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.

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The Workers’ Councils in Germany 1918-23 (Part 2/2)

This is the second and last part of the historical summary article by Ph. Bourrinet on the workers’ councils in the proletarian struggles of 1918 -1923. The first part has been published in A Free Retriever’s Digest Vol.2 #6 (December 2018 – January 2019) and can be read on this web blog as well.

 

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Supplement to AFRD #03 (June – July 2018)

The G.I.C. and the Economy of the Transition Period – Introductory Article

As a supplement to issue #03 of A Free Retriever’s Digest we publish a two-part article that introduces the major political–theoretical work of G.I.C., and attempts to clarify the main misunderstandings that still mark its reception. It is freely available for download here. The following presents its summary.

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The Workers’ Councils in Germany 1918-23 (Part 1/2)

 

Introduction

‘To think of emancipation’, a century after the global revolutionary wave that began in 1917, is to question the very term emancipation. Who is the subject of this emancipation and who emancipates who, in a struggle that is anything but an ideological game between four walls. This emancipation has its source in the working class (manual and intellectual). It cannot be assimilated to a “struggle of the people”, whose “Cause” would be national and patriotic. ‘To think of emancipation’ in [2018] is to look back at the great proletarian revolutionary insurrections in Russia and Germany and draw lessons from them at the beginning of the third millennium. In doing so, the revolution in Germany from 1918 to 1921 is an essential milestone, since it raised the question of the forms of organization of any revolutionary class struggle: workers councils, workers’ unions, revolutionary factory organizations, factory committees or action committees. Like the Russian Revolution, it raised – albeit to a lesser degree, in the absence of a real takeover of power – the question of socialization of the means of production, and therefore of the abolition of the capitalist system based on profit.

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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)

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A political History of the German-Dutch communist Left (Preface)

The Author’s Introduction to the new Edition (Prepublication)

Despite the theoretical and political renown of Gorter and Pannekoek in the international labor movement, the Communist Left in the Nether­lands is the least known of the left currents that emerged within the II. International, and later joined the Communist International. Their exclu­sion in 1921 from the Komintern wrapped the names that had symbolized the most intransigent internationalism in a veil of oblivion.

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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.

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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)”

Russian Revolution 1917-2017: What Alternative for State Capitalism?

An Invitation to a Debate

In a little known text the German revolutionary Jan Appel has pointed out, already in 1927, (1) that in “The State and Revolution” (2) Lenin deviates from the positions of Marx and Engels by adopting the reformist idea that putting the enterprises into the hands of the state” means ‘socialization’. As a consequence, Appel argues, the state cannot “wither away” as envisaged by Marx and Engels, but is bound to “develop into an enormous instrument of oppression as had not yet been seen in any society.” Jan Appel continues by sketching how, after having broken the bourgeois state, all power can remain in the hands of the workers’ councils in economic respect as well. Continue reading “Russian Revolution 1917-2017: What Alternative for State Capitalism?”