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The Split in the Brandler Group

(February 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 7 (Whole No. 103), 13 February 1932, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On January 12, a number of the leading founders and spokesmen of the German Brandler group were expelled by the Brandler-Thalhelmer majority for their policy towards the newly-formed wing of the social democracy, the Socialist Labor party (S.A.P.) of Seydewitz and Co. The expelled leaders include such people as Walcher, Froelich, Koehler, Rose Wolfstein, Enderle, Karl Frank, Thomas and many others. The expulsions, which are tantamount to a split, mark a new stage in the development of the central and strongest section of the international Right wing faction.

The Walcher-Froelich group stood upon the ground of virtually liquidating the Brandler organization and merging with the social democratic Centrists grouped around Seydewitz. In other words, they planned to eliminate even the last nominal pretense to Communism which is still hung out on the signboard of the Brandler-Lovestone-Roy international. The dissidents have already held confidential meetings with the Seydewitz leaders and their formal entry into the Socialist. Labor party is merely a matter of arranging the details. In fact, by this writing, the marriage has probably already been consummated.

When the Right wing first took shape in the Communist International, the Bolshevik-Leninists constituting the Marxian section of Communism declared that the Right was a bridge to the social democracy. The Left Opposition made this affirmation at a time when the Right wing was in power, or at least shared the power with Centrism, in the highest instances of the Comintern and the Russian party. We made this characterization at the time when Bucharin was the principal theoretician of the Communist International, when Roy was one of its main spokesmen, when it was planned to put Brandler and Thalheimer back into the leadership of the German party, when the Right wing ran the American, Swedish, Alsatian and other parties. After the Sixth Congress, when the Right wing was expelled throughout the International, we repeated our characterization with increased emphasis and pointed out that it would not occupy for long a position between Communism and the counter-revolutionary social democracy. Our strictures aroused the hottest denials from the Brandlers and Lovestones. More than that, they treated our assertions with scorn and contempt, for were they not being made by the “Trotskyist counter-revolutionists”, who had “broken with Communism” and therefore deserved the expulsions which the Bucharins, Roys and Lovestones had organized against them? But time is replete with revenges, particularly for the Marxists who have such a powerful protector in the form of history against the calumny, the violence, the misrepresentation and the Philistinism of the Right wing liquidators.

The Right wing condescendingly explained to us that they could not share our “sectarian” point of view. They, you see, were for winning the masses, for going to the masses “as against” us. We retorted that they would never win the masses, certainly not for the proletarian revolution and Communism. Time has here again vindicated theoretical considerations. The Right Wingers have long ago started to “go to the masses” ... of the social democracy. In Czecho-Slovakia, the bulk of the much-advertised Right wing group promptly proceeded to shift its activity into the| ranks of the social democracy of the Czech republic. Shortly after its formation, the Brandler group yielded such leaders like Rosi Aschenbrenner, Xavier Buchs and many others to the ranks of the party of Wels, Noske and Scheidemann. Not long afterward, Messrs. Miller, Levitch & Co. quit the Lovestone group for the more fertile and “massy” fields of the social democratic “progressives” and worse, while the Lovestone group as a whole became positively thunderstruck with admiration for the “revolutionary, pro-Soviet” Militant faction in the American Socialist party.

Now, the numerous supporters of the Walcher-Froelich faction (and also a number of supporters of Brandler and Thalheimer, as their organ reports) have added to the list by joining the social democracy of the more despicable and cowardly and treacherous type, that is, of the “Left wing”.

Thus the Right wing produces the flowers for the social democratic bouquet. Each shading of the Right wing moves its bridges to the social democracy in its own particular way. Some rush forward to the party of treason, impatient at the failure of the promised “masses” to materialize; others pass lightly over to the “Left wing” of the social democracy still others capitulate quitely by going back to the Centrists through or by dropping out of working class politics entirely; and the rest oscillate feverishly with the winds, waiting for the most favorable opportunities, regretful that the impatient ones have reduced their bargaining power with those before whom they are prepared to capitulate in the end.

Lovestone only a few weeks ago wrote that the differences between Brandler and the minority were not so fundamental or serious. We want to be recorded in complete agreement with this thought. It is largely a difference over “stages”, over “tempo”. Patience is never unrewarded. Let us wait but a while. Who is bold enough to say that where Walcher or Bert Miller is today, Lovestone or Brandler will not be tomorrow?

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