German and Dutch Left

The Dutch and German lefts are generally grouped together because of the extremely close links between the two. Like the Italian Left, they were expelled from the Third International as it degenerated, and in some respects had more immediately correct insights into the critical questions of the day (notably the union question). However, their complete under-estimation of the organisational question, added to ferocious repression during the 1930s-40s, meant that the groups were unable to maintain a coherent existence and to pass on their lessons to the new generation.

Doctor Bourrinet, fraud and self-proclaimed historian

Philippe Bourrinet has the misfortune of being peculiarly misunderstood. Among those who are interested in or claim to belong to the Communist Left, he passes for a serious and honest historian. Among historians, he passes for a defender of the Communist Left’s ideas (...) we desire to protest against this double error.

In the aftermath of World War Two: debates on how the workers will hold power after the revolution

In the continuing series on the nature of communism, we are publishing the "Theses on the nature of the state and the proletarian revolution" written by the French Communist Left in the aftermath of World War II, with a brief introduction to put the Theses into the historical context of the positions of Bordiga and Pannekoek on the subject.

Bilan, the Dutch left, and the transition to communism (ii)

While it lacks the immediacy of the class struggle, the question of the transitional period towards communism following the revolution, and of the nature of communist society itself, has always been hotly debated in the workers' movement. One major effort to systematise an understanding the issue was the publication of the Dutch councilist group GIC in the 1930s: Grundprinzipien Kommunistischer Produktion und Veiteilung. We publish here an account of the Italian Left's critique of the Grundprinzipien.

Revolutionary syndicalism in Germany (III)

In the two previous articles we showed that from the 1890s a proletarian opposition developed within the German unions. At the beginning it was against reducing the workers’ struggle to purely economic questions as the general confederations of the unions were doing. It then went on to oppose illusions in parliament and the SPD’s increasing confidence in the state.

Cajo Brendel (1915-2007)

Cajo Brendel died at the age of 91 years on the 25th of June, 2007. He was the last of the Dutch "council communists". Cajo was a dear friend and a companion in struggle, who defended his positions fiercely but who was at the same time jovial, warm and cordial in companionship... Here we want to enter at some more length into his life and our ties with him.

Marc, Part 1: From the Revolution of October 1917 to World War II

As readers of our territorial press will know already, our comrade Marc is dead. In the December issue of our French territorial press, we published, as usual, the list of donations; one was accompanied with these words: “In reply to many letters which have touched me deeply, and for a first combat fought and won, this donation for the ICC’s press...” As always, our comrade fought against his disease with lucidity and courage. But in the end, it was the disease - one of the most virulent forms of cancer - that had the upper hand, the 20th December 1990. With Marc’s death, not only has our organisation lost its most experienced militant, and its most fertile mind; the whole world proletariat has lost one of its best fighters.

Chapter 10, 1939-1942

Part 4

Council communism during and after the war
The “Communistenbond Spartacus”

Chapter 10

The disappearance and rebirth of Council Communism: From the “Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg Front” to the Communistenbond Spartacus” (1939-1942)

Letter to Daad en Gedachte

The article we are publishing below was written in July 1998, following the decision of the Dutch councilist group Daad en Gedachte to cease regular publication of its press. Since then, several meetings have taken place with the participation of Cajo Brendel, one of the group's leading members (we will give a full account of these later in the ICC's international press). Nonetheless, to date our fears as to the future of the group's publication have proven justified, since it has not reappeared.

The Dutch and German Communist Left

The Dutch communist left is one of the major components of the revolutionary current which broke away from the degenerating Communist International in the 1920s. Well before Trotsky's Left Opposition, and in a more profound way, the communist left had been able to expose the opportunist dangers which threatened the International and its parties and which eventually led to their demise. In the struggle for the intransigent defence of revolutionary principles, this current, represented in particular by the KAPD in Germany, the KAPN in Holland, and the left of the Communist Party of Italy animated by Bordiga, came out against the International's policies on questions like participation in elections and trade unions, the formation of 'united fronts' with social democracy, and support for national liberation struggles. It was against the positions of the communist left that Lenin wrote his pamphlet Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder; and this text drew a response in Reply to Lenin, written by one of the main figures of the Dutch left, Herman Gorter.

1920: The Programme of the KAPD

With the publication of the 1920 programme of the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD), we complete the section of this series devoted to the communist party programmes which came out during to the communist party programmes which came out during the height of the revolutionary wave (see International Review no.93, the 1918 programme of the KPD; International Review no.94, the platform of the Communist International; International Review no.95, the programme of the Russian Communist Party).


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