Jean van Heijenoort writing as Marc Loris

Revolutionary Tasks Under the Nazi Boot

“Revolutionary Tasks Under the Nazi Boot” Fourth International, November 1942, pp.333-338, under the name “Marc Loris”, (5,589 words). This is part of a debate or discussion. See the previous article by “Marc Loris”/Van Heijenoort in September 1942 and the reply by Felix Morrow in December 1942.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fourth International has opened its pages to a discussion on the national question in Europe. The first discussion article, “The National Question in Europe,” by Marc Loris, was published in our September issue. The fact that it was a discussion article was inadvertently omitted. Marc Loris’ present article is a continuation of his first. Other discussion articles by various contributors will be published in succeeding issues.

The official position of the Socialist Workers Party on the national question in Europe, adopted unanimously at Its Tenth Convention in October, appeared in our October issue under the heading “The National Question in Europe.”


Nazi oppression passed over Europe like a steam-roller. Throughout the continent there now remains, between the Nazi power and the population, no legal organization in which the masses can take shelter and regroup themselves. After the political parties and the trade unions, the work of destruction has been extended even to the most neutral and most insignificant organizations, for the Nazis feared—and with good reason—that even the slightest of them might become a crystallization-point of resistance. Into the tiniest groups the Nazis introduced their own men, who proposed adherence to the “New Order"; even stamp-collectors’ organizations were gleichgeschaltet.

What remains of the workers’ organizations had to pass over into illegality and to new methods. The traditional bourgeois and petty-bourgeois organizations have given way to underground groups, of a new character, not directly stemming from the old parties. Small illegal groups which often do not extend beyond the limits of a city or of a region are appearing everywhere, only a few can maintain contacts—and even those very irregularly—on a national scale. Innumerable little newspapers spring up and disappear. Liaisons are established and broken again. On the whole, there is to be observed, with the passing months, a certain progress toward centralization, but very slowly, and often interrupted as a result of the severe conditions of illegality. Even that political movement which was best adapted to underground work, Stalinism, is suffering greatly: in spite of a powerful apparatus and abundant resources, relations between the center and the regional organizations are often broken—a situation which cannot fail to create favorable occasions for discussion and united action between the Communist Party members and the Trotskyists.

Of all the working-class organizations, however, the Stalinist parties remain the most powerful and the most active—and by a large margin. The Stalinist propaganda is, of course, completely chauvinist in character, and is very careful not to speak of socialism. Apart from the Stalinists, the two most noteworthy centers of resistance of the working-class movement are formed by the Left Socialist groups in Poland (some of them close to Trotskyism and all hostile to the Government-in-Exile) and by what remains of the Norwegian trade union movement, which the Nazis have been unable to wipe out entirely. Of the Second International but little remains. Lately there could be noted a certain renewal of activity by the official Socialist groups in Belgium and in the north of France; but it retains an extremely fragmentary character.

The Petty-Bourgeois Movements Broad layers of the petty bourgeoisie have lost their economic and social balance. The German occupation has caused, on the whole, an enormous pauperization and even, to a certain degree, proletarianization, of the petty bourgeoisie. This social crisis finds its political expression in the formation of the innumerable groups and movements which reflect all the rainbow colorations of the petty bourgeoisie.

At the reactionary end of this spectrum are to be found the traditional chauvinist groups, such as the Gaullist organization in France. One must carefully distinguish between the masses’ very widespread but rather vague sympathies for the “democratic” camp, including De Gaulle, and the Gaullist organization itself. The latter is made up above all of former military men and functionaries. They have no feeling for activity by the masses to whom, for that matter, they are incapable of speaking. Most of them are nearly as terrified of a movement of the masses as of the German occupation. Their principal activity in the military field is espionage on behalf of England and, in the political field, waiting for an Anglo-American debarkment.

At the other extreme of this rainbow are to be found some organizations which are honestly looking for a way out of the intolerable situation of the lower strata of the petty bourgeoisie. The elements most suited to become the spokesmen of these lawyers are the youth and the intellectuals. Thus among their leaders are often to be found students, teachers and writers. Violently repelled by fascism, these social strata are turning toward socialism in search of a solution for their misfortunes. They willingly concede that the bourgeois system is coming to its end, and accept the program of the federation of peoples, but they have not yet overcome all their distrust of the workers. Their leaders often keep hunting for a rosier path than that of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” and accuse Marxism of being “narrow.” Between these extreme types of groupings are to be found, of course, all intermediary forms.

In the terrible conditions of illegality, there are inevitably, among the various underground groups, frequent practical agreements: for printing newspapers, for transporting literature and people, etc.—even finding paper is a serious problem. Without such contacts, it would be simply impossible to exist; and they involve, needless to say, no compromise in program.

Even now in the occupied countries, especially in western Europe, occasions for public demonstrations are not infrequent: housewives’ demonstrations against the lack of foodstuffs, demonstrations against those restaurants which serve food to the rich without ration cards, demonstrations against the “collaborationists,” public demonstrations on various national holidays (Bastille Day, etc.). These demonstrations are organized by illegal groups of every kind, and the question of our participation arises. It is difficult to give a general answer. The important point for determining whether we participate is not so much the nature of the occasion or of the initiators of the demonstration, but the political situation and the possibilities of the given moment. If certain demonstrations are repeatedly held, mobilizing an increasing number of demonstrators, it is the duty of the revolutionary party to call on the workers to participate in them, even though organized by petty-bourgeois national groups. Of course, it is also the task of the party to appear in them with its own slogans. After the crushing of all organizations, the disappearance of all organized political life, every manifestation which restores the feeling of collective action however modest or confused its objectives may be, is extremely progressive, and the task of the revolutionary party is to aid, and if possible, to broaden it.

Obviously, while taking advantage of every possible step forward, we cannot limit our freedom to criticize reactionary and utopian programs. Now as always, the Marxists carry on their work of explaining and clarifying. They must especially denounce the falsity and the hypocrisy of all the chauvinist groups who desire nothing but revenge and who, although demanding the freedom of their own nation, do not hesitate and will not hesitate to participate in the oppression of other nations. Thus, all movements which find their inspiration in London and Washington (governments-in-exile, General De Gaulle, etc.) must be characterized not as national movements, but as imperialist movements by their aims as well as by their methods (alliance with Anglo-American imperialism, exploitation of Belgian colonies, of a part of the French, Dutch colonies, etc.). These groups attempt to chain the popular national revolt to one of the imperialist camps. In new circumstances they fill the traditional role of the bourgeois parties that have their base in the petty bourgeoisie. One such party was the defunct Radical-Socialist Party of France which rested on the democratic aspirations of the French peasant the better to chain him to big business. Now the Gaullist movement exploits for imperialist aims the aroused national sentiment. Its program and those of like groups can bring only new catastrophes to Europe.

As for the various petty-bourgeois groupings which are turning in the direction of socialism, we must have a much more patient and pedagogical attitude toward them. These groups, rebelling against the present oppression, go so far as to blame the system of imperialist trusts and monopolies, but they always retain, as we have indicated, some apprehension toward the workers’ program. Their general program, vaguely speaking, is the most consistent formal democracy. In discussions with these groups the main task is to show the reality behind the forms of pure democracy, and patiently but firmly point out to them that a choice is inevitable, for there is no “third way.”

In the present situation all democratic demands are charged with an enormous revolutionary potentiality; for in the epoch of the disintegration of the capitalist regime only the proletarian revolution can bring reality to democratic principles. Therefore the Marxist parties must be the most resolute champions of these demands, knowing well that their fulfillment leads society to the threshold of socialism. But this is also the reason that democratic demands become a lie when separated from the socialist program, for without this program they cannot materialize. Not only is bourgeois democracy merely a formal democracy covering up the real inequality between capitalist and proletarian; but in our epoch even this formal democracy can exist only at brief intervals, in anemic form and will soon give way to Bonapartist and fascist dictatorships or to socialism. To speak of freedom now, and to remain silent about the only means of attaining it, by the proletarian revolution, is to repeat an empty phrase, is to deceive the masses. Joint action with democratic petty-bourgeois groups, often unavoidable and moreover desirable, can never stop us from criticizing their programs before the masses and from trying to win the best part of their organization.

The programs of nearly all the underground groupings, Stalinists included, contain the demand for a Single National Assembly, elected by universal suffrage. For some of these groups, that is their only program for the day following the fall of the Hitlerian empire. In the French section of the Fourth International, especially in the occupied zone, a discussion has been taking place on this slogan of a National (or Constituent) Assembly.

The arguments in favor of its adoption are reduced, in general, to this: If we are ready to fight for democratic liberties how can we fail to write into our program the demand which crowns all these freedoms, the National Assembly? This reasoning is not correct. We fight with the masses for even the smallest democratic liberties precisely because this fight opens the road to the proletarian revolution; at the same time we explain that this revolution is the only assurance against the return of oppression, of dictatorship, of fascism. The National Assembly is by no means the crowning of democratic demands. The real meat of these demands can come into existence only through the development of workers’ and peasants’ committees. When separated from the question of power—bourgeois or proletarian—the slogan of a National Assembly at the present moment in Europe is nothing but an empty form, a shell without revolutionary content. Under today’s conditions of illegality, the slogan does not correspond to any real experience of the masses, while every group covers different political programs with this formula; the slogan thus takes on a ritual character and becomes a piece of democratic charlatanism.

Will we not pass through a “democratic” stage after the collapse of Nazi power? This is very likely. But it is also very likely that in this period we will already be seeing the formation of workers’ committees, embryo soviets, transforming the “democratic stage” into a more or less long dual power. It is possible that at that time the slogan of a National Assembly may become filled with a certain revolutionary content. General De Gaulle’s movement officially declared, some months ago, that at the downfall of Nazism, the power will come into the hands of a single Assembly elected by all the French in the most democratic manner; but in articles and conversations Gaullist representatives are already explaining that between the collapse of the Nazi tyranny and the convoking of the National Assembly there will elapse an interregnum necessary to save the country from chaos and to re-establish order, and that during this time democracy will be quite limited. We can easily imagine what this means. It is possible that at that time the cry for immediate convoking of the Assembly will correspond to the real experience of the masses and will have an offensive character against the provisional government. However, that is the music of tomorrow.

Terrorism and Sabotage The criticism of the petty-bourgeois and Stalinist programs should be followed, of course, by a critique of their methods. Nazi oppression has already aroused in Europe multiple forms of resistance: passive demonstrations of all kinds, attempts on the lives of German officers, wiping out “collaborationists,” explosions, train wrecks, fires, production slow-downs in the factories, damaging of machines, strikes, street demonstrations, hunger riots, guerrilla activity—the last of these becoming almost full-fledged war in the Balkans. The very variety of these activities reveals the diversity of the social strata that have been drawn into the movement. The difficulties of the present moment, the participation of petty-bourgeois layers therein, and the deliberate policy of Stalinism, have aroused a wave of adventurism.

Individual terrorism has become common throughout the entire continent. The Stalinists in particular have combined a vulgarly chauvinist opportunism in their program with a stupid and criminal adventurism in action. The revolutionary party can only repeat all the classic arguments of Marxism against individual terrorism; they still retain today all their original validity. In discussions with workers under Stalinist influence, we must in particular point out the connection between terrorism and bureaucratism. The terrorist hero and the bureaucrat both want to act for the masses, apart from them. Both terrorism and bureaucratism reflect contempt for the incompetent masses who must be pulled out of their difficulties by the individual. We repeat: Nothing can be gained by individual attempts; they merely sacrifice precious devotion uselessly and delay the action of the masses. Of course, cur criticism of terrorism does not arise from any moral indignation. We must constantly emphasize that we are on the side of the terrorists in their struggle against the oppressors, but that as against terrorism we are for more efficacious methods.

Certain forms of sabotage which are the action of individuals or of tiny isolated groups are scarcely to be distinguished from terrorism and are often nothing more than explosions of rage and despair, without any real efficacy. But, ever since the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, the Czech workers have undertaken to sabotage production inside the factories. Their example is now followed throughout all Europe.

Sabotage was a means of struggle of the youth of the labor movement, at a time when capitalism had to impose the discipline of the modern factory on the handicraft or peasant masses. It was then that there appeared the Scotch “ca’canny,” anarcho-syndicalism in France, the I.W.W. in America. These movements represented only a brief passing tendency of the class struggle. The workers found in the strike a weapon which was both more effective and less costly.

Nazi oppression has rendered strikes extremely difficult in the Europe of today. Hence the workers have been obliged to have recourse to sabotage, which bears the relation to the strike that guerrilla warfare does to regular warfare. There is no doubt that throughout the entire continent the workers have often undertaken to slow down production and lower its quality on their own initiative, without awaiting the summons of illegal organizations, thus demonstrating that this method has at present nothing artificial about it and that its “abnormal” character simply corresponds to “abnormal” conditions.

The revolutionary party must of course work to extend sabotage inside the factories in the occupied countries. The task is, above all, to interest in this the bulk of the workers of the plant and not to consider this work a technical job reserved to a few isolated “experts.” This is equally important from the practical as well as the political point of view. Repression is rendered infinitely more difficult, and the collective nature of the struggle helps to overcome the atomization of the working class brought about by the crushing of its organizations. The first months of the German occupation were, in general, characterized by a disappearance of collective consciousness, each thinking only of saving himself, in his own way. This state of mind has already been overcome at least partially, precisely by the movement of national resistance. The revolutionaries must always endeavor to restore to the workers the consciousness of their collective power.

The collective forms which can be taken by sabotage within the factories are: the slowing down of production, the lowering of its quality, the rapid wearing out of the machines. Everywhere that they can, revolutionaries must bring about the formation of a committee inside the factory—illegal, obviously—which organizes and supervises the work of sabotage and protection against stool-pigeons. It is this collective sabotage, which regroups the workers around a common goal and against which repression can only with difficulty operate, which represents the greatest danger for Hitler. Sabotage, when conceived of as a direct aid to the Soviet Union, does not exclude isolated acts against particularly sensitive points in the economic and military apparatus (power plants, tunnels and railroad bridges, etc.). But all that can be done in this field will always remain relatively limited. Only by taking on a mass character can sabotage really threaten the German military machine, and it can acquire this character only at the center of the collective strength of the workers, in their places of work.

“But,” a Stalinist might say, “do not the interests of the defense of the USSR not justify individual terrorism? Aren’t you yourselves for the defense of the Soviet Union? The European masses are engaged in a war against the Nazis behind the front—and in war all methods are good! Of course, Marxists are right in opposing terrorism considered as a means of ‘exciting’ the masses to struggle, but now the killing of German officers by revolvers or bombs is a simple war measure.” This reasoning, which reflects the present policy of the Stalinists in the occupied countries, betrays an ignorance of military art as well as of revolutionary policy. It is precisely in a serious struggle that all methods are not good. The task of the military chief or of the revolutionary militant consists in choosing the means which lead to the end and putting aside those which are sterile or even harmful.

Terrorism, by its very nature, always retains an individual character. “Mass terrorism” would be—the revolution. All the terrorism today is, when all is said and done, scarcely a pin-prick for Hitler. But, on the other side of the ledger, the liabilities are enormous. The best working-class blood is shed without counting. The disproportion between the sacrifices and the results obtained can engender nothing but discouragement and passivity. It is not easy to judge from afar, but it seems that the movement of resistance suffered a serious setback in Czechoslovakia after the assassination of Heydrich.

We have always maintained that the defense of the USSR is indissolubly linked with the class struggle of the international proletariat. This principle has direct consequences for the defense of the workers’ state. Stalin sacrificed the revolutionary interests of the international proletariat for alliances with the imperialist bourgeoisies. After the successive defeats of the European proletariat, engendered by Stalinism, the catastrophe was inevitable. Today, Stalin tries to jump over the consequences of his fatal policy by hurling the workers of occupied Europe into the adventure of terrorism. He thus not only blocks their revolutionary future, but also does a disservice to the military interests of the USSR.

The sabotage of production within the factories can produce infinitely greater results than can the murder of a few hundred or even a few thousand German officers or collaborationists. Awakening the collective initiative of the working class instead of paralyzing it, sabotage of production can attain a scope which no wave of terrorism can ever reach. At the same time it accelerates the regroupment of the working class, recreates its collective consciousness, and prepares it to enter its revolutionary future. The last few months have revealed that Hitler is struggling desperately to keep up his armament production. Sabotage in the factories represents for him a mortal danger. But one of the most important conditions for its spread is turning our back on individual terrorism and all forms of adventurism. Even in the Europe of today the USSR’s immediate military requirements and the interests of the European proletariat’s revolutionary future completely coincide.

We must further note that individual terrorism is an obstacle to fraternization with the German soldiers. It tightens the bonds between soldiers and officers instead of breaking them. The German military authorities take the greatest precautions to prevent contact between troops and inhabitants. Every attempt to spread propaganda among the German soldiers is punished with extreme severity, for this is a mortal danger to the Nazi generals. This is also why the task of fraternization can never be abandoned by revolutionists.

The Guerrillas In central and south-eastern Europe geographic and social conditions have permitted the appearance of guerrillas. They have sprung up especially in regions where the population is spread out, where railroads are scarce, where communication is difficult. They are principally peasant movements. But not entirely. Whenever they were able, groups of workers have joined the bands. It has even been noticed that in Czechoslovakia guerrilla bands have been formed directly by workers. It is reported that “densely wooded areas are furnishing a place of safety to the hundreds of saboteurs from the mines and the iron and steel plants of Kladno, to organizers of passive resistance, and leaders of strikers. After a recent clash which occurred between the Nazi police and Czech miners who were found to be in possession of dynamite, the Germans undertook to drive the refugees from this territory; but the fugitives, having full support of the population, successfully eluded the members of the Gestapo.” In various parts of Poland the peasants have formed guerrilla bands, which are now aided by Soviet partisans who have succeeded in filtering through the Nazi lines. Guerrilla bands are also very active in Ruthenia.

But it is in the Balkans that the movement has taken on the greatest proportions, and especially in what was yesterday Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was a product of Versailles, financially supported by France as a bastion of her hegemony in Europe. The fact that the Belgrade government ruled over at least five different nationalities was one of the reasons for the quick German victory. The country was occupied by the Germans and Italians. The Yugoslav state was destroyed. Under the weight of unprecedented oppression, the peasants have started to gather together in the mountains to resist. The imperialist war was succeeded by a national struggle, half revolt, half war, against the German and Italian oppressors, as well as against the governments they set up in Belgrade and Zagreb. This struggle is going through many vicissitudes. Bands are entirely dispersed only to form again later on. Villages revolting prematurely are crushed. Officially, several hundred villages have already been reported razed by the Germans and Italians.

Moreover, the movement is widely divided. Information is scarce and often rather dubious, nevertheless it is clear that various bands operate separately. They are separated by national differences: Serbians, Slovenes, Bosnians, Montenegrins, etc.; they are also separated politically and socially. The Chetniks, a Serbian organization under the direct control of Mikhailovich, seems to be the most reactionary. It opposes any social change and thinks only of re-establishing the previous regime. Other bands have set up “Communist” or “Soviet” regimes. What is the reality behind these words? It is rather, difficult to tell. These bands are composed, it seems, of peasants; mine workers have joined many of them and now form a substantial proportion of some bands. At any rate, the differences are great enough to have provoked armed conflicts among the various hands, and Mikhailovich has under-taken repressions against the “Communists.”

Thus, as soon as the weight of oppression is somewhat lightened, the national struggle immediately raises the social question. The example of Yugoslavia shows, although on a limited scale, the extremely unstable character of the movement of national resistance in Europe today and how it leads immediately to the class struggle. Of course, we are entirely on the side of the bands of poor peasants and workers in their conflicts with the reactionary elements. But that does not mean abandoning the ground of national independence. Criticism of Mikhailovich and other conservative groups should proceed on the basis of liberating the country: Mikhailovich’s repressions sabotage the resistance; in order to arouse the peasants we have to open up a social perspective for them, etc. However, temporary military agreements between the revolutionary groups and Mikhailovich are still entirely possible in the future.

Cannot the movement of resistance completely merge with the imperialist war? This is possible and would be nothing new. Many national wars have ended up as imperialist wars. If the Anglo-American camp should open a new front in the Balkans, the national character of the struggle would disappear immediately. But this is tomorrow’s possibility, not today’s reality. At the present time, the struggle in the Balkans is a link in the whole movement of resistance of the European peoples to Nazism, and it thus takes on great importance. The guerrillas, being principally a peasant movement, create the greatest danger for the states where quasi-feudal relations still prevail in the countryside (especially Hungary, but also Rumania, Bulgaria and Slovakia). Revolution in central and south-eastern Europe, where the agrarian problem has never been resolved even in the bourgeois manner, will kindle large peasant revolts, and the present movement of resistance is their direct preparation.

Four months ago the Hungarian government officially announced the arrest of three hundred officers and non-commissioned officers of the Hungarian army for having helped guerrilla bands in Yugoslavia, Poland and the USSR by transmitting arms and information to them. We can measure the importance of this incident if we recall that Hungary is one of the countries where the landlords’ rule over the peasants is most brutal. The resistance in Yugoslavia has called forth revolt in all the neighboring countries. Guerrillas have appeared in Greece, Macedonia, Rumania and Bulgaria. Even in Croatia, to which Hitler gave formal independence, the peasants are starting to form guerrilla bands against the Italians. It would be imprudent to exaggerate the present political consciousness of these movements or to build too great hopes on them as long as they have not found a leadership in the urban proletariat. But to deny their importance for the revolution and to remain indifferent toward them would be blind passivity.

From National Resistance to the Proletarian Revolution Exactly what role will the demand for national liberation play in the preparation and development of the European revolution? Only the historian of the future will be able to answer this question precisely and to him will fall the lot of definitively measuring the place occupied by national revolt in the great torrent of hatred, of anger, of despair and of hope, which carries the peoples of occupied Europe toward the revolution. To us falls the lot of giving an answer for action. This answer is: The slogan of national liberation has played up to the present, and will continue to play for some time, an important role in regrouping the masses, overcoming their atomization and drawing them into the political struggle. This is more than enough for it to appear on our banner.

Through what concrete forms of struggle will the movement of resistance in the various European countries pass? How will it connect with the proletarian revolution? The answer to these questions depends on the relationship of the contending forces, in particular the unfolding of the imperialist war. If Germany should maintain a firm grip on the European continent for many years, it would be difficult for the movement to raise itself above its present political level, which is still primitive, and would threaten to take an increasingly narrow national character. But the perspective of a long German domination over Europe must now appear to he more and more illusory even to Hitler himself.

The resistance of the Soviet workers and kolkhozniki shows more and more clearly the limits of the German military machine. The progressive weakening of German imperialism will bring with it not only a quantitative multiplication of revolutionary actions throughout the continent, but will give a new character to the struggle. Terrorist attempts will he superseded by the action of the masses.

During recent weeks the first signs of this transformation have appeared. Athens has seen a general transport workers’ strike lasting several days. The workers of the Renault factories, heart of the Parisian proletariat, have threatened to go out on strike several times. The Belgian miners of the Borinage have recently unleashed several strike movements, and even, it is reported, obtained the liberation of hostages from the German authorities by threatening a general strike of miners. Above all, the present movement of the French workers of the unoccupied zone has aroused great masses.

These are the first signs of profound changes in the situation. Its principal causes are the weakening of the German oppressor and the rebirth of the collective consciousness of the masses. The renewal of activity of the masses will cause the wave of individual terrorism to recede by giving more reality each day to the perspective of the revolution.. Mutinies have already broken out, it appears, among the German soldiers in Norway and among the Italian troops. It is hard to determine the amount of truth in this information. However, it is at least plausible and, if premature, the future will give it truth. The mutinies will lead directly to the fraternization of German soldiers with the oppressed peoples. The common struggle against common oppression will unite the masses around the program of the Socialist United States of Europe.

The demand for national liberation and participation in the present movement of resistance do not in any way imply that we must expect new bourgeois national revolutions or some revolution of a special character which would be neither bourgeois nor proletarian, but “national,” “popular” or “democratic.” Any large revolution is “national” in the sense that it carries along the great majority of the nation, and the “popular” and “democratic” character of any revolution worthy of the name is apparent at first glance. But we cannot transform this sociological description, essentially superficial, into a political program without turning our backs on the realities of the social classes, that is, abandoning Marxist ground. Both the French revolution of 1789 and the Russian revolution of 1917 were national, popular and democratic, but the first consolidated the reign of private property while the other ended it. That is why one was bourgeois and the other proletarian. As for the coming European revolution, its proletarian character will be apparent from its very first steps.

But will we not pass through a transition period after the fall of the Hitlerian empire? To those who pose this question, we must reply with another question: Of what transition are you speaking? A transition from what to what? A transition from the bourgeois revolution to the proletarian revolution? Or a transition between the Nazi dictatorship and the dictatorship of the proletariat? These are two very different things. Naturally, the proletarian revolution will pass through many vicissitudes; pauses, even temporary retreats. But the first thing to understand, if one does not wish to commit error after error, is that it will be a proletarian revolution struggling with the bourgeois counter-revolution.

Is a “democratic” stage, that is a renewal of bourgeois parliamentarism, possible after the collapse of Nazism? Such an eventuality is not excluded. But such a regime would not be at all the fruit of a bourgeois revolution or of a non-class “democratic revolution"; it would be the temporary and unstable product of a proletarian revolution which has not yet been completed and still has to settle accounts with the bourgeois counter-revolution. He who has not completely penetrated this dialectic has nothing to offer to the European masses.

The present situation in the occupied countries is still profoundly reactionary. The task of the revolutionary socialists is still propaganda work, the gathering together and the formation of cadres. It is our duty to show, everywhere and always, the necessity of organized action of the masses. To all forms of adventurism flourishing at present, we must counterpose the organization of revolutionary violence. In the face of every carefully organized action, on a large or small scale, the Nazis will be disconcerted. They have no “secret weapon” against revolution. They were victorious in Germany only thanks to the incapacity of the workers’ leaders and never have had to face real actions of the masses. When these multiply, the Nazis will know how to answer them only with that combination of violence and imbecility which characterizes all regimes condemned by history.