The Free Association of German Trade Unions (FVdG) on the road to revolutionary syndicalism

Printer-friendly version

In the first part of this article ,[1] we looked at the controversy within the German trade union movement and the SPD (Social Democratic Party) that led to the creation of the Free Association of German Trade Unions (Freie Vereinigung Deutscher Gewerkschaften, FVDG), the organization that would be the precursor of German revolutionary syndicalism. This survey covered the period from the 1870s to 1903. The FVDG, founded in 1897, explicitly saw itself from then up until 1903, as a combative part of the Social Democratic trade union movement. It had no links with revolutionary syndicalism or anarchism, which were very active in other countries like France or Spain. In a very logical way and at the theoretical level, the FVDG defended the need for workers organised in unions to be involved not only in economic matters but in political ones too.

Owing to dispersion from the time of its birth under the anti-socialist laws and to disputes with the General Trade Unions Confederation, the FVDG was not able to develop sufficient internal agreement to wage a collective struggle. The IWW, an established revolutionary syndicalist organisation in the United States, was far ahead of the FVDG in centralising its activity. The preference for federalist dispersal, even if not theorised in the FVDG, remained a constant weakness of this organisation. Confronted with the appearance of the mass strike, the reluctance to centralise its combat would increasingly hinder the FVDG's political activity.

The discussion around the new forms of struggle that started with the appearance of the workers' mass strikes in the early years of the 20th century proved a big challenge to the FVDG. As a consequence, it began moving towards revolutionary syndicalism. As we will show in this article, this tendency would continue to strengthen up to the outbreak of the First World War.

The mass strike eclipses the old trade union spirit

At the start of the 20th century the growth of the mass strike was seen more and more to be a new form of the class struggle at the international level. With its spontaneous dynamic towards extension, going beyond the professional and trade divisions of the unions and raising political demands, the mass strike was quite different from the practices of the old class struggle unionism of 19th century, completely organised by the trade union apparatus, limited to sectoral and economic demands. The mass strikes, which sprang up across the world, also exhibited a working class vitality that effectively rendered obsolete strikes that were well prepared in advance and completely dependent on the state of the unions' strike funds.

Already in 1891, a strike of 125,000 workers had taken place in Belgium, and then in 1893 another of 250,000 workers. Then in 1896 and 1897 there were general strikes of textile workers in St. Petersburg in Russia. In 1900 it was the turn of miners in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and then, in 1902 and 1903, those in Austria and France. In 1902 there was a new mass strike in Belgium for universal suffrage and in 1903 it was the turn of railway workers in the Netherlands. In September 1904 there was a national strike wave in Italy. In 1903 and 1904 big strikes shook the whole of southern Russia.

At this time, Germany, despite the strengths of its powerful union traditions and its concentrated and organised working class, was not at the epicentre of the new phase of class struggle that was spreading in powerful waves. Nevertheless, the question of the mass strike was passionately debated within the ranks of the working class in Germany. The old notion of the unions "controlling the class struggle" so as not to disturb a sacrosanct "public order", came into direct conflict with the energy and the solidarity of the proletariat in the new mass struggles. As Arnold Roller wrote in 1905 during a struggle of miners in the Ruhr that involved 200,000 workers: "They [the unions] were constrained in having to turn strikes into a kind of peaceful demonstration, with a wait-and-see approach, with the possibility of getting some kind of concessions in recognition of our ‘reasonable behaviour'. The miners in the other coalfields organised in a similar spirit, in Saxony, Bavaria, etc., showing their solidarity in their support of the strike and, paradoxically, in working overtime to produce thousands of tons of extra coal - that would be shipped and used by industry in the service of Capital during the strike [...] While the workers in the Ruhr suffered from hunger, their representatives in Parliament negotiated and got promises legally of some improvements but only after there was a return to work. Of course, the German trade union leadership rejected the idea of putting strong pressure on the bosses by extending the strike across the whole coal industry."[2]

The celebrated "debate on the mass strike" in 1905/06 inside the SPD and the German trade unions was undoubtedly inspired to a large extent by the powerful mass strike of 1905 in Russia which surpassed everything that had gone before it in size and political dynamic.[3]

For the unions, the mass strikes were a direct challenge to their existence and historical function. Did it mean their role of organising the permanent economic defence of the working class was at an end? The mass strike of 1905 in Russia, a direct reaction to the appalling misery for the working class and peasantry caused by the Russo-Japanese war, had shown precisely that political questions like war and, ultimately, revolution, were now central to the workers' struggle. Issues like these went far beyond the limits of traditional union thinking. As Anton Pannekoek very clearly wrote: "Now this is entirely in harmony with the innermost character of trade unionism. Trade unionism is an action of the workers that does not go beyond the limit of capitalism. The aim is not to replace capitalism with another form of production, but to secure good living conditions within capitalism. Its character is not revolutionary, but conservative".[4] 

To blame the leaders of the powerful German unions for a lack of flexibility because they did not sympathise with the political form of struggle of the mass strike doesn't give the full picture. Their defensive attitude vis-à-vis the mass strike was a direct product of their nature and how the union organisations they represented saw their role, which meant they were unable to meet the new demands of the class struggle.

Hence, the political organisations and parties of the working class needed to develop an understanding of the nature of the new form of struggle the workers were engaged in with the mass strike. However, "the overwhelming majority of Social Democratic leaders still mouthed the axiom: the general strike is the general nonsense".[5] Unwilling to accept reality, they believed that the appearance of the mass strike was nothing but a clear and simple expression of the "general strike" that was advocated by the anarchists and the supporters of the former co-founder of Dutch Social Democracy, Domela Nieuwenhuis. A few decades previously, in his text The Bakuninists at work in 1873, Engels had, quite justifiably, called the vision of a general strike prepared behind the scenes with a written plan of insurrection, totally stupid. The old vision of the "general strike" was based on the idea that a simultaneous and general stoppage of work led by unions would weaken the power of the ruling class and bring it down within a few hours. In this sense, the leaders of the SPD and the unions justified their reservations and used Engels' words as an excuse to reject and ignore the opening up of the debate on the mass strikes called for by the Left around Rosa Luxemburg inside the SPD.

However, a closer examination of the false opposition between the "anarchist general strike" and the "day to day work of the unions", shows clearly that the old anarchist dream of a grandiose general economic strike and the conception of the main union federation were not in fact very far apart. In both these conceptions, it was exclusively the numbers involved in the struggle that mattered most and they brushed to one side the need to address the political questions that were now posed, at least potentially, by massive struggles.

Up to this point the FVDG had always supported workers' political activity. Would it be in a position to react to events?

The position of the FVDG on the mass strike

Prompted by the experiences of massive movements in Europe at the end of the 19th and the start of 20th century, in 1904 the FVDG began discussing the mass strike ahead of the Amsterdam Socialist Congress where this question was on the agenda. Within the ranks of the FVDG, where the first attempts at understanding the phenomenon of the mass strike began, the debate came up against a certain conception of union work. In its general view of how union work should be conducted, the FVDG didn't distinguish itself in any way at all from the main Social Democratic unions. However, its weak influence did not put it in a position to control the class struggle, and it was much more open to the question of the mass strike than the large trade unions.

Gustav Kessler, co-founder of the "Localist" current and political authority inside the FVDG, died in June 1904. In the FVDG leadership he had represented the strongest orientation towards Social Democracy. The highly heterogeneous nature of the FVDG, a federated union of tradesmen, had always left it tolerant of minority anarchist tendencies, like that around Andreas Kleinlein Platz. Kessler's death and the election of Fritz Kater to the head of the FVDG executive committee in the summer of 1904 would initiate a period of greater openness vis-à-vis revolutionary syndicalist ideas.

It was above all the French revolutionary syndicalism of the CGT, with its concept of the "general strike", which seemed to be able to find a response in part of the FVDG. Under Kessler's influence, the FVDG had until early 1904 refused to make official propaganda in support of the general strike. Reacting against this, the FVDG then asked itself whether different expressions of the recent mass strike across the world were or were not historical confirmation of the old and theatrical vision of the general strike.

Two documents reveal the FVDG's clearest understanding of the mass strike: the pamphlet published by Raphael Friedeberg in 1904, Parliamentarism and the general strike, and a resolution adopted in August of that year by the FVDG. The viewpoint of Friedeberg (he remained a member of the SPD until 1907) was very influential inside the union and in its subsequent thinking.[6]

Friedberg's pamphlet is devoted primarily to a correct and subtly formulated critique of the destructive and stultifying influence of parliamentarism as it was then practiced by the Social Democratic leadership: "Parliamentary methods, the overvaluation of parliamentarism, are too entrenched in the masses of the German proletariat. They are also too accepting of it, everything, any changes to social relations, has to come from legislation; all that anyone has to do is to place his socialist ballot paper in the box every two years (...) This is a very bad way of educating the proletariat. (...) I am willing to concede that parliamentary democracy has had an historical function to carry out in the historical formation of the proletariat, and it will have again." As can be seen, this rejection of parliamentarism was not a rejection in principle, but was only applicable to the current historical stage in which that form of propaganda had become totally ineffective for the proletariat.

Just as Rosa Luxemburg had done, he emphasised the emancipatory nature of mass strike for the proletariat: "The workers educate themselves through the strike. It gives them moral strength, gives them a sense of solidarity, a way of thinking and a proletarian awareness. The idea of the general strike gives unions a horizon just as broad as that given to it until now by the idea of political power of the movement." He also wrote about the ethical aspect to the struggle of the working class: "If workers want to overthrow the class State, if they want to build a new world order, they must be better than the strata they are fighting against, those they want to remove. This is why they must learn to reject everything that is base and vile in themselves, everything that is unethical. This is why the principle characteristic behind the idea of the general strike, is that of an ethical means of struggle."

What is noticeable about Friedeberg's text is the use of the term "general strike" even when he's talking about the actual political mass strike of the previous year.

Even if the spirit of Friedeberg's pamphlet is one of real indignation against the prevailing conservatism of the main union federation, something he shared with Luxemburg, he came to quite different conclusions:

He clearly rejected the tendency inside the FVDG to confront political questions: "we are not carrying out any political struggle and, therefore, we do not need any form of political struggle. Our struggle is economic and psychological."  This is a clear break with the previous position of the FVDG. By making an equation between "parliamentarianism" and "political struggle" he rejected the political dynamic expressed by the mass strike.

In addition, Friedeberg developed a non-materialist vision (albeit that of a very small minority inside the FVDG) of the class struggle based on a psychological concept and on the strategy of a "rejection of personality"- which he called "historic psyche". We can see here that he agreed specifically with some clearly anarchist ideas according to which it is the spirit of individual rebellion that is the engine of class struggle and not the collective development of class consciousness.

Although Friedeberg correctly poured scorn on the reformist social-democrat idea of the proletariat gradually taking state power, he tended to adopt the same kind of gradualist conception but from a syndicalist perspective: "In these last years alone the unions have increased in size by 21% and membership has risen to over a million. Since these things follow a pattern, we can say that in three or four years we will have two million members, and in ten years between three and four million. And when the idea of the general strike has penetrated the proletariat more deeply (...) it will call on between four and five million workers to stop work and then to eliminate the class State." In fact, the largest ever recruitment of the working class into the unions provided no better conditions for proletarian revolution but, on the contrary, was a barrier to it.

Behind the propaganda about a "pure non-violent means of struggle", Friedeberg also hugely underestimated the ruling class's capacity for unleashing brutal repression in a revolutionary situation: "What the general strike fundamentally represents is a way of struggling ethically. [...] What comes afterwards, when our adversaries are seeking retribution and we are having to defend ourselves legitimately, we cannot here foresee."

Friedeberg saw the mass strike essentially as confirmation of the old anarchist idea of the general strike. His greatest weakness was in not recognising that the mass strikes that were taking place could only be developed through the political activity of the working class. Breaking with the tradition of FVDG, which had hitherto continually warned against a purely economic struggle, he reduced the perspective of the mass strike solely to this aspect. The grass roots membership of the FVDG was not united behind the views of Friedeberg who represented a minority wing moving towards anarchism and leading the FVDG towards revolutionary syndicalism. However Friedeberg's positions were adopted for a short period by the FVDG. Friedeberg himself left the FVDG in 1907 to return to an anarchist community in Ascona.

The FVDG could not understand the mass strike by following the theories of Friedeberg. The revolutionary spirit that was developing, expressed by this new form of working class struggle, posed the question of a fusion of political and economic questions. The question of the general strike, which was once again the FVDG's prime concern, was a step backwards in relation to the mass strike and a retreat from the political questions of the day.

However, despite all the confusions that Friedeberg's writing brought back to the surface, the debate within the FVDG did help to stir up the German workers' movement. He deserves some credit since, well before the brilliant and famous pamphlets on the mass strike of 1905 (like those of Luxemburg and Trotsky) were written, he did raise this question inside the SPD.

It is hardly surprising that the FVDG (which was itself an amalgam of various unions) still continued at that time to see trade unions as revolutionary organs. It would have been a step forward if the FVDG had begun to question its own form of organisation. On the other hand, even Rosa Luxemburg still counted a lot on the unions, which she described in many countries (for example in Russia) as a direct product of the mass strike. It took almost five years before Trotsky's book, 1905, which chronicled the experience of workers' councils as revolutionary organs replacing the unions, was published.[7] What remained a constant in the FVDG, and the organisations that succeeded it, was their blindness vis-à-vis the workers' councils and a deep-seated attachment to the unions as revolutionary organs. This weakness would prove fatal in the revolutionary uprising in Germany after the war.

Secret negotiations opposing the mass strike and the debate in Mannheim in 1906

Inside the SPD, a fight broke out over the question of whether the mass strike should be discussed at the Party Congress in 1906. The Party leadership tried feverishly to rule out discussing the most important manifestation of class struggle claiming there was little interest in the topic. The SPD Congress in Jena in 1905 only took a position on its form in a resolution declaring that the mass strike was "a measure worth promoting in the future". It reduced the mass strike to only being an ultimate means of defence against a possible withdrawal of the right to vote. The majority of the SPD leadership characterised the lessons drawn from the mass strike in Russia by Rosa Luxemburg as "revolutionary romanticism" and declared that they had no possible application in Germany.

It is not surprising that shortly after the Jena Congress in February 1906, the SPD leadership and the central committee of the major unions agreed in secret negotiations to work together to prevent mass strikes. The arrangement was nonetheless uncovered. In its newspaper Die Einigkeit (Unity) the FVDG published sections of the minutes of the meeting that had fallen into its hands. Among other things, they read: "The central committee of the Party has no intention of spreading the political general strike, but will try, as far as possible, to prevent it". Its publication produced, "the indignation of villains caught red-handed" inside the SPD leadership and meant that they had to put the debate on the mass strike back on the agenda of the Party Congress on 22nd and 23rd September 1906, whether they liked it or not.

Bebel's first words in his inaugural speech to the Congress in Mannheim reflected the cowardice and ignorance of the party leadership, who felt highly inconvenienced by having to confront a question they had in fact hoped to avoid: "When we left the Jena Congress last year, nobody foresaw that we would have to discuss the mass strike again this year. (...) Because of the gross indiscretion of Die Einigkeit in Berlin, we are now facing a big discussion."[8] To overcome the embarrassment of the secret talks, brought into the open by Die Einigkeit, Bebel simply resorted to mocking the FVDG and Friedeberg's contribution: "No-one can understand how it is possible for the unions organised locally to achieve anything in the context of these developments and with the power of the employer class vis-à-vis the working class. In any case, the party leadership and the great majority of the party believe that local unions are totally powerless in carrying out their duties for the working class".[9] Who, eight years later, faced with the vote for war credits, was "Totally powerless to assume its duties for the working class"? Precisely the leadership of the same SPD! The FVDG, by contrast, faced with the question of war in 1914, was able to take a proletarian position.

During the very poor debate on the mass strike that took place at the Congress, instead of any political arguments, recriminations and bureaucratic justifications were served up, to explain why Party members should stick to the resolution on the mass strike made the previous year at the Jena Congress, or the one at the trade unions' Congress in May 1906, which clearly rejected the mass strike. The discussion revolved around the proposal of Bebel and Legien to give an ultimatum to Party members organised inside the FVDG that they return to the main union federation, under threat of exclusion from the Party should they refuse.

Rather than dealing with the political lessons of victorious mass strikes, or discussing Rosa Luxemburg's pamphlet published in the previous week, the debate was reduced to a deplorable quarrel over legal niceties!

While the invited delegate of the FVDG, the Berlin editor of Die Einigkeit, was ridiculed, Rosa Luxemburg strongly objected to plans drawn up to sideline the key debate on the mass strike with formal and purely disciplinary measures: "Furthermore, I think it's irresponsible the way the Party wields a big stick against a group of determined trade unionists, and that we have to endorse the quarrel and discord within the party. There are still undoubtedly a great number of good comrades to be found in the local organisations and it would be irresponsible if, in providing direct help to the unions with this matter, we introduce discord in our own ranks. We respect the opinion that the Localists must not push the dispute in the unions to the level of hindering the union organisation; but in the name of sacrosanct equal rights, we must still at least recognise the same thing with regard the Party. If we directly exclude anarcho-socialists from the Party, as the central committee of the Party proposes, we will be in a very sad state: we will lose our drive and energy since it's a matter of imposing restrictions on the left of our party, while leaving the doors wide open as before on the right.

"Von Elm has told us what Die Einigkeit or a conference of Local organisations would say, as an illustration of what he calls anarchist absurdity: ‘The general strike is the only means of truly revolutionary class struggle'. Of course, this is nonsense and nothing but. However, dear friends, this is no further away from social democratic tactics and principles than the proposals of David showing us that the only means of struggle for social democracy is the legal parliamentary road. We are told that the Localists, the anarcho-socialists, are gradually undermining social democratic principles with their agitation. But when a member of the central committee, like Bringmann, declares himself to be against class struggle in principle as he did at your conference in February, he is also attacking the principles of the grass roots members of social democracy."[10]

As she did at the Hamburg Party Congress in 1900, in the debate on trade unions, Luxemburg opposed the attempts to use the weaknesses of the FVDG as a convenient pretext to suppress key questions. She saw that the greatest danger did not come from a minority union like the FVDG moving towards revolutionary syndicalism, whose militants were often aligned with the left wing inside the SPD, but rather from the centre and the right of the Party.

The FVDG split and the final break with the SPD in 1908

To the leaderships of the reformist SPD and the main union federation, the FVDG in no way represented the same danger as the revolutionary wing of the Social Democracy around Liebknecht and Luxemburg. However, the revolutionary wing could not take too much account of the FVDG simply due to the fact that it constituted a small minority and did not really acknowledge the lessons of mass strikes. The international appearance of powerful revolutionary syndicalist movements from 1905, like the IWW in the United States, did make revolutionary syndicalist tendencies a potential danger to reformism.

The strategy, unveiled in 1906 at the Mannheim Party Congress, to pressurise members of the FVDG to join the main union federation, continued for months. On the one hand, some experienced and militant members of the Local unions were offered paid positions in the bureaucracies of the Social Democratic unions. On the other hand, for the SPD Congress that would be held in 1908 in Nuremberg there appeared another motion on the incompatibility of dual SPD and FVDG affiliation.

But the FVDG would fail above all because of its ambiguities and because of the differences of orientations within its professional associations. At the time when it was important to understand the political mass strike and the emergence of workers' councils, it broke up following an argument over whether to rejoin the main union federation or to move towards revolutionary syndicalism, subordinating political questions to economic ones. At its Extraordinary Congress in January 1908, the FVDG would examine a motion from the stonemasons asking the unions to dissolve the FVDG into the main union federation. Although this motion was rejected, it heralded a split in the FVDG and thus the end of the long history of immense union opposition based on the proletarian tradition of social democracy. More than a third of its members left the FVDG immediately to join the main union federation. The number of members fell from 20,000 to less than 7,000 in 1910.

It was easy therefore for the leadership of social democracy, in September 1908, to endorse the split within the FVDG at the Party Congress with a permanent ban on dual membership of the FVDG and SPD. After this, the remnants of the FVDG no longer posed a serious danger for Legien et al.

In the history of the birth of revolutionary syndicalism in Germany, the year 1908 thus marks the beginning of a new stage, with a change of direction towards revolutionary syndicalism, and this with less than half of the members of the FVDG remaining.

Towards revolutionary syndicalism

Since the FVDG from its birth had appeared as a union opposition movement firmly linked to social democracy, hence to a political organisation of the workers' movement, it was never characterised, before 1908, as revolutionary syndicalist. Indeed, revolutionary syndicalism does not simply mean a wildly enthusiastic commitment exclusively to trade union activities, but also the adoption of a conception that sees the union as the only form of organisation for overthrowing capitalism - a role that, by its nature as an organ of struggle for reforms, it has never been and will never be able to play.

The new programme of 1911, "What do the Localists want? Programme, goals and methods of the FVDG", indicated the direction it was taking and expressed its viewpoint as follows: "The struggle for the emancipation of the workers is mainly an economic struggle that the union, according to its nature as an organisation of producers, must carry out on all fronts. [...] The union (not the political party) is alone in its capacity to expand the economic power of the workers in the right direction..."[11]

In the preceding years, the big mass strikes were evidence of the spontaneous dynamic of the class struggle, and in 1903 the Bolsheviks abandoned the concept of the "mass party", while at the same time clarifying the need for organisations of revolutionary political minorities. However, the new programme of the FVDG, albeit with good will and while fighting against the old "dualism", started from false conclusions: "This is why we reject the harmful dualism (bipartition), as practiced by social democracy and its big trade unions. By this we mean the absurd division of workers' organisations into political and union branches. (...) Because we reject the parliamentary struggle and have replaced it with a direct political struggle through union methods and not for political power, but for social emancipation, any workers' political party, like Social Democracy loses all rationale."[12]

This new program showed itself to be totally blind to the historical emergence and revolutionary character of the workers' councils and took refuge in hopeful theorising of a new type of union as:

  • an alternative to the (de facto) out-dated mass party;
  • an alternative to large bureaucratic unions;
  • an organ of revolution;
  • and finally, an architect of the new society.

What a daunting task!

In the manner characteristic of revolutionary syndicalism, the FVDG defended a clear opposition to the bourgeois state and to the unbridled parliamentarism of the time. It correctly underlined the need for the struggle of the working class against war and militarism.

In the years preceding the First World War, the FVDG did not move closer to anarchism. The theories of Friedeberg having led it away from social democracy towards anarchism in 1904-07, although they were emblematic, did not signify a shift of the whole organisation towards anarchism. Instead, the forces strongly oriented towards revolutionary syndicalism gathered around Fritz Kater also feared the kind of "stewardship" on the part of the anarchists like that exerted by the SPD over the unions. In Die Einigkeit in August 1912, Kater again characterised anarchism as being "just as superfluous as any other political party."[13] It would be wrong to assume that it was the presence of known anarchists within it that led the FVDG to revolutionary syndicalism. Hostility towards political parties, born of the hard controversies within the SPD, was a common feature of all anarchist organisations in the years before the war. It is in no way the influence of the charismatic anarchist Rudolf Rocker in 1919 that introduced the hostility towards political parties within the organisation that succeeded the FVDG, the FAUD. Such a development had already clearly occurred. Rocker theorised the hostility of German revolutionary syndicalism to political parties much more clearly in the 1920s than was the case before the war.

The years before the outbreak of war in 1914 were marked for the FVDG by a withdrawal into itself. The big debates within the parent organisations were at an end. The split with the Confederation of affiliated trade unions had taken place in 1897. The break with the SPD was a good ten years later, in 1908.

Hence a curious situation came about, revealing the recurring paradox that revolutionary syndicalism comes up against: defining itself as a union wishing to have firm roots within the working class at large, the membership of the FVDG did, however, considerably reduce. Among its 7,000 or so members only a fraction were fully active. It was no longer a union! The remains of the FVDG formed propaganda circles for revolutionary syndicalist ideas instead, and had more of the character of a political group. But they didn't want to be a political organisation!

The vestiges of the FVDG remained - and for the working class this is absolutely key - on an internationalist terrain and was opposed, despite all their shortcomings, to the militarism and war of the bourgeoisie. The FVDG and its press were banned in August 1914, immediately after the declaration of war, and many of its still-active members imprisoned.

In a future article, we will examine the role of revolutionary syndicalists in Germany up until 1923, a period covering the First World War, the German revolution and the international revolutionary wave.

Mario, 6/11/2009


[1]. "The birth of revolutionary syndicalism in the German workers' movement", International Review n°.137

[2]. Arnold Roller (Siegfried Nacht), Die direkte Aktion, 1912. (our translation). Roller personifies what was until then a very small anarchist wing inside the FVDG.

[3]. See International Review n°s 90, 122, 123, 125 in English, Spanish and French.

[4]. Anton Pannekoek, "Trade Unionism ", International Council Correspondence, n°. 2 - January 1936. Published in English under the pseudonym, John Harper.

[5]. Paul Frolich, Rosa Luxemburg, Her Life and Work, section on "The political mass strike", Monthly Review Press, p128.

[6]. Friedeberg didn't come from anarchism himself but was the local representative of the SPD and a leading member of the Berlin Social Democratic Party.

[7]. Trotsky initially wrote Our Revolution in 1907. Some of the chapters became the basis of his book, 1905, which was written in 1908/1909.

[8]. Protokoll über die Verhandlungen des Parteitages der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands, Mannheim, 23. bis 29. September 1906 (Verbal record of the debates at the congress of the Geman Social Democratic Party, Mannheim, 1906), page 227(Our translation).

[9]. Ibid, p.295. (Our translation).

[10]. Ibid, p.315 (Our translation).

[11]. Our translation.

[12]. Our translation.

[13]. See Dirk H. Müller, Gewerkschaftliche Versammlungsdemokratie und Arbeiterdelegierte vor 1918, p.191-198.


Heritage of the Communist Left: