Wolfgang Weber
Poland 1980-1981: The Solidarity Movement and the Perspective of Political Revolution

The Betrayal of the Polish Working Class by the Pabloites

Pabloism—35 Years of Betrayal of the Polish Revolution

At the start of the 1950s, the then-secretary of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, Michel Pablo, with the support of Ernest Mandel, developed the perspective that the Stalinist bureaucracy or sections of it, under the pressure of the working class, would perform a progressive and even revolutionary role. Hence, the Stalinists would no longer play an out-and-out counterrevolutionary role and form the chief prop of imperialism’s continued world rule, as Trotsky had analyzed. An “irresistible process” of concessions to the working class, an evolutionary “self-reform of the bureaucracy,” would finally end with the complete abolition of the bureaucracy, according to these revisionists.

On the basis of a mechanical, vulgar materialist conception of the relationship between the material foundations of society in its production relations and of the development of the productive forces organized within them on the one side, and its ideological superstructure on the other, Pablo transformed the class struggle into a series of unstoppable objective processes. Accordingly, the masses, in correspondence with the development of the productive forces, would stride inexorably forward and, out of their spontaneous struggle, create a revolutionary leadership for themselves, and then one fine day they would “sweep away the capitalists in the West and the bureaucrats in the East.”

The task of “Trotskyists”—that is how the Pabloites deceptively continue to characterize themselves—consequently, is no longer to struggle against the spontaneous, bourgeois consciousness of the working class for scientific socialist consciousness and against reformist illusions and nationalistic narrowness in favor of the perspective of proletarian world revolution. Instead, they merely feel it is their obligation to comment on the “unstoppable process of the revolution” and to describe the alleged “Leninist factions” in the Stalinist bureaucracy or to discover for themselves the “revolutionary nuclei” being formed in the spontaneous struggle of the working class and to subordinate the entire class to these nuclei![1]

The Polish working class had to endure through its own bitter experience the results of these policies championed by the Pabloites. In the resolution of the Pabloite World Congress in 1957, “Rise, Decline and Perspectives for the Fall of Stalinism,” the following is proclaimed:

“The degree to which the left tendency [in the Polish Stalinist party!] remains faithful to its programme, applies it in practice, and binds itself ever more closely to the proletariat, will determine its capacity to fulfill completely the role of Leninist guide to the Polish working class....

“By its manifold connections with the proletariat ... by the clarity of its criticism of Stalinism, which came quite close to revolutionary Marxism ... by its programme of mobilizing the workers ... the left tendency, which associated itself with the centrist fraction of Gomulka in overthrowing the Stalinist leadership of the Polish CP, can be considered ... as a nucleus for the now forming revolutionary Marxist leadership of the Polish proletariat.”[2]

This resolution was adopted in October 1957, after Gomulka, far from having overthrown the Stalinist bureaucracy, had in fact saved it from the revolutionary uprisings in Poland and in the meantime had cancelled all the tactical concessions and reforms of 1956, had rendered the workers’ councils established in that year powerless and had crushed the strike of the street car workers in Lodz. Twelve years later, Gomulka called out the tanks and ordered them to shoot down the striking workers of the coastal cities. Shortly afterwards the last representatives of the so-called left tendency, such as Kuron and Modzelewski, began to reveal the real content of their “left” perspective, using all the resources at their command to restrain the working class from overthrowing the bureaucracy.

The monument erected by Solidarity in Gdansk in memory of the workers slain at that time, also serves therefore as a warning to the working class against all those who, like the Pabloites, seek to awaken hopes and illusions in the bureaucracy or in its so-called left tendencies.

The Pabloite Winfried Wolf

Winfried Wolf, a leading member of the Pabloite Gruppe Internationaler Marxisten (“Group of Internationalist Marxists” or GIM) in West Germany, to this very day supports the 1957 resolution, “Rise, Decline and Perspectives for the Fall of Stalinism.” In 1986, the GIM merged with the Stalinist KPD (earlier KPD/ML), the most odious remnants of the old student movement, to form the VSP (Vereinigte Sozialistische Partei or “United Socialist Party”). In his book on Solidarity, he expressly refers to this resolution which glorifies Gomulka, and adds, “it would be sheer simplification to dismiss it on the basis of current perspectives as an ‘illusion in Stalinism.’ ”[3]

Here of course he is silent about the conscious propagation of these “illusions in Stalinism” and the betrayal of the working class associated with them by Pablo and Mandel. More than that, he conceals that these illusions and betrayal were fought against by the Trotskyist movement at that time, in the 1950s. In the course of that struggle, the split in 1953 and the founding of the International Committee of the Fourth International in defense of the principles and perspectives of Trotskyism became necessary. Even today, Winfried Wolf continues to insist that “the rise of a revolutionary minority wing [in the Stalinist Party of a deformed workers’ state], comparable to the ‘October-Lefts’ of 1956 in Poland or the Petofi Circle’ of 1956 in Hungary, is still conceivable. ”[4]

There is only one difficulty the Pabloites have with this line on the struggle of Solidarity in 1980-81: neither Winfried Wolf, rummaging through bourgeois newspapers, on whose reports of events he depends for his verbose descriptions (well impregnated with the academic sociology of Ernest Mandel), nor Jakob Moneta, also a leading member of GIM who visited Poland with a group of revisionists in December 1980, was able to uncover in the PUWP (Polish Stalinist party) “any wing connected to the proletariat,” to which the working class could have subordinated itself. Following the struggles of 1956, 1968, 1970 and 1976, the working class of Poland had not, it is true, spontaneously developed a perspective or confidence in being able to shake off the Stalinist regime. But likewise, it placed no illusions or hopes in alleged “left tendencies” within the bureaucracy. Attempts by a few factory and regional PUWP functionaries, associated with the so-called Movement for Horizontal Structures, to democratize the party were interpreted as conscious deceptions precisely because of the workers’ experience with the “October Lefts” in 1956. In his efforts to adapt the Pabloite betrayal to these new developments in the class struggle, Wolf found the following solution to the problem:

“The very formation of such a wing that comes close to revolutionary Marxist positions is hardly conceivable without the existence of a revolutionary, organized force outside the CP. This is more than ever the case if such a wing is consistently to carry out a further development and practice, that is, if it is to act openly as a revolutionary party.

“Hence, the process of constructing a revolutionary party cannot be thought of as mere reform in the sense of ‘revolutionizing’ the CP, but rather as a regroupment process between such a left wing of the party and an existing revolutionary nucleus outside of the party of the bureaucracy (to the extent that such a wing in the CP materializes at all and a revolutionary organization develops from more than just the forces on the outside).”[5]

So the only task remaining for the Pabloites is to ferret out such a “revolutionary nucleus,” developing spontaneously from the struggles of the working class “outside of the party of the bureaucracy,” so as to subordinate the working class and its perspectives to this nucleus. In Poland, they discovered it in the “Movement for Self-Management” or “Workers’ SelfManagement.”

The Reformist Content of the “Movement for Self-Management”

The demand for workers’ control of production and distribution of consumer goods already played an important role in 1956. It did so again in 1980-81 in the struggle of Solidarity against the Stalinist bureaucracy, from the “21 demands of Gdansk” up to the congress of the union in the autumn of 1981. Since these demands for workers’ democracy and workers’ control, which are at the basis of socialism, cannot be realized without overthrowing the bureaucracy, they constitute an important element of the program for the political revolution. However, without this revolutionary perspective directed toward the strength and mobilization of the international proletariat, even the most polished and radical concepts and models of workers’ self-management end up with a totally opposite orientation. Of necessity, it means the subordination of the working class to the Stalinist bureaucracy.

Particularly after March 1981, when the confrontations between Solidarity and the government came to a head, various political tendencies which developed and advocated such reformist programs of “self-management” appeared in the union.

The “Net”

Leading members of Solidarity in the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk, especially the intellectual Jerzy Milewski, took the initiative in forming a “Net” (Siec), an alliance of elected representatives from the factories. Within its structure, concepts for total workers’ self-management were to be developed independently of the state, the party and even the union. Self-management, according to the “Net,” which 17 large plants had already joined by the summer of 1981, was to function on the basis of autonomous, rank-and-file democracy in all questions, including the appointment of factory management and matters concerned with production plans and methods.

This idea found favor with the workers, who were filled with hatred for the factory directors, Stalinist trade union functionaries and other flunkeys of the government and for the regime’s “plans.” But it meant an avoidance of the conflict with the ruling bureaucracy and submission to its power. The “Net” transformed the justified opposition against bureaucratic abuse of the centrally planned economy into an opposition against centralized planning as such. It did not seek to wrest control of total national centralized economic planning from the bureaucracy and free this planning from the deterioration caused by corruption, parasitic interests, bureaucratic shortsightedness and callousness. Such a fight would have paved the way for the active participation of masses of workers on all levels of planning and, hence, for the adjustment of planning to the needs and long-term interests of the working class. In rejecting this fight, however, the “Net” enabled even right-wing “experts,” such as Professor Stefan Kurowski, to exert influence in support of the extension of the private economic sector, as well as the introduction of a market economy in industry.

By breaking down scientific centralized planning to the point where it had been for years pure fiction, the Stalinist bureaucracy itself provided the starting point for all the conceptions of the “Net.” Planning quotas for the factories served mainly to intensify harassment of workers. The meeting of target goals was impossible due to the scarcity of supplies, raw materials and spare parts or was completely futile because of the lack of coordination with warehouses for the finished product, poor or absent storage facilities and difficulties in the distribution of the completed product.

From this, the “Net” concluded that centralized planning as such had to be eliminated or replaced by nonbinding prognoses and recommendations. It came to this conclusion because it saw no prospect of eliminating the cause of this mismanagement and distortion, the Stalinist bureaucracy. This kind of reaction is like the treatment of a person suffering from a brain tumor by a doctor who, because he lacks or rejects the technique of removing a cancerous abscess, proposes to paralyze the central nervous system by cutting through the spinal cord.

In addition, the “Net” advocated that all prices should be based on the interplay of supply and demand, and that plants be operated as independent units with self-financing, thus competing with one another. According to Articles 7 and 19 of a “proposed law for social enterprises”[6] elaborated by the “Net,” the enterprises would also have the right to conclude autonomous trade and merger agreements with capitalist foreign firms.

Restricting self-management to the individual factory precinct undermines the foundations of the workers’ state and, with its attack on planned economy and on the monopoly of foreign trade, opens the gates wide to the profit interests of capitalism. Far from aiding the emancipation of the working class from bureaucratic regimentation, this route could, contrary to the intentions of its advocates, be taken by the bureaucracy itself to solve the economic crisis at the expense of workers and to secure its privileged position and system of rule.

Thus today there are to be found many elements of the “Net” plan in Gorbachev’s perestroika (“restructuring”): the weakening of the monopoly of foreign trade and the principle of self-financing of plants with all of its consequences, such as wage reductions and layoffs in cases of “unprofitability” or insolvency. Gorbachev is prepared to grant even more “democratic selfmanagement” because it in no way endangers the bureaucracy’s power and control over the “self-managed factories” and its position in the apparatus of the state and government. By implementing these “reforms,” the bureaucracy will even be somewhat removed from the line of fire coming from the working class, because the organs of self-management under the pressure of self-financing, of “free access” to the world market, of competition between plants will be holding the whip over the work force in a quite “democratic” and, hence, much more effective manner. Beyond this, the organs of self-management, using bonuses and profit sharing, will necessarily corrupt the highest, most skilled layers of the working class and thus aid in broadening the social basis and following of the hated and socially isolated bureaucracy.

The Lublin Group

The National Reconciliation Commission, the leading body of Solidarity, on the advice of the “experts,” examined and found the concepts of the “Net” to be compatible with their policy of the “self-curtailment of the revolution.” At the delegated congress of Solidarity, they spoke in favor of the full adoption of the “Net’s” proposals into the program of the union. However, as a kind of left alternative to “Net,” the “Working Group for Trans-Regional Collaboration of Workers’ Councils,” or in short, the “Lublin Group,” appeared on the scene. Their program was strongly influenced by a circle of intellectuals around Henryk Szlajfer, the “Forum August ’80.” The group had also won some support in the industrial plants of Upper Silesia, Lodz, Lublin and Warsaw.

Szlajfer and the other representatives of this group held firm to the necessity of transregional and total national economic planning under workers’ control. In addition, they championed, to a degree, more radical forms of trade union struggle such as the so-called active strike, by which workers would bring production under their control on the shop floor. Their programmatic demands at the union’s congress constituted the platform of those delegates who were in opposition to the right-wing course of Walesa and the “experts.”

Despite the sharp disagreements between the “Net” and “Lublin Group” before and during the congress, both tendencies finally engaged in joint collaboration because a common perspective united them: reformism. Rejecting proletarian internationalism, they advocated petty-bourgeois nationalism, which viewed Western imperialism and the Moscow bureaucracy as omnipotent and unconquerable “power blocs” in the world and as two immutable factors determining “the geopolitical position of Poland.” Therefore, they accepted the rule of the Stalinist bureaucracy in Poland as given and inviolable.

While the “Net,” by limiting self-management to the factory level, acquiesced from the first in the control by the bureaucracy of the state and of all the economic and political instruments of power, the “Lublin Group” hoped to achieve workers’ control over the entire economy by means of a “second chamber of the Sejm” (the Polish parliament), a kind of workers’ chamber consisting of representatives of the individual workers’ councils and organs of self-management. In any case, it would cooperate with the Stalinist-controlled parliament and be a component part of the whole governmental system.

The Pabloites gave both tendencies of this “Movement for Self-Management” extensive and uncritical support,[7] especially the “Forum August ’80” and Henryk Szlajfer, a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences [!], who consciously harkened back to the program of the Stalinist “October Lefts” of 1956. Like the October Lefts, Szlajfer aimed not at the overthrow of the Stalinist bureaucracy by the working class, but at its self-reform to be achieved by the movement toward and under the pressure of workers’ self-management: the members of the Stalinist party were to demonstrate “in the unions and in the organs of self-management and in the representative bodies of the active members” their “leading role.” It would depend on them and particularly on the members in the large plants “as to whether the party would be in a position to reform itself.”[8]

Jakob Moneta’s Letter

The Pabloites not only provided a forum for these reformist ideologues of self-management in their press, but expressly strengthened the Solidarity leaders in pursuit of this course. After his visit to the Lenin Shipyards, Fiat and the Ursus Works, Jakob Moneta wrote a letter to the representatives of Solidarity:

“The government would gladly transfer some rights of co-decision and co-responsibility to you, a matter that, as you correctly fear, could well be used to saddle you with the responsibility for the crisis.... On the other hand, no one in the long run will understand why you only criticize the government without offering your own proposals [!]....

“Thus we believe that what is required is first of all an extension of workers’ control in the factories.... A production plan must be developed and discussed on the plant level [!]. It is not only the ‘experts’ and delegates of the enterprises who should discuss these plans.... Delegates of the regions and factories should establish the priorities for a centralized plan on a national level.

“These discussions should also be conducted publicly in your press without concealing the fact that, for example, the decision on larger investments in agriculture or in home construction, in the areas of health and education carries with it the implication that everyone, as an illustration, must expect a longer wait for a private car or other goods.”[9]

The political content of this letter’s perspectives becomes especially clear if it is contrasted with the letter written by the Fourth International to the leaders and members of the Yugoslavian Communist Party on July 13, 1948, concerning the political alternatives open to the Yugoslavian working class after the rupture between Tito and Stalin in the face of the political and economic attacks by the Kremlin bureaucracy:

“The first road open to you would be to consider that despite the serious injuries dealt you by the leaders of the Russian Communist Party, it is above all necessary today, in the present world situation, to maintain a complete monolithic unity with the policies and ideology of the Russian Communist Party.

“Such a decision would be in our opinion an irreparable and tragic error and would do the greatest damage, not only to your own party and your own working class, but to the international proletariat and communist movement, above all to the workers of the USSR....

“A second road will be certainly suggested, consisting essentially of retiring into Yugoslavia, repelling the attacks and the eventual violence and provocations of the Cominform and its agents, and attempting to ‘build socialism’ in your own country, while concluding trade relations with the powers of Eastern Europe, as well as with those of the imperialist West. We will not conceal from you, Comrades, that we consider this second road just as pernicious as the first....

“Finally, there remains the third road, the most difficult, bristling with the most obstacles, the genuine communist road for the Yugoslav party and proletariat. This road is the road of return to the Leninist conception of socialist revolution, of return to a world strategy of class struggle. It must start, in our opinion, with a clear understanding of the fact that the Yugoslav revolutionary forces can only become stronger and consolidate their positions thanks to the conscious support of the working masses of their own country and of the entire world. It means above all to understand that the decisive force on the world arena is neither imperialism with its resources and arms, nor the Russian state with its formidable apparatus. The decisive force is the immense army of workers, of poor peasants and of colonial peoples, whose revolt against their exploiters is steadily rising, and who need only a conscious leadership, a suitable program of action and an effective organization in order to bring the enormous task of world socialist revolution to a successful conclusion.

“We do not presume to offer you a blueprint. We understand the tremendous difficulties which you must contend with in a poorly equipped country which has been devastated by war. We desire only to point out to you what are, in our opinion, the main lines through which to concretize this international revolutionary policy—the only policy which will enable you to hold out while waiting for new struggles of the masses, to stimulate them and to conquer with them.”[10]

It is obvious that the policies of the Pabloites, like all the concepts of self-management so highly praised by them, do not follow the path of communism, but rather the path of “building socialism in your own country.” Thus, they not only subordinate the working class to the Stalinist bureaucracy, but also lead it to dependence on imperialism and its corporations and banks. The latter merely lie in wait to gain a foothold in the self-governed plants and take advantage of their autonomous trade relations and financial requirements to establish again a base of financial operations directly in Eastern Europe or even in the Soviet Union itself, to set into motion the accumulation of private capital in those countries and to subject the working class there to their direct profit interests. Yugoslavia, which has been carrying out factory self-management and which in 1948, against the advice of the Fourth International, adopted a national course of “building socialism in its own country,” demonstrates today by its mass unemployment, its gigantic foreign debt and its subjection to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund, the drastic results of this national course.

The “Regroupment Process” in Poland Preparations for a New Betrayal

Today, too, seven years after the crushing of Solidarity by the military regime of Jaruzelski, the Pabloites are working vigorously to direct a fresh revolutionary development in the Polish working class into the same reactionary channel. In the International Pres-sekorrespondenz (Inprekorr) No. 188, December 1986, they announced the “founding of a revolutionary party” in Poland, the “Workers Party of the Autonomous Republic—RPSR,” which they obviously view as a new “revolutionary nucleus” holding “positions coming very close to revolutionary Marxism,” a group they would like to see become affiliated to the United Secretariat.

The program of this party[11] is distinguished by the fact that it unites everything—and all within itself to boot—having to do with nationalist and anticommunist concepts spawned in the last 30 years by “reform Stalinists” like the “October Lefts,” by pseudo-Marxists like Kurori and Modzelewski and by “advisers” and “experts” of Solidarity disguised by “Marxist” or “antibureaucratic” phrases. It begins with the national independence of Poland as its first target, not with the world socialist revolution. It continues with a description of the bureaucracy as a ruling, exploiting class, then, of course, comes out in favor of the “autonomous republic”—not for the dictatorship of the proletariat! It sees the force for the “overthrow of the totalitarian bureaucracy” in the “collaboration and coordination of the progressive movements which ... struggle for a united independent Germany.” [sic!] The platform, finally, professes pacifism and ends by repeatedly emphasizing that the path to socialism can only pass through national independence.

There is no doubt that the Pabloites are preparing an even greater betrayal of the Polish working class by their support for this right-wing party and its “regroupment process.” Once again, during the next uprisings against the Stalinist bureaucracy, credibility is to be conferred on the reformist program of self-management and “national independence” by the Pabloite “International’s” warranty of legitimacy and its “Trotskyist” phrases, so that the working class can once more be made to play second fiddle to the bureaucracy.

Winfried Wolfs three-volume work also serves this purpose. In it he misses no opportunity to present the weakness of Solidarity, the limitation of its spontaneous consciousness, the reformist, nationalist character of its political tendencies and the powerful influence of the Catholic Church among the masses as irrelevant or even as “revolutionary progress” in the immutable, objective process of history.

Thus he praises the “Lublin Group” and its version of national reforms through workers’ councils: “worker self-management and the centralization of the workers’ councils held the only forward-looking perspective. Once again, it was social practice that led to progress on the revolutionary road.”[12]

He even has the effrontery to hail the proposal of a “second chamber of the Sejm” as the highest body of workers’ self-management, whose “realization is tantamount to the establishment of well-developed dual power.”[13]

In writing this, Wolf distorts an important concept of scientific Marxism, which has been developed particularly in light of the experiences and lessons of the October Revolution of 1917.[14] In so doing, Wolf cynically deceives the working class as to the character of the program of its reformist leaders and to the real revolutionary tasks it faces. For Marxists, dual power represents a decisive but unstable and merely transitory phase in the class struggle, during which the rising, revolutionary class already possesses its own independent organs of power and is in the process of overthrowing the still existing institutions and organs of power of the old ruling regime. Wolf, by using this formulation, lends a revolutionary veneer to a thoroughly reformist idea, in which the workers’ chamber can hardly be more than a constitutional vehicle of pressure or “counterweight” to the bureaucracy. If it materialized, it would signify nothing more than that the “workers’ representatives” would be fully integrated into the Stalinist governmental apparatus or would have to wait humbly and in vain for benevolent recognition by the government, the courts and parliament.

The Struggle for Marxist Consciousness

To cap the Pabloite confusion and falsification of Marxism, Wolf denies the most important lesson from the struggle and defeat of Solidarity: the necessity to struggle against spontaneous, reformist consciousness while fighting for Marxist consciousness, for the program of the political revolution and the goals of the world revolution. In his “10 Theses” in the chapter “Poland is not yet lost,” he addresses the fact that the working class in Poland had no Marxist leadership: “What counts is not what the revolutionary actors think—it is only their action that is decisive.”[15]

Since Bernstein’s “The movement is everything; the final goal is nothing!” this has been the battle cry of all opportunists, who subordinate the working class to spontaneous, bourgeois consciousness and thus to the existing forces of authority. However, in order to give himself and his Pabloite theories the semblance of a Marxist underpinning and of historical materialism, Winfried Wolf writes that Karl Marx, in his work The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, clarified this contradiction between the “socialist character of the revolutionary process” and the religious and un-Marxist thinking of the working class and its leaders. He cites that well-known quotation: “precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle slogans and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honored disguise and this borrowed language....”[16]

With this quotation or rather fragment of a quotation, Wolf tries to present the dominance of religion, nationalism, and reformism in the working class and in its leadership as “materialistically grounded in history,” hence as legitimate and fully sufficient, because “the demonstrable and verifiable dynamic of development, i.e., the objective direction of motion of the Polish revolution [provides proof] of its proletarian and, in its goal, socialist character.”[17]

After Wolf had just conceded and expressly declared as irrelevant the fact that the thinking of the “revolutionary actors” was not socialist, that there was no socialist aim in their heads, he now contends that such a goal was present, to be sure, not in the consciousness of men, but in the “objective direction of motion” of the revolution. Where this mystical “socialist aim,” lying outside human consciousness, has its source—on that Wolf is silent. One can only conjecture that Winfried Wolf like Lech Walesa believes in the Holy Ghost, which in all likelihood must have conferred this “socialist aim” on “the objective process” through the mediation of Pope Woytyla.

Whatever Wolf may believe, the cloak of historical materialism, which he drapes over his abstruse new edition of Pablo’s conception of “objective, inexorably revolutionary processes,” rests on deception. In reality, Karl Marx in these early paragraphs of his famous work, from which Wolf snatches half a sentence, speaks not of revolutionary processes in general, but quite specifically, of bourgeois revolutions. He explains that the heroes, parties and masses of the great French Revolution in Roman costumes and with Roman phrases had accomplished the task of their period, the establishment of modern bourgeois society:

“And in the classically austere traditions of the Roman Republic, its gladiators found the ideals and the art forms, the self-deceptions that they needed in order to conceal from themselves the bourgeois limitations of the content of their struggles and to keep their passion at the height of the great historical tragedy. Similarly, at another stage of development, a century earlier, Cromwell and the English people had borrowed speech, passions and illusions from the Old Testament for their bourgeois revolution. When the real aim had been achieved, when the bourgeois transformation of English society had been accomplished, Locke supplanted Ha-bakkuk.

“The awakening of the dead in those revolutions therefore served the purpose of glorifying the new struggles, not of parodying the old; of magnifying the given tasks in imagination, not of taking flight from their solution in reality; of finding once more the spirit of revolution, not of making its ghost walk again.”[18]

Then Marx refers to the “salient difference” existing between the bourgeois and proletarian revolutions, which Wolf blurs and denies by his deceptive mutilation of the quote:

“The social revolution of the Nineteenth Century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself, before it has stripped off all superstition in regard to the past. Earlier revolutions required world-historical recollections in order to drug themselves concerning their own content. In order to arrive at its own content, the revolution of the Nineteenth Century must let the dead bury their dead.”[19]

In other words, just as in the nineteenth century, so today too, in the twentieth century, the proletarian revolution is on the agenda: the socialist revolution in the capitalist countries and the political revolution in the degenerated and deformed workers’ states. This proletarian revolution cannot triumph without the proletariat freeing itself through its political leadership from the domination of religion, bourgeois and nationalist conceptions and without its attaining a scientific, Marxist consciousness concerning the content of this revolution and its own historical tasks.


Fourth International, Winter 1958, p. 63ff.


Ibid. Quoted also by Steffie Engert and Winfried Wolf; Der lange Sommer der Solidaritat (Frankfurt/M.: 1981), vol. I; p. 122.


Engert and Wolf, pp. 121 -22.


Engert and Wolf, pp. 123-24.


Engert and Wolf, p. 124.


Buscher, p. 220ff.


Compare in this connection the publications of the Pabloites, as for example, Internationale Pressekorrespondenz (Inprekorr) or Intercontinental Press.


Buscher, p. 68.


Unpublished letter, cited by Engert and Wolf, vol. 3, p. 30.


Fourth International, August 1948, p. 179ff.


See Internationale Pressekorrespondenz, no. 188, December 1986, pp. 14-5.


Engert and Wolf, vol. 3, p. 139.


Engert and Wolf, p. 44.


Compare Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution (London: Pluto Press, 1977), 3 vols., 1:223-32.


Engert and Wolf, vol. 3, p. 270.


Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (New York: International Publishers), Marxist Library, vol. 35, n.d., p. 13; cited in Engert/Wolf, op. cit., ibid.


Engert and Wolf, emphasis in the original.


Karl Marx, pp. 14-15.


Karl Marx, p. 16.