Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 7 No. 2


Georg Scheuer

Dear Editor

In their obituary of Georg Scheuer which appeared in Revolutionary History, Volume 7, no. 1, Fritz Keller and Kurt Lhotzky say that ‘it is not well known that Georg and his close friend and comrade, Karl Fischer, attended the founding conference of the Fourth International’, where they voted against its foundation, not merely because of its shift away from revolutionary defeatism, ‘but because they questioned the credentials of the organisations present’. It is also apparently not known by the authors that Georg and Karl were part of the Central Committee of the Red Front of Greater Germany which, along with the US Revolutionary Workers League and the Leninist League of Britain, belonged to the Provisional International Contact Commission for the New Communist (Fourth) International, which was founded in August 1939 with the publication of a 14-point programme. It also published Unser Wort, the organ of the Red Front, and For a German October Against a New November, the manifesto of Georg’s group, the Revolutionary Communists of Austria.

Keller and Lhotzky end this paragraph of their obituary with the statement that the RKÖ continued to collaborate with sections of the Fourth International. I am sure they did, but I doubt very much if Georg would have revised his opinion of the Fourth International of Trotsky, Cannon, Shachtman and Naville in favour of the later Fourth International of Pablo, Frank and Mandel.

As for the Contact Commission, by 1946 its constituent elements, however exemplary and correct their individual conduct may have been, had failed to keep contact amongst themselves, and they disappeared in the face of the new problems that arose.

As the last living member of the Leninist League, I tried to make contact in 1992 with Georg, but I did not succeed. I had in mind a meeting with Georg, Carl Cowl, a founding member of the RWL, and myself, with ‘What went wrong?’ on the agenda. Alas, this was another meeting that did not take place.


Ernie Rogers

Updated by ETOL: 3.10.2011