Internet statement 99/22

An abridged edition of this internet statement 99/22 has been already published in some newsgroups. Here we now publish the complete edition of it.   Uwe Mueller, July 30, 1999

The MLPD and its "System of Self-control of the Party of a New Type"

By Walter Grobe

Preliminary Remark:
Our organization already has conducted several public debates with the MLPD resp. its precursors, the KAB/ML resp. KABD. The strangenesses of its statute which are the subject here once more unmask this organization. 

In September 1995, the MLPD in its theoretical organ "Revolutionärer Weg" (#26) published a work of almost 300 pages entitled "The Struggle About the Way of Thinking in the Labor Movement".   [note 1]
Later the same text has been published also as a work by Stefan Engel, the organisation‘s chairman.

In one of the final chapters taking stock of the work we read, under the heading:

"The control of the way of thinking - the system of self-control of the party of a new type"  [note 2]

the following:

"Starting from Lenin’s thought about the independent organs of control, the MLPD has created a whole system of self-control of the party. By this system the party controls itself, whether and how it comes to grips with the petty-bourgeois influence....According to democratic centralism this system of control has three sides.

The control from top by the Central Control Commission (CCC). The CCC has to permanently influence the Central Committee and the organization in order to achieve in every question the necessary vigilance and sensitivity in the struggle about the way of thinking. The independent control of the CC is among its main tasks. In doing so the CCC leans on the lower level of Control Commissions being established in the party districts or in the units in the federal states. They control the respective leaderships in appropriating and independently translating the line of the party and the decisions of the CC. In particular, they concern themselves with the construction of the party from the grassroots and are closely connected to the base work of the party. The correct interaction between the organs of control and the leaderships within the system of control of the party is determined by the fact that the identical objective is possible only if the different definitions of tasks are strictly respected.    [note 3]

Neither must the CCC intervene into the leadership activities of the CC nor is the CC able to influence the activity of the CCC. Members of the Control Commissions are not allowed to any leadership activity because this would mean a basic conflict of interests. In this case, an unprejudiced and all-round investigation and education would be called into question. The other way round, the independence of the Control Commissions would be abolished if the leaderships were able to intervene into their work. The disagreements must be resolved by criticism and self-criticism. About this comrade Willi Dickhut gave the hint:

‘The CCC certainly must not intervene...except for matters of principle...Correct criticism is the way. If a mistake is not corrected, an investigation must take place, that is to say, a cadre investigation has to be started, if renewed problems appear, if there is even struggle, investigative proceedings have to take place. If even then there is no correction by the leadership, an extraordinary party congress has to take place. The decisive question, the crucial point always is how far the intervention is allowed to go.’ (conversation of April 18, 1991)"    (p. 248f.)

"The CCC is accountable only to the party congress. All the leaderships and members are obliged to unreservedly support the CCC in fulfilling its tasks. It is permitted to look at all documents and to be present at the sessions and discussions of the leaderships. The CCC is even obliged to take part in the discussions of the secretariat and the plenary sessions of the CC. ...In any case the CCC sets its taks itself. It is authorized to pass movements of criticism-self-criticism. These have to be instructed and controlled by the respective leaderships, as the CCC is not entitled to shoulder tasks of leadership. The CCC has to abolish decisions which offend against the fundaments, in case they are not corrected by the leaderships." (p. 253)

"The struggle who influences whom sometimes has to be supported also by administrative means. Control without power is an empty phrase. This is why the Control Commissions need administrative authority in order to be able to carry through the control. About that it is stated in the already mentioned ‘Leitfaden’ [introduction]:

‘Nothing is as effective as totally convincing arguments leading to the solution of contradictions. The Control Commissions’ abilities to take far-reaching administrative measures, however, ar a necessary condition for that....’" (p. 252f.)    [note 4]

(Emphases by underlines are mine, WG; emphases by bold type are original)

Leaping into the eye at first sight, there is a double system of leadership and responsibility in this organisation. The contruction according to the general principles of democratic centralism is "supplemented" by a further organization in the organization, the Control Commissions of all levels, particular weight becoming the "CCC", the "control of the CC". In reality this is not supplementing democratic centralism but counteracting it. 

It is directly obvious from these sentences that these Control Commissions differ fundamentally from the Control Commissions contained among the organizational principles of democratic centralism and being practised generally. These Control Commissions of the MLPD, in particular the CCC, are Commissions above the leaderships of the different levels, in particular above the CC. The MLPD has a CC which in its leadership activities is subjected to constant supervision by a body which on its part has no formal authorization to leadership. The decisions of the CC may be abolished, it can be forced to decide contrarily to its own views and subsequently to carry through this decision, by a group within the organization which has not been elected and is not answerable in practice for the leadership which it thus de facto exercises in a decisive manner. The members of these Control Commissions "are not allowed to exercise any leadership function" - thus it reads, absurdly. Of course it is nothing but leading the organization if you abolish unwelcome decisions of the leading body.

The restriction of the authorization of the CCC by its accountability to the part congress is largely formal. Obviously, an extraordinary party congress cannot virtually permanently be sitting as an organ of regular work, above all not in times of revolutionary intensification, of illegality. And even if it were able to do so it would annul the essential revolutionary element of centralism in democratic centralism. Besides, in the MLPD’s system we have at hand also the calling of a party congress logically is a decision subjected to the control of the CCC. That is to say, a CC would have hard times trying to achieve a party congress against a CCC. 

Naturally, for lower organs of the MLPD at least the same degree of control exists as for the CC. Apart from being controlled by the regular superior organs and the members they are controlled by Control Commissions specially attributed to them.

A further quotation from "Revolutionärer Weg" #26:

"The system of self-control of the party receives its tasks, methods and objectives from the ‘guidelines of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) for the activities of its Control Commissions and for the carrying out of investigations.’ These guidelines have statutory character. They are a fundamental alignment not only for the Control Commissions, but for all members and leaderships of the party and the youth organization. 

The essential thing of the interaction between the organs of control and the other sides of control consists above all in concentrating the revolutionary vigilance in the CCC. According to all the experiences of the labor movement this is a key question because the control from top must include the CC. It is necessary to prevent the advance of the petty-bourgeois way of thinking by help in the alignment of thinking and acting to the new developments in class struggle by timeley recognizing weaknesses, furthering strong points and eradicating mistakes. For that the educational work orientates itself to the tasks of party construction and class struggle which are the deciding ones at a time." (p. 250 f.)

Here we see, among others, that the MLPD apart from its statute possesses a second statute. Certainly it hardly could be otherwise with an organization which replaces its formally existing democratic centralism by a higher structure of non-democratic-centralist character. 

In the MLPD the fundamental principles of revolutionary forms of organization are not valid and have been replaced by a very different form of leadership. This we learn from the passages from "Revolutionärer Weg" #26. This organization in reality is being lead by persons and bodies which for the public and the members are not standing out as the politically responsible representatives and are not recognizable as such. They are not even allowed to do so. The MLPD tears apart theory and practice, actual activity and position within the organization. This does largely resemble organizational forms of sects and fascist leagues.

Therefore the question is irresistible as to the true political character of this organization which calls itself "Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany". What is it that has to be secured by this "system of self-control"?

I do not want to forestall the reader in his own considerations and possible investigations as to the political character of the MLPD.    [note 5]

Here only some unsystematic

Remarks on the MLPD’s pattern of thought about the "proletarian way of thinking and petty-bourgois-intellectual way of thinking"

What is understood by this contradiction by the MLPD, and by which "way of thinking" this organization is characterized itself, can only be touched on here. It should be analyzed in detail. Although it is essentially a distortion of Marxism-Leninism and a manoeuvre for evading essential social facts, not everything in this book is worthless.

The book "The Struggle About the Way of Thinking in the Labor Movement" altogether is an extensive explanation of this pattern of thought which culminates in the control statute. This struggle even is seen by the MLPD as its present central political achievement on a world scale. In the preface it reads:

"By the analysis of theory and practice of the class struggle in the FRG and in view of the experiences of the international Marxist-Leninist and labor movement the REVOLUTIONÄRER WEG 26 draws the necessary consequences for the MLPD’s changing itself on the fundament of the proletarian way of thinking. This changing itself presently is its most important contribution it can make for the new formation of the international Marxist-Leninist and labor movement in the struggle for true socialism." (p.8., emph. mine) The book attempts to establish, in a really peculiar fashion, the contradiction between the proletarian "way of thinking" and the petty-bourgeois intellectual "way of thinking" as a central political category for the comprehension of the most complicated questions of past and present of the communist movement. About this three quotations: "Along with the development of the intelligentsia towards being the dominating petty-bourgeois stratum, the petty-bourgeois-intellectual way of thinking developed into a comprehensive and diverse system. It penetrates all questions of culture, politics, science and world outlook; today it reaches the broad masses of the working class and the other working people. Politically, it has become a fundamental part of the power of the monopolies." (p. 89, emph. or.) About the history of socialism in the USSR and its overthrow it reads: "The necessary ideological-political struggle against the bearers of the petty-bourgeois way of thinking was neglected. This was the first main mistake under Stalin’s leadership.....Relinquishing the mobilization of the broad masses of the people against the degenerated representatives of the bureaucracy was Stalin’s second main mistake."
  (p. 104, quoted from W. Dickhut, "Sozialismus am Ende?" Essen 1992, emph. or.)
These explanations are already highly questionable. But now one should read the lines the MLPD writes about the question why in China the overthrow of socialism was possible. At first the great ideological struggle in China about the proletarian ideology is being described and the importance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, quite appropriately, is being emphasized. Then it reads: "Mao Zedong, too, did not raise the question of the control of the way of thinking to its full consequence. At no time the Communist Party of China possessed independent control organs. Thus also its CC was without control...A CCC in China would have had to criticize Mao’s mistake of April, 1976, which had serious consequences. Under his chairmanship the CC of the CP of China unanimously decided not to exclude from the party the liquidator Deng Xiaoping unmasked by him. This was a mistaken handling of the antagonistic contradictions. This was to be proven fatal above all after the death of Mao Zedong." (p. 110) Here the description once and for all becomes absurd. It is not easy to analyze the overthrow in China, in doing so one has above all to take into regard aspects such as the material condition of China, internally and in relation to the capitalist world, included the question of science and technology, the protracted political struggles between the different currents in the CPC and the relations of the CPC with the international revolutionary movement, furthermore Chinese cultural traditions etc. Such questions have already in part publically been dealt with by our organization, partly they still are under internal discussion. All of them are absent with the MLPD. With regard to the overthrow, this quotation, as a matter of fact, is all the MLPD comes up with. 

Apart from leaving out the complete social and political reality, this view is not logical in itself either. The idea that there should have been a CCC superior to the CC of the CPC, which would have been able to overlook the situation of April, 1976, in such a way as to have been able to detect and correct "mistakes by Mao" (resp. "mistakes by the politbureau") is a bureaucratic fantasy. Such a body would had have to be a body with a better political overview about the complicated political situation than the politbureau, Mao himself included. If there had been such a body, it would had itself have to be the politically leading body of the CC. Of course it cannot not be ruled out that even leaders like Mao Zedong and the politbureau lead by him make mistakes, but where were those in the CPC who had been able to correct them in 1976? If there had been such leaders, they would have made themselves noticed also internationally.

Some facts about the history of the so-called "struggle against the petty-bourgeois-intellectual way of thinking" from the part of the MLPD

The MLPD declaring itself the champion of a so-called "struggle against the petty-bourgeois-intellectual way of thinking" really is something completely screwed-up. This organization neither is in the position to claim a true struggle against the petty-bourgeoisification of the working class, on the contrary it always has been attempting to shield these conditions from criticism, nor does it have a correct position in the question of the intellectuals. 

From the beginning of the Marxist-Leninist movement, since the late 60s, there was only one organization within the "ML-spectrum" in West Germany and Berlin(West) which, as it soon turned out in the discussion, was fundamentally balking at the revolutionary criticism of the phenomenon of the petty-bourgeoisified worker of imperialism, of labor aristocracy in Germany and of the trade unions firmly rooted in the capitalist system. This was the forerunner of MLPD, the "Communist Workers’ League/Marxist-Leninist" (KAB/ML - Kommunistischer Arbeiterbund/Marxisten-Leninisten), and in particular Willi Dickhut, the leader of both. The criticism of imperialist labor aristocracism in its basic outline is known to stem from nobody else but Lenin, and after 50 more years of imperialist society in Germany it was completely obvious that it had to be retaken and intensified. Just by this very fact Dickhut and the KAB/ML soon fell into disrepute as rightists.

And their position in the question of the intellectuals is above all being characterized by their defaming as "intellectual rubbish" exactly this necessary criticism of labor aristocracism and the West-German system of trade unions. In the beginning of the 70s, Dickhut and the KAB/ML fought not only our organization but virtually the whole left of then which was acting on a proletarian-revolutionary program basis, by at first flatly denying the existence of an important labor-aristocratic stratum, and by systematically standing up for the trade union leadership. They denied its activities in the realm of monopoly capitalism (the then trade unions bank, the "Bank für Gemeinwirtschaft", was the fourth-largest universal bank of the FRG, and the trade unions’ group of real estate companies, "Neue Heimat", was the largest of its kind; moreover there was the demand to penetrate into the leading positions of capitalism as a whole; these things more or less failed only later). Dickhut and his pals even stood up for the fascist anti-communist machinations of the trade union leadership such as the attempt of the IG-Metall, the largest trade union of the FRG, to urge the state to illegalize the Marxist-Leninist parties. 

Rightly Dickhut and the KAB/ML during that time were generally considered the extreme right-wingers of the ml-movement, a semi-revisionist organization which properly spoken did not really belong to the revolutionary spectrum. In the book at hand it is even stated quite clearly, that actually it did not see itself as belonging to it; then, though, it disguised this fact, in an agency’s manner. (The other organizations of then had different dark aspects which as well were criticized by us and later were borne out by the complete betrayal and the self-liquidation of these organizations, but concerning the criticism of the imperialist labor aristocracy and the trade union leadership they did not close their minds to the West German reality, in contrast to Dickhut and the KAB/ML.)

To Klaus Sender, the chairman of our organization who had analyzed the character of the trade unions’ apparatus as arch-capitalistic and, in view of its fundaments, social-imperialistic in the articles "Über das Wesen des DGB" ("About the essence of the German Trade Unions Federation") of Dec. 1971, Dickhut was unable to answer. Only one-and-a-half year later, in "Revolutionärer Weg" #11, Dickhut had the paltry idea to write him off from the start as "student and not a trade union member" without having to go, in any serious fashion, into the contents. Dickhut proved to be a pedantic advocate of the imperialist labor bureaucracy. It is very typical that he erroneously thought himself able to distract from criticism by the tag "intellectual nutcase". 

These facts show that the MLPD’s polemics against a "petty-bourgeois intellectual way of thinking" is deeply rooted in its own labor aristocratic fundament which rebels against the revolutionary criticism. Historically it is a matter of fact that in West Germany and Berlin(West) in the end of the sixties those who criticized revisionism, who spoke up for the proletarian revolution, for the Third World and the international proletariat essentially were people emerging from the then students’ movement, converting this agenda into beginnings of parties wich immediately tackled the amalgamation with the industrial proletariat and scored first successes in this respect. Representatives of the former communist movement like Dickhut himself took part only in individual cases. The mass of these young intellectuals came from all classes of society, not only from the petty-bourgeoisie, and their strength resulted from their radical break with the ruling conditions, inspired by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and the policy of Mao Zedong. Dickhut however and the KAB/ML were directly opposed to revolutionary policies and preached the impossibility of initiating a Marxist-Leninist party construction in the then situation. It was, however, only some years later that party construction was really fundamentally impeded by extreme social and political interventions from the part of the bourgeoisie. This we already often have described, the interventions consisting, for example, in des-industrialization and in the installation of ecologism as the dominant social agenda. Dickhut and the KAB/ML preached an alleged prolonged phase of "social reforms" by West German imperialism and of political dominance of the DKP-revisionists in the labor movement. As a pretext of their slandering they used certain negative aspects stemming from the petty-bourgeois or bourgeois background of the major part of the students’ movement. In the essence, however, the so-called "struggle against the petty-bourgeois-intellectual way of thinking" from the part of the people who later founded the MLPD was nothing else but the repulse of radical criticism - radical as meant by Marx - of the existing imperialist conditions, conditions within the working class included. What they fought against, pejoratively labeling it "petty-bourgeois-intellectual", was actually revolutionary intellect.

We do not know enough about the MLPD’s internal strains of today to be able to tell, against which tendencies within this organization the "control of thinking" is presently directed. But in view of its whole history and ideology this is the core of the control.    [note 6]

Additional remark:

Can the MLPD refer to Lenin with regard to its statute, as it attempts?

Which are "Lenin’s thoughts about the independent organs of control" allegedly taken up by the MLPD?

On p. 98 of the MLPD’s book it reads that Lenin in 1920 made the proposal

"to establish an independent Central Control Commission (CCC). This organ was accountable only to the party congress and independent with regard to the Central Committee, i.e. not included in the responsibility of leadership. This organ, new in the labor movement, was set two fundamental tasks. First, at all costs to avert a split of the party and to prevent this danger. Second, to pay attention to absolute correctness in every matter. This was not only about formal correctness, not only about observing guidelines and principles, but above all about correctness in the application of the revolutionary method." (emphases or.)    [note 7] Lenin’s proposal for a resolution to establish Control Commissions as well as his grounds are to be found in the supplementary volume II (1917-1923) of the German edition of Lenin, Werke, p. 207 resp. 203-205. "....4. It is to be regarded as necessary to establish a control commission which is to exist beside the CC and to be composed of comrades which have longtime party practice, are especially experienced, unbiased and able to exert a strict control appropriate to the party. The control commisssion, which is elected by the party congress, shall be entitled to accept and investigate all complaints. In doing so it communicates with the CC and if necessary holds common sessions with the CC or submits a question to the party congress." In his speech of Sept. 24th, 1920 about the next tasks of party construction, (Supp. vol. II, p. 200-205) Lenin explains this proposal to form a control commission:  "Here it was pointed to the fact that 500 complaints have come in to the the org bureau. Upon the org bureau it is incumbent to bring into action tens of thousands of people. Besides, there is no member of the org bureau who is not strained by several state functions. Under such conditions working with unknown quantities cannot be avoided, and under such conditions decisions cannot be made but intuitively, only experienced people being able to make the correct decisions, and it does not rarely happen that even they are mistaken. In view of such conditions we want to find people who at least for fifteen years have been members of the party, who enjoy the confidence of the party, who are unbiased, who could help in this and, being elected by the party congress, would have more independence than the org bureau. I believe we can take this step. One cannot impede the work of the CC and cannot stop decisions. There is no special guarantee for that, and one cannot recommend such a guarantee. Formerly, also in the German labor party there was a control comission. To which extent it will be possible with us, under war conditions, one cannot safely say. But in any case we are able to take this step, and the CC has taken this course." (p. 203f.) Then Lenin discusses the question if it would be possible that also in the party committees of the provinces "special party commissions are formed to which the respective complaints should be forwarded". Finally he resumes the question of the central control commission. It serves to handle the complaints which the CC, under war conditions, extreme strain upon all nerves and widespread exhaustion, is not able to concern itself with.

"I cannot imagine a more real guarantee for carrying through this task than the creation of this commission, of a group of comrades who could fully concentrate upon this matter and could be convinced that in this work which neither a member of the CC nor the orgbureau nor the politbureau can thoroughly deal with, they will be completely independent." (p. 205) 

It is clear that this is about a new organ for the relief of the CC, under the conditions of the wars of intervention which put the existence of the young revolutionary power into question. There can be no question of a gremium higher than the CC, as expressedly created by the MLPD. 

The control commissions were created according to Lenin’s proposal. The note #232 in the supplementary volume II (p. 581) says: "The conference regarded it as necessary for the struggle against several encroachments and for the investigation of the complaints of several party members to establish a control commisssion and special party commissions with the province committees." 

About the development of the control commissions in practice one cannot learn much from Lenin’s works. On the X. party congress (March 1921) Lenin says about it:

"When we created the control commissions we said: the CC is completely swamped with admnistrative work, let us elect people who enjoy the confidence of the workers, who are less swamped with administrative work and in the place of the CC will investigate the complaints. This gave us a procedure to unfold criticism and to correct mistakes." (Lenin, Werke, vol. 32, p. 207) On the XI. party congress, in 1922, Lenin says briefly: "Of course, the CCC is a very good institution, and we now shall give it more power." (Lenin, Werke vol. 33, p. 270; XI. party congress, political report of the CC, 27.3 - 2.4. 1922)  Finally, in an article of May 20, 1922, there is to be found the following remark: " which the latter body, i.e. the CCC, is accountable only to the party congress, and is constructed in such a way that for the members of the CCC there is no possibility to be at the same time active in any people’s commissariat, in any independent administration and in any organ of the soviet power."

(Lenin, Werke, vol. 33, p.352, About "Double" Subordination and Legality)

NB: The ban on simultaneous work which Lenin proposes is valid for organs of the state, not of the party.

In his last works, of 1923, "How We Should Reorganize the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection" and "Better Fewer, But Better" Lenin once again concerns himself with the CCC, this time in more detail. These articles are about the reorganization of the party leadership, the role of the CC and above all also about the revolution of the state apparatus, a question which in Lenins view assumes central importance for the survival of Soviet power, given the expectation of new attacks by imperialism and the danger of a split between the workers and the peasants. 

These thoughts combine quite a few central political and organizational problems. It would be inappropriate to try to briefly sum them up here. Neither these articles, however, do contain anything substantially common with the MLPD’s concept. There can be no question of a body which has the right to invalidate the decisions of the CC, to dictate campaigns to the CC, and which has to consist entirely of persons who do not bear leadership responsibility anywhere else in the party. A dictatorship by forces staying more or less in the background is not at all Lenin’s intention. The CCC as envisaged here by Lenin, amalgamated with the workers’ and peasants’ inspection, is to work independently, but as an extension of the CC, as an auxiliary organ of it. Its activity, besides control of the party, extends to a high degree over the reform of the whole political and economic adminstrative apparatus of the USSR. 

So, if the MLPD, in its own concept of theCCC, refers to Lenin, this is a conscious misleading, because the essence of its purpose and of its role within the party is different from the CCC as created by the KPR(B) on Lenin‘s initiative.

“Der Kampf um die Denkweise in der Arbeiterbewegung“, Essen 1995
All translations from this work are mine, W. Gr    back to text

„Die Kontrolle der Denkweise - das System der Selbstkontrolle der Partei neuen Typs“, p. 248
All translations from this work are mine, W. Gr   back to text

To be complete, it has to be mentioned that the following explanations contain further elements of self-control, namely the „control from below by the members“ and the „self-control of the cadres“   back to text

By the way: a splendid defense of the method of convincing. In order to be able to thoroughly convince one has above all to get the organizational means into ones hands needed to give orders to those who he cannot convince. Dare somebody say the MLPD is a bureaucratic organization!  back to text

 Important publications by the KPD/ML (Neue Einheit) in the debate with the MLPD so far are:
a) „Nieder mit der korrupten Gewerkschaftsführung! Gegen das Verbot der KDP/ML (Neue Einheit)!“ („Down with the corrupt trade union leadership! Against the ban of the KPD/ML (Neue Einheit)!“) by Klaus Sender, 23.9.1971
b) NEUE EINHEIT No. 1/2-86, „Anmerkungen zum ‘MLPD-Geschichtsbuch’ - 1. Teil.“ („Annotations to the ‘MLPD’s history book’“) This publication contains, among others, extensive documents by Willi Dickhut, the founder and political leader of the MLPD, which cast clear light upon the character of the organization 

Furthermore, in NEUE EINHEIT 2/85 an article has appeared „Die MLPD und das Waldsterben“ („The MLPD and the dying of the woods“) which deals with the organization’s parroting of the bourgeois eco-catastrophe propaganda.   back to text

The text at hand was finished in August 1998. In the meantime, the MLPD has published the draft of a new party program. With view to the relation, mentioned by me, between the KABD, Dickhut and the MLPD and the imperialist labor aristocracy and the trade union leadership this draft is a further alarmingly clear proof. In the whole draft not even the existence of  a labor aristocracy in a imperialist country like Germany is mentioned any longer. Thus, the draft is rendering invalid the explanations about the labor aristocracy which are anyway to be found in the book about the way of thinking, and is showing once more, with particular clarity, which forces are the really dominant ones in this party and claim a control of thinking for themselves.   back to text

The English translation of the quotations from Lenin has been done by me from the German translation in the Lenin, Werke edition. W. Gr.    back to text

© Copyright 1999 Verlag NEUE EINHEIT   (Inh. Hartmut Dicke)