From communism without fatherland to national-communism - the history of a German liberation movement
With the "Programm der nationalen Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands", which was presented to the public in November 1952, the KPD (Communist Party Germany) completed a development that was already deployed decades before that; namely a development towards a national-communism.
Already in the first paragraph, the text of the program took an unequivocal distance from every abstract internationalism and called upon the national sentiment of the German people:
"The population of West Germany is in need. The criminal war of Hitler-Germany and the defeat, in which this ended, brought millions of deaths and destruction. After the war West Germany was separated from Eastern-Germany under the yoke of slavery by the American, English and French capitalists. It seemed that the three capitalist states - the USA, UK and France – didn’t fight the latest war to liberate Germany from Hitler’s domination, like they stated during the war. Their goal was to destroy Germany as a State, to get rid of a competitor, to conquer her natural riches, to exploit these and to abuse our people and nation in preparation of a new war for world domination."
Seven years after the end of the second imperialist World War the Communist party clearly documented:
1st - The actual victim of the war was the German people.
2nd - In West-Germany the people found themselves under a very bad form of slavery from the side of the USA, France and the UK, who...
3rd - in 1945 in no way intended to "liberate" the German people, but searched to destroy Germany.
The rearmament of Western Germany by the Andenauer-regime in the field of the aggressive military alliance of Western imperialism (in command of the USA) was rightly seen as an attack on the German people, which after two defeats had became wiser:
"Precisely we as Germans know from our own experiences the outcome of wars of conquest."
The separatist Adenauer-regime - responsible for re-militarizing West-Germany - betrayed the national cause, "a betrayal that is unequalled in the German history" (KPD-Programm).
The nationalist KPD program excoriated the "occupation of foreign powers" (the Anglo-Americans), the "alienation of the West-German economy", the fight of the American occupier against "the German national culture", which according to the program was to prefer over the "American way of life" with her shallow and primitive "culture".
This program was launched in 1952. A time in which the vast majority of the German people still thought national, the American "re-education" to suppress nationalist thought was not (yet) completed. Although in 1952 there wasn’t a strong Communist movement in numbers in the part of Germany that was under control of the Western imperialists, the concept of launching a "national liberation movement" that could count on support of the vast majority of the (at that time) nationalist German people, in which the Communist Party would take the role of a "national avant-garde", had a realistic change of success. But what were the underlying causes of this development of Communist politics towards a complete national-communism?
The workers have no fatherland (Communist manifest)
"The communists are further accused of wanting to abolish the fatherland, the nationality. But the workers have no fatherland. And one cannot take what they don't have."
This passage of the Communist manifest of 1848 time after time gave the occasion to new interpretations in regard to the relation of communists towards the nation. A later positive definition of the concept of the nation, by another generation of communists (Marxists), was made possible by the relativation found in the same paragraph of the Communist manifest; "Because it’s necessary for the proletariat to conquer the political power itself, it has to elevate itself into a national class, although not in the sense of the bourgeoisie."
Since the beginning of the German social democracy of the 19th century, there were nationalist tendencies (such as Ferdinend Lasalle), that were subordinated to the social question. When in the draftprogramm of the "Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands" (the so-called "Programm von Gotha", 1875) the formulation appeared that the working class "firstly moves within the cadres of the national State", but their main goal was "the international fraternization of the peoples", Marx polemicizes against this in his "Kritik des Gothaer Programms":
"It’s obvious that to struggle, the working class has to organize itself at home as a class and of course it’s obvious that their own country is the direct arena for this struggle. To this extent their class struggle is not national "in content", but "in form". The "cadre of the current national State", for example that of the German Reich, is on her turn economically seen "within the cadre of the system of States." ... And to what does the German labour party reduce her internationalism? To the realization that the result of her efforts would be "the international fraternization of the peoples" - a phrase derived from the bourgeois freedom and peace covenant - that should pass for the equivalent of the international fraternization of the working class in her united struggle against the ruling classes and their governments."
The Communist Manifest had its theorems, with regard to class struggle in relation to the nation state and the proletariat in principle without a fatherland, positioned in the context of an analysis about the formation of nation states as a historical necessary transitional phase of capitalist development.
By this analysis nation states were necessary for the completion of consecutive economic zones, to conquer the "Kleinstaaterei", to centralize production and to create a domestic market and thus never a goal on its own. Therefore "Völkische" nationalists or nationalists emphasizing their own national character can hardly call upon Marx and Engels.
Marx and Engels always defined the nation in terms of citizenship and saw the nation state as a form of unification of the bourgeois-society within certain territorial borders, of which the heart was not determined by the 'national sameness” but by the State.
Against different tendencies Marx and Engels took a pragmatic and utilitarian attitude: The formation of States was judged by the criteria if these were advantageous for the promotion of the capitalist mode of production and as a result of the proletarian-revolutionary movement. Conflicts between nationalities were seen as the result of economic competition. A principle right of self-determination of nations did not exist in their view. At the same time they saw in the development of the worldmarket a "globalist" tendency:
"The national confinement and contradictions between the peoples disappear according to the development of the bourgeoisie, with the freedom of trade, with the world market, with the similarity of the industrial production and its corresponding living conditions." (Communist Manifest)
Because the revolution in one country could not be successful, already in the stadium of the national struggle of the proletariat in form, the content should already be the "international" struggle of the world proletariat for Socialism, according to Marx and Engels.