Book Presentation: The German-Dutch Communist Left from its Origins to 1968

The 3rd, revised Edition in French (June 2018)

Back cover text

The German-Dutch Communist Left, represented by the German KAPD and AAUD, the Dutch KAPN and the Bulgarian Communist Workers Party, separated from the Comintern in September 1921 because of principled disagreements on all important questions: parliamentarism, syndicalism, united fronts, the Bolshevik party-state using anti-proletarian violence (Kronstadt). This radical current had the audacity to assert that it was not the “communist party”, but the workers’ councils that constituted the finally discovered form of the proletarian dictatorship, and thereby of the communist transformation. It attracted the ire of Lenin, who wrote in June 1920 his famous book on left extremism, “Left-wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder, (1) to which Herman Gorter delivered a slashing response in his pamphlet Open letter to comrade Lenin. (2)

The present volume is a completely new-founded version of a university thesis (Paris-I-Sorbonne 1988). It tries to provide a critical and deepened vision of this theoretically very important current within the 20th century’s communist movement. The German-Dutch communist Left ceaselessly denounced “party communism” and “state capitalism” in Russia. Shaken by the counter-revolution in its double, Stalinist and Nazi-fascist form, it survived after January 1933 (3) in the shadow of the Dutch GIC and the German-American councilist movement around Paul Mattick, but also in that of the Communistenbond Spartacus, which had constituted itself by the end of 1942, plainly under the Nazi occupation. This current, still alive today, has based its praxis on Pannekoek’s work The Workers’ Councils’ (1946). (4) It’s the workers of the world who liberate themselves from the global capitalist system by installing the world wide power of the workers’ councils, without which no communist transformation of society is possible.



La gauche communiste germano-hollandaise des origines à 1968



Published by:

Éditions moto proprio, Paris, June 2018 (550 pages, A4)

ISBN 979-10-94518-12-0. EAN 9791094518120. €35,- (excl. shipping costs)


Philippe Bourrinet



German-Dutch left communism; Council communism


Political history of the communist Left;


Third, completely revised and extended edition. With a photo-archive section, an extensive bibliography, a list of acronyms and an index.

3 January 30th, 1933 is the beginning of the takeover of political power in Germany by the NSDAP under Hitler and Göring through the former’s nomination as chancellor of the ‘Reich’ by president Hindenburg.