What is it about Germany that makes it important for the proletariat of Europe? Since the Germanic hordes knocked out the Holy Roman Empire and transformed the fortunes of medieval Europe the influence has been enormous.
Feudal revolutions and changes in productive relationships had completed, protestant Lutheran ideological changes, and theoretical absolutism under the Hegelian doctrine along with classical German philosophy and finally Marxist critique has left unfinished business.
The example of National consolidation from Bismarck to German modern re-unification in the 1990’s unique in itself through to the European idea of the Superstate.
Has the tragedy of Hitler fascism, which wiped out the practical proletarian movement inspired and led by Liebknecht and Luxemburg’s Soviets at last come to its conclusion finally deciding to overturn the Nazi legacy? The Nazi legacy stopped real German History in its tracks; de-nazification only took place in the East. Eventually East Germany (DDR) stagnated and was overturned with the fall of the Berlin wall.
Have the Germans, apologetic of its fascist history on the one hand, paralysed by Arian “perfection” and the arrangement of the centralised state, abandoning the DDR on the other hand, come out of its stasis yet? The partition and unification has created its bewilderment and left it in its existential haze.
The progressions of a nation to a modern nation building project, along with a different state mechanism, are renewed goals. Since the British and Americans left Germany, along with the Adenauer creation, the choice of revanchism and Merkel neo-liberalism or the path of the alternative is the choice for the Germans.
Will the modern proletariat take up where it left off in 1919? Re-establish its working class councils, occupy the space for change? Fulfill the role it has played in advancing the post Hegelian thinking, become the latest Feuerbachian Dialectical Materialists and thinkers and take forward the legacy of Marx and participate settling scores with the old philosophic conscience? Will it lead the country out of crisis? Will new thinking Germans help establish the modern definitions, in a few words, will it establish modern communism and build a mass communist party?
The Formation of the State among Germans
According to Tacitus, the Germans were a very numerous people. Caesar places the number of the Usipetans and the Tencterans who appeared on the left bank of the Rhine at 180,000. Germania Magna would was about 5,000,000 – a large number for a barbarian group of peoples, By 180 B.C. they make their appearance as mercenaries in the service of the Macedonian King Perseus. [Engels Origins of the family…]
By the third century there was a developed metal and textile industry on the Baltic. At this time begins the general attack by the Germans along the whole line of the Rhine, the Roman wall and the Danube, from the North Sea to the Black Sea. By the end of the fifth century an exhausted and bleeding Roman Empire lay helpless before the invading Germans. [Engels ibid…]
Agriculture, always the decisive branch of production throughout the ancient world, was now more so than ever. The slavery of classical times had outlived itself. [ibid]
Christianity is completely innocent of the gradual dying out of ancient slavery; it was itself actively involved in the system for centuries under the Roman Empire, and never did it interfere later with slave-trading by Christians: not with the Germans in the north or with the Venetians in the Mediterranean or with the later trade in Negroes. [ibid]
With liberation from Rome the German barbarians took from them two-thirds of all the land and divided it among themselves. The division was made according to the gentile constitution, partly of the individual tribes and gentes. Within each gens the arable and meadow land was distributed by lot in equal portions among the individual households.
Woods and pastures remained undivided for common use. The more the Germans and the Romans gradually merged, the more the bond of union lost its character of kinship and became territorial. [ibid]
In France, England, Germany and Scandinavia – the gentile constitution changed imperceptibly into a local constitution and thus became capable of incorporation into the state. But it nevertheless retained that primitive democratic character which distinguishes the whole gentile constitution. [ibid]
The German peoples, now masters of the Roman provinces, had to organise what they had conquered. But they could neither absorb the mass of Romans into the gentile bodies nor govern them through these bodies. At the head of the Roman local governing bodies had to be placed a substitute for the Roman state and this substitute could only be another state. The organs of the gentile constitution had to be transformed into state organs. [ibid]
Transformation from a plain military chief into the real sovereign of a country, the first thing which the king of the Franks did was to transform this property of the people into crown lands, to steal it from the people and to give it, outright or in fief, to his retainers. This retinue, which originally consisted of his personal following of warriors and of the other lesser military leaders. Thus, at the expense of the people the foundation of a new nobility was laid. [ibid]
The old assembly of the people continued to exist in name, but it also increasingly became a mere assembly of military leaders subordinate to the king, and of the new rising nobility. [ibid]
The free land-owning peasants were reduced to the same state of exhaustion and penury as the Roman peasants in the last years of the Republic. [ibid]
The protecting lord had the peasant’s land transferred to himself as his own property, and only gave it back to the peasant for use during life. [ibid]
And yet progress was made during these four hundred years. Ancient slavery had gone, and so had the pauper freemen who despised work as only fit for slaves. The relation of powerful landowners and subject peasants was for them the starting-point of a new development. And, further, however unproductive these four centuries appear, one great product they did leave: the modern nationalities, the new forms and structures through which west European humanity was to make coming history. The Germans had, in fact, given Europe new life, and therefore the break-up of the states in the Germanic period ended in the further development of feudalism. [ibid]
But what was the mysterious magic by which the Germans breathed new life into a dying Europe? It was not their specific national qualities which rejuvenated Europe, but simply – their barbarism, their gentile constitution. [ibid]
If they recast the ancient form of monogamy, moderated the supremacy of the man in the family, and gave the woman a higher position than the classical world had ever known, what made them capable of doing so if not their barbarism, their gentile customs and their living heritage from the time of mother-right? [ibid]
In 1815, the Vienna Congress run by the then big four, (Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria and, later on, royalist France) sold off Europe. Germany and Italy were once again split up into small states. Poland was partitioned for the fourth time but this was an uneasy action, which the revolutions of 1848 were to show. Behind the bourgeoisie was the threat of the proletariat that had won these revolutions for the bourgeoisie and hence the abandonment and side switching. The revolution had shaken up the bourgeoisie even in the dismembered countries, notably in Germany, out of its old traditional rut. Large scale industry and railways had developed grabbing a share of world trade coinciding with increases in industrial products.
But the German system of small states with their numerous and varied trade and industrial laws inevitably soon became an unbearable fetter on vigorously growing industry and the trade associated with it. There were different trade conditions; everywhere, bureaucratic and fiscal traps. A uniform body of commercial and industrial law had now become vital conditions for industry. Besides, there were different currencies, different weights and measures in every state. The subject of a small state was well and truly deprived of all rights everywhere. German unity, however, was not a purely German question. Napoleon had organised Germany to suit his convenience. The Vienna Congress shattered it into thirty-six states. Germany’s unity therefore had to be won in struggle not only against the princes but also against foreign countries. In the years following 1859, the conviction grew everywhere that the left bank of the Rhine would irretrievably be lost to France leaving Germany even more dismembered. How could the forces of the entire nation be united? The first road was that of genuine unification through the abolition of all individual states, that is, the openly revolutionary road. In the Berlin revolution of March 18th The bourgeoisie triumphed without having to put up a serious fight. [ibid]
The German bourgeoisie wobbled at the same time it demanded a revolutionary transformation of Germany, which could be effected only by force, that is, only by an actual dictatorship. At the same time, however, the bourgeoisie since 1848 had demonstrated again and again, at every decisive moment that it did not possess even a trace of the energy needed to accomplish either of these demands, let alone both. In politics there are only two decisive powers: organised state power, the army, and the unorganised, elemental power of the popular masses. Since 1848, the bourgeoisie had forgotten how to appeal to the masses; it feared them even more than it did absolutism. The bourgeoisie by no means had the army at its disposal but Bismarck had.
Bismarck recognised the German civil war of 1866 for what it was, namely, a revolution, and that he was willing to carry out that revolution with revolutionary methods. And he did. His treatment of the Federal Diet was revolutionary. Instead of submitting to the constitutional decision of the federal authorities, he accused them of violating the federal treaty — a pure pretext — broke up the Confederation, proclaimed a new constitution with a Reichstag elected by revolutionary universal suffrage and finally expelled the Federal Diet from Frankfurt. In Upper Silesia he formed a Hungarian legion under revolutionary General Klapka and other revolutionary officers whose soldiers, Hungarian deserters and prisoners of war, were to fight against their own legitimate commander-in-chief. After the conquest of Bohemia, Bismarck issued a proclamation “To the Population of the Glorious Kingdom of Bohemia”, who’s content was likewise a hard slap in the face for legitimist traditions. After peace had already been established, he seized for Prussia all the possessions of three legitimate German federal monarchs and a free City without the slightest qualms of his Christian and legitimist conscience over the fact that these princes who had been expelled were no less rulers “by the grace of God” than the King of Prussia. In short, it was a complete revolution, carried out with revolutionary means. We are naturally the last to reproach him for this. On the contrary, what we reproach him with is that he was not revolutionary enough, that he was no more than a Prussian revolutionary from above, that he began a whole revolution in a position where he was able to carry through only half a revolution, that, once having set out on the course of annexations, he was content with four miserable small states. [Engels: Role of Force in History]
As far as Prussia was concerned, before 1866 Germany was simply territory for annexation, which had to be shared with foreign countries. After 1866, Germany became a Prussian protectorate, which had to be defended against foreign claws.
German History was the condition for its philosophy
German philosophy, that most complicated, but at the same time surest thermometer of the development of the German mind, had declared for the middle class, when Hegel in his “Philosophy of Law” pronounced Constitutional Monarchy to be the final and most perfect form of government. In other words, he proclaimed the approaching advent of the middle classes of the country to political power. His school, after his death, did not stop here.
As the ancient peoples went through their pre-history in imagination, then in mythology, so Germans have gone through post-history in thought, in philosophy. German philosophy was the ideal prolongation of German history. Instead real history was ideal history, philosophy. What, in most nations, became a practical break with modern state conditions has been in Germany first a critical break with the philosophical reflexion of those conditions. The German nation must therefore join this, its dream-history, to its present conditions and subject to criticism these existing conditions. It thought it could make philosophy a reality without abolishing it.
In politics, the Germans thought what other nations did. Germany was their theoretical conscience.
The criticism of the German philosophy of state and right, which attained its most consistent, richest, and last formulation through Hegel, is both a critical analysis of the modern state and of the reality connected with it.
German state science expresses the incompletion of the modern state. Can Germany today attain a revolution which will raise it to the height of humanity which will be the near future of all nations? As Marx said, “theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses”
Luther, we grant, overcame bondage out of devotion by replacing it by bondage out of conviction. He shattered faith in authority because he restored the authority of faith. He turned priests into laymen.
[Marx, Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right]
But, if Protestantism was not the true solution of the problem, it was at least the true setting of it. If the Protestant transformation of the German layman into priests emancipated the priestly, the philosophical transformation of godly Germans into men, human beings will emancipate the people.
Where, then, is the possibility of a German emancipation? An estate which is the dissolution of all estates? This dissolution of society as a particular estate is the modern proletariat.
As Marx said, “The head of this emancipation is philosophy, its heart the proletariat. Philosophy cannot realize itself without the transcendence [Aufhebung] of the proletariat, and the proletariat cannot transcend itself without the realization [Verwirklichung] of philosophy”.
[Marx, Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right]
The problem with Hegel (that has been corrected by Marx) is that philosophy stopped at the idea. Marx was able to apply materialism to develop the philosophy by becoming a Feuerbachian. In this sense the argument arose as to whether it could be viewed as; The State as Manifestation of Idea or product of man. What is the relationship or unity between rights and duties here the slave has no rights only duties or the equalisation and dependence of these two entities. What is the constitution or organism of the state? How does the crown, democracy, the executive, the legislature, the Estates, the classes all fit into the actuality and development of the state?
Nations have produced absolute monarchies and constitutional monarchies.
A monarch distributes and entrusts the particular state activities as functions to the officials as the objective qualification for the civil service is not genius. There are a number eligible candidates the selection of one of the candidates, his nomination to office, and with this the grant of full authority to transact public business. But in the past the crown was the power in the state which being sovereign has the last word, with that caprice, the prince at all times the representative of chance or contingency.
Today the example of Constitutional monarchy lies in the British State. Commentators are quick to say that prerogative power is never used by monarchy directly. However, this is a diversion to suggest that the monarchy is a benign institution with no self-interest of its own and nothing could be further from the truth. It has a filthy rich self-interest which is parasitic to the extreme and clashes with the interests of the society it parasitizes.
While it is said this power of veto is only used on the advice of the government, by convention, it nonetheless is another prerogative power wielded by the executive via the arrangement of the monarch-in-parliament. As such, it further exposes the absolutism at the heart of the British parliamentary system, a remnant of feudal absolutism in the hands of the executive. The occasions where Consent has been refused highlight how the monarchy is a tool of the executive for self-serving ends. It demonstrates that the royal prerogative is concentrated in the hands of a few at the heart of the government.
These questions and there subsequent development have been the subject of discussion and Germany has its unique experience too. Has this experience been summed up and has the philosophy undergone refinement and addition in the changing world? Has the subject matter undergone a new critique with modern definitions to settle scores with old philosophic conscience under the historic conditions of autocracy, Hitlerite fascism and the absolute idea, soviet communism and neo liberal plural democracy and European Union federal statism? The Germans have a contribution to make because of their historical experience and role and as a detachment of the world proletariat.
It is a great advance to consider the political state as an organism, and hence no longer to consider the diversity of powers as [in]organic, but rather as living and rational differences.
But how does Hegel present this discovery?
‘This organism is the development of the Idea to its differences and their objective actuality.’ It is not said that this organism of the state is its development to differences and their objective actuality. The proper conception is that the development of the state or of the political constitution to differences and their actuality is an organic development.
With Hitlerite fascism history stopped for the Germans. The Nazi coup d’état
Came with the Weimar Republic tottering.
The Weimar Republic, the name given by historians to the federal republic and parliamentary representative democracy established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government. It was named after Weimar, the city where the constitutional assembly took place.
Following World War I, the republic emerged from the German Revolution in November 1918. In 1919, a national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the German Reich was written, then adopted on 11 August of that same year. The ensuing period of liberal democracy lapsed by 1930, when Hindenburg assumed dictatorial emergency powers, leading to the ascent of the nascent Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler in 1933.
Fascism is a political system organised by hierarchy of functions named from the top and crowned by the figure of the ‘leader,’ who commands, directs, and coordinates the activities of the party and the regime.
In Nazi Germany the fascist state became the most reactionary dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. As a so-called solution to instability the bourgeoisie took the decision to go for the fascist dictatorship option. It was where the “absolute” idea materialised into the reality of an unstable failed state. It was a desperate and fatal solution for an insecure and anxious class without any hope or direction.
This type of state featured corporative organisation of the economy that broadened the sphere of capitalist state intervention, and sought to achieve the collaboration of the ‘productive sectors’ under control of the regime, to achieve its goals of power, yet preserving private property and class divisions with a foreign policy inspired by the myth of national power and greatness, with the goal of imperialist expansion.
The official name of the state was the Deutsches Reich (“German Reich”) or German Empire, from 1933 to 1943, and the Großdeutsches Reich (“Greater German Reich”) from 1943 to 1945.
With the rise of Hitler and the Nazis to power in 1933, liberal democracy was dissolved in Germany, and the Nazis mobilised the country for war, with expansionist territorial aims against several countries.
The German National People’s Party (German: Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) was a national conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the NSDAP it was the main nationalist party in Weimar Germany composed of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch, and anti-Semitic elements, and supported by the Pan-German League. The party was formed in 1918 by a merger of the German Conservative Party, the Free Conservative Party and a section of the National Liberal Party of the old monarchic German Empire.
The Hitler Cabinet de jure formed the government of Nazi Germany between 30 January 1933 and 30 April 1945 upon the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of the German Reich by President Paul von Hindenburg.
Hitler succeeded the conservative Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and similar to the preceding cabinets of the Weimar Republic, the parties of his coalition government, NSDAP and DNVP, initially had no majority in the Reichstag parliament until the elections of March 1933. The conservative plans to “enframe” the Nazis failed: after the Enabling Act had passed on March 24, Hitler was no longer dependent either on presidential decrees according to Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution or on the support of his coalition partner. On 27 June 1933 the DNVP officially dissolved, with its Reichstag MPs joining the Nazi Party.
In March 1933, with the Enabling Act passing by 444–94 (the remaining Social Democrats), the Reichstag changed the Weimar Constitution to allow Hitler’s government to pass laws without parliamentary debate for a four-year period, even such deviating from other articles in the constitution (the Act, forming the legal basis for the regime, was subsequently renewed by Hitler’s government in 1937 and 1941). Forthwith, throughout 1934, the Nazi Party ruthlessly eliminated all political opposition. The Enabling Act already had banned the Communists (KPD), the Social Democrats (SPD) were later dissolved in June, and in the June–July period, the Nationalists (DNVP), the People’s Party (DVP) and the German State Party (DStP) were likewise obliged to disband. Former party members were urged to join the Nazi Party or else leave politics. The remaining Catholic Centre Party disbanded on 5 July 1933. On 14 July 1933, Germany became a de facto single-party state, as the founding of new parties was banned.
On 30 January 1934, Chancellor Hitler formally centralised government power to himself with the Act to Rebuild the Reich, by disbanding Länder (federal state) parliaments and transferring states’ powers and administration to the Berlin central government. The centralisation began soon after the March 1933 Enabling Act promulgation, when state governments were replaced with Reich governors. Local government also was deposed; Reich governors appointed mayors of cities and towns with populaces of fewer than 100,000; the Interior Minister appointed the mayors of cities with populaces greater than 100,000; and, in the cases of Berlin and Hamburg (and Vienna in 1938), Hitler had personal discretion to appoint their mayors.
The Fuehrer’s word was above all other laws. Top officials reported to Hitler and followed his policies. The government was not a coordinated, cooperating body, but rather a collection of factions struggling to amass power and gain favour with the leader.
The Gestapo (secret state police) and SS under Heinrich Himmler destroyed the liberal, socialist, and communist opposition, and persecuted and murdered Jews and other “undesirables.”
The German bourgeoisie had shown its frailty once again, its great anxiety and survival instinct had given it the desire to seek a dangerous option when it embarked upon fascism and the Nazis. The solutions of militarisation of the economy and war in an attempt to solve the economic crisis affecting it in the thirties and with its fear of impending proletarian revolution were to end in debacle. Destruction of the means of production, the death of millions and burned cities were the result of the fascist form of the absolute content, the Idea as reality. The dream of the Idea had become the transformation into nightmare.
The resultant forces had again divided what unification had achieved, and since? Only with re-unification do we see the re-emerged German State and what is its direction?
As it is with Germany today, does it desire to stand with its crown at the top of the German and European superstructure with its bourgeois and financial oligarchic crest, the revanchist élite in the Bundestag representing the notorious Siemens and the Deutsch Bank?
At the same time does the Hegelian Idea stretch to the European Union dream of a United States of Europe under Germany’s domination with its will concentrated in the Council of ministers and unelected Commission, the executive divorced from the legislature the assembly? The bureaucracy and the judiciary are neatly compacted, with the European Court of justice based on corpus juris and Napoleonic law. And now, a police force and an army, all organically incorporated into the European state. Thus we have the vision of the 19th century Germans for a more efficient machine, the EU with its trade like beginnings of the Iron and Steel Community then European Economic Community (EEC) – the Common Market, in progression. Then the Treaties (of Rome, Maastricht, Schengen and Lisbon) and the common currency, the Euro, to break down the barriers to trade and an even freer movement of labour and capital with a constitutional mandate for property and monopoly rights. As the previous system of the 19th century Germany of small states, with their numerous and varied trade and industrial laws, inevitably soon became an unbearable fetter on vigorously growing industry and the trade associated with it, it has thus being envisaged today. But can it be seen in the same inevitable progression in building the nation and the nation state, or the degeneration of the Third Reich and its dream of world domination as a superpower of monopolies with imperialist intent? This is not a voluntary union of states as was the Soviet Union. Is this Union not only reactionary but consequentially impossible to sustain?
Society has shown materially where it wants to go. The modern proletariat became the estate in conflict with the bourgeoisie. Sometimes it has been called the fifth estate of civil society. Society is divided between the two main classes in contention. The resolution of this contention is still the great conflict of our times and has to finally settle.
An identity is established in so far as ‘civil servants and the members of the executive constitute the greater part of the middle class’. Hegel praises this ‘middle class’ as the pillar of the state so far as honesty and intelligence are concerned.
…if we ask Hegel what is civil society’s protection against the bureaucracy, he answers:
1. The hierarchal organisation of the bureaucracy. Control. This, that the adversary is himself bound hand and foot, and if he is like a hammer vis-à-vis those below he is like all anvils in relation to those above. Now, where is the protection against the hierarchy? The lesser evil will surely be abolished through the greater in as much as it vanishes in comparison with it.
2. Conflict, the unresolved conflict between bureaucracy and Corporation. Struggle, the possibility of struggle, is the guarantee against being overcome. Later in addition to this Hegel adds as guarantee the ‘institutions [of] the sovereign working … at the top’, by which is to be understood, once again, the hierarchy. However Hegel further adduces two moments:
In the civil servant himself, something which is supposed to humanise him and make dispassionate, upright, and polite demeanour customary, namely, direct education in thought and ethical conduct, which is said to hold ‘the mental counterpoise’ to the mechanical character of his knowledge and actual work. As if the mechanical character of his bureaucratic knowledge and his actual work did not hold the ‘counterpoise’ to his education in thought and ethical conduct. And will not his actual mind and his actual work as substance triumph over the accident of his prior endowment? His office is indeed his substantial situation and his bread -and butter. Fine, except that Hegel sets direct education in thought and ethical conduct against the mechanism of bureaucratic knowledge and work! The man within the civil servant is supposed to secure the civil servant against himself. What a unity! Mental counterpoise. What a dualistic category!
[Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, by Karl Marx]
Should the constitution itself, therefore, belong within the domain of the legislature? This question can be posed only (1) if the political state exists as the pure formalism of the actual state, if the political state is a domain apart, if the political state exists as constitution; (2) if the legislature is of a source different than the executive etc.
The legislature produced the French Revolution. In general, when it has appeared in its special capacity is the ruling element; the legislature has produced the great organic, universal revolutions. It has not attacked the state organism, the state constitution, but an old one because the legislature was seen as the representative of the people and their species-will. The executive, on the other hand, produced the counter revolutions, the reactions. It revolted against the constitution as such, precisely because the executive was the representative of the élite will.
Do people have the right to give itself a new organic order, a new constitution? ‘Yes!’ because the constitution becomes a practical illusion the moment it ceases to be a true expression of the people’s will.
The constitution (or organism) is nothing more than accommodation between the political and non-political state;
The legislature does not make the law; it should merely discover and formulate it.
The first unresolved collision was that between the constitution as a whole and the legislature. The second is that between the legislature and the executive, i.e., between the law and its execution.
The proletariat must come out of the margins in civil society and start the process of replacing the bourgeoisie and contend with the bourgeoisie even in the legislature.
In the political sphere, changes must be made which empower the people themselves, not in terms of the old undemocratic and long-outmoded system of executive rule and monopolisation of political life by the parties, but in such a way that the working people themselves are able to exercise their sovereignty. There must be democratic renewal of the whole political process with, among other things; a mechanism established which enables the voters to select their candidates from their own workplaces, educational institutions and communities. People must not have candidates imposed on them by the big parties and they must also be able to initiate legislation themselves.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD) is a social-democratic political party in Germany. The party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in Germany, along with the conservative CDU/CSU, and is led by Sigmar Gabriel.
The SPD last governed at the federal level in a grand coalition with the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union from 2005 until 27 October 2009. The SPD conceded defeat in the federal election of September 2009, with its share of votes having dropped from 34.2% to 23%, compared to 2005, and became the largest opposition party represented in the Bundestag. The party participates in ten state governments, of which eight are governed by SPD Minister-Presidents.
The SPD is a full member party of the Party of European Socialists and the Socialist International. It is Germany’s oldest existent political party, established in 1863, in the German Parliament. It was also one of the first Marxist-influenced parties in the world.
The SPD was established as a Marxist party in 1875. However, the SPD underwent a major shift in policies reflected in the differences between the Heidelberg Program of 1925, which “called for the transformation of the capitalist system of private ownership of the means of production to social ownership”, and the Godesberg Program of 1959, which aimed to broaden its voter base and move its political position toward the centre. After World War II, under the leadership of Kurt Schumacher, the SPD re-established itself as a socialist party, representing the interests of the working class and the trade unions. With the Godesberg Program of 1959, however, the party evolved from a socialist working-class party to a modern social-democratic party working within capitalism.
The current party platform of the SPD espouses the goal of social democracy. The coordinated social market economy should be strengthened, and its output should be distributed fairly. The party sees that economic system as necessary in order to ensure the affluence of the entire population. Concurrently, it advocates a sustainable fiscal policy that doesn’t place a burden on future generations while eradicating budget deficits. European integration is one of the main priorities of the SPD. They support a common European economic and financial policy.
The Concept of a Mass Party
The mass party arose historically in opposition to the established élite or caucus-party system of the 18th to 19th Centuries, representing the antithesis of the caucus party. There was no distinction in actual terms between the polity and its “civil society”, and the state.
A distinction later appeared within the polity, which could be characterised as between governed and governors. The mass party emerged with the new need to link the state and the polity. The mass party, unlike the élite-caucus party, emerged outside of parliament, out of mass movements, such as Chartism in England.
The mass party arose primarily among the newly activated, and often disenfranchised, elements of civil society as part of their (ultimately successful) struggle to gain a voice in, and eventually control over, the ruling structures of the state. Where the old cadre parties had relied on quality of supporters, the new party relied on quantity of supporters; Mass parties were the first parties that explicitly claimed to represent the interests of only one segment of society.
The political party was the forum in which the political interest of the social group it represented was articulated.
In these terms, the rise of the mass party, and ultimately of universal suffrage, was associated with a redefinition of the politically appropriate.
The political party was to be the mechanism that made all this possible … with the state and civil society clearly separated, and parties serving as a bridge or linkage between the two.
The concept of member is linked with a particular notion of political party that was born at the beginning of the twentieth century along with the Socialist parties and that has subsequently been imitated by others. It does not correspond to the old conception of a party which flourished in the nineteenth century in parliamentary systems with a franchise based on a property qualification. The concept of membership is a result of the evolution which led from the cadre party to the mass party.
That said one response that clearly was not available to the leaders of the traditional parties was to adopt the mass-party ethos root and branch. In particular, they could not accept the idea that parties exist to represent well-defined segments of society, because the segments that would have been left to them (farmers, industrialists, etc.) were obviously and increasingly permanent minorities. Similarly, the idea that the extra-parliamentary organisation ought to be dominant was unappealing to those already established in government. Further, while they needed to organise and mobilise electoral supporters, they were not so dependent on them for material resources: as the parties of the upper and middle classes, they could still draw on large individual contributions; as the parties in government, they could deploy many of the resources of the state for their own advantage; as the parties of the establishment, they had privileged and sympathetic access to the ‘non-partisan’ channels of communication.
Once people had won the franchise, and the mass party was integrated into the status quo, parties began to manipulate the people in order to come to power themselves, the latest stage being the cartel-party system. This is a return to rule by a disconnected élite, the opposite of the mass-party model, though not a return to the earlier system. The current situation involves the annexation of sections of civil society into adjuncts of the state itself; a blurring of the separation of the state and civil society that accompanied the transition to the mass-party system. The parties themselves have this character; no longer do they rely on their membership dues, but on large donations, trade union support and an increasing dependence on direct state funding.
As the role of the cartel-parties in governance develops further, leading to a profound crisis of legitimacy and disaffection with representative democracy, the need arises afresh for a type of political party with a mass character; not as a return to the turn of the last century, but on a modern basis.
The need is to raise the level of politics of the population and develop new political mechanisms for empowerment; a new relationship between the state and the polity. What kind of party is it that can achieve this? This question is the key to the content of a modern political party.
The issue of the aim of a political party is central is this respect. The aim of a party arises historically in that it is connected with the interests of the people within history, and how it stands in relation to the aim of society itself at a particular time.
A modern political party, in setting its aim, is presenting its aim for society. However, parties are also differentiated according to class interests they serve.
In terms of the political process, the need of the people is to have those elected serve their interests. Rather than the right to vote, people are demanding a say in how the elections are run. There is a burning need for democratic renewal. A modern political party then at the very least must organise itself around this aim. Its work must at minimum be one that politicises the electorate to be able to raise its involvement in the political life of the country, to transform the electorate from simply being an “electorate”. Its existence must involve the politicisation of the people to realise this aim.
The present demands of the people have far surpassed the possibility of their satisfaction through the current political system. Solutions cannot be found within the existing archaic institutions and process based on sovereignty lying with the British form of “monarch-in-parliament”. The role of modern political parties is to stand for a break with all that is old and to uphold the sovereignty of the people.
A political party consistent with the requirements of the present is a modern mass party whose role it is to politicise the masses and organise them for a definite aim. This is the political content of what it means to have a mass character. Such a party is a new mechanism for the empowerment of the polity, working to enable the people to set the agenda for discussion and encouraging the people to actively involve themselves in the selection of candidates for election, in the electoral process and in the entire political life of the country.
The Mass Communist Party
Lenin came forward to analyse that it was necessary to create a party of a new type. Its conditions for membership were based on agreeing with the general line of the Party, paying dues and working in a Party organisation. The fight that took place at the time of Lenin on the rules of party membership was between those who wanted just to agree with the general line and those who upheld that membership must entail working in a party organisation. This is when it was hammered out that the communist party must be organised on the basis of cells. If the issue is left there, the question arises, if there exist communist parties where everyone who belongs to the party is working in a party cell, why is revolution not occurring? Why are the subjective conditions not being prepared?
The problem taken up for solution is precisely that of the relationship between form and content. There is the issue that you cannot be in good standing unless you agree with the general line, you pay dues and you work in a party organisation. However, this is not enough. The key element, according to modern definitions, is that the basic organisation has to be an instrument of class struggle. In other words, its members have to be political. Being political means waging the class struggle in favour of your class.
The Mass Communist Party in Germany
The next period of German working class history is the period of the Mass Communist Party.
The Mass Working Class Party in the final analysis is the Mass Communist Party. The Mass Communist Party should not only address itself directly to the masses, but it should also gain influence in those organisations, which embrace a large number of workers. Such organisations are the Trades unions.
The Mass Communist Party is a Party of class struggle leading to the dictatorship of the Proletariat.
When the workers build a Mass Communist Party it will instantly stand as an alternative to the social Democratic Party Of Germany (SPD).
There is at present no Working Class representation in the Bundestag. There are only remnants of past communist parties. This situation has to be rectified.
The situation is developing in the Trade unions, and there is a struggle against the new offensive of German capitalism against the workers. There is a need for a Mass Working Class Party to take the lead in the crisis now developing before our eyes.
A policy of revolutionary parliamentarism of the Mass Communist Party backed up by extra parliamentary action using the full weight of the workers organisation and its consciousness must come about.
An attitude of mind has a big historical background in the trade unions. For half a century and more they were taught to keep clear of politics—politics were for politicians. Now the attitude is changing and a new category of worker politician with alternative policies are emerging from their own experience. These and other collectives are supplying from a new source towards a Mass Communist Party.
These days there have been political disputes and strikes. There is a need for deeper political General Strikes with issues taking on Capitalism like in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy and France need to take place in Britain.
The working class is awakening, and the fierce discussions raging!!
The Coming of the Mass Communist Party
There has been a tendency to resolve the problem of Labour Representation.
A Mass Working Class Party has to be created to conquer capitalism. If we cannot be bold enough to risk the dangers of winning the workers and workers’ leaders who are near to us, who are being attacked by the capitalists and the reactionaries as militants how shall we win the workers who are farther away from us than these? How can we explain this phenomenon in the Labour movement other than as a historic process of the working class finding its way towards a clear working class policy of which the Mass Working Class Party is the embodiment? We should welcome this process as the guarantee of our conclusion that a Mass Communist Party will be formed in Germany as in every other country where capitalism has to be conquered by the working class. The only way a Mass Communist Party of to-day can prove that it is the real beginning, is seen in the measure to what extent it understands the process and shows it is capable of handling it.
Forces are coming nearer to us and our task is not only to win them still nearer, but to set before them the fact that they can never carry through the revolutionary tasks for which they profess sympathy until they have joined with us in the making of a party equal to all that revolution will demand of it, a party formed not simply for Bundestag and propaganda purposes, but a party with its foundations in the workplaces,Trades Unions and working class community groups, its purpose to lead in strikes, demonstrations, elections and in every phase of the political struggle, culminating in seizure of power.
Policies should include: To Stop Paying the Rich and for Investment in Social Programmes; For putting more into the National Economy than is taken out; Ending Privatisation; Ending Austerity; for the Nationalisation of Banks.
Become the one Mass Working Class Party fighting for united working class action against capitalism. It is through this process and by these means that the Mass Communist Party will form and grow from the foundations of the working class organisations of the country.
Representative Democracy in the Bundestag
The party system demands that this function is subordinate to the function of determining which Party will form the government, and depends also on the “popularity” of the leader of the party, who will become Chancellor [Bundeskanzler]. The modern office of Chancellor evolved from the position created for Otto von Bismarck in the North German Confederation in 1867; the Confederation evolved into a German nation-state with the 1871 Unification of Germany. The make up of government or coalition comes from the existing cartel of parties named by CDU party, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The election therefore simultaneously controls the personnel in the bundestag and the personnel who form the government. The Cabinet system, (German: Bundeskabinett or Bundesregierung) and the increasing power of the Chancellor within that, coupled with absolutism ensures that, contrary to democratic principle, in the relation between the executive and the legislature (determined by one and the same general election) the executive dominates the legislature, and is not subordinate to it.
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the Constitution of Germany. It was approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the basic law of those states of West Germany that were initially included in the Republic. In a few years the Federal Republic included all of West Germany, i.e. those parts of Germany under American, British, or French occupation. East Germany toppled in 1990 and the GDR was absorbed by the Federal Republic of Germany. Rather than adopting a constitution under Article 146 of West Germany’s Basic Law, the Bundestag (Parliament of West Germany) used Article 23 of the Basic Law to allow the accession of East Germany territories to West Germany, therefore, placing East German territories under the fundamental authority of West Germany’s Basic Law.
The German government is appointed from the ranks of those who are members of parliament, but the party system ensures that those who aspire to be in the government, i.e. the executive, must be members of the majority political party and campaign for its victory in the election. Thus, as well as not being selected by the electorate, the candidates do not primarily canvass for votes on their own merits as representing the electorate’s interests, but on the basis of the party to which they belong as being the party which seeks a mandate for the political programme or manifesto which it has decided on, and is putting before the people and which it is supposed to implement as the government.
The authority vested by a general election in the Bundestag, and hence through its mechanisms in the government, Cabinet and Chancellor of the executive, cannot be impugned or restricted in any way under the terms of any body of fundamental or basic law. This is because the constitution allows prerogative power to the executive consisting of the Chancellor and the Bundespräsident (federal president).The President has veto only under certain circumstance where there is deemed to be “instability”. The main body of the legislative branch is Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, which enacts federal legislation, including the budget.
That a general election confers such absolute authority is completely at odds with the desire that the people be sovereign; Thus the German system of representative democracy, which is imposed on the people. In other words, it deprives the electorate of any power to make any genuine choice. This is so in the sense of being able to consider all the options, set the agenda, and decide which candidates from among the people should represent their interests, legislate for them, giving legal guarantees to their rights, and hold the executive, which governs to implement that legislation representing the legislative will, to account, and there is no opportunity for the popular will to be reflected in the federal Diet.
Instead it is put forward that because the electoral process exists, ipso facto the system must be democratic. The direction that this electoral system is going is that under this process it is increasingly asserted that the governing party is the embodiment of the values which the electorate should adopt. In other words, far from it being the case that the legislature should be subordinate to the popular will, it is turned around to say that the nation should exhibit the political will to implement what the government decrees as being in its interests.
The content of who controls political power and wields it in whose interests is covered over, and there is no sense in which political power is shared between the people and their representatives.
The political parties put before the electorate their manifestos containing the parties’ whole range of public policies that they are to aim to implement if elected to govern. Fundamentally, there has been no opportunity for the electorate to determine the content of those manifestos. Granted that, there is at the same time no opportunity for the voter to distinguish between those policies they approve of and those they do not. The political party that wins the election claims an electoral mandate for its entire policy programme. However, the reality is that the winning party will not have received the support of an electoral majority on any individual item of policy, not to mention that it rarely receives the support for a mandate from the majority of the electorate, because of the low numbers who vote, and not to mention that the manifesto may not be implemented nor the government called to account over that fact in any case once the party is elected. Nor that the range of choice between the manifestos is extremely limited, and a whole deception and confidence trick is perpetrated to cover over the reality of the programmes the parties are putting forward and labels such as left and right attached to obscure the actual content.
In all European countries without party, parliamentary government is impossible but this is not to maximise the participation of the people in decision-making. This aspiration is being increasingly denied by the party system, the system of party government. This should be the modern criterion for political parties. Yet, the voters are only depoliticised by these parliamentary parties. Instead of being the instrument of the electorate’s politicisation, they are what are presented to the electorate from which they are supposed to make their choice. The electorate goes into the polling booth to mark a cross on their ballot paper against a candidate, and when they do this they are basing their choice only upon which party’s leading members are supposed to govern the country over the next four or five years. The voter is supposed to think of which party leader they should choose, rather than which candidate.
It entrenches the backward notion of the role of political parties as simply being electoral machines, and gives this constitutional legitimacy.
New Nation Building
Germany’s resources and people should be a solid base on which to build a new nation with a vibrant self-reliant diverse economy.Not a revamped colonial country attempting to reconstruct the past.Where resources and labour to extract resources as quickly and cheaply as possible to benefit distant owners of capital. the monopolies export capital to other regions of the world without having built anything lasting and secure.
The current aim is to rob German resources at maximum speed and profit while wrecking manufacturing and destroying social programmes and public services and without due consideration of the natural environment. Self-serving billionaires control the German monopolies want to maximise their profits and eliminate any notion of local sovereignty or democratic empowerment of the actual producers who transform the bounty of Mother Earth into useable products and services. They see the rest of Europe’s land mass full of resources and with labour at their beck and call. They do not see a country and people aspiring to guarantee the rights of all within a nation-building project of their own making. Such a nation-building project aims for the empowerment of the people, livelihoods for all, maximum education, health care, old age security and other social programs and public services financed through a self-reliant diverse economy based on manufacturing.
• Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Funding for Social Programmes
The programme Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Funding for Social Programmes, is a programme to build the nation afresh by involving all german in solving the problems facing them and society. The programme develops in the course of the nation-wide struggle of the working class and people against the anti-social offensive pursued by governments at all levels.
It is a political program because its starting point is the harmonization of the individual interests of the members of society with those of their collectives, and of their collective interests with the general interests of society. It is an economic program which would ensure that people have the financial resources in their own hands to plan and build the economic foundation of a new and modern society. This economic program will immediately:
• Stop Paying the Rich — Increase Funding for Social Programs.
• Impose a moratorium on debt and end the demand for debt repayments of other countries.
• Nationalise all banks and other financial institutions.
• Increase fiscal and budgetary requisitions for health, education and other social programmes.
What is needed is a modern Germany,which is humane and democratic, where the people exercise their sovereignty and collectively stand as true champions of what is best in the world. Such a Germany can be built by the people themselves.
All aspects of political, economic and social life in Germany need renewal. This can be brought about only if the people are sovereign. They can exercise their sovereignty only if the fundamental law of the land vests sovereignty in the people and if the institutions and laws of Germany guarantee it.
Germans need to take measures and begin working towards affirming their sovereignty and creating the required renewed institutions. There is a need to take the same approach towards the problems of the economy which is in deep crisis. This crisis has become chronic, creating a jobless recovery and general insecurity. The same is the case with the political process which marginalises the people and reduces them to the role of voting cattle.
The principle that all people have claims on the society by virtue of being human must be held as the overriding principle of the society, along with gender equality and freedom of conscience and lifestyle. A new, modern, truly democratic society in which people are sovereign is the urgent requirement for Germans.
The creation of such a society is the immediate aim of a mass German Communist Party, consistent with its long-term aim of creating a socialist society as the transition to communism, which will usher in a classless society.
In order for the people to exercise their sovereignty and govern themselves, there is an immediate need to: PROCLAIM A NEW AND MODERN CONSTITUTION
This new and modern constitution must enshrine:
• The rights and duties of all citizens without any discrimination on the basis of language, race, national origin, religion, gender, lifestyle, ability, age, wealth or on any other basis;
• The rights of the national minorities of Germany, including the recognition of the equality of all languages and cultures and the creation of conditions for their flourishing;
• The vesting of sovereignty in the people.
To enable the people of Germany to exercise their sovereignty, this new and modern constitution must lay down as a fundamental principle that there can be:
• No Election Without Selection.
Under the fundamental law that elected representatives and all institutions must be subordinate to the electorate, the constitution must enshrine:
• The Right to an Informed Vote;
• The Right to Recall;
• The Right to Initiate Legislation.
These laws must be turned into reality through the creation of institutions which enable the electors to exercise their right to elect and to be elected and facilitate their maximum participation in governance. A German-Wide Electoral Commission, as well as Electoral Committees in each constituency.
The Germany-wide Electoral Commission and the Electoral Committees would be entrusted with two key tasks: 1) Guaranteeing that all electors can exercise their right to elect and be elected; and 2) Ensuring that the elected representatives are subordinate to the electors and serve their interests. These bodies would involve a large number of people, especially in the task of ensuring the subordination of the elected to the electors.
The new and modern constitution must establish:
• The rights of all citizens and residents by virtue of being human.
In providing a guarantee to these rights, the constitution must hold the society, and the governments which represent that society, responsible to provide people with the highest possible standard of living within the existing conditions. It must also set out the aim of raising this standard to higher levels, consistent with the development of society, so as to meet the ever-increasing needs of the people for health care, education, culture and other necessities of life. The constitution must guarantee the recognition of the claims of all people on society by virtue of being human, as well as the claims based on the conditions of their collectivity in the case of women, youth, workers and all other collectives in the society.
Renewal of International Relations
In the sphere of international relations, the renewal of Germany requires a foreign policy which bases itself on:
• Support for all peoples fighting for their rights;
• Relations of equality and mutual benefit amongst sovereign nations based on peaceful coexistence;
• Non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations.
The plan for the modernisation of Germany’s foreign relations would include immediate withdrawal from all economic and military blocs. This entails:
• Immediate withdrawal of Germany from the European Union
• Immediate withdrawal of Germany from NATO.
• Germany demands anti-war Government and that all international disputes are resolved by peaceful means.
• Germany demands democratisation of the United Nations based on the principle that all nations, big or small, have an equal say;
• Upholding the right of all nations to decide upon their own system and opposing the efforts of any country or group of countries to dictate what kind of system a country can or cannot have.
Germany Today is important for the proletariat of Europe. The workers of Europe cannot once again be faced with powerful reactionary state threatening the progress of the rest of Europe when it rises. The German state cannot laud over its own people, held in slumber but still held back. Ideological changes and fascist absolutism means the business of social progress has to be put back on the agenda. Real German History comes back to the present. A new dialectic has to take place where scores have to be settled with old philosophic conscience.
The modern German proletariat, an important contingent of the international working class, must assume its rightful place, take up where it left off and Re-establish its working class political mechanisms for change, Revolutionary Working Class Councils, and all contemporary thinking Germans helping to establish the modern definitions that are necessary for the general German and the International Proletariat.