Leon Trotsky

The First Five Years of the Communist International

Volume 1

The March Movement
in Germany

THE CENTRE of the revolutionary movement in Germany was formed by Westphalia and within it, Mansfeld, a mining region. The miners of Westphalia recall in many respects our workers of the Urals. They are far more backward, they are attached to the soil, they have their cottages and a small number of domestic cattle and in general their whole regime has the character of an industrial feudalism. Only after the revolution, began the conversion of the Westphalian and particularly the Mansfeld workers into temperamentally the most revolutionary section of the German working class. Exactly as in the Urals we can observe here in this region acts of terrorism as the product of the reaction of the working masses who have for long been under severe material and spiritual oppression by their lords. The workers in this region after having joined Social-Democracy left its ranks together with the Independent Social-Democratic Party, and then when the left wing of the Independents went over to the communists all the miners in this region ended up in the ranks of the Communist Party. At the present time Freiheit scoffs at the ignorance and superstition of these workers, their leaders and so on, not understanding that just as the advanced layer of the working class is very much tied up with its old habits and fettered by the old professional party bureaucracy, so the driving forces, especially in the first stage of the revolution and very possibly right up to the conquest of state power by the proletariat, are those layers of the working class which in the preceding period were more backward and even burdened with Christian and monarchist prejudices. The first to be aroused by the revolution, once having shaken off the old reactionary Prejudices, they feel themselves equally free from the dictatorship of the party, the trade unions and its bureaucracy and thus find themselves the motive force of the most positive revolutionary actions. Moreover the enthusiasm of a young force is natural to them and though they have no experience of struggle these qualities can be quickly acquired so that despite the sacrifices, the March events will doubtless in the final count provide a severe school of revolutionary discipline for the workers of Westphalia.

April 18, 1921

First 5 Years of the Comintern (Vol.1) Index

History of the Communist International Section

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Last updated on: 15.1.2007