Saturday, March 03, 2012

In Boston-Veterans For Peace "Call for Help"-Saint Patrick's Peace Parade-March 18th

Veterans For Peace "Call for Help"-Saint Patrick's Peace Parade

Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice

When: Sunday, March 18 Where: South Boston

Please join us for our Second Annual Saint Patrick's Peace Parade, the

Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice.

Once again, both Veterans for Peace and Join the Impact (GLBT) have been denied to walk in the traditional Saint Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston. Last year they gave us a reason for the denial, "They did not want the word Peace associated with the word Veteran". Well last year, in three weeks time, we pulled our own permit and had our own parade with 500 participants. We had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. We had lead cars with our older vets as Grand Marshals, Vets For Peace, MFSO, Code Pink and numerous other local peace groups.

Seventeen years ago the gay and bisexual groups in Boston were also denied. They were the first groups we reached out to and invited them to walk in our parade. Last year we had Join the Impact with us. We also had church / religious groups, and labor. Last year we stole the press, it was a controversy and we received front page coverage and editorial articles in all of the major newspapers, radio and television reports.

This year we anticipate 2,000 people in our parade, multiple bands, we have a Duck Boat, the Ragging Grannies will be singing from the top of the boat. We have a trolley for older folks not able to walk. We will have multiple street bands, a large religious division, a large labor division and "Occupy Everywhere" division, including Occupy Boston and numerous other Occupy groups.

All we need is you, your VFP chapter, peace groups, GLBT groups, religious and labor groups and Occupy groups. Please come to Boston and join us in this fabulous parade.

Please see the attached flyer and a description of the Saint Patrick's Peace Parade, it's history and where we are.

Please view these two short videos of our parade last year. http;// SpQNW-7 s

Our small parade captured the imagination of the people of Boston, resulting in tremendous coverage, front-page articles in the major newspapers, the Boston Globe, The Metro, television coverage and some interesting editorials. Here is one by Marjorie Egan of the Boston Herald

2011-03-20.BH.Backwards March by Margery Eagan.pdf (26KB)

On behalf of the Saint Patrick's Peace Parade Organizing Committee.
Thank you, Peace,

Pat Scanlon (VN 69')
Coordinator, VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade 978-475-1776

From "United for Justice with Peace"-Boston-Drones: the New Frontier of Warfare and Spying-How should we respond!

Drones: the New Frontier of Warfare and Spying-How should we respond!

Bruce Gagnon - Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Nancy Hurray - American CivULiberties Union of Massachusetts
Matthew Hoey Military Space Transparency Project

Why are drones the US military's weapon of choice
for the future?

Are drones invulnerable to budget cuts?

Can drone warfare be conducted without the consent of Congress?

How can drones be used to spy on all Americans?

Is drone warfare legal?

UnitedforJusticewithPeace • 617-383-4857

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
7:OO pm
Cambridge Friends Meeting House
S Longfellow Park - near Harvard Square

U.S. use of drones for warfare and spying has'Uujpii igTOUtlherThe use of drones has increased dramatically under the Obama administration. Pentagon funding for drones is scheduled to increase by up to 60 percent while other programs are being cut. Drones have been used for targeted killings in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. One in three U.S. warplanes are now drone piloted. Drones have al been used for surveillance in the U.S.
Kept under a cloak of secrecy, this new tool for international warfare and
domestic surveillance, has far-reaching legal, financial and social
ramifications. Learn more about this new instrument of war and plan together
about how we can respond. ** ** £ »,*•* • 617-244-8054



a publlc forum sponsored by the International Socialist Organization \
(ph) 617-902-047$

Thursday, March 8


Freedom House

14 Crawford Street Dorchester MA 02121

"All my life, I believed that the fundamental struggle was Black versus white. Now I realize that it is the haves against the have-nots,"
— Malcolm X

In The Time Of Laura’s Time-Ms. LaVern Baker Is In The House- A CD Review

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of LaVern Baker performing her 1950s classic teen angst song,Tomorrow Night.

CD Review

LaVern Baker Soul On Fire: The Best Of LaVern Baker, Atlantic Records, 1991

“Tomorrow night, tomorrow night, will you still say the things you said tonight- a line from LaVern Baker’s song Tomorrow Night. A song from this compilation that triggered the following:

Walking down the narrow stairs leading to the admission booth at Jacky Fleet’s in old Harvard Square I was suddenly depressed by this thought-how many times lately had I walked down these very stairs looking, looking for what, looking, as Tom Waits says in his song, for the heart of Saturday night, looking recently every night from Monday to Sunday. Looking, not hard looking, not right now anyway after my last nitwit affair but looking for a man who at least had a job, didn’t have another girlfriend or ten, and who wanted to settle down a little, settle down with me a little. Yes, if you really need to know, want to know, I’ve got those late twenties getting just a touch worried old maid blues, and my parents, my straight arrow parents, my mother really, my father just keeps his own counsel between shots of whiskey, keeps badgering me about finding a nice young man. Yes, easy for you to say, Mother. And then she starts on the coming home and finding some farmer-grown boy from high school and X, Y, and Z still asks about me. No thanks, that is why I fled to Boston right after college, and not just because I wanted to get my social worker master’s degree like I told them. And so here I am walking down these skinny stairs again, sigh, yet again.

Jacky’s isn’t a bad place to hang your hat, as my father always likes to say when he finds that one or two places where he feels comfortable enough to stay more than ten minutes before getting the I’ve got to go water the greenhouse plants or something itch. Not a bad place for a woman, a twenty–eight year old woman with college degrees and some aims in life beyond some one-night stand every now and again, or women if my friend and roommate Priscilla decides she is man-hungry enough to make the trip to Harvard Square from the wilds of Watertown and can stand the heavy smoke, mainly cigarette smoke as far as I know, but after a few drinks who knows, that fills the air before half the night is over. Tonight Priscilla is with me because she has a “crush” on Albie St John, the lead singer for the local rock group The Haystraws. And the last time she was here he was giving her that look like he was game for something although he is known around as strictly a for fun guy. And that is okay with Priscilla because she has some guy back home who will marry her when she says the word.

Here is the funny thing though alone, or with Priscilla like tonight, this funky old bar is the only place around where a woman can find a guy who was the least bit presentable to the folks back home, wherever back home was. I’ve met a couple although like I said before things didn’t work out because they were one-night stand guys or already loaded down with girlfriends and I am in no mood to take a ticket. So you can see what desperate straits I am in trying to meet that right guy, or something close. My standards may be a little high for the times but I’m chipping away at then by the day.

Moreover, this place, this Jacky Fleet’s is the only place around that has the kind of music I like, a little country although not Grand Ole Opry country stuff like my parents like, a little bit folkie, kind of left-handed folkie, more like local favorite Eric Andersen folk rock, and a little old time let it rip 1950s rock and roll, like the Haystraws cover, that I never knew anything about when I was a kid since I never got past Rickey Nelson and Bobby Darin, darn him, out in the farm field sticks. Upstate New York, Centerville to be exact, not far out of Albany but it might as well have been a million miles away me picking my sting beans, tomatoes, and whatever else pa grew to keep us from hunger’s door. Not for me this disco stuff, not my style at all, although I love to dance and even took belly dancing lessons even though I am not voluptuous, more just left of skinny and really voluptuous Priscilla calls me “skinny”. Also my kind of guy never, never would wear an open shirt and some chainy medallion around his neck. Plus, a big plus, Jacky’s has a jukebox for intermissions filled with all kinds of odd-ball songs, real country stuff, late 1950s rock and roll (the Rickey Nelson/Bobby Vee/Bobby Darin stuff) that nobody but me probably ever heard of unless, of course, you were from Centerville, or a place like that.

After going through mandatory license check and admission fee stuff, saying “hi” to the waitresses that I know now by name, and Priscilla does too, and the regular bartenders as well we find our seats, kind of reserved seats for us where we can sit and not be hassled by guys, or be hassled if something interesting comes along. I have been in kind of a dry spell, outside the occasional minute affair if one could really call some of the things that, for about six months now since I started to work, work doing social work, my profession, if you need to know. That’s what I am trained to do anyway although when I first came to town a few years ago I was, as one beau back then said, “serving them off the arm” in a spaghetti joint over the other side of Cambridge. Strictly a family fare menu, and plenty of college guys, including a few who I wound up dating, low on funds doing the cheap Saturday night date circuit. All in all a “no tips” situation anyway you cut it, although plenty of guff, a lot of come ons, and extra helpings of “get me this and get me that.”

Before that out in Rochester in college and later after a short stop at hometown Centerville it was nothing but wanna-be cowboy losers, an occasionally low rent dope dealer, some wanna-be musicians, farmer brown farmers, and married guys looking for a little something on a cold night. Ya, I know, I asked for it but a girl gets cold and lonely too. Not just guys, not these days anyway. But I am still pitching, although very low-key that is my public style (some say, say right to my face, prim but that’s only to fend off the losers).

“Laura, what are you having, tonight honey?’ asked my “regular” waitress, Lannie, and then asked Priscilla the same. “Two Rusty Nails” we replied. Tonight, from a quick glance around the room even though it is a Columbus Day holiday night looked like it was going to be a hard-drinking night from the feel of it. That meant on my budget and my capacity about three drinks, max. About the same for Priscilla unless she s real man-hungry. But that is just between us, Lannie, as is her habit, knowing that we are good tippers (the bonds of waitress sisterhood as Priscilla has also “served them off the arm”) brought the drinks right away. And so we settled in get ready to listen to The Haystraws coming up in a while for their first set. Or rather I did Priscilla was looking, looking hard at Albie, and he was looking right back. I guess I will be driving home alone tonight. But as I settled in I noticed that some guy was playing the jukebox like crazy. Like crazy for real. He kept playing about three old timey LaVern Baker songs, Jim Dandy of course, and See See Rider but also about six times in a row her Tomorrow Night. I was kind of glad when the band, like I said, these really good rockers, The Haystraws, began their first set. And so the evening was off, good, bad, or indifferent.

About half way through the set I noticed this jukebox guy kept kind of looking at me, kind of checking me out without being rude about it. You know those little half looks and then look away kind of like kid hide-and-seek and back again. Now I have around long enough to know that I am not bad to look at even if I am a little skinny and I take time to get ready when I go out, especially lately, and although times have been tough lately I am easy to get to know but this guy kind of put me on my guard a little. He was about thirty, neatly bearded which I like and okay for looks, I have been with worst. But what I couldn’t figure, and it bothered me a little even when I tried to avoid his peeks (as he “avoided” mine) is why he was in this place.

Jacky’s, despite its locale in the heart of Harvard Square, is kind of an oasis for country girls like me, or half country girls like Priscilla (from upstate New York too, Utica) and guys the same way although once in a while a Harvard guy (or a guy who says he goes to Harvard. I have met some who made the claim who I don’t think could spell the name, I swear). This guy looked like Harvard Square was his home turf and if he found himself five feet from a street lamp, a library, or a bookstore, he would freak out big time. He might have been an old folkie, he had that feel, or maybe a bluesy kind of guy but he was strictly a city boy and was just cruising this joint.

At intermission Priscilla had to run to the ladies’ room and on the way this guy, Allan Jackson, as I found out later when he introduced himself to me, stopped her and said that her brunette friend looked very nice in her white pants and blouse. He then said to her that he would like to meet me. Priscilla, a veteran of the Laura wars (and I of hers), had the snappy answer ready, “Go introduce yourself, yourself.” And he did start to come over but I kind of turned away to avoid him just in case he had escaped from somewhere (ya, like I said before my luck has been running a little rough lately so I am a little gun-shy).

And this is the every first thing that Allan ever said to me. “I noticed that you kind of perked up when I played LaVern Baker’s Tomorrow Night. Have you been disappointed when things didn’t work out after that first night of promise too, like in the song?” Not an original line, but close. I answered almost automatically, “Yes.” Then he introduced himself and just kind of stood there not trying to sit down or anything like that waiting for me to make the next move as Priscilla came back and said she had run into Albie St. John and he wanted to talk to her (like she was doing him this big favor, like I said I am definitely driving home alone today) before the band came back for a second set. She left and Allan was still standing there, a little ill at ease from his look. Befuddled by his soft non-threatening manner, and soft manners, I was not sure if I wanted him to sit down but then I said, what the hell, he seems nice enough and at least he was not drunk. … And, yes, like you I want to know if tomorrow night when he calls, he is as nice as he was tonight and says some of those things he said tonight. I am hoping, no, double hoping so.

In Massachusetts-SAY NO TO 3 STRIKES LAW


The Governor of Massachusetts

Gov. Deval Patrick

Massachusetts State Hous Office of The Governor Office Office Of The Lt. Governor

Room 280 Boston. MA 02133

Phone: 617.725.4005 Fax: 617.727.9725

Tell Governor Patrick to Veto any "3 Strikes"
Habitual Offender Bill that comes across his desk!


Info & Updates:

From The Anti- "Citizens United" Front- The Struggle Against Corporate Personhood- A Call To Class War?

Markin comment:

As I have noted on other occasions many times I will place material in this space that I do not agree with. I will place it here as a matter of historical record or to give a more complete picture of the contemporary liberal-leftist scene "for those who come after". Sometimes I will comment, as here, sometimes not. I feel compelled to comment here because if
those who support this amendment business were really serious about social change rather than "band-aids" they would see that to eliminate corporate personhood would necessitate the need to run to the barricades of revolution. I will stick with my fuddie-duddie old fight for our communist future-thank you. We will get there faster.




To make politicians accountable, we propose the following:

Ask all members of Congress and congressional candidates to pledge their support for constitutional amendment to abolish all corporate "rights" created under the doctrine of corporate personhood.


Approach your members of Congress in public and private to ask if
they will take the pledge.

Circulate paper petitions calling on them to take the pledge. Let
them know they will have your support.

Help educate politicians and voters on the difference between an
amendment to strip corporations of "rights" that should belong
exclusively to We the People and amendments that would only
give Congress the power to regulate what should be illegal:
Corporate campaign donations.

Work with local groups to help people understand that all
progress toward social justice, environmental responsibility and
general prosperity depend on their working to end corporate
influence over the US government.

Pass resolutions in your political, social, church or other groups calling on your members of Congress to take the pledge.

If you receive a written pledge to amend, please notify us at As nonprofit organizations, neither TBA nor ACPN endorse or support any candidates.

Q: Wouldn't any amendment be an improvement?

A: NO! Giving Congress the power to regulate will NOT lead them to cut off the source of their campaign funding. Worse, it will implicitly enshrine corporate personhood in the constitution by acknowledging the "right" of corporations to contribute to campaigns.

Q: What other "rights" would be eliminated?

A: Corporations could not claim the right to avoid inspections by the FDA, EPA or other agencies charged with protecting the public, among other things. They would still have the privilege of limited liability.

Q: Why should we expect this amendment to pass?

A: By making support for a proper amendment a campaign issue, we can force incumbents and candidates to tell us whether they are working for us or corporations. If they don't support the amendment we can vote for candidates who will.

Q: Isn't campaign finance reform enough?

A: The Supreme Court gutted Arizona's model public financing law using the same twisted "free speech" argument that Citizens United was decided upon.

The only way to effectively introduce campaign finance reform is to abolish corporate personhood. The same amendment can establish the basis for public financing by abolishing all forms of bundled money and placing restrictions on individual donors.

From The Archives Of Today's Youth In Struggle- The Fight Against Layoffs-Fare Increase-Service Cuts In The Greater Boston MBTA System

Markin comment:

Good slogans but here is one that sums everything up- free, quality mass transportation now!


Join the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition

We Say: The State Needs To Fund The "T" Now- Stop The Hikes-Stop The Cuts
-Create A Youth Pass So We Can All Afford To Ride

2/13 4:30pm Rally and 6pm Hearing at Boston Public
Library (Copley)
2/14 4pm "Have a Heart" Action at State House
Testify at MBTA hearings (Find the schedule at

Find out how to take action at

Like "Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition" on facebook

Follow ©YouthWay on twitter

Your Opportuni "T" Is Under Attack!

Proposed HIKES

X Student Monthly LinkPass:
$40, 100% increase

X Student Charlie Card, Bus:
$1.10/ride, 83.3% increase

X Student Charlie Card, Train:
$1.50/ride, 76.5% increase

X Regular fare, Bus: $2.25,
50% increase

X Regular fare, Train, $3.00,
50% increase

X Huge increases for Seniors
& Disabled

Proposed Service Cuts

X No Night or Weekend Service on the Commuter Rail, Green Line E Branch, or Mattapan Trolley

X Elimination of 101 Bus Lines (Check if yours will be gone: www.YouthWayontheMBTA. org/YAC)

If the MBTA proposals pass, will you be able to get to:
any place?

Did you know the MBTA's debt was created by the State House?

Did you know your T fares pay for Big Dig debt?

Why should youth and students have to pay?! [Markin: Why, indeed]


On The 50th Anniversary Of Publication Of Michael Harrington's "The Other America"- A Personal Note On The Class Struggle

Reposted from the American Left History blog

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

*Labor's Untold Story- A Personal View Of The Class Wars In The Kentucky Hills And Hollows-At One Remove

Click on title to link to a YouTube film clip of Iris Dement performing Pretty Saro in the film Songcatcher. This song is presented just an example of her singing style as I could not find a film clip of her doing These Hills which, as will be explained below, was the song I was thinking of as background for what I am writing about in today's commentary. (I have placed the lyrics to These Hills below but the written words hardly do justice to her performance and mood of the song.)

As I end, for this year, the over month long series entitled Labor's Untold Story in celebration of our common labor struggles I am in something of a reflective and pensive mood. Well you know that every once in a while that happens even to the most hardened politico, right? I have heard that even President Obama had such a moment about four years ago although it literally was just one moment, sixty-six seconds according to one inside source, an anonymous source because he, or she, is not authorized to give such classified information in the interest of national security, the bourgeoisie’s national security to be exact. Rumor also has it that leading Republican presidential contender, former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, thought about having a pensive moment for a moment and then changed his mind when some Tea Party-ers declared that pensive moments were against god’s will. I, on the other hand, as an intrepid communist propagandist can freely admit to such moments in politics, and as here reflecting on my roots.

What has gotten me into this reflective state is thinking about my father's background of coming from the hard-scrabble hills of Kentucky. That, my friends, means coal country, or it did in his time. The names Hazard, near Harlan County (the next county over to be exact) but, more appropriately "bloody Harlan" have, I hope, echoed across this series as a symbol for the hard life of many generations of workers and hard-scrabble tenant farmers who came out of those hills-some place. Some place in Appalachia, that is.

I have mentioned my father and his trials and tribulations, previously, when I did a series on the evolution of my youthful political trajectory from liberalism to communism. His hard-bitten, no breaks, no luck life was not a direct influence on that evolution, that is for sure. He was a strong anti-communist, if only of the reflexive kind coming out of that so-called “greatest generation” who survived the Great Depression of the 1930s and then, rifle over one shoulder, fought World War II. But something in the genes and in his character left an imprint. Let me sum up his life's experience this way- the tidbit that he imparted to me early on in life I will always remember and is probably why I am still struggling for our communist future to this day.

My father was certainly no stranger to hard times as a youth thrown into the coal mines early (or, as it turned out, in his work travails as an adult). My father, perhaps like yours, was a child of the Great Depression of the 1930's, scratching and clawing his way from pillar to post and entered into his manhood as a Marine in combat in World War II. Hard combat in the Pacific, and as anyone who has studied the period will know, where no quarter was given, or taken. Those two facts are important. Why? As a very young kid I asked him why he became a soldier, excuse me, a Marine. Well, the short answer was this- between the two alternatives, starve or fight, he was glad, no more than glad he was ecstatic, to quickly sign up at the Marine recruiting station in order to get out of the hills of Kentucky. And he, moreover, whatever happened later, never looked back.

That, my friends, is why I entitled part of the headline to today's entry- "at one remove". Those hills are in my blood, no question, no question now as much as I might have resisted such feelings before, but also the notion that those terrible choices had to be made by an honest working-class stiff. And that is why today I am in this mood thinking about how desperately we need to get down that socialist road. Pronto. And why I hear Iris Dement's voice singing of her own longings in These Hills, my father’s hills, as I write this, down deep in my own being.
I have put together and reposted separately all the related entries around this many generational struggle to get away from the "coal"

"These Hills"-Iris Dement

Far away I've traveled,
To stand once more alone.
And hear my memories echo,
Through these hills that I call home.

As a child I roamed this valley.
I watched the seasons come and go.
I spent many hours dreaming,
On these hills that I call home.

The wind is rushing through the valley,
And I don't feel so all alone,
When I see the dandelions blowing,
Across the hills that I call home.

Instrumental Break.

Like the flowers I am fading,
Into my setting sun.
Brother and sister passed before me:
Mama and Daddy, they've long since gone.

The wind is rushing through the valley,
And I don't feel so all alone,
When I see the dandelions blowing,
Across the hills that I call home.

These are the hills that I call home.

Veterans For Peace demand Bradley Manning’s freedom

Veterans For Peace demand Bradley Manning’s freedom

By Veterans For Peace. March 1, 2012

A national organization representing thousands of military veterans is calling on the US Army to abandon court martial proceedings against Private Bradley Manning, the accused Wikileaks whistleblower. The young soldier, who has been imprisoned for 21 months, will be formally arraigned today (Thursday, Feb. 23) at Fort Meade, Maryland. Army prosecutors say they will file 22 charges against PFC Manning, including “aiding the enemy,” a crime that can be punished by the death penalty or life in prison.

“Where is the justice?” asks Gerry Condon, a Board member of Veterans For Peace. “The Army is shirking its duty to punish soldiers who have committed rape and murder. Yet they are trying to destroy the life of Bradley Manning, who has not harmed a hair on a person’s head.”

In May 2010, the Army arrested PFC Manning, then 22, in Iraq, where he was working as a low level intelligence analyst. He is accused of leaking classified information, including an Army video that shows US soldiers in Baghdad shooting down unarmed civilians, including two Reuters employees, from an Apache helicopter. The video, dubbed “Collateral Murder,” has been viewed millions of times on YouTube.

Prosecutors have also accused Manning of giving Wikileaks thousands of Army diaries from its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army’s own reports reveal that the killing of civilians was a regular occurrence and that the Army regularly lied about it.. The diaries also show that the Army was lying to the American people about the progress of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Supporters demand Manning's freedom. Photo: Astrid Riecken/EPA

“It is not a crime to reveal evidence of war crimes, but it is a crime to cover up evidence of war crimes, as the Army has apparently done,” said Leah Bolger, a former Navy Commander who was recently elected the first woman president of Veterans For Peace. “The American people deserve to know the truth about the wars being waged in our name,” continued Bolger. “Our soldiers should not be asked to die for a lie, and those who tell us the truth should not be the ones being punished.”

Bradley Manning has been confined for 21 months, including 8 months in solitary confinement at the Marine brig at Quantico, Virginia, where reports of his abuse bordering on torture caused an international outcry. Manning is now at another military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Quantico brig has been closed down.. The US government has declined repeated requests by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, to interview PFC Manning privately about his treatment.

Private Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, has complained on his blog that most of his requested defense witnesses were denied by the Army judge, while all of the prosecution witnesses were allowed.

“This is a kangaroo court martial,” said Gerry Condon of Veterans For Peace. “It is now obvious that the US Army will not give PFC Manning a fair trial, That is why Veterans For Peace is calling on Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama to drop all the charges against Bradley Manning.”

At its national convention in 2010, Veterans For Peace awarded Bradley Manning for his courage. “If he actually did what he is accused of doing, then he is a hero,” said Mike Ferner, Interim Director of Veterans For Peace.

Veterans For Peace is a 26-year-old organization whose mission is to abolish war through nonviolent means, and to take care of the needs of veterans and victims of war. For more information, visit

5 thoughts on “Veterans For Peace demand Bradley Manning’s freedom”

Easy Woman on 2 March 2012 at 10:46 am said:

Surprises me NONE! Ron Paul 2012.

Reply ↓

Arnold on 2 March 2012 at 12:54 pm said:

The Defense Department oversight and intelligence committees should now be holding hearings on why the officers in the chain of command were aware of these classified documents relating to the US forces killing unarmed civilians, some of whom were attempting to surrender? What action do they plan to take correct this kind of behavior and make sure it does not happen again?
That is why we have a large command structure. Even if it was not done in the past, it still should be done now.
Perhaps that is a good question to pose in those ads in the Washington,DC subways.

Reply ↓

Patricia McCaskill on 2 March 2012 at 1:32 pm said:

Bradley Mannings treatment from the get-go has been horrific. The abuse and ridicule he has been subjected to is inhumane and speak poorly regarding the military in this situation.
Time and again Bradley has been denied visitation rights, witnesses for his denfense barred from speaking for him.
It is obvious he will not get a fair trial. All actions by the military proves this.
Pardon and free Bradley Manning.
Remember, the whole world is watching!

Reply ↓

wendy trueman on 2 March 2012 at 2:21 pm said:

set him free

Reply ↓

All Out Every Thursday At 5:00PM At The Holyoke Center In Support Of The Harvard Library Workers -We Are Rallying Today For Education, For Libraries, For Jobs!

We Are Rallying Today For Education, For Libraries, For Jobs

Harvard University announced January 19th that it intends to reduce the size of the library workforce. Harvard already down-sized library staff in 2009 by more than 20% with early retirement buyouts and layoffs. Workers have struggled to continue providing quality services under speed-up conditions and outsourcing and are now faced with the threat of even more layoffs. Library workers who are spared from actual layoff are being told they'll have to re-apply for positions. Harvard also recently laid off workers in the Medical area.

Harvard hasn't cited financial need to make these cuts. Their endowment grows and the library budget was only 6% of their total expenses in June 2010 and is now just 3.3% of total budget (Feb. letter from Provost). Harvard is trying to unilaterally impose a restructuring plan that will further reduce costs, a plan that they refuse to disclose or discuss with HUCTW, concerned staff, students and faculty.

The largest employer in Cambridge, the third largest employer in Massachusetts and the richest University in the world should not lay off workers in a still depressed economy. They should not lay off workers who are vital to the operation of the Library. They should not outsource jobs.
TODAY is an important day of NATIONAL MOBILIZATION on education issues. OCCUPY groups, unions and many other students groups today are conducting actions nationwide in defense of education.

Harvard Library Workers, Other Harvard Workers, Students,
Faculty, Union Members and Community Allies Are Here Today to Support Quality Education and to SAY NO! TO HARVARD LAYOFFS

If you oppose layoffs, please send an email protest.

Email Harvard President Drew Faust ( and Provost Garber (alan

Please Cc the following address or contact for more info: harvardnolayoff@

Sample text: "I oppose layoffs in the Harvard Libraries. A University should be protecting these services, not reducing them in favor of outsourcing. Layoffs damage the local economy and ruin lives. Harvard can only be a better library with adequate staffing. Library workers, a library's lifeblood. are not expendable resources."

For more information see or email


On Saturday March 10th -Celebrate International Women's Day in Boston!

3/10 EVENTS:
Rally And March Boston Common

meet @ 12 noon at the Gazebo for the kick off rally with guest
speakers-then we will take it to the streets with guest speakers at Court Street (Boston School Committee Headquarters-BTU contract now!)-State Street MBTA (no layoffs, no cuts in service, no increase in fares!)-State House (throne room of the 1%)

Midway Cafe
$5-10 sliding scale
21+ doors @7pm
3496 Washington Street
Jamaica Plain 02130

All individuals and groups are encouraged to bring a banner,
signs, instruments, and other creative forms of expression and
march together in struggle for living wage jobs, universal
healthcare, childcare, and reproductive rights for all.

From Occupy Boston-Report On The March 1st Defense Of Education Actions

Click on the headline to link to reports on the National Defense of Education Actions on March 1, 2012.

Markin comment:

Defend higher education public and private- Forgive student debt- Create 100, 200, many publicly-funded Harvards!

From Occupy Boston-Report On The March 1st Defense Of Education Actions

Click on the headline to link to reports on the National Defense of Education Actions on March 1, 2012.

Markin comment:

Defend higher education public and private- Forgive student debt- Create 100, 200, many publicly-funded Harvards!

Massachusetts Peace Action Calendar - March-April 2012

Massachusetts Peace Action Calendar - March-April 2012

Remember Fukushima

Tuesday, March 6, 6pm
Cambridge Friends Meeting, 5 Longfellow Park
Tim Bullock, New England Peace Pagoda
Gary Goldstein, Professor of Physics at Tufts University
Hattie Nestel, long time anti-nuclear power activist
Meet participants in a nineteen-day walk from Seabrook Nuclear Power
Plant in NH to Plymouth Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, MA on the
anniversary of the catastrophe at Fukushima, Japan and ending in Vernon, VT at Vermont Yankee
Nuclear Power Plant.

Fund Our Communities, Not War

Sunday, March 11, 2:30 pm
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1135 Walnut St., Newton Highlands
This free public forum on cutting military spending and better funding our communities will feature presentations by Congressman Barney Frank (D, Newton), State Representative Ruth Balser(D, Newton), and others.

Challenging the Pivot
The U.S., China, & Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization

Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 pm
Episcopal Divinity School, Washburn Auditorium, 99 Brattle St., Cambridge
Jason Tower, AFSC's representative for Northeast Asia based in Beijing who has an extraordinary range of contacts in China and Southeast Asia, and Joseph Gerson, who has worked closely with Asian and Pacific peace movements for many years, will provide background to build our movements'
capacities to challenge the new arms race and growing military threats in Asia and the Pacific and to reinforce our Move the Money campaigns.

Bridging the Divide: The Pakistan/American Alliance
55 Years of Fables and Fallacies

Saturday, March 17, 6:30 pm
St John's United Methodist Church, 80 Mt. Auburn St.,Watertown Beena Sarwar, journalist, human rights and peace activist, filmmaker Ethan Casey, international journalist, visitor and frequent resident of Pakistan
Punjabi dinner (catered by Punjab Grill of Framingham) and Pakistani entertainment. Admission $20 - to reserve, mail check to Mass. Peace Action, 11 Garden St., Cambridge 02138

St. Patrick's Peace Parade
People's Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social & Economic Justice

Sunday, March 18, 2012,1:30 pm
West Broadway & D Street, South Boston - look for VFP flags
Please join Veterans For Peace and other Peace and social / economic
Justice organizations for this historic 2nd Annual "People's Peace
Parade" in South Boston. Bring the message of peace and protest exclusion of Veterans for Peace and Gay & Lesbian groups from the official, city of Boston supported, St. Patrick's Day Parade - the largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country.

We will have divisions for veterans, peace, GLBT, faith, and political action groups; two marching bands, puppets, Raging Grannies, a Duck Boat, and an Old Time Trolley. Don't miss it!

Liberia, Women and Peace

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 6:30pm
Cambridge Public Library, Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway
Women's nonviolent struggle to end the Liberian civil war is depicted in the documentary film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Followed by a talk with Janet Johnson, a Liberian journalist who is featured in the film.
Sponsored by the Cambridge Peace Commission, Massachusetts Peace Action, and Congo Action Now

The 1%: What's NATO Got to Do with It?

Afghanistan, Libya, Russia, China, the Global Economy &
Economic Justice

Thursday, April 4, 2012, 7:00pm
Cambridge Friends Meeting, 5 Longfellow Place, off Brattle St. near
Harvard Square
Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies, Trinity University;
author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter
Ellen Frank, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Boston; author of The Raw Deal:How Myths and Misinformation about Deficits, Inflation, and Wealth Impoverish America.
Joseph Gerson, Director of the Peace and Economic Security Program, American Friends Service

Peace and justice organizations, community based groups and Occupy are preparing to challenge militarism and austerity when the leaders of the NATO and G-8 nations meet in Chicago this May. Join us to learn what NATO and the G-8 have to do with the world's wars, economic crises, and making the world safe for the 1%. For information about the Counter-Summit in Chicago May 18-19, see

11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 • 617-354-2169 •
St. Patrick's Peace Parade
People's Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social & Economic Justice
Sunday, March 18, 2012,1:30 pm
West Broadway & D Street, South Boston - look for VFP flags
Please join Veterans For Peace and other Peace and social / economic
Justice organizations for this historic 2nd Annual "People's Peace
Parade" in South Boston. Bring the message of peace and protest exclusion of Veterans for Peace and
Gay & Lesbian groups from the official, city of Boston supported, St. Patrick's Day Parade - the largest
St. Patrick's Day parade in the country.
We will have divisions for veterans, peace, GLBT, faith, and political action groups; two marching bands, puppets, Raging Grannies, a Duck Boat, and an Old Time Trolley. Don't miss it!

Liberia, Women and Peace
Thursday, March 29, 2012, 6:30pm
Cambridge Public Library, Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway
Women's nonviolent struggle to end the Liberian civil war is depicted in the documentary film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Followed by a talk with Janet Johnson, a Liberian journalist who is featured in the film.
Sponsored by the Cambridge Peace Commission, Massachusetts Peace Action, and Congo Action Now
The 1%: What's NATO Got to Do with It?

Afghanistan, Libya, Russia, China, the Global Economy &
Economic Justice
Thursday, April 4, 2012, 7:00pm
Cambridge Friends Meeting, 5 Longfellow Place, off Brattle St. near
Harvard Square
Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies, Trinity University;
author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter
Ellen Frank, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Boston; author of The Raw Deal:
How Myths and Misinformation about Deficits, Inflation, and Wealth Impoverish America.
Joseph Gerson, Director of the Peace and Economic Security Program, American Friends Service

Peace and justice organizations, community based groups and Occupy are preparing to challenge militarism and austerity when the leaders of the NATO and G-8 nations meet in Chicago this May. Join us to learn what NATO and the G-8 have to do with the world's wars, economic crises, and making the world safe for the 1%. For information about the Counter-Summit in Chicago May 18-19, see

Massachusetts-Peace Action
11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 • 617-354-2169 •

Honor The 93rd Anniversary Of The Founding Of The Commmunist International- From The International Communist League's Marxist Bulletin Series-"War, Revolution and the Split in the Second International:The Birth of the Comintern (1919)"

War, Revolution and the Split in the Second International:
The Birth of the Comintern (1919)

by George Foster New York, 14 June 1998

This class series will attempt to take to heart comrade Lenin's injunction in "Left-Wing" Communism: rather than simply hailing soviet power and the October Revolution, the real point is to study the experience of the Bolshevik Party in order to assimilate the lessons and international significance of October. The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci observed that our capacity to understand the world— and he was referring to class society in particular—is in direct proportion to our ability to intervene in it. And as comrade Robertson recently observed, the lessons of the October Revolution and the Communist International have for us Marxists a very deep validity. They mark the high point of the workers movement, to be contrasted with the current valley in which we today find ourselves situated. This class will consider the First Congress of the Third International which took place in March 1919, in the midst of a civil war in which the October Revolution was fighting for its very life.

The story of the First Congress is mainly the story of the struggle to forge a new revolutionary international following the ignominious collapse of the socialist Second International on 4 August of 1914. It is above all the story of the struggle by Lenin's Bolsheviks to turn the battle against the first imperialist war into a civil war to abolish the capitalist system.

Younger comrades in particular have real difficulty grasping the enormous and traumatic impact of World War I on the bourgeois societies of the time and on the proletariat. From the end of the Franco-Prussian war [1870-1871] until the onset of the first imperialist war, a period of some 43 years elapsed in Europe without a major war. Most of the imperialist combatants who embarked on the First World War assumed it would be very short. The British bourgeoisie in particular was hoping that its rivals on the continent would mutually exhaust each other in a bout of bloodletting and, indeed, looked forward to the war. But it didn't turn out to be a short war.

The war dragged on for over four years. Millions upon millions of proletarians were slaughtered in a war to re-divide the world amongst the various contending imperialists, a war to see who would get how much loot and how much booty. To quote General Sherman: "war is hell." But, if war is
hell, World War I stood out in its grotesque brutality. WWI was fought mainly as a war of attrition, of trench warfare, of bankrupt strategies reflecting the complete bankruptcy of bourgeois society. It was a war in which the proletariat and even the scions of the bourgeoisie were cut down and slaughtered in enormous numbers. For example, the Prussian Junker class was, at the end of the war, a shadow of its former self. Likewise the war decimated the sons of the British ruling class.

To give you an example of the brutality of the situation, in 1916 there was a small salient of the German line projecting into the Entente lines in Belgium at a village called Ypres. The British general in the sector, Sir Douglas Haig, decided to straighten out this little pocket disturbing the geometrical regularity of his front. Over the space of three or four days he lost something like 600,000 men in this endeavor, which did not in any way alter the sanguinary stalemate.

At the beginning of the war there was only one significant republic in continental Europe and that was France. By the end of this war, the face of Europe had changed. Three empires—tsarist Russia, the Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary and the Hohenzollern empire of Germany—disappeared from the political map to be replaced by various republics. So it was a very big change. I highly recommend to comrades two books. One is Carl Schorske's book, German Social Democracy, 1905-1917, and the other is a book by Richard Watt, a British chemist who wrote history in his spare time, called The Kings Depart.

The ignominious capitulation of the Second International to the imperialist bourgeoisie during the first imperialist war marks the point at which the struggle for the Third International began and it was a struggle from the onset taken up by the Bolsheviks. To understand the Third International and Bolshevism, which went through its final forging in its revolutionary struggle against the first imperial¬ist war, some remarks are in order about the Third International's predecessor, the Second International, about its origins and history and its collapse.

Going back over that history one is struck by an observation made by Jim Cannon about the early, pre-communist socialist movement in the U.S. In The First Ten Years of American Communism, Cannon observed that it took the Bolsheviks and the Communist International to clarify and settle a whole series of political and organizational questions that had bedeviled the movement—questions ranging from the counterposition between direct trade-union action versus parliamentarism to, in the case of the U.S., the black question. In a very real sense, Cannon's observation concerning the American socialists is more generally applicable to the Second International as a whole. That is, if you go back and you examine the history of the Second International, one gets a sense of participants who, in some sense, were sleepwalking.

It took the experience of the Bolsheviks, who had to deal with a wide spectrum of issues and conditions of work (such as the national question, trade-union struggle, legality versus illegality, work in parliament, Soviets, the 1905 mass strikes culminating in the Moscow insurrection), to really forge a new type of party that in its experiences had learned lessons that were valid for the entire workers movement in the imperialist epoch. And Bolshevism, it should be understood, was not born all at once but started as another party in the Second International and, indeed, a party which modeled itself after the preeminent party of the Second International, that is to say the German SPD.

Lenin makes the point that the Second International and the parties which constituted it were very much products of the pre-imperialist epoch, a period of protracted, organic capitalist growth and, as indicated, of peace among the major European powers. If the First International laid the foundation for an international organization of workers, for the preparation of the revolutionary attack on capital, the Second International was an organization, as Lenin remarked, whose growth proceeded in breadth at the cost of a temporary drop in revolutionary consciousness and a strengthening of opportunism in the party.

The SPD and Parliamentarism

The German Social Democracy itself underwent considerable change over these years. In February of 1881, in the period when the Social Democrats in Germany were outlawed by the Anti-Socialist Laws, Karl Kautsky wrote:
"The Social Democratic workers' party has always emphasized that it is a revolutionary party in a sense that it recognizes that it is impossible to resolve the social questions within the existing society.... Even today, we would prefer, if it were possible, to realize the social revolution through the peaceful road.... But if we still harbour this hope today, we have nonetheless ceased to emphasize it, for every one of us knows that it is a Utopia. The most perceptive of our comrades have never believed in the possibility of a peaceful revolution; they have teamed from history that violence is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.... Today we all know that the popular socialist state can be erected only through a violent overthrow and that it is our duty to uphold consciousness of this among ever broader layers of the people." —quoted in Massimo Salvador!, Karl Kautsky and
the Socialist Revolution 1880-1938, p. 20 (Verso,

This was the young Karl Kautsky, at the beginning of his career as a Marxist. And by the way, both Kautsky and Bernstein, who were in a real sense the legates of Marx and Engels, were won to Marxism through Engels' work Anti-Duhring. It was the work which actually won key cadre of the Social Democracy to Marxism. Kautsky was to go on to become the editor of Die Neue Zeit, which was the theoretical paper of Social Democracy (and parenthetically, I would point out, he edited it longer than Norden edited WV) and became the preeminent German propagandist for Marxism for the whole period. In fact, he was known as the pope of Marxism and for a long time he was looked up to by Lenin and others as the embodiment of orthodox Marxism. Yet running through the orthodox Marxism of Kautsky was a strong parliamentarist thread which grew organically out of the conditions that the German party experienced.

As a consequence of the German Anti-Socialist Laws the SPD was outlawed from 1874 to 1886. Despite its illegality during this period, the Social Democracy managed to get about 9.1 percent of the votes in parliament. With the lifting of the Anti-Socialist Laws and the legalization of the party, the party began to grow. Notwithstanding some fits and starts the party began to experience a steady accretion of electoral support, both percentage-wise and in absolute numbers. This led the SPDers to think that German Social Democracy would simply grow organically. Some older comrades may remember that many years ago a comrade plotted three or four years of our growth and from that graph projected that by now we would probably have a billion members. Empirical reality rapidly shattered her illusion, but in the case of the SPD in that period, experience tended to confirm a steady pattern of growth.

A few scant years after the end of the Anti-Socialist Laws, Kautsky was putting forward a very different line from that of 1881. Very much influenced by Darwin and German biologists such as Haeckel, he postulated that socialism would be the natural evolutionary outcome of capitalism—that the working class would grow to be a larger and larger proportion of the populace, that through the votes of these workers, SPD representation would ineluctably grow in parliament and that inevitably Social Democracy would triumph. Kautsky, along with Bernstein, penned the Erfurt Program, a program that all comrades should take the time to read. It is the classic example of the minimum-maximum program of Social Democracy.

The Erfurt Program is also noteworthy for what it does not contain—it consciously avoided the whole issue of the state. Kautsky wrote the theoretical part of Erfurt and Bernstein the practical. By the way, in 1899, Lenin described the Erfurt Program as a Marxist document. But later, reconsidering it in The State and Revolution, and based on his experiences in the intervening period, he came to view it very differently.
Kautsky wrote a commentary on the Erfurt Program and in it he developed his central themes. One of them was the indispensability of parliament as an instrument of government in great states—for all classes—and, therefore, for the proletariat as well as the bourgeoisie and, secondly, for the need to win a majority of parliament, treating elections as the fundamental, strategic avenue to power for the labor movement.

Kautsky posed an indissoluble link between the conquest of state power and the conquest of a majority in parliament, between the defense of the technical importance of parliament and the impossibility of a Paris Commune-type state. He thought that the Social Democracy, its political and social struggles and use of parliamentary legislation for socialist purposes, constituted the very content of the dictatorship of the proletariat. As early as 1892 Kautsky writes:

"In a great modern state, [the proletariat, like the bourgeoisie, can] acquire influence in the administration of the state only through the vehicle of an elected parliament. Direct legislation, at least in a great modern state, cannot render parliament superfluous, [but can only represent a ramification of the administration. Hence the general thesis:] it is absolutely impossible to entrust the entire legislation of the state to it [direct legislation], and it is equally impossible to control or direct the state administration through it. So long as the great modern state exists..."

And notice there is no class character to this state:

"...the central point of political activity will always remain in its parliament. [Now:] the most consistent expression of parliament is the parliamentary republic."
—quoted in Massimo Salvador], ibid, pp. 35-36

And, therefore, the conquest of parliament was indispensable for Social Democracy. This was to be a signpost of German Social Democracy thenceforth, through the whole period up to the first imperialist war.
Now Wilhelm Liebknecht aptly termed the Kaiserine parliament a "fig leaf for absolutism." Germany at this time presented a strange combination of parliamentarism, with rather nominal powers, fronting for absolutist despotism ruling on behalf of German capital. This was reflected in the laws regarding suffrage. On a national level there was direct male suffrage. On the provincial level suffrage rights varied a lot, ranging from places like Prussia, which had a notorious three-class franchise system based on how much direct tax you paid, to some of the southern German states, which eventually had more or less direct suffrage, but were very short on proletarians and had large peasant populations.

It was clear that the German Social Democracy would have to contend on a parliamentary level if it were to be a political party in Germany, and it did so. During the years of the Anti-Socialist Laws, because the parliamentary fraction was granted immunity, it was relatively untouchable, and played a key role in leading the party. This early experience later played its part in reinforcing a tendency to fetishize parliament despite the fact that the Reichstag was impotent and could not compel the imperial government to answer to it. And on the provincial level it was downright bizarre to have parliamentary illusions, for example, if you look at the restricted suffrage in Prussia.

In the Prussian elections in 1913, the SPD got over 775,000 votes, some 28.3 percent of the total. But it only won ten seats in the Prussian parliament. In contrast the Deutsche Volkspartei, which received 6.7 percent of the votes, won 38 seats. The Free Conservative Party, with 2 percent, won 54 seats. The National Liberal Party, with 13 percent, won 73 seats. The Catholic Center Party, with 16 percent, won 103 seats and the German Conservative Party, with 14 percent, won 147 seats. How is this possible? The people who paid the top third in income tax got a third of the seats, etc. That was about 2 or 3 percent of the population. So, there is a certain level at which one's credulity is strained at the evident latching on very early to parliamentary cretinism.

The SPD and the State

Secondly, the SPD was clearly awed by the power of the German state and army. One gets the impression that the experience of the Anti-Socialist Laws resulted in an attitude of "Never again!" The party lived in real fear that it could be outlawed by a stroke of the Kaiser's pen. As the party accrued influence and organizational mass there was a corresponding reluctance to risk this organic growth by displeasing the powers that be. This sentiment went hand-in-hand with the conception of the SPD as the party of the whole class.

When, in 1875, the Marxian wing fused with the Lassalleans, the fusion was codified in the Gotha Program (basically a Lassallean program). When Marx penned his Critique of the Gotha Programmed, that critique was suppressed in Germany. It was suppressed by Rebel, Kautsky and Bernstein, because they were afraid it would provoke a split with the Lassalleans.
Likewise, when the Erfurt Program was penned, Engels wrote a very sharp criticism of it; you can read about it in The State and Revolution. Engels thought it was a very fine program, but the failure of the program to address the key issue of state power fundamentally compromised it. Engels opined that while it might be difficult to raise the demand for a democratic republic, that failure opened the door to politically disarming the party when it had to confront big revolutionary events. Engels' criticisms were suppressed to maintain unity with the opportunists and out of fear that their publication might expose the party to reprisals from the Kaiser's government.

During the life of the Second International, which was founded in Paris on the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, 14 July 1889, the German Social Democrats were very hesitant to call any sort of May Day actions because they feared a strike in Germany on May Day would bring the government down on them. So, there was a very peculiar development of a sense of German exceptionalism, a feeling that things were going along swimmingly, the SPD was gaining in parliament, the organization was burgeoning. The mindset was that the party must at all costs avoid a premature confrontation with the bourgeoisie that could spell disaster. Tactical prudence was beginning to evolve into reformist adaptation.
Kautsky and others of the German Social Democrats were always concerned about a general strike because they thought it would be a one-shot proposition in the Kaiser's Germany. It would immediately lead to total confrontation with the bourgeoisie and either the proletariat would triumph or it would be smashed. And, since inevitably the SPD was gaining influence in parliament and expanding its press, trade-union organizations, and sporting groups and hundreds of other associations were growing, why wreck the inevitable march of progress toward socialism?

I have spent some time on the SPD's reformist adaptations because I would like to contrast it with the experience of the Bolsheviks. The Bolshevik experience was needless to say very different.

It's an old saw that "you learn something new every day." But sometimes what you learn is important. Gary Steenson in his book "Not One Man! Not One Penny!" German Social Democracy, 1863-1914 [University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981] reveals a little-known fact:

"One very unusual aspect of the socialist congresses in Germany was the presence at most of them of police officials. These men had the right to interrupt speakers who ventured into forbidden territory, and they could even cancel a session altogether if the discussion got too extreme. But the congressional participants themselves usually knew the allowable limits, and after the end of the antisocialist law, the police officials did not often intervene. Their presence was, nonetheless, a source of embarrassment for the SPD and should have been for the authorities also."
-p. 125

This submission to cop censorship is absolutely breathtaking, and accommodation to it reveals the deep reformist rot that infected the SPD. It should be contrasted with the comportment of the Bolsheviks who took their responsibility to revolutionary Marxism seriously. Commenting on what can be said and what must be said, in 1917 Lenin wrote:

"At times some try to defend Kautsky and Turati by arguing that, legally, they could no more than 'hint' at their opposition to the government, and that the pacifists of this stripe do make such 'hints'. The answer to that is, first, that the impossibility of legally speaking the truth is an argument not in favour of concealing the truth, but in favour of setting up an illegal organisation and press that would be free of police surveillance and censorship. Second, that moments occur in history when a socialist is called upon to break with all legality. Third, that even in the days of serfdom in Russia, Dobrolyubov and Chernyshevsky managed to speak the truth, for example, by their silence on the Manifesto of February 19, 1861, and their ridicule and castigation of the liberals, who made exactly the same kind of speeches as Turati and Kautsky." -Lenin, Collected Works [hereafter CW\ Vol. 23, p. 186

Clearly the SPD's many-years-long accommodation to police censorship played a significant role in its slide into social chauvinism when confronted by the revolutionary tasks imposed by the imperialist war.
The SPD's accommodation to bourgeois legality is all the more surprising given the very real repression the party experienced, particularly in its formative years. Liebknecht and Bebel, for example, opposed the Franco-Prussian war. For their efforts, they were thrown into prison for a couple of years. The party did face a situation of near illegality, even following the lifting of the Anti-Socialist Laws. Many, many people were arrested for crimes of lese majeste. SPDers were elected to parliament and when they got to Berlin found out their landlady had been told by the government not to rent them a place. Socialists were exiled, under old laws going back to 1850, to tiny provincial towns.

Kautsky summed up in 1888 what we have come to know as the social-democratic worldview when he wrote in A Social Democratic Catechism: "The Social Democracy is a revolutionary party, but it is not a party that makes revolutions...." The SPD's policy was one of revolutionary passivity, of waiting. Kautsky maintained that Social Democrats are not pacifists. The SPD would eventually prevail in parliament and if the bourgeoisie offers resist¬ance the Social Democratic workers would suppress them. But the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat was for Kautsky really a question for future generations

The rise of imperialism and the rise of opportunism go hand in hand. Early on, in the heavily peasant areas of south Germany, where the Social Democracy was weaker and where there were fewer proletarians, SPD representatives began to openly adapt to alien class pressures. These pressures reflected themselves nationally when, in 1895, Bebel and Liebknecht, over the vociferous objections of Kautsky, revised the Erfurt Program to "include a demand for democratization of all public institutions, to improve the situation in industry, agriculture and transport within the framework of the present social and state order."
Bernstein, who had lived for 20 years in exile in Britain, while there began to develop fundamental doubts on the possibility or necessity of proletarian revolution, doubts which he later systematized into a general revisionist assault on Marxism. Kautsky, since Bernstein was his good friend, temporized on launching a struggle against this revisionism.

However, eventually the battle was joined, with Kautsky, Luxemburg and Plekhanov weighing in very heavily against Bernstein (who was not handled in the party with kid gloves). Nonetheless, Bernstein and Kautsky both feared a split in the party. Kautsky hoped to ideologically defeat revisionism without a split, arguing that revisionism could be isolated and would cease to be dangerous. This generally was the approach of the Second International in the whole period leading up to the war.
I should mention, by the way, that Kautsky's deep but latent reformist streak found expression in the Second Congress of the Second International in Paris in 1890 when the issue of Millerandism came up. The French socialist politician Millerand had recently accepted a cabinet post in a bourgeois government. Kautsky led the charge against Millerand stating that it was absolutely impermissible to be a minister in a bourgeois government...except under "special circumstances." And the special circumstances were, for example, in the event of a war, where, say, the tsar invaded Germany. Only then, according to Kautsky, would a Social Democrat be compelled to join a government of the enemy class; only unity in defense of the nation made permissible that which in times of peace was impermissible!

Impact of the 1905 Russian Revolution

The 1905 Russian Revolution had an enormous impact on Germany, the class struggle in Germany, on the Social Democracy and on the trade unions. On the left of the party, Rosa Luxemburg saw 1905 through the lens of her experiences in Warsaw, where she went to participate in the revolution. For Luxemburg, the main lesson of the revolution was the efficacy of the mass strike as the road to revolution. She saw the mass strike as the chief instrument for realizing the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Through intervention in these struggles the socialists would win authority and lead the workers to victory. The assault on the capitalist power would not be through parliament, but through a series of convulsive strikes that would clean the party of revisionism and lead to the fall of capital. But while Luxemburg invested the mass strike and spontaneous action by the proletariat with great revolutionary import, she failed to grasp the significance of the Soviets and as well of the real rehearsal for October, the culmination of 1905, which was the Moscow insurrection.

Germany in 1905 experienced massive turmoil. There were thousands and thousands of strikes. There were numerous lockouts by employers. There were militant workers' demonstrations and street fighting between the workers and the police.

Under the impact of both Luxemburg and the events in 1905 in Germany and Russia, Kautsky was driven to the left. He certainly was among the most perceptive of the commentators on what was going on in 1905 in Russia from the outside. Both Lenin and Trotsky claimed Kautsky's analysis supported their views. Kautsky did, indeed, refer to what was going on in Russia as permanent revolution and stated that the unfolding of the revolutionary struggles in Russia turned out to be very different from what he had previously thought. Thus he wrote:

"The [Russian] liberals, can scream all they want about the need for a strong government and regard the growing chaos in Russia with anguished concern; but the revolutionary proletariat has every reason to greet it with the most fervent hopes. This 'chaos' is nothing other than permanent revolution. In the present circumstances it is under revolutionary conditions that the proletariat completes its own maturation most rapidly, develops its intellectual, moral, and economic strength most completely, imprints its own stamp on state and society most profoundly, and obtains the greatest concessions from them. Even though this dominance of the proletariat can only be transitory in a country as economically backward as Russia, it leaves effects that cannot be reversed, and the greater the dominance, the longer they will last.... Permanent revolution is thus exactly what the proletariat in Russia needs."
—quoted in Massimo Salvadori, op. cit., p. 102

Here he is speaking of permanent revolution in the sense of Marx's "Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League."
In January of 1906, Kautsky, basing himself on the experience of the Moscow insurrection, declared that it was now necessary to re-examine Engels' famous preface to Marx's Class Struggle in France, the text of which the German Social Democracy had so often used to justify its own legalism. The reformists had fixated on an observation by Engels that the epoch of barricades and street fighting was definitely over. But Kautsky said that the battle of Moscow, where a small group of insurgents managed to hold out for two weeks against superior forces, indicated that victorious armed struggle by the insurgents was possible because of the mass strike wave, of which he said too little was known in Engels' time. It was precisely the strike wave and struggles around it that had undermined the discipline of the army and those lessons were applicable, not only in Russia, but possibly throughout Europe.

Thus Kautsky swung quite far to the left. But he was still very nervous about a mass strike in Germany, which he thought could only be a one-shot affair—all or nothing. For its part, the German ruling class was also drawing its own class lessons from the events in Russia. The Kaiser thought that it might well be necessary to send an expeditionary force into Russia to rescue his fellow monarch, the tsar, and, as a corollary to that, the Kaiser certainly was planning to suppress the German Social Democracy.

The turmoil surrounding 1905 frightened many of Germany's SPD trade-union leaders. In the main they had a very clear position: "No mass strikes! Nothing out of the ordinary!" These bureaucrats feared that the street demonstrations and turmoil were pulling in unorganized workers who had low consciousness and would threaten the organized and above all orderly German trade-union movement. In May of 1905 in Cologne, the trade unions came out on record against the mass strike.

The stage was thus set for an open division between the party and its affiliated trade unions. At the Jena Congress, the party, under the impact of what was going on in Russia, adopted the mass strike as a political weapon in defense of suffrage rights and the right of association in particular. The mass strike was presented as a means of extending suffrage in places like Prussia and of defending the right of a Social Democratic party to exist and organize in the trade unions. This mass strike resolution carried overwhelmingly, by 287 to 14 votes.

One of those voting against the resolution was a man named Carl Legien who just happened to be the leader of the SPD's trade-union federation. He importuned the party leadership and on 16 February 1906, at a secret meeting of the party and trade unions, the party capitulated to the trade unions.

Basically, the trade unions said to the party: if there are to be mass strikes and the party can't prevent them, it is the party and not the trade unions who should lead them. The trade unions promised to sup¬
port the party to the extent they could, but the party was to bear the brunt not only of the responsibility for leading mass strikes, but also of paying for them.

The very next year in September of 1906, Bebel at the Mannheim Congress declared that without the support of the unions, mass strikes are unthinkable and Legien said "Ja! They are unthinkable!"

At Mannheim the party endorsed the deal cooked up at the earlier secret conference. Bebel, who wielded immense authority in the German movement, pushed the proposal through by a vote of 386 to 5. Among those voting for it were Kitschy, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Following the events of 1905 there was a rise in German imperial ambitions. The German bourgeoisie reacted to 1905 with a great wave of chauvinist propaganda and in the 1907 elections the German Social Democracy got a really cold, wet rag smacked in its face. These were the so-called Hottentots elections and they were the first elections in which imperialist patriotism played a big role. In 1907, many of the petty bourgeois who had previously voted for the Social Democrats, didn't.

The percentage of the SPD votes didn't drop-very much in absolute numbers. It went from 31.7 to 29, but the number of SPD representatives in the Reichstag dropped from 81 to 43. At the time there were numerous political parties in Germany and thus provisions for runoffs if no party obtained a majority of the vote. The Social Democracy willy-nilly had been counting on a large number of petty-bourgeois votes.

In contesting for election in Germany, routinely the SPD had made blocs with the liberals. Where a Social Democrat didn't get in the runoff, SPDers were told to vote for the bourgeois progressive, and an appeal was made to the progressive voters to vote SPD if a socialist was in a runoff. Of course, Social Democrats, being disciplined, got many progressives elected. But following 1905, the progressives' bourgeois base would have nothing to do with these anti-patriotic reds and this bloc didn't work out so well from that standpoint.

The Social Democracy and Imperialist War

Turmoil growing out of events in Russia and the swell in imperialist and patriotic propaganda really drove the party leadership into frenzy. Thus the stage was set for erosion of the historic position of the SPD encapsulated in the slogan of Wilhelm Liebknecht of "not one man, not one penny."

Bebel started talking about being for national defense if Russia invaded Germany and, believe me, the Russian question was as big a bugaboo in Germany in this period as it was in America in the Cold War period. Bebel made a speech in the Reichstag explaining when he would be a defensist, at the same time sugar-coating it with a denunciation of Prussian discipline, mistreatment of soldiers and financial burdens. He was followed by a SPDer by the name of Noske, who contested the accusation that Social Democracy was anti-national or anti-patriotic. Noske said that there is no accusation more unjustified than the claim that the SPD wanted to undermine the discipline of the army. Where in Germany except in the army is there greater discipline than in the Social Democratic Party and the modern trade unions?

"'As a Social Democrat I agree with the honorable Minister of War when he declares that German soldiers must have the best arms.' Finally, he [Kautsky] proclaimed that the Social Democrats would repel any aggression against their country 'with greater determination' than any bourgeois party, that the SPD wanted Germany to be 'armed as well as possible,' and that 'the entire German people' had an 'interest in the military institutions necessary for the defence' of the 'fatherland'."
The quote is from Massimo Salvadori's Karl Kautsky and the Socialist Revolution, 1880-1938, p. 119 (1938). Salvadori comments: "There could have been no more public funeral for the anti-militarist propaganda preached by [Karl] Liebknecht."

The party had begun to polarize into an incipient center, a left wing and a very insidious right wing. Karl Liebknecht had become the bete noire not only of the right wing but also of some of the center of the party with the publication of his book Militarism and Anti-Militarism, and for his efforts to organize an anti-militarist youth organization. In fact, Liebknecht's book earned him almost two years in prison—apropos the point about the reality of life in the Kaiser's Germany.

By the way, one must say that aside from Die Neue Zeit, which received a lot of criticism because it contained articles having nothing to do with Germany, German Social Democracy was very provincial in its views. It tended to concern itself mainly with domestic issues.

By 1910, the German Social Democracy panicked before the bourgeoisie's patriotic propaganda offensive. Some SPDers began to entertain the proposition that since they had always been for an income tax, the SPD should therefore support the direct tax, even though the purpose of the direct tax was to raise money for the war budget. The party pulled back from that position, but by 1912, when the party was really in a panic about regaining what it had lost in the elections, operationally it had moved very, very far to the right.

When the issue of the direct tax came up again in 1913 the Kautsky center gave critical support to the social-chauvinists on this issue. Rosa Luxemburg said that if Kautsky urged his followers to vote the direct tax, in a year they would be voting war credits. She was absolutely prophetic in that. When war came on 4 August 1914, the German party, which was the biggest party of the international, capitulated and voted war credits, betraying socialism. Nearly all parties of the Second International from the various belligerent countries followed suit with the honorable exceptions of the Russians, the Italians, the Serbs and, ultimately, a few Germans.

The Second International, to which the SPD was affiliated, was not an international in the Leninist sense. The war revealed it to be an international in little but name, more akin to a bunch of socialist pen pals.

That political rot which precipitated out on 4 August 1914 did not fall from the sky but grew, organically if you will, within the SPD. And there were premonitions of the problems which manifested themselves at earlier Second International congresses.

Thus, the Stuttgart Congress of 1907 actually debated whether there could be a socialist colonial policy. There was a commission in which the majority called for exactly that. That proposal by that commission was only narrowly defeated, by a vote of 128 against 108, with 10 abstentions. It was a near thing. Commenting on it, Lenin said that vote had tremendous significance. First, socialist opportunism, which capitulated before bourgeois charm, had unmasked itself plainly, and, secondly, there became manifest a negative feature of the European labor movement, which is capable of causing great harm to the proletariat.

Half of the SPD delegation at Stuttgart was made up of trade unionists and maintained the position of trade-union independence. And, then, of course, the war question also came up. If you read the Stuttgart resolution on the war, and the subsequent ones culminating in the Basel Manifesto, they all speak about how, to combat war amongst the capitalist powers, the proletariat should use whatever means are at its disposal when necessary.

Lenin objected to the slogan of a mass strike against war. How the proletariat is to conduct the struggle against war depends upon the particular conditions it confronts. Answering a war, he says, depends on the character of the crisis which a war provokes—the choice of means of struggle is made on the basis of these conditions. But the Germans really wanted any reference to any strike action against war deleted, because they opposed anything that would commit them, even on paper, to such a course.

Lenin in contrast stressed that the key thing about the resolution on war and peace was that the struggle must consist in substituting not merely peace for war, but socialism for capitalism. "It is not a matter of preventing the outbreak of war, but a matter of utilizing the crisis resulting from the war to hasten the overthrow of the bourgeoisie." And he, Rosa Luxemburg and, I believe, Martov blocked to amend a resolution by Bebel (which was a very orthodox resolution) because it was possible to read the orthodox postulates of Bebel through opportunist glasses. So Lenin and Luxemburg amended the resolution to say that militarism was the chief weapon of class suppression, to say that agitation among the youth was necessary and indicated, and, third, that the task of the Social Democrats was not only struggle against the outbreak of war, or for an early termination of war which had already broken out, but also to utilize the crisis caused by the war to hasten the downfall of the bourgeoisie.
When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, it found Lenin in Galicia. He couldn't believe the SPD had voted for war credits, thinking it must be police propaganda.

After he managed to make his way back to Switzerland, Lenin's course was set. He and his comrades embarked on an implacable struggle for a new revolutionary international to replace the Second International, now fatally compromised by social chauvinism. The central issue was that the world war was an imperialist war, and that the answer to this war was not "peace," or "no annexations," or "the right of self determination of all nations," but, in fact, to turn this imperialist war into a revolutionary civil war against the bourgeoisie, for socialism.
The war disrupted the Second International for a while, but shortly various national parties, each aligned with its own bourgeoisie, held "antiwar" congresses. First the Entente "socialists," then the central powers "socialists" met. This was followed by the Copenhagen Congress of neutral "socialists." The Bolsheviks at first were not inclined to participate in the Copenhagen Congress because of its demands: peace, no annexations, courts of arbitration and disarmament. But on reconsideration, the Bolsheviks attended Copenhagen to raise five points: socialists out of bourgeois cabinets, no vote for war credits, fraternization of troops, for civil war against the imperialist war, and for illegal organizations that organize for revolutionary propaganda and actions among the proletariat in the struggle for the Third International.

Forging the Third International

It was in the struggle against the social chauvinists and centrists that the Bolsheviks finally hammered out the key points of their international and political and organizational program. To do so it was necessary to swim against a raging stream of social chauvinism. Zinoviev says:
"It was in a manifesto on the arrested Bolshevik Duma fraction that we first advanced the slogan of turning the imperialist war into civil war. At that time, in the camp of the Second International, we were regarded literally as lepers. When we stated that this war had to be turned into a civil war, a war against the bourgeoisie, they seriously began to suggest that we were not quite right in the head."

The first international conference that pulled together socialists from various belligerent countries was, in fact, an international women's conference organized in Switzerland by Clara Zetkin. The Bolsheviks intervened and were voted down. That conference was followed by an international youth conference which also voted down the Bolshevik proposals.

It was only at the Zimmerwald Conference that the Bolsheviks were able to come forward as a weak minority—but a minority which was to become the nucleus of a new Communist Third International. At that conference Ledebour (who was one of the German center) confronted Lenin: "Civil war to end the imperialist war? Well, Lenin, go to Russia and try it there. It's pretty easy to say this in Switzerland." In the Second International all these centrists and chauvinist wiseacres proclaimed that all the Russian workers supported the war and that no one supported the Bolsheviks. During the period of 1915-1916 the Bolsheviks remained an insignificant minority. It was only in 1916 that they began to reestablish real and significant links in Russia.

Lenin was absolutely implacable in hammering on the issue of the imperialist nature of the war and the revolutionary task it demanded. His key point was that the greatest danger to the proletariat and to the chance of revolution were the centrists, with their flowery conceits and illusions.

Take Kautsky, for example. Kautsky had not been a member of the German parliamentary fraction, but he was such a doyen of the party that he was invited to the meeting where they voted war credits. Kautsky had planned to suggest abstention, but when it became clear there was going to be no abstention, he said, fine, let's vote for the war credits and state that our condition is no annexations, blah, blah, blah. Well, the German chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg said, that's a good resolution. Let's just take this part out about no annexations. And that was what happened.
Liebknecht originally went along, as a disciplined member of the party, with the vote, but broke immediately thereafter. Once the war began in earnest Kautsky argued it was a war of defense for Germany. In an incredible exercise in muddle-headed obfuscation he argued it was, as well, a war of defense for the French, the Belgians and the British. After all, Social Democrats are not anti-national and can't present themselves to the nation as anti-national. His conclusion—the International is really a peacetime organization! After the war, everyone would get back together! So, to justify his support to voting for war credits, he supported the votes of all Social Democrats for "self-defense."

As the war progressed it became more hideous. And the fighting lasted far longer than anyone had imagined. Social tensions began to rise and the bourgeoisie and the centrists began to get nervous. By 1917 a turn occurred. The war had run its course. Germany had grabbed a fair chunk of territory. None of the combatants had the capacity to squeeze much more blood or sweat out of the proletariat. The Germans were beginning to think they had a chance to split Russia off from Britain and France and do a separate deal.

Kautsky began to worry about the news from the front—that everybody in the trenches supports Liebknecht. Liebknecht had made a famous speech against the war. For his troubles he had been drafted into the army out of parliament and then imprisoned. Luxemburg was arrested soon after Liebknecht. The centrists began to calculate that they were losing their influence. Thus, Kautsky and company began to redouble their offensive for "peace" and broke off from the official Social Democracy to form an independent party.

Lenin's struggle against the war meant not simply struggle against the centrists outside the party, but inside as well. Some Bolsheviks, exemplified by Bukharin's Bogy group, were seduced by the siren peace songs of the centrists. Bukharin and his co-thinkers also had a position against the right of self-determination for nations during the war, because, according to them, the imperialist war had rendered all such questions irrelevant. Lenin characterized this position as a caricature of imperialist economism.

It is very interesting to consider Trotsky's role in the struggle against the social chauvinists. He of course had a solidly internationalist position of opposition to the war. But until quite late in the war Trotsky rather quixotically conciliated various centrists. At times he sought out political blocs with the Mensheviks and for a brief period even hoped to obtain Kautsky's collaboration in the struggle against the war. For these reasons Lenin subjected him to some very harsh criticisms.

Forging the Bolshevik Party

The programmatic intransigence of Lenin laid the foundation for the struggle for October. In this regard let's examine the period of the Bolshevik Party from 1912 to 1914, and contrast it to the evolution of the German Social Democracy. There are three key periods of struggle in the development of Bolshevism: 1895 to 1903 against economism, from 1903 to 1908 against the Mensheviks, and from 1908 to 1914 against the liquidators. The liquidators were the Mensheviks of various stripes and origins who wanted a legal labor party in Russia. Given the conditions in Russia, Lenin made the point that such a party could not be a Marxist revolutionary party.

Certainly Lenin's experience with the German Social Democracy in the Second International in this period was not exactly positive. The SPD-dominated International tried a number of times to foist unity on the Russian Marxists and it was fairly clear from the get-go that Kautsky in particular, like most of the SPD leadership, viewed Lenin as an incurable sectarian enrage.

The Germans were really pro-Martov; they wanted to enforce unity. The last effort at unity was in 1913-14, when the International demanded that all the Russian Marxists get into one room in front of a commission of the International and take steps to unite into one big party. And, by the way, the German Social Democracy also had its fingers on the purse strings of a lot of the money that the Russian Bolsheviks and Mensheviks had.
I really enjoyed reading about this conference. Lenin chose Inessa Armand as the Bolshevik representative. Armand was a very elegant and cosmopolitan woman, who spoke several languages, was intelligent, politically hard, and diplomatic. Following Lenin's instructions she told the conference that the Bolsheviks were in favor of unity, however, that unity had conditions attached to it.

"1. All-party resolutions of December 1908 and January 1910 on liquidationism are confirmed in a very resolute and unreserved manner precisely in their application to liquidationism. It is recognized that anyone who writes (especially in the legal press) against 'commending the illegal press' deserves condemnation and cannot be tolerated in the ranks of the illegal party. Only one who sincerely and with all his strength helps the development of the illegal press, of illegal proclamations and so forth, can become a member of the illegal party."
It goes on:

"3. It is recognized that the entry of any group of the Russian Social Democratic Labor party into a bloc or union with another party is absolutely not permissible and incompatible with party membership." —Ganken and Fisher, The Bolsheviks and the World
War, pp. 120-121 (Stanford University Press,

Bundism is to be condemned; it is incompatible with membership; national and cultural autonomy, this again, contradicts the party program; and the failure to recognize the resolutions of the party on that is incompatible with party membership. When Inessa Armand presented these conditions, her presentation was considered the worst of manners from the standpoint of all these Second International Social Democrats. How could the Bolsheviks act like this?

In fact, the reality on the ground in Russia was that there was one Russian Social Democratic Workers Party that mattered, and it was the illegal party of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. By the time that the international was trying to engineer unity among the Russian factions the Bolsheviks had about 80 percent of the active proletariat, in terms of their support, and correspondingly in press circulation.
The influence of the Bolsheviks amongst the Russian proletariat was initially undercut by the outbreak of the war, and indeed the war sharply undercut a rising tide of worker militancy in a number of countries, including Germany and Britain. One of the subsidiary reasons why the various bourgeoisies were not averse to embarking on imperialist war was that they thought it would quench class struggle at home.

The road of development of Bolshevism spans nearly a decade and a half. The fundamental point of this talk is that the October Revolution would not have been possible without the program and the tactics elaborated by the Bolsheviks in the struggle for the Third International and against imperialist war. For it was on the rock of the war that Menshevism, tying itself to the bourgeoisie, broke its neck. Because of the war, once the revolution broke out in Russia there was no room for a formulation akin to the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry." In fact, the task that had been set in motion by the outbreak of World War I was that of civil war of the proletariat for socialist revolution.

Lenin's key three works of this period, Imperialism, The State and Revolution, and The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, were polemics against the center, internationally, in Social Democracy. In the heat of battle, in Russia and across Europe, when the founding of the Third International took place, it was not easy to get delegates to Moscow, and most of those who turned up were people who either were lucky and made it through or happened to already be there. The delegates to the First Congress were thus necessarily a somewhat eclectic collection of parties and individuals. But it was an historic affirmation of the years of previous struggle and above all of the actual creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat embodied in Soviets. The key resolution at that Congress was, indeed, an upholding of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Kautsky spent the last 20 years of his life as an embittered, anti-Soviet Social Democrat, an apostle of bourgeois democracy, blaming all ills, including German fascism, on Bolshevism. Lenin, for his part, recognized the real issue which the Third International had to turn its attention to and that was the spreading of the October Revolution to other places. I wanted to quote something that he wrote in October of 1918, which I think kind of gives a measure of him as a revolutionist. If you look in the volume that has The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, there is, earlier on, a very short piece by the same name and in it Lenin notes:

"Europe's greatest misfortune and danger is that it has no revolutionary party. It has parties of traitors like -the Scheidemanns, Renaudels, Henderson’s, Webbs and Co., and of servile souls like Kautsky. But it has no revolutionary party.

"Of course* a mighty, popular revolutionary movement may rectify this deficiency, but it is nevertheless a serious misfortune and a grave danger.
"That is why we must do our utmost to expose renegades like Kautsky, thereby supporting the revolutionary groups of genuine internationalist workers, who are to be found in all countries." -CW, Vol. 28, p. 113
It was that task that the founding of the Third International took up.
The German delegation of the newly fledged Communist Party arrived in Moscow with a mandate (adopted before the Spartacus uprising) to oppose the launching of a Third International, because the German Communists could not yet break themselves from the conception of the party of the whole class. They still were mesmerized by the possibility of some sort of unity with various centrists and thought the formation of a new international premature. The German delegation was actually talked out of this position while in Moscow.

That was crucial. It had been a long and difficult struggle, but the banner of international proletarian revolution, besmirched by Social Democracy in 1914, was planted at this founding conference. Its key programmatic element, the dictatorship of the proletariat based on soviet power, was asserted. The struggle to forge new revolutionary parties was launched.

The new parties which adhered to the banner of October reflected a generational split. It was the young workers who had gone through the war who were to become the base of the new International. It was the older workers who tended to stay behind with the Social Democracy. Certainly our tasks today have obvious parallels. The sine qua non is to build parties of a Bolshevik type, to forge an international, and to contest for proletarian power and that really is the only road to new October Revolutions, which is what this class is all about.

Summary following discussion

Markin comment- I have not republished the summary here as there is no context for the statements made during the course of the discussion.
Reading List for Educationals on the Comintern

I. War, Revolution and the Split in the Second International: The Birth of the Comintern

Lenin, "The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War," 6 September 1914,
Collected Works (CW), Vol. 21, pp. 15-19

Lenin, "The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International," 1 November 1914, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 3541 Lenin, "What Next?", 9 January 1915, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 107-114

Lenin, "Letter from the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. to the Editors oiNashe Slovo" 23 March 1915, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 165-168

Lenin, "The Draft Resolution Proposed by the Left Wing at Zimmerwald," prior to 2 September 1915, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 345-348

Lenin, "The First Step," 11 October 1915, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 383-388

Lenin, "Opportunism, and the Collapse of the Second International" end of 1915, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 438-453 Lenin, "The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination (Theses)," January-February 1916, CW, Vol. 22, pp. 143-156

Lenin, "Thejunius Pamphlet," July 1916, CW, Vol. 22, pp. 305-319

Lenin, "Imperialism and the Split in Socialism," October 1916, CW, Vol. 23, pp. 105-120

Lenin, "Report on Peace, October 26," 8 November 1917, CW, Vol. 26, pp. 249-253

Lenin, "Speech on the International Situation, November 8," 8 November 1918, CW, Vol. 28, pp. 151-164

Lenin, "Letter to the Workers of Europe and America," 21 January 1919, CW, Vol. 28, pp. 429-436

Lenin, "The Third International and Its Place in History," 15 April 1919, CW, Vol. 29, pp. 305-313

Trotsky, "Open Letter to the Editorial Board of 'Kommunist'," 4 June 1915, Lenin's Struggle for a Revolutionary International, pp. 235-238 (Monad Press, 1984) Trotsky, "The Work of the Zimmerwald Conference," ibid., pp. 329-331

Trotsky, "Manifesto of the Communist International to the Workers of the World," 6 March 1919,
The First Five Years of the Communist International (hereafter FFYCI), Vol. 1, pp. 19-30 Trotsky, "To Comrades of the Spartacus League," 9 March 1919, FFYCI, pp. 3943

Additional Readings:

Lenin, "The Collapse of the Second International," May-June 1915, CW, Vol. 21, pp. 207-259

Lenin, "Political Report of the Central Committee, March 7," 7 March 1918, CW, Vol. 27, pp. 87-109

Lenin, "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky," November 1918, CW, Vol. 28, pp. 229-325

Pearce, B., "Lenin and Trotsky on Pacifism and Defeatism," What Is Revolutionary Leadership?, pp. 24-35 (published by Spartacist)

"Toward the Communist International," Lenin and the Vanguard Party, pp. 47-55 (SL/U.S. pamphlet, 1997 edition)

Luxemburg, "The Reconstruction of the International," Lenin's Struggle for a Revolutionary International, pp. 183-193