Reg Groves


The Balham Group


Document 5


IN GERMANY EVENTS MOVE SWIFTLY TO DECISION. Hitler has become Chancellor and prepares for absolute dictatorship by suppressing Communist and Socialist newspapers, prohibiting workers’ demonstrations, weeding out the non-fascists in the state forces, and attaching his own Storm Troops to these forces. Fascism moves relentlessly on over the bodies of the most devoted German revolutionaries. With the advance of Fascism to power, the forces of reaction grow stronger the world over; step by step with Hitler’s advance goes Japan’s war offensive. Within the near future the fate of the German Workers, of the Communist International, of the Soviet Union, of the World Revolution, will be decided for many years ahead. It is time to sound the alarm.

FASCISM IS THE FINAL WEAPON OF FINANCE CAPITALISM. The bourgeoisie can no longer rule in the old way: the political crisis in Germany cannot be solved by the methods of parliamentary democracy. The bourgeoisie seek to maintain their domination and to overcome the crisis by scrapping parliament, by abandoning its old tool, Social Democracy, and using the weapon of Fascist terror. Since the employers cannot rule by themselves, they enlist petty bourgeois in the armies of Hitler.

FASCISM ANNOUNCES ITS PROGRAMME – “the extermination of Marxism.” Italy shows only too clearly what this means. Fascism rules by destroying every independent organization of the masses, recapturing every foothold won by the workers in capitalist society. The Communist and Social Democratic Parties, Trade Unions, Co-operatives, the right to hold meetings, to publish, to organize – these things cannot exist under a Fascist dictatorship. To get victory, the Fascists will engage in a ruthless campaign of murder and destruction, the murder of thousands of the best German fighters, the jailing of tens of thousands, and the forcible suppression of their organizations. Can it be doubted that the defeat of the German Communist Party and of the powerful German working class movement by the motley bands of Hitler, would deal a fatal blow at the prestige and strength of the Communist International?

AND – AT THE SOVIET UNION! For, despite the theory that socialism can be built in Russia independently of the rest of the world, the real strength and ultimate guarantee of socialism in Russia, lies in development of world revolution. A Fascist Germany would attempt the extermination of Marxism outside as well as inside Germany. The ruling class of Germany has nothing to lose and everything to gain by war. Their newly militarised man-power would be placed in the service of France and Britain against the Soviet Union. A Fascist Germany would make war on Russia.

TWELVE MONTHS AGO WE SOUNDED THE ALARM, pointing to Germany as the key to the international situation. We published the writings of Trotsky, in which he pointed out the gravity of the German situation and how much depended on the defeat of Hitler. These warnings were not heeded: for publishing them we were expelled from the Communist Party. If Hitler wins, the responsibility for his victory will rest upon the shoulders of the present leaders of the Communist International and their puppet Central Committee in Berlin. We give below some points in the German Party’s policy which have seriously weakened the revolutionary movement.

THE PARTY’S ESTIMATION OF FASCISM. The Social Democrats were called “Social-Fascist”. The idea that their government was the “lesser evil” was attacked vehemently. It was said “A Social Democratic coalition government... would be a thousand times greater evil than an open Fascist dictatorship”, (Der Propagandst, Sept. 31.) They spoke of “the beginning of Fascist rule in Germany” (Rote Fahne, 17/1/31.) in connection with the Social Democratic government. For them, the Bruening government was Fascist; the Schleicher government was “Fascist”. In this way did the C.I. leadership analyze Fascism. Far from seeking, as a Fascist government must, the destruction of the working class forces, these governments actually based themselves on the balanced conflict between the workers movement and the Nazis. But the German Party, tutored by Stalin, taught the workers to see no difference between Bruening and Hitler. If there is already a Fascist government in power, why worry about Hitler? This is the logical deduction many workers have made from Thaelmann’s analysis of the differences between Bruening and Hitler.

THE UNITED FRONT. The German Party, following the C.I. policy of the “Red United front”, refused to effect a real united front against Hitler. (“A bloc or even an alliance, or even a temporary joint operation, in individual actions between the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party in Germany against National Socialism would forever discredit the Communist Party’. W. Munzenberg 1/2/32). The social democratic workers were told, in effect, “we will unite with you, but not with your leaders, repudiate them, follow our policy, and we will unite against Fascism”. Such a policy made a united front impossible. We refer our Communist comrades to the Theses of the 3rd and 4th Comintern Congresses on the United Front, and also to Lenin’s letter advocating a united front with Kerensky against Kornilov (see Preparing for Revolt pages 9 to 13). If the policy outlined in this letter had been followed, as the Left Opposition advocated as far back as 1931, the advance of Hitler would have been checked, the Social Democrats’ influence over large masses of workers would have been broken, and the road to power opened for the German Party. Twice the German Party have, after announcing it as impossible, made approaches to the Social Democratic leaders, but only as a manoeuvre, counting on the to be expected refusal. A campaign must be conducted among the Social Democratic workers, urging them to force their leaders into a united front for struggle against Hitler. Without the Social Democratic workers’ organizations, Hitler cannot be defeated.

BY THE ABOVE MISTAKEN POLICIES, by their efforts to be more nationalist than the Nazis, (shown in their attempt to substitute “Peoples Revolution” for “Proletarian Revolution”, their support for the Referendum, their making of the ending of the Versailles Treaty the chief plank in their programme) the Party leaders have helped to weaken the Party.


We are faced with a disaster as great as that of 1914. But it can be averted. There is still time: the revolution can and must beat Fascism. The forces of a united working class in Germany would be irresistible, would defeat Hitler, and open a new epoch in history. The Stalinist leadership is too deeply compromised to be able to turn quickly and decisively.

Call local and district Party Conferences to discuss the policy followed in Germany, and to plan a serious solidarity campaign in this country. Make the Communist International break its craven silence with which it has met the new crisis. Return to the policy of Lenin. For the United Front of the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party against Fascism! For a Soviet Germany! For the Soviet States of Europe!




Issued by the Balham Group: British Section, International Left Opposition.


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Last updated on 27.12.2002