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Communists Gain in Reichstag Elections

Leninist United Front Tactics Vindicated

(August 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 32 (Whole No. 128), 6 August 1932, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Reichstag elections of July 31 were a reflection of the unstable and extremely precarious position of the present German state. They resulted in a political stalemate in so far as government power is concerned and definitely proved that no durable solution can be found for the political crisis of the country on the parliamentary plane. No single party, no bloc of parties exists, capable of ruling along the lines of the Weimar constitution.

The Fascists, of course, rose to the crest of their wave, but showed no appreciable increase in their vote over the amount Hitler received in the run-off elections in April. Both votes stand around the 13,000,000 mark. The resources of popular support for Fascism have thereby been drained. National Socialism, the party of Hitler, if it is not to disintegrate piece-meal, if it is to utilize the following it has amassed by vociferous promises, by tall talk about a radical transformation of the economic and social life – has but one way out: The immediate and forcible seizure of power.

On the Eve of a Coup d’État

When we remember that the .Hitler movement is in a very specific sense indispensable to the further existence of German capitalism we can draw the necessary conclusion? Germany is standing this very day before a Fascist coup d’état.

The social democracy fared badly, as was to be expected, in last Sunday’s poll. The S.D.P.G. of all parties lost the largest number of votes. This fact is fully consistent with the general decline of this party. Based on a platform of reforms – which have been shorn to shreds from day to day in the past few years; and of kowtowing to bourgeois democracy – which the bourgeoisie itself considers outlived, the social democratic betrayers of the working class cannot be expected to continue very long to hold on to the huge mass following which is growing constantly more dissatisfied with it, ever more auspicious of the reformist leaders.

Communist Gains

The Communist party alone made definite gains in the elections, receiving the highest vote yet cast for Communism in Germany – 5,278,094. The small but very significant and heartening parliamentary victory of the C.P.G. is full of lessons, full of indications. According to an International Press Correspondence dispatch to the New York Daily Worker, the largest increase in the Communist vote took place in Berlin and the area around it. It must be remembered that it was specifically in the province of Berlin-Brandenburg that the Communist party leadership recently made offers of united front action to the heads of the local social democracy. The S.D.P. leaders rejected the united front proposals of the Communists and it was in Berlin-Brandenburg that the Communists in this manner began to expose the treacherous, splitting character of the social democracy before the workers. The big increase of the Communist vote in Berlin-Brandenburg is a victory for the application of the Leninist united front policy, hitherto disregard, ed and trampled under foot by the Stalinist leadership of the C.P.G.

“The Defeat of the Trotskyists”

When the Daily Worker (August 1, 1932), greeting editorially the election advance of our German brother party, calls it “a defeat ... for the followers of Trotsky ...”, it is lying miserably, it is consciously deceiving the Communist workers. The election advance was, on the contrary, nothing more clearly than a confirmation of the correctness of the line of the International Left Opposition headed by comrade Trotsky. For it was the Left Opposition, which by its tireless propagation of the Leninist united front tactic against Fascism, by its unremitting criticism of the harmfully confusing and stupid theory of “social Fascism”, by its timely evaluation of the political factors involved in the German scene – it was the Left Opposition, we repeat, which more than anything else contributed to the happy change in the course of the Communist Party of Germany, reflected in the united front actions at Berlin. This, at a time when it was slandered for its criticisms as “counter-revolutionary”, when the Stalinists taught everywhere that the social democracy were “social Fascists” and that united fronts cannot be offered to “social Fascists”; when the Stalinists (Remmele-Thaelmann) proclaimed everywhere that Fascism was not really a menace, that the Hitler movement would rapidly fall apart and collapse – But the Left Opposition does not content itself with pointing out the correctness of its policies in the past. Our chief task still lies ahead of us.

The Fascist bands are murdering workers, revolutionists in the streets of Germany. Raids are taking place on the Communist headquarters in town and hamlet. The leading proletarian militants are massacred by Hitler’s Brown Shirt assassins (remember Koenigsberg!). The white terror is in full swing. From his Munich citadel, the German Mussolini is planning the march on Berlin.

The economic crisis tears on unabated. The ranks of the unemployed are still swelling. The productive apparatus of German capitalism is choking in its own vise. Utter subjugation of the wage slaves – that is the slogan of the German bourgeoisie. That is why capitalism in Germany depends for its life on the daggers of Fascism, directed against the German proletariat.

Fascist Demands

The Fascists are demanding the suppression of the Communist party already. Von Schleicher, the de facto dictator of the Reich, the man who controls its military, is reaching out a hand to his Fascist friends, to help them into power. Civil war, war against the working class is on already. Fascism in power can and will only legalize it, unfurl it in full and extend it to the borders of the Soviet Union with the aid of the world imperialists.

The Hitlerite coup d’état – the form, whether “legal” or open, is of secondary importance – is the threat of the hour. The establishment of the fighting unity of the German proletariat is a question of do or die. United working class action against Fascism can and must be achieved. The task of achieving it rests upon the shoulders of the German Communist Party alone.

The lesson of Berlin-Brandenburg forebodes success for the Communists in the application of the Leninist united front tactic. The Leninist tactic must be carried out in full. Not partially, not in isolated cases, but all over and everywhere. Not only in Berlin-Brandenburg, but on a national scale. Not once, but at every step and stage. The social democratic betrayers only last week urged “order and discipline” upon their followers, urged them to “concentrate upon the elections”. The elections have solved nothing for the workers and they know it. The influence of social democracy in the German working class has been shaken as never before. For the workers realise that determined class action, militant and forceful, is the demand of the hour.

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