Chapter C- The Working-Class Movement in Germany

1. The working class in Germany, composed of people of different national origins, carries the main burden of exploitation and oppression. The working class stands in antagonistic contradiction to monopoly capital and, as the sole revolutionary class, represents the future socialist society. It is endowed with concentrated experience of Western state-monopoly capitalism, of Eastern bureaucratic capitalism and of the hopeful beginnings of socialist construction in the initial years of the GDR. Concentrated in masses in large-scale production, it learns organizational discipline which enables it to assume the leadership in class struggle.

The working youth suffers especially from exploitation and lack of rights. It embodies the future of the working class and forms the core of the rebellion of the youth against the capitalist system.
Female workers, doubly exploited and oppressed, are up to playing the leading role in the development of the militant women's movement in which they re­ present the struggle for the liberation of women in a socialist society.

2. The working class can only fulfill its historic mission of waging the struggle to eliminate capitalist class rule if it is conscious of its leading role. But the development of the class consciousness of the working class has not kept up with the development of state-monopoly capitalism.

3. As a result of twelve years of fascist Hitlerite dictatorship which had smashed the German working-class movement, class consciousness was poorly developed in the years immediately following World War II. The division of Germany also divided the working-class movement. The struggle for the unity of Germany, against the new rise of German imperialism and against remilitarization was the last joint action of the working class in the East and West until the reunification.

4. In the former GDR, the transition from the antifascist-democratic transformation to the beginning of socialist construction in 1952 was combined with a strengthening of socialist consciousness among a growing part of the working class. However, the revisionist degeneration of the SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands - Socialist Unity Party) after 1956 robbed the GDR working class of its leadership. Modern revisionism deeply penetrated into the masses and corroded their socialist consciousness. This made it possible for the process of capitalist restoration in the GDR not to meet with substantial resistance.
Supported by its dependence on the SED, the KPD (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands - Communist Party of Germany) degenerated into a revisionist party, too, this being additionally furthered by the banning of the party in 1956. The KPD/DKP (Deutsche Kommunistische Partei - German Communist Party) rejected any fundamental criticism of the bureaucratic-capitalist relations of exploitation in the former ­ Soviet Union and the GDR; with their propaganda of "real socialism", they persistently discredited the idea of socialism. This contributed substantially to the corrosion of the class consciousness of the working class in West Germany. The founding of a new Marxist-Leninist party in 1982 was a necessary prerequisite for a new upsurge of the struggle for socialism.

5. Modern revisionism disguises itself as Marxist, but in reality, it repudiates and falsifies the fundamental principles of scientific socialism. It is a form of bourgeois ideology in the working-class movement. It spreads opportunism and, by means of pseudo-­ socialist politics, disorientates those who are in search of a social alternative to capitalism.
With its collapse in the Soviet Union, Eastern ­ Europe and the GDR, modern revisionism has got into an open crisis. Being a substantial part of the ­ capitalist social order, however, it constantly looks for new forms so that it can continue its ideological corrosive work in the revolutionary working-class movement.

6. Today, the main exponent of modern revisionism in the FRG is the PDS (Partei des Demokra­ ti­ schen Sozialismus - Party of Democratic Socialism) which emerged from the SED. In the 1990s, it rapidly developed from a rallying center of the petty-bourgeois Left and a star witness of modern anticommunism into a state-upholding, bourgeois monopoly party. Its organizational principle is a petty-bourgeois "pluralism" of various opportunist currents: modern revisionism, Left social democratism, Trotskyism, petty-bourgeois feminism, anti-authoritarianism or shallow pragmatism.

7. On the basis of a long-lasting policy of reforms from above and the emergence of petty-bourgeois living conditions among a mass of workers, reformism reached an all-time high in West Germany. Instead of leading the class struggle for the overthrow of capitalist rule, reformism practices class-conciliation to save capitalism and by this paralyzes the workers' will to fight. Since the end of the policy of social reforms, reformism has got into a latent crisis. Meanwhile, it has assumed the task of making the acceptance of the deterioration of wage, working and living conditions without any fighting palatable to the masses. This has considerably impaired its capacity of binding the masses. The assessment of the deterioration-oriented class collaboration policy paves the way for the development of proletarian class consciousness.

8. As far as mass influence is concerned, reformism is the main danger within the working-class movement. Revisionism is the main danger as far as ideological influence is concerned. The counterpart of Right opportunism is ultra-Left sectarianism, which deters the working masses from turning to socialism. Among the young, particularly modern anti-authoritarianism plays a damaging role. Within the working-class and the women's movements, in the people's and youth movements, these currents of bourgeois ideology mainly operate by means of the petty-bourgeois reformist, the petty-bourgeois revisionist, the petty-bourgeois feminist or the petty-bourgeois anti-authoritarian mode of thinking.

9. The relative stabilization of capitalism in West Germany led to a long-lasting stage of class struggle without a revolutionary situation. Since the 1980s, however, a turn in the development of class consciousness has occurred. Class consciousness awakened, the struggles of the working class for economic demands more and more adopted an independent character and linked up with political demands. A transition from individual struggles to mass struggles occurs. A growing part of the masses, particularly among the youth, is in search of a social alternative.

10. The internalization of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking in the thinking, feeling and acting of the masses over decades and the all-around manipulation of "public opinion" prevent an economic crisis from suddenly turning into a revolutionary crisis. The internationalization of the capitalist mode of production and the employment of the social system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking place new demands on the class consciousness of the working class. In the forms of pragmatism, skepticism and individualism, the bourgeois world outlook is systematically carried into the working class to justify reformist and revisionist thought. In order to come into the strategic offensive, the working class, with the help of the Marxist-Leninist party, must learn to come to grips with the petty-bourgeois reformist and petty-bourgeois revisionist modes of thinking. In practice, their conscious replacement with the proletarian mode of thinking indicates the transition to the working-class offensive and constitutes a fundamental prerequisite for the maturing of the socialist revolution.

11. In order to prevent a transition to the working-class offensive on a broad scale and a revolutionization of the mass movement, the monopolies and their state constantly use new forms of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking. Simultaneously with the all-round intensification of the general crisis of capitalism, the material basis of the damaging effect of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking in the working-class movement and of the working-class movement's relative ties to the capitalist system of exploitation vanishes. The struggles of the working class will adopt the character of independent economic and political mass struggles and must be most resolutely waged against all forms of state oppression as well as splittists attempts.

12. However, the working class will not be able to advance storming state-monopoly capitalism successfully unless it is led by the revolutionary party. On the basis of the proletarian mode of thinking, the revolutionary party must develop into a real party of the masses which has all-round interrelations with the various self-run organizations of the masses in all kinds of sectors.

Literature

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Grundatzdebatte

Texte der MLPD zur DKP