Front Cover
 Leon Trotsky
 Prelude to Hitler
 Which side to take?
 Why past revolutionary movements...
 The fascist counter revolution
 Long live the war
 Book reviews
 Back Cover

Title: Living Marxism
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089429/00002
 Material Information
Title: Living Marxism
Physical Description: v. : ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: International Council Correspondence,
International Council Correspondence
Place of Publication: Chicago Ill
Publication Date: Fall 1940
Frequency: quarterly
Subject: Communism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Socialism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 4 (Feb. 1938)-v. 6, no. 1 (Fall 1941).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089429
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 24493886
alephbibnum - 001586476
 Related Items
Preceded by: International Council correspondence
Succeeded by: New essays

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Leon Trotsky
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Prelude to Hitler
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Which side to take?
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Why past revolutionary movements failed
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    The fascist counter revolution
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Long live the war
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Book reviews
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text




VOL V No. 2 FALL 1940 25 A COPY

VOL. V No. 2 FALL 1940 25c A COPY


Vol. V. FALL 1940 No. 2
P. O. Box 5343 Chicago, Illinois

This magazine consciously opposes all forms of sectarianism. The sectarian confuses
the interest of his group, whether it is a party or a union, with the interest of the
class. It is our purpose to discover the actual proletarian tendencies in their backward
organizational and theoretical forms; to effect a discussion of them beyond the boun-
daries of their organizations and the current dogmatics; to facilitate their fusion into
unified action; and thus to help them achieve real significance.


With Leon Trotsky there passed away the last of the great leaders
of bolshevism. It was his activity during the last fifteen years that kept
alive some of the original content of the bolshevik ideology the great
weapon for transforming backward Russia into its present state-capitalistic
As all men are wiser in practice than in theory, so also Trotsky by his
accomplishments achieves far greater importance than through his rational-
izations that accompanied them. Next to Lenin, he was without doubt
the greatest figure of the Russian Revolution. However, the need for lead-
ers like Lenin and Trotsky, and the effect these leaders had, brings to light
the utter helplessness of the proletarian masses to solve their own real
needs in face of a merciless unripe historical situation.
The masses had to be led; but the leaders could lead only in accord-
ance with their own necessities. The need for leadership of the kind prac-
ticed by bolshevism finally indicates nothing else than the need to discipline
and terrorize the masses, so that they may work and live in harmony with
the plans of the ruling social group. This kind of leadership in itself
demonstrates the existence of class relations, class politics and economics,
and an irreconcilible opposition between the leaders and the led. The
over-towering personality of Leon Trotsky reveals the non-proletarian char-
acter of the Bolshevik Revolution just as well as the mummified and dei-
fied Lenin in the Moscow Mausoleum.
In order that some may lead, others must be powerless. To be the
vanguard of the workers, the elite has to usurp all social key positions.

Like the bourgeoisie of old, the new leaders had to seize and control all
means of production and destruction. To hold their control and keep it
effective, the leaders must constantly strengthen themselves by bureaucratic
expansion, and continually divide the ruled. Only masters can be leaders.
Trotsky was such a master. At first he was the masterly propagan-
dist, the great and never tiring orator, establishing his leading position in
the revolution. Then he became the creator and master of the Red Army,
fighting against the Right and the Left, fighting for bolshevism, which he
hoped to master too. But here he failed. When leaders make history,
those who are led no longer count; but neither do they disappear. Trusting
in the force of grand historical spectacles, Trotsky neglected to be the effi-
cient opportunist behind the scenes of bureaucratic development that he was
in the spotlight of world history.
Today, great men are no longer necessary. Modern propaganda instru-
ments can transform any fraud into a hero, any mediocre personality into an
all-comprehending genius. Propaganda actually transforms through its col-
lective efforts any average, if not stupid, leader, like Hitler and Stalin,
into a great man. The leaders become symbols of an organized, collective,
and really intelligent will to maintain given social institutions. Outside
of Russia, Trotsky was soon reduced to the master of a small sect of profes-
sional revolutionists and their providers. He was "the Old Man", the
indisputable authority of an artificial growth upon the political scene, des-
tined to end in absurdity. To become the master of a Fourth International,
as his adversary Stalin was master of the Third, remained the illusion with
which he died.
There is here no need to re-trace Trotsky's individual development; his
autobiography suffices. Neither is it necessary to stress his many qualifica-
tions, literary and otherwise. His works, and most of all his History of the
Russian Revolution, will immortalize his name as a writer and politician.
But there is a real need to oppose the development of the Trotsky legend
which will make out of this leader of the Russian state capitalist revolution
a martyr of the international working class a legend which must be
rejected together with all other postulates and aspects of bolshevism.
Louis Ferdinand Celine has said that revolutions should be judged twen-
ty years later. And in doing so, he found only words of condemnation
for bolshevism. To us, however, it seems that a present-day re-evaluation
of bolshevism could well do without any kind of moralizing. In retrospect
it is quite easy to see in bolshevism the beginning of a new phase of capitalist
development, which was initiated by the first World War. No doubt, in
1917, Russia was the weakest link in the capitalist world structure. But
the whole of capitalism in its private property form was already on the verge
of stagnation. To erect and expand a workable economic system of the
laissez-faire type was no longer possible. Only the force of complete cen-
tralism, of dictatorial rule over the whole of society, could guarantee the
establishment of an exploitative social order capable of expanding production
despite the declining world-capitalism.

There can be no doubt that the bolshevik leaders by creating their
state-capitalistic structure which has, within twenty years, become the
example for the further evolution of the whole of the capitalist world -
were deeply convinced that their construction conformed to the needs and
desires of their own and the world proletariat. Even when they found
that they could not alter the fact that their society continued to be based
on the exploitation of labor, they sought to alter the meaning of this fact by
offering in excuse a theory that identified the rule of the leaders with the
interests of the led. The motive force of social development in class society
- the class struggle theoretically was done away with; but practically,
an authoritarian regime had to be developed masked as the dictatorship of
the proletariat. In the creation of this regime, and in the attempt to camou-
flage it, Trotsky won most of his laurels. He rested on those laurels tb
the very last. It is only necessary to reflect on the paramount role which
Trotsky played in the first thundering years of Bolshevik Russia to under-
stand why he could not admit that the bolshevik revolution was able only
to change the form of capitalism but was not able to do away with the cap.
italistic form of exploitation. It was the shadow of that period that dar-
kened his understanding.
In the general backwardness that prevailed in Czarist Russia, the in-
telligentsia had little opportunity to improve its position. The talent and
capacities of the educated middle classes found no realization in this stagnating
society. Later this situation found its parallel in the middle class condi-
tions in Italy and Germany after Versailles and in the wake of the following
world crisis. In all three countries, and in both situations, the intelligentsia
and large layers of the middle classes became politicized and counter-poised
to the declining economic system. In the search for ideologies useful as
weapons, and in the search for allies, all had to appeal to the proletarian
layer of society, and to all other dissatisfied elements. The leadership of
the bolshevik as well as of the fascist movements was not proletarian, but mid-
dle class: the result of the frustration of intellectuals under conditions of
economic stagnation and atrophy.
In Russia, before 1917, a revolutionary ideology was developed with the
help of western socialism with Marxism. But the ideology served only
the act of revolution, nothing more. It had to be altered continuously and
re-fitted to serve the developing needs of the state-capitalist revolution and
its profiteers. Finally, this ideology lost all connection with reality and
served as religion, a weapon to maintain the new ruling class.
With this ideology, the Russian intelligentsia, supported by ambitious
workers, were able to seize power and to hold it because of the disintegra-
tion of Czarist society, the wide social gap between peasants and workers,
the undeveloped proletarian consciousness, and the general weakness of in-
ternational capitalism after the war. Coming to power with the help of
a russified Marxian ideology, Trotsky, after he lost power, had no choice
but to maintain the revolutionary ideology in its original form against the

degeneration of Marxism indulged in by the Stalinists. He could afford
this luxury, for he had escaped the iron consequences of the social system
he had helped to bring about. Now he could lead a life of dignity, that is,
a life of opposition. But had he suddenly been brought back to power, his
actions could have been none other than those of Stalin's which he so des-
pised. After all, the latter is himself no more than the creature of Lenin's
and Trotsky's policies. As a matter of fact, "Stalinists" as a particular
type are, so long as they are controllable, just that type of men which leaders
like Lenin and Trotsky need and love most. But sometimes the worm turns.
Those bolshevik underlings elevated into power positions understand to
the fullest that the only insurance for security lies in imprisonment, exile,
and murder.
In 1925 oppressive methods were not far enough advanced to secure
absolute power for the great leader. The dictatorial instruments were still
hampered by the traditions of democratic capitalism. Leadership remained
after Lenin's death; there was not yet the Leader. Though Trotsky was
forced into exile, the unripeness of the authoritarian form of government
spared his life for fifteen years. Soon both old and new opposition to
Stalin's rule could easily be destroyed. Hitler's overwhelming success in
the "night of the long knives", when he killed off with one bold stroke
the whole of the effective opposition against him, showed Stalin the wai
to handle his own problems. Whoever was suspected of having at one
time or another entertained ideas unpleasant to Stalin's taste and absolute
rule, whoever because of his critical capacities was suspected of being able
in the future to reach the willing ears of the underdogs and disappointed
bureaucrats, was eliminated. This was done not in the Nibelungen man-
ner in which the German fascists got rid of Roehm, Strasser and their follow-
ing, but in the hidden, scheming, cynical manner of the Moscow Trials,
to exploit even the death of the potential oppositionists for the greater glory
of the all-embracing and beloved leader, Stalin. The applause of those
taking the offices emptied by the murdered was assured. To make the broad
masses happily accept the miserable end of the "old Bolsheviks" was merely
a job for the minister of propaganda. Thus the whole of Russia, not only
the leading bureaucratic group, finished off the "traitors to the fatherland
of the workers".
Though secretly celebrating Trotsky's death at studio parties, the de-
fenders of Stalinism, affecting naivete, will ask why Stalin should be in-
terested in doing away with Trotsky. After all, what harm could Trotsky
do to the mighty Stalin and his great Russia? However, a bureaucracy
capable of destroying thousands of books because they contain Trotsky's
name, re-writing and again re-writing history to erase every accomplishment
of the murdered opposition, a bureaucracy able to stage the Moscow Trials,
is certainly also capable of hiring a murderer, or finding a volunteer to
silence the one discordant voice in an otherwise perfect harmony of praise
for the new ruling class in Russia. The self-exalting identification with his
leader of the last pariah within the Communist Party, the idiotic fanaticism

displayed by these people when the mirror of truth is held before their eyes,
permits no surprise at Trotsky's murder. It is surprising only that he was
not murdered sooner. To understand the assassination of Trotsky, it is
only necessary to look at the mechanism and the spirit of any bolshevik
organization, Trotsky's included.
What harm could Trotsky do? Precisely because he was not out to
harm his Russia and his workers' state was he so intensely hated by the
ruling bolshevik bureaucracy. For the very reason that the Trotskyites
in countries where they had a foothold were not out to change in the least
the party instrument devised by Lenin, that their spirit remained the spirit
of bolshevism, they were hated by the proprietors of the separate Communist
The swift steps of history make possible any apparent impossibility.
Russia is not immune to the vast changes the present world experiences.
In a tottering world, all governments become insecure. No one knows
where the hurricane will strike next. Each one has to reckon with all even-
tualities. Because Trotsky insisted on defending the heritage of 1917, be-
cause he remained the bolshevik who saw in state capitalism the basis for
socialism and in the rule of the party the rule of the workers, because
he wanted nothing but the replacement of Stalin and the Stalin-supporting
bureaucracy, he was really dangerous to the latter.
That he had other arguments, such as that of the "permanent revolu-
tion" against the slogan of "socialism in one country", etc., is rather mean.
ingless, because the permanence of the revolution as well as the isolation
of Russia, is dependent not upon slogans and political decisions, but on
realities over which even the most powerful party has no control. Such
arguments serve only to disguise the quite ordinary interests for which pol-
itical parties struggle.
It was the non-revolutionary character of Trotsky's policies with re-
gard to the Russian scene that made him so dangerous. The Russian bu-
reaucracy knows quite well that the present world situation is not given
to revolutionary changes in the interests of the world proletariat. Dic-
tators and bureaucrats think in terms of dictatorship and bureaucracy. It
is pretenders to the throne they fear, not the rabble of the street. Napoleon
found it easy to control any insurrectionary crowd; he found it far more
difficult to deal with the machinations of Fouche and Talleyrand. A Trots-
ky, living, could be recalled with the help of the lower layers of the Russian
bureaucracy whenever an opportune moment arose. The chance to replace
Stalin, to triumph finally, depended on Trotsky's restricting his criticism
to Stalin's individual, brutal moroseness, to the sickening, newly-rich at-
titudes of the Stalin satellites. He realized that he could return to power
only with the help of the greater part of the bureaucracy, that he could
take his seat in the Kremlin again only in the wake of a palace revolution,
or a successful Roehm putsch. He was too much of a realist despite
all the convenient mysticism of his political program not to realize the

silliness of an appeal to the Russian workers, those workers who must have
learned by now to see in their new masters their new exploiters, and to
tolerate them out of fear and necessity. Not to tolerate, and not to approve
the new situation means to surrender the chance to improve one's own
situation; and as long as Russian economy is expanding, individual ambitions
and individual apologia will rule individuals. The suckers make the best
of a situation which they feel is beyond their power to alter. Precisely
because Trotsky was not a revolutionary, but merely a competitor for lead-
ership under existing Russian conditions ever ready to follow the call
of a bureaucracy in re-organization should a national crises demand the
abdication of Stalin he became increasingly more dangerous to the present
ruling clique engaged, as it is, in new, vast imperialistic adventures. Tros-
ky's murder is one of the many consequences of the re-birth of Russian
Today Bolshevism stands revealed as the initial phase of a great move-
ment which, expected to perpetuate capitalistic exploitation, is slowly but
surely embracing the whole world and changing the no longer functioning
private property economy into greater state capitalistic units. The rule of
the bolshevist commissar finds its logical conclusion in fascistic dictatorships
spreading over the globe. Just as little as Lenin and Trotsky knew what
they were actually doing when they were fighting for socialism, just as little
do Hitler and Mussolini know today what they are doing in fighting for
a greater Germany and the Roman Empire. In the world as it is, there
is a wide difference between what men want to do, and what they are ac-
tually doing. Men, however great, are very small before history, which steps
beyond them and surprises them always anew with the results of their own
surprising schemes.
In 1917, Trotsky knew as little as we ourselves knew that the bol-
shevik revolution would have to end in an international fascistic movement
and in the preparation and execution of another world war. If he had
known the trend of development, he would either have been murdered twen-
ty years ago, or today he would occupy Stalin's place. As it is, he ended
as a victim of the fascist counter-revolution against the international work-
ing class and the peace of the world.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that Stalin murdered Trotsky, despite
the displacement of all forms of bolshevism by fascism, a final evaluation
of Trotsky's historical role will have to place him in line with Lenin, Musso-
lini, Stalin and Hitler as one of the great leaders of a world-wide movement
attempting, knowingly and unknowingly, to prolong the capitalist exploita-
tion system with methods first devised by bolshevism, then completed by
German fascism, and finally glorified in the general butchery which we are
now experiencing. After that the labor movement may begin.



As the period under discussion begins and ends with a revolution, our
first and main concern will not be the particular problem, however
important, that arise and are solved from day to day and from year to
year in the normal development of a political unit. Our main concern is
rather the basic problem of government itself. The crucial question that
faced the so-called Weimar Republic during most of its life-time was the
question whether this republic existed at all, and what was its real political
From a formal point of view that question seems to be easily answered.
When the empire had been finally defeated and its ruler, the Kaiser,- or
more correctly the twenty-odd kings and arch-dukes and dukes who had
been the collective sovereign of imperial Germany had formally abdicated,
the German people after a comparatively short period of turmoil and strife
gave itself a new republican constitution by its chosen representatives at
Weimar in August, 1919. That constitution remained valid until the ad-
vent of Nazism, and in a sense remains valid even today, as the state power
was seized by the Nazi party in a perfectly legal manner. Hitler was made
Chancellor, that is Prime Minister, by the President of the German Repub-
lic, Field Marshall Hindenburg, on January 30, 1933. He was confirmed
in that position by the overwhelming majority of the Reichstag and by a
number of practically unanimous plebiscites. The same procedure was
observed when later, after Hindenburg's death in 1934, the office of president
was abolished, and Hitler, in his new position as "Leader and Chancellor",
united in his person and thereby in the office of Chancellor both the powers of
the presidency and of the chancellorship. Even the transfer of all legis-
lative powers from parliament to the Leader, including the power to further
change the constitution itself, was performed in a perfectly legal manner.
These powers were formally delegated from the Reichstag to Hitler's cab-
inet by the device of two "enabling acts" presented to the first and second
Reichstags of 1933, and invariably accepted by majorities much greater
than the two-thirds required by Article 76 of the Weimar constitution.
This formal record of the constitutional development does not, however,
give a real answer to the basic problem of that fourteen years' interlude
between two revolutions and two world wars that was the German Republic.
There is even some doubt whether in the continuous flux and incessant strug-
gle between progressive and reactionary, revolutionary and counter-revolu-

tionary forces there ever was any tangible condition or state of affairs suf-
ficiently stable to be described as the German Republic or as a government
based on the Weimar constitution.
For the purpose of a realistic interpretation the history of the fourteen
years preceding the victory of Nazism in Germany must be divided into at
least five totally different periods. The first period is marked by the strug-
gle for and against the so-called Workers' Councils which lasted from
November, 1918, to August, 1919. This was, according to a particularly
intelligent and understanding British observer,* "the critical period for Ger-
many and for Europe. It was the formative and creative stage for a new
Germany and for a new Europe." Locking backward, we may say indeed
that this was the last chance for the survival of a genuine democracy under
conditions of a rapidly increasing monopoly and state capitalism in post-war
The form of government during that initial period can be described
under various aspects: According to the then generally accepted opinion,
both the legislative and the executive powers were vested in a so-called
Council of People's Commissaries which derived its authority from other
and more democratic instances of the revolutionary Workers' and Soldiers
Council organization. Yet the six leading members of the two fractions
of the Social Democratic Party, who composed that so-called Council of
People's Commissaries, actually regarded themselves as an anticipated cabinet
of the parliament-to-be. These Commissaries were, in fact, replaced as
early as February, 1919, by a coalition cabinet and a president elected by the
National Assembly, which had convened in January. The "coalition cabinet"
thus created, which was to recur again and again in the future development
of the German Republic, represented the three parties which had been the
only ones to accept unreservedly the new state form of a parliamentary
republic on the Western model. The three parties were: (1) the moderate
Social-democrats, (2) the catholic Center, and (3) the newly formed demo-
cratic State Party. They were opposed from one side by the two monar-
chist parties which differed from the traditional conservative and National-
liberal parties of pre-war times by a change of name only, and from the
other side by the new revolutionary parties emerging from the war and the
ensuing collapse of the old regime. These new parties were the left wing of
the formerly united Social-Democratic Party which now called itself the
Independent Socialist Party, and the revolutionary Spartakus Bund which
had just re-baptized itself as the Communist Party.
However, the real form of government prevailing during this first period
did not conform to either of those two theoretical patterns. During this
time there was not any generally accepted authority either in the form of
a revolutionary rule of the working classes nor in the form of an effective
rule by parliament. A temporary eclipse of all state power in November,

* George YOUNG, The New Germany, London and New York, 1920

1918, was followed by a violent struggle for power between the revolutionary
workers' council movement on the one hand and a secretly growing counter-
revolutionary form of government which can be most adequately described
as a "government by Freicorps" on the other. This state of affairs was in
no way changed by the formal enactment of the new republican constitution
on August 11, 1919. It was the tragic fate of the German Republic that
its first official government chose to lean more and more heavily on the
power of the military. After a first unsuccessful attempt to find effective
support in the remnants of the old imperial army, it turned for help and
alliance to the newly formed military organizations (Freicorps) which were
later to join in every reactionary assault on the constitutional government
and which represented in fact the first important kernel of the future military
organization of the counter-revolutionary Nazi power.
We now turn to the second period of the Weimar Republic which was
inaugurated by the total defeat of the first reactionary onslaught on the
new state made by the very powers which it had allowed and even helped to
grow up for the purpose of its own defense. This was the monarchistic
putsch of Generallandschaftsdirektor Kapp of East Prussia, or rather of
the Reichswehr General von Luettwitz, the close friend of the first social-
democratic War Minister Noske.
The Reichswehr marched into Berlin through the Brandenburger Tor
and the Weimar government fled in terror to Stuttgart where it was joined
by the National Assembly. Nevertheless, the enterprise of Kapp failed
utterly for two very different reasons. First, he had relied merely on mili-
tary action and had neglected the task of building up a new political organ-
ization and a new political ideology an experience which was not lost
on later putschists. Yet even their later and better prepared actions were
for a long time defeated until they had learned by experience and had finally
built up that tremendously efficient and recklessly unscrupulous modern
counter-revolutionary movement which was to deal the death blow to the
Weimar Republic in 1933.
The second and much more important reason for Kapp's failure was
not of a technical nature. The mass of the German workers, called upon
by their government, rose in a unanimous general strike for the defense of
republic and democracy. This was a kind of second revolution, though not
in the direction of an increased radicalism like that of the Jacobin Con-
vention of 1792 or that of the Russian October Revolution that followed
upon the first revolution of February, 1917. Rather, it was a falling back
from the utopian dreams of the first attempt of November, 1918, to the
realistic aims of the socialist movement that had developed during the pre-
ceding fifty years.
This time the workers fought for what they really wanted and they
got what they had fought for. Up to then the Weimar constitution had
enjoyed only a precarious existence. The official republican government
had been barely tolerated by its own backers, i. e., by the reactionary army

and the ultra-reactionary Freicorps. It had now won a certain degree of
stability. March, 1920, rather than August, 1919, is the birthday of the
German constitution. Even so, this was not a republic triumphant, but at the
most a republic mildly militant as shown later by the feeble reaction
of the public against the murder of the Catholic minister Erzberger in
1921 and the Democratic minister Rathenau in 1922. The republican revolt
exhausted itself in empty street demonstrations and culminated in a never
constantly applied Statute for the Protection of the Republic.
As a detailed discussion of the foreign politics of the Weimar republic
is outside the scope of this paper, I propose to pass over the new deep crisis
of 1923 which was mainly caused by the impact of foreign coercion: Ver-
sailles, reparations, occupation of the Ruhr, separatism, Hitler's beer-hall
putsch in Munich, revolutionary rising of the German workers in de-
fense against the Hitler threat, and military expeditions led by Hitlerite
and neutral Reichswehr generals against all anti-Hitlerite movements of
the people in various parts of Germany.
From this chaos there emerged a new phase of the German Republic,
the parliamentary government of the so-called Stresemann era.
The nine cabinets of the six-year period from 1925 to 1929 were of a
widely different political composition, varying from the so-called bourgeois
bloc which included the Nationalist Right, to a government headed by a
social-democratic chancellor. Yet they were in fact all dominated by the
undisputed leadership of one and the same minister of foreign affairs. Herr
Stresemann represented those strata of German industrial capital which had
by then resolved to accept for the time being the republican form of the
state as a given fact and to comply with the reparation demands of the
Versailles treaty by a carefully elaborated policy of "tactical" fulfillment.
At the same time, the impossible burden which had been placed on the
German nation after the 1923 crisis by the so-called Dawes Plan was gradu-
ally undermined until the Dawes Plan could be replaced by the Young Plan
of 1929, which cut down the obligation of Germany to annual payments
decreasing from 2% to 1 billions in 1988. It was in the violent cam-
paign for a plebiscite against the acceptance of this plan that the new counter-
revolutionary forces led by Hitler first joined hands with the old reactionary
forces of traditional nationalism and conservatism, thereby foreshadowing
the combined action of the two unequal partners in 1933. Yet against all
such disturbing elements, the Stresemann policy of fulfillment and concili-
ation prevailed, paving the way for the final annulment of all reparation
payments which was to be achieved, one year before Hitler's advent, by the
Lausanne conference of 1932.
It was during this Stresemann era and this era alone that it might
be possible to speak of an existing Weimar Republic.
This was the time of an exceptionally mild political climate, economic
prosperity, and a comparatively undisturbed international situation.

It was the time when there was peace on earth and Locarno in Europe.
Germany entered the League of Nations and under the leadership of the
United States and the French minister Briand, more than sixty nations
agreed under the Kellogg Pact to ban war as an instrument of national policy.
Thus, the stability shown by the German Republic during this six-year
period was stronger in appearance than it was in fact. It was not exposed
to any real trials. The republic survived, yes, but only during the closed
season. All apparent stability disappeared when the economic and political
climate changed under pressure from the world crisis beginning in 1929.
For the sake of brevity I shall describe this change by quoting from a recent
article by the English historian G. P. Gooch:
"The Weimar Republic was unwittingly destroyed by American speculators. The
economic blizzard crossed the Atlantic and burst on Europe in 1930. In Germany
the number of unemployed doubled, banks collapsed, old firms shut their doors. At
the general election of September the Nazis jumped from 12 to 107 deputies, which
made them inferior in number to the socialists alone.
From this point there developed what must be described as the decay
and fall of the Weimar Republic, and what might be called even more
appropriately the rise and victory of the fully matured counter-revolution.
It would be a mistake to look at the three governments following upon
the Stresemann era (the government of Bruening, von Papen, Schleicher)
as being republican and parliamentary governments at all.
None of these governments could ever count on a majority in parlia-
ment. A note of censure which was passed at the end of the von Papen
government late in 1932 (when Herr von Papen had the presidential decree
for the dissolution of the Reichstag already in his pocket, but did not succeed
in reading it before the vote was taken), showed that of the 600 members
of the Reichstag only 40 were prepared to back the government.
Thus all the governments of the German Republic after September,
1930, represented a presidential regime rather than a parliamentary govern-
ment. They ruled by emergency decree and not by normal parliamentary
procedure. This tremendous growth of the emergency power was, of course,
in flagrant contradiction to the spirit of the constitution, though perhaps
it did not go against its letter as it was formally based on Article 48 of the
constitution which entitles the president of the Reich "in case of severe dis-
turbance of public safety and order to take all necessary measures to restore
public safety and order, and, if necessary, to intervene with the aid of the
armed forces of the realm".
Before we deal with this last fateful period when all principles of
republican and parliamentary government and the rights of man as embodied
in the constitution were utterly destroyed, we must point out in fairness that
with all its abuses this indiscriminate recourse to Article 48 was not an
entirely new practice.

Government by martial law and by emergency decree was rampant in
Germany during the rule of the Social-democratic president, Ebert, from
1919 to 1924, and there was no misuse of the emergency power during the
later period of 1930-1933 and beyond for which a precedent could not be
found among the hundreds of emergency decrees issued during that earlier
phase.** The much indicted replacement of the socialist government in
Prussia by a Reichskommissar under von Papen in June, 1932, finds its
precedent in the "imperial executions" of October and November, 1923,
against the socialist governments which had attempted to fight the threaten-
ing march of Hitler to Berlin by the organization of a workers' militia in
Saxony and Thuringia. Nor was it a novelty when the most unpopular
economy measures of Bruening and von Papen were decreed by the govern-
ment under Article 48 with the formal justification that according to the
statements of the party leaders acceptance by the Reichstag could not be
expected". The machinery of Article 48 had been used for the purpose of
normal financial and economic legislation as early as 1923 and 1924 under
the presidency of Ebert. Even the "enabling acts" of Herr Hitler in 1933
had been preceded by the "enabling acts" of Herr Stresemann in 1923.
Thus while the whole history of the German Republic from 1918 to
1933 could be described as the history of the growth of martial law and
emergency power, yet there are some important differences between the
earlier and later periods. First of all, there had been that intervening
period from 1924 to 1929 during which the application of Article 48 had
become increasingly rare and had finally been discontinued.. The return
to those rough and ready improvisations after a time of comparative stabil-
ization gives in itself a new significance to the use of the same method in
the later period.
Another difference arises from a consideration of the main function
fulfilled by Article 48 before 1924 and after 1929. During the first phase
it had served mainly to invest the existing authorities with extraordinary
powers for the suppression of what was rightly or wrongly considered as
threats or dangers to the newly created order of the republic. This was,
indeed, the time when all the forces which might have later resisted the
victory of the fascist counter-revolution were most cruelly suppressed by an un-
checked use both of the military and the civil executive power, by extraordi-
nary courts, and by a general eclipse of the administration of justice in the
ordinary courts whenever a crime could be excused on account of a pretended
national interest. Even if the criminal was formally tried, he would es-
cape without punishment because political murder from the Right was

"The number of decrees issued under Article 48, Section 2, by the government
of the Reich alone during the first five years of the republic amounted to 135. Td
this number should be added the decrees issued under Article 48 during the same
period by the governments of the states, the uncounted number of emergency measures
enforced by civil and military authorities before Augut 11, 1919, and the 110 decrees
issued under the "enabling acts" of October and December, 1923.

forever protected by the strong hands of the semi-legal and the wholly illegal,
yet officially tolerated, organizations of the secretly recruited new army.
The later period of emergency government since Bruening showed an
entirely different character. This time the ordinary business of parliamen-
tary legislation was totally superseded by legislation through emergency
decrees. There was a permanent discontinuance of all genuine parliamen-
tary government and a deliberate attempt to replace it by the principle of
Article 48 became the most important part of the Weimar constitution.***
After five years of non-application of Article 48, Chancellor Bruening on
July 16, 1930, enacted his whole program of financial reconstruction in the
form of two decrees based on Article 48, and when a majority of the Reichs-
tag revoked his decrees, he dissolved the Reichstag and re-enacted the decrees
on the same basis before a new election. Article 48 was in the end used
even for the purpose of decreeing the whole of the imperial budget for the
parliamentary year 1932 the last year of the Weimar Republic.
We shall not deal in detail with those last phases of German republic-
anism that preceded its ultimate overthrow by the temporarily combined
forces of the old nationalist and militarist reaction on the one hand and
the new and incomparably more vigorous, reckless, and efficient forces of
the Nazi counter-revolution on the other. A closer study of the various
phases of this final period would only further corroborate the fundamental
result already reached in this paper. It would show that from the grim
beginnings to the bitter end all the internal developments of the German
Republic are not to be contrasted with the later Nazi development, but
rather regarded as its first and preparatory phase.
The main points made in this paper are the following:
I have tried to explode two common fallacies:
1) that there ever was a "German Republic";
2) that there ever was a "German Revolution".
In opposition to those two fallacies I assert:
That the so-called "German Republic" that filled the gap between the
old imperialist Germany of the Kaiser and the new Nazi Germany of Herr
Hitler was forever a "republic without republicans"; that the so-called
"German Revolution", which is supposed to have taken place during the
first years after the war, was neither a social revolution of the proletarian
class nor a democratic revolution destroying the old reactionary powers. It
was a "revolution without revolutionaries".
Yet, although there never was a real revolution, it can be shown that
there was and there still is going on a very real counter-revolution.
Those forces which conquered the German state for the Nazi dictatorship
in 1933 arose and grew simultaneously with the development of that political

**The comparative number of emergency decrees based on Article 48 as against
normal parliamentary legislation rose from 5:95. in 1930, to 42:35, in 1931, and to
59:5. in 1932.

system which was generally assumed to be a modern republican and demo-
cratic state. Although Nazism is neither socialist nor democratic, yet by
feeding upon the failures and omissions of the so-called "system politicians"
it enrolled in the long run the support of the majority of the nation, and
in both the economic and political fields solved a number of concrete prob-
lems that had been neglected or frustrated by the unsocialist attitude of
the socialists and the undemocratic behavior of the democrats. Thus a cer-
tain part of the tasks that "normally" would have been fulfilled by a genu-
inely progressive and revolutionary movement were fulfilled in a distorted, but
nevertheless realistic manner, by the transitory victory of a non-socialist and
undemocratic but plebeian and anti-reactionary counter-revolution. Nor is
this a thing of the past. The Nazi counter-revolution that began in Ger-
many, 1918-1933, is continuing today on an enlarged European scale.
Karl Korsch


The second World War has presented grave and fateful problems to
the socialist workers' movement. Again it is faced with a situation similar
to that which confronted the old labor movement at the outbreak of the
first World War. There is a danger that the mistakes which brought doom
to social-democracy will be repeated.
The question confronting us today is whether Liebknecht's slogan: "The
enemy is at home!" is as valid for the class struggle now as it was in 1914.
When Liebknecht voiced his slogan class-struggle conditions were relatively
simple. In Germany, for instance, the semi-feudal government was un-
doubtedly considered a greater foe of the proletariat than the democratic
governments of the Entente. Today, too, the fascist government of Germany
is apparently a more dangerous enemy of the workers than is England. Lieb-
knecht's slogan would therefore have today an even greater validity for
the German working class than it had in 1914.
It would seem, however, that today the workers in the democratic coun-
tries are faced with a different situation. Bourgeois democracy confronts
them in their struggle for political and economic emancipation. Neverthe-
less, being at war with the totalitarian states, primarily with German fascism,
the democracies cannot be regarded as the arch-foe of the proletariat.
Because of their political structure and their class-struggle mechanics,
the democratic countries are forced to grant certain liberties to the prolet-
ariat which enables it to carry on its struggle in its own manner. In the total-
itarian countries this is no longer possible. Within the framework of dic-
tatorship, even when it calls itself socialist, the proletariat has no liberties,

no rights or possibilities to fight its own struggles. There is no doubt that
totalitarianism is the greater, the more vicious and dangerous foe of the pro-
letariat. It would appear then that Liebknecht's slogan has thus lost its
validity for the proletariat in the democratic countries.
In the face of this situation working-class movements of democratic
countries shift in a direction which sets aside the struggle against democracy
as long as the latter is engaged in a war against the totalitarian countries,
in a great crusade against its arch foe, against monopoly, fascism, bolshevism
- the totalitarian system in general.
It is this situation which gives rise to the present confusion, debate
and controversy within the working-class movement. To understand the
present tactical shifts, however, it is necessary to have some knowledge of
the situation preceding the shift in policy in 1914. Laws, principles, pro-
grams and slogans have only a transitory validity, are determined historically
by time factors, situations, and circumstances, and are to be viewed dialec-
tically. Thus what may have been the wrong tactic then may be the right
one today, and vice versa. Let us apply this to the present tactical shift.
When German Social Democracy in 1914 capitulated to the Kaiser
and voted war credits, the proletariat of the whole world branded this act
as a shameful betrayal of socialism. Until then it had been an established
policy of socialists in parliaments to oppose military appropriations. In the
case of war credits it was taken for granted that the socialists would act in
accordance with the established policy. Therefore, when the socialists did
vote the war credits they disrupted an established tactic and betrayed an
established principle.
This act was universally condemned and aroused heated disputes within
the entire socialist movement. The opportunists justified it on the grounds
that they were exchanging "cannons for social reforms". The radicals, on
the other hand, urged a more vigorous struggle against the government in
order to turn the war into a civil war and to prepare for the final struggle
- the coming revolution.
For present day fractions this struggle has become meaningless, mainly
because socialist parties and parliamentary functionaries have become mean-
ingless in many countries. And in those countries where they are still tol-
erated their voices have become mere patter. Either they are not consulted
at all about whether they will grant war credits, or they themselves are its
staunchest supporters. Without deliberation and without struggle they are
on the side of their governments. If formerly they were allies of the bour-
geoisie they are now its servants and lackeys, without being in the least
aware of their role of betrayers. In England, France, Holland, Norway,
Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia in fact every-
where the Socialists were and are siding with the bourgeoisie. And the
"Communists", once the fiercest critics and opponents of the Social-Demo-
crats, for whom the especially invented the term "Social-fascist", bowed

to the bourgeoisie even before their political degeneration and betrayal which
culminated in the capitulation to Hitler and fascim.
How shall we account for this shift? Is it because the representatives
of Socialism and Communism have all become knaves and blackguards? To
assume that would be too simple. No matter how many rascals and black-
guards there may be among them, the reason for this shift lies deeper. It
must be sought in the changed conditions of party organizations, in the
changed times. These changes have become apparent and obvious.
The old social-democratic movement arose during the first phase of the
capitalist era, the one we can refer to as the phase of private capitalism
(laissez-faire). From it social-democracy received the impulse of its origin,
the conditions for its growth, the structure of its mass-organizations, the
field, tactic and weapons for its struggles. Its substance was derived from
the substance of the system in which it lived and fought, and which it hoped
to vanguish. Though striving to be the opposite, it could not help but be
like it in every way.
This system entered its last phase with the first World War. It is
now in a life-and-death struggle against the ascending new phase, which
we describe as state-capitalistic. Just as the first one found its ideological
and political expression in Liberalism and Democracy, so the second finds
its expression in Fascism and Dictatorship. Democracy was the state form
of capitalist ascendency, of its struggle against feudalism, monarchism and
clericalism, of the unfolding of all individual powers for the victory and
rise of the capitalist economic system, for the social setting and cultural
endowment of the bourgeois order. This ascending period ended long ago.
Democracy becomes more and more inadequate and unbearable for present
day capitalism, for the capitalistic interests can no longer live and grow
under it. They demand new social and political conditions, a new ideology
and a new state form a new ruling apparatus. The democratic phase is
discarded and demolished in order that fascism can take its place. For only
under fascism can state-capitalism develop and thrive.
When democracy ceases to be the valid and dominant state-form, that
movement which received its impetus, its right to and form of existence
from democracy, also ceases. It cannot continue to live on its own power.
Its parliamentarism, its party-machine, its authoritative-centralistic organiza-
tion methods, its agit-prop technique, its military strategy, its compromisory
tactic, its rationalizations as well as its metaphysical-irrational illusions-all
these it received from the rich arsenal of the bourgeoisie, all of it was part and
parcel, flesh of the flesh of the bourgeois-democratic-liberal world. Because
all this has ended, the movement has collapsed, becomes but a shadow of
its former self. It can only toss and groan under the cover of the torn
and tattered cloak of dying democracy until its own death overtakes it.
Private capitalism-and with it democracy, which is trying to save it-
is obsolete and going the way of all mortal things. State capitalism and
with it fascism, which paves the way for it is growing and seizing power.

The old is gone forever and no exorcism works against the new. No matter
how hard we may try to revive Democracy, to help her once more stand
on her legs, to breathe life into her, all efforts will be futile. All hopes for
a victory of democracy over fascism are the crassest illusions, all belief in
the return of democracy as a form of capitalist government has only the
value of cunning betrayal and cowardly self-delusion. Those labor leaders
who today are on the side of the democracies, and are trying to win the
workers' organizations to that side, are doing only what their particular
governments and general staffs are doing; namely, recruiting workers and
homeless, hopeless emigrants into their armies to hurl them against fascist
fronts. These volunteer recruiting officers, hirelings of the democracies,
are gentlemen no finer than those kidnappers who supply death-ships with
shanghaied sailors. Sooner or later even the democracies will be forced
to rid themselves of them, for it becomes more and more obvious that the
democratic governments do not desire a real and serious war against fascism.
They afforded no real help to Poland. No serious attempt was made to
save Finland. They sent badly armed soldiers to Norway. They sign
economic pacts with Russia, the accomplice and camp-follower in the service
of Hitler. Everything they are doing is only calculated to force Germany
into such a difficult and untenable position that she will be willing to enter
into a capitalist-fascist business partnership which will enable both sides
to enslave the whole world. Both methods of government are getting
more similar every day. What real democracy was there in Czecho-
slovakia? in Poland? What democracy did the Spanish refugees and other
emigrants find in France where all human rights and human dignity have
been thrown to the dogs? And how democratic is the rule of monopoly capit-
alism in the U.S.A.? All democracy is practically dead. And all the hopes of
workers to revive it through their efforts are sheer illusion. Are the ex-
periences of the Austrian, German and Czechoslovakian social democracies
not frightful enough? It is the misfortune of the proletariat that its obsolete
organizations based upon an opportunistic tactic make it defenseless against
the onslaught of fascism. It has thus lost its own political position in the
body politic of the present time. It has ceased to be a history-making factor
of the present epoch. It has been swept upon the dungheap of history and
will rot on the side of Democracy as well as on the side of Fascism, for
the Democracy of today will be the Fascism of tomorrow.
Hope for the final uprising of the proletariat and its historical deliver-
ance does not spring from the miserable remnants of the old movements
in the still-democratic countries, and still less from the shabby fragments
of those party traditions that were scattered and spilled in the emigration
of the world. Nor does it spring from the stereotyped notions of past rev-
olutions, regardless of whether one believes in the blessings of violence or
in "peaceful transition". Hope comes rather from the new urges and im-
pulses which will animate the masses in the totalitarian states and will force
them to make their own history. The self-expropriation and proletarian-
ization of the bourgeoisie by the second World War, the surmounting of

nationalism by the abolition of small states, the state-capitalistic world-
politic based on state federations, the spreading of the class concept until
it fosters a majority interest in socialism, the shift of gravity from the typically
laissez-faire form of bourgeois competition to the unavoidable collectivization
of the future, the transformation of the class-struggle from an abstract-ideo-
logical category into a practical-positive-economic category, the automatic
rise of factory councils after the unfolding of labor democracy as a reaction to
bureaucratic terror, the exact and rational regulations and directions of human
activities and conduct through the abolition of the power of the impersonal,
unconscious and blind market economy all these factors can make us
aware of the enormous upsurge of energies made free when the primitive,
mechanical, raw and brutal beginnings of a social collectivism, such as
fascism presents, are at last overcome.
As yet we do not see by what means fascism will be overcome. We feel,
however, justified in assuming that the mechanics and dynamics of revolution
will undergo fundamental changes. The familiar concept of revolution
stems primarily from that period which saw the transition from the feudal
to the bourgeois world. This concept will not be valid for the transition
from capitalism to socialism. The effect and success of the revolution may be
perceived from the fact that the present forced collectivization, which is
even now bursting its bureaucratic fetters, develops its own dynamics toward
a higher and wider balance, consolidation, and distillation. The final sub-
limation must lead to an orientation based upon the principle of liberty,
equality and fraternity so that the free development of every individual will
become the precondition for the free development of all.
This is by no means a Utopia, but an aspect of a very real development
within the next historical epoch, which the second World War is ushering
in. To focus attention upon this development, to reckon with this basically
universal and profoundly revolutionary process, to help strengthen this process
by one's conduct and action, to defend it against hindrances and distortions
is the revolutionary task confronting us today. In the second World War
both fronts, the democratic as well as the fascist, are likely to be defeated
- the one militarily, the other economically. No matter to which side the
proletariat offers itself, it will be among the defeated. Therefore it must
not side with the democracies, nor with the totalitarians. For class-conscious
revolutionaries there is only one solution, the solution which breaks with
all traditions and all remnants of organizations of the past, which sweeps
away all the illusions of the bourgeois-intellectual epoch and which really
learns from the lessons of discouragements and disillusionment suffered during
the infantile stage of the working-class movement.
Otto Ruehle.


Thirty years ago every socialist was convinced that the approaching war
of the great capitalist powers would mean the final catastrophe of capitalism
and would be succeeded by the proletarian revolution. Even when the
war did break out and the socialist and labor movement collapsed as a rev-
olutionary factor, the hopes of the revolutionary workers ran high. Even
then they were sure that the world revolution would follow in the wake
of the world war. And indeed it came. Like a bright meteor the Russian
revolution flared up and shone over the earth, and in all countries the
workers rose and began to move.
Only a few years later it became clear that the revolution was decaying,
that social convulsions were decreasing, that the capitalist order was grad-
ually being restored. Today the revolutionary workers' movement is at
its lowest ebb and capitalism is more powerful than ever.
Once again a great war has come, and again the thoughts of workers
and communists turn to the question: will it affect the capitalistic system
to such a degree that a workers' revolution will arise out of it? Will the
hope of a successful struggle for freedom of the working class come true
this time?
It is clear that we cannot hope to get an answer to this question so
long as we do not understand why the revolutionary movements after 1918
failed. Only by investigating all the forces that were then at work can
we get a clear insight into the causes of that failure. So we must turn
our attention to what happened twenty years ago in the workers' movement
of the world.
The growth of the workers' movement was not the only important nor
even the most important fact in the history of the past century. Of primary
importance was the growth of capitalism itself. It grew not only in inten-
sity through concentration of capital, the increasing perfection of in-
dustrial technics, the increase of productivity but also in extensity. From
the first centers of industry and commerce England, France, America,
Germany capitalism began to invade foreign countries, and now is con-
quering the whole earth. In former centuries foreign continents were sub-
dued to be exploited as colonies. But at the end of the 19th and at the

beginning of the 20th centuries we see a higher form of conquest. These
continents were assimilated by capitalism; they became themselves capital-
istic. This most important process, that went on with increasing rapidity
in the last century, meant a fundamental change in their economic structure.
In short, here was the basis of a series of world-wide revolutions.
The central countries of developed capitalism, with the middle class -
the bougeoisie as the ruling class, were formerly surrounded by a fringe
of other, less-developed countries. Here the social structure was still entirely
agrarian and more-or-less feudal; the large plains were cultivated by farmers
who were exploited by landowners and stood in continuous, more-or-less
open struggle against them and the reigning autocrats. In the case of colonies
this internal pressure was intensified through exploitation by European col-
onial capital that made the landowners and kings its agents. In other cases
this stronger exploitation by European capital was brought about by financial
loans of governments, which laid heavy taxes upon the farmers. Railways,
introducing the factory products that destroyed the old home industries and
carried away raw material and food, were built. This gradually drew the
farmers into world commerce and aroused in them the desire to become free
producers for the market. Factories were constructed; a class of business
men and dealers developed in the towns who felt the necessity of better
government for their interest. Young people, studying at Western univer-
sities, became the revolutionary spokesmen of these tendencies. They for-
mulated these tendencies in theoretical programs, advocating chiefly national
freedom and independence, a responsible democratic government, civic rights
and liberties, in order that they might find their useful place as officials
and politicians in a modern state.
This development in the capitalistic world proper took place simulta-
neously with the development of the workers' movement within the central
countries of big capitalism. Here then were two revolutionary movements,
not only parallel and simultaneous, but also with many points of contact.
They had a common foe, capitalism, that in the form of industrial capitalism
exploited the workers, and in the form of colonial and financial capitalism
exploited the farmers in the Eastern and colonial countries and sustained
this despotic rulers. The revolutionary groups from these countries found
understanding and assistance only from the socialist workers of Western
Europe. So they called themselves socialists too. The old illusions that
middle class revolutions would bring freedom and equality to the entire
population were reborn.
In reality there was a deep and fundamental difference between these
two kinds of revolutionary aims, the so-called Western and Eastern. The
proletarian revolution can be the result only of the highest development
of capitalism. It puts an end to capitalism. The revolutions in the Eastern
countries were the consequences of the beginning of capitalism in these coun-
tries. Viewed thus, they resemble the middle class revolutions in the West-
ern countries, and with due consideration for the fact that their special

character must be somewhat different in different countries they must
be regarded as middle class revolutions.
Though there was not such a numerous middle class of artisans, petty
bourgeois and wealthy peasants as there was in the French and the English
revolutions (because in the East, capitalism came suddenly, with a smaller
number of big factories) still the general character is analogous. Here also
we have the awakening out of the provincial view of an agrarian village to
the consciousness of a nation-wide community and to interest in the whole
world; the rising of individualism that frees itself from the old group
bonds; the growth of energy to win personal power and wealth; the liber-
ation of the mind from old superstitions, and the desire for knowledge as
a means of progress. All this is the mental equipment necessary to bring
mankind from the slow life of pre-capitalist conditions into the rapid indus-
trial and economic progress that later on will open the way for communism.
The general character of a proletarian revolution must be quite different.
Instead of reckless fighting for personal interests there must be common ac-
tion for the interests of the class community. A worker, a single person, is
powerless; only as a part of his class, as a member of a strongly connected
economic group can he get power. Workers' individualities are disciplined
into line by their habit of working and fighting together. Their minds must
be freed from social superstitions and the must see as a commonplace truth
that once they are strongly united that they can take the productive apparatus
into their own hands, they can produce abundance and liberate society from
misery and want. This is part of the mental equipment necessary to bring
mankind from the class exploitation, the misery, the mutual destruction
of capitalism into communism itself.
Thus the two kinds of revolution are as widely different as are the
beginning and the end of capitalism. We can see this clearly now, thirty
years later. We can understand, too, how at that time they could be con-
sidered not only as allies, but were thrown together as two sides of the same
great world-revolution. The great day was supposed to be near; the work-
ing class, with its large socialist parties and still larger unions, would soon
conquer power. And then at the same time, with the power of Western
capitalism breaking down, all the colonies and Eastern countries would be
freed from Western domination and take up their own national life.
Another reason for confusing these different social aims was that at
that time the minds of the western workers were entirely occupied by re-
formist ideas about reforming capitalism into the democratic forms of its
beginning and only a very few among them realized the meaning of a
proletarian revolution.

The world war of 1914-18, with its utter destruction of productive
forces, cut deep furrows through the social structure, especially of central

and eastern Europe. Emperors disappeared, old out-moded governments
were overthrown, social forces from below were loosened, different classes
of different peoples, in a series of revolutionary movements, tried to win
power and to realize their class aims.
In the highly industrialized countries the class struggle of the workers
was already the dominating factor of history. Now these workers had
gone through a world war. They learned that capitalism not only lays
claim on their working power, but upon their lives too; completely, body
and soul, they are owned by capital. The destruction and impoverishment
of the productive apparatus, the misery and privation suffered during the
war, the disappointment and distress after the peace brought waves of unrest
and rebellioussness over all participating countries. Because Germany had
lost, the rebellion of the workers here was greatest. In the place of pre-war
conservatism, there arose a new spirit in the German workers, compounded
conservatism, there arose a new spirit in the German workers, compouded
of courage, energy, yearnings for freedom and for revolutionary struggle
against capitalism. It was only a beginning, but it was the first beginning
of a proletarian revolution.
In the Eastern countries of Europe the class struggle had a different
composition. The land-owning nobility was dispossessed; the farmers seized
the land; a class of small or middlesized free landowners arose. Former
revolutionary conspirators became leaders and ministers and generals in the
new national states. These revolutions were middle class revolutions and
as such indicated the beginning of an unlimited development of capitalism
and industry.
In Russia this revolution went deeper than anywhere else. Because
it destroyed the Tsarist world power which for a century had been a domin-
ating power in Europe and the most hated enemy of all democracy and
socialism, the Russian revolution led all the revolutionary movements in
Europe. Its leaders had been associated for many years with the socialist
leaders of Western Europe, just as the Tsar had' been the ally of the English
and French governments. It is true that the chief social contents of the
Russian revolution the land seizures by the peasants and the smashing
of the autocracy and the nobility show it to be a middle class revolution,
and the Bolsheviks themselves accentuated this character by often comparing
themselves with the Jacobins of the French revolution.
But the workers in the West, themselves full of traditions of petty
bourgeois freedom, did not consider this foreign to them. And the Rus-
sian revolution did more than simply arouse their admiration; it showed them
an example in methods of action. Its power in decisive moments was the
power of spontaneous mass action of the industrial workers in the big towns.
Out of these actions the Russian workers also built up that form of organ-
ization most appropriate to independent action the soviets or councils.
Thus they became the guides and teachers of the workers in other countries.

When a year later, November, 1918, the German empire collapsed,
the appeal to world revolution issued by the Russian Bolsheviks was hailed
and welcomed by the foremost revolutionary groups in Western Europe.
These groups, calling themselves communists, were so strongly im-
pressed by the proletarian character of the revolutionary struggle in Russia
that they overlooked the fact that, economically, Russia stood only at the
threshold of capitalism, and that the proletarian centers were only small
islands in the ocean of primitive peasantry. Moreover they reasoned that
when a world revolution came, Russia would be only a world-province -
the place where the struggle started whereas the more advanced countries
of big capitalism would soon take the lead and determine the world's real
But the first rebellious movement among the German workers was
beaten down. It was only an advanced minority that took part; the great
mass held aloof, nursing the illusion that quiet and peace were now possible.
Against the rebels stood a coalition of the Social-Democratic party, whose
leaders occupied the government seats, and the old governing classes, bour-
geoisie and army officers. While the former lulled the masses into inactivity,
the latter organized armed bands that crushed the rebellious movement and
murdered the revolutionary leaders, Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.
The Russian revolution, through fear, had aroused the bourgeoisie to
greater energy than it aroused the proletariat through hope. Though,
for the moment, the political organization of the bourgeoisie had collapsed,
its real material and spiritual power was still enormous. The socialist lead-
ers did nothing to weaken this power; they feared the proletarian revolution
no less than the bourgeoisie did. They did everything to restore the capital-
ist order, in which, for the moment, they were ministers and presidents.
This did not mean that the proletarian revolution in Germany was
a complete failure. Only the first attack, the first rebellion had failed. The
military collapse had not led directly to a proletarian rule. The real power
of the working class clear consciousness on the part of the masses of
their social position and the necessity for fighting, eager activity in all these
hundreds of thousands, enthusiasm, solidarity and strong unity in action,
awareness of the supreme aim: to take the means of production in their
own hands had to come up and grow gradually in any case. So much
misery and crisis was threatening in the exhausted, shattered and impover-
ished post-war society that new fights were bound to come.
In all capitalist countries, in England, France, America as well as in
Germany, revolutionary groups arose among the workers in 1919. They
published papers and pamphlets, they showed their fellow workers new facts,
new conditions, and new methods of fighting, and they found a good hearing
among the alarmed masses. They pointed to the Russian revolution as their
great example, to its methods of mass action and its soviet or council form
of organization. They organized into communist parties and groups, associat-

ing themselves with the Bolshevist, the Russian Communist party. Thus
the campaign for world revolution was launched.

Soon, however, these groups became aware with increasingly painful
surprise that under the name of communism other principles and ideas than
their own were being propagated from Moscow. They pointed to the Russian
Soviets as the workers' new organs for self-rule in production. But grad-
ually it became known that the Russian factories were again ruled by dir-
ectors appointed from above, and that, the important political position had
been seized by the Communist Party. These Western groups promulgated
the dictatorship of the proletariat, which in opposition to the parliamentary
democracy embodied the principle of self-rule of the working class as the
political form of the proletarian revolution. But the spokesmen and leaders
which Moscow sent to Germany and Western Europe proclaimed that the
dictatorship of the proletariat was embodied in the dictatorship of the Com-
munist Party.
The Western communists saw as their chief task the enlightening of
the workers concerning the role of the socialist party and the unions. They
pointed out that in these organizations the actions and decisions of the leaders
were substituted for actions and decision of the workers, and that the lead-
ers were never able to wage a revolutionary fight because a revolution con-
sists in this very self action of the workers; that trade union actions and
parliamentary practice are good in a young and quiet capitalist world, but
are entirely unfit for revolutionary times, where, by diverting the attention
of the workers from important aims and goals and directing them to unreal
reforms, they work as hostile, reactionary forces; that all the power of these
organizations, in the hands of the leaders, is used against the revolution.
Moscow, however, demanded that communist parties should take part in
parliamentary elections as well as in all union work. The Western com-
munists preached independence, development of initiative, self-reliance, the
rejection of dependence on and belief in leaders. But Moscow preached,
in ever stronger terms, that obedience to the leaders was the chief virtue
of the true communist.
Western communists did not immediately realize how fundamental was
the contradiction. They saw that Russia, attacked from all sides by coun-
ter-revolutionary armies, which were supported by the English and French
governments, needed sympathy and assistance from the Western working
classes; not from small groups that fiercely attacked the old organizations,
but from the old mass organizations themselves. They tried to convince
Lenin and the Russian leaders that they were ill-informed about the real
conditions and the future of the proletarian movement in the West. In vain,
of course. They did not see, at the time, that in reality it was the conflict
of two concepts of revolution, the middle class revolution and the proletarian

It was only natural that Lenin and his comrades were utterly unable
to see that the impending proletarian revolution of the West was quite a
different thing from their Russian revolution. Lenin did not know capital-
ism from within, at its highest development, as a world of enlarging pro-
letarian masses, moving up to the time when they could seize power to lay
hands on a potentially perfect production apparatus. Lenin knew capitalism
only from without, as a foreign, robbing, devastating usurer, such as the
Western financial and colonial capital must have appeared to him in Russia
and other Asiatic countries. His idea was that in order to conquer, the
Western masses had only to join the anti-capitalistic power established in
Russia; they should not obstinately try to seek other ways but were to follow
the Russian example. Hence flexible tactics were needed in the West to
win the great masses of socialist and union members as soon as possible, to
induce them to leave their old leaders and parties that were bound to their
national governments, and to join the communist parties, without the neces-
sity of changing their own ideas and convictions. So Moscow tactics fol-
lowed logically from the basic misunderstanding.
And what Moscow propagated had by far the greatest weight. It had
the authority of a victorious against a defeated (German) revolution. Will
you be wiser than your teachers? The moral authority of Russian Com-
munism was so undisputed that even a year later the excluded German op-
position asked to be admitted as a "sympathizing" adherent to the Third
International. But besides moral authority, the Russians had the material
authority of money behind them. An enormous amount of literature, easily
paid for by Moscow subsidies, flooded the Western countries: weekly papers,
pamphlets, exciting news about successes in Russia, scientific reviews, all
explaining Moscow's views. Against this overwhelming offensive of noisy
propaganda, the small groups of Western communists, with their lack of
financial means, had no chance. So the new and sprouting recognition of the
conditions necessary for revolution were beaten down and strangled by Mos-
cow's powerful weapons. Moreover Russian subsidies were used to support
a number of salaried party secretaries, who, under threat of being fired,
naturally turned into defenders of Russian tactics.
When it became apparent that even all this was not sufficient, Lenin
himself wrote his well known pamphlet "Left-Wing Communism An
Infantile Disease". Though his arguments showed only his lack of under.
standing of Western conditions, the fact that Lenin, with his still unbroken
authority, so openly took sides in the internal differences, had a great in-
fluence on a number of Western communists. And yet, notwithstanding all
this, the majority of the German communist party stuck to the knowledge
they had gained through their experience of proletarian struggles. So at
their next congress at Heidelberg, Dr. Levi, by some dirty tricks, had first
to divide the majority to exclude one part, and then to outvote the other
part in order to win a formal and apparent victory for the Moscow tactics.


The excluded groups went on for some years disseminating their ideas.
But their voices were drowned out by the enormous noise of Moscow propa-
ganda. They had no appreciable influence on the political events of the next
years. They could only maintain and further develop, by mutual theoretical
discussions and some publications, their understanding of the conditions of
proletarian revolution, and keep them alive for times to come.
The beginnings of a proletarian revolution in the West had been killed
by the powerful middle class revolution of the East.

Is it correct to call this Russian revolution that destroyed the bourgeoisie
and introduced socialism a middle class revolution?
Some years afterwards in the big towns of poverty-stricken Russia
special shops with plate glass fronts and exquisite, expensive delicacies ap-
peared, especially for the rich, and luxurious night clubs were opened,
frequented by gentlemen and ladies in evening dress chiefs of departments,
high officials, directors of factories and committees. They were stared at
in surprise by the poor in the streets, and the disillusioned communists said:
"There go the new bourgeoisie". They were wrong. It was not a new
bourgeoisie; but it was a new ruling class. When a new ruling class comes
up, disappointed revolutionaries always call it by the name of the former
ruling class. In the French revolution, the rising capitalists were called
"the new aristocracy". Here in Russia the new class firmly seated in the
saddle as masters of the production apparatus was the bureaucracy. It had
to play in Russia the same role that in the West the middle class, the bour-
geoisie, had played: to develop the country by industrialization from primitive
conditions to high productivity.
Just as in Western Europe the bourgeoisie had risen out of the common
people of artisans and peasants, including some aristocrats, by ability, luck
and cunning, so the Russian ruling bureaucracy had risen from the working
class and the peasants (including former officials) by ability, luck and cun-
ning. The difference is that in the U.S.S.R. they did not own the means
of production individually, but collectively; so their mutual competition, too,
must go on in other forms. This means a fundamental difference in the
economic system; collective, planned production and exploitation instead
of individual haphazard production and exploitation; state capitalism instead
of private capitalism. For the workingmasses, however, the difference is
slight, not fundamental; once more they are exploited by a middle class.
But now this exploitation is intensified by the dictatorial form of government,
by the total lack of all those liberties which in the West render fighting
against the bourgeoisie possible.
This character of modern Russia determined the character of the fight
of the Third International. Alternating red-hot revolutionary utterances
with the flattest parliamentary opportunism, or combining both, the 3rd

International tried to win the adherence of the working masses of the West.
It exploited the class antagonism of the workers against capitalism to win
power for the Party. It caught up all the revolutionary enthusiasm of youth
and all the rebellious impulses of the masses, prevented them from developing
into a growing proletarian power, and wasted them in worthless political
adventures. It hoped thus to get power over the Western bourgeoisie; but
it was not able to do so, because understanding of the inner-most character
of big capitalism was totally lacking. This capitalism cannot be conquered
by an outside force; it can be destroyed only from within, by the proletarian
revolution. Class domination can be destroyed only by the initiative and in-
sight of a self-reliant proletarian class: party discipline and obedience of the
masses to their leaders can lead only to a new class-domination. Indeed in
Italy and Germany this activity of the Communist Party prepared the way
for fascism.

The Communist Parties that belong to the Third International are
entirely materially and mentally dependent on Russia, are the obedient
servants of the rulers of Russia. Hence, when Russia, after 1933, felt that
it must line up with France against Germany, all former intransigence was
forgotten. The Comintern became the champion of "democracy" and united
not only with the socialists but even with some capitalist parties into the
so-called Popular Front. Gradually its power to attract, through pretending
that it represented the old revolutionary traditions, began to disappear; its
proletarian following diminished.
But at the same time, its influence on the intellectual middle classes in
Europe and America apparently began to grow. A large number of books
and reviews in all fields of social thought were issued by more or less cam-
ouflaged C.P. publishing houses in England, France, and America. Some
of them were valuable historical studies or popular compilations; but mostly
they were worthless expositions of so-called Leninism. All this was literature
evidently not intended for workers, but for intellectuals, in order to win
them over to Russian communism.
The new approach met with some success. The ex-soviet diplomat
Alexander Barmine tells in his memoirs how he perceived with surprise in
western Europe that just when he and other Bolshevists began to have their
doubts as to the outcome of the Russian revolution, the Western middle
class intellectuals, misled by the lying praises of the successes of the Five
Year Plan, began to feel a sympathetic interest in Communism. The reason
is clear: now that Russia was obviously not a workers' state any more, they
felt that this state-capitalistic rule of a bureaucracy came nearer to their own
ideals of rule by the intelligentsia than did the European and American rule
of big finance. Now that a new ruling minority over and above the masses
was established in Russia, the Communist Party, its foreign servant had

to turn to those classes from which, when private capitalism collapsed, new
rulers for exploiting the masses could arise.
Of course, to succeed in this way, they need a workers' revolution to
put down capitalist power. Then they must try to divert it from its own
aims and make it the instrument for their party rule. So we see what kind
of difficulties the future working class revolution may have to face. It will
have to fight not only the bourgeoisie but the enemies of the bourgeoisie as
well. It has not only to throw off the yoke of its present masters; it must
also keep free from those who would try to be its future masters.

The world has now entered into its new great imperialistic war.
Cautious though the warring governments may be in handling the economic
and social forces and in trying to prevent hell from breaking loose entirely,
they will not be able to hold back a social catastrophe. With the general
exhaustion and impoverishment, most severe on the European continent, with
the spirit of fierce aggressiveness still mighty, violent class struggles will
accompany the unavoidable new adjustments of the system of production.
Then, with private capitalism broken down, the issues will be planned econ-
omy, state capitalism, workers' exploitation on the one side; workers' free-
dom and mastery over production on the other.
The working class is going into this war burdened with the capitalistic
tradition of Party leadership and the phantom tradition of a revolution of
the Russian kind. The tremendous pressure of this war will drive the wor-
kers into spontaneous resistance against their governments and into the be.
innings of new forms of real fight. When it happens that Russia enters
the field against the Western powers, it will re-open its old box of slogans and
make an appeal to the workers for "world revolution against capitalism" in
an attempt to get the rebellious-minded workers on its side. So Bolshevism
would have its chance once more. But this would be no solution for the
problems of the workers. When the general misery increases and conflicts
between classes become fiercer, the working class must, out of its own neces-
sity, seize the means of production and find ways to free itself from the
influence of Bolshevism.
Anton Pannekoek.

LIVING MARXISM depends primarily upon its readers for circulation.
Send addresses of your friends, we will mail them a sample copy.
Help to win new subscribers; send contributions to the Sustaining


What hope have we revolutionary Marxists, remnants of a past epoch,
inheritors of its most advanced theories, illusions, ideologies what hope
have we left for a revolutionary turn of the sweeping counter-revolutionary
movement of victorious fascism? The fate of France has finally proved
that the old Marxist slogan of "world revolution" has in our epoch assumed
a new meaning. We find ourselves today in the midst not of a socialist
and proletarian but of an ultra-imperialistic and fascist world revolution.
Just as in the preceding epoch every major defeat the defeat of France
in 1871, that of Russia, Germany, Hungary in 1905, 1917, 1918 resulted
in a genuine revolution, so in our time each defeated country resorts to a
fascist counter-revolution. Moreover, present-day war itself has become
a revolutionary process, a civil war with an unmistakably predominant
counter-revolutionary tendency. Just as in a horse race we do not know
which horse will win but we do know that it will be a horse, so in the
present war the victory of either party will result in a further gigantic step
toward the fascisation of Europe, if not of the whole European, American,
Asiatic world of tomorrow.

There seem to be two easy ways for the "orthodox" Marxist of today
to handle this difficult problem. Well-trained in Hegelian philosophical
thought, he might say that all that is, is reasonable, and that, by one of
those "dialectical" shifts in which history rejoices, socialism has been ful-
filled by the social revolution implied in the victory of fascism. Thus Hegel
himself at first followed the rising star of the French Revolution, later
embraced the cause of Napoleon, and ended by acclaiming the Prussian state
that emerged from the anti-Napoleonic wars of 1812-1815 as the fulfillment
of the philosophical "idea" and as the "state of reason" corresponding to the
given stage of its historical development.
Or, for that matter, our orthodox Marxist might not be willing, for
the present, to go so far as to acknowledge the fascist allies of Stalin as the
genuine promoters of socialism in our time. He would then content himself
with feeling that the victory of fascism, planned economy, state capitalism,
and the weeding out of all ideas and institutions of traditional "bourgeois
democracy" will bring us to the very threshold of the genuine social revolu-
tion and proletarian dictatorship just as, according to the teachings of
the early church, the ultimate coming of Christ will be immediately preceded
by the coming of the Anti-Christ who will be so much like Christ in his

appearance and in his actions that the faithful will have considerable difficulty
in seeing the difference.
In so reasoning, our orthodox Marxist would not only conform with
the church but would also keep well in line with the precedents set by the
earlier socialists and "revolutionary" Marxists themselves. It was not only
the moderately progressive bourgeois ex-minister Guizot who was deceived
by the revolutionary trimmings of Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat of 1851 and,
when he heard the news burst out into the alarmed cry, "This is the complete
and final triumph of socialism". Even the leading representative of French
socialism, P. J. Proudhon, was taken in by the violently anti-bourgeois atti-
tude displayed by the revolutionary imperialist, and he devoted a famous pam-
phlet to the thesis that the coup d'etat of the Second of December did in fact
"demonstrate the social revolution".*
Indeed, in many ways that counter-revolutionary aftermath of 1848
is comparable to the infinitely more serious and more extended counter-
revolutionary movement through which European society is passing today
after the experience of the Russian, the German, and the other European re-
volutions which followed in the wake of the first world war. Every party and
every political tendency had to go through a certain period of bewilderment
until it had adapted itself to a totally changed situation. Marx himself,
although he utterly despised the imperialist adventurer because of his per-
sonal inadequacy, was inclined to believe in the revolutionary significance
of the counter-revolutionary coup. He described the historical outcome of
the two years of revolutionary defeat from 1848 to 1849 by the paradoxical
statement that "this time the advance of the revolutionary movement did
not effect itself through its immediate tragi-comic achievements but, the
other way round, through the creation of a united and powerful counter-
revolution, through the creation of an antagonist by opposing whom the
party of revolt will reach its real revolutionary maturity".** And even after
the fateful event he most emphatically restated his conviction that "the
destruction of the parliamentary republic contains the germs of the triumph
of the proletarian revolution".*** This is exactly what the German com-
munists and their Russian masters said 80 years later when they welcomed
the advent of Nazism in Germany as a "victory of revolutionary com-
This ambiguous attitude of Proudhon and Marx toward counter-revolu-
tion was repeated ten years later by Ferdinand Lasalle, a close theoretical
disciple of Marx and at that time the foremost leader of the growing socialist
movement in Germany. He was prepared to cooperate with Bismarck at
the time when that unscrupulous statesman was toying with the idea of
bribing the workers into acceptance of his imperialistic plans by an apparent

* Oeuvres Completes de Proudhon, vol. VII, Paris 1868
"First article on Class Struggles in France. Neue Rheinische Zeitung, January 1850
'* The Eighteenth Brurnaire of Louis Bonaparte, February 1852

adoption of the universal franchise and some other ideas borrowed from
the 1848 revolution and the Second Empire. Lassale did not live to see
Bismarck at the end of the 70's, when he had subdued the liberals and the
ultramontane catholic party, revert to his old dream of enforcing a kind
of "tory-socialism" based on a ruthless persecution and suppression of all
genuine socialist workers' movements.
There is no need to discuss the wholesale conversion of internationalists
into nationalists and proletarian social democrats into bourgeois democratic
parliamentarians during and after the first world war. Even such formerly
Marxists as Paul Lensch accepted the war of the Kaiser as a
realistic fulfillment of the dreams of a socialist revolution, and the about-
face of the socialists they themselves glorified as a "revolutionization of the
revolutionaries". There was a "national-bolshevist" fraction of the German
Communist Party long before there was a Hitlerian National-Socialist Party.
Nor does the military alliance that was concluded "seriously and for a long
time" between Stalin and Hitler in August 1939 contain any novelty for
those who have followed the historical development of the relations between
Soviet Russia and imperial, republican, and Hitlerian Germany throughout
the last twenty years. The Moscow treaty of 1939 had been preceded by
the treaties of Rapallo in 1920 and of Berlin in 1926. Mussolini had already
for several years openly proclaimed his new fascist credo when Lenin was
scolding the Italian communists for their failure to enlist that invaluable
dynamic personality in the service of their revolutionary cause. As early
as 1917, during the peace negotiations in Brest Litovsk, Rosa Luxemburg
and Karl Liebknecht had been aware of the dreadful danger that was
threatening the proletarian revolution from that side. They had said in
so many words that "Russian socialism based on reactionary Prussian bayon-
ets would be the worst that still could happen to the revolutionary workers'
It appears from this historical record that there is indeed something
basically wrong with the traditional Marxian theory of the social revolu-
tion and with its practical application. There is no doubt, today less than
at any former time in history, that the Marxian analysis of the working
of the capitalist mode of production and of its historical development is fun-
damentally correct. Yet it seems that the Marxian theory in its hitherto
accepted form is unable to deal with the new problems that arise in the
course of a not merely occasional and temporary but deep-rooted, comprehen-
sive, and enduring counter-revolutionary development.

The main deficiency of the Marxian concept of the counter-revolution
is that Marx did not, and from the viewpoint of his historical experience
could not, conceive of the counter-revolution as a normal phase of social
development. Like the bourgeois liberals he thought of the counter-revolu-
tion as an "abnormal" temporary disturbance of a normally progressive

development. (In the same manner, pacifists to the present day think of
war as an abnormal interruption of the normal state of peace, and physicians
and psychiatrists until recently thought of disease and more especially the
diseases of the mind as an abnormal state of the organism.) There is, how-
ever, between the Marxian approach and that of the typical bourgeois liberal
this important difference: they start from a totally different idea about just
what is a normal condition. The bourgeois liberal regards existing condi-
tions or at least their basic features as the normal state of things, and any
radical change as its abnormal interruption. It does not matter to him whether
that disturbance of existing normal conditions results from a genuinely
progressive movement or from a reactionary attempt to borrow revolution's
thunder for the purpose of a counter-revolutionary aggression. He is afraid
of the counter-revolution just as much as of the revolution and just because
of its resemblance to a genuine revolution. That is why Guizot called the
coup d'etat "the complete and final triumph of the socialist revolution" and
why, for that matter, Hermann Rauschning today describes the advent of
Hitlerism as a "revolt of nihilism".
As against the bourgeois concept, the Marxian theory has a distinct
superiority. It understands revolution as a completely normal process. Some
of the best Marxists, including Marx himself and Lenin, even said on oc-
casion that revolution is the only normal state of society. So it is, indeed,
under those objective historical conditions which are soberly stated by Marx
in his Preface to the "Critique of Political Economy".
Marx did not, however, apply the same objective and historical prin-
ciple to the process of counter-revolution, which was known to him only
in an undeveloped form. Thus, he did not see, and most people do not
see today, that such important counter-revolutionary developments as those
of present-day Fascism and Nazism have, in spite of their violent revolu-
tionary methods, much more in common with evolution than they have with
a genuine revolutionary process. It is true that in their talk and propaganda
both Hitler and Mussolini have directed their attack mostly against revolu-
tionary Marxism and Communism. It is also true that before and after
their seizure of state power they made a most violent attempt to weed out
every Marxist and Communist tendency in the working classes. Yet this
was not the main content of the fascist counter-revolution. In its actual
results the fascist attempt to renovate and transform the traditional state
of society does not offer an alternative to the radical solution, aimed at by
the revolutionary communists. The fascist counter-revolution rather tried
to replace the reformist socialist parties and trade unions, and in this it
succeeded to a great extent.
The underlying historical law, the law of the fully developed fascist
counter-revolution of our time, can be formulated in the following manner:
After the complete exhaustion and defeat of the revolutionary forces, the
fascist counter-revolution attempts to fulfil, by new revolutionary methods-
and in widely different form, those social and political tasks which the so-

called reformistic parties and trade unions had promised to achieve but in
which they could no longer succeed under the given historical conditions.
A revolution does not occur at some arbitrary point of social develop-
ment but only at a definite stage. "At a certain stage of their development
the material productive forces of society come into contradiction with the
existing production-relations (or property-relations) within which they hith-
erto moved. From being forms of development, those relations turn into
fetters upon the forces of production. Then a period of social revolution
sets in." And again Marx emphasized, and even to a certain extent exag-
gerated, the objectivistic principle of his materialist theory of revolution
according to which "a formation of society never perishes until all the forces
of production for which it is wide enough have been developed." All this
is true enough as far as it goes. We have all seen how evolutionary social-
ism reached the end of its rope. We have seen how the old capitalistic system
based on free competition and the whole of its vast political and ideological
superstructure was faced by chronic depression and decay. There seemed
no way open except a wholesale transition to another, more highly developed
form of society, to be effected by the social revolution of the proletarian class.
The new historical development during the last twenty years showed,
however, that there was yet another course open. The transition to a new type
of capitalistic society, that could no longer be achieved by the democratic
and peaceful means of traditional socialism and trade-unionism, was per-
formed by a counter-revolutionary and antiproletarian yet objectively pro-
gressive and ideologically anti-capitalistic and plebeian movement that had
learned to apply to its restricted evolutionary aims the unrestricted methods
developed during the preceding revolution. (More particularly, both Hitler
and Mussolini had learned much in the school of Russian bolshevism.) Thus,
it appeared that the evolution of capitalistic society had not reached its
utter historical limit when the ruling classes and the reformistic socialists
those self-appointed "doctors at the sick-bed of capitalism" reached
the limits of their evolutionary possibilities. The phase of peaceful demo-
cratic reforms was followed by another evolutionary phase of development
that of the fascist transformation, revolutionary in its political form but
evolutionary in its objective social contents.
The decisive reason that the capitalistic formation of society did not
perish after the collapse of the first world war is that the workers did not
make their revolution. "Fascism", said its closest enemy, "is a counter-
revolution against a revolution that never took place."**** Capitalistic
society did not perish, but instead entered a new revolutionary phase under
the counter-revolutionary regime of fascism, because it was not destroyed
by a successful workers' revolution, and because it had not, in fact, developed
all the forces of production. The objective and the subjective premises
are equally important for the counter-revolutionary conclusion.

." Ignazio Silone, School for Dictators, 1938

From this viewpoint all those comfortable illusions about a hidden
revolutionary significance in the temporary victory of the counter-revolution,
in which the earlier Marxists so frequently indulged, must be entirely aban-
doned. If counter-revolution is only externally and superficially connected
with a social revolution by its procedures, but in its actual content is much
more closely related to the further evolution of a given social system, and is
in fact a particular historical phase of that social evolution, then it can no
longer be regarded as a revolution in disguise. There is no reason to hail it
either as an immediate prelude to the genuine revolution, or as an intrinsic
phase of the revolutionary process itself. It appears as a particular phase of the
whole developmental process, not inevitable like revolution yet becoming an
inevitable step within the development of a given society under certain his-
torical conditions. It has reached its up-to-now most comprehensive and
important form in the present day fascist renovation and transformation of
Europe, which in its basic economic aspect appears as a transition from the
private and anarchic form of competitive capitalism to a system of planned
and organized monopoly-capitalism or state-capitalism.

It would be the greatest folly and, for people even slightly imbued
with the great discoveries of Marx in the field of the social sciences, a total
relapse into a pre-materialist and pre-scientific manner of thought if one
were to expect that the historical progress from competitive capitalism to
planned economy and state-capitalism could be repealed by any power in
the world. Least of all can fascism be defeated by those people who, after
a hundred years of shameless acquiscence in the total abandonment of their
original ideals, now hasten to conjure up the infancy of the capitalist age
with its belief in liberty, equality, fraternity, and free trade, while at the
same time they surreptitiously and inefficiently try to imitate as far as
possible fascism's abolition of the last remnants of those early capitalist ideas.
They feel a sudden and unexpected urge to celebrate the French Revolution's
14th of July and at the same time dream of destroying fascism by adopting
fascist methods.
In opposition to the artisan and petty-bourgeois spirit of early Utopian
socialism, the first word of scientific and proletarian socialism stated that
big industry and the machine-age had come to stay, that modern industrial
workers had to find a cure for the evils of the industrial age on the basis
of a further development of the new industrial forces themselves. In the
same manner the scientific and proletarian socialists of our time must try
to find remedies for the wrongs of monopoly-capitalism and fascist dictator-
ship on the basis of monopoly and state-capitalism itself. Neither free trade
(that was not so free for the workers after all) nor the other aspects of
traditional bourgeois democracy free discussion and free press and free
radio will ever be restored. They have never existed for the suppressed
and exploited class. As far as the workers are concerned, they have only
exchanged one form of serfdom for another. There is no essential differ-

ence between the way the New York Times and the Nazi press publish
daily "all the news that's fit to print" under existing conditions of
privilege and coercion and hypocrisy. There is no difference in principle
between the eighty-odd voices of capitalist mammoth corporations which,
over the American radio, recommend to legions of silent listeners the use
of Ex-Lax, Camels, and Neighborhood grocery, along with music,
war, base-ball and domestic news, and dramatic sketches and the one
suave voice of Mr. Goebbels who recommends armaments, race-purity, and
worship of the Fuehrer. He too is quite willing to let them have music
along with it plenty of music, sporting news, and all the unpolitical stuff
they can take.
This criticism of the inept and sentimental methods of present-day
anti-fascism does not imply by any means that the workers should do openly
what the bourgeoisie does under the disguise of a so-called anti-fascist
fight: acquiesce in the victory of fascism. The point is to fight fascism
not by fascist means but on its own ground. This seems to the present writer
to be the rational meaning of what was somewhat mystically described by
Alpha in the spring issue of Living Marxism***** as the specific task
of "shock-troops" in the anti-fascist fight. Alpha anticipated that even if
the localized war-of-siege waged during the first seven months of the present
conflict were to extend into a general fascist world war, this would not be
a "total war" and an unrestricted release of the existing powers of produc-
tion for the purpose of destruction. Rather, it would still remain a monopol-
istic war in which the existing powers of production (destruction) would
be fettered in many ways for the benefit of the monopolistic interests of
privileged groups and classes. It would remain that kind of war from
fear of the emancipatory effect that a total mobilization of the productive
forces, even restricted to the purpose of destruction, would be bound to have
for the workers or, under the present-day conditions of totally mechanized
warfare, for the shocktroopers who perform the real work of that totally
mechanized war.
This argument of Alpha's can be applied more widely and much more
convincingly. First of all we can disregard for the moment (although we
shall have to return to it at a later stage) the peculiar restriction of the
argument to the "shock-troops" and to the conditions of war. The whole
traditional distinction between peace and war, production and destruction,
has lost in recent times much of that semblance of truth that it had in an
earlier period of modern capitalistic society. The history of the last ten
years has shown that ever since, in a world drunk with apparent prosperity,
the American Kellogg Pact outlawed war, peace has been abolished. From
the outset Marxism was comparatively free from that simple-mindedness
which believed in an immediate and clear-cut difference between production-
for-use and production-for-profit. The only form of production-for-use
under existing capitalistic conditions is just the production-for-profit. Pro-

*"* Vol. V. No. 1; pp. 44-58

ductive labor for Marx, as for Smith and Ricardo, is that labor which
produces a profit for the capitalist and, incidentally, a thing which may also
be useful for human needs. There is no possibility of establishing a further
distinction between a "good" and a "bad", a constructive and a destructive
usefulness. The Goebbelian defense of the "productivity" of the labor spent
on armaments in Germany by referring to the amount of "useful" labor
spent in the United States for cosmetics had no novelty for the Marxist.
Marx, who described the working class in its revolutionary fight as "the
greatest of all productive forces" would not have been afraid to recognize
war itself as an act of production, and the destructive forces of modern
mechanized warfare as part of the productive forces of modern capitalistic
society, such as it is. He, like Alpha, would have recognized the "shock-
troops" in their "destructive" activity in war as well as in their productive
activity in industry (armament and other industries war industries all!)
as real workers, a revolutionary vanguard of the modern working class.
Historically it is a well-established fact that the soldier (the hired mercen-
ary) was the first modern wage-laborer.
Thus, the old Marxian contradiction between the productive forces
and the given production relations re-appears in the warlike as well as in
the peaceful activities of modern fascism. With it there appears again the
old contrast between the workers, who as a class are interested in the full
application and development of the productive forces, and the privileged
classes, the monopolists of the material means of production. More than
at any previous time the monopoly of political power reveals itself as the
power to rule and control the social process of production. At the same
time this means, under present conditions, the power to restrict production
- both the production of industry in peace and destructive production in
time of war and to regulate it in the interest of the monopolist class. Even
the "national" interest that was supposed to underly the present-day fascist
war waged by Hitler and Mussolini is revealed by the war itself and will
be revealed much more clearly by the coming peace as being ultimately an
interest of the international capitalist and monopolist class. Much more
clearly than at the end of the first world war it will appear that this war
is waged by both parties by the attacking fascists as well as by the defend-
ing "democrats" as a united counter-revolutionary struggle against the
workers and the soldiers who by their labor in peace and war prepared
and fought this truly suicidal war.
What, then, is the hope left for the anti-fascists who are opposing the
present European war and who will oppose the coming war of the hemi-
spheres? The answer is that, just as life itself does not stop at the entrance
of war, neither does the material work of modern industrial production.
Fascists today quite correctly conceive the whole of their economy that
substitute for a genuine socialist economy in terms of a "war economy"
(Wehrwirtschaft). Thus, it is the task of the workers and the soldiers
to see to it that this job is no longer done within the restrictive rules imposed
upon human labor in present-day capitalist, monopolist, and oppressive society.

It has to be done in the manner prescribed by the particular instruments
used; that is, in the manner prescribed by the productive forces available
at the present stage of industrial development. In this manner both the pro-
ductive and the destructive forces of present-day society as every worker,
every soldier knows can be used only if they are used against their present
monopolistic rulers. Total mobilization of the productive forces presup-
poses total mobilization of that greatest productive force which is the revolu-
tionary working class itself. K. K.


Some Questions concerning K.K.'s "The Fascist Counter-Revolution"

As I see it, K. is emphasizing that
Marx did not fully understand the
counter-revolution, which he, K.,
finds to be "closely related to fur-
ther evolutionary process of a giv-
en social system under certain his-
torical conditions". Counter-revolu-
tion is therefore, not an abnor-
mal disturbance, but occurs under
objective historical conditions as
does revolutionary development.
K. then goes on to say that Fas-
cism, though revolutionary in its
technique (a technique which it pick-
ed up from the genuine revolution-
ary forces it defeated) is evolution-
ary in its aims. Fascism, that is,
is a further development of capital-
ism; the basic economic aspect of
the fascist renovation is the transi-
tion from competitive private cap-
italism to planned monopoly or state
Now it is the knitting together of
these two aspects of K.'s thought
that I do not follow completely. It is
even difficult for me to phrase my
objections, but I want to try because
that is the only way to understand
a point of view, to crystallize one's
K. quotes Marx: "A formation of
society never perishes until all the
forces for which it is wide enough
have been developed." Capitalism
therefore, did not perish because it
contained yet another type of de-
velopment, that embodied in the
transition Fascism is carrying out-
But, K. also quotes Silone's "Fascism
is a counter-revolution against a re-
volution that never took place". The
workers, he says, did not make their
revolution...hence capitalist society

did not perish after the first world
My question is this: on what
grounds does K. formulate the basic
historical law, "the law of the fully
developed Fascist counter-revolution
of our time"? Is this an induction
from the single instance, "of our
time"? On the one hand it seems
to me to be an intellectual manipula-
tion based on Marx's premise that a
society must expand fully before it
perishes; on the other, it redefines
a "counter-revolution" on the basis
of analyzing a movement which is
labelled beforehand as a counter-re-
volution. If capitalism did not per-
ish because the workers did not re-
volt, and if, also, it did not perish
because it contained the seeds of fur-
ther transition, are we to understand
that the workers did not revolt be-
cause of this Marxian law? And is
that why K. is justified in calling
Fascism a counter-revolution, the
latter defined in terms of this evolu-
tionary process?
You can see that my doubts are
perhaps fundamentally inspired by
either insufficient knowledge or in-
sufficient belief in the validity of the
Marxian system. But it is people
like me whom K. has to convince,
and so it may be well to listen to
the voice of the ignorant, even
though the ignorance is painful.
My whole feeling about this an-
alysis is that it is an interpretation
presented as if it were a science,
with premises as acceptable (relat-
ively speaking) as those of our ob-
servational procedures in science.
There are many single points which
I appreciate for their insight, but

the systematization is a bit harder to
The conclusion I find very discon-
certing and vague. That the war is
waged by both parties as a united
counter-revolutionary war against
the workers is a consideration not
new to me. But the "theoretical"
points which follow I cannot inter-
pret or fit into my head in order.
K. enlarges the scope of "Al-
pha's" arguments, to point out that
the worker must fight Fascism "not
by Fascist means, but on its own
ground", forcing an unrestricted re-
lease of the existing powers of pro-
duction for the purpose of destruc-
tion (since the production of a war-
worker is as "good" as the produc-
tion of any worker, and one must
treat even the soldier as a real wor-
ker). That is, K. points out that the
same Marxian contradiction bet-
ween the productive forces and the
controllers of production, the re-
striction of the former by the latter,


I have nothing to say against my
critic's description of my little study
as an attempt to present an inter-
pretation of a contemporary move-
ment "as if it were a science, with
premises as acceptable (relatively
speaking) as those of our observa-
tional procedures in science". This
is indeed the aim of any critical
Marxian investigation.
Yet in the discussion of what he
calls the "two aspects" of my
thought, my critic, it seems to me,
gets caught in a self-made trap. He
errects a Chinese wall between the
objective and the subjective aspects
of the Marxian theory of revolution
(of which my study was meant to
be a kind of further theoretical e-
laboration). It is quite true that
Marx sometimes defined his terms in
an apparently too objectivistic man-
ner of speech, e. g., when he stated
that "a formation of society never
perishes until all the forces of pro-
duction for which it is wide enough
have been developed." An orthodox
Marxist might indeed conclude from
such a statement that in any case in
which the workers did not embark
in a revolutionary fight when there
seemed to be a fighting chance this

occurs in war-like as well as in peace-
ful activities, and that fighting Fas-
cism on its own ground involves
breaking this restriction in warlike
activity, just as it would in peace.
What does this mean? I confess
I am at a loss. A literal interpreta-
tion of any argument which com-
plains that a war has not been total
enough, and which urges a break in
the restrictive forces in order to a-
chieve the social revolution well,
it is fantastic.
And yet the last sentence of the
Analysis contains an idea in addition
to the above: "In this manner both
the productive and the destructive
forces of present day society, as
every woker, as every soldier knows,
can only be used if they are used
against their present monopolistic
rulers." How does this much more
acceptable point fit into the logical
sequence which precedes it?
M. R.

fact must be explained by objective
economic necessity. It would then
be possible to "knit together" the
two apparently contradictory state-
ments contained in my analysis (that
capitalist society did not perish after
the collapse of the first world war
because it was not destroyed by a
successful workers' revolution, and
because it had not, in fact, developed
all the forces of production for
which it was wide enough), by the
conceptual link tentatively suggested
by my critic, i. e., by stating that
"the workers did not revolt because
of this (objective) Marxian law."
All these highly sophisticated in-
tellectual manipulations, however,
become entirely superfluous as soon
as we base our theory not on a verbal
repetition of a few isolated phrases
of Marx but on the whole of his
work. As I pointed out in my re-
cent book on Marx (and as Lenin
pointed out in his criticism of the
objectivisticc" Marxian theory of
Struve), Marx presented a history
of society both objectively as a de-
velopment of material production,
and subjectively as the history of a
class struggle. There was for him
no contradiction between those two

sets of terms, and there need not
be for us so long as we use the new
scientific concepts of Marx not as so
many dogmatic prescriptions but as
new tools for our unbiased empirical
investigation of historical facts.
Marxism, properly understood, "is
nothing but a wholly undogmatic
guide for scientific research and re-
volutionary action. Whatever a fut-
ure historian or philosopher may
have to say about the degree of re-
volutionary maturity that had been
reached by capitalistic society in
Marx's time or at the present time,
there is no doubt that from the scien-
tific viewpoint of Marx's revolution-
ary theory the workers must, by
their own conscious activity, finally
prove the objective (economic) mat-
urity of a given historical phase for
a successful proletarian revolution.
The same holds good, as I tried
to show in my paper, for the coun-
ter-revolution. A counter-revolu-
tionary movement will not prevail
seriously and for a long time unless
there is still some objective possibil-
ity for a further evolutionary devel-
opment of a given type of society,
though there is no longer any chance
to achieve those evolutionary steps
through the traditional methods hith-
erto applied by the so-called reform-
istic parties and trade unions. On
the other hand, a counter-revolution
will succeed only after the complete
exhaustion of the revolutionary for-
ces. The counter-revolution is. as
it were, contemporaneous with a
potential genuine revolution. Both
become possible only when the trad-
itional forms of evolution by evolu-
tionary methods are no longer work-
able and an objectively revolutionary
situation has thus arisen. In this
situation when society seems to have
reached an absolute impasse, the
forces working for a genuine revo-
lutionary solution of the existing
crisis will either triumph over the
forces of the status quo, or they will
be met in battle by the new forces
arising from the revolutionary con-
ditions themselves, the forces of the
But, my critic will say, how does
the Marxist know that the present-
day Fascist movement is a counter-
revolutionary movement? Does he
not attach his counter-revolutionary
label beforehand to a historical
movement, as yet unexplored, and

afterwards re-define a "counter-re-
volution" on the basis of analyzing
that same movement, and thus, in
fact, derive his whole "law" by way
of an induction from the single in-
stance of "our time"?
I confess that I see so many reas-
ons for describing the present-day
Fascist and Nazi movement as a
"counter-revolution" that I am at a
loss to fully understand my critic's
objection. First, there is no other
way of making a definition (scien-
tific or otherwise) of any term but
to define it although it must be
understood that in formulating his
definitions the scientist does not
proceed haphazardly but is (as most
aptly expressed by Henry Poincare)
"guided by experience". Starting
from this principle I think that as
soon as a distinction between a gen-
uine revolution and a "counter-re-
volution" is introduced at all, there
can be no doubt of the reasonable-
ness of defining as "counter-revolu-
tionary a movement, that is either
directed against a preceding "revolu-
tionary movement, or, in a critical
(objectively revolutionary) historic-
al situation, aims at preventing a
threatening revolution. There is no
doubt, furthermore, that the move-
ments led by Mussolini and Hitler
represent just that kind of a move-
ment. As Hitler himself said when
he stood on trial for his Beerhall-
Putsch in Munich, 1923: "If I stand
here today as a revolutionary, it is
as a revolutionary against the revo-
With my critic's permission I should
like to further elucidate this point
by nuotire from an article published
in Vol. XI. No. 2 of The Modern
Quarterly (Winter, 1939) :
"More than any preceding period of
recent history," I wrote then, "and on
a much vaster scale, our period is a
time not of revolution, but of counter-
revolution. This is true whether we
define that comparatively new term
as a conscious counter-action against
a preceding revolutionary process, with
some Italians and their ideological
forerunners in pre-war France, we de-
scribe it as an essentially 'preventive
revolution'. It is counter-action of the
united capitalist class against all that
remains today of the results of that
first great insurrection of the proletar-
ian forces in war-torn Europe which
culminated in the Russian October of

1917. It embodies at the same time u
series of 'preventive' measures of the
ruling minority against such new re-
volutionary dangers as have been most
conspicuously revealed by recent ev-
ents in France and Spain, and which
are actually contained in the whole
European situation, be it in 'red' Sov-
iet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Ger-
many, or any of the old democratic
During the two years that have
passed since this was written, his-
torical experience has furnished fur-
ther reasons for describing our time
as a time of counter-revolution, and
for deriving from its scientific an-
alysis the historical laws of the mod-
ern counter-revolution. Yet I will let
my critic into secret. Through an
extensive study of former epochs of
great social transformations I have
indeed found, far back in remote
historical periods, many striking in-
stances of events that seem to be
very closely similar to those con-
necting the present day Hitler -
Mussolini Stalin counter-revolu-
tion with the deep crisis of the ex-
isting capitalist system and with the
last 20 years of threatening and at
times successful, outbreaks of a
genuine revolutionary movement. A
closer study of those various histor-
ical forms and types of revolutionary
and counter-revolutionary develop-
ments seems to me extremely useful
for the proper understanding of the
phenomena and laws of the revolu-
tionary cycle of our time. I do not
think, however, that a scientific the-
ory of the revolution (or, for that
matter, of the counter-revolution) of
our time could be improved by ap-
plying it to social transformations of
all epochs and all countries. Rather,
it would be diluted and would lose
all of its scientific and practical
value in the process of that dilution.
Thus, what my critic is inclined to
regard as a scientific deficiency of
the Marxian approach (the emphasis
on strict historical specification),
seems to me its very scientific ad-
vantage, its dearly-bought material-
istic sobriety and its greatest glory.
Last but not least my critic re-
gards as "fantastic" any argument
that would "complain that a war has
not been total enough" and would
"urge a break in the restrictive for-

ces in order to achieve the social
revolution". Yet he allows for the
possibility that neither Alpha nor
myself even indulged in that fan-
tastic idea, and calls attention to the
"much more acceptable" conclusion
found in the last sentence of my pap-
er according to which, in both war
and peace, the productive (and de-
structive) forces of modern society
can be turned to their full and unfet-
tered use only if they are used a-
gainst their present-day monopolistic
I am afraid that here I must dis-
appoint my polite and amiable op-
ponent. It is true that the two state-
ments just quoted do belong toge-
ther. If we indulge for a moment in
the philosophical slang of Hegel, we
might even say that they are "dial-
ectically" identical. Yet this does
not mean that we can forget the un-
pleasant first statement and concen-
trate on the "much more accept-
able" second one.
Of course, we all agree with the
proposition that war, even in its ful-
ly developed form ("total war"), be-
longs to the capitalist system and
will in any future socialist society
worthy of the name be remembered
only as an almost-forgotten atrocity
of the barbarous past. For the pur-
pose of the present discussion, how-
ever I must insist on the fact that so
far we have not reached that glori-
ous goal of the future but live in an
epoch of victorious fascist counter-
revolution. In this epoch the work-
ers have been deprived of their for-
mer right to withdraw from cooper-
ation in capitalist production in time
of peace. In this epoch, the good
advice given to those same workers
(disguised as soldiers) to withdraw
from cooperation in the capitalist
war and to turn the mighty weapons
of modern mechanized warfare a-
gainst the ruling classes themselves
amounts only to an empty phrase.
Yet the same phrase assumes a real-
istic meaning if it is read in connec-
tion with those other sentences which
point to the inability of counter-re-
volutionary fascism to fully develop
the gigantic forces of modern in-
dustrial production (even for the
purpose of destruction, and which,
to my critic, seem too "fantastic".
To grasp the. meaning of those other
propositions, we must remember the

arguments that were used in pre-
fascist times by the revolutionary
workers and their theoretical pro-
tagonists in their "materialistic"
criticism of the existing capitalist
system. From scientific socialism's
materialistic point of view it is not
enough to attack the capitalist sys-
tem on the ground that socialism is
better than capitalism (or, for that
matter, that socialist peace is better
than capitalist war). The more in-
telligent argument of the socialists
against capitalism was that the rul-
ing classes showed themselves in-
creasingly unable to apply and to
develop the productive forces of so-
ciety even in their existing capitalist
form. They used to admit that cap-
italism had fulfilled a progressive
historical task in the past, but they
insisted that in its further develop-
ment capitalism had become unable
to fulfill even that restricted historic-
al task.
It is easy to see the importance
of this argument in a discussion of
the capitalist war and, more par-
ticularly, in a discussion of the pres-
ent fascist war. During all previous
phases of capitalist society, warfare
had been one of the indispensable
forms of capitalistic progress. If it
can be shown that under present
conditions of monopoly and state
capitalism war no longer performs
that comparatively progressive func-
tion, it is for the workers and the sol-
diers to point to this evident failure
of the ruling classes to attend pro-
perly to their own business.
In spite of possible further in-
creases of violence and atrocities

before it is ended, this second world
war has already revealed the fact
that the so-called totalitarian pow-
ers are quite as unwilling as the so-
called "democratic" powers to un-
leash the furies of that "total war"
which they formerly regarded as the
ultimate solution of all their trem-
endous difficulties and loudly pro-
claimed as the glorious compensa-
tion for all the tortures they have
inflicted upon their suffering peoples.
It is the great secret of the present
war a secret as carefully guarded
by the fascist aggressors as by the
democratic defenders that a to-
tally unrestricted war would result
in a gigantic increase of the social
and political power wielded by the
workers in uniform and thus by the
working class in general. By reveal-
ing this secret, a Marxian analysis
of the fascist counter-revolution does
not (as my critic suspects) com-
plain that war has not as yet been
total enough for the purpose of the
social revolution. It points only to
the new impasse from which capital-
ism cannot escape even in its present
rejuvenated fascist and counter-re-
volutionary form. Only in this con-
text, and not as an isolated state-
ment, will the urge to break the
restrictions that impede the full de-
velopment of the productive forces
of present-day society in peace and
war transform itself at a given his-
torical moment into the urge to us"
those unrestricted powers against
their rulers for the purpose of a
genuine proletarian revolution.
K. K.


Dialectical Materialism in Thought and Society.
Discussion on Lawrence Dennis's "The Dynamics of War and Revolution".
AMERICA, ASIA, EUROPE and the Problems of the Pacific.
Economics of State Capitalism.


One year of war has changed quite a number of things, but as yet
not enough to allow a convincing prognostication of further trends and
the eventual outcome. Of course, the general lines of development may
be vaguely predicted, just as it was possible to forecast the outbreak of the
war by a serious consideration of fundamental capitalistic contradictions.
Predictability is limited. Questions that bother people most can be
least satisfactorily answered. It means very little to them to know that
eventually capitalist war production will exhaust itself as did peace pro-
duction; that in the end some kind of re-arrangement will have to be
forced or agreed upon by the rulers of the war-tired populations or by the
people themselves. Assurance that out of the present there will evolve
new social and productive forms, creating different problems and situations
from those which led to the war and determined its character, is easily
accepted, but without enthusiasm. To be aware of the obvious, to know
that what exists today will not endure, is not particularly consoling.
The people are far more eager to know whether or not Hitler will
invade England before the onset of winter; whether America will or
will not within a short time enter the war, and what situations they
will have to face in the immediate future. Though H. G. Wells in his
recent book "The New World Order" called the present war with a
nowadays rather rare objectivity merely incidental, and the thing of
real importance the great need for socialist re-construction of the world,
it will, nevertheless, be quite difficult for people crouching in air-raid
shelters to balance the terror of scream bombs with this longview historical
attitude. If the war is only incidental, so also are the lives of hundreds
of thousands of people. The present chaos, not its final meaning interests
those who see curtains of death being daily lowered from the skies. The
great historical perspectives they gladly leave to the historians; they question
the next morning, and the greater the chaos the less visionary and the more
narrow-minded they become.
And this is as it should be; otherwise there would be no hope. It is
an often observed fact that any war for unfamiliar interests, foreign ideals,
and abstract concepts eventually contracts to a mere struggle for a bare
existence. When large and decisive masses realize through the bitterest
experience that no escape is open, that not some but all must suffer, then
the revolt against death sets in. There were gladiators in ancient times
and today there are suicide squads; but there never was a whole population
determined to end its existence. The war will change its course towards
leace if it really and decisively affects the greater part of the masses.
However, after one year of warfare, and despite all that has happened
in Europe, it seems that this war has been kept within boundaries controlled

by the ruling classes of the world. What would certainly have meant an
end of the war twenty-five years ago indicates today only its serious begin-
ning. Bringing the larger part of continental Europe under German control,
or in some form of coordiation with her, has not weakened the German
war machine, but has rather increased its striking power and its resources.
The defeat of France has not limited the theatre of war, but only shifted
the scenery. The more restricted the war will be in Europe, the more it
will expand in other parts of the world.
At this writing the most dramatic acts of war consist of the bombing
of English cities, harbors, railway-junctions, depots and factories. No
one knows whether the German invasion of England will follow, and
what chance it will have. Such things are much more quickly decided upon
and undertaken nowadays than, for instance, it takes a group like ours to
write, print and ship a magazine. The question as to the further turn of the
war depends on military-economic considerations, evaluations and gambles
over which no individual, particular group, state nor power-bloc has any de-
cisive control. Hitler's boast that he alone is going to decide when the war
will end is an empty propaganda gesture. I-is own decisions, as well as those
of his adversaries, even if made by them, have also, nevertheless, been forced
upon them.
There can be no doubt that at present the invasion of England will
be a costly and difficult enterprise. It would in all probability please the
Germans better if they could reach a peace favorable to themselves without
the destruction of the Island. It is by no means out-of-the-way to assume
that Germany's momentary advantage in air-power and air-bases (provided
this advantage can be maintained), the continuous disruption of ship-
ping, production and distribution, the loss of world-trade, and the demor-
alization of the population may sooner or later force England to see in a
a Hitler-peace the lesser evil. However, it seems that the opportunity for
a compromise solution has already been passed up, and that any attempt
to steer the ship around would presuppose a political revolution of the
greatest magnitude. The forces for such a revolution are not visible.
The question as to what is going to happen further in Europe is closely
associated with America's attitude towards the war, for the present struggle
between England and Germany is now only a part of the struggle between
Germany and the United States. Present procedures in the U.S. House
and Senate are certainly strange. Strange are the quarrels about the dif-
ferent draft-bills proposed and enacted. Strange also is the behaviour of
the press. While one part feigns an anti-war sentiment, the other sees
Hitler's armada already crossing the Atlantic; but both know quite well
that all their gibberish is absolutely meaningless, and neither deals at all
with questions of the war, but only with the coming election fight. The
war, despite all the talk about it, and the character of the war, despite
all the political bargaining connected with it, are already decided upon and

arranged for. It is only a question of convenience as to when to enter
the conflict openly. The fake-isolationists hope only that formal peace lasts
long enough to defeat the New Dealer. But Mr. Willkie doesn't dare
to speak any other than Mr. Roosevelt's language. He knows that the
question of war is independent of the outcome of the elections, or of the
will of the people. Whoever doesn't know it will soon be made to.
Because of this situation, because of the fact that this war is America's
as much as it is Germany's, England is already defeated in more ways than
one, long before the first Nazi barges have touched her shores. After the
fall of France there remained for England no other choice than that between
two masters; she chose the more familiar. Since then she has been in the
same relation to the United States that France formerly was to England.
And as England was quite willing to "fight to the last Frenchmen", so
America is not reluctant to fight to the last Englishman.

Illusions are nourished not by dreaming of the future but by thinking
about the past. England's long rule, her present status and remaining op-
portunities, make it very difficult to imagine that she is doomed, that the
Empire is breaking up. It is nonsense to blame her age for the present
troubles; England is as little "decaying" as Germany is "rejuvenated".
She loses her proud position in the frame-work of world-trade and world-
power not because of any senility on her part, but because the old frame-work
of world-economy is collapsing. The power centers of yesterday lost their
force because the weapon of competition has lost its strength in a declining
capitalist world. All foreign policy based on traditional successes has be-
come meaningless. New power constellations arise no longer based on, or
forced to obey, the rules of yesterday (i. e., free-trade, and the balance-of-
power policy which secured England's rule), but based rather on political-
economic forms and activities designed to secure capitalist exploitation by
breaking, if necessary, all capitalist rules hitherto held unassailable.
England entered this war much stronger than she was in 1914. Every-
thing seemed to favor her cause; the future could only be one of increasing
military and economic strength. By 1941-42 she would have been powerful
enough to enforce upon Europe an English peace. The German offensive,
as soon as it had spent its force, would then be broken with a powerful
counter-offensive. Money-diplomacy would meanwhile encircle Germany
and secure the force of the blockade. England, despite all her stagnation
since the beginning of the century, was still the richest country in the world
and controlled the greatest Empire.
But, though England could justifiably feel quite secure, she could do
nothing to prevent the approaching Armageddon brought about by the never-
ending depression in many countries, especially in Germany, in the wake
of the last war. She could do nothing because she could act only in her
own interest; she could succeed only in keeping what she had. As long

as the whole world economy was expanding, English privileges, though they
hindered the development of other countries, did not hamper them enough
to force them to challenge English dominance. The power that England
possessed allowed her a dominant influence on world politics. She drove
other nations into war and defeat, but secured peace and success for herself.
But eventually the unsolvable world crisis of capitalism proved to be the
unbeatable enemy of English capitalism.


If, however, Hitler today blames England for all the evils in the world,
as-yesterday he blamed the Jews, and if he gets especially excited over the
British conspiracy which prevents Germans from drinking their coffee, he
is nevertheless, blaming the wrong cause. He has to state false reasons
for the miseries of the German workers because he would not be Hitler if
he pointed in the right direction. Hitler and the war are there because
the people will not and cannot see the real reasons for their troubles, and
hence find the right solutions. Previous history has created institutions,
social, economic, and national, which force people in their practical, direct
activities to proceed as if these social, economic, and national institutions were
unchangeable and beyond their power to alter.
There is no choice: "While airplanes whirled in combat over London,"
reported the Chicago Tribune (9/10/40), "the directors of the Decca Record
Company, Ltd., met in air raid shelter and declared an initial dividend
of twenty-five per cent on the company's ordinary shares". There is no
choice: Their homes in ashes, their children blinded, their wives hysterical,
nevertheless the workers, today as yesterday, march to work to produce
more instruments for their enslavement and destruction. There is no choice:
The editors and the artists of Punch and Lustige Blaetter have to keep on
making jokes in order to live, and it makes no difference to them whether
people laugh over collapsing buildings or over spilled milk.
There is no choice for the workers, the bosses, the soldiers, the priests,
because capitalist society is not social; because for each individual altering
things means risking his profits, his income, his wages, his life. Each one
must, if only to keep what he has, fight mercilessly and continually for more
- and against others. In such a society there can be no common interests,
there can be no peace, but only different forms of warfare. The fight
against hunger may change into one with guns and poison gases, the struggle
of all against all may change into struggles of groups of nations against
other groups of nations nothing has changed. What asserts itself here
is still the only thing that is "social" in capitalist society.
Even if this truth is understood it cannot be acted upon. As individuals,
people can only act as they do regardless of what they may think. Their
"capitalistic individuality" cannot be destroyed, unless capitalism is first
done away with. "We can cease being completely swinish only when some
catastrophe strikes us." The magnitude of the catastrophe necessary may

be guessed by a mere glance at the European scene. The people continue
to work and die for a cause they cannot really understand, because the real
hysteria of suffering has not as yet displaced the artificial hysterias of current
slogans and beloved symbols. The war goes on, though nothing can be
gained. It goes on for the sole reason that, under present conditions, it
cannot be stopped.
But capitalism is tottering. The governments may guarantee replace-
ment of the workers' possessions destroyed by bombers, they may insure
capitalist property, conscripted and used up, with the profits of the future;
they may promise whatever they like, they will not be able to make good
on any of it. People fleeing barefoot and in nightshirts from bombed cities
only to be machine-gunned by the dare-devils of the air so favored by
the girls are bound to lose their capitalistic individuality, that is, the
ideology which urges them to do to everybody else, what everybody else
is doing.
Hundreds of volumes have been written to solve the 1914 war-guilt
question. Hundreds more are in preparation some have even been pub-
lished to determine what and who caused the present debacle. In 1914
it was Sarajevo, a Germany misinformed of the contents of an ultimatum
to Serbia and encouraging the Austrian Monarchy into an adventure that
released all the war dogs of the world. Today it is Hitler's character
the German revenge-idea, fascist aggression, or more directly, Poland's un-
willingness to come to terms with Hitler in a stipulated period of time,
a memorandum too hastily read by von Ribbentrop to Henderson, and
many other things. By such means the war guilt will never be established
and one may as well declare that war is not willed but destined.
And it is destiny, though man-made destiny; but it appears as if willed
by the gods. For though the social, economic, and national institutions
are apparently unchangeable, they nevertheless change continually. But
they change, so to speak, behind the backs of the people; that is, they deter-
mine the real social process without allowing for the correspondingly neces-
sary conscious adaptation of individuals to altered situations. The atomiza-
tion of society where each one has to act against all others-allows for
development only at the most enormous sacrifices of life and happiness. As
no one wants to fall into the abyss, he tries to push the next one down. Society
marches on by way of the incessant struggles of her creators.


Things have changed considerably, though the full meaning of the
changes are grasped only belatedly. For instance, it is only now, with the
second world war raging, that it becomes possible to appreciate fully the
significance of the first. Was it an accident, was it the Lusitania, was it
the foreign-loan policy, was it Wilson's hatred for the enemies of democracy
which brought America to the side of the Entente and helped her to win
the war? None of this. It was American imperialism pure and simple

attempting to participate in the first great round for the re-division of the
world to suit the requirements of an altered situation. In that battle ex-
panding imperialist Germany lost. But the kill was meager and the hunters
many. France and England took their share, recognizing quite well that
America-old Uncle Shylock-had already pocketed all there was to be
pocketed. Out of the war America emerged no longer a debtor nation
but a creditor nation, no longer the capital-importing country in the process
of construction, but the capital-exporting country looking for profitable im-
perialistic investments.
The expansion America experienced during the war was still further ac-
celerated by the boom after 1921. Expanding America seemingly had found
the answer to all capitalistic problems. It was the more celebrated until
1929 because of the fact that during the same time English economy stag-
nated, European economy declined. England's attention in Europe centered
on France; in the world, on America. England tried to check the growing
continental power of France with the support of Germany; she tried to
check American imperialism by fostering Japanese interests in the Far East.
She fought for both, for the control of Europe and for her old position
in the world. But she fought a loser's battle. England, the world's ban-
ker, slowly had to make room for the new banker, America.
War debts and billions of other credits could no longer be paid, how-
ever, because (among other reasons) America not only lent capital but
exported those commodities on whose export the European nations were also
dependent. Europe found itself in a continuous crisis; even English profits
declined and sometimes disappeared altogether. England could live on her
large reserves, but her position as world-financier was slowly lost. With
this her political power also declined. The strength of the capital-poor
nations such as Germany and Italy increased correspondingly, and by chan-
ges of economic policy and political assertions it became possible for these
countries once again to challenge England's rule in Europe.
However, what had now become possible by the decline of English
power-that is, a European re-organization favoring the capital-poor nations
- was no longer of real avail. The economic and therewith the political
problems of Europe could no longer be solved by continental re-arrange-
ments, but only by those which had the world for their base. But the
European re-organization was a necessary prerequisite to the re-organization
of the world. If England could still stagnate-thanks to her enormous
wealth accumulated during better times-this was not true of other Europ-
ean nations. The capitalistic necessities of Europe demanded some form of
united European economic policy able to operate against the expansion of
American capitalism; but private capitalistic interests, and the diverse sour-
ces of profit-appropriation in their specific, historically-determined, nation-
ally-oriented, and quite rigid character, excluded the fulfillment of the
"real capitalist need". Or rather, what "theoretically" could have served
as some kind of capitalist solution, was practically precluded because of
the fact that capitalism is capitalism. All that it was possible to reach in

Europe that resembled some form or cooperation was a League of Nations
dominated by England and serving exclusively the needs of the nominal
victors of Versailles. But even this form of distorted "collectivism" was
recognized by America as foreign to her own interests and was consequently
England had the Empire. The Commonwealth of Nations spread all
over the globe. She was neither willing nor able, for fear of losing the
Empire and her favored European position, to pool her resources with the
meager offerings of the impoverished continental nations. At any rate, and
for whatever additional reasons, history proved the impossibility of a Europ-
ean economic union. Despite all talk of Pan-Europe, the post-war period
was one of increasing national frictions, of plot and counter-plot, of increasing
suspicion and fear- with each nation acting like a lone wolf. England,
however, as the main obstacle to European unification, was duly rewarded
for her services to American capital with promises of support whenever
needed and with special tariff considerations that benefited her exclusively.

If anything, the long American depression indicates sufficiently that ex-
pansion within the country has reached its barriers. It indicates too that
capital export for exploitative purposes is a greater necessity than ever be.
fore. But the traditional capital-export policies have come to an end; the
commercial imperialism must be replaced by open military conquest. It is
true that the old imperialism was also accompanied by military action;
colonization was one form of military conquest. As soon as capital is in.
vested, the question of protectorate arises. But the new imperialism "pro-
tects" first and invests later, if it invests at all, and does not simply appro-
priate what is there already.
This imperialistic need is the more pressing because the declining ex-
change between Europe and America offers no prospects of revival. The
decline is not only due to world-wide crisis conditions, but more specifically,
to the present economic "dislocations" (relative to pre-war conditions) which,
however find their final explanation also in the general over-expansion of
capital which brought forth the crisis. If America before the first world
war exported mainly agricultural products and finished goods, she has since
then become an exporter of everything under the sun. Tariff walls were
erected against European competition. Year in, year out, America exported
more than she took in return. The capital of the world flowed slowly
into her treasury. Though this export-offensive was largely stimulated and
made possible by loans and credits, which had later to be re-organized as
losses, nevertheless the European economy was thereby increasingly disrup-
ted. It was thereby disrupted, to repeat, because this process was no longer
accompanied by a vast general expansion of capital.
American capital exports, helping in the industrialization of backward
countries, reduced still further the decreasing opportunities of European cap-

italism. It made the backward countries more independent of European
industry, destroyed further the markets for industrial commodities made
in Europe. Those "old" capitalistic countries, unable to expand internally,
were robbed of their remaining investment opportunities abroad. The same
phenomena which had once spelled success and expansion now led to misery
and decline. The growth of capital slowed down, that of competition was
accelerated. If competition once meant a general increase in the formation
of capital, it indicated now no more than its progressive destruction. It
meant the growth of American imperialism and her inescapable interest
in a Europe that was weak and divided. An though American capital ex-
ports also came to an end in the wake of the world crisis, and though credits
for lack of security were no longer granted, the situation prior to the general
stagnation drove the European economy to the verge of ruin.
This general trend, if not stopped, can lead to nothing but actual star-
vation in Europe. Europe needs foodstuffs, it cannot feed itself. To get
foodstuffs it must export. Hitler's "Export or Die" was not a propaganda
slogan; its validity holds good for the whole of industrial Europe. But
this export is hampered by the capitalistic needs of America, as, for that
matter, it is hampered for each nation by all other capitalistic nations. Only
because America, which cannot be checked by European capital, is the most
powerful unit it is the arch enemy. Only because American imperialism is
a necessity for American capitalism, and because the latter cannot afford a
strong Europe, the sharpened general competition as a result of the world-
wide crisis had to lead to new imperialistic attempts to solve forcibly the
existing contradictions in the interest of the strongest powers.
Separate interests, the greed for profits continually interferes with the
economic needs of the world. Coordinating the world economy to the needs
and pleasures of the world population has become the most urgent necessity.
But its fulfillment is precluded in a society dominated bv class interests.
The limited planning which can be enforced no longer suffices. The Bal-
kans, under German control, may be easily forced to plan according to the
needs of industrial Germany. Russia might be subdued in time and be
obliged to coordinate her production with the needs of the Western Europe.
Marshall Petain, not believing in any socialist future, has already announced
that the slogan for France's salvation is "Back to the land; the peasantry is
the real backbone of the fatherland". If Germany wins, it will not allow
a further industrial growth of France exceeding German competitive needs
and war requirements. India might be frustrated in her industrial develop.
ment by whoever might rule her. Japan may control China's development
according to her industrial requirements. All this goes on as the struggle
of all industrial nations against all others. Planning on a national scale
cannot compensate for the world planning now necessary, because it has
no further meaning except as part of the general preparation for war. Plan-
ning merely on a national scale can mean only the further disruption of the
already hopelessly disrupted world economy. National planners, so proud
of their liberalistic or socialistic attitude with regard to national needs, are

no more than an appendage of the various general staffs of the world pre-
paring for, or already participating in, the new slaughter now in progress.
Continental planning will not help either. It will only make it pos-
sible to really prepare for the struggle of continents against continents. A
unified Europe does not mean a better world economy; it means only the
opportunity for a capitalistic Europe to fight its American adversary effi-
ciently. It means no more than the continuation of the present war or the
initiation of another one. Those well-meaning people who today seem to
,ee the solution of all the troubles of the world in a United States of
Europe, under either German or English dominance, are only the first ear-
nest advocates for the coming war of the hemispheres.


Without this excursion into some of the fundamental capitalistic con-
tradictions in their present-day appearance, most dramatically displayed by
the opposition of Europe to America, it is not possible to understand the
full meaning of the present European struggles.* On the verge of the
present war two alternatives were given to England. One was to "betray"
America and "democracy" and line up with Hitler for the co-ordination of
European economy in the interest of strong industrial nations, and for a
trade-war against America and the rest of the undominated world. Such a
policy would sooner or later have evolved into a new world war, but not
immediately. Such a policy, however, would most certainly have led to
the co-ordination of the so-called Western hemisphere under the control
of the United States, to the loss of the British possessions in this hemisphere,
the sacrifice of Canada and possibly even Australia, and to the cutting down
of English world trade to an extent that could not possibly be compensated
for by the otherwise quite cherished friendship with Hitler.
Such a line of development would have meant the expansion of the
Munich agreement. By sacrificing Czechoslovakia, England simultaneously
sacrificed Poland, and consequently the whole of the little entente, the French
security mechanism, and finally France itself. Under such conditions, Russia
faced a war with Germany, unless it bowed down to the German demands,
which certainly would have favored German rather than Russian interests.
For England to continue Munich could lead only to the absolute German
hegemony in continental Europe, which would transform England itself into
Hitler's vassal. This course of development Hitler was aspiring to when
he begged for English friendship.
This friendship he could not obtain, for all he could offer England
was a lackey position within the new German Empire; with a Europe under

'As this article serves as a sort of continuation of the paper "The War is Permanent",
in the spring issue of Living Marxism, it does not deal with all phases of the problems
of the present war, but emphasizes those neglected or understated in the previous
article, that is, the position of America in the present war panorama. We assume.
that our readers are aware of the first paper. If not, the spring issue should be
read in connection with this article.

German control, the threat of invasion would always hang like the sword
of Damocles over Britain's head. At least he could not offer more for
a long time to come and nowadays political decisions have to be made for
immediate purposes. In an unruly world the far-sightedness of the celebrat-
ed empire builders, their patience in consistently following planned lines
of conquest is excluded for the present generation of politicians. The rush
for the riches of the world no longer involves light-footed runners; it has
been "democratized" and now resembles a general rush to the bargain coun-
ters of history.
There then remained the other alternative: To prevent in her own
interest, and in conformity with America's need, the assembling of any kind
of political-economic combination which could serve the urgently needed
but unattainable capitalistic continental policy designated to postpone col-
lapse. It is not only that America needs Britain because of the latter's navy
(because America has not been able, nor has she found it necessary in view
of her friendship with England, to construct a two-ocean fleet), that the
collaboration of the two powers was possible and necessary, but that they
also have identical interests in Europe proper. This collaboration with
England is not forced upon, nor willingly accepted as a windfall, by the
United States to serve her defense needs, but is adopted consciously as one
method of imperialistis interference in the affairs of Europe. Not only the
fear that Hitler, after capturing the English fleet, will hurt American im-
perialistic interests leaving aside the nonsense of an invasion in which
only idiots believe dictates the friendship between England and America;
but much more so does the American policy of keeping down the possible
European competition, which might take on dangerous proportions in the
event of the realization of a centralized European economy, or a unified
political activity.
It is often said that Wilson was extremely disappointed in the results
of Versailles. But there was no reason for it. In politics one must always
be two-faced; in bargaining as in poker one must not betray his own feelings.
It is quite conceivable however that Wilson was not really aware of what
he was doing when he proclaimed and insisted upon the right of small na-
tions for their national independence. The principle of self-determination,
of course, was never practised by America south of the Rio Grande, but
for Europe to oppose it was a sin against the highest moral of democracy.
Just as little as Wilson might have known what really was behind his abstract
concepts did the Kaiser, letting others fight for the glory of the greater
Germany, know in 1914 that in actuality the first world war was a struggle
against American world-rule and for the reconstruction of Europe. The
maintenance of an impotent, broken-up Europe, was the sole content oi
all American policy in Europe. The loan policy too was essentially an
instrument to that end. And all the while centralization celebrated tri-
umphs in North America, Dollar Imperialism penetrated deeper and deeper
into South America, and millionaires seemed to grow on trees.


Both England and America, then, were and are the bitterest enemies
of a European reconstruction which can only be brought about because
of the many opposing vested interests dependent on the maintenance of
given national units -- by way of warfare and the hegemony of the strong-
est power. Germany's position in central Europe, its large population, its
highly advanced industrialization, and for all these reasons its greatest ex-
pansive need is that power which could successfully dominate and, if at
all possible, coordinate Europe to resemble some sort of an economic bloc
able to compete with America on a more equal level. Germany not only
works in this direction, however haphazardly, but has to, or it must perish
as a power nation.
It is true, however, that though America is not the only competitor,
it is the most important competitor for European capitalism. It is true
also that the deterioration of Europe's competitive position is only one,
though the most important, of her problems. All other problems are more gen-
erally connected with the difficulties of capitalistic production as a whole; but
the line-up in the present war, and its immediate consequences, are most
directly related to the rivalries between England and Germany, Europe
and America.
Until the time of the first world war there was a kind of international
economy with Europe as the workshop, banker, and trade-agent of the world.
The income of Europe was continuously and quite decisively augmented
by the proceeds of the exploitation of backward nations and colonial people.
Declining profit rates were bolstered by banking interests, trade profits,
insurance rates and other forms of appropriation. The decline of such in-
comes through the self-development of South America, Asia and Africa, de-
pendent or independent of the rise of American capitalism, only further accel-
erated the European difficulties. This decline in profits from abroad must
be taken into consideration in any attempt to understand the present Europ-
ean situation. Otherwise it is quite difficult to explain the present impasse,
because the decline in industrial production, export and import, as statistically
established, is not very great. This relatively stable situation is quite mis-
leading, unless one recognizes that this stability was "sufficient" only when
augmented by additional profits derived from the labor of other countries.
Furthermore, this stability itself is merely a crisis indicator, because only
a progressively expanding capitalist economy can be a prosperous capitalist
England benefitted most from this world-wide exploitation. Europe's
special position in the world made England's position secure. The break-
down of this Europe-dominated world economy implies the breakdown of
an England-dominated Europe. National politics are thereby ended; the
continuation of nationally oriented politics is a swimming against the real
stream of events. It finds its end in exhaustion. Though Germany, too,
professes to serve nothing more than her national interest, her position in

present-day Europe in connection with the present world situation forces
her, so to speak, against her will, to go beyond her national interests by serving
them most directly. The bastard-form of a European federation is possible
only by way of Germany's success and such a federation would hasten the
decline of England.
Yet, it cannot be opposed by England with any measure of success. It
is conceivable that Britain might have been able to prevent the new rise
of German imperialism, but only by favoring French imperialism, which
in that case would have attempted to bring into being some kind of pseudo-
federation under French hegemony.. A complete subjugation of Germany
would have been necessary in that case, but France was prevented by Eng-
land from bringing this about. There was no lethargy in English politics
which might explain the return of German imperialism. It was the ener-
getic and consistent continuation of her balance of power policy which could
not take the altered situation into account, because its sole purpose was to
prevent all alterations. Besides, there was Russia, a state-capitalist system
in a world of private property interests, showing all backward countries
by her very existence that it was possible to escape a colonial or semi-colonial
status. German capitalism and militarism could not be extinguished alto-
gether without increasing the imperialistic potentialities of Russia. There
were increasing difficulties in Asia, and a number of other problems. To
blame English statesmen for her present impasse may be amusing, but it
cannot serve as an explanation for the forces that hung the Dead End sign
on the country. No longer able to determine the course of European politics,
England became an island not only in the geographical but in every sense
of the word. The new economy based on bayonets ripped to pieces the
trade-web of money and investments.
It is not that capital has lost its power; as a matter of fact, it is the
lack of capital which is the basis of the whole dilemna. It was the lack
of capital which prevented the needed modernization of European agricul-
ture, which limited the necessary capital expansion, and therewith prevented
a relaxing of the tensions which led to the war. No European customs-
union can really compensate for that capital shortage which led to the
brink of starvation, and yet could call forth no other measures than those
which made the bad situation worse. The time when the absence of tariff
barriers and other trade impediments could give essential advantages to
big industrial nations has already past. A custom-union may help, but it
still amounts to no more than a drop of water on a hot stone. It will not
solve the real problems. As a drowning man grasps at a straw, so govern-
ments too will do what they have to do without questioning the final value
of their acts.
The need of and the possibility for alleviating, if only temporarily,
some of the economic and social frictions infringing upon the profitability
of European economy determines the actions of the new fascist rulers. The
automatismm" of traditional capital investment and trade policies did not
need to be replaced; it did not work any longer. If investments do not shift

whole populations according to the private requirements of private investors,
populations can still be shifted by a mere command of the dictatorial govern-
ments. If people can no longer be exploited through the market mechanism,
they can be ordered to work at whatever wage the governments see fit to pay.
The market mechanism was after all only one mechanism for the successful
exploitation of labor; the new fascist mechanism serves this purpose just
as well, though it partly eliminates those exploiting elements which were
too closely connected with the old system, in favor of new exploiting ele.
ments which adapt themselves better and quicker to the new one. It elim-
inates those people not only in territories where the "new economy" is prac-
tised, but also where the "old capitalism" still prevails. The trade between
European nations and Europe' trade with the world is the more disturbed
the more it becomes "managed". On the basis of "mixed economics", clear-
ing agreements, and barter deals, international trade cannot be enlarged,
but can only be prevented from disappearing altogether. It becomes more
difficult for the "rich" nations to use their capital to their own advantage.
It does not enrich the poor countries, and it eats into the capital of the
rich. Totalitarian economics injected into free-trade leads to an economic
world mixture much worse in its results than either system could be by
itself. "If Marx saw capitalism's hair graying, and its teeth falling out,"
Herbert Heaton remarked recently, "perhaps today he would say that its
hair has turned gray overnight from the shocks of the last ten years, and
that its teeth have been knocked out in a concentration camp."
What is now needed to bring into the world economy some kind of
order which would enable people to speak once more of progress in social
development can neither be done by democratic nor by fascist capitalistic
methods and goals. The existing disorder has reached a point where only
radical solution can help. The whole value production and value exchange
has to be done away with, in its monetary as well as its barter form. After
all, the fascist production of "use values for use" and exchange by barter
agreements, the attempt to clean labor of its commodity character by giving
it a modernized slave form has not change one iota the fundamental cap-
italistic social and economic relations. The production of "use values" serves
production for profit as always, the barter system exchanges less for more
labor, work is still exploited as before only more so. Value production
and value exchange must and can disappear only with the ending of class
relations. Only because of the existence of the latter can the former not
be seriously challenged, must the terror increase. Only then, when the
fulfillment of the needs of the whole, not the symbolized whole of the state
but the whole of society, is considered the pre-requisite for the satisfaction
of the needs of the individual and this in the restricted sense of the
social relationship in any particular country, as in the large sense of the
territorial relationships in the world economy will it be possible to speak
of the beginning of a new era of social development. Nothing short of this
radical solution will help, and because it seems that we are still far away
from this solution, it is not possible to find one single optimistic note in
the present concert of hell.

Without such a radical solution the war may change its forms; it will
not be ended. The only development possible now is the development of
warfare. After the defeat of France, the continuation of the war meant
the incorporation of England into the new American Empire. Short of the
quite improbable occurence of an internal collapse of Germany, there seems
to be no possibility of defeating Germany by military means for some time
to come. The military aspects of the war between England, Germany and
Italy can indicate, if anything, only the military defeat of England. How-
ever costly an invasion of England may be, it will be undertaken if it proves
to be a necessity for Germany, or if unforseeable occurrences make it oppor-
tune. If England restricts herself to mere defense measures, if her aerial
and naval tactics do not harm Germany sufficiently, it is not unthinkable
that Germany will try to wear England slowly down rather than end her
present existence by blitzkrieg methods. Even at this late hour a peace
of compromise is not altogether precluded, and such a peace would split at
least part of the English interests away from America. To exclude this
possibility America must help England to a far greater extent than it has
done so far. The greater this help, the greater the need for Germany to
attempt the invasion.
It is no longer true that "England expects that every American do
his duty". Rather the opposite conforms to the facts. If Roosevelt's fron-
tier was once the Rhine, his shock-troops are now certainly on the Thames.
This far-sightedness is the more astonishing because of the prevailing general
short-sightedness, which does not see that the Stars and Stripes fly high
above the Union Jack. It was rather superfluous to change the colors on
the destroyers and tanks that were sent over to Canada.
To increase Germany's difficulties, to keep her occupied in Europe,
America must help England but never decisively. Aside from the ques-
tion as to whether America is as yet really able to grant decisive support
to England, she only hastens the military necessity of invasion by so doing.
More than on anything else invasion depends now on American actions,
on her possibilities to supply England with war materials, on her desire
to keep Germany's striking power bound to the English scene. If America's
help is not sufficient to increase England's military potentialities during
the coming months to a point where her actions become unbearable for
Germany, the latter country might consider it more important to fight Eng-
land somewhere else than on her own ground. Spain's present attitude that
suggests participation in the war on the side of the axis, the Italian offen-
sive in Egypt, the attempts to take the Suez canal and Gibraltar which will
follow, the closing of the Mediterranean to English shipping, together with
continuous bombing of England proper these and other tactics might
weigh more heavily in the speculation of the axis powers general-staffs
than the invasion itself. But any day they might also consider it better
to take England first, and thus break up the Empire. The initiative is
still on the side of the axis.

Whatever may happen or has happened, the war is already a war between
America and the axis powers. The latter might be further strengthened
by allying Japan to themselves. The taking of Indo-China by the Japanese
army, the final blow against China now in preparation to free Japan's
hands for the possible struggle with America, (a struggle which would
relieve America's pressure upon Germany), all indicate that any outcome
of the struggle between England and Germany will not bring about an
end to the war. In case of a successful invasion of England, whatever
may be salvaged parts of the fleet, or the dominions beyond Hitler's
reach will become part of the United States. In case of a compromise
solution, implying the formation of a fascist government in England, those
forces able to escape the "new England" will continue to fight, but under
the Stars and Stripes, just as part of the French Empire and the allied
soldiers who escaped now fight under the English flag. In the form of
military operations the war will then continue wherever the armies of the
axis powers reach English interests; that is, in Africa, Asia, India. Between
America, the axis powers, and possibly Japan, a naval, air, and trade war
will be carried on.
Under such conditions the destiny of the Balkans will have to be
decided between Russia and the axis powers. Russia will either have to
continue her present relations with Germany, or fight against her and
hence against Japan, in case she should orientate herself towards the United
States. Russia might be further appeased with parts of China, Persia, Tur-
key, and possibly even India. The Russian attitude towards the continued
war will depend largely on the relations between Japan and America, on
the progress the war will make in Asia. There are attempts on the part
of America to come to an understanding with both Japan and Russia, as
there are attempts made to include Russia in the expanding front of the
axis powers. The probability of success is greater for the latter than for
the former attempt. It is, however, not entirely excluded that at this time
a war in the Pacific might still be prevented, if only by postponement, in
case this should suit the most immediate interests of both Japan and America
better. But as far as one can see right now, there seems to be a much
greater possibility that, because America is much more concerned over the
problems of the Pacific** than over her need to fight the coming German
trade war, the war for the United States will be predominantly located
in the Pacific.
Only with the isolation of Russia by reason of the German success
in Europe is it possible for Japan to challenge American capitalism in Asia
and in the Pacific. America's struggle against Japan is thus at the same
time the continuation of her struggle against Germany. Germany's sup-
port of Japan is designed to weaken the striking power of thd United States,
and is thus a part of the as yet unfinished European conflict, as well as a

*The next issue of LIVING MARXISM will deal extensively with the relations in
the Pacific.

part of the coming trade-offensive. Despite all autarchy, national or region-
al, world economy has not come to an end; only now it spells world war.
Aside from the question of whether the Nazi regime can sooner or
later subdue and incorporate the free-enterprise regimes still existing in
Europe, what has happened so far can mean only that America must face
a deepening of the existing crisis conditions or adopt totalitarian methods
in her internal and external relations. The world-wide economic struggle
cannot fail to reduce the existing living standards and the demand for com-
modities, unless war economy displaces the crisis economy. The intensified
efforts in all countries to produce for export enhances this need still further.
The "normal" markets for America disappear with the progress of the war.
A victorious Germany will still remain in need of export outlets, in
need of capital, foreign exchange and war material. Her economy will
face a situation of general scarcity in everything depleted inventories.
obsolete industries, run-down railroads, and the need for more arms. This
need cannot be satisfied by confiscations in Europe, nor by mere re-arrange-
ments in distribution. The increasing poverty in the "new" Europe will
allow neither Germany nor Europe to rest on the laurels of military vic-
tories. Expansion must go on, if only to utilize what has been won. But
the further this expansion goes, the more difficult and the less profitable
it becomes.
With the defeat of England the question of the re-distribution oc
Europe's colonial possessions will be opened. What is going to happen to
Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the French,
British and Dutch West Indies, Honduras, Guinea, the Falkland and South
Sea Islands, etc.? America is determined that they shall fall neither ti
Germany nor to Japan. There can be no doubt that with the defeat of
England all European bases and possessions in the Western hemisphere
will be seized by America. The enmity between Europe, Japan, and Am-
erica will be thereby enormously increased.
But the coming Nazi trade offensive demands more than preventing
German-controlled Europe from maintaining the old European possessions.
South America belongs to the Eastern hemisphere rather than to North
America. Its products are needed in Europe more than in America; its
possibilities for trade with Europe are greater than with America. Barter
agreements will move commodities where money economy has failed. Am-
erican trade methods and tariff policies have emptied Latin America as well
as many European countries of gold and foreign exchange. The German
barter system offers a solution, as the gold will not by itself find its way
back into countries with unfavorable trade balances.
By way of barter, clearing agreements, blocked currencies, and export
subsidies Nazi Germany has been able to double her share in the foreign
trade of raw-material-producing countries at the expense of England and

America. As American exports to iaw-material-producing countries were
of much lesser consequence than her export to industrial nations, the fur-
ther reduction of the former seems to be of small significance. However,
the picture looks somewhat different if one considers the inescapable need
of Europe to import raw materials, and her inability to continue to be
America's best customer. If there were the chance of a general capitalist
expansion all over the world the decline of American exports to South
America would be no cause for worry as it would be compensated for by
increasing exports to industrial Europe. As it is, however, the possible losses
in South American trade will accentuate the decline of American exports
all over the world. It is then not so much a question of European com-
petition in South America proper that is behind the present "rediscovery"
of the South by the industrial North, but the inescapable need to combat,
by combatting European trade in South America, Europe's competitive posi-
tion all over the globe. Control of the raw materials of South America
Canada and the Pacific regions gives America a decisive advantage in the
world competitive struggle. By withholding raw materials and foodstuffs
from German and Japanese industries, the ability of those countries
to take markets away from America by way of new trade methods is con,
siderably reduced. The complete control of the Western hemisphere by
America is so powerful a weapon that the German dream of a world re-
or.anization on her own terms becomes quite ridiculous.
The raw material hunger of Germany, Italy, and Japan cannot be
satisfied with old trade methods, because those countries lack the necessary
gold and foreign exchange to purchase them in the quantities needed by their
industries. Nor for similar reasons can the hunger for industrial goods
in less-developed countries be satisfied. Trade between Latin America
and Europe as well as America declined rapidly with the deepening of the
world crisis. However, the total exports of Latin America amounted to
over 1.75 and 1.86 billion dollars in 1938 and 1939 respectively. Germany,
France and Italy absorbed 15.8 per cent in 1938, and 11 per cent in 1939,
15.9 and 12.8 per cent of all Latin American exports went to Great Britain.
In foodstuffs, four nations England, Germany, Belgium, and Italy -
alone took 79 per cent of Argentina's total exports in 1938, while the United
States took only 9 per cent. Half of the income that the South American
nations derived from exports came from Europe. A serious disruption of
trade between Europe and South America makes the existence of both ter-
ritories quite difficult.
The fact that South America produces what Europe needs, and Europe
what South America needs, made barter exchange both possible and neces-
sary. The more this kind of trade flourished, the smaller became the pos-
sibility for competition among countries still based on the gold exchange
methods. With the decline of economic influence, political influence declines
and therewith the value of investments in South America. The increasing
independence of South America from its friendly neighbor points in the
direction of grand-scale repetitions of the Mexican expropriation acts. Such

a situation, together with the improvement of Europe's competitive position
by virtue of better relations between Europe and South America, would
force American industry into retreat, strengthen the totalitarian forces now
in the ascendency, and bring about alterations in private capitalism. Fight-
ing the German trade offensive in South America, American private cap-
italism continues the struggle for its very existence, the first round of which
has just been lost in Europe. The harder it fights fascism, however, the
more totalitarian it will become.
The whole Western hemisphere under the control of the United States
means the possession of war-material resources unequalled in the world -
food stuffs, nickel, aluminum, zinc, copper, etc. Partial control of rubber
and military co-ordination of the hemisphere puts America in a position
where she can dictate the commercial terms in her world relation; that is,
where she can demand her share of the world-created profits. Neither her
gold nor her industrial advantages, but a militarily-secured monopoly over
an important part of the world can now guarantee profit appropriations
beyond those spheres under control. The Germans, Italians, and Japanese
will no longer be trading with a number of independent countries, but with
America, which can take her share from any of the possible transactions.
In other words, American imperialism is out to continue to share in the
exploitation of all the other workers in the world besides her own, just
as the "new" Europe will be out to prevent this muscling in on the part
of America, and to create a condition where the bulk of the world-profits
move in the direction of Europe.
American trade weapons such as embargoes, monetary control, control
of shipping and insurance, of tourist traffic exchange-and-tariff- mani-
pulations, and her gold monopoly all these weapons are no longer suf-
ficient to secure world-wide exploitation for American capitalism. Nor will
the measures taken to co-ordinate South America with American interests,
such as have already been realized with regard to Canada, suffice in fighting
Europe's trade offensive. An economic cartel of this hemisphere must control
its entire production, not single commodities. To be really effective it can-
not solve existing problems by bribing South American nations to abstain
from trade with Europe and Japan. Loans granted to South America as
compensation for losses incurred by the new imperialistic policy of the United
States will be accepted, but the commitments connected with them will not
be fulfilled. Some of the Latin American countries will blackmail America
to grant ever-increasing loans which can never be repaid; others will refuse
altogether to cooperate, since America could not possibly, in the case of
the Argentine for instance, make up for losses incurred by a cessation of Ar-
gentine relations with Europe.
To fight Europe and Japan successfully the Good Neighbor Policy
of the United States has to become still more neighborly; that is, as one
reporter remarked, "The United States will be forced to put a little iron
in the hand of the glove it extends to Latin America." And the Catholic

"Register" writes that "our business forces are going to drive our arms
south into Latin America when Hitler's barter system starts to kill our
trade. Self-defense is making us build up a huge armed forces; but never
in history has any nation gone militaristic without also turning imperialistic."
The excuse is at hand. Alsop and Kintner in their "American White
Paper" say that "the situation is already accute. The immediate danger
points are the largest and most important nations the Argentine and
Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and probably Columbia -. The State,
War, and Navy Departments unite in believing that if there is an early
German victory, it will be followed by German-inspired putsches in at
least two and probably more of these countries... This will call for naval
and military expeditions sent by the United States... And unless the Ger-
mans have obtained the Allied Fleets, the expeditions ought to accomplish
their objective." Yes, they ought to, but this means the further militariza-
tion of America, and that means the growth of fascism by way of fighting
fascim; it means the prolongation and the spreading of the war. For Am-
erican imperialism, no less than German imperialism, means the further
postponement of the only possibility to end continuous warfare by ending
the capitalist system of exploitation. American imperialism in South Am-
erica, though designed for no other purpose than to make the world safe
for American profits, will only diminish those profits still further. It will
impoverish both North and South America and so will impoverish the
world as a whole. The destruction of South American agriculture in the
face of a starving world, the "plowing-under" on a now hemispheric scale
of the surpluses created by the divorce of Europe from South America,
the use of all industrial raw materials for almost exclusively destructive
purposes all this has to be "paid" for by the labor of American workers
north and south of the Isthmus.

Though speculations as to the further course of world history are ex-
tremely interesting, they are by no means of great importance in so far as
they concern the lot of the laboring masses. The question as to who will
fight whom, who will be the winner and who the loser can mean little
to people who have long since lost all they can lose and who can win
nothing regardless of which side may be victorious. For so long as capital-
ist production relations are not done away with, in winning and defeated
countries alike exploitation will be driven to the maximum; freedom and
welfare will decline to the lowest point possible.
Also it no longer makes any difference to what policy one may sub-
scribe, for the reality of today determines the actions of all individuals;
and this reality no longer allows for any other policy than that fitted to
the war-requirements of the various nations. How silly it is to say today
that only a socialist America, or a socialist England, will be able to defeat
fascism, to oppose Hitler successfully. Neither in England nor in America
could a mere change of government, no, not even direct workers' control,

prevent the success of Fascism. To speak of a defense of America through
an American socialism is beyond all serious consideration. Movements
which could develop in the United States would have no socialist aspira-
tions; they would be fascistic and imperialistic. To them belongs the im-
mediate future.
For England, not a socialist government, but only a greater military
power than Hitler's can defeat the latter. Because British socialism could
not, merely by being socialistic, create such power socialism will not come
to power; it will be defeated. To expect that German soldiers may revolt
because of a change in class rule in England means to under-rate the power
of the Nazi ideology. A change of class rule in England would mean
the immediate defeat of England; it would be welcomed by the Nazis,
and be killed in the act of her embrace. The presence of the Nazi force
will transform a socialist into a state-capitalist fascist revolution, which will
have to ally itself to the fascist imperialistic system dominated by Germany.
Only wishful thinking could assume that the next few years will
present the opportunity for the rise of socialistic movements in the warring
countries, or that the defeat of one or the other could be prevented b,
socialistic methods, or could be utilized for socialistic purposes. The anti-
fascism practised by the existing labor organizations is in reality no more
than the support of private property capitalism against the growing state-
capitalist forces. This anti-fascism ends with the defeat of private cap-
italism. The anti-fascism capable of defeating fascism must be directed
also against state-capitalism, it must have a real international basis and
must involve the greater part of the world masses.
We are still far away from such a situation. It can, moreover, be
created only by the continuation of general warfare, by the further disrup-
tion of all essential and vital economic world relations and by an increase
in the existing chaos. Those most interested in peace and socialism will
have to shout the loudest "Long live the war!""**

***The continuation of this article in the next issue wilt deal with the revolutionary
tendencies inherent in the present world situation, and with the opportunities still
left to us to work in the direction of socialism.

THE NEW GERMAN EMPIRE. By F. Borkenau, Viking, New York,
1939 ($2.00)
This little volume is packed with munist Party, from which he was ex-
valuable information about the facts pulled about 1930. He has since pub-
and forces behind the German ex- lished some interesting books on the
pension that led to the second world civil war in Spain and a critical
war. The book was written after study of the Communist Internation-
Munich and before the actual out- al. His new book makes even more
break of hostilities, apparently short- evident his complete dismissal of any
ly after Hitler's invasion of Prague hope for a future victory of the re-
in early spring, 1939. For a few evolutionary cause of the working
years the author had been a right class, which he had formerly tem-
wing member of the German Com- porarily adopted and tried to pro-

mote by an unquestioning accept-
ance of Stalin's leadership.
He shows by this book that he
saw clearly enough the histor-
ical significance of the fascist chal-
lenge to "our whole western civil-
ization". He early understood some
of the "undeniable facts" that are
only today, after overwhelmingly
conclusive experience, being grasped
by most people. He stated before
the war began that an eventual suc-
cess of the fascist attempt at con-
quering the world through revolu-
tion would be due not to force of
arms alone but much more to "the
weakness of the moral, religious and
political impulses of the opposing
side". Yet in his forecast of the
possible outcome of the impending
war, he allows for no other alter-
natives than a collapse of the anti-
fascist resistance or an unexpected
revaluation of what he describes
rather evasively as a set of "values
which had become somewhat timc-
worn". Even if, after a sweeping
victory over half the world or more,
the fascist regime eventually breaks
down, this will result, according to
Borkenau, not from a genuine wor-
kers' rebellion but only from a lack
of stability assumed inherent in the
fascist regime itself. It will then be
followed by "some other regime not
yet discernible". Thus, this book
both describes the lamentable weak-
ness of the anti-fascist forces today
and itself serves, by its own thor-
ough-going skepticism, to illustrate
further that same despondent mood
which pervades the whole of the so-
called "democratic" resistance of
the fascist counter-revolution.
There is another objection, this
time from a strictly theoretical view-
point. to Borkenau's otherwise ad-
mirable argument. Due in part to
the fact that his book was written
before the war began, its brilliant
analysis of the methods applied by
Nazi Germany in a tremendously ef-
ficient drive for expansion suffers
from an under-evaluation of the es-
sential unity of the different forms
assumed by those methods at the var-
ious successive stages of their prac-
tical application. Here again, the
author starts from a clear insight in-
to the characteristic difference be-
tween the fascist forms of imperialis-

tic expansion and those applied in
the past by Spain, Portugal, Holland,
Britain, France, and the United
States. The new German Empire of
Hitler has never fought for colonies
in exactly the same manner that
Britain and France did, nor, for that
matter, as pre-fascist Germany at-
tempted to do under the Kaiser. Its
policy of expansion resembles rather
that of Japan and of Russia (both
Czarist and Stalinist). Fascist Ger-
many takes her own borders as the
starting point of expansion. She
aims first of all at conquering her
nearest neighbors, and even during
subsequent phases of her imperial-
istic expansion seems to strive for
territorial conquest not so much as
an end in itself as for the purpose
of acquiring indirect control over
much more widely extended areas.
So far so good. There have been,
there are today, and there will be
in the near future many illustrations
of this basic feature of new German
imperialism an imperialism aim-
ing not at territorial conquest per se
but at comparatively small conquest
that will yield a larger expansion of
Nazi power by indirect control. Yet
we must refrain from undue gener-
alization about this particular type
of German expansionist policy. From
Borkenau's viewpoint, Hitler's occup-
ation of the Sudetenland, the en-
forcement of a German dominated
conservative government in Prague,
and the creation of two small vassal
states (Slovakia and Ruthenia) had
been a correct imperialist policy -
true to the new model of fascist ex-
pansion. But when, at a later date,
Germany decided to strike at Prague
and for all practical purposes to
swallow the whole of the former
Czecho-Slovakian territory, she was
forced, according to Borkenau, to
break with her tried and successful
policy of "indirect rule" and was
thrown back to the much more hazar-
dous methods of pre-fascist imper-
ialism. It would not be unfair to
carry this line of reasoning further
and draw the conclusion that not on-
ly was Germany later "compelled",
oaainst her own original intention,
to invade Poland, to enter into an
all-European war and into whatever
might result from it in the future,
but that the poor creature was also
actually "compelled" to conquer the
whole world, although she would

have been quite content with a much
milder form of economic and polit-
ical domination. This, by the way,
is exactly what Herr Hitler himself
would say.
A closer investigation of the facts
presented by Borkenau, and of the
developments that took place after
the publication of his book, seems to
show that it is much more appro-
priate and certainly more in agree-
ment with actual historical events to
regard those two forms of the Ger-
man expansionist policy not as an
enforced break with an original plan,
but rather as two different yet en-
tirely complementary phases of an
.essentially identical policy. Fascist
Germany, in spite of its racist ideo-
logy, aims at a comprehensive ex-
pansion by direct as well as by in-
direct conquest. Though she has
been forced in the past, and may a-
gain be forced on the wider scale
of her future expansionist enterpris-
es, to content herself at first with
an indirect expansion of her rule
rather than with a direct territorial
conquest, she will try to proceed
from the early, unsatisfactory form
to direct domination as soon as time
and circumstances permit.

The present day fascist counter-
revolution does not amount to a
"true world revolution" as Borke-
nau and many other bourgeois writ-
ers today feel compelled to say. Yet
it resembles a genuine revolution in
the one respect that it endeavors to
disintegrate all existing political
forms on a world wide scale. It does
so, however, for the ultimate pur-
pose not of world wide emancipation
and cooperation, but of world wide
oppression and exploitaiton. It is just
this small difference that makes the
challenge of Fascism today "accept-
able" to an increasing number of
people all over the world by whom
communism and a genuine workers'
revolution were regarded only as a
danger and an offense. Mr. Borke-
nau would do well to work out this
difference between the "expansion-
ist" tendencies of revolutions true
and false as soon as he is freed from
his present predicament. According
to a recent report in the New York
Times, he is at the moment restric-
ted to a study "from within" of the
conditions prevailing in a democratic
English concentration camp.
K. K.

London 1910. 7/6. German Edition "Rosa Luxemburg-Gedanke und
Tat". Paris 1939. 2.50.

Paul Froehlich's Rosa Luxemburg
is not only an historically accurate
and theoretically stimulating account
of her life and work, but also a
worthwhile contribution to the study
of revolutionary tactics and the his-
tory of revolution in our time. It is
a useful book, rich in learning -
one of the few works in the incon-
solably vacuous Marxian literature
of the present-day which is remind-
ful of the epic days of Marxism. No
revolutionary who strives for under-
standing and clarity in the present
economic, political and' social crisis
of capitalism can fail to benefit from
this work.
The only criticism one can offer
is that the book lays too much stress
on the past and too little on the
present and future. But it is doubt-
ful whether this can be considered
a shortcoming in an historic-bio-

graphical work. It would have been
exceedingly difficult to intersperse it
with the newer historical develop-
ments without distorting the perspec-
tive of Rosa Luxemburg's contribu-
tions. When Froehlich, however,
does deal with incidents and literat-
ure of the post-war period he does
so inadequately, choosing his material
badly, and failing to evaluate it in
the spirit of Luxemburg. For in-
stance, it is insufficient to present
onesidedly Luxemburg's "Accumula-
tion Theory", her most important
contribution to the science of Marx-
ism, in the light of Sternberg's "Cor-
rection" and Bucharin's "Criti-
We would like to stress three
points especially: 1.) It seems that
Froehlich has deliberately and con-
sciously softened and weakened the
specific difference and divergences

between the Luxemburgian and Le-
ninist conceptions. This is especial-
ly obvious when he deals with the
co-called "Questions of Organiza-
ion", (Spontaneity Theory, Role of
the Party, Centralism, Uprisings,
etc.) It is of course true, that
though there were differences bet-
ween Luxemburg and Lenin on these
points, there were many points of
agreement. It is also true that these
disagreements were exaggerated in a
senseless manner by even better men
than those Froehlich enumerates
(Yaroslavsky, Arkadiey, Maslov).
But neither fact would justify the
author in presenting these differen-
ces. which sprang from different his-
torical backgrounds as well as from
different political tendencies, not ex-
actly as if they were non-existent,
but as if they were finally dissolved
in an harmonious and peaceful man-
2.) In dealing with certain prob-
lems of great importance, the book
fails to give them the emphasis thev
deserve. In its exposition of the
historical and theoretical significance
of Luxemburg's work "Reform or
Revolution" this inadequacy is ap-
parent not only in the chapter sne-
cifically devoted to the pamnhlet. but
also in succeeding chapters. This
work of Luxemburg's is raised very
highly, but its real substance is not
sufficiently made clear to the reader;
the vast difference between Luxem-
burg's conceptions and those of oth-
er social- democratic tendencies, and
the polemics of decisive historical
significance are also not elucidated

In this respect Froehlich's great-
est shortcoming is in his interpreta-
tion of the "Accumulation Theory".
It is remarkable how at one place
he swallows Bucharin's superficial
criticism hook, line and sinker, and
at another he celebrates Luxemburg
as the true genius who solved the
problems unsolved by Marx. A little
later he voices the need for modific-
ation of the Luxemburg solutions,
but at the same time presents Bu-
charin's "one solution" as an "indir-
ect proof of the decisive theses of
Luxemburg"; and finally, to circum-
vent the whole controversy, he ad-
mits the "theoretical" possibility of
a new capitalist advance.
3.) The great political question
of the time, the fundamental prob-
lem of proletarian revolution and
dictatorship, are not dealt with in
full proportion to their importance;
whereas the purely personal takes up
far too much space and is handled
too often in a sentimental and un-
Luxemburgian manner. This is true
not only of those chapters specific-
ally devoted to Luxemburg's person-
ality, but, throughout the book, there
are scattered such subjective pas-
sages unconvincingly overpersonal-
ized. It seems to us that the neces-
sary confutation of the "Bloody
Rosa" caricature delineated by her
enemies and false friends could have
been accomplished more realistically
and convincingly.
All these objections however, do
not change the fact that here a great
historical theme is being presented
for the first time with competence
and with a historical fidelity to the
present struggles.

P. O. Box 5343, Chicago, Il.

For the enclosed $1.00 (money order if possible) please send me
the next 5 issues of LIVING MARXISM.


Address -----------------------------------

Rosa Luxemburg. Gedanke und Tat. (German Edition) ----$2.50
By Paul Froehlich.
Rosa Luxemburg's many-sided activity makes her biography a contri-
bution to the history of the German, Polish and Russian working class
movement and the Socialist International.
Rosa Luxemburg "Die Russische Revolution"
(German Edition) ------------------------------------ .25
Rosa Luxemburg "Reform or Revolution" .--------------- .25
The classic statement of the position of scientific socialism on the ques-
tion of capitalist development.
Rosa Luxemburg "Leninism or Marxism" --------------- .10
A critique of Lenin's organization principles.
Bolshevism its Roots, Role, Class View and Methods..- .15
- ,lu,, :-., Sprenger
The Bourgeois Role of Bolshevism. By R. Sprenger-------- .10
Its Relation to World Communism
Stalin. By Boris Souvarine --- -------- ---- 1.89
Lenin als Philosoph. By J. Harper __------------------- .30
Krifische Betrachtung der philosophischen Grundlagen des Leninismus.
Partisan Review --------------- ------------------ .25
Back llhuiTher of Living Marxism---------------------- .10
P. O. Box 5343, Chicago, Ill.

SHALL AMERICA GO TO WAR-Oscar Lange and Scott Nearing
Tributes to Alexander Goldenweiser Margaret Mead and
Ruth Benedict
Reviews by Norman Thomas, S. L. Solon, Alfred Bingham, Freda Utley,
Clarence Senior and others.
Special subscription price, good until November 15th 1.00 a year
THE MODERN QUARTERLY, 16 St. Luke's Place. New York City
Enclosed please find $1.00, for special subscription.


Address .......-------.... .. .. ... .. ... .....-------------------------------

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs