Wednesday, March 30, 2011

table for two?

from the admirable Anarchist media project.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

undercover anarchist- Silver Bullet

For all our comrades who are keeping their heads down at the moment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Thoughts On The Stop The War Coalition’s “10 Reasons To Say No To Western Intervention In Libya”.

By Stan Cullen Grant
taken with thanks from the excellent Norfolk unaligned community action website
Some thoughts for discussion by Stan on yesterdays statement by the Stop The War Coalition on international involvement in Libya. The ‘left’ in the UK once again deem themselves to know what’s best for the people in foreign lands. There’s something slightly ‘imperialist’ about that isn’t there?
While we would never support international intervention that would likely be used for hidden agenda, we also would never stoop so low as to treat the oppressed of any nation to a lecture on whats best for them while they are screaming out for assistance.
Marching against military intervention while Free Libyans are fighting for their lives is nothing short of disgraceful, but we’ve come to expect that from the British ‘left’. They should be thrown out with the rest of last centuries trash.

1. Intervention will violate Libya’s sovereignty. This is not just a legalistic point – although the importance of observing international law should not be discounted if the big powers in the world are not to be given the green light run amok. As soon as NATO starts to intervene, the Libyan people will start to lose control of their own country and future.
The rebels are in the process of trying to establish a more democratic form of government-Libya’s ‘soverignty’ is already in question. If the rebels have a right to sovereignty and have requested aid through an apparatus of provisional government their soverignty is NOT being violated.

2. Intervention can only prolong, not end the civil war. “No-fly zones” will not be able to halt the conflict and will lead to more bloodshed, not less.The civil war will only be perpetuated in so far as it will not be ended by a swift and brutal massacre of rebel forces but a consolidation of their power, which will take longer than exterminating them and it seems more pertinent to assess the scale of violence rather than its length.

3. Intervention will lead to escalation. Because the measures being advocated today cannot bring an end to the civil war, the next demand will be for a full-scale armed presence in Libya, as in Iraq – and meeting the same continuing resistance. That way lies decades of conflict.
The rebels have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the deployment of ground forces, and only by violating their wishes will their soverignty be violated. Perhaps the STWC should send a delegate to Benghazi and give them advice?

4. This is not Spain in 1936, when non-intervention meant helping the fascist side which, if victorious in the conflict, would only encourage the instigators of a wider war – as it did. Here, the powers clamouring for military action are the ones already fighting a wider war across the Middle East and looking to preserve their power even as they lose their autocratic allies. Respecting Libya’s sovereignty is the cause of peace, not is enemy.
Whilst Gadaffii’s rump state has access to superior technology and more resources non-intevention will aid his regime. (Or is that precisely what the British Left want? If so come out and say it.)

5. It is more like Iraq in the 1990s, after the First Gulf War. Then, the US, Britain and France imposed no-fly zones which did not lead to peace – the two parties in protected Iraqi Kurdistan fought a bitter civil war under the protection of the no-fly zone – and did prepare the ground for the invasion of 2003. Intervention may partition Libya and institutionalise conflict for decades.

To replace oppression with conflict is an attempt to liberate oneself. Do the STWC know better than the people of Libya what is good for them? Sounds like old school colonialism…

6. Or it is more like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia. NATO interference has not lead to peace, reconciliation or genuine freedom in the Balkans, just to endless corrupt occupations.
To oppose one action under the assumption that it will inevitably lead to another assumes too much, especially as there is merit to the former, independent of the later.

7. Yes, it is about oil. Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example? Ask BP.
Ofcourse its about oil and futhering corporate and national interests, but to the rebels its also about averting their impending deaths.
As one Benghazian put it on Al Jazeera
“Thankfully we have the oil so the West will come to our aid but we pity our brothers in the Middle East who have none…”

8. It is also about pressure on Egyptian revolution – the biggest threat to imperial interests in the region. A NATO garrison next door would be a base for pressure at least, and intervention at worst, if Egyptian freedom flowers to the point where it challenges western interests in the region.
The spread of revolution across the Middle East and North Africa must surely pose a greater threat to western hegemony than one ‘successful’ revolution alone.

9. The hypocrisy gives the game away. When the people of Bahrain rose against their US-backed monarchy and were cut down in the streets, there was no talk of action, even though the US sixth fleet is based there and could doubtless have imposed a solution in short order. As top US republican Senator Lindsey Graham observed last month “there are regimes we want to change, and those we don’t”. NATO will only ever intervene to strangle genuine social revolution, never to support it.
It is indeed hypocritical but to allow people to die for the sake of consistency seems somewhat inhumane, unless the people of Libya are nothing other than faceless individuals playing out a caricature in history…

10. Military aggression in Libya – to give it the righty name – will be used to revive the blood-soaked policy of ‘liberal interventionism’. That beast cannot be allowed to rise from the graves of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A lot of people will die if this does not happen, and if the left wing opposes UN intereference but understands the need for Libya to be liberated where exactly are the ‘International Brigades’ running to their assistance?

this is not the demo I was looking for...

Saturday morning I finished my night shift and caught the bus into the town to join the anti EDL protest.
When I arrived at the meeting point I discovered that, due to the cancellation of the birmingham demo, instead of the 20-30 turn out of Berkshire Division which were expected, some two hundred or so EDLers from all over the South had come to the town.
The 30 or so local activists gathered in the park suddenly seemed somewhat less than adequate! (the grey beards, walking frames and wheelchairs also did not shout 'fighting wedge' either).
Feeeling tired and jaded, I heard a conversation out of the corner of my ear:
"Is there a football match today?" "I do not Know" I turned and said, "We are away this weekend, to Barnsley."
and old fellow, with a long somewhat eccentric grey beard looked at me and said"'We'? who is 'we'?" I replied: "Reading are playing Barnsley this afternoon. at football"
he sniffed and said "anyone who plays football is always 'Them' to me, everyone who supports football is 'They' to me"
As I pondered this, four riot vans parked up outside the court and a pig strolled over.
"we wish to facilitate your 'right to protest'"
the crowd were falling over themselves to be voluntarily kettled even before he had walked away, in their haste voting even before the vote was called.
I decided that this was not the demo I was looking for.
I went home.
And watched the football.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Big Butts and little buts (gratuitous rap video levered into a post on Anti Imperialism)

Now that the UN have eventually finished the internable to and thro' horsetrading (that made me wonder whether a 'no fly zone' would be established before, or after, Gaddaffi had turned Benghazi into a Charnel house), the left can heave a collective sigh of relief.
Having for a brief period been in the the uncomfortable position of having to been seen supporting real life revolutions, as opposed to the endless repetitions of the Russian Revolution that usually infest their fevered brows, the UN resolution has allowed the left to return to its usual position; Raising the cankered, blood drenched banner of 'anti Imperialism' above their heads the comrades rally to defence of Tyrants and repression.
But things ain't what they used to be. with the noble exception of mad maoists and the last remnant of the WRP ( who prove that they at least hold to the true values of British business- once bought and paid for, they stay stalwart) very few are declaring their support for Gaddaffi outright.
Instead we have the Butters

"Of course we support the right of the Libyan People but the intervention of Imperialism Changes the situation Blah Blah Blood for oil Blah blah "
the same old bull shit to defend the indefencable, to justify the betrayal of the Libyan revolution, just as in the past the left has betrayed the Kurds and the Marsh arabs in Iraq, the Tibetans and the Chinese democrats, the Bosnians and the Kosovans etc. etc.
Whatever the dangers of intervention may bring, the truth is that without it the rebels in Beghazi were doomed, with the bulk of Gaddaffi's trained forces, and mercenary troops staying loyal to the regime, they were being slowly forced back and were calling increasingly desperately for western support. In reply the left seemed content to lecture them on how they should be doing it and condemn them for not being willing to die heroically.
Every left wing account of the Spanish Civil war begins with a condemnation of the
democracies- Britain and France- for their failiure to come to aid of Republican Spain. This was when both nations had real empires! by the logic of todays left, they should not only have condemned republican spain, but, if the aid had come, they would have become supporters of Franco!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Smiley Culture- Yet another dies at the hands of the police

Rest in Peace.
whats the betting that no copper is ever held to account for this?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Marinus van der Lubbe: nazi terror and stalinist slander

In honour of Marinus Van Der Lubbe, anti fascist.
This article from last weeks Weekly Worker deserves to be more widely read:
Lies that refuse to be buried
On the anniversary of the 1933 Reichstag fire, Bob Potter looks back at the trial of Marinus van der Lubbe and Georgi Dimitrov

Watching a history programme on TV’s digital channels can be both irritating and frustrating. For me, a repeat broadcast of films, comments and discussion related to the Reichstag fire trial proved a case in point. Stalinist misrepresentations, manufactured at the time, continue to be presented as ‘possible options’ ...

In the early evening of February 27 1933, less than a month after Hitler’s appointment as German chancellor, the debating chamber of the Reichstag burst into flames - an event destined to find a prominent place in world history. There was no great mystery about the fire: soon after the blaze was spotted, firemen and police entered the building and promptly arrested a young man attempting to escape. He was searched and found in possession of three items - a pocket-knife, a wallet and a passport. “Why did you do it?” he was asked. “As a protest,” replied the Dutch bricklayer, Marinus van der Lubbe, who gave the arresting officers a coherent account of his actions during that night - purchasing firelighters in a local store, several unsuccessful attempts to start fires in four public buildings, succeeding only when he broke a window and entered the deserted Reichstag.

Here are extracts from van der Lubbe’s statement to the police of March 3 1933:

“In Holland I read that the National Socialists had come to power in Germany. I have always followed German politics with keen interest ... when Hitler took over I expected much enthusiasm for him, but also much tension ... I myself am a leftist and was a member of the Communist Party until 1929. What I did not like about the party is the way they lord it over the workers, instead of letting the workers decide for themselves ... The masses themselves must decide what they ought to do and what they ought not to do.

“In Germany a national coalition has now been formed, and I think it holds two dangers: (1) it oppresses the workers, and (2) ... it is bound to lead to war. I watched on for a few days and then I decided to go to Germany and see for myself .... I started in Düsseldorf, where I spoke to workers in the street. I did the same thing in other towns. In Berlin, I also studied the pamphlets of the various parties and then went to the welfare offices in Lichtenberg, Wedding and Neukölln. I also went to the labour exchange ... I found out that, whereas the national coalition has complete freedom in Germany, the workers have not.

“Now, what the workers’ organisations are doing is not likely to rouse the workers to the struggle for freedom ... that is the reason why I asked the workers to demonstrate. But all I was told was to take the matter to the party ... But I heard that a Communist Party demonstration was disbanded by the leaders on the approach of the police, and that the people listened to these leaders instead of carrying out their own resolutions. I realised then that the workers will do nothing by themselves, that they will do nothing against a system which grants freedom to one side and metes out oppression to the other. In my opinion something absolutely had to be done in protest against this system.

“Since the workers would do nothing, I had to do something by myself. I considered arson a suitable method ... something that belonged to the system itself: official buildings - the welfare office for example, for that is a building in which the workers come together; or the city hall, because it is a building belonging to the system; and further the palace, because it lies in the centre of the city, and if it goes up, the huge flames can be seen from far away ... When these three fires failed to come off - that is to say, when my protest did not come off - I decided on the Reichstag as the centre of the whole system ... As to the question whether I acted alone, I declare emphatically that this was the case. No-one at all helped me, nor did I meet a single person in the Reichstag.”

The chief police investigator, detective-inspector Dr Walter Zirpins, added his own observations to the final report:

“He is endowed with a great deal of (admittedly very one-sided) intelligence and, appearances to the contrary, he is a very bright fellow. His grasp of the German language is so good that he can follow even finer shades of meanings, though his own speech is slurred. Thus he could not only follow the examination but remember entire sentences and repeat them word for word. Especially during the discussion of his motives he kept correcting those phrases which, he thought, did not fully reflect his real meaning ... in short he had no need of an interpreter.”

The prisoner willingly accompanied the police officers back to the Reichstag to re-enact his earlier visit, leading them all the way. His ‘journey’ at the crime scene was monitored by stopwatch, leaving his companions convinced he was telling the truth in every detail. (Van der Lubbe told police his ‘detailed memory’ developed consequential to his very poor eyesight - worthy of mention, as he was deprived of his glasses for early court sessions!).

Nazi stooge?
Although his account made good sense to the investigators, his insistence on ‘acting alone’ throughout suited neither Nazis nor communists. Foreign reporters present at the burning building when Hitler arrived were convinced the fuhrer had been caught completely by surprise: he immediately declared his “suspicion” it was the “opening phase” of a planned communist uprising; Ernst Torgler, leader of the KPD in the Reichstag, and three Bulgarian communists were promptly arrested (Georgi Dimitrov, chief European representative of the Comintern being amongst them, although the Nazis were unaware of his international role).

The arrested communists insisted the fire had been instigated and orchestrated by the Nazis themselves, to justify police raids on the offices of opposition parties, along with wider excesses by their brown-shirted thugs, aimed at anti-fascist groupings and trades union; and prompt repressive legislation (the ‘enabling acts’ - the first promulgated the day following the fire). It was inevitable the German Communist Party would view the Dutch bricklayer as a “Nazi stooge”. In those ‘third period’ days, any leftist not within the Stalinist orbit was a ‘social fascist’, objectively a Nazi ally. The Stalinist press consoled their readers with glib assurances that Hitlerism was no more than the “death rattle of expiring capitalism” - soon the victorious working class would sweep away excrescences under the leadership of the ‘vanguard of the proletariat’ - the KPD - so laying the foundations for the future socialist society.

Today, probably the majority of people believe van der Lubbe was a congenital delinquent in the service of the Nazis. All attempts to describe the real van der Lubbe come up against two books published, at the time, by Comintern propagandists, based in Paris: The brown book of the Hitler terror and the burning of the Reichstag (1933) and The second brown book of the Hitler terror (1934) - both ‘proving’ the Reichstag was ignited by the Nazis, a version made ‘credible’ by fabricated evidence to transform van der Lubbe into an occasional ‘speaker at Nazi meetings’, a degenerate homosexual or simply a Nazi stooge. The anonymous author of these texts was Otto Katz, a full time Comintern official based in Paris - ironically, 20 years later he was to be hanged in Prague as one of the accused in the Slánský trial.[1]

Within a few weeks, the first book appeared in 17 languages with millions of copies in worldwide circulation - becoming the bible of the anti-fascist crusade. Details of relevant behind-the-scenes activities in the books’ creation are described in Arthur Koestler’s autobiographical The invisible writing (1954). Koestler worked for Willi Münzenberg, who had escaped from Germany on the night of the fire and set up office in Paris as western propaganda chief of the Comintern. As a record of the trial events, Koestler’s book has little value, presenting only the official ‘party line’, which the author admits comprises “ a unique feat in the history of propaganda ... producing international committees, congresses and movements as a conjurer produces rabbits out of his hat ... Münzenberg organised the Reichstag counter-trial, the public hearings in Paris and London in 1933 ... We had no direct proof, no access to witnesses, only underground communications with Germany ... We had to rely on guesswork, on bluffing and on intuitive knowledge of the methods and minds of our opposite numbers in totalitarian conspiracy.”

It is time these Stalinist falsifications are buried once and for all. Much of what follows is culled from the work of Fritz Tobias, who in 1946 joined the Hanover Denazification Court and later the German State Denazification Commission. He carried out a thorough examination of all existing evidence relating to the fire and subsequent trial, held in Leipzig, September-December 1933. There was little ‘new’ evidence: rather a re-examination of all the material that had been available. In the summer of 1956, Tobias was asked by the Federal Information Office to publish his findings; cautiously he agreed to send extracts to Der Spiegel. The howls of rage that followed their publication were the consequence of the recent proximity of the Hitler regime - the Stalinist version of the Reichstag fire had become the generally accepted ‘official’ history - the Nazis had fired the building! People were less interested in learning the truth than their fear these later ‘findings’ might be perceived as an attempt to ‘whitewash the Nazis’. The English edition of Tobias’s book, The Reichstag fire (1964), was introduced by AJP Taylor, who apologised for having been duped by the Stalinist lies.

An active revolutionary from his teenage years, a member of the Young Communist League, Marinus van der Lubbe soon proved his ability to influence others. A studious youth, he was well known at the Leyden public library, where he first studied Marx’s Capital, although his hatred of capitalism was based less on Marxist science than on youthful enthusiasm and utopian dreams. Although a childish prank had severely damaged both his eyes (from which he never fully recovered his eyesight - he was awarded a small disability pension), he was of good physique, and started work on building sites.

Well known by the local police as chair of the local Communist Youth, he rented an empty storeroom, baptising it ‘Lenin House’; it became the meeting place for the Communist Youth, and he busied himself there writing leaflets, and editing factory and school pamphlets, increasingly centred on the unemployed movement; he became well known at the head of processions through the streets of Leyden.

His break with the Dutch Communist Party was inevitable. His independent attitude and spontaneous identification with broad self-activity of the working class made it increasingly difficult for him to accept the discipline of the sectarian Stalinist party; he drifted into associations with ‘left deviationists’ (Left Workers Opposition) and finally the Party of International Communists (or Rade Communists). With only a handful of members in Holland, these ‘council communists’ and their supporters solidly defended van der Lubbe when the Leipzig trial got under way, publishing the Red Book, which demolished the slanders of his being a Nazi agent. Marinus perceived Hitler’s triumph as a possible “tinder point” for revolution. While the communist press consoled readers with glib assurances that Hitlerism was merely the “death rattle” of expiring capitalism, van der Lubbe hoped the situation might be quite different in Germany. Following heated meetings with friends and comrades about revolutionary possibilities bound to happen across the border, he set out on foot for Berlin.

He spent his first night in a men’s hostel; the following day saw a concert organised by the Social Democrats closed down by the police without explanation - yes, his arrival in the German capital soon disillusioned him. Nowhere any resolution to fight against the brown ‘mercenaries of capitalism’. He visited labour exchanges, welfare offices, mingled with the locals, suggested protest marches (which he had found so successful back home). Nobody was interested in his suggestions; indeed he was treated with suspicion or as a ‘foreign’ busybody. He quickly realised there was no hope of any ‘mass revolutionary action’.

The final straw was his attending a communist mass meeting at the Sportpalast, addressed by communist deputy Wilhelm Pieck. Van der Lubbe prepared notes, hoping for the opportunity to express a point of view, but the meeting was closed by the police as soon as it started - again, no protest or resistance on the part of the audience! The great Communist Party of Germany had gone into voluntary liquidation! Completely disgusted, van der Lubbe returned to his hostel, seething with impotent rage and unable to fall asleep for a long time. One can readily imagine his distress, irritation and frustration. It became apparent to him, if anything was going to happen, he would have to initiate it himself. He decided to set a number of public buildings on fire, hoping that once the intimidated masses saw these strongholds of capitalism going up in flames, they might, even at this late hour, shake off their lethargy.

The final police report, submitted to the court by detective-inspector Zirpins, encapsulated everything about van der Lubbe’s individual actions on the evening of February 27 1933:

“There is no doubt that van der Lubbe committed the crime entirely by himself. This conclusion follows from the investigations, the objective facts and the precise answers of the suspect ... the scene of the crime and his activities there were described by van der Lubbe right from the start (ie, before the official reconstruction of the crime on the spot) in such detail - seats of fire, damage caused, trails left and paths taken - as only the incendiary himself could have supplied. Had he not been there himself, he could not possibly have described and later demonstrated on the spot all these facts and especially the smaller fires which he had lit at random. The reconstruction of the crime proved that all the details he gave were absolutely correct.”

Both Moscow communists and Nazi publicists presented the main defendant as a congenital idiot, a juvenile delinquent, a pathological vagrant, a pathological liar, incorrigible boaster and homosexual call-boy in the service of Nazis/communists. Here is Koestler’s version:

“Lubbe was a horrifying apparition, half man, half beast. Saliva was dribbling from his mouth, and mucus from his nostrils down on to the floor. From time to time his counsel wiped his face with a paper handkerchief. When standing, Lubbe’s hands were dangling down and his head bent on his chest like a chimpanzee’s. When sitting, his head hung between his knees like a broken puppet’s.”

Koestler was not present at the hearings he described - van der Lubbe had spent seven months in heavy, painful chains, impeding the blood circulation and leaving visible sores on his feet. Indeed his general appearance caused a tremendous stir among observers, especially towards the end of the trial. While police witnesses described Marinus as mentally alert and quick to respond, now he appeared completely broken and dull-witted.

Contrary to the assertion of Koestler and others, there is no reason to believe he had been drugged; had he yielded to Nazi pressure to ‘confess’ to being part of a ‘communist plot’, his gaolers might well have drugged him to keep his mouth shut in public. A much more likely explanation is that after many months of consistently repeating the same simple truth, he eventually gave up in despair when he realised the presiding judge was far less interested in facts than in his own pet theory. Unlike the other defendants, with the world Stalinist movement supporting them, Marinus remained isolated and alone, unaware even of the tiny (if growing) band of supporters, largely in Holland. (There is evidence that from the beginning of the trial, Dimitrov knew a secret agreement had been concluded between the Soviet state security GPU and the Gestapo, according to which, whatever the outcome of the trial, he would reach Moscow in safety.) Alone in the dock, without a single friend or colleague, is it is not possible van der Lubbe finally cracked from exhaustion and suffered a total nervous breakdown? Perhaps it is possible to pinpoint the final breaking point? On the 43rd day of the trial, van der Lubbe stood up and asked if he might ask a question. He was told he could - here is a portion of the transcripts:

Van der Lubbe: “I should like to know when the verdict will be pronounced and executed.”

President: “I can’t tell you that yet. It all depends on you, on your naming your accomplices.”

Van der Lubbe: “But that has all been cleared up. I fired the Reichstag by myself, and there must be a verdict. The thing has gone on for eight months and I cannot agree with all this at all.”

President: “Tell us then who your accomplices were.”

Van der Lubbe: My fellow defendants have all admitted they had nothing to do with the fire, were not even in the Reichstag, and did not fire it.”

President: “I have told you repeatedly that the court cannot accept your statement that you were alone. You simply must tell us with whom you did it and who helped you.”

Van der Lubbe: “I can only repeat that I set fire to the Reichstag all by myself. After all, it has been shown during this trial that Dimitrov and the others were not there. They are in the trial, that is quite true, but they were not in the Reichstag. The court does not believe me, but it’s true all the same.”

President: “You have confessed to the crime and there is therefore no argument on that point. But it remains a fact that other persons have been accused and that the court must now decide whether or not these people are guilty. It would help us greatly if you now admit with whom you committed the crime.”

Van der Lubbe: “I can only admit that I started the fire by myself; for the rest I cannot agree with what this court is trying to do. I now demand a verdict. What you are doing is a betrayal of humanity, of the police, and of the Communist and National Socialist Party. All I ask for is a verdict.”

Here, by contrast, are extracts from Dimitrov’s address to the open court:

“Van der Lubbe has by no means told the truth in this court and he remains persistently silent. Although he did have accomplices, this fact does not decide the fate of the other accused ... While the representative of political insanity sits today in the dock, the representative of provocation has disappeared! Whilst this fool, van der Lubbe, was carrying out his clumsy attempts at arson in the corridors and cloakrooms, were not other unknown persons preparing the conflagration in the sessions chamber ...”.

At this point van der Lubbe began to laugh silently. His whole body was shaken with spasms of laughter. Dimitrov continued, pointing at van der Lubbe as he spoke: “What is van der Lubbe? A communist? Inconceivable! An anarchist? No! He is a declassed worker, a rebellious member of the scum of society ... he is the misused tool of fascism ... he should be condemned to death for having worked against the proletariat ... the Reichstag fire had nothing whatever to do with any activity of the German Communist Party - not only nothing to do with an insurrection, but nothing to do with a strike, a demonstration or anything of that nature ... the Reichstag fire was not regarded by anyone - I exclude criminals and the mentally deranged - as the signal for insurrection.”

What a revealing comparison! The Dutchman courageously persisted throughout the proceedings in absolving his co-defendants, while the Bulgarian communist referred to the Hollander as “belonging to the class of criminals” and “mentally deranged”. For revolutionaries, Dimitrov and his fellows deserve to be remembered in infamy for his unbridled slanders directed at a comrade who had sought to stimulate the kinds of action that could have become the opening shots of resistance to the Nazi tide enveloping them - acts that might have aroused the German people to accept the challenge.

Dimitrov and his three associates were adjudged ‘not guilty’ - Marinus van der Lubbe was sentenced to death ... despite appeals and countless petitions from all over the world, the executioner, in top hat and tails, called for him on January 10 1934. Van der Lubbe was calm and peaceful, no tears, no belated confession. He was decapitated - executed by virtue of a special law, made retrospective for his case; his capital crime was not to have set fire to the Reichstag, but to have had accomplices in doing so!

Most Marxists appreciate that protest actions such as van der Lubbe’s only have meaningful revolutionary significance when integrated with a prevailing political consciousness; as part of a mass movement, a personal act can be of the greatest significance. Van der Lubbe’s tragedy was that, as opposed to his actions at home, in Germany he stood alone, far removed from any ‘movement’.

Revolutionaries should make a point of reading the Fritz Tobias book - a full analysis of the documentary evidence that not only vindicates Marinus van der Lubbe from the slanders thrown at him by his co-accused and the world’s Moscow communists, but also reveals the equally despicable manner by which the Nazis attempted to force van der Lubbe to implicate his cowardly co-accused, and who executed him because of his refusal to do so.


1.Rudolf Slánský, general secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and 13 others (11 of them Jews) were convicted of participating in “Trotskyite-Titoist-Zionist activities in the service of American imperialism” in December 1952. Eleven were executed after having confessed in court and requested to be sentenced to death