Main NI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

The Militant, 14 September 1946

Restrictions in Provincial Voting
Expose U.S. “Democracy” in Germany

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 37, 14 September 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Military Government brags about the “democratic” elections it permits in the U.S. zone in Germany, but a letter received by The Militant this week shows how difficult it is in reality for an anti-fascist workers’ party to participate in these elections.

The organization concerned is the Arbeiter-Partei (Workers Party) in Offenbach-on-the-Main. This party was organized in 1945. But since it appears to be an independent organization, critical of the policies of the capitalist, Socialist and Communist Parties, its activities are hampered and it is constantly confronted with all kinds of obstacles.

Election Procedure

In July of this year the Arbeiter-Partei wrote, a letter to the Military Government in Wiesbaden complaining about “the undemocratic carrying through of the elections” to the Provincial Constituent Assembly in Greater Hesse on June 30. The letter raised the following points:

  1. The organization was not informed about the June 30 elections until June 14, although the bigger parties knew about them long in advance of this date. The A-P, which had planned to campaign in 30 electoral districts, was confined because of the short time at its disposal to only 16 districts.
  2. In seven districts the A-P’s electoral.petition was rejected on the ground that it had not been sanctioned by the Military Government and therefore needed a greater number of signatures.
  3. In electoral district 4, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, where the A-P claims to have its strongest support, its petition was accepted along with that of four other parties. But on election day the name of the A-P was not on the ballot anyhow.
  4. The A-P notes that while other parties had access to the press and radio, “information regarding our party was either abbreviated or else distorted beyond recognition.”
  5. The four big parties in the province receive a 3,000 liter monthly allotment of power fuel. The A-P petitioned for a single exceptional allotment of fuel because of the June 30 elections. The petition was sanctioned by the Military Government and the Minister of Economy and submitted to the Provincial Economic Bureau for action. But no fuel was given the A-P.
  6. The Provincial Election Committee is a body set up to hear complaints about pre-election irregularities. Invitations to attend were sent to A-P leaders on two occasions, each of them two days after the holding of the hearings.

Great Disadvantage

“All in all,” the A-P complaint notes, “these things placed our party at a great disadvantage and prevented us from developing our full forces in this election campaign. In actual fact, the election result is in no way related to the response which our participation in the elections received ... Had we had the opportunity to run in all electoral districts with a genuinely democratic preparation and procedure, then the Arbeiter-Partei would have received far more than the required five per cent of the votes.”

The A-P, which was given permission by the Military Government to operate in the city of Offenbach, has been trying for some time to obtain authorization to function as an organization throughout Greater Hesse. Its letter declares In this connection:

“We are firmly convinced that a new socialist party must arise in Germany, and ve know that we are joined in this conviction by great sections of the creative people.”

The letter concludes by requesting that the A-P be recognized as an all-province party and warning against the consequences of continued undemocratic practices.

The Arbeiter-Partei was organized by former members of the Communist, Socialist and Socialist Workers parties (the latter was a centrist workers’ party in Germany before Hitler came to power). Its program is confused and inadequate, but it is a genuine workers’ organization, whose leadership includes such old-time militants as Galm, Berker, Hebeisen, Rott and Ankermann.

Workers’ Organization

The first-named, Heinrich Galm, was a leader of the Socialist Labor Youth (SAJ) before the first world war, and an active trade union official after the war. For ten years before 1933 he was a member of the Offenbach City Council. From 1924 to 1928 he was a member of the Hessian Provincial Diet as a representative of the Communist Party. In 1928 he was expelled from the CP because of basic differences concerning European politics.

From then until 1933 Galm was an independent deputy. He was immediately arrested by the Nazis and sent to the Osthofen concentration camp. His property was seized.

He was arrested and imprisoned seven times from 1933 to 1944, and was never a member of the Nazi party or any of its organizations. In 1944 he was arrested after the June attempt on Hitler’s life, and held in the Gestapo prison at Darmstadt.

But a party of men like Galm who talks about the need for “a new socialist party” is not looked on with favor by the Allied Military Government, and is denied its democratic rights. Meanwhile the Military Government grooms former associates of the Nazis to run Germany.

Top of page

Main Militant Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 27 June 2021