MLPD holds successful Party Congress in Hamburg!

Interview with the chairman of the MLPD, Stefan Engel, dated September 16, 2008 (Published in Red Flag, September 19, 2008)

Rote Fahne: We have just been informed that the MLPD has conducted its 8th Party Congress. Can you briefly describe its most important tasks and results?
Stefan Engel: The 8th Party Congress could look back on the most successful period of leadership of a central committee since the founding of the party. Never before did we succeed so well in lastingly breaking through the relative isolation and in maturing to become a significant force in the entire society. This had to be evaluated thoroughly in order to draw conclusions for the future.
Politically we are in a general situation of transition on the basis of the reorganization of international production. This has brought about complicated economic and political conditions which are reflected in the development of class consciousness. The most important development in class consciousness is the general tendency towards the left, which has emerged since 2003 among the broad masses, especially in the core of the industrial proletariat. The party congress had to deal with this tendency towards the left, analyse the role of the MLPD in this tendency and declare its position for the future.
The 8th Party Congress surely has extraordinary significance in the history of the MLPD because after 13 years it could  complete the transition to the new foundation of party building – the work on the basis of the proletarian mode of thinking. It showed the great maturity of the party, its growing fighting power and attraction upon the masses, and this is especially expressed in the significant increase in membership.
The detailed preparation of the party congress also included the founding of six new regional Land party organizations. After these discussions, which were held mainly within the party, the organization is eager to apply the new insights  and decisions in practice.
Rote Fahne: Will the MLPD benefit from the tendency towards the left?
Stefan Engel: Yes, it certainly will because it is an expression of a growing openness for a socialist alternative. Today it is a matter of course again that people speak of capitalism, its profit making, of exploitation etc. instead of “social market economy”, “social state” and “social harmony”. The tendency towards the left is a reflection of the objective development of the historical phase of transition from capitalism to socialism. This has set in with the reorganization of international production. It has the effect that the realities and class contradictions in the development of imperialism are becoming very  prominent and that the masses are increasingly seeking a societal  alternative.
At the same time, it would be an illusion to regard the tendency towards the left as expression of the proletarian mode of thinking in general. The tendency towards the left is a new qualitative stage in the development of class consciousness: the disengagement of the masses from the bourgeois parties, bourgeois parliamentarism and its institutions that could be observed for years has now taken a clear direction against capitalism and its inhumane profit making. On the other hand, the masses have not yet come to grips with petty-bourgeois-reformist and petty-bourgeois-revisionist influences that have developed for decades. So, for example, the tendency towards the left is often accompanied by the hope of attaining  a social alternative by parliamentary means or of other solutions within the capitalist system. So, the present tendency towards the left is not a socialist consciousness, but marks a transition to such a socialist consciousness, which, however, will not develop automatically.
Our international guests at the 8th Party Congress concretely elucidated the fact that the tendency towards the left and the discussion in connection with it is an international phenomenon. Especially in Nepal, Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, for example, progressive anti-imperialist governments have been elected, replacing the reactionary governments. However, having a progressive government does not in the least mean having power! On the one hand, the anti-imperialist governments increase the scope of the revolutionary anti-imperialist mass movements, while on the other hand these governments often have a left-reformist and neo-revisionist basis. They are acting within the framework of the system, are spreading illusions about being able to overcome the system by means of reforms. In this way, whether they want to or not, they are objectively strengthening Illusions about the reformation of the capitalist and imperialist relations of exploitation. And that at a time when in Latin America there are more and more signs of counter-revolutionary and belligerent oppression of the left direction of development. In this situation,  it is especially important to call to mind the lessons of the bloody massacre in Chile in 1973: There is no way to socialism without the smashing of the bourgeois state apparatus and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat! Therefore our most important conclusion for the work in the coming time is a new tactical offensive for genuine socialism!
Rote Fahne: How can we imagine this?
Stefan Engel: We will use the election year 2009 for this offensive for genuine socialism. That is why the MLPD will participate in the federal elections in 2009. In September our regional lists of candidates will have already been drawn up in all federal states. We will run as MLPD/Open List, which means that we will open our  lists at this election again to people of the militant opposition who are not aligned with a party.
The core of this work will be an offensive of world-outlook for genuine socialism. The masses have to get a positive and tangible idea of what we understand by “genuine socialism”. And they have to comprehend – at least roughly – our criticism of the revisionist degeneration of the old communist movement and the conclusions drawn by  the MLPD. This also applies to our criticism of the unsuitability of the left-reformist strategy of Lafontaine and his Left Party.
This ideological offensive is combined with the establishment and development of the struggle for the most important economic and political demands of the masses and the promotion of their diverse forms of organization. At this tactical level there is much agreement with the Left Party that we also recognize and appreciate. For example,   I am thinking of the demand “Repeal Hartz IV” (law regulating income support), “Immediate withdrawal of German troops from Afghanistan” , etc. We will also make use of the particular political interest of the masses during elections to further work at breaking through the relative isolation of the MLPD. For this we have to appear systematically in public and more and more comprehensively become a factor in the social discussion that can no longer be ignored. In view of the extensive media blackout regarding the MLPD today, this is still fore mostly a question of systematic work among the rank and file, the decisive trump card of the MLPD.
During the last federal elections our main focus of party building was on the extension of party work to new cities and regions. We were very successful in this at that time. This time the main focus will be on strengthening our party work in the most important economic and political centres. We will attach more importance to the methods of lastingly recruiting new members, consolidating and developing new members for assuming higher responsibility and training functionaries for new functions. Between the 7th and 8th Party Congress we could experience the great attraction of the party for the masses with 60 per cent new members. However, we lost a part of the new members again. The cause of this – apart from various factors that are outside our influence – is the fact that we did not attach enough importance to caring for them and training them.
We will already start in September with the struggle for our admittance to the elections, the collection of the necessary signatures of support etc.  This shall take place mainly within the framework of our daily work among the rank and file, in combination with the various tasks in class struggle and party building. We will again build up voter action groups, however first in some regional centres. The actual election campaign will start in September 2009 and will be marked by an offensive election campaign on the streets.
The election campaign and mainly its results in party building will surely be a test of how the MLPD succeeds in strengthening the revolutionary and socialist direction within the tendency towards the left.
Rote Fahne: Will the SPD (Social Democratic Party) overcome its crisis?
Stefan Engel: The sharp decline of the SPD in the past months was a breathtaking fact for many observers. In the Forsa opinion poll it had an approval rating of only 20 per cent, in the federal state Saarland it was even behind the Left Party.
The fact that Kurt Beck has failed dismally as the fourth party chairman of the SPD in only five years is not surprising to me. On the one hand, he tried to polish up the social image of the SPD, made some minor "corrections" of the Agenda 2010 for this purpose – in order to retain the core of  the anti-people policy of the Agenda 2010 at the same time. Already at the end of 2007, the SPD again suffered an open crisis of the party, which climaxed in the putsch-like replacement of Beck. The reason for the crisis of social democracy does not lie primarily in the wrong persons being at the head of the SPD, but in the anti-people policy, which it can no longer sell to its mass basis among the workers as being a social policy. As long as there is no change in this respect, the SPD will not get out of the mess.
With Steinmeier as Minister of the Chancellory under Schroeder, the architect of the Agenda 2010 has now been appointed as chancellor election candidate, and Muentefering as the  leading executor of this policy has again been placed at the top of the party. This is linked to a clear commitment to the open anti-people Agenda policy that was initiated by Schroeder. It is interesting to note that up to now  they are getting the most applause for this from the employers’ association.
The party crisis of the SPD is a fundamental problem for the dictatorship of the monopolies to wield their power within the framework of bourgeois democracy. It is the main task of the social democracy to tie the working class to capitalism. With the “new” old course of the SPD, the process of the detachment of the working class from the social democracy will  continue in the end.
Rote Fahne: What attitude does the MLPD take towards the Left Party?
Stefan Engel: At the parliamentary level, the Left Party is undoubtedly the main winner of the tendency towards the left at the time. It benefited mainly from the open party crisis of the SPD and its approval rating in various opinion polls is presently at 15 per cent. This is almost twice as much as in  the last federal elections in 2005. At the Party Congress in Cottbus in May 2008, Oskar Lafontaine explained that the strategic  position of his party was  to “save democracy”, and “to try to stop the wheel of capitalism driven by the financial market that is turning faster and faster”. That means that he does not want to abolish capitalism, but only “to stop its wheel”, so that it does not rotate too vigorously. The good electoral results, however, have made leading representatives of the Left Party dizzy in the ecstasy of success, and some of them cannot withstand the urge for parliamentary or even governmental seats. Thus the official party declarations are more and more marked by the goal to take over the governmental affairs of the dictatorship of the monopolies jointly with a more left-sounding SPD and the revitalized Greens. At the same time, this so-called “strategic option” obviously enhances the inclination of these strategists of the Left Party toward an intensified anti-communism in a left guise. That is the price they pay to make themselves presentable – that means, to be able to govern.
However, the intensified orientation to help the SPD gain a majority intensifies the contradictions within the Left Party, especially since a large number of the voters of the Left Party want a left alternative to the SPD and not the support of such an SPD from the left. In many places conflicts within the party are developing, parliamentary groups are breaking up, quarrels and fundamental contradictions are arising. We also view this development with concern, because the tendency towards the left can be adversely affected by driving committed people into resignation. It is difficult to organize workable alliances under such circumstances.
At our party congress the phenomenon of the tendency towards the left was considered to be a transitional phenomenon in the development of class consciousness that is pressing toward a decision. There are actually also historical parallels to this, as the rise and fall of the USPD after the First World War in the 1920s. In this party various critics of the SPD from Edward Bernstein, Karl Kautsky to Ernst Thaelmann had come together. In the elections at the beginning of the 1920s, it obtained 17 per cent of the votes and 84 seats, all of which, however, were lost in the following elections.
Today the masses have to come to grips with a deeply rooted petty-bourgeois-reformist and petty-bourgeois-parliamentary mode of thinking. We have to make an all-out effort to cooperate with the members and supporters of the Left Party against mass unemployment, imperialist wars, neo-fascism, in the struggle for the liberation of women and for socialism on the basis of the struggle, and do untiring persuasion work on this basis against the left-reformist and neo-revisionist theories.
Rote Fahne: With the reorganization in Land leagues and counties in advance of the 8th Party Congress, the MLPD set itself a lot of tasks. How do you evaluate the results?

Stefan Engel: The 8th Party Congress became the climax and relative completion of the reorganization in seven Land leagues and the founding of new county units. This was combined with the self-transformation of our systematic rank-and-file work in order to adapt them to the tasks in class struggle that lie ahead. That cost us a lot of effort. However, there is no alternative. The MLPD's work has become more diverse and complex. We have taken on new tasks, but the masses expect more of our comrades, too. For example, our work in the environmental issue or our internationalist rank-and-file work were intensified. We have taken on a lot of tasks in youth work and our influence in the factories of the international supermonopolies has developed in quantity and quality. We have begun with parliamentary work on a municipal level. It was impossible that this developed system of Marxist-Leninist systematic rank-and-file work in more than 400 cities and regions could  be further guided directly by the CC in the entire country. Because the theoretical and practical tasks of the CC for the preparation of the international revolution have increased, too.

    Germany has a federal system and it  is therefore of strategic significance that we have Land leagues and leadership organs which can lead our work directly in the regional centres.

    The man task of the Land leadership is the differentiated guidance and control of the organization's basis. The seven Land leagues could start out from a high level. For example, we implemented our self-obligation to train people before they take over new tasks. We worked out three dialectic courses for this purpose: "Learning the  leadership work of the Land leagues on the foundation of the proletarian mode of thinking". Hundreds of comrades took part and they are now taking over new responsibilities. There were a lot of candidates to choose from in all the democratic elections for the Land bodies. Since the spring of 2006, more than 50% of our comrades have taken on new tasks! In the coming years, the new system of intermediate levels and their interpenetration with the CC aims at the realization of the new organizational-political guideline to build up county units on a broad front and Marxist-Leninist youth work as a living school of the proletarian mode of thinking.

Rote Fahne: What did the party congress discuss regarding the solution of the problem of youth work?

Stefan Engel: The 8th Party Congress stated that a trend reversal in Marxist-Leninist youth work has taken place. Its most important achievement is certainly the fact that our children’s organisation, the Red Foxes, developed to become a lively nationwide organisation with its own leadership. So far, more than 350 comrades participated in the dialectic seminars on Marxist-Leninist youth work. That was the foundation for this positive development, but it also made the depth of the problem evident. The Party Congress discussed that an entire criticism-self-criticism-campaign is necessary in order to solve the problems in youth work. An uncontrolled growth has taken place in the party,  also because of the influence of anti-authoritarianism and bourgeois social education, which pushed our  political line on the issue of the youth aside. Single good beginnings  and excellent initiatives, which in recent years doubtlessly existed repeatedly and everywhere, are not enough to make sustainable changes. A whole period of self-transformation of the party, the youth organisation Rebell and the Red Foxes is necessary to do so.

What we are facing here  is not  simply an internal party issue. The youth issue is a fundamental problem of society. The destructive forces of imperialism focus on the youth: in child poverty, the lack of perspective, in disgusting youth culture, youth as cannon fodder or destructive mass illnesses like ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) even among children. At the same time, youth is searching the most intensively for a socialist perspective. The approach to this problem of society reveals the attitude towards the future, towards strategic questions of class struggle. That is why the self-transformation in youth work is the key question for the self-change of the entire party for the future!

Marxist-Leninist youth work must realize a life school of the proletarian mode of thinking among the masses of the youth and help them to come to grips with the petty-bourgeois-antiauthoritarian mode of thinking, primarily a widespread hostility towards organisation. Young people must become independent. They should respect physical labor and be open-minded, become militants and Marxist-Leninists, etc. They shall take over social responsibility, which is the basic principle in the independent responsibility of Rebell for the children's and Red-Fox work. It is also important that young people learn to develop relations among girls and boys on an equal and open basis, against disgusting sexism which is widespread in this society. With a fulfilling purpose in life and the necessary self-confidence they won’t be susceptible to drugs and alcohol.

Future party building completely depends on Rebell once again becoming the main reservoir for the recruitment of members for the MLPD.

Rote Fahne: In 2005 an extraordinary party congress of the MLPD was held for the first time   because of the serious problems within the Central Control Commission (CCC). How was the development of the CCC since then?
Stefan Engel: This was actually a very far-reaching debate! After all, the Central Control Commission is an essential conclusion of the MLPD as a party of a new type. The revisionist degeneration and the destruction of socialism in the Soviet Union since the middle of the 1950s had its origin in the leadership. This is why there must be a body to independently control the CC and especially the mode of thinking of the leading party officers,  aside from a functioning control from below and the control of self of each individual. The necessity of an extraordinary party congress arose because it was exactly this body, which itself must be a basic dam against the advancing of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking, that became the starting point of negative developments. The CCC lost its independence in the form of the violation of the guiding principles of the Control Commission. These took the form of  a heartless treatment of cadres or also by single but grave and unjustified bureaucratic administrative measures. It is an outstanding achievement of the MLPD that such negative developments can be  resolved unsparingly, be reviewed and discussed  democratically among the membership. At the same time, the comrades responsible are not given up hastily  and the confidence in them is not withdrawn as long as clarification is possible. So we managed to overcome the crisis in the work of the CCC and to achieve a new beginning as a result of the extraordinary party congress and the new elections of the CCC. The entire membership gained a deeper understanding of  the significance of the system  of self-checking. The 8th Party Congress acknowledged the CCC for frankly and self-critically revealing their serious mistakes and being ready and willing for self-transformation so that these phenomena of petty-bourgeois-bureaucratic control and control of self will not recur. This was all fully reviewed in the report of the CCC which is only accountable to the party congress. The report was passed unanimously and a strengthened CCC was elected. At the same time, the party congress gave the comrades of the CCC the task and duty of further working hard on the actual realization of their independent control. This is above all a big challenge to the proletarian ambition for the ideological-political initiative, as well as the mastery of the dialectic method on the level of the doctrine of the mode of thinking. Any passivity or instability concerning the independence would express a petty-bourgeois influence, i.e. an insufficient ability to cope with the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking in any situation. Just like the comprehensive  system of self-checking in the party was the secret of the rousing and successful party congress, it is the key to come to grips with all influences of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking on the path to the party of the masses.
Rote Fahne: Didn’t the debate with the CCC mean a set-back for the party?
Stefan Engel: Not in the final result. Of course the fundamental violations of the guiding principles of the control commission and the advancing manifestations of a petty-bourgeois bureaucratic control and control of self of the CCC were a serious problem with grave mistakes and consequences,  the review of which temporarily made heavy demands on us. With the review of this problem the party, however, managed to deeply grasp, to further develop and to expound the system of self control of the party. This system of self-checking of the party is a decisive conclusion from the revisionist degeneration of the old communist movement in which leading cadres of the leadership in party and economy of the former socialist countries had been seized by the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking and had developed into a new ruling class. To prevent such a development the Marxist-Leninist party must find ways to recognize this on time, to stop it and to correct it. The system of self-checking of the party has proved to be such an instrument. It was the masterpiece in the introduction of a  new foundation of party building, and together with the successful debate concerning the CCC,  we can say that the transition to the new foundation of party building has been completed.
Rote Fahne: What does the transition to the new foundation of party building actually mean?
Stefan Engel: The new foundation means that the party has to guarantee at all times that its leading cadres do their work unselfishly on behalf of the liberation struggle from exploitation and suppression and not on petty-bourgeois-egoist or individualist motives. This includes realizing a dialectic-materialistic mode of thinking and working to bring about the unity of theory and practice in order to avoid mistakes and to lend a proletarian character to the party through the entire way of thinking, feeling and acting. The party has fought through  special methods for this: the concrete analysis of the struggle between the proletarian and petty-bourgeois mode of thinking among the masses and in the party; the strategy and tactics in the struggle over the mode of thinking of the masses and in the international Marxist-Leninist and workers’ movement; a proletarian culture of debate to treat the contradictions between the party and the masses correctly.
With the new foundation of party building not all problems are solved because the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking can penetrate into the party and spread again and again due to the prevailing bourgeois ideology in the capitalist society. The new foundation also cannot repeal the law of the advancing of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking and the law of the two-line struggle. But with the system of self-checking in the party, we have developed a superior method, so to speak a stronger power, in order to come to grips with these laws and to defend and strengthen the proletarian character of the party and to avoid mistakes.

Rote Fahne: Apparently there were also many foreign guests at the Party Congress .

Stefan Engel: It was a special honor for us to be able to welcome ten delegations of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement from four continents at our Party Congress. The MLPD received a total of 50 international messages of greetings to its Party Congress from all over the world. This shows that the Hamburg Party Congress took place with the active interest of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement. 

The international guests were not just witnesses of the Party Congress, but played an  active and constructive role in the consultations, so that a mutual process of learning took place, which enriched the Party Congress enormously.

This lead to the Party Congress getting a special proletarian-internationalist character  that gave rise to great enthusiasm. The strengthening of mutual understanding and the relation of trust will surely have a positive effect on the  development  of the cooperation of the international Marxist-Leninist and revolutionary organizations for coordinating and revolutionizing the struggles.

In the meantime, 27 organizations from all over the world have joined the initiative of the revolutionary parties and organizations for the coordination of their work in class struggle and party-building (ICOR). Here an important new project of practical cooperation on equal terms for the preparation of the international revolution is developing.

We need a very differentiated system of international coordination that reflects the existence of quite different parties with different strategic tasks and a different state of development in the revolutionary class struggle.

The international work will have a higher rank in the work of the party and the new Central Committee.

It is also an important basis for the further work on the theoretical organ Revolutionärer Weg 32-34. The strategy and tactics of the international revolution can not be derived from bourgeois and petty-bourgeois literature. They  result from the careful study and theoretical digestion of the living reality of the internationalization of class struggle and the worldwide experiences in Marxist-Leninist party-building.

Rote Fahne: Can we congratulate the former Party Chairman to his re-election?

Stefan Engel: The elections to the central bodies were an important climax of the 8th Party Congress. Never before in its history did the party have such a large number of able cadres to choose from for its central bodies, in spite of the elections to the new Land bodies, which had only taken place a short time previously. This made it difficult for the delegates to make their decisions. The result was that the delegates emphasized the combination of continuity in the leadership work of the Central Committee and new comrades who represent the most progressed work of the party. The leading comrades of the former Central Committee were overwhelmingly approved, which showed the confidence placed in them. My own re-election can be seen in this connection. The fact that this re-election, which took place in a secret ballot, was unanimous is especially an expression of the great approval, the strong alignment, but also of the solidarity of the party with my leadership work and that of the former Central Committee. And this is in the face of the shabby slanderous campaigns which were launched in the Internet, by the intelligence services etc., against leading comrades of   the Central Committee. The entire election demonstrated the great unity between the Central Committee and the basis.

A strong collective was elected which will represent and lead the Party in the coming years. In the meantime the constituting plenary session of the 8th CC has taken place, where I was elected as the party chairman and Monika Gärtner-Engel as the deputy party chairwoman. In both cases the elections were by secret ballot and unanimous. I would like to thank the Party and the Central Committee at this point for their great trust in the political leadership of the CC, which will be an important foundation for successfully mastering the future tasks. One glance at the intrigues and malevolence within the bourgeois parties suffices in order to understand the fundamental difference to the MLPD.

The Party Congress called upon the CC to increase its efforts for the coordination and revolutionization of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement and to give special priority to theoretical work. These tasks were taken on by the constituting plenary session of the CC in the form of a new leadership structure. Within the coming months it will be most important that the CC develops its scientific organization of work to closely interpenetrate the leadership work of the CC with the work of the new intermediate levels of the party. This cooperation will have to pass its first crucial  test in the new offensive for genuine socialism.

Rote Fahne: "Rote Fahne" has already reported extensively on the 3rd International Miners' Seminar which took place  in Gelsenkirchen at the end of August. How do you evaluate the seminar in the light of the 8th Party Congress?

Stefan Engel : The 3rd International Miners` Seminar was organized by the überparteilich (non-party affiliated) miners' movement "Miners for AUF"  and was very successful. This is expressed, among other things, by the unanimous acceptance of the proposal to carry out future meetings not as a miners' seminar, but as an "international miners' conference". A very natural organic interpenetration of class-militant miners across national borders with the revolutionary positions of the Marxist-Leninists took place.

With up to 700 participants in the seminar alone, it surmounted by far the original expectations. If you add the additional visitors of the other program parts, there were 900 to 1000 participants. Many came in support of the miners' movement. Many came from other branches, too, because they wanted to learn from the cross-border coordination and revolutionization which is quite progressed in the mining industry.

With 14 delegations including workers' delegations with strike leaders of important miners' struggles, it had a real internationalist character. In the miners' cities and towns the seminar had been anchored in the broad public and had lead to a mass discussion and broad sympathy. More miners than ever before, together with their families, supported the realization of the program in different ways and many new organizational links to active miners were developed.

The reformists from the IGBCE leadership reacted very irritably. They influenced different unions abroad to prevent delegations of their countries from taking part in the 3rd International Miners' Seminar. Single cancellations were due to this. This only shows how much the ruling forces fear the first attempts at this coordination. Most of all, they want to prevent that their basis for the policy of class-collaboration takes serious damage, which is especially explosive in connection with the symptoms of crisis of social democracy. But it is quite typical that they shun the open debate like the devil shuns holy water and try to reach their goals by resorting to intrigues and slander.

In the impressive series of meetings and events, the entire scope of life, the political background and the cultural interests of the masses were taken into account.

Without the supporting program, the receptions and the visits to the different museums and pit housing settlements and, last but not least, the outstanding miners' theater, the International Miners' Seminar would not have been able to develop such an attraction and magnetism.

And it was also a lesson in the interrelation of party-building and the promotion of the self-run organizations of the masses, for example through the membership recruitment among the miners for Solidarity International. Also,  Solidarity International on its part gave tremendous support for the seminar. It was also very important that the great significance of the militant  women's movement and its interrelation with proletarian class struggle was successfully made clear. So subsequently a meeting of 53 women connected with mining took place and they agreed to continue with the consultations at the Women's Political Counsel.

Rote Fahne: One highlight of the international movement will be the Women's Political Counsel at the beginning of October in Duesseldorf. What priority has the 8th Party Congress given to women's work?

Stefan Engel : The 8th Party Congress had to strike the balance with regard to the unmistakable instructions of the last Party Congress to overcome the stagnation in women's work as well as a decline in the percentage of female membership. This has undoubtedly been successfully accomplished in the meantime;  with its 43 percent female membership, the MLPD once again ranks first among all parties in Germany. The MLPD is working continuously at promoting women in the party, as well as in promoting the militant women's movement in Germany and internationally. A remaining deficit was critically examined , namely to really win a mass of women for organized work. The political and economical development actually  increases the double exploitation and oppression of the masses of women ! 71 percent of the so-called „non-typical employed“ - mini-jobs, agency work, time-work and part-time jobs below 20 hours and mostly in low-paid jobs – are women ! Rampant sexism is now attacking the self-confidence of young women and girls. The Women's Political Counsel, which will take place from the 3 -5 October in Duesseldorf, as well as the preparatory process for World Women's Conference 2011 in Venezuela,  are outstanding platforms for the development of a real mass women's movement. These initiatives are exactly right in a situation in which women make up an ever more important part of the international industrial proletariat and the militant mass movements. For growing masses of people living in poverty, the crisis of the bourgeois family system in the imperialist countries is really developing into an absence of family. In this situation which cries for a militant women's movement, the petty-bourgeois feminists in the international women's movement in many non-governmental organizations have unmasked themselves as lackeys  of the imperialists and have exhausted themselves in ineffective lobbying in the UN,  World Bank and IMF. Especially on this background, the idea of a World Women's Conference of rank and file women  has already taken a successful trip around the world.

The decisive touchstone for Marxist-Leninist educational work is its contribution to a militant mass women's movement in one's own country that is learning to lead the worldwide struggle for the liberation of women as part of the preparation of the international socialist revolution. In the final stage of the preparations for the 8th Women's Political Counsel,  the MLPD  commits itself energetically to it becoming a great success, as well as for the enduring result of a strengthened militant women's movement.           
                                              
                                                                                              
Rote Fahne: What tasks is the MLPD currently facing?

Stefan Engel: At first it is important that the entire party studies the results of the Hamburger Party Congress thoroughly and puts them into practice systematically and constructively. First of all, the focus lies on the coverage and the concentrated studies and discussion of the results. The main danger currently results from an underestimation of the 8th Party Congress and its resolutions.

We are going to conduct seven regional events “90 Years November Revolution and the Hamburger Party Congress of MLPD” between the end of October and beginning of November in our new Land party branches to anchor the results of the Party Congress. The November Revolution in 1918 failed mainly because of the absence of a revolutionary party which was experienced in battles, toughened and tightly linked to the masses, armed with scientifically firm strategy and tactics. That made it easier for the reactionary leaders of the social democrats to betray the proletarian revolution and direct it toward the bourgeois National Assembly and to a defeat. The failure of the November Revolution stopped the process of the international revolution which began with the October Revolution in Russia. The worker’s movement needs to study the experiences of the November Revolution and to draw its consequences. From the very beginning it was an incentive for the MLPD not to subside in its endeavours in party building.

After having established the necessary inner conditions, we need to direct the highest attention to the development to the party of the masses. It is mainly the result of the all-over interrelations between an ideologically-politically consolidated party, that is organizationally strong, with powerful self-run organizations of the masses.

The focus of our party work in November and December will be the furtherance of the active resistance against the global climate catastrophe. The dramatic consequences of the beginning transition to the global environmental catastrophe are becoming increasingly evident. Today the very foundation of the lives  of millions of people are being destroyed, evidenced by the cyclones in the Caribbean and the floods in India. On the international level, Merkel government gives the appearance of being a pioneer in the question of climate protection. Essentially, under the guise of "environmental protection", the interests of German imperialism are being massively enforced. That is not environmental protection, but imperialist ecologism! For mankind active resistance to save the environment from the greed for  profit is a question of survival. In this period of time we are going to continue to enliven our political work in ecology, popularize our line in environmental policy and promote alliances that participate in the worldwide Climate Action Day on December 8th. We also want to use our international contacts to advance the worldwide coordination of this struggle.

The lesson to be learned out of the failure of the old environmental movement under the leadership of the Greens is that the hostility against the workers' movement and the anti-communism, shaped by the Greens, lead into a dead-end. Workers must and will become the head of this movement, for they are the bearer of the most advanced productive forces which also make it possible to solve the environmental questions.

We will found new party groups which focus on the environmental work. The environmental issue is an inseparable part of the struggle of the masses and the workers for their vital interests, and thereby a component of the rank-and-file work of MLPD in the neighborhoods and on the main line of struggle in factories and trade union as well.

We attach greatest importance to the Environmental Counsel in June 2009, for which the „Citizens' Movement for Cryo-Recycling and total-loop recycling“ took the initiative. We expect new impulses to emerge there for building up the militant environmental movement and will support that process as well as we are able. The militant environmental movement urgently needs corresponding forms of organization to develop the necessary effectiveness.

Beginning at the middle of December, we will be concentrating on the all-round consolidation of MLPD and be conducting party recruitment weeks,. The mobilization, especially among the youth, for the biggest European rally for socialism, the activities in commemoration of the assassination of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg on January 11 in Berlin, is one component. At the beginning of the new year, the group general membership meetings and the local and county delegates‘ conferences of MLPD are going to be held, where the work is to be evaluated in the light of the party congress results and the new tactical offensive for genuine socialism in 2009 will be conceived and projected.
From spring to early summer 2009, we want to focus on the preparation and conduct of the Whitsun Youth Festival in connection with extending the system of Marxist-Leninist youth work as life school of the proletarian mode of thinking. I expect a nationwide impulse for the organized rebellion of youth and children subsequent to the International Whitsun Youth Festival 2009.
Starting in the summer 2009, the offensive for genuine socialism linked with the participation at the federal elections comes to the fore. The all-sided preparation of the elections and the building of a broad election campaign auxiliary  movement is to result in a powerful four-week long election campaign in September.

 Good luck and thank you very much for the interview!

Literature

Literaturtipp An ever increasing number of local and regional ecological catastrophes plague humanity. They are symptoms of an environmental crisis which is in the process of transforming at an accelerated pace into a global environmental catastrophe. New Publication: CATASTROPHE ALERT! What Is To Be Done Against the Willful Destruction of the Unity of Humanity and Nature?

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