Plastrik (Judd/Stanley) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page


Politics of the International Working Class

(January 1947)

From The New International, Vol. XIII No. 1, January 1947, pp. 30–31.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The resurrected German Social Democracy has, as is well known, achieved astounding electoral victories in Germany – Berlin elections, British zone, American zone and – in terms of popular support – even in the largely conservative, Catholic French zone. Its leaders have become the principal administrators in Berlin and, now, the British zone; Germany’s most industrialized and proletarian center.

Its vote in recent elections (see Post-Stuttgart Germany in a forthcoming issue of The New International) has been impressive indeed. There is no question that, as a mass electoral machine, the Social Democratic Party has indeed revived. Its greater significance lies in its transformation into a popular mass movement expressing the general dissatisfaction with Allied occupation policies (that is, the grinding starvation of the people), as well as a bitter antagonism to Russia and its quisling Socialist Unity Party. The recent visit of Dr. Kurt Schumacher to London, where he hobnobbed with Attlee and his Labor cabinet, symbolized the increasing alliance between the British occupation forces and the Social Democratic leadership.

But has the Social Democratic leadership changed from its pre-Hitler character? In what sense has the Social Democratic Party become a meeting place for revolutionary, semi-revolutionary and other valuable material for the rebuilding of Germany’s revolutionary movement? We print below, in full, the letter, as originally written in English, of a young member of the German Social Democracy. Its genuineness and sincerity speak for itself, in addition to furnishing us with, at least, partial answers to the problems of politics in ruined Germany. The letter appeared in the early November issue of Socialist Appeal, English Trotskyist bi-monthly.

British Zone, Germany

First of all I’ve to say, that all following is my own opinion, but that all that I write, can be regarded as the German public opinion for every German in my age and with the same ideas than me. I don’t write in bribery by cigarettes, money, or anything else, but I write in strong hope to see a real socialistic world-regulation in the next future.

The Real Attitude of the SPD

What means SPD? It means: social-democratic party of Germany. When you hear that, you’ll think, that the SPD is a socialistic party on a democratic basis; but that is not true. The SPD is very far of a real socialism, for its leadership are non-socialists, but materialists. The more they speak of socialism, the more they mean materialism. They only are party-members for to get something extra. I think, it will be very interesting for you to be told, that the party-functionaries get extra food – rations from Sweden, as well as chocolate, what another German, except on the black market, can’t get. Farther they look for very good jobs in their profession, and they get them. Some work for a fantastic wage in the party-offices as officials. When you look more and more into the interior of the SPD, you think it is nearly the same than the passed Nazi-party: the same hypocrisy towards the outside – and the same pompous life of the party-bosses, in the inside. The old members don’t concern with all that – but we, the youth, know, what the only one way-out for us is: An international-socialism on the democratic base of Marx and Engels.

The fundament for the left wing in our party is the youth. The same youth, which fighted with the biggest enthusiasm for the nazis and capitalists against the socialistic revolution during the last war, fights for a better Europe, for a better world, for a real international-socialism with the same enthusiasm. We have been on the wrong way once, but once only, that cannot happen to us a second time again. We will not suffer, that the people of the world will be told lies and will be deceived again by the capitalism or their tools, the ruling classes. We will put the words: Workers of the world, unite! in golden letters on our red banner.

The left wing, the real socialists put forward the Ideas of Marx and Engels, of Lenin and Trotsky. The leadership of the SPD exclusive is the right wing, but the first part of the election, which took place at the 15th of September, showed us, that the SPD didn’t get the majority. I think it necessary, to replace the present leadership by young, active members with socialist ideas.

Our Attitude Towards the Communism

When you use in Germany the word communism, everybody will see in that the Stalinism. Nobody will remember the real communism of Lenin and Trotsky. The reasons for that are:

  1. During thenazi regiment in Germany it was strictly forbidden to circulate any anti-nazi-political papers, and the nazi-propaganda didn’t tell us any more than terrible lies about the Russians and their cruelty. The nazis said, that the communists are the worst enemies of the working class, and that the communism means nothing more than blood-regiment, and that the native-country of the communism is Russia.
  2. The German PoW’s coming back from Russia now; tell us something about the real attitude of the Soviet Union, about the conditions of life of the Russians, and about the Stalinism, short, they tell us, that it looks in Russia quite as in Germany during the Hitlerism.

And when the German population hears all that, they believe all the worst of the communism. Another reason is, that the right-wing leadership of the SPD doesn’t want any real communist ideas put forward, for these ideas are socialistic ideas they don’t like, and that our leaders don’t support the union-idea, and so they don’t circulate any real communistic papers of Trotsky or Lenin.

I myself don’t like the communism like it is in Russia, and I also don’t like the KPD, for all that is nothing more than Stalinism; but I am a follower of the Trotsky-ideas, and these ideas are the ideas of the left wing of the SPD.


Ceylon Trotskyist Parties Head General Strike

According to a report in the British Socialist Appeal, the Ceylon Trotskyists stood in the leadership of a mass general strike that swept the island early iu November of this year. The leadership of the strike was in the hands of the Lanka Sama Samaj Party and the Ceylon Unit of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India. At this writing, few of the details of the strike are known, nor is the final outcome. The American press, after reporting a few details of the intensity of the strike action (including the beating of the Mayor of Colombo by strikers) lapsed into complete silence, indicating a censorship clamp had been placed on news by the British. Hundreds of thousands of workers were involved, and the city of Colombo was entirely tied up. The strikes affected transport, harbor, tea plantation, etc., workers – in fact, the entire proletariat of the island. The top strike committee refused to negotiate with the authorities until N.M. Perera, head of the Lanka Sama Samaj Party, had been released from arrest for his part in the strike. This is the first mass, general strike to have been headed by Trotskyists in any part of the world – an historic event in itself.

It is likewise reported in the Socialist Appeal that the two Trotskyist movements in Ceylon have begun negotiations for reunification of their separate organizations. A future issue of The New International will publish a thesis of the Ceylon Unit of the Fourth International, dealing with the revolutionary perspectives of their country. We expect to publish further details on the strike development referred to above.

Plastrik (Judd/Stanley) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 21 April 2017