Richard Müller

The revolutionary syndicalist movement in the German revolution, 1918-19

The previous article gave an overview of the efforts of the revolutionary syndicalist current in Germany to defend an internationalist position against the war of 1914-18. The Free Union of German Trade Unions (Freie Vereinigung Deutscher Gewerkschaften - FVDG) had survived the war with only a few hundred members in hiding who, under conditions of brutal repression, were, like other revolutionaries, most of the time condemned to silence. But late in 1918 events came to a head in Germany. When the struggles broke out in November 1918, the spark from the Russian revolution of October 1917 ignited the mass action of the proletariat in Germany.

Germany 1918-19 (iv): Civil War

In the first three parts of our series on the German Revolution of 1918-19 we showed how, after the collapse of the Socialist International faced with World War I, the tide turned in favour of the proletariat, culminating in the November Revolution of 1918, which, like the October Revolution in Russia the previous year, was the high point of an uprising against the imperialist war. Whereas October represented the first mighty blow of the working class against the "Great War", it was the action of the German proletariat which finally brought it to an end.

Germany 1918-19 (i): Faced with the war, the revolutionary proletariat renews its internationalist principles

It is 90 years since the proletarian revolution reached its tragic culmination point with the struggles of 1918 and 1919 in Germany. After the heroic seizure of power by the Russian proletariat in October 1917, the central battlefield of the world revolution shifted to Germany. There, the decisive struggle was waged and lost. The world bourgeoisie has always wanted to sink these events into historical oblivion. To the extent that it cannot deny that struggles took place, it pretends that they only aimed at "peace" and "democracy" - at the blissful conditions presently reigning in capitalist Germany. The goal of the series of articles we are beginning here is to show that the revolutionary movement in Germany brought the bourgeoisie in the central country of European capitalism close to the brink of the loss of its class rule. Despite its defeat, the revolution in Germany, like that in Russia, is an encouragement to us today. It reminds us that it is not only necessary but possible to topple the rule of world capitalism.

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