Gregory Zinoviev

The Last Illusion Gone

(23 November 1923)

Source: Workers’ Weekly, November 23, 1923.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Brian Reid.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The German revolution has reached the phase of extreme tension. After the strikes of August, 1923, all hopes for a peaceful settlement of the crisis disappeared. But the German workers still retained one illusion: they hoped that the Social-Democrats of the left wing would be with them, on the same side of the barricades, against the bourgeoisie. The events of the past fortnight have swept away this illusion.

There are many to whom this lesson was necessary.

The Fascist Kahr occupies Bavaria. How do the official Social Democrats answer this? By handing over the rest of Germany to the dictatorship of the Generals!

With regard to Saxony, it employs other tactics. Saxony is the first State where the workers have succeeded in spite of enormous difficulties, in creating even a feeble workers’ government. And against this workers’ government Ebert, a Social-Democrat, gives full powers to the bourgeois Prime Minister Stresemann and to General Muller. Gessler, sitting side by side with the Social Democrats in the government, gathers 60,000 men of the Reichswehr and throws them against Saxony. Scheffel, the President of the Railwaymen’s Union in Berlin, declares that the troops are not sent against Saxony but against Bavaria, and takes steps to prevent the least hindrance to their transport.

It is only when the troops are already in Saxony, where they have the Saxon workers by the throat, that the Social Democrats, Ditmann and Hilferding go down to negotiate with the Social-Democrat Premier Zeigner.

On October 21, at the congress of Worker’ Councils at Chemnitz, the Communists, foreseeing the attack that was coming, propose the immediate proclamation of a general strike; the Social-Democrats “of the left wing,” led by this same Zeigner, fight this proposal, and in this way prepare the way for General von Seeckt.

When the crime is accomplished, and the Workers’ Ministers have been fired out, it is the Social Democrat Fellisch and the old Social-Democrat bureaucrat Lipinski who take the place of Zeigner at the head of the “new” government.

And when the workers, in their indignation, send delegations to the National Council of the Unions, it is Leipart, the head of this body, also a Social Democrat, who receives them with the extreme politeness and “explains” to them that the trade unions cannot mix up in politics (to support Stresemann and the Fascisti is, of course, not to mix in politics at all).

When the Social-Democratic Federation of Berlin demands that the Vorwaerts should cease to be yellow and should “go red,” the leaders of the right and “left” meet and take a solemn decision: the morning edition shall, as formerly, be produced by the right wing, the evening edition by the left! In other words, in the morning the central organ of the Party will support, without any reservations, the bourgeoisie and the White Generals; in the evening it will do so with reservations!

At Hamburg, the workers fought heroically. A large number of Social Democratic workers came into line against the bourgeoisie, showing as much heroism as the Communist workers. But the Social-Democrat leaders helped the counter-revolution to drown the movement in blood. The Social-Democrat President, Ebert, congratulated the police with ostentation, and the Social-Democrat representatives in Hamburg did the same. Could one ask for any clearer demonstration of how things stand?

Ebert, Noske, Wels, Severing, Zeigner, Paul Levy, Crispien, Rosenfeld, Fellinch, Leipart, Lipinski ... Take your choice. A pretty crowd, this!

A more ignoble betrayal of the workers of the world has never been seen.

Zinoviev Archive

Last updated: 3 May 1923