The clay colossus

- Yg. 1929, No. 12 -

The Social Democratic Party of Germany has a year of the most brilliant external advancement behind it. It has succeeded in the May elections, over 9,1 million votes, which are 153 Reichstag mandates to unite, thus achieving a vote gain of 16 percent. The number of members has increased from 1928 867 to 671 937 in the year 381; So an increase of 69 710 members has been achieved. The revenue has grown to the huge sum of over 10,25 million marks a year, of which the districts alone have raised nearly 7 million marks (in the year 1927: 5,6) from their own funds. Out of these 10 million marks, 1928 2,6 could be spent for the elections. The Social Democracy has 196 newspapers with mostly own independent printing houses. The party's Jungbrunn, the "Socialist Workers Youth", has gained some 1928 5 members around 000 (its first significant increase since the inflation years) and today counts 54 000 members, with only a young member joining 17 old members. The SPD-affiliated so-called "free" unions have a membership of over 4,5 millions. In the first half of 1928, the associations of the ADGB 255 000 have gained new members. The ADGB has 98 press organs with a circulation of 6,9 millions. Belonging to the circle of social democracy are also the workers-cultural and sports organizations (the sports movement with 1,2 million members alone), as well as the consumer cooperative movement and the 1924-founded Bank of Workers, Employees and Officials with an annual turnover of over 2 billion marks and with 117 million deposits and deposits. The bank has increased its share capital from 1928 to 4 million marks at the end of 12.

This is largely the graphic image of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The small "Communist League" from the days of Marx has become a gigantic colossus. The organizational structure of the SPD demands admiration and recognition. Achieving these huge numbers is the work of diligent cell work, the success of the most zealous Party officials.

And despite all (or just because of that?) The momentum of the party has flagged, the actual influence of the mammoth party on the general German economic apparatus stands in stark contrast to these membership and turnover figures. The party has put on fat, it has become sedate over the years and basks in the glory of the numbers. But at the same time the character of the party has fundamentally changed. It affirms the present state and seeks to conquer it from the inside, but does not notice that the capitalist state makes the party submissive for its own benefit. Hermann Müller declares in a parliamentary speech that Wehrmacht questions may no longer be a party matter and receives from the German Nationalist deputy v. Lettow-Vorbeck promptly praised this statement of patriotism. Severing, the former hope of all Republicans, makes an arbitration award in the large Ruhr workers lockout, which represents a cautious estimate of a private processing plant in the Ruhr an additional burden of 1,5 to 1,8 percent over the old wage bill. Severing attributes this more than dubious deed to that of a leader who "sometimes has to swim against the tide," as he proudly proclaimed in a speech at a Reichsbannertagung in Essen. And in the ignominious battleship scandal, the biggest chance ever given to a party is to be able to take on a leisurely, legislated, life-long government task of slowly conquering the state. Instead of putting the bourgeois ministerial colleagues before the alternative, in a new election campaign under the slogan "for or against battleship" or to vote for the immediate cessation of battleship construction, one speaks of realpolitik necessities that require just the participation in a coalition government.

It is true that it is not unrecognized that the activity of Otto Braun, the most energetic and prominent politician in Germany alongside Stresemann, was and is relatively successful in the Prussian government. Nor is it misunderstood that Hilferding attempted to establish and subsequently defend his budget for a social arrangement (see the attempt to reduce the income tax rate, increase inheritance tax and beer tax). Severing's initiative was also acknowledged in the attempt to eliminate the Teno, even though it had failed. Also Wissell has enforced a lot, so the law on the outraged. But all in all, this participation in the coalition government to this day is a long string of blatant failures, all the more serious because they discredit the whole party as such in its program setting and practical work.

Hermann Mueller has failed in practical leadership, and his socialism, even the most reformist, no one believes him today. He is to be attributed to bourgeois liberalism. It's like this: you try to do realpolitik and you forget the realities. One speaks of concessions, but it is defeats. They call necessities, which are in reality prizes of socialist doctrines. They want to drive the devil out, but they use Beelzebubs.

However, there is a small group in the SPD that recognizes what is: it is the circle around Paul Levi. That's why they call these men "utopians". But what use is the little group in the middle of the giant herd? It is used very skillfully from time to time as a revolutionary pretension horse (see the mutiny on the occasion of the battleship scandal) in order to avoid the complete unmasking of the party; there will also be sharp arguments with this left-wing wing at the coming congress (the petition of a district attests, for example, to the "ministerial comrades" dissatisfaction with their work hitherto performed) - but all this will not prevent the SPD from going to bourgeoisie which she has succeeded so far.

Or will the clayey colossus still grow iron feet?

1929, 12 Ludwig Kuttner