Willy Huhn (1961): On the doctrine of the revolutionary party (2)

Willy Huhn poses the question how far Lenin has “directly taken up the doctrine of Marx and Engels in the question of the Party”, as his adversary Dracker puts it. Contrary to the latter’s a-historical approach, Huhn endeavors to explain how the organizational question arose in the practice of the 1848 bourgeois revolutions. In doing so, he shows that Lenin, in the (supposedly) bourgeois revolution in Russia from the outset of the 20th Century, represented a concept of organization that was substantially different from that of Marx and Engels.

Today more than 150 years have passed since the 1848 bourgeois revolutions; more than 100 years since the proletarian world revolution announced itself in the Red October of 1917, and more than 50 years since Huhn opposed Leninism in this text. The communist minorities again face the question of how to organize themselves to fulfill their function in the workers’ struggle. Huhn’s text advances  essential elements for a valid reply, even if it is still deeply influenced by the last years of the counterrevolution at the time.

In this second part of our translation Huhn continues his demonstration on the role of communist minorities at the hand of two speeches addressed to the Communists’ League by its central authority in the Spring of 1850 in view of reorganizing the League after the defeat of the 1848 democratic uprisings throughout Europe, with the expectation of a new upsurge soon to come.

Continue reading “Willy Huhn (1961): On the doctrine of the revolutionary party (2)”

Spartacus and Trotskyism (1946)

Introduction

After the Second World War, the Communists’ League “Spartacus” emerged from illegality in the Netherlands as one of the few groups in the world that put forward the struggle of the working class against all imperialist camps, i.e. against fascism, against bourgeois democracy and against Stalinism. They were also opposed to the Trotskyism of the so-called Fourth International, which took part in the Second World War in defense of Russian state capitalism.

The following text from the communist League’s weekly publication ‘Spartacus’ in 1946 shows how the Trotskyists tried to get a grip on the League and how they falsified the history of the latter’s main predecessors, the R.S.A.P., portraying the proletarian internationalists as ultra-radicals. This Trotskyist tactic is still relevant today.

With reference to this first time translation, we have added a concise glossary on the most important organizational expressions of the historical communist Left in the Netherlands.

Continue reading “Spartacus and Trotskyism (1946)”

Willy Huhn (1961): On the doctrine of the revolutionary party (1)

In ‘A Free Retriever’s Digest’ Vol.2 #1 (February -March 2018) we presented a biographic work on the council communist Willy Huhn (1909 – 1970), together with a concise review (Book Review: “In Search of Rosa’s Heritage”). Subsequently we translated a text expounding Huhn’s view on Lenin:  Willy Huhn (1948): ‘Lenin as a Utopian’ (in Vol.2 #2, April – May 2018).  In the following  we resume our translation series with (the first part of) a more extensive article, in which Huhn compares the ‘Marxist-Leninist’ conception of the communist party and that developed by Marx and Engels, in a polemic that took place in the early 1960s.

Willy Huhn poses the question how far Lenin has “directly taken up the doctrine of Marx and Engels in the question of the Party”, as his adversary put it. Contrary to Dracker’s ahistorical approach, Huhn endeavors to explain how the organizational question arose in the practice of the 1848 bourgeois revolutions. In doing so, he shows that Lenin, in the (supposedly) bourgeois revolution in Russia from the outset of the 20th Century, represented a concept of organization that was substantially different from that of Marx and Engels.

Today more than 150 years have passed since the 1848 bourgeois revolutions; more than 100 years since the proletarian world revolution announced itself in the Red October of 1917, and more than 50 years since Huhn opposed Leninism in this text. The communist minorities again face the question of how to organize themselves to fulfill their function in the workers’ struggle. Huhn’s text advances  essential elements for a valid reply, even if it is still deeply influenced by the last years of the counterrevolution at the time.

Continue reading “Willy Huhn (1961): On the doctrine of the revolutionary party (1)”

Willy Huhn (1948): ‘Lenin as a Utopian’

Documents of the historical communist Left

» The first characteristic of Utopian socialism resides in the superstition of the power of science. A rational system is supposed to change the social world in such a decisive way that something ethically better and socially sound will be effected. The practical consequence from this conviction is that the scholars have to take the fate of humanity into their hands, or rather onto their heads.

With the first Utopian of Western history, Plato, the philosophers are at the helm of the State, and the island “Utopia” of Thomas More is governed by a “class of scholars”. Do not the intellectuals raise a similar claim – once the juridical intelligentsia (Engels has at one occasion treated this “lawyers’ socialism exhaustively) (1) and presently the technical or even the economical intelligentsia (technocracy and bureaucracy)?

The Utopians are searching for a “social science” in order to create new social conditions with its help. This action departs from their intellectual initiative, relies on the insight and the power to act of the intelligentsia, whereas the proletariat “offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political movement”, as the “Communist Manifesto” states. (2)   Continue reading “Willy Huhn (1948): ‘Lenin as a Utopian’”

The Crisis in Socialist Theory: The “Group of International Communists” in Holland (1947)

Title:

The Crisis in Socialist Theory; The “Group of International Communists” in Holland (Dr. Anton Pannekoek)

Language:

English

Document:

Left, No. 132 (London, October 1947), p. 225-228; Reprinted in: Southern Advocate for Workers’ Councils, No. 40 (Melbourne, December 1947).

Author(s):

Anton Pannekoek

Web links:

http://www.aaap.be/Pages/Pannekoek-en-1947-The-Crisis-In-Socialist-Theory.html

Subject:

Socialist theory; Marxism

Categories:

Council Communism; G.I.C.; Anton Pannekoek

Remarks:

Source transcription from MIA revised by Vico/AAAP (January 9, 2018). With bibliographical references. Dutch & French translations are available at the Antonie Pannekoek Archives website.

Continue reading “The Crisis in Socialist Theory: The “Group of International Communists” in Holland (1947)”

Program of the K.A.P.D., 1924 (Reprint)

Not only is the council movement of 1918 – 1923 dead (beaten to death), council communism is only just a historical reality. However, a new beginning of the revolutionary movement cannot develop in the void of the present incomprehension of the so-called ‘Left’. We want to draw the attention of those who try to enter into the theoretical achievements of the German communist Left to a new edition of the program of the K.A.P.D. (Berlin Tendency) of 1924. In the following we present extracts with some comments. Hopefully they inspire further study and debate. Continue reading “Program of the K.A.P.D., 1924 (Reprint)”

N. Ossinsky’s Critique of State Capitalism in Russia (‘Kommunist’, April 1918)

On its website the CWO has recently published an English translation of the first part of a two part article, written by Nikolai Ossinsky for the review Kommunist, with the title: The construction of Socialism. This article appeared in the first two issues (April 20 and April 27, 1918) of the organ of the first left fraction that emerged within the Bolshevik party after the takeover of power in Russia by the soviets in October 1917. The latter organized in the course of the Spring of 1918 around Bukharin and Radek in the Moscow party bureau, in opposition to the conclusion of the Brest-Litovsk separate ‘peace treaty’ by the Soviet government with Germany and on the question of addressing the catastrophic economic situation the revolution in Russia was facing in the most dire and immediate ways. In his article Ossinsky drew on the latter questions from a proletarian perspective. In the following we reproduce the CWO’s introduction to Ossinsky’s article with reference to Lenin’s polemic, who made a turn on the question of the economic and political measures to be taken by the soviet government, and thereby on the question of “nationalization” and the role of the proletariat. We want to encourage our readers to take notice of the forthcoming translation of this article as a whole. H.C.  Continue reading “N. Ossinsky’s Critique of State Capitalism in Russia (‘Kommunist’, April 1918)”

Topic: Lessons from the Russian Experience

Extracts from: ‘Notes on communist economy’ by Piet de Bruin (Jan Appel), 1928 (Part 1 of 3)

[I.1] The attempts that have been made in Russia to construct communism have drawn a field into the scope of practice that hitherto could only be treated by theory. Russia has attempted to build up economic life, as far as it concerns industry, according to communist principles … and has completely failed in doing so. Continue reading “Topic: Lessons from the Russian Experience”

Topic: Marx and the Question of the State

Max Hempel (1927) or: Marx and Engels versus Lenin’s ‘State and Revolution’

Jan Appel’s critique from 1927 of the ‘Bolshevik’ regime in Russia and Lenin’s ‘State and Revolution’ has been republished in an annotated edition in German on the web site “Left Wing” Communism – an infantile Disorder? Likewise a re-edition of its adoption by the G.I.C. from 1932 has seen the light of day in Dutch. These documents refute the myth that the historical German-Dutch communist left was virtually bereft of a realist appreciation of the question of the state, as propelled by quite some partisans of ‘the party’ and others in the internationalist milieu. Continue reading “Topic: Marx and the Question of the State”