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)”
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 German Marxist Willy Huhn (1909 – 1970)
Jochen Gester: Auf der Suche nach Rosas Erbe. Der deutsche Marxist Willy Huhn (1909-1970); Die Buchmacherei, Berlin, 2017.
Paperback, 628p. + CD 207p. (Pdf); €22,-. ISBN 978-3-00-056463-5. Orders via Die Buchmacherei, with postal charges.
In this article you find:
The book description by the Editor
The review: Willy Huhn, an unknown council communist