Socialist Equality Party (Germany)
The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (Germany)

The liquidation of the German section by Pabloism

136. Despite their bloody persecution, the National Socialists and the Stalinists did not succeed in destroying the Trotskyist movement in Germany during the Second World War. As soon as the war came to an end, the International Communists of Germany (IKD) resumed political activity inside the country. The Berlin group alone comprised more than 50 members. Its leader, Oskar Hippe, who had survived the Nazi regime in Germany, was arrested in 1948 by the Stalinists, and spent the following eight years in East German prisons. But it fell to Pabloism to liquidate the German section, thereby interrupting its historical continuity. As a result, petty bourgeois and Stalinist currents were able to set the tone in the student movement of the 1960s unchallenged. When the Bund Sozialistischer Arbeiter (Socialist Workers League) was established in 1971 as the German section of the International Committee, there were no longer any Trotskyist cadre in Germany.

137. After the war, the German Trotskyists opposed the collective guilt thesis of the Stalinists, which deflected attention away from their own responsibility in Hitler’s seizure of power, and made the working class responsible for fascism. They fought for the building of a new revolutionary party. A political platform of the IKD from 1948 reads: “The first and fundamental condition, from which each German socialist must proceed today, is the realization that the policy of the two traditional ‘workers’ parties’, KPD-SED and SPD, has run into a dead end. In their actions, both parties are directed not by the interests of the working class, but by the great power interests of the Soviet bureaucracy and Western imperialism. Every attempt at ‘reforming’ one or both these parties is doomed to failure. … After the collapse of the fascist regime, the creation of a new revolutionary party of the proletariat is the first task of a socialist policy in Germany.”[1]

138. But the IKD soon broke with this perspective. It called for the establishment of a centrist melting pot, or, as it formulated the task, “the aggregation of the independent left groups into an organization which is a visible factor for the workers”.[2] In 1951 it joined together with KPD members who supported the Yugoslav leader Tito, to form the Unabhängige Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands (UAPD, Independent Labour Party of Germany). Its programme was limited to reformist demands and contained no reference to socialism or to the Fourth International. Despite financial support from Yugoslavia, the UAPD collapsed within a few months.

139. The IKD followed Pablo’s tactic of entrism sui generis and dissolved itself into the SPD. It explained that its goal was not to fight within the SPD for the program of the Fourth International: “In the present stage of the development of mass consciousness, discussions of program are not the centre of attention within the broad organizations.” The IKD attributed a revolutionary potential to the SPD. It was driven by “social forces ... independently of the will of their present leadership, into ever sharper confrontation with the entire bourgeoisie”. In the 1950s and 1960s the prominent German Pabloites Georg Jungclas and Jacob Moneta occupied important posts inside the SPD and trade union bureaucracy. They were in close contact with prominent SPD members such as Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski and Peter von Oertzen. Starting in 1962, Moneta edited the influential trade union newspapers Metall and Der Gewerkschafter. In 1961, when the SPD expelled the Sozialistische Deutsche Studentenbund (SDS, Socialist German Student Federation) from the party, the publication Sozialistische Politik (SOPO), controlled by the Pabloites, refused to defend them because it was afraid of being “included in the incompatibility resolutions and of being robbed of its existence”.[3]

140. Only in 1969―three years after the SPD had entered the grand coalition and a powerful extra-parliamentary opposition had developed against it―did the Pabloites again make an independent appearance, with the Gruppe Internationale Marxisten (GIM). They adapted completely to the leaders of the student movement. The editorial board members of the GIM’s newspaper Was Tun? included well-known SDS leaders such as Rudi Dutschke, Gaston Salvatore and Günter Amendt. In 1986, the GIM dissolved itself. The majority united with the Maoist KPD/ML into the Vereinigte Sozialistische Partei (VSP), while a minority went into the Greens. After German reunification, the most well-known German Pabloites joined the Party of Democratic Socialism and advised the successors to the SED around Gregor Gysi. For four years, Jakob Moneta sat on the PDS executive committee.


George Jungclas (1902-1975), Eine politische Dokumentation, Hamburg: Junius 1980, pp. 150-151.


ibid. p. 156.


ibid. p. 175, 190, 253.