisations to mobilise the masses, hold rallies, and bring delegations from the factories to the Reichstag. What was the result? Two tobacco workers and three other comrades came to the Reichstag and wandered around. I am convinced that our Berlin organisation is one of the best. But this failure must be put to the account of the Berlin organisation. And so, dear Comrade Urbahns, please address the Berlin, Hamburg, and other organisations that failed in this situation to mobilise the broad masses. The conference with the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals was not an organisational question but an initial attempt to drive the Social Democrats to the wall and put them under the pressure of the working masses to join with us in unified struggle. Yet our organisations did very little. And on this point, Comrade Urbahns is powerless. And this brings me to his second allegation.

He says that it would be the greatest of illusions to think that the Social Democrats could struggle – the illusion that the Social Democratic leaders, whom we have treated since 1914 as agents of the bourgeoisie, will suddenly be obliged to lead a struggle. And Comrade Urbahns, who has been hearing since that time that they are agents of the bourgeoisie, quite naturally asks, ‘How can agents of the bourgeoisie struggle?’ Now, dear comrades, if politics were so easy that after I have once said they are agents of the bourgeoisie they are damned and condemned for ever, well then politics would be a simple matter.

As far as the bulk of the Social Democratic leadership is concerned, there is no doubt that they are consciously opposed to the revolution. But this leadership lives in Germany, in France, or in Britain, which are not empty spaces, and they do not exist merely in polemics with Comrade Urbahns and me. This leadership in Germany is based on a party of millions, with millions more following behind it. And this leadership can either stand openly and clearly on the side of the bourgeoisie, or seek to jump off the bourgeoisie’s wagon.

Let us recall one very important fact. On 5 November 1918, Scheidemann and Ebert were negotiating with the high command about the emperor’s possible abdication in order to save the crown prince and the throne. And on 9 November, Scheidemann jumps up on the Reichstag portico and cries, ‘Long live the republic!'[32] It could be objected that he did this in order to betray us. ('Very true!’) But in between there occurred a trifle that Comrade Urbahns has not reckoned with: the collapse of the Hohenzollerns and the revolution and counter-revolution. The Scheidemanns betrayed us. But they also helped topple Wilhelm from the throne. That can be denied only by those who do not want to see and understand unpleasant facts. Zinoviev used a particularly happy turn of phrase in his speech on tactics to the Expanded Executive session: The Social Democrats are betrayers of the proletariat. But it depends. When it is necessary for their salvation, they can also betray the bourgeoisie.

So the second question is, should this fact be assigned any significance? Comrades, if our excommunications could destroy entire parties, we would simply ask Comrade Zinoviev to sign an ukase that would make Scheidemann and his comrades disappear. Since that is not possible, we must struggle against them. The question here is in what period we will destroy them. It is possible that these people will ally themselves so tightly with the bourgeoisie that they cannot jump off, and then through unflagging struggle and the rebellion of the masses, they and the bourgeoisie will be thrown together down to perdition. But it is also possible that we will enter a period where their coalition with the bourgeoisie becomes impossible and they are obliged to form a coalition with us. In this coalition they will once again try to betray us, and we may only be able to defeat them when, in the course of this coalition, their policies have revealed their bankruptcy and the masses have come over to us.

Anyone who does not see such a possibility is just counting on their fingers: Loves me, loves me not. Will he betray me fully or only partially. I should be afraid or not be afraid. This reminds me of the maiden of whom Heine wrote, ‘You have nothing but your virtue’. No, Comrade Urbahns. You have lost even your virtue, because you did not oppose the workers’ government on principle, and such damaged virtue counts for very little in matters of principle.

But what does the workers’ government demand mean? Comrade Urbahns has suggested that there are major disagreements on this issue between Trotsky, Zinoviev, and myself. We have read many times in the bourgeois press that Bukharin’s cavalry is fighting against Zinoviev’s infantry, that on one occasion Trotsky arrested Lenin and on another Lenin arrested Trotsky. But there is no need to try to play such games with secrets here. We are not donkeys. There are nuances in our thinking. One of us approaches the question from a different angle than another. One views it from the angle of their own country, and another from that of a different country, and from this results nuances of opinion. But here is the question: Does the Executive hold that we should lead the masses in a campaign for a workers’ government, or not? In Germany at present, this means that we should tell the Social Democrats that we want to struggle together with them against the bourgeois coalition and, if it seems useful, support a workers’ government or even participate in it. Does the Executive hold this position or not? I assure you that it holds this position, and that is the most important political question.

Comrade Urbahns says that his stand on the workers’ government question is that it is impossible. So if the present bourgeois coalition were to fall apart, Comrade Urbahns will conduct agitation as follows. He will go to the dockworkers in Hamburg and tell them: You are seven times as strong as us. We propose the demand for a united workers’ government, and we want to struggle for it, but it is impossible. That is of course nonsense, and here I must say a few words to Comrade Šmeral.

He makes a serious mistake because in the past his politics were opportunist and now, whenever he speaks, he believes he must cross himself and say, ‘Do not think this is an opportunist point of view, and if you think that, I will give it up’. I am completely in agreement with Comrade Šmeral that the struggle in Czechoslovakia to form a workers’ government could flare up in the coming period, even in the coming months. But stealing a glance to his left, Comrade Šmeral says: I do not believe in the workers’ government, but others do, and that’s why we have to act as if we believed in it.

If you conduct a campaign in this spirit, nothing will come of it. To speak to the masses in this spirit is an absurdity, with the dollar worth ten thousand marks, wages being reduced, and the coalition blown apart because Stinnes is against stabilising the mark. Perhaps they will reach a compromise. But in this crisis, where the bourgeoisie is unable to stabilise anything, in this whirlwind, the Communist Party is the point of stability. It must show the masses a way out. We tell them: You fear the dictatorship [of the proletariat]; we are for it. You think there is some peaceful way to get out of this. Try it. You can obtain the majority in Germany; you can win the proletarian majority. You will have to advance to a dictatorship, and we will fight for this with you shoulder to shoulder. In such a situation our comrades who have the closest ties with the masses will tell them: Down with the bourgeois coalition; we are for a workers’ government. And the others will say, I don’t believe in it, but you do. (Laughter) Smile, comrades, we are manoeuvring with you!

How can such a campaign be conducted? We must tell the masses what we want, and that we are opposed to the capitalist onslaught. We must tell them that we propose as a practical goal the unification of the now divided working class. And if the working class comes to power before it is capable, in its great majority, to decide in favour of a dictatorship, we will go through every stage of struggle with in the firm conviction that the struggle will bring them to our point of view.

If all this is opportunism –

Urbahns: Interpretation of dreams!

Radek: There’s no need for me to engage in interpretation of dreams, because I am merely interpreting what I consider to be your thoughts. And if you have no thoughts, there is nothing I can do about that.

I will now saw a few more words on the opposition group in Germany. Comrades, all jesting aside, Comrade Ruth Fischer spoke here on the question of our tactic. She criticised specific points in the tactic as applied by her party’s centre, and we respond to her that this is quite in order. Such criticism is consistent with the tactic and policy of the Communist International. Comrade Urbahns, on the other hand, rejects the tactic of the Communist International in principle. But he denies he is opposed in principle. Comrade Bordiga wants to reject the united front, but also says, I accept it as a whole, but I disagree on specific points. But we are not in a bourgeois parliament, thank God, where shadow-boxing is the rule.

You should either accept the theses on tactics or work out your platform clearly and present it to the congress. But this dancing around, this no-yes; I'd like to but no; can’t be done; would do; should do: of course you can manoeuvre like this in a party district in order to achieve a majority for this or that current, but that is not proletarian politics.

Comrades, all this bobbing and weaving should not be taken seriously. Today I read an article by a comrade of the Berlin organisation, Comrade Geschke. I am told he is a good revolutionary worker. He writes the following concerning Thalheimer’s draft programme:[33]

Even Marx writes in his Manifesto of a certain type of intellectual who produces theories that cause confusion in the working class, causing a distraction that consciously or unconsciously helps capitalism to get through crises.

He thus graciously concedes that through his draft programme, Thalheimer may unknowingly be helping the capitalists. But then he raises his hand to heaven, saying:

What most deserves criticism here is the treatment of the workers’ government. It concedes that it is possible even in a capitalist state for the working class to take positions of power and utilise them for proletarian goals. This entirely conceals the clear position we have until now maintained and gives the reform socialists a weapon, without their having to pay any great intellectual price.

What is said here is that if we win any kind of position of strength in the capitalist state, that is reformism. The trade unions, the Communist Party, and the factory councils are positions of strength in the capitalist state, provided that we know how to utilise them. Another position of strength is for us to have capable comrades in parliament who know how to use it in the interests of the working class. But to win positions of strength within capitalism is reformism. It would seem that revolutionary politics consists of remaining impotent until the capitalists do us the favour of collapsing.

The comrade continues, and this is also quite interesting:

Recently Rote Fahne printed an excerpt from a speech of Comrade Trotsky, made to functionaries in Moscow, in which he said that after taking power the working class would not only take over the bourgeois state but also, for a time, continue to operate it along the lines of the old system of production, with cost accounting, stock exchanges, banks, and so on. This is a justification for the [Communist] Working Group and for a policy of coalition that is better than anything the Amsterdamers could wish for.

When Trotsky says that after the conquest of power it’s necessary to account for costs and not just to thrust about wildly in the fog, this is seen as the best argument for the Social Democrats, who are for not just calculation but also speculation, while maintaining capitalist rule.

This is printed in Taktik und Organisation, without any reply by the editors in this issue. If this is a good comrade, and I'm told he is a good, revolutionary worker, this shows a lack of clarity in the minds of some of the best revolutionary workers. And you as leaders of these workers, instead of establishing clarity and a clear line, remain in the half-light of your reservations. Why are these reservations dangerous? Because they prevent us from uniting against the capitalist offensive around a clear line, without which there can be no struggle. And when you say that the proletarian counteroffensive has already begun, I respond that we cannot yet even organise the defence of the proletariat. We have not yet succeeded in placing our own parties, the parties of the Communist International, in the centre of the struggle against this offensive. The united front tactic has not been implemented in Italy, and not in France either, while in Germany we see some weak beginnings. You approach these beginnings with many reservations, instead of overcoming the dangers in action by leading the masses in struggle and imbuing them with a Communist spirit.

Comrades, I have been told that in my report I used the expression that the working masses as a whole today are not fighting consciously for power, that this question is no longer immediately posed. And I was told that this is a dangerous statement. Now, comrades –

Urbahns: The formulation was quite different.

Radek: Well then, say what it was.

Urbahns: The working masses have lost faith in the conquest of power.

Radek: I accept this formulation. If the working masses in their great majority had faith today that they can conquer power and establish their dictatorship, why, Comrade Urbahns, did you agree that the party should adopt the slogan of the workers’ government?

In my opinion, there is nothing more disastrous for the Communist International than a failure to grasp that the new, second stage means that the broad masses are not today on the assault. Only when they are attacking do the broad masses have faith in their goal. The Communists, as the vanguard of the working class, believe in the dictatorship of the proletariat. The non-Communist working masses struggle only when conditions force them to. It is obvious that the majority of the working class is not now thinking of the conquest of political power. Anyone who denies that is blind and will not be capable of overcoming the masses’ present attitude in the course of future events. Rather he will only trail behind the party, grumbling because he does not understand that the party must act in this way.

Comrades, the errors that we must now avoid have been encountered before in history. After the defeat of the Russian revolution in 1906, the Russian proletariat was in a most difficult situation, and the Mensheviks said the revolution was over, that capitalism and tsarism were stabilised, and Russia had entered the road of peaceful, Prussian development. The Bolsheviks countered that the bourgeoisie and tsarism are not capable of resolving a single fundamental question. And the revolution is therefore not over. A wave of revolution has ebbed and the second has not yet come. But disagreements arose among the Bolsheviks about what to do in the period between these two waves. The Berlin comrades are very unhappy because the word otzovism has been used, and they consider it a term of abuse. They talk of Menshevism, and we, who have a better knowledge of Russian, throw another word at them: otzovism.[34] But that’s not what it’s about.

Otzovism consists of saying that the revolution must come and will come. Like the comrade whose article I have quoted, it says roughly that the revolution inevitably will come. Now the Bolshevik leaders were not mystics, and they knew that history is made by classes on the basis of economic development. And if the front ranks of a class that is objectively revolutionary do not become its vanguard fighters, the revolution may inevitably be delayed, although development is leading in its direction. The question is whether there is a revolutionary class, led by a conscious vanguard. When the otzovists said that because the revolution is coming we will not go into parliament, the trade unions, the cooperatives, the Bolsheviks struggled against that. There were also shadings of otzovists. Just as there were and are half-Mensheviks and half-centrists, so too there are half and one-quarter otzovists, who have to be pulled along by the nose to a better understanding. That is why Lenin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev combated the half- and quarter-otzovists, saying: Yes, the tomorrow there will be revolution, but today we must first unite the masses for struggle. And the danger of otzovist moods exists, comrades; it is the reverse side of the coin of the masses’ passivity.

The otzovists, like the KAPD today, wait until the masses come into action. And you want to fill out this time by doing things that are an expression of fear. When children are afraid, they cry out and yowl. We say that this policy is dangerous, and you have to get over it – not only when formulated openly, but in relics of the KAPD approach. When the party is in action, you should not always grab it by the elbow and hinder its actions. My first speech, as reproduced in Bolshevik, had me saying that you had hindered the party. I did not say that. I said that your fearfulness would hinder it, for the party considers that you have the support of a portion of its ranks. (Interjection from the Germans: ‘When did we ever do that?’) I will enumerate some instances for you right away.

One was when the question of material assets came up, of adopting a tax programme to tax the bourgeoisie and ease the burden on the working class.[35] Do you recall all the speeches about the danger of state capitalism? Another case was when the question was raised of a workers’ government. Do you recall your speeches when the united front was raised? On every occasion the story was that the comrades, if they did not actually betray, would at least make fools of themselves. During the sessions of the Commission of Nine your entire politics was based on the fear that Bukharin and Radek would be shown up to be betrayers or idiots.[36] Such politics, if you do not call a halt, will ruin the party.

When we hear Comrade Ruth Fischer’s speech, and then that of Comrade Urbahns, who represents a large German party organisation, we respond: Dear comrades, bring these matters into the light of day. Otherwise you will damage the party – contrary to your intentions – because I must say frankly that you represent a large part of the proletariat, on which we must rely, and because the danger of passivity requires us to unite all living revolutionary forces of the proletariat.

Comrades, I wish to say a few words about the danger from the right. The British Comrade Webb spoke here, calling on the Executive not to retreat from the Twenty-One Conditions. I have only today learned that the good Comrade Webb could not sleep at night for fear that it could be reduced to only twenty conditions. Let me reassure him. Comrade Zinoviev said that when we next negotiate with groups coming from the right, we will have forty-two conditions. I hope that satisfies Comrade Webb. But the party that he represents is not as radical as he is. We must express some criticism of a significant error that this party committed in its activity. I have here the election appeal of the Communist Party of Britain.

How does the Communist Party of Britain apply its united front tactic? It says: We are a part of the working class, namely its left wing. But we want to go together with the other workers’ parties. Wherever Naomi is, there too am I, Ruth. I am not referring to Comrade Ruth Fischer. (Laughter) I mean the good-natured Ruth of the Bible. And then the election appeal says: What is the Labour Party? The workers are excellent and wish to struggle, but the leaders are not so good. And then it says: These leaders have betrayed in the past and do so even today. Such a betrayal may take place. Nonetheless, it says, unity against the capitalists. Damn it all, if that is the united front tactic, we had better be done with it. The appeal of the [Comintern] Executive showed the workers specifically that the Labour Party’s entire politics are a betrayal of the workers’ interests.[37] But then it went on to say: If the Labour Party wins and forms the government, it will definitively betray you and show the workers that it wants capitalism and nothing more, and the workers will abandon it. Either that, or under pressure of the workers it will be forced to struggle, and in this case we will support it. Our slogan is quite precise: Vote for it and prepare the struggle against it. When Comrade Webb comes here and warns us against opportunism, we must tell him: Comrade Webb, jump right on a train and travel to Britain and struggle against opportunism there. You will have our full support.

The questions of the united front and the offensive are the most important issues of the next year or the next several years. It is very possible that the Social Democratic leaders will be tightly linked to with the bourgeoisie for a lengthy period. But we hope to succeed, through the pressure of the masses, in pushing them into struggle, at least for a time. Perhaps the poverty of the masses will have to grow before they come into struggle. It is possible that we will then go over to a frontal attack. But we will do that only when we are strong.

The policies of the Communist International embrace a perspective for an entire epoch, but must still be cut to the shape of the next immediate period. Our perspective is not merely what it was in the past. Rather, the longer the period of capitalist offensive lasts, the more the bourgeoisie shows itself incapable of securing its power. And we say that it has no way out – not just as part of an agitational tirade, but as our deep theoretical conviction.

But what represents the porch and what is the famous chimney? That cannot be decided theoretically. I will be pleased to make prophecies about several hundred years from now, but I take care not to make prophecies about the coming year. The facts are so complex that prophecies can be made only by those who know very little about theory and do not hesitate to make fools of themselves. It’s a matter of uniting the workers for struggle. And for that it is necessary to negotiate with the Social Democrats. So we must utilise this instrument, and we do so in the scientific knowledge that class antagonisms are sharpening. And if this struggle sharpens, we will be the decisive force.

In the time between two great periods of struggle, nothing would be more dangerous than this kind of fearfulness, this obstinate insistence on pure principle. We must go with the masses into the practical struggles and not handle communism as if it were breakable china. We are still weak, and it would be disastrous for us not to recognise that. But we can only be strong if we say that we will do what is demanded by the present situation. And the situation before us demands the unification of the masses in struggle for the next immediate goals, which will lead to struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. (Loud applause)



31. Radek is referring to the Conference of the Three Internationals held in Berlin, 2 – 5 April 1921.

32. ‘Portico’ translates the German word Rampe, which suggests an entranceway. Two photographs exist that are claimed to represent this event; one shows Scheidemann speaking from a window; the other, from a second-floor balcony. For Scheidemann’s speech, see Riddell (ed.), The German Revolution and the Debate on Soviet Power (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1986), pp. 41 – 2.

33. For Thalheimer’s comments on the German CP’s draft programme, see Kommunistische Internationale, 23 (1922), pp. 118 – 21.

34. The otzovists ['recallists'] were a left-wing current within Bolshevism during the post-1907 ebb of the workers’ movement who favoured non-participation in official representative bodies.

35. Galloping inflation in Germany made it impractical to finance the government through taxes calculated in currency. Workers’ organisations, including the SPD, responded in 1921 – 23 by demanding ‘confiscation of real values’ as a means of taxing the rich. The KPD advanced a radical version of this demand.

36. The Commission of Nine was a continuing body established by the Conference of the Three Internationals, made up of three representatives of each International. It held only one session, on 23 May 1922.

37. See Inprekorr, 2, 211 (4 November 1922), pp. 1455 – 7.