Decision of the extraordinary congress of KO, 8 January 2023
The political reality in the world, which has come to a head before our eyes since 24 February 2022, forces us as communists in Germany to do two things. First, to position ourselves and fight against our main enemy, German imperialism, which is actively involved in the war against Russia, as well as against NATO, the hegemonic and most aggressive imperialist alliance in which Germany is integrated and which is under the leadership of US imperialism. Second, to clarify the question of imperialism, because the dissensions on this central question not only divide the international communist movement, but also hinder large sections of it, including ourselves, to fight effectively against imperialism. At our 4th General Assembly [in April 2022], we set out the first task in the form of an “Action Orientation” and the second task in the form of our “Resolution to clarify the question of imperialism and war”.
Our collective position: fight against the main enemy!
But the two – struggling against NATO and clarifying the question of imperialism – are not detached from one another. It is not the case that one is theory and the other practice, or that one is “science” and the other “activism”. Rather, the two are inseparable: Our clarification is part of our practice. And the Action Orientation is our theoretical consensus from which we start our clarification process.
Based on the Action Orientation, we also decided the following with the leading motion at our recentextraordinary congress:
“We are not fighting Russia, but NATO and German imperialism.”
“We oppose the repressive measures of the state, carry out anti-NATO and anti-Bundeswehr actions and show that the situation of the working class here in Germany stems from the war drive of its own bourgeoisie. We fight chauvinist and apologetic propaganda as well as its effects on the consciousness of the working class in Germany. In publications we put a greater focus on German imperialism and NATO and expose their war policy as a crime.”
The explanatory statement to the leading motion goes on to state:
“We realise that going offensively into the struggles of the working class and the political struggle against German imperialism constitute an important part of the clarification process and of our own political development. We intend to go offensively into the struggles of the working class and to take up the political struggle with our enemy, German imperialism. We will expose German war policy as a crime and reveal the reactionary character of the coalition government [between the social democrats, the greens and the liberal democrats].”
We clearly maintain that the enemy we are actively fighting is NATO, not Russia. This is not only an orientation for political practice, but a substance-based position.
This consistent stance on German imperialism in general and on the Ukraine war in particular is inseparable from our self-perception as communists, as anti-imperialists and as internationalists. To fall behind it would mean, in our view, to fall away from the internationalist and anti-imperialist, and thus from the communist standpoint.
Dangers: “Burgfrieden”, relativisation, evasion tactics
This danger is concrete. Therefore, we also name what we consider to be the greatest risks for the communist and workers’ movement in Germany and the imperialist centres in general. The resolution states right at the beginning:
“Situations of war like this challenge the steadfastness and clarity of the international workers’ movement to a great extent. (…) The danger of complicity with one’s own bourgeoisie is real. The German labour movement must not approach the countries involved in the war with equidistance.”
The statement continues:
“Too often in history this is exactly what has happened, and also now we are witnessing how left forces are falling like dominos. They are not opposing the war path of German imperialism but are even indirectly supporting it. We must not separate our clarification process from this struggle, which is already in full swing. We must understand clarification as the means that enables us to lead this struggle in a truly consistent manner and in the correct direction. This requires that we enter the struggle.”
This dangerous situation for the German workers’ movement is at the same time the political background of the split in the KO. In the introduction to the resolution we stated with this in mind:
“Our main strategic enemy, German imperialism, is actively waging war against Russia. In such a situation, to rashly take a position which declares Germany’s opponent to be an imperialist power and condemns its actions as imperialist, just as our rulers are doing, is extremely dangerous!”
In addition, we also want to identify the following pitfalls that we have observed in the communist and labour movements:
1. There is not only the danger of falling into the trap of one’s own imperialism. The trap that is much easier to fall into is that of downplaying the role of NATO, for this inevitably results an abandonment of the struggles of the peoples’ and the workers’ movement against exploitation, oppression, and the wars that the West wages worldwide.
2. We see the danger that sections of the communist movement in the imperialist centres avoid an open struggle against the NATO’s warmongering, instead limiting themselves to struggles against social cuts and inflation, separating these two aspects. In doing so, they sap the workers’ movement and rob it of the potential to consciously align with their class brothers and sisters and the oppressed peoples against Western imperialism.
3. Finally, we see the danger that the struggle against the fascism promoted and developed by NATO is underestimated and relativised. The threat posed by this fascism is accordingly not recognised and no consciousness is raised about it in the workers’ movement.
In this spirit, we maintain:
Clarify, struggle, organise!
Down with German imperialism!
For the defeat of NATO!
Long live international solidarity!