September 10, 2003: An Outstanding Period in Party Building for the MLPD!

stefan-engel.jpg"Red Flag" Interview with the Chairman of the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany), Stefan Engel, September 10, 2003

Three years before the next federal elections, Chancellor Schroeder and Secretary of State Fischer announced that they are continuing their "red/green" coalition beyond the year 2006. What does this mean?

Stefan Engel: The Schroeder/Fischer government, which ran for office and was elected as an alternative to the Kohl administration, has actually been doing the business of the monopolies even more rigorously than Kohl would have dared to.

Under the "red/green" government, Germany has sent German soldiers abroad for the first time since the end of World War II. The Agenda 2010 entails the most all-encompassing and, at the same time, the sharpest attack upon the social achievements of the broad masses.

I can't remember when public opinion on an administration was at such a low as it is now. According to the latest polls, public discontent over the government coalition is at 78 percent. On this background such an announcement can only mean that the government is whistling in the dark.


Last Tuesday Chancellor Schroeder had a meeting with the chairmen of the trade unions. The media claimed that they had been arguing heavily.

Stefan Engel: In the heart of the matter: No! I would like to remind you of the truce which was declared just before the day of action against the Agenda 2010 on May 24. Schroeder wouldn't have had such a free hand in the past months to push through his so-called "health reform", his "pension reform", the policy of pauperization by merging welfare and unemployment aid benefits, etc. without this agreement.

The right-wing union leadership is spreading the myth that the truce provides the opportunity to "socially" modify the Agenda 2010. The failure of the so-called "modification" of the Agenda 2010 by the trade unions may become a focal point in the conflict and a starting point for a new upswing of the struggle against the Schroeder government.


The reformist union leadership is playing its role as a policing agency for opposing active resistance against the government. It isn't really interested in the struggle against the government. In case of doubt, it will even oppose its own rank and file to keep the Schroeder/Fischer government in office. This would even be the case if , at some time in the future, the union leadership was forced to call on its members to take up activities again in order not to detach itself too far from the will of the rank and file.

The government coalition claims that the Agenda 2010 is a big program for creating jobs. The core of the Agenda 2010, however, is to end the payment of social-insurance contributions on a parity basis for the benefit of the monopolies. Everything aims at the masses having to pay the contributions for their social insurance - with worse benefits -completely on their own .

But doesn't the MLPD also demand the abolishment of the contributions on a parity basis?

Stefan Engel: Ending the contributions on a parity basis "to reduce the non-wage labor costs" is in fact a real wage cut. The contributions for social insurance are a part of the wages and have to be totally provided for by the employers.

Wouldn't the demand for full payment of social-insurance contributions by the employers worsen the situation of small and middle-scale businesses?

Stefan Engel: This aspect has to be taken into consideration. This is why we propose that social insurance be paid as a business tax, namely in proportion to turnover and not in relation to the number of employees. This means that the capital-intensive big companies would have to pay much more than the wage intensive small and middle-scale companies.

In 2001, 53.4 percent of all employees in Germany worked in enterprises with less than 100 employees. This means that those enterprises are paying the lion's share of the social-insurance contributions on the side of the employers. However, the 250 biggest monopolies in Germany already achieved 81.6 percent of the total turnover in Germany in 2000. They are the main job killers and are now even being rewarded by the government by relieving them of social-insurance contributions and taxes.

Unemployment can only be combated at the expense of profits, especially the maximum profits of the monopolies. This is why the demand for the reduction in workings hours with full wage compensation to a thirty-hour workweek is still the most important everyday demand of the MLPD to fight mass unemployment.

In practice the tendency seems to be taking a different direction at the time. CDU chairperson Merkel and various state governments are demanding an increase in general working hours in West Germany. Working hours have already been increased more than once, of course without any cent more in wages and salaries.

Stefan Engel: The question of working hours is becoming more and more the central issue in class struggle. The progress in the reduction of working hours, which blue- and white-collar workers achieved in the 1980s, is being attacked radically by the monopolies, mainly because of the bitter international competition. The working class has to prepare for hard struggles concerning this issue.


The struggle for the 35-hour workweek with full wage compensation in East Germany made this obvious. While the bourgeois media and parties all pounced upon the fighting workers like hyenas, the MLPD gave the workers support. It helped them organize the strike effectively and did comprehensive information work in all of Germany to increase the solidarity with those on strike.


This strike didn't happen "at the wrong time", it was exactly right! It was a signal to finally fight unemployment effectively. The monopolies don't use the realized turnover and profits for investments in new jobs. On the contrary, during the next years we will be facing a new round of the reorganization of international production: The capital which was extracted from the workers will be used to destroy workplaces in Germany in large numbers and to relocate them in low-wage countries. The working class must prepare for a hard struggle to defend their jobs and to create new ones.

These offensive demands of the MLPD are, of course, a challenge to the dramatic wailing of having to economize.

Stefan Engel: Of course the working class must put up its own demands.

The story of "having to economize" is one of the fundamental fictions without which today's state-monopoly capitalism would not be able to work. But it isn't true that there is no money available. The money is only being redistributed in favor of the monopolies and at the expense of the rest of the society. Never before have labor productivity and, along with this, the exploitation in the enterprises risen in such leaps and bounds as in the last few years. Never before have the monopolies made and stashed away such enormous profits as in the last years. Never before have so few monopolies accumulated so much social wealth and increased the mass unemployment and poverty to such high levels as today. As soon as you enter into the logic of economizing, you logically have to agree to the massive attacks on the social conditions of the broad masses in one form or another.

Last Sunday, US President G. W. Bush made another "Address to the Nation". You could get the impression that this speech was primarily addressed to the imperialist rivals.

Stefan Engel: Half of the active military troops of the US are presently tied up in Iraq and demoralization appears to be spreading among the troops. In economic terms, too, Iraq is becoming more and more of a ballast instead of the bonanza it had been envisaged to be. The US imperialists are especially annoyed that they have not managed to shift the cost burden of the occupation, four billion US dollar per month, to other countries. It is obvious that the US is in a deep crisis with its Iraq policy. The debacle of Bush's Iraq policy is becoming more and more evident. To date, no "weapons of mass destruction" whatsoever have been found in Iraq. Even before the Iraq campaign began, this official reason for the war failed to convince the masses. Today, a mass debate over the war lies and the real motivation behind the war is taking place.

In Iraq, resistance against the US occupation is on the rise. A diversified resistance against foreign rule is emerging, even though up to now the resistance is lacking a clear anti-imperialist program and thus perspective.

Bush and Blair are increasingly coming under the fire of criticism from all sides. In the US, a mass movement for the immediate withdrawal of the troops from Iraq is emerging, at the core of which, by the way, is the militant women's movement,.

Caught up in this dilemma, US imperialism has no other option than to woo the previous opponents to its Iraq policy in Europe, Japan, Russia and China to make them join the US to sort out the mess. The current haggling is over the concessions to be granted to them for that! This signifies a severe defeat for US imperialism. Despite all military and economic superiority, US imperialism is unable to implement its policy of supremacy against its European, Russian and Chinese rivals.

Bush said that past differences before the Iraq war should be forgotten and he pressed for cooperation. Does that mean an easing of tension in favor of world peace?

Stefan Engel: By no means! Due to the reorganization of the international production, the individual imperialist powers are going through a phase of extremely unequal development. This has brought about a new phase of the redivision of the world, which is the cause of the intensification of the general danger of war. This can not be eliminated by any diplomacy whatsoever. At present, the militarization of domestic and foreign policy of the imperialist countries is coming to the fore. All imperialist countries are especially stepping up efforts to make their armies fit for missions abroad. At the same time, the ruling powers were absolutely taken aback by the international peace movement. This shock really hit them. The struggle for world peace continues to be a central cause of the peoples and the MLPD will continue its patient rank and file work to stabilize the new peace movement and develop it to a higher level.

The oracle of the prophets of the economy predicts a recovery in the world economy in the second half of this year. Is this a realistic view?

Stefan Engel: It actually seems that the world economic crisis has passed its low point. There are, in fact, signs for a relative recovery of the world economy, starting from the USA. The most significant economic slumps took place - depending on the country - between the third quarter of the year 2001 and the second quarter of the year 2002. Since then there is a worldwide trend towards an increase in the gross domestic product, which in most cases has reached a level far above the level before the crisis. In the USA there was already a 2.4 per cent increase in 2002. In the second quarter of 2003, it even rose to 3.1 per cent projected for the entire year compared to the previous quarter, after a rise of 1.4 per cent in the first quarter. In Japan the gross domestic product rose by 2.3 per cent in the second quarter. The situation in the EU is worse. There the gross domestic product stagnated in the first and second quarter.

Industrial production, however, is developing unsteadily up to now. In the USA a positive development already started in the first quarter of 2002, but it was interrupted again in the fourth quarter of 2002. Also in the second quarter of 2003, industrial production in the USA declined slightly by one per cent compared to the development of the entire year. In the EU industrial production stagnated in the first and second quarter of 2003. Altogether in the second quarter of 2003, especially the USA (-4.9 per cent), Japan (-8.7 per cent) and Great Britain (-7.8 per cent) lay far below the level of the year 2000. So there is a trend towards recovery, but presently we cannot yet speak of the worldwide overproduction crisis already having been overcome.

Clement has recently announced that the economic "recovery" is finally also going to take place in Germany...

Stefan Engel: This is wishful thinking intended to take advantage of people's hope for a recovery in Germany in order to make them accept the "reforms". In reality, the German economy has fallen behind relatively in the international competition.

The gross domestic product in Germany dropped by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2003, compared to the previous one and in the second quarter by 0.1 per cent. Since April, industrial production is falling again. In June it was 2.2 per cent below the level of June 2002 and 4.7 per cent below the level of March 2003. The main reason for this is an export slump owing to the weakness of the dollar. The capacity utilization of industry has reached a low in June 2003 of only 82.1 per cent (compared to 87.8 in the year 2000).

But neither the Minister for Economic Affairs Clement nor our bourgeois economic prophets are impressed by such trivialities. For the time being, the monopolies are only overcoming their crisis by having their fortune told in their "index of the business climate".

Would you venture a prognosis on the future economic development?

Stefan Engel: In the book "Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the `New World Order'", we deliberately refrained from rash generalizations about a foreseeable change in the crisis cycle. However, we have to reckon with this owing to the fact that the crisis management of the state has become largely ineffective as a result of the reorganization of international production. But we can say with certainty that after an end of the world economic crisis, the consequences of the international structural crisis will again come more to the fore. This means a further increase in mass unemployment and underemployment, an increased international competition that will reach the point of a battle of mutual annihilation.

At the end of August the board of the Metal Workers Union had to convene an extraordinary trade union conference to overcome its crisis. Was this successful?

Stefan Engel: The plan was to solve the crisis merely by means of a decision on personnel. The result, however, was a general debate on the course of the Metal Workers Union. 120 mostly critical speeches were delivered. This record is especially a signal for a revival of initiative within the union.

Before the conference, the board had issued the "Report on the wage movement for the harmonization of working hours in the metal and electrical industry" as classified information. But actually, the question of how to evaluate the strike for the 35-hour week with full wage compensation concerns every member of the Metal Workers Union. The report further spreads the fairy tale that the strike "failed". However, in its following statements it had to admit that the strike front was standing firm - with great discipline and support on the part of the workers. It was explicitly admitted that the strike front was not breaking down and that this cannot be used as an argument for calling off the strike!

The report also proves that the striking workers increasingly took up the proposals of the MLPD for broadening the strike front: "Since this moment (since Whitsun, Stefan Engel) the strikers called into question the concept of changing selective strikes more and more." This was exactly the moment in which the MLPD demanded in "Strike Newsletter" to abandon the policy of "pinpricks" and to wage a continuously broadening unlimited strike by the rank and file. According to the version of the board, the broadening of the strike at certain times resulted "under the pressure of the strike leadership on a local level and in the plants ". However, the official concept of the board of the Metal Workers Union made no provisions for the election of a strike leadership. Such leading bodies were rather set up on the militant initiative in the plants and in response to the proposals of the MLPD.

The entire course of the trade union conference made evident that the capitulation by calling off the strike was rejected by a large part of the trade union rank and file and even trade union officials. This is undoubtedly a sound trend on the way to turning the trade unions into fighting organizations.

In this context, the incompatibility ruling against the MLPD also is met with growing disapproval. In the last months, the trade union rank and file could learn from experience what damages the trade union and who its enemies are. In contrast to that, the MLPD has defended the trade unions as fighting organizations of the blue- and white-collar workers. The Metal Workers Union is well-advised to do away with the undemocratic incompatibility ruling.

During the last two months the workers' struggles declined significantly. Is this disappointing?

Stefan Engel: In the spring of 2003, more struggles and protests were staged than in the last three years. I call into mind the world peace movement and the protests against the Agenda 2010 until May, as well as the strike in East-Germany. Since May, those in power are doing everything to disorientate, disorganize and demoralize the struggle. They try to spread a mood of defeat, scepticism and resignation. Under this impression, in July and August, the number of workers participating in struggles actually declined to a relative low involving less than 10,000 people per month.

The temporary decline of the struggles should not be confused with a relapse of class consciousness. In view of the policy of capitulation of the right-wing trade union leadership, which is being pushed through rigorously, and the subjugation of many bourgeois and petty-bourgeois organizations to the policy of the monopolies, the demands on class independence and, with that, the threshold for waging struggles are being raised to a significantly higher level. Many questions have to be discussed and that takes time!

You are emphasizing that the decline of the struggles will only be "temporary". Why are you so sure about that?

Stefan Engel: During the past months, after the war on Iraq and also in the economic field, various societal contradictions have been relatively eased. But the ruling powers cannot really solve any single problem, and the contradictions are only being accumulated, shifted and covered up. At some point of time it will come to an explosion.

What is the MLPD going to do in the struggle against the Agenda 2010?

Stefan Engel: The struggle against the Agenda 2010 has to be developed from the rank and file. This anti-people governmental policy can only be stopped by active mass resistance.

The MLPD supports the initiative for the preparation of a nationwide mass demonstration against the Agenda 2010 in Berlin on November 1. We welcome the initiative of the organizational group to organize nationwide Monday actions on this occasion to mobilize for the struggle against the Agenda. The first Monday action is scheduled for September 29, the second for October 20, as an immediate preparation for the mass demonstration on November 1. However, it is necessary to mobilize for this systematically, especially in the factories and trade unions, but also in the neighborhoods, among young people and women.

With its new draft program, the PDS now appears to have finally "arrived" in the circle of the state-supporting bourgeois monopoly parties.


Stefan Engel: You almost have to be grateful to the PDS leadership for finally having stopped playing names with the term "socialism" and instead frankly naming "entrepreneurial acting and profit interests" as "important prerequisites for innovation and business efficiency" in their draft program. This merely reflects the actual practice of the PDS in the state-level governments in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Berlin.

If there is so much discussion about socialism, then this must be the quintessential topic for the MLPD as socialist alternative.

Stefan Engel: For the SPD, even the phrase of "democratic socialism" has already become too hot. For decades, this phrase intended to create the impression there were a democratic and an undemocratic socialism. Now, the SPD wants to delete even the last thought of a societal orientation from its program in order to prevent people from getting "silly ideas".

The PDS believes that it can overcome its deepest crisis so far by adjusting to the capitalist system at a breathtaking pace. However, will their members just go along with that? I doubt that! Even in the party executive, the draft program was only adopted against a number of votes. The debate in the PDS is set to become more fierce.

Isn't it absurd: Just when interest in a societal alternative is becoming increasingly clear and broad, the parties of "democratic socialism" officially say good-bye to that cause. This, of course, gives us some leeway. Capitalism is less than ever able to solve the basic problems of mankind! We welcome the present socialism discussion and use it to expand our role in society and to shift the relative strength between us and the PDS to our benefit.

In your last interview with the "Rote Fahne", you voiced high expectations in the distribution and discussion of your book "Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the `New World Order'". Have these expectations been met?

Stefan Engel: Presently the third edition of the book "Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the `New World Order'" is already being distributed and the sale of the English edition started in July. Due to the great interest, the book is currently being translated into four other languages: French, Spanish, Russian and Turkish.

A study movement on this book with mass participation has begun. Members of the MLPD and REBELL join in that study movement, as well as people without party affiliation from trade unions, from the women's and youth movements - 600 have participated in the one-week-long courses, more than 2000 in the evening meetings. I can't remember any occasion in its 35-year history when our organization dealt so intensively with the political economy of imperialism. However, this is also necessary in order to draw conclusions from the book. This is also a success against the tendency to neglect the ideological-political side in party work that keeps appearing time and again. Even today, this problem has not yet been fully overcome.

We have heard that the editorial staff of REVOLUTIONÄRER WEG is already working on a "continuation" of the book. Can you already tell us something about that?


Stefan Engel: The book "Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the `New World Order'" stated that the reorganization of the international production has initiated a historical phase of transformation. The future maturing of this historical phase of transformation means a revolutionary world crisis and an upswing of the world-wide struggle for socialism. The party must prepare itself for this development, although this will all certainly take years.

After the analysis of the political economy of imperialism, all societal interrelations in class struggle, in party building and in the preparation of the international revolution now need to be thought through creatively. This is to be accomplished in issue 32 of the theoretical organ REVOLUTIONÄRER WEG which will be entitled "The Preparation of the International Revolution ". If REVOLUTIONÄRER WEG issue 32 were not completed without delay, there would be the danger of a contradiction developing between the changed objective reality and the practice of party work. For instance, we have observed tendencies in the party to erroneously conclude from the intensification of the societal contradictions resulting from the reorganization of international production that the class struggle and party building would experience a spontaneous upswing, so to speak. This, however, disregards the system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking which today still exerts an inhibiting influence on the development of class consciousness.

In the upcoming weeks the MLPD is beginning with the preparations for its 7th Party Congress. We are used to the practice of other parties where the members have little say at such a party congress. What is the difference to the MLPD?


Stefan Engel: Our method of preparing the Party Congress has become one of the characteristic features of the MLPD as a party of a new type. Our constitution makes the following far-reaching statement: "The highest body of the Party is the Party Congress. It determines the ideological-political line and the guiding principles of the Party." This claim is reality in the MLPD! Without developing democracy, the acquired experience cannot really be generalized and precise resolutions with a real perspective cannot be passed at the party congress.

This month the Central Committee (CC) will already distribute its report to all members. We will then take a lot of time to discuss it intensively among the membership and to work out ideas and proposals for the candidates for the central bodies before the 7th Party Congress takes place in the early summer of next year.

The CC's draft report has a number of principled tasks:

· To render account on the work of the CC in fulfilling its tasks since the last Party Congress.

· To generalize the experience made in the self-transformation of patient systematic work among the rank and file and the leadership work of the party in the light of our line and, at the same time,

· To give a fundamental orientation for preparing and holding the Party Congress and its far-reaching resolutions.

The draft of the report of the CC states that the significance of the MLPD in society has increased considerably. What makes you come to this conclusion?


Stefan Engel: The increased significance of the MLPD in society is the main achievement in the party development of the MLPD since the 6th Party Congress. It can be estimated that today our mass influence is more than ten times as great as it was only four years ago. We have made considerable progress in the working-class movement and in the youth and women's movements. Today the MLPD and its politics have become an important guideline for many class-conscious workers, especially those in large-scale industry.

This is the result of our successful struggle to break through the relative isolation of the party which society imposes. We have increasingly learned to activate and lead masses and so to put the task of the 6th Party Congress into practice.


Of course, the MLPD is still a relatively small party. But we have concentrated our forces correctly and so have exerted increasing influence on the overall social development. The failure of the "Alliance for Jobs" last year in connection with the wage negotiations in the metal industry cannot be explained without taking account of our influence in the trade unions. We are a recognized and respected force in the new peace movement. Today our demands and slogans have been generally adopted in the antifascist movement.

All of this did not fall into the MLPD's lap. It did not come about without setbacks and mistakes, but (and this is decisive) we were able to learn from our mistakes and are therefore able to avoid making them again in the future.

This was only possible because we further developed the doctrine of the mode of thinking and put it into concrete terms in all matters. The most important thing was to exert lasting influence on the focal points in the struggle over the mode of thinking of the masses, i.e. on those points where the societal system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking is most vulnerable and instable and where we could bring our strong points to bear in an optimal way.

Which role does the analysis in the "Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the `New World Order'" play in this connection?


Stefan Engel: In the surge of the struggle over the mode of thinking, the book gives a firm orientation and is also an important weapon in the struggle over the mode of thinking of the masses.

By falling upon the entire world and tremendously increasing the power of international finance capital the agents of the reorganization of international production have also drastically reduced imperialism's leeway and created a new and powerful enemy opposing them, the international industrial proletariat. You have to adopt this dialectical point of view of the book. In any case, I am very optimistic about the future of society. This arises from the scientific understanding that in the course of the reorganization of international production the preconditions for a new upswing in the worldwide struggle for socialism have improved considerably.

Today the MLPD has about 15 per cent more members than at its 6th Party Congress. No other party in Germany can actually claim that for itself. Despite this: is the membership development not falling short of the MLPD's political influence and of what is necessary?

Stefan Engel: Definitely! A lot of comrades report from the factories that while there is growing agreement between fellow workers and the MLPD in political questions, the qualitative leap to joining the party nevertheless often does not take place. Some fear a lack of support by their families or partners. Others are afraid of having to give up their individual freedom or having to call certain long-established habits into question. Others in turn explain that they could not stand being attacked in public, something that frequently happens to the MLPD. They still shrink back from self-consciously defying the social pressure of modern anticommunism and standing up openly for their proletarian class point of view.

Solving these problems of the mode of thinking is the decisive link in the chain in order to win over a larger number of members on the background of the positive development of class consciousness and the increased confidence in the MLPD.

In the past years, we have experienced over and over again that proletarian class consciousness could make a rapid development in certain crucial situations. But we also know that the proletarian mode of thinking does not develop in leaps and bounds, but only in an organized way in close interrelation of the dialectical unity of theory and practice. This, of course, needs time and only works with appropriate forms of organization.

How can membership recruitment be accelerated in the future?

Stefan Engel: Our experience is that only a patient rank and file work and cadre work on the basis of the proletarian mode of thinking can help our fellow workers and colleagues to cope with the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking, to make the step of organizing themselves, e.g. of joining the party and developing there in an all-round way.

In the future we must pay much more attention to all of these things in education work, in the close friendship among comrades and fellow workers and colleagues, but also in the obligation of our party units to ensure the welfare of its members. All stereotypical solutions are out of place! In the future we have to make a more conscious distinction between party cadres and members without a special function.

The MLPD has just concluded a thorough examination of its youth work. What did you find out?


Stefan Engel: The youth is the most active social force and the most open one for a socialist alternative in society. Just think of the lively movement of high school students in the peace movement! At the same time, young people are most receptive to the influence of the social system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking. That is because of their relative lack of experience and their class consciousness which has not yet been strengthened and this, in a social development which is extremely complicated.

Today the masses of young people are deeply influenced by modern antiauthoritarianism. It worships spontaneity, rejects firmer forms of organization, cultivates a pronounced self-conceit of youth and is little receptive to the theoretically generalized experience of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement.

What does this mean for the youth work of the MLPD?

Stefan Engel: It is the task of the party to ensure an all-round school of the proletarian mode of thinking.


We have reached the culmination of a contradictory development. On the one hand, the youth work of the MLPD has become a trademark and an active force among the masses and has once again become the main reservoir for recruiting new party members. The Rebell has become the strongest left youth organization while the youth leagues of other parties are falling apart or stagnating. The work and cultural activity that the MLPD and Rebell organize with children are unique. On the other hand, regarding our youth work, we have not yet been able to cope with the influence of antiauthoritarianism on Rebell and the Party up till now. That disorganizes and undermines the achievements and actually hinders the full development of their potential. After a thorough examination of this problem together with the Central Control Commission an entire program of self-transformation in the youth work must be put into practice in the coming months.

Where does the acceptance of modern antiauthoritarianism that you are criticizing come from?


Stefan Engel: Today modern antiauthoritarianism has become, among other things, a central component of the bourgeois education system. It is especially being promoted systematically in bourgeois social education. Clear rules and principles which are indispensable for education are being defamed by it as being authoritarian. It is of utmost importance to completely overcome such influences upon youth work and personal conduct. The rebellious youth has great goals; but that means having to overcome its own shortcomings. You have to dispel with the myth that antiauthoritarianism is "favorable to the youth". The direct reverse conclusion is that the proletarian mode of thinking is "hostile to the youth" and that it cannot be conveyed to the masses of young people and children.

The Rebell summer camp in Truckenthal was a "construction camp" this time. How do you assess its results?


Stefan Engel: With more than 600 participants, the summer camp in Truckenthal was the best attended camp for years. And that was not in spite of, but because of the fact that it was conducted as a "construction camp". "This was our best camp" was the unanimous opinion of the participants. In practice it united organized work on the construction sites, group work like in the kitchen, public relations work in the surrounding area, cultural and free time activities and the organization of the entire camp life on the basis of the camp rules. Many worker-comrades and colleagues worked unselfishly as foremen. Young workers distinguished themselves with their self-confidence. And, last but not least, questions and conflicts that arose were solved with the help of the proletarian culture of debate.

In our preparations for the 7th Party Congress we will draw comprehensive conclusions for the higher development of Marxist-Leninist youth work as mass tactics in party building. This movement must get hold of the entire party so that a type of youth work develops which will become the driving force for the entire party work.

What is now most important in the preparations for the Party Congress?

Stefan Engel: With the 6th Party Congress we already began an Offensive of Party Work. Its advancement depended upon how the worship of spontaneity was overcome. The essence of the preparations for the 7th Party Congress is the development of a Criticism-Self-Criticism Movement on the way to becoming a party of the masses. We have to place absolute emphasis on evaluating the experience made, on drawing all lessons out of that, on thinking through all problems very exactly, etc. That will allow us to develop the further transformation of party work with a direction and perspective.


In conclusion I would like to ask you to give us your personal view of the future.


Stefan Engel: We must and we will prepare ourselves for everything. The development which is governed by laws lets us sense that the times of relative calm in class struggle are more and more a thing of the past. The ripening of a revolutionary crisis will have international character in the future and is unthinkable without the ripening of the revolutionary class consciousness. Imperialism will be getting more and more problems and the future looks bright for our socialist cause.

It is possible that we will have to do systematic rank and file work for winning over the decisive majority of the working class and involving the broad masses for many years. But it is also possible that, on the basis of the failure of the crisis regulation of the monopolies, a sudden aggravation of the situation and an increasing ineffectiveness of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking, a rapid transformation to the working-class offensive on a broad front and a broad upswing of mass struggles will take place.

To be prepared for all possibilities the MLPD must be considerably strengthened. It is important that the entire MLPD and all of its friends be conscious of this increased responsibility.

Thank you very much for this interview and we wish you a lot of success.


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