Beating the Fascists?: The German Communists and Political by Professor Eve Rosenhaft

By Professor Eve Rosenhaft

During this ebook Eve Rosenhaft examines the involvement of Communists in political violence throughout the years of Hitler's upward push to strength in Germany (1929-33). in particular, she goals to account for his or her participation in `street-fighting' or 'gang-fighting' with nationwide Socialist storm-troopers. The origins of this clash are tested at degrees. First Dr Rosenhaft analyses the legit coverage of the Communist social gathering in the direction of fascism and Nazism, and the designated anti-fascist and self-defence businesses which it built. one of the features of Communist coverage which are explored are the relation among the foreign war of words among Communists and Social Democrats as claimants to guide the left, and the results of this dispute in German politics; the ideological problems within the implementation of Communist coverage in a interval of financial dislocation; and the organizational difficulties posed via the struggle opposed to fascism. Dr Rosenhaft then explores the attitudes and adventure of the Communist rank and dossier engaged within the fight opposed to fascism, targeting town of Berlin, the place a fierce contest for keep an eye on of the streets was once waged.

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31 An aspect of neighbourhood life in Berlin not captured by official statistics is the concept of the Kietz. This expression, taken over from the Slavic language of the Prussian frontier, denoted (and still denotes in Berlin slang) a neighbourhood within a neighbourhood, a coherent community with its own habits and attitudes, usually marked off from the surrounding district by some particular physical feature. Apart from the factories and powerplants, highways and railway-lines that characterize any large city and can serve as the border-posts between neighbourhoods, Berlin had a housing pattern that contributed to the crystallization of such communities in the old proletarian areas: high-density tenements packed together between broad boulevards.

In the changed labour-market of the 1920s growing numbers of semi-skilled and unskilled workers travelled to short periods of work in several workshops or factories in succession, in different parts of the city and in different sectors of industry, or stayed at home because they could not get work. For them, the neighbourhood might be the one stable frame of reference for the recognition of interests and the construction of remedies. Certainly, the strike that was the traditional weapon of the labour movement lost both its relevance and its effectiveness under these circumstances.

The material difficulties that faced known Communists who tried to accomplish anything from within the labour movement or inside the factories were reflected in the disproportionate numbers of unemployed in the KPD and a high rate of membership-fluctuation. 3 But real though they were, the 'party culture' and the neighbourhood 'stronghold' were neither comprehensive nor unambiguous in their political value for the Party. It is clear that the Party's sphere of influence never extended to all the members of a working-class community, still less to all the residents of a neighbourhood.

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