Successful results for the MLPD!

Interview of Rote Fahne with the chairman of the MLPD, Stefan Engel dated December 12, 2007.

 

Rote Fahne: In November the 8th plenum of the Central Committee of the MLPD took place. What were the most important topics and tasks?

 

Stefan Engel: The 8th plenum of the CC took stock of the MLPD’s anniversary year, and the passing of the draft of the Central Committee’s report for the VIII. Party Congress was also on the agenda.

 

Rote Fahne: What did the MLPD achieve up to its 25th anniversary?

 

Stefan Engel: We took note that despite their diversity, the anniversary activities of the MLPD had still remained quite reserved at the beginning of the year. The offensive of revolutionary rank-and-file work, which had been a decision of the CC, was being conducted at a slow pace in many places. We first had to discuss critically and self-critically within the party what great importance the 25-year’s existence of the MLPD has.

There was an upswing in the anniversary activities in connection with our participation in the Whitsun Youth Festival. A diversified rank-and-file work among the masses developed in the process of preparing and conducting the central events in June and August. A stagnation in the recruitment of new members, which had existed for some time, was overcome. All in all, more than 7000 visitors took part in the local, regional and central events. There is no doubt that we witnessed the most impressing activities of the MLPD in its history, especially with the series of events at the beginning of August.

More than 1000 participants from more than 40 countries participated in the Seminar on the Reorganisation of International Production and the Preparation of the International Revolution. Party members and non-party members, comrades from the MLPD basis and leading representatives of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement, as well as young comrades and experienced party cadres, discussed at eye level about the changes in the imperialist world system and what consequences the revolutionaries have to draw for the preparation of the international revolution. The two days were not enough to hear all of the more than 100 written contributions. We have now published a documentation entitled “Socialism in the Focus” in which all contributions, whether held or not, are documented and which altogether represent the entire range of the creative, principled and fundamental discussion.

The central anniversary event of the MLPD on August 4th dealt mainly with acknowledging the significance of the MLPD in society for which we had struggled for 25 years. It could not be taken for granted that the MLPD successfully mastered these 25 years in a creative process of learning and fighting without experiencing major setbacks. Many internal and external problems of the Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement had to be solved and some major obstacles had to be overcome.

The petty-bourgeois “ML-movement” of the 1970s disoriented and disorganised the important task of rebuilding the revolutionary workers’ party in Germany with their penetrating dogmatism, revisionism, sectarianism and petty-bourgeois affectations. Before that the once revolutionary KPD had already given up its revolutionary character after 1956 under the influence of the CPSU and the SED. The proletarian way of party-building had to be enforced and realized resolutely against the dominance of the petty-bourgeois students. Most of these petty-bourgeois students gave up in face of this task, which would have demanded a resolute re-education and giving up petty-bourgeois affectations. In the 1980s, a large part found themselves in the petty-bourgeois ecologist Green Party and gave rise to a dangerous liquidationism and great demoralization within the petty-bourgeois “ML-movement”.Only those who were able to come to terms with the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking could be won for building up a revolutionary workers’ party. The founding of the MLPD in 1982 was the proletarian answer to the decline of the petty-bourgeois “ML-movement”.

With the DKP, which was massively sponsored by the SED, there was another ideological-political obstacle. The modern revisionism of this party spread a distorted picture of Marxism-Leninism among the masses. The developments in the GDR and in the Soviet Union had a deterrent effect upon the workers’ movement and created a dam of reservations against socialism, which took decades to be overcome. Politically the DKP curried favor with the reformist SPD and the right-wing trade union leadership.

Even after the post-Adenauer era, the ruling class understood well how to stir up and use anticommunist reservations and so carry out a policy of the political isolation of the MLPD. In the end this policy of isolation, with the help of modern anticommunism, formed the decisive obstacle which had to be overcome for the successful path of party-building. For this reason, the ongoing and lasting breakthrough in the relative isolation, as it increasingly succeeded in particular since 2003, signified a decisive qualitative leap in party building toward the party of the masses. The MLPD underlined its role in societal change impressively, especially in the company-wide strikes at Daimler, Bosch, Opel and Siemens, in connection with the Monday-demonstration-movement, as well as with the participation in the national parliamentary elections in 2005. From this time on, the MLPD became a significant factor in society as a whole and a force that shaped the militant opposition.

 

Rote Fahne: Aren’t you exaggerating a little? What do you mean with the societal importance<A[importance|meaning]> of the MLPD?

 

Stefan Engel: Presumably, there is no progressive movement of importance today, in which the MLPD is not active<A[active|acting]>, to some part even leadingly involved. It gave important impulses for the Monday demonstration movement against Hartz IV. By closing its ranks with others and on a basis above party-lines (überparteilich), it was able to make an important contribution to the unity of unemployed people and workers. It<A[It|She]> gave essential impulses for the backbone, the argumentative strength and liveliness of this movement. Without the MLPD, the Monday demonstration movement would not exist in the present form.

In environmental work,<A[work|job]> it could develop important impulses together with activists of the old environmental movement for the begin of a new environmental movement. This new environmental movement directs itself today against the threatening worldwide environmental catastrophe and those who are really responsible. They are risking the existence of all of mankind, particularly if the greenhouse effect is not stopped. The new environmental movement must develop close links with the working class and its struggle for liberation from exploitation and oppression, as well as with the active<A[active|acting]> people’s movement, the militant women’s movement and the rebellion of the youth. For this purpose it has to evaluate the failure of the petty-bourgeois environmental movement of the 1990s in particular, which had its roots in the petty-bourgeois basis<A[basis|element]> of this movement and its self-isolation from the labor movement.

The MLPD gave important impulses for the rebellion of the youth and has built up an active<A[active|acting]> and Marxist-Leninist organization of the life school of the proletarian mode of thinking with its youth organization Rebell and its children’s organization Red Foxes.

However, the main achievements of the MLPD lie in the close alliance with the core<A[core|kernel]> of the industrial proletariat in the industrial large-scale enterprises. That was the decisive factor for a transition to the workers’ offensive, in particular in 2004.

 

Rote Fahne: Did this transition to the workers’ offensive not come to a standstill due to the "government’s success" ?

 

Stefan Engel: You can’t say that. The transition to the workers’ offensive continued, although at a slower pace in 2005, 2006 and 2007, too. So there is a clear rise in the number of trade union and independent<A[independent|standalone]> strikes, as well as a sudden increase of militant activities below the threshold of strikes in the year 2007 in comparison with 2006. Until<A[Until|By]> October 2007, there were at least 31 independent<A[independent|standalone]> strikes in which more than 74,000 colleagues participated, while there were only 24 strikes with 11,150 participants<A[participants|people involved]> in the entire<A[entire|whole]> year 2006. Until<A[Until|By]> October 2007, almost a million colleagues participated in union strikes in collective bargaining or against the pension with 67. The number of workers’ demonstrations and rallies climbed until<A[until|by]> October to 569, the highest peak in the last six years.

The struggle of the international supermonopolies for the supremacy of the world market is accompanied by an enormous increase of the exploitation in the companies<A[companies|operations]>. The new Porsche/VW-manager Wiedeking (annual salary 54 million euros) sets the goal of overtaking Toyota as the new international market leader in the car branch. To reach this goal he will not accept any "taboos" and that means making rigorous cuts in the wages and working conditions of the employees. In the form of an ultimatum, GM/Opel Europe head Forster demands from the workforce in Bochum, to reduce manufacturing time from 27 to 15 hours per car. Of course, that is only possible on the backs of the employees and their<A[their|her]> families. There is an explosive atmosphere in many companies that will be released at some time<A[companies|operations]>.

In collective bargaining, the reformist union leaders and the employers associations attempted this year to avoid greater union struggles by making some concessions – so, for example, in the metal industry with a settlement of 4,1 percent. Massive price increases, wage lowering<A[lowering|reduction]> programs like the ERA in the metal industry, the extension of low wages and contract work, cuts in Christmas money, in overtime and extra shift<A[shift|layer]> benefits or also extending working time without wage compensation<A[compensation|balance]> are used as an aggressive program of the intensified exploitation and blackmail against the workers. Therefore, their struggles turn more and more also against the class cooperation policy of the right trade union leadership<A[leadership|management]> which supports the corresponding agreements<A[agreements|arrangements]>.

With this background ,the militant train drivers of the GDL get a lot of sympathy. The approval for unlimited strikes to force the rail executive board to their knees is increasing among the masses. The discussion about the necessary right to strike<A[right to strike|strike law]> is taking on mass character. That has not happened for decades! This development<A[development|evolution]> characterizes an increased class-consciousness as the most important factor of the transition to the workers’ offensive.

In the steel industry and in public services, the workers put up offensive wage demands of 10 to 17,5 percent. In Stuttgart militant action was waged by the workforce of several companies against the ERA program of downgrading. Employees in retail<A[retail|retail trade]> went on strike against the cancelling of benefits for late-work and for a real wage increase. In the last weeks, a militant atmosphere also matured for cost-of-living bonuses and/or additional wage increases.

The nationwide trade union conventions of Ver.di and the metal trade union IGM were very revealing for the development<A[development|evolution]> of the class-consciousness. The clearly increased influence of the class-militant forces in the workforces had to be taken into account by the trade union leadership. They are taking up with the arguments and demands of the MLPD more and more. It is important that a motion for a political right to strike<A[right to strike|strike law]> and the right to conduct general strikes was passed at Ver.di and was demanded at the IGM conference in several motions. The Ver.di- convention adopted the slogan "Down with Hartz IV" and the IGM convention spoke out for the continuation of the struggle against the pension with 67. It is also of importance that both trade union conventions adopted the demand for banning the NPD. For years, all of these demands were exclusively advocated by the MLPD; they were highly controversial for a long time and are now blazing the trail more and more.

All these developments<A[developments|evolutions]> would not be conceivable without the long-standing rank-and-file work of the MLPD and express its growing influence in society.

 

Rote Fahne: It is certainly no coincidence that at the Metal Union National Conference motions from several district councils were proposed to lift the incompatibility rulings against the MLPD. How did the conference deal with it?

 

Stefan Engel: The motion editing committee supported these motions in their intention, but wanted to submit them to the new executive committee. After all it was the executive committee who passed these incompatibility rulings and now should also lift them – according to the motion editing committee. The argument that the incompatibility rulings have been overcome in practice is insincere talk. In practice, a number of active and class-conscious workers are still barred from doing an active work in the union because they were expelled at some time on grounds of these discriminating and anticommunist incompatibility rulings.

Many delegates did not agree to this procedure because such a motion already existed at the last metal union conference and afterwards disappeared in the files of the executive committee. So more than 40 percent of the delegates demanded dealing with the motion against the incompatibility rulings at the union conference. The opinion at the union conference was clear: the undemocratic incompatibility rulings, which are only directed against the MLPD as a leftist organization, have to be done away with being. This is a new starting position!

 

Rote Fahne: In recent times, socialism is really making headlines. The Pope issued a new encyclical of which the main object of attack is Karl Marx and materialistic science. An its party congress, the CDU recycled the old anticommunist slogan “Never again socialism!”. President Chavez put socialism to the vote in Venezuela and the world press made comments of relief that “only” half of the population is in favor of it. How is this development to be assessed?

 

Stefan Engel: What is getting on the “Holy Father’s” and Angela Merkel’s nerves in such an unholy way is the resistance of growing numbers of the masses to the anticommunist propaganda. What an array of bloodthirsty movies did we have about Stalin and Mao Tsetung in the recent years – “despots”, “sex swankpots”, “mass murderers” – the whole slanderous program was broadcasted. And the result? All bourgeois opinion polls always have the same result: The sympathies for socialism are not fading, instead they are even consolidating among a growing majority! They find their political expression in a definite tendency to the left among the mass of the population.

 

Rote Fahne: In the media this development is mostly connected with the new upward trend of the Left party …

 

Stefan Engel: Whenever the topic is socialism, wild myths are being created! The CDU even claimed at its party congress that the SPD is now again pursuing a socialist program. The SPD merely found itself forced to include the reformist phrase of “democratic socialism” once again in the 197th version of its draft program in the face of the mood of its mass basis. Guido Westerwelle even asserted that in the wake of the SPD, the CDU was on the road to a planned economy.

Heated discussions were also taking place in the Left party until the very end whether the word socialism should appear in the party program at all. At the very last, the word “socialism” was finally inserted into the statutes as a concession to the “dogmatists”. In practice and in their programmatic representation, however, the left-reformist guideline also applies to the “Left” to play the doctor at the sickbed of capitalism. This is not rarely connected with an anticommunist tirade against genuine socialism and the supposed “Stalinist” MLPD.

This is supposedly the basis for the tendency to the left? This is a ridiculous assertion. Everybody, who is aware of the situation, knows that the MLPD is the only party in Germany having systematically helped socialism to gain new credit for many years. This is embodied in its aims and objectives, its daily work at grass roots level and, last but not least, its representatives.

Of course, the grown search for a societal way out and a significant openness for genuine socialism also has objective reasons. Social democracy has entered a real state of crisis on the basis of a latent political crisis, owing especially to mass unemployment and the increasing policy of destroying the social insurance systems and the growing exploitation in the factories. The general tendency of the masses detaching themselves from the bourgeois parties, bourgeois parliamentarism and its institutions has had a particularly intense effect within the industrial proletariat and has led a broad mass of them to turn away from social democracy. This certainly poses a big problem for the stability of this capitalist society. Social democracy has the objective task of tying the working class to the capitalist system. With the crisis of social democracy, this commitment is dissolved and the path will be cleared for people turning to genuine socialism.

 

Rote Fahne: However, we have to recognize soberly that the activities of the youth or that active people’s resistance have declined since the fall of 2006.

 

Stefan Engel: That is correct. The MLPD has less influence in active people’s resistance and in the rebellion of the youth than in the industrial proletariat.

The petty-bourgeois element is much stronger in active people’s resistance and the movement is determined to a higher degree by the ups and downs of the spontaneous protests. In spite of this, the movement of the Monday demonstrations has succeeded in remaining alive as a unique organized mass movement in post-war Germany.

The decline in the activities of the youth and in active people’s resistance is a result of the systematic dampening of class contradictions by means of the „policy of small steps” of the governmental coalition and the concessions of the monopolies. For example, also due to pressure of the Monday demonstrations, they abandoned plans to drastically reduce the regular allowance for income support (Hartz IV).

The open microphone, the regular discussions about the political and economic situation, every week new arguments in the struggle against the policies of the government and monopolies, the solidarity and support: With all these elements the organized mass movement has become the counterpole to the policy of the Agenda 2010. The fact that the Hartz IV laws and the Agenda 2010 are rejected by a great majority of the population and that the government is not given peace in this question nor in others is to a great deal its contribution. The spirit of the Monday demonstrators obviously hovered over the party congresses of the SPD and the Green Party and forced them to dismantle themselves by making concessions on the issue of Hartz IV. This was a slap in the face of these parties by the Monday demonstrators.

Today the Monday demonstrations as a platform of public criticism and a developing united front against the government have changed their character compared to their beginnings. The focus of attention is the task of convincing people and organizing them for the struggle against the unsocial policy of the grand coalition led by Merkel. In this process new politicians are developing who are capable of leading and representing a mass movement of the future.

In this situation the 7,000 participants of the demonstration on October 13 made it clear that this movement has stabilized and consolidated its attraction. Compared to the partly much larger central demonstrations in Berlin, it received a much better media coverage.

The fact that neither the trade unions, the social associations, the churches nor the party „Die Linke” (The Left) had called upon people to attend the demonstration contributed heavily to the relatively low number of participants. Two speakers of the party „Die Linke” withdrew their announced speeches at the final rally only a short time earlier.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read an article in the newspaper „Neues Deutschland” (New Germany) afterwards which gave the impression that the Left Party was a decisive organizer of the demonstration. Obviously the editorial staff of „Neues Deutschland” was so impressed by the success of the demonstration that it felt obliged to commercialize it for the Left Party. Whoever listens to people will recognize that the broad masses of people have no understanding for such a conduct influenced by anticommunism. For this reason, the party „Die Linke” has to decide which direction it wants to take in the future: the direction of the unreserved struggle for the common cause against the anti-people policy of the government or for the direction of a future as a left parliamentary appendage of an SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) which shares the responsibility for this policy!

 

Rote Fahne: The federal government is idolizing itself when taking stock of the grand coalition: „long-lasting upswing”, „the lowest unemployment figures for years”, „the highest number of employed people paying social insurance in the FRG”. Has the MLPD been mistaken?

 

Stefan Engel: These half-time results of Chancellor Merkel have little to do with the situation of the masses. The „historic” rise in the number of working people to 40.36 million in October and the decline in the official unemployment figures to 3.38 million in November are not an expression of the increase in the volume of work, i.e. the sum of all the working hours performed. It is the result of a significant extension of the low wage sector with mini-jobs, part-time jobs and subcontracted work.

The number of people paying social insurance increased by 577,000 compared to the previous year, but half of these have only part-time jobs. 2.09 million of all regularly employed people - or 123,000 more than in the previous year - are earning such low wages that they have to take on a second job. This so-called „job miracle” is actually a rapid rise in working conditions that leave the masses without rights and make them poor!

In November more than 7 million people were getting Hartz IV-payments or social welfare. Since the introduction of the Hartz IV laws, child poverty has doubled to 2.6 million. The impoverishment of old people and pensioners has drastically increased due to the higher retirement age and the increased social contributions. Despite all government propaganda, the masses cannot be dissuaded from their correct opinion that Merkel’s upswing does not benefit them!

The undoubtedly sharp rise in industrial production by 6.1 per cent in 2006 is partly due to the production of investment goods. Another cause is the high growth rates in export. They amounted to almost 14 per cent in the year 2006. Contrary to that, retail trade experienced a drop in turnover by 2 per cent in 2007,too.

Fact is, that there is an enormous expansion of the world market. This has led to growth rates in the world economy of 4.5 to more than 5 per cent since 2004. The 7th Party Congress of the MLPD had already established that the reorganization of the international production is undermining the nation-state, state monopoly crisis regulation. However, at that time, we did not yet reckon with the fact that such an upswing in the world economy could take place. This is linked to an uneven development among the countries with high growth rates (China, India, Brazil, Russia etc.), those with average growth rates (USA, Japan) and countries in fluctuating stagnation (France, Great Britain, Canada etc.).

 

Rote Fahne: Is the mortgage crisis in the USA not a harbinger of a new world economic crisis?

 

Stefan Engel: At first, the promotion of house-buying by luring people into taking loans contributed considerably to the revival in the USA. With the fall of real estate prices since 2006 and rising interests on loans, accompanied by growing mass unemployment and poverty, huge numbers of compulsory auctions, the ruin of thousands of families and a significant decline of consumption were the consequences. The national real estate crisis triggered an international credit and financial crisis, as well as a decline in the stock market.

The Deutsche Bank estimates that credits amounting to 400 billion dollars have to be written off, among them 50 billion alone from worldwide leading large banks. As a result, the value of the US bank Citygroup on the stock market fell back from the first to the sixth place in the world within a few months. In the meantime, due to the financial crisis, planned mergers amounting to 200 billion dollars in this year alone have been cancelled. The further repercussions cannot been foreseen yet.

You cannot make a concrete prediction about when the upswing in the world economy will turn into an extensive world economic crisis. However, we certainly have to prepare ourselves in time that the exceptionally strong upward swing in the economy will result in a considerably deeper collapse in the crisis. Then mass dismissals, impoverishment and evictions will be the order of the day, just as the ruthless actions of the law and police against the struggling masses. Class struggle will intensify rapidly. This is all on the basis that the social systems, which in the past have dampened the effects on the wage-earners to some degree, have been to the most part destroyed in their former form, and that the influence of the MLPD can no longer be curbed so easily.

 

Rote Fahne: On the occasion of its anniversary, the MLPD welcomed guests from all over the world. What are your plans for the future with respect to your international activities, relations and cooperation?

 

Stefan Engel: In connection with cross-border workers’ struggles, like the current strike of the workers at Ford Motor Company in Russia, and with the organization of international solidarity and working-class unity, the cooperation of the Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary organizations is developing. Unlike during the time of the socialist Soviet Union until 1956 and the People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong until 1976, there is no revolutionary centre existing today. The united international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement must take its place today. Today it is the most important internationalist task of the MLPD to contribute to this unification in theory and practice.

Meanwhile a step of strategic significance has been taken: 22 revolutionary parties signed the declaration for an initiative for the “Building of an International Form Organization for the Cooperation and the Coordination of the Work of Autonomous Revolutionary Parties and Organizations”. With that, a process was ushered in that could considerably accelerate the process of advancing to the international proletarian revolution.

The question of the mode of thinking has gained crucial significance in international class struggle as well. The international industrial proletariat, the working-class and the people’s masses must come to terms with the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking on a worldwide scale in order to develop the class consciousness and cross-border organization that is necessary for the international revolution.

It is no coincidence that today our literature is being widely spread in many countries. We attained a breakthrough in Venezuela where we arranged the publication of the books “Twilight of the Gods - Götterdämmerung over the ‘New World Order’” and “New Perspectives for the Liberation of Woman” with the state-run publishing house “El perro y la rana” in Venezuela and, beyond that, all over Latin America.

The internationalist work of the MLPD must be a integral part of all rank-and-file work and of all interrelations of the MLPD with the self-run organizations of the masses. Internationalist consciousness must be awakened and developed to a higher level with determination by promoting internationalist forms of organization on different levels on a mass scale.

 

Rote Fahne: What tasks are you taking on in the theoretical work ahead, or must these tasks be set back for the time being in view of the general turbulences that can be expected?

 

Stefan Engel: At no time whatsoever is it justified to cut back in our theoretical work. We painfully experienced that the worship of spontaneity could also advance within the organization because the scheduled REVOLUTIONÄRER WEG 32-34 with the working title “The Strategy and Tactics of the International Proletarian Revolution” has not yet been completed. That is why the 8th plenum discussed self-critically that the CC needs to take sufficient time for this theoretical work.

One of the most dubious thesis was the contention of some comrades of the Central Committee that the work on the RW 32-34 was “necessarily” displaced by the new tasks in class struggle. Applying this logic, theoretical work would have to be stopped completely in times of an acute revolutionary situation. I only want to remind you that Lenin wrote works of central importance, such as “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” or “State and Revolution” in the immediate run-up to the October Revolution! So one of the most important consequences that needs to be drawn for the successful preparation of the Party Congress is to make a good step ahead in the RW-work until the Party Congress.

 

Rote Fahne: How did you come along with the ambitious project of the reorganization of the seven party Land leagues and 50 counties?

 

Stefan Engel: Without a doubt: the period since the 7th Party Congress stands for the most successful work of the MLPD since our party was founded. We are not children anymore and we have proven that we are capable of moving and leading the masses.

All in all, the party grew by almost 25 per cent from January 1, 2004 until October 1, 2007. The MLPD managed to prove that the systematic work among the rank-and-file is the most important method to be able to succeed in every situation of class struggle.

A guarantor of this positive development was the introduction of the reorganization of the MLPD in Land (federal state) and county organizations a little more than 1 1/2 years ago. In the light of the accelerated growth of the party and the increased demands of class struggle, the system of guidance and control, that was directly led by the CC, came into conflict with what the CC was capable of and with what the basis required. Only by means of the new Land level is the necessary differentiated and concrete guidance and control of party work possible in future.

With determination we have brought about the largest change in cadres and organizational policy of the MLPD since it was founded. In 2005 we founded the Land organization of North Rhine-Westphalia. In the meantime, competent Land construction groups are working in six further federal states. We plan to vote for Land leaderships, Land control commissions and Land auditing commissions before the Party Congress in order to reach our main target of reorganizing the party.

Since the 7th Party Congress we were also able to increase the number of our county organizations by one third. The construction of county organizations is the pacemaker for the mass influence of the MLPD and of the development of the MLPD towards the party of the masses because only there can the all-round interrelation with the self-run organizations of the masses be developed. Taking into account all the successful activities, we admittedly need to overcome some tendencies of the overexertion of forces and the neglect of the ideological-political aspect in rank-and-file work and learn to concentrate on what is essential.

To sum up, the MLPD managed to focus on party construction and to fulfil the tasks set by the 7th Party Congress! The 8th Party Congress will have to deal more precisely with the issue of how the continuing process of the sustainable break-through of the relative isolation of the MLPD can be utilized for the sustainable higher development of the interrelation of systematic party building and the promotion of the self-run organizations of the masses. Because proletarian class consciousness can only be enduringly awakened and developed to a higher level through the existence of many and diverse forms of organization of the masses.

 

Rote Fahne: In summer, the MLPD stated that youth work was still its „biggest practically unsolved problem“. How was the Party able to advance with a solution?

 

Stefan Engel: We can undoubtedly also speak of a positive change in our youth work. The youth organisation REBELL recruited almost 25% new members since its 8th delegates’ conference in early 2007. After neglecting the building up of the Red Foxes as a nationwide children’s organisation of the MLPD for many years, we have made some very decisive steps ahead in the past weeks.

The central Red Fox leadership constituted itself and passed its “acid test” in leading the children’s camps in Truckenthal and Alt Schwerin. Meanwhile numerous new Red Fox groups were founded. In summer camps the children learned the know-how for leading a group themselves and for their jobs as treasurer or as auditors. When Red Foxes are convinced of something, they are all into it. With pride they sing their new song everywhere – as they did at the 25th anniversary celebrations of the MLPD and recently at the “Rheinhausen” event. They play theatre with the Rebells, etc. Currently they are celebrating St. Nicholas parties enthusiastically everywhere and are winning new children for the Red Foxes.

The decision to build up the Red Fox organisation proved to be the chain link in realizing the youth work as a life school of the proletarian mode of thinking. That is the essence of the solution for the problem of Marxist-Leninist youth work. As a counterpart to the social influence through a whole system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking, children and young people have to be educated and influenced in a proletarian way as early as possible. In taking over responsibility for the children, the Rebell members learn to take over responsibility for the future of society and so recruit new members for their youth organisation. This shall be in the centre of our youth work and a focal point in the rank and file work of Rebell in the future, too.

 

For the positive development of our youth work it is essential, that broad initiative is taken to study the youth-political line anew. This year about 150 participants took part in the pilot course “The conscious application of the dialectical method in Marxist-Leninist youth work”. This is the key to a correct understanding and creative application of our political line on youth work. The essence of our Marxist-Leninist youth work is the realization of an all-round life school of the proletarian mode of thinking. This is becoming better understood and realized in connection with the critical and self-critical assessment of the diverse experiences.

 

Rote Fahne: Within the MLPD the preparations for the 8th Party Congress, regularly due to be held in 2008, have begun. What are the aims of the party congress, how is this process being organized within the party and what do the members have to prepare for?

 

Stefan Engel: Starting immediately, the MLPD will be concentrating on preparing the 8th Party Congress. The style and method in which the MLPD prepares its party congresses is outstanding. Accordingly, our members and functionaries are looking forward to it; they have great expectations and initiatives. Party congresses of bourgeois parties are mostly non-committal show events for the media or a battlefield for various personal intrigues. In the MLPD, the members are the masters of the party. The discussion of the draft report of the CC plays a key role. That was passed by the 8th plenum of the CC and has been distributed to every member of the party in the meantime.

Regarding the tasks of the party congress, I want to quote shortly from the preface of the draft report: "It is one of the most important tasks of the 8th Party Congress to deeply analyze the tendency of worshipping spontaneity and to discuss thoroughly the tasks of the revolutionary workers’ party in the transition from the first to the second stage in class struggle and to draw conclusions from that. The preparation of the international revolution is not a straight process, but is characterized by an upswing in the struggles alternating with setbacks and stagnation. In this process the unfolding and development to a higher level of systematic rank and file work plays a central role (...) The 8th Party Congress is of strategic significance, which requires the full attention and ideological-political initiative of all members. The broad democratic discussion of the draft report should to contribute to that."

For the MLPD rendering account is a fundamental element of democratic centralism. It had already been firmly established in the Paris Commune as the first workers` state in 1871. Within the old communist movement and the socialist countries, too, the reports still played an important role. However, they were often only presented at the party congress in speeches taking several hours. Following the revisionist degeneration since 1956, "rendering account" became a method for further elaborating and spreading the revisionist line and having the respective meetings approve it.

Within the MLPD rendering account gives far reaching rights to the members to be able to get insight into the work of the respective leadership, to deal thoroughly with it, to give their views - and for instance by formulating motions – to exert influence on it. This exertion of influence is inseparably connected with a creative process of the principled assimilation of one’s own experiences. This process of broad discussion and assimilation stimulates the unification of the mode of thinking in the entire party. This process is an important conclusion from the revisionist degeneration of the old communist movement.

All leading bodies of the MLPD have to concentrate on the guidance and control of the preparation of the party congress and provide every possible help for the members in their discussion of the draft report which is, of course, very concentrated. I wish that the Rote Fahne will become a lively forum for deepening this discussion and I request that the readers of our central organ submit many letters, contributions, questions etc.

A peculiarity of the preparation of the party congress are common motions of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission for the statutes of the MLPD and REBELL and the " Guidelines of the MLPD for the Work of its Control Commissions". They contain important lessons from the extraordinary party congress of the MLPD, which was a victory of the system of self-control over the danger of a revisionist development that had developed from the central control commission.

The quintessence of the discussion naturally is the cadre question! I am sure that the growing potential of the MLPD will lead to an excellent contingent of cadres for the central and Land bodies. Of course, this can only work if all comrades set new goals for themselves and shoulder more responsibility. This is something I also wish from the readers of the "Rote Fahne" who are not yet party members. I hope to be able to welcome many of them as new party members in the MLPD.

Of course, the consequence of this is not that the MLPD ignore its tasks in party and class struggle for several months. Instead, it is important to carry out and evaluate all activities from the viewpoint of the 8th Party Congress.

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to express warm thanks on behalf of the Central Committee to the members and leading organs, and also to the friends and sympathizers outside the party, who have made this successful work of the last 25 years possible. This applies in particular also to the time after the last party congress. Restful holidays and a "Happy New Year" for a new and militant 2008!

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