Presentation of the book

REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN ITALY AND GERMANY (1914-1923)

CONTRIBUTION TO THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

In 1919, the newly founded Communist International hoped in the short to mid-term for the victory of the proletarian revolution in Europe. The struggle of the European proletariat reached its most acute stage, with insurrections and civil wars, in Hungary, Germany and Italy. However, the revolutionary wave of the first postwar period ended with three great failures.

The first main objective of this work is to explain how the class struggle developed in those last two countries, and what were the causes that determined the victory of the bourgeois counterrevolution.

For that, it is essential to understand the dynamics of the factors that converged to generate those failures, and that go from the political strategies of the ruling classes and the weight of social democracy in the labour movement, to the precise history of the currents of western communism that adhered to the Third International and the tactics adopted by the International and its parties in the years 1921-1924.

In order to understand the developments which determined the course of those dramatic events, this work sets out their historical context and gives an account of the Italian and German socialist movement, of the class struggle in those two countries, of the processes of founding the communist parties, and of the action of the Communist International.

The detailed study of the class struggle and the situations present in Italy and Germany in the years 1914-1923 allow to understand: (a) the difficulties encountered in the formation of Communist Parties from a heterogeneous multitude of currents attracted by the beacon of the October Revolution of 1917; (b) the enormous complexity and variety of historical circumstances which the revolutionary vanguards had to face; and (c) the diversity of problems to which these vanguards had to respond, strategically and tactically, in order to be able to try to conquer that determining influence among the working masses which is an indispensable condition of the socialist revolution.

It is within this framework that the complex polemics of the time on questions of tactics and organization within the Communist International acquire particular relevance. The second main purpose of this work is to highlight the terms, the historical conditions, the assumptions and the scope of these polemics, and the concrete consequences of the decisions of the International and the Communist Parties of Italy and Germany.

The third central aim of this work, closely connected with the first two, is the marxist critique of the political history of the Communist International centered on the class struggle in Germany and Italy in the period 1919-1923. Although there are works by historians in Italian and German which provide very useful information on those events (and which are not translated into spanish in the vast majority of cases), the writings of political criticism on this subject are naturally influenced by the ideological conceptions of their authors.

This work is based on the ideological, programmatic and principles positions of Marx, Engels, Lenin and the first three congresses of the Communist International, and differs radically not only from the traditional analyses of Stalinism (Palmiro Togliatti) and post-Stalinism (Paolo Spriano), but also from the classical approach of the Trotskyist currents (Pierre Broué), the bordiguist current (Amadeo Bordiga, Bruno Maffi) and of the “childish” communists currents (Pannekoek, Gorter and their current followers).

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