In my last post, I briefly went over the three left communist tendencies that emerged in Europe after the Russian Revolution and World War I. One of those was The German-Dutch Left, commonly referred to as ‘council communism’.
Over the years, and particularly during the past 5 or so years of efforts helping compile the libcom.org library, I’ve come across various texts that I’ve found helpful or valuable on council communism. So I’m compiling them here.
The German-Dutch Left (“council communism”)
- Council communism: an introduction by libcom.org – short history and explanation of the ideas and practice of council communism
- The communist left in Germany 1918-1921 by Gilles Dauvé and Denis Authier – analysis of the revolutionary movements in Europe at the end of World War I, their contradictions and limitations.
- Anton Pannekoek and the theory of the transition by Radical Chains – Pannekoek’s experience of the German revolution led him to observe that the workers’ own struggle needed continuously to break down regimes and forms resulting from previous struggles. This gave him a powerful analysis of opportunism and enabled him to perceive the dangers of mere representation of the working class.
- Art as a weapon: Franz Seiwert and the Cologne progressives by Martyn Everett – An account of Franz Seiwert and the ‘Cologne Progressives’, a group or circle of artists who followed and participated in the radical currents around the German council communist organisations AAU and especially the AAU-E. The ‘Cologne Progressives’ may be the most radical group of artists ever.
- The councilist movement in Germany (1914-1935): A history of the AAUD-E tendency by Círculo Internacional de Comunistas Antibolcheviques – Article tracing the origins and theoretical development of the ‘unitary’ current of the General Workers’ Union of Germany.
- On the Founding of the KAPD by Communist Workers Organization – Detailed information, including first hand reports on the founding in 1920 of the KAPD (Kommunistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands – Communist Workers Party of Germany), written by the Communist Workers Organisation in 1998-2000, with notes.
- German Revolution 1918 photo gallery
- From the Bourgeois to the Proletarian Revolution by Otto Rühle – Written in 1924, this pamphlet charts the development of the Russian and German revolutions, and attempts to point forward from the failure of these two major events, analysing the role of the parties and the trade unions in their respective failures.
- Gerd Arntz illustrations – A collection of working class and other assorted illustrations by German council communist artist Gerd Arntz.
- What does the Communist Workers Union want? by KAUD – 1932 statement of the Communist Workers Union of Germany (Kommunistische Arbeiter-Union Deutschlands) on its perspective and purpose.
- Extracts from the guidelines of the AAUD – Extracts from the December 1920 Guidelines of the General Workers’ Union of Germany
- Program of the AAUD – Program of the General Workers’ Union of Germany, adopted at their third national conference in Leipzig, December 12-14, 1920.
- Theses on the Role of the Party in the Proletarian Revolution by KAPD – The Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD) Theses on the Party were written in July 1921 to be discussed not only in the party but within the Communist International.
- The KAPD in retrospect: An interview with a member of the Communist Workers Party of Germany – A former member of the anti-parliamentary, councilist KAPD describes his experiences of the German Revolution, his time spent in Moscow amongst the Bolsheviks and the difficulties faced in a revolutionary situation.
- Workers’ councils by Anton Pannekoek – Anton Pannekoek’s seminal texts describing how workers’ councils have been and can be organs of self-organised working class power in struggle – and a means towards overthrowing capitalism and creating a classless society.
- The Revolution Is Not A Party Affair by Otto Rühle