August Thalheimer


The Political Effects of
the Fall of the Mark

(12 August 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 68, 12 August 1922, p. 509.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Thanks to the action of the Independent and Social Democratic leadership, the proletariat’s great manifestation of energy has brought no results. The “democratic” elements of the high and the petty German bourgeoisie breathes freely again. Thanks to the crisis their position has been strengthened against the attacks of the proletarian revolutionary vanguard by the willingness of the Independents to enter into a coalition government, and by their open renunciation of all revolutionary pretenses. The democratic parties, however, were not willing to admit the Independents without more ado. The Independents must first be made to pass under the Caudine yoke. The pressure of the bourgeoisie has brought about the collaboration of the two Social Democratic parties, which may yet result in their union into a a single organization. We can see then, that this union will mean a great victory for the democratic bourgeoisie.

And while the democrats draw a freer breath, reassured that the two Social Democracies will be able to maintain the workers in peace, the monarchist reaction is beginning its offensive. They chose Bavaria as their point of attack. Their instinct did not mislead them. The Bavarian Government is supported by a decidedly reactionary petty bourgeoisie, and the working-class, especially in the South, is comparatively weak. This Government is under the influence of the secret organisations which practically rule the country, like the Fascisti in Italy. The federal Government has already capitulated before the Bavarian Vendée. The negotiations which are now going on between Bavaria and the federal Government, serve only to fix the definite form of this capitulation.

The Laws for the Protection, of the Republic have already become a meaningless scrap of paper. The facts have rapidly proved the prediction of the Communists. The Independents and the Social Democrats. are now trying to break up the Control Committees which the workers formed to conduct their fight against the reaction.

Thanks to the illusions which the Independents and the Social Democrats awake in the heart of the proletariat, thanks to the passive behaviour of these parties, the working class can look on passively upon the actions of the monarchists and upon the surrender of even the purely paper conquests of their own action.

However, it would be wrong to believe that the working class is totally apathetic.

Under the influence of the mark’s depreciation, the political mass action has now changed to a number of economic actions. Hundreds of “wild strikes” are occurring, to force an increase in wages corresponding to the depreciation. The normal trade union methods are totally useless in the presence of this rapid revaluation in prices, even the short-term wage contracts are of no help. The working class, however, has instinctively found the right trade union tactics which would meet the extraordinary conditions. And they are becoming more and more conscious of the fact that a pure wage fight is totally insufficient, that all the advantages which they gain along that line, are lost at once through the depreciation of the mark.

They are therefore resorting to the political struggle and to governmental measures, they are beginning to interfere with the anarchy of the present system. The seizure of capital goods, the control of production, trade and prices, appear anew as the only possible solution.

The Communist Parly is taking the leadership. the Social Democrats of Scheidemann’s cut, who opposed the fight of the workers against the monarchists on the ground that this struggle might result in the abysmal depreciation of the mark, these Social Democrats are forced, as coalition members of a bourgeois government, to leave the working class in the lurch in this same fight against the fall of the mark

The mass energy which the Rathenau murder called forth has not disappeared; it has shifted to the economic struggle. We may safely predict that in the end, it will again develop into a political struggle which will be so much the more intense, and the more thorough, the clearer it is recognized as a class struggle. This struggle will reveal the union of the two Social Democratic parties more clearly than even their betrayal of the proletarian cause to the bourgeoisie has done.

The new depreciation of the mark marks the beginning of a period of an intensified class struggle.

Last updated on 5 September 2019