What About the International Revolution?

Criticism of Stefan Engel’s “Dawn of the International Socialist Revolution” and the MLPD’s Positions

Diethard Möller


Revolutionary Democracy has been exploring the impact of Kautsky’s understanding of imperialism and the colonial question and its impact in the contemporary period. In this process the translation and publication of the paper of V Serebryakov entitled ‘L. Trotsky’s Theory of Imperialism and the Universal Crisis of Capitalism’ (RD April 2016, pp. 163-211) which was submitted to the conference against the Trotskyist conception of imperialism at the Institute of Economics of the Communist Academy, Leningrad in 1932, has played a valuable part. It shows the connections between the views of Kautsky and Trotsky on the question of imperialism and the colonial question and it has been pointed out these views are the theoretical origin and basis of the various adherents of socialist revolution in contemporary India. Supporters of immediate socialist revolution in India while citing the writings of VI. Lenin in a token fashion base themselves strictly within the four walls of the notions of Trotsky, Kautsky and western social democracy (Hilferding, Karl Renner, Rosa Luxemburg), and oppose the conceptions of Lenin and Stalin. The impact of the views of Kautsky and western social democracy was also strikingly evident in the 20th Congress of the CPSU with reference to the ‘new views’ on the role of finance capital in the semi-colonial and dependent countries, and the alleged development of the industrial revolution, the termination of the survivals of feudalism, and political independence in these countries. The future CPI and CPIM rapidly succumbed to the impact of the 20th Congress on these questions without abandoning support for the stage of democratic revolution.

In this context the critique by comrade Diethard Möller of the Kautskyist views of the Marxist- Leninist Party of Germany, the MLPD, has great importance. It is particularly significant as the influence of open Kautskyism is rare amongst parties which have their origin in having historically supported the notions of Mao Zedong. The views of the MLPD also have an extrinsic importance as the party stands at the centre of the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organisations, ICOR, which is associated with organizations across the continents and which has links with parties in India and Sri Lanka.

Vijay Singh.


Five years ago, Stefan Engel’s book “Dawn of the International Socialist Revolution” was published for which he was responsible as leader of a collective of authors. In this book, the new positions of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) concerning the international class struggle were explained and were supposed to be an updating and expansion of Lenin’s theory of imperialism and his messages views on the construction of the Communist Party. According to Engel, “a new phase in the development of imperialism was ushered in.” In his opinion, the special characteristics of this “new phase” are the “mainly international character” of the “capitalist mode of production” and this “is subject to the diktat of the solely ruling international finance capital, which is made up approximately of the 500 biggest international super-monopolies and rests on the power of the strongest imperialist countries.” (Stefan Engel, Dawn of the International Socialist Revolution, p. 9.) [All quotes are from the English version of Engel’s book – translator’s note]

According to Stefan Engel, another feature of this phase is that “The economic role of the nation-states increasingly is being taken over by the cartel of the solely ruling international finance capital, the leading imperialist states and the international organizations dominated by them.” (Ibid, pp. 9-10.)

He concludes: “The internationalization of the productive forces must inevitably result in the internationalization of the class struggle and spur it on. Unmistakable signs that this process already is in full swing can be observed everywhere in the worlds” (Ibid, p. 12)

All this is very bare and has not been demonstrated, especially in the economic part. We are not provided with facts for the rather odd idea of a “cartel of the solely ruling international finance capital.” Instead, Engel confuses his readers by juggling with terms such as “supermonopolies.’” But this word does not make any sense. “Monopoly” means that a market is dominated by a few capitalist groups. So what would a “supermonopoly” be? To do more than dominate a market is impossible. By creating such a word, Engel apparently means that there is something quite new that Lenin did not already know, something that towers over a monopoly. However, what could that be? Apart from using this odd term, Engel does not explain it. Should the creation of such a word have the effect of intimidating the readers and impressing them with the creator’s “greatness”? I read this book 5 years ago and prepared a criticism of it. However, I thought that the arguments in the book were rather poor, but at that time I refrained from the tedious chore of writing a detailed criticism as I would have had to spend a lot of time doing it. I hoped that such a superficial and obviously wrong way of looking at things would quickly be seen through and within a short time it would be dead and buried. That hope was an illusion. The MLPD had the book translated into several languages and circulated it worldwide, claiming it to be a enlargement and expansion of Marxism-Leninism. Thus, this party influenced people in many countries and contributed to further ideological confusion. Therefore, I decided to go through the book to compare its statements with reality and Marxism-Leninism.

DM, September 2016

The question of supermonopolies

Already in the introduction of his book, Engel brings up his big guns by which he would like to surpass Lenin:

“The capitalist mode of production now has mainly international character and is subject to the diktat of the solely ruling international finance capital, which is made up approximately of the 500 biggest international supermonopolies and rests on the power of the strongest imperialist countries.” (Ibid, p. 9)

What is new about the “international character of production”? Already in the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels describe how capital creates the world market and subordinates the entire world to it.

“The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe.

“In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property^. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

“The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image." Quoted from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm#007

In a very striking manner, Lenin analyzed the special characteristics of imperialism, demonstrating them with facts. What is new about this? According to Engel’s “analysis,” the fundamental contradiction of the capitalist mode of production changed? Does he mean that the fundamental contradiction is now between “national” and “international”? For us, the fundamental contradiction is still that between capital and labour. In vain does one look in Engel’s book for a clarification of what his new insights are. Let us take the “supermonopolies” and the “solely ruling financial capital." What is new here? Monopolies, but no strange supermonopolies, were already thoroughly and comprehensibly analyzed by Lenin. Already in my introduction, I stated my view of the creation of the word “supermonopolies.” And what is “the solely ruling international finance capital, which is made up approximately of the 500 biggest international supermonopolies”? (Engel, Dawn_, p. 9.) Stefan Engel vehemently denies the accusation that this is the same thing as “ultra-imperialism,” invented by the opportunist and revisionist Karl Kautsky (more on this later). But what else could it be? Are these 500 supermonopolies a group acting as a unit and dominating the States? Are they indeed so all-powerful?

Whereas Lenin’s analysis of the role of monopolies, their relations to the capitalist state apparatus and their economic power is very clear, Stefan Engel’s analysis is imprecise. He writes:

“The economic role of the nation-states increasingly is being taken over by the cartel of solely ruling international finance capital, the leading imperialist states and the international organizations dominated by them. However, the nation-states remain indispensable to the capitalist system as tools of power and rule for the supermonopolies resident there in order to suppress the proletarian class struggle in these states; and indispensable in the competition on the world markets and in the struggle for world domination.” (Ibid, pp. 9-10.)

Here, he uses the term “cartel of solely ruling international finance capital.” A cartel means a temporary joining together of capital groups. However, such cartels are not stable. Often there are other cartels in competition with them. But Stefan Engel has the presumption to say that they are “solely ruling.”What does that mean? What is new or better than Lenin’s analysis? We do not know and the author too does not make it obvious. He resorts to confusing formulations. For while, in his opinion, the cartel is “solely ruling” and has taken over “the economic role of the nation-states,” he takes back this statement in the same sentence by saying that the nation-states are indispensable. Instead of a real analysis of the contradictions, he juggles with word games in a dialectical-idealist manner. Where is the evidence? He is wrong!

Instead of a cartel on the level of the big economic groups acting on an international scale, we see, on the contrary, a sharpening struggle among them. This is not to deny that they occasionally co-operate against the working class. But such co-operation is fleeting with the crisis of imperialism. This applies also on the government level. The wars in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly shown that the big imperialist powers do not form cartels but resolve their increasingly brutal and bloody power struggles against one another on the backs of the peoples.

Stefan Engel lists eight features which he alleges as evidence of a “qualitative change in the mode of production”: He writes:

  1. The internationalization of the capitalist mode of production universally covers production, trade, transportation and communication today.
  2.  It refers to all sections of the economy
  3.  and rests on the internationalization of the financial system.
  4.  It also extends to science and culture.
  5.  It has standardized the training of labour worldwide and created an international labour market.
  6.  It also includes parts of the production and reproduction of human life like healthcare and the educational system.
  7.  Bit by bit almost all countries of the world are being included in this process of international production and reproduction. In countries which used to be mainly agricultural in character, modern industrial centres arise. That applies particularly to Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, India and Indonesia.
  8.  While production and reproduction are now socialized on an international level, appropriation of the created wealth is concentrated on the increasingly tinier stratum of the proprietors and guiders of the international supermonopolies. Societal wealth originates today mainly from internationally organized production. (Ibid, p. 127-128)

Most of these features were already described by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto and were worked out better and more clearly by Lenin in his analysis of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism. Stefan Engel’s book gives no evidence for a new phase of supermonopolies.

Stephan Engel and his collective of authors vehemently resist being lumped together with Kautsky’s theory of “ultra-imperialism.” The Maoist organization “Trotz alledem” (“In spite of all that”1) reproached them about this. Stefan Engel replied:

“Equating Lenin s observation in his analyses of imperialism that the trend of development is towards a ‘single world trust absorbing a^^l enterprises without exception and all states without exception’ (“Preface to N. Bukharin’s Pamphlet, Imperialism and the World Economy,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 107) with Kautskyite notions is utterly absurd. The MLPD did nothing but follow up on this observation of Lenin and confirm it by the analysis of the reorganization of international production. The eager MLPD critics have overlooked that Lenin does not at all oppose acknowledging this objective tendency towards a world trust devouring all states, but only objects to the view that a worldwide unification of the national capitals actually could take place under capitalist conditions." (Ibid, p. 134)

If one reads Lenin’s original text in context, one will be very astonished. Engel shamelessly falsified the sense of Lenin’s text, and in a really absurd manner. Lenin stated:

“Abstract theoretical reasoning may lead to the conclusion at which Kautsky has arrived — in a somewhat different fashion but also by abandoning Marxism — namely, that the time is not too far off when these magnates of capital will unite on a world scale in a single world trust, substituting an internationally united finance capital for the competition and struggle between sums of finance capital nationally isolated. This conclusion is, however, just as abstract, simplified and incorrect..." (“Preface to N. Bukharin’s Pamphlet, Imperialism and the World Economy,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 105)

And immediately before the short passage quoted by Stefan Engel, Lenin clearly says:

“Can it be denied, however, that a new phase of capitalism is ‘imaginable’ in the abstract after imperialism, namely, ultra-imperialism? No, it cannot. Such a phase can be imagined. But in practice this means becoming an opportunist, turning away from the acute problems of the day to dream of the unacute problems of the future. In theory this means refusing to be guided by actual developments, forsaking them arbitrarily for such dreams." (“Preface to N. Bukharin’s Pamphlet, Imperialism and the World Economy,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 107)

Stefan Engel and his collective of authors did indeed bend Lenin’s text into a “convenient” shape. And they admit that they based their analysis on the “abstract, simplified and incorrect conclusion," which they unscrupulously twisted as if it were “Lenin s observation." What they based themselves on is and remains the analysis given by the opportunist and traitor Kautsky. Since Lenin’s text is not convenient in their sense, they turn what Lenin described as “abstract, simplified and incorrect" conclusions into “Lenin’s observation."

If you want to draw any concrete conclusions you will see how grotesque Stefan Engel’s “analysis” is. If you conclude that the supermonopolies are ruling – which of course implies that the states (governments) have nothing more to say – then Stefan Engel will object: “You misunderstood me! Of course the nation-states are indispensable!” Should you conclude, the other way round, that, in such a case, the states represent a separate power and are ruling, then he will complain: “You misunderstood me! Of course, the 500 supermonopolies are solely ruling!”

Or he will refer you to page 131 of his book, where he writes:

“Fourthly: General crisis management becomes one of the chief economic functions of the state.”

What is this? On the one hand, he says:

“The economic role of the nation-states increasingly is being taken over by the cartel of the solely ruling international finance capital.” (Ibid, p. 9.)

On the other hand, the states have the “chief economic functions”!

Nailing a pancake to the wall is easier than tying Stefan Engel down to something.

The fact that states have a great economic importance was clearly seen during the overcoming of the bank crisis in 2008. At that time, government programs of about $2 trillion US dollars to stimulate economic activity were spent all over the world to prevent a collapse of the capitalist system. At the same time, in the EU alone, banks were saved from ruin by government bail-outs of approximately 1.6 trillion euros (1,600,000,000,000 ). On a world scale, an enormous amount of government funds were spent to enable the capitalist system to survive. Claiming in such context – as Stefan Engel does – that the economic role of the states is increasingly taken over by the 500 supermonopolies is very far from reality. On the contrary! The more capitalism and imperialism develop and the more they head for disaster, the more they are dependent on the state apparatus to guarantee their continued existence. Countless government measures such as deregulation of the labour market, the creation of low-wage sectors, the privatization of public services, reduction of taxes on capital, open and hidden subsidies, elimination of workers’ and people’s rights, cuts to pensions and raising of the retirement age, dismantling of government social programs – all this shows the great economic importance of the nation-states for capital.

If Stephan Engel wants to defend his point of view with the argument that this shows the rule of capital, he should not forget that Marx and Engels as well as Lenin pointed out that the state is a tool of the ruling class. This is not new. However, according to Stefan Engel, the “economic role of the nation-states” would disappear. The facts show that it is quite the contrary. None of the “supermonopolies” would have been able to make such enormous sums of government aid available by their own efforts. In 2011, when Engel’s book was published, all these facts were already widely known.

Let us take one of the most up-to-date of many possible examples – the VW emissions scandal. A small US agency exposed the manipulation of emission levels of the VW diesel cars. Could this agency have done that without having been backed up? Of course not. It was backed up by the US government and the US automobile industry. The US automobile industry itself does not produce diesel cars. Therefore, the environmental protection standards in this field have been set very high in order to make access to the US market more difficult for foreign competitors. That this was not done for the protection of the environment can be seen in other fields, for example, in fracking or genetic engineering, where the US government allows massive damage to the environment in order to make profitable use of such technologies possible. Under capitalism, technical standards are used to increase profits and to fight off competitors. For this, capital needs the state. The state is indeed indispensable and a tool of capital’s rule. With the aid of the state the emission levels for diesel allowed by law in the US were set low so that foreign competitors could hardly cope with them. The VW group reacted by manipulating the software to try to simulate “clean diesel.” It took a long time until the small US agency was able to prove that. But it was persistent and had enough money for the expensive tests and was backed up. The exposure of the scandal will cost VW many billions of euros and lock the VW group out of the US market for diesel cars for a long time, because VW so far does not have any low-price technology for a “clean diesel” car. Therefore the state really has enough economic power to allow access to markets or create barriers to them.

Incidentally, the German state did all that it could in order to maintain the emission levels in Europe as high as possible so that, first, VW and other groups were able to cope with such levels easily and that, second, these lax emission levels were not reviewed. The emission tests are performed by the automobile groups themselves, that is, they are allowed by the state to falsify them as much as they want. Here too, we see the economic power of the state.

So far, so bad. We will not bore the reader with more examples. The bases for Stefan Engel’s opinion are obviously not very solid. And from such shaky bases, he claims to draw conclusions of deep significance.

Stefan Engel on the international revolution

In a very long-winded manner, Stefan Engel refers to Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, quoting them extensively. Thus, in his first chapter, “Proletarian Strategy and the International Character of the Socialist Revolution,” he quotes what Marx and Engels stated in the Communist Manifesto:

“Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie." (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm#007, quoted by Stefan Engel on page 27)

Then he tells us that Marx and Engels in the beginning (of the 1848 bourgeois revolution) took as a starting point an early proletarian revolution in several countries, but they corrected their opinion because of the real historical development. It takes Stefan Engel five pages to say that. Three more pages are filled with the statement that Lenin, based on his analysis of imperialism, concluded that it is possible that the revolution will first be victorious in only one country but in spite of that its character will be international.

There is again nothing new in what is stated by Stefan Engel and his collective of authors. Instead, a method is pursued which takes much space in the whole book. Quotations from texts of Lenin and other Marxist- Leninists are taken out of context in order to give them a certain desired direction:

“Lenin regarded the October Revolution as the start of the international revolution against imperialism. He therefore emphasized:

“‘This first victory is not yet the final victory, and it was achieved by our October Revolution at the price of incredible difficulties and hardships, at the price of unprecedented suffering, accompanied by a series of serious reverses and mistakes on our part....

“‘We have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown’." (“Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 33, pp. 56-57), quoted in: Engel, Dawn..., pp. 33-34)

Here, the false impression is given that this article of Lenin confirms Stefan Engel’s alleged new insights about the international revolution. This, by the way, would also mean that these “new insights” are not so new. If you read Lenin’s whole article, as we recommend, you will see that this is not at all his subject. What Stefan Engel quotes belongs to the part in which the historical merits of the October Revolution are presented – that this revolution showed how to escape “that inferno” of imperialist wars, an inferno from which people only could escape “by a Bolshevik struggle and a Bolshevik revolution” (ibid, page 56). It is typical that Engel and his collective omit the following passage between the two parts of their “quotation,” since it would have immediately shown that the text does not deal with their subject:

‘How could a single backward people be expected to frustrate the imperialist wars of the most powerful and most developed countries of the world without sustaining reverses and without committing mistakes! We are not afraid to admit our mistakes and shall examine them dispassionately in order to learn how to correct them. But the fact remains that for the first time... the promise ‘to reply to war between the slave-owners by a revolution of the slaves directed against all the slave-owners has been completely fulfilled —and is being fulfilled despite all difficulties. We have made the start.” (Continued as quoted by Engel).

So closely is “this work” connected with the Bolshevik revolution, the question here is the revolutionary blow against the imperialist war – a further example of how “creatively” Engel bends “his” Lenin into shape. But again the rest of Engel’s assertions are already clear from the statements of Marx and Engels. We fight for the revolution in a national form, while its content is international.

In this article on the fourth anniversary of the October Revolution, Lenin deals, above all and in an expressly concrete way, with the real, practical tasks in Soviet Russia. He deals unsparingly with the errors and defects. He insists on pushing ahead with building socialism in one country (which later became the Soviet Union) with all his might. The revolution remains international in content, national in form – as Marx and Engels already analyzed it. Here we present a little part of this presentation developed by Lenin.

“Let the curs and swine of the moribund bourgeoisie and of the petty-bourgeois democrats who trail behind them heap imprecations, abuse and derision upon our heads for our reverses and mistakes in the work of building up our Soviet system. We do not forget for a moment that we have committed and are committing numerous mistakes and are suffering numerous reverses. How can reverses and mistakes be avoided in a matter so new in the history of the world as the building of an unprecedented type of state edifice! We shall work steadfastly to set our reverses and mistakes right and to improve our practical application of Soviet principles, which is still very, very far from being perfect. But we have a right to be and are proud that to us has fallen the good fortune to begin the building of a Soviet state, and thereby to usher in a new era in world history, the era of the rule of a new class, a class which is oppressed in every capitalist country, but which everywhere is marching forward towards a new life, towards victory over the bourgeoisie, towards the dictatorship of the proletariat, towards the emancipation of mankind from the yoke of capital and from imperialist wars.” (“Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 33, pp. 54-55)

This is Lenin through and through: frank, unsparing, clear, vigorous and pressing forward. Lenin is concrete and grasped the immense difficulties, errors and defects, he demands to overcome them and to resolutely build socialism in Soviet Russia (later the Soviet Union), that is, in one country. Initially Lenin and also Stalin hoped that the October Revolution would be followed by further revolutions in other countries and in that sense they spoke of an international revolution. But in this text, Lenin already corrects this und speaks about an epoch that began with the revolution in Russia and will end with the worldwide “victory over the bourgeoisie.” Therefore, he presses forward to make the real revolution successful in the national framework and thus to contribute to an international revolution. The form remains national. In order to deny the accusation of Trotskyism, that was also made by the Maoist organization “Trotz alledem,” Stefan Engel again quotes Lenin:

“Lenin already revealed the close connection of the revolution in one country with the international revolution:

“After expropriating the capitalists and organizing their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world — the capitalist world — attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other counties, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states.” (“On the Slogan for a United States of Europe,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 342) (In Engel, Dawn..., p. 135)

He omits what Lenin stated immediately before:

“A United States of the World (not of Europe alone) is the state form of the unification and freedom of nations which we associate with socialism — until the time when the complete victory of communism brings about the total disappearance of the state, including the democratic. As a separate slogan, however, the slogan of a United States of the World would hardly be a correct one, firsts, because it merges with socialism; second, because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible, and it may also create misconceptions as to the relations of such a country to the others.

“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone." (“On the Slogan for a United States of Europe, Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 342)

This is clear. It is true that Lenin here speaks of the worldwide victory of socialism and communism as our (long-term) objective. But he does not want such universal slogans to obscure the concrete tasks. Therefore, he opposes big slogans, but demands instead working for the concrete revolution wherever and however it is possible – in one single country too. And he confirms that “uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism," from which he concludes that the victory of socialism “is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone." This argument, written in 1915, two years before the October Revolution, clearly contradicts using these words of Lenin to support the vague pipe-dream of an “international revolution.” Here, too, Stefan Engel and his collective of authors omit all the concrete considerations with which Lenin frankly deals with real problems and difficulties and points out a way. But that does not fit the idealist cheers for the “international revolution.”

In his own defence, on page 136 Stefan Engel also quotes Stalin:

“In the debate with the Trotskyites, Stalin too unmistakably defended the reference to the international proletarian revolution:

“The characteristic feature of that danger is lack of confidence in the international proletarian revolution; lack of confidence in its victory; a sceptical attitude towards the national-liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries; failure to understand that without the support of the revolutionary movement in other countries our country would not be able to hold out against world imperialism; failure to understand that the victory of socialism in one country alone cannot be final because it has no guarantee against intervention until the resolution is victorious in at least a number of countries; failure to understand the elementary demand of internationalism, by virtue of which the victory of socialism in one country is not an end in itself^, but a means of developing and supporting the revolution in other countries.” (Stalin, “Questions And Answers, Speech Delivered at the Sverdlov University, June 9, 1925,” Works, Vol. 7, p. 169 – bold in this edition, underlining in the original, in Engel, Dawn..., p. 136)

Here, too, it is interesting to see what is not quoted. Stalin deals with the concrete question of a participant at that conference:

“What dangers are there of our Party degenerating as a result of the stabilization of capitalism, if this stabilization lasts a long time?” (Stalin, Works, Vol. 7, p. 165)

He gives a list of three possible dangers:

“a) the danger of losing the socialist perspective in our work of building up our country, and the danger of liquidationism connected with it;

“b) the danger of losing the international revolutionary perspective, and the danger of nationalism connected with it;

“c) the danger of a decline of Party leadership and the possibility connected with it of the Party’s conversion into an appendage of the state apparatus.” (Ibid, p. 166)

Engel quotes from the answer to the second question, and Stalin very concretely deals with the debates in the Soviet Union and with bourgeois- nationalist trends within it. At the same time and also in a very concrete manner, he deals with the unevenness of development in the world and the necessity of proletarian internationalism. But first of all Stalin, as a practical revolutionary, starts from the “victory of socialism in one country”! In 1925, victory had just been won against an imperialist war of intervention, with the most difficult efforts, with the hardest fights, and it had only been won with a great deal of international revolutionary solidarity! But only because Stalin’s position is firmly based on this fact do his further observations make real sense: that this victory “cannot be final” because “it has no guarantee against intervention until the revolution is victorious in at least a number of countries,” that “the victory of socialism in one country is not an end in itself, but a means of developing and supporting the revolution in other countries.” Nowadays, no serious communist denies this fact in any way, so that Stefan Engel must provide clarity on this point. Again, the words quoted from Stalin do not support Stefan Engel’s conception of “international revolution.”

Once again it is clear: Stalin did not dream based on abstract wishes and hopes, but he clearly saw the national form of the fights without forgetting the “international revolutionary perspective.” He confirms the analysis of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto in the concrete conditions in which the CPSU and the Soviet Union was fighting at that time. There is nothing that could support Stefan Engel’s defence of his new phase of a “cartel of the solely ruling financial capital” and his “supermonopolies.”

Obviously, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are only quoted as showpieces in Engel’s book, to enhance the master’s glory rather than to seriously deal with their real and dialectic-materialist analyses. We could provide numerous other examples where Engel twists quotations. And if Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin did indeed already confirm all the theses of Stefan Engel, we must ask him, what is really new. In all these passages Engel is rather vague, as for example on the question of whether the state still has real power or not.

Trotsky and the International Revolution

Let us now look at Trotsky, since Stefan Engel vehemently rejects being placed on the same level with him.

In 1923 Trotsky also sees that “capitalist forces of production had outgrown the framework of European national spates” (quoted from “Is the Slogan ‘The United States of Europe’ a Timely One?,” at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/ffyci-2/25b.htm). He promotes the United States of Europe, which was vehemently unmasked by Lenin as being impossible or reactionary. Stefan Engel, like Trotsky, sees the “predominantly international character” of the “capitalist mode of production,” but worldwide instead of related to Europe.

In his work The Third International After Lenin, Trotsky writes in 1928: “On August 4, 1914, the death knell sounded for national programs for all time. The revolutionary party of the proletariat can base itself only upon an international program corresponding to the character of the present epoch, the epoch of the highest development and collapse of capitalism." Quoted from “The Program of the International Revolution or a Program of Socialism in One Country?” in The Third International After Lenin, at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti01.htm#p1-01

For Trotsky, too, the “international revolution” is an abstract phrase that does not exist in the context of the concrete dialectical relation between the international character and national form of the revolution.

In the above article, Trotsky also attacks the Communist International:

“There is no justifying the omission of the slogan of the Soviet United States of Europe from the new draft program, a slogan which was accepted by the Comintern back in 1923, after a rather protracted internal struggle.

“The entire formulation of the questions as outlined above flows from the dynamics of the revolutionary process taken as a whole. The international revolution is regarded as an interconnected process which cannot be predicted in all its concreteness, and, so to speak, its order of occurrence, but which is absolutely clear-cut in its general historical outline. Unless the latter is understood, a correct political orientation is entirely out of the question." (Ibid.)

The vague character of Trotsky’s formulation stands out. He speaks about “the dynamics of the revolutionary process taken as a whole," about the “general historical outline" which cannot be predicted.

Instead of denying that his theses are taken from Kautsky and Trotsky with cobbled-together quotations, we would have liked Stefan Engel to have made a comprehensive explanation of what he considers his differences from these two persons to be. We do not see any difference!

To a criticism in the Indian paper “Red Star,” organ of the Communist Party of India/Marxist-Leninist (CPI/ML), Stefan Engel replied:

“When we speak of the international character of the resolution this, of course, does not mean that, in face of such a contradictory, uneven and differentiated world, a homogenous international revolution can take place. Many revolutionary movements and revolutions of varied scale and character will take place at different times. But these — and that is the decisive point — must all be related to the process of an international revolution. That is objectively the case and will be a definite fact. The success of this process will be determined by the question of how the Marxist-Leninists consciously prepare themselves for this in good time and draw conclusions for their cooperation.” (Stefan Engel, answer to the newspaper Red Star, 1 July 2004, in: Engel, Dawn…, p. 138)

How is this different from Trotsky, who says, in the above-mentioned quotation: “The international revolution is regarded as an interconnected process.”

Here, too, we see no difference. Instead of a concrete analysis, we are fed with vague phrases that do not fill us up. It is a position of total arbitrariness, in which Stefan Engel commits himself to nothing, absolutely nothing.

Advice to Parties All Over the world

Nothing of a serious character, but an enormous self-confidence seems to be the motivation for Stefan Engel and his collective of authors. He provides advice, free of charges and unrequested, to governments, parties, peoples etc. all over the world.

Thus he explains to the peoples of Vietnam, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Cuba that “only the masses can create the preconditions for another proletarian revolution in a democratic smuggle” (pp. 305-306). They will thank him for this.

He teaches the governments of Venezuela and Bolivia that “they are striving for economic independence, but have yet to take the decisive step of overthrowing the state apparatus, with its manifold dependencies on the old exploiting classes and international finance capital, by a revolution and of establishing a new, people’s democratic power which takes the road to socialism.” (p. 304)

But, in order to prevent being nailed down, he stresses that “all counties have their geographic, historical, cultural and other peculiarities which the strategy for the power smuggle must take into consideration.” (p. 306) Concerning North Africa and the Arab countries, Stefan Engel states: “Since Arab states have at best limited bourgeois democracies, but are often ruled by despotic or fascist regimes, the establishment of an anti- imperialist, new-democratic system is necessary there also.” (p. 311) These are cheap phrases, that are fortunately free of charge. It cannot be more than this, because Stefan Engel does not know anything about the concrete conditions in these countries and cannot know them either. With his international verbal round trip, he wants to play to the gallery. By doing so he makes a fool of himself.

He merrily goes on. In the Philippines “the geographic conditions are important” (p. 312). With reference to some countries of Africa – which countries they are, Stefan Engel does not say – he recommends: “In such countries, self-run organizations of the masses must first secure the most urgently needed livelihood...” (p. 312)

After all this good advice, he suddenly writes: “It cannot be the task of the Marxists-Leninists in Germany to work out concrete strategies for particular countries. This must be done by the local revolutionary parties.” (p. 312)

Regarding Tunisia, he publishes an anonymous correspondence, which he does not oppose, whose content he seems to consider correct and important enough to be included in his book: “Very intense and also very vehement debates are now taking place in the revolutionary committees. There is no dominating party or trend in these committees, but people from the entire range of the left and revolutionaries: from social-democrats, anarchists, Trotskyites to those who call themselves Maoists and Marxist- Leninists. The building of a revolutionary party is just beginning. (Rote Fahne, N° 5, 2011, p. 10)” (p. 314)

That is a brazen claim. The MLPD was invited to the first legal Party Conference of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia (POT). The MLPD knows this party. It is a known fact that the POT was a leading force in the overthrow of the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali. The POT is an active part of the People’s Front, which is the fourth strongest force in the Tunisian parliament with 15 representatives. Comrade Hamma Hammami, the spokesperson of the POT for many years and now chair of the People’s Front, came in third in the presidential elections with 8% of the vote. Everybody knows that we in Germany are far from having such strength and anchoring among the working class and people. In the last elections for the Federal Parliament in 2013, the MLPD obtained 0.1% of the second votes (the votes for the party lists, as distinct from the first votes for candidates directly nominated or supported by the parties). We do not want to make disparaging remarks about the MLPD’s result. Other forces that call themselves Marxist-Leninist would hardly achieve a better result at present. But this is no cause for arrogance. Under such circumstances, to state that in Tunisia “the building of a revolutionary party is just beginning” is presumptuous. Frankly speaking, one should be ashamed to gives such advice and make such “assessments.”

Precisely with such an arrogant attitude, Stefan Engel sets the tasks to be fulfilled by Marxist-Leninists in his opinion:

“1. The proletarian revolutionary movement in the centres of the imperialist world system is confronted with the historical task to wage the decisive battles against the principal forces of imperialism. Under the leadership of its revolutionary party and in alliance with the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia and the broad masses, the working class must directly overthrow its own monopoly bourgeoisie by an armed uprising and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (p. 307) When one reads that, one is flabbergasted! No one knew that until now! Many thanks to the great guru; let us kneel down before him! At last he has made this clear to all the stupid Marxists-Leninists. Furthermore, it is so concrete that all existing problems have been solved!

And the guru continues:

“2. The anti-imperialist liberation struggle in the neocolonially dependent and oppressed counties has the goal of overthrowing the government subservient to imperialism and of smashing the neocolonial state machine in order to achieve independence from imperialism." (p. 307)

We can already hear all the shouts and cheers from the dependent and oppressed countries in the face of such profound wisdom. But we think that this is an expression of Stefan Engel’s arrogant neocolonialist attitude, perhaps believing that all other people are so stupid that they have to go to his school.

“4. In former neocolonial countries which are aspiring to imperialist power, like India, Brazil and South Korea, the international revolution must resolve particular contradictions and therefore has a particular character^.

“It is possible that a temporary people’s war of the indigenous people or the rural peasant masses accompanies the armed uprising in the centres." (pp. 309-310; in the German edition he says “denkbar,” which has been translated as “possible,” but may also be translated as “thinkable,” “imaginable.”)

Here, too, we must be immensely thankful. Who would have thought that there exist particular contradictions! And very many things are “thinkable”! It is also thinkable that we do not need such talk as it contains nothing but meaningless phrases. How can anyone take it upon himself to favour the whole world with what is “thinkable” in his brain? And there is another piece of Stefan Engel’s wisdom: “If the revolution fails the revolutionary must retreat." (p. 321)

Stefan Engel poses the task for the Marxist-Leninist parties in the industrial countries to win over the industrial proletariat. That is new! We have all waited for that! Of course, he has more great advice for us:

1. Propagation of scientific socialism (...)

2. Agitation and propaganda among the workers and the people’s masses and help in all practical problems of daily life (...)

3. Promotion of ueberparteilich2 self-run organisations of the masses for the struggle on behalf of their most important interests...

4. The preparation and conduct of struggles must be connected with Marxist-Leninist agitation and propaganda. Struggles for economic concerns must be combined with political strikes and demonstrations and converted into a political struggle against the government. In this way such struggles for reforms can be used as a practical school of the class struggle — which is identical with coping with the influences of the petty- bourgeois mode of thinking. In the situation of the transition from the national to the international class struggle, all struggles must be used to promote an internationalist consciousness and to organize international solidarity.

"These four fundamental tasks — the dialectical unity of agitation, propaganda and organization, of party and masses, of national struggle and internationalist obligation — must be oriented toward the central strategic task of winning over the decisive majority of the international industrial proletariat, of its class-conscious core, and for this reason must always combine proletarian strategy and tactics with the strategy and tactics in the struggle over the mode of thinking.” (pp. 332-334; bold in the original)

It is unbelievable that anybody has the audacity to treat Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations like first year students in a village school, and in bold letters to spread this as the great insights of his deep analysis. Without this great guru, who would ever have thought to make propaganda and agitation, to disseminate scientific socialism, to help the masses to organize themselves, or to promote proletarian internationalism? It is astonishing that anyone is so bold to present himself as a neocolonial guru, to have his book translated into various languages and distributed all over the world. Thereafter, Stefan Engel warns:

“The systematic concrete analysis of the concrete situation is vital for the Marxist-Leninists in order to adjust to changes in the world in good time, recognize them and correctly evaluate them, and unify their concrete strategy and tactics with the revolutionary parties and organizations in the world.” (pp. 511-512)

It would be fine if he would finally provide this. Instead we receive pages of listings of phenomena and again and again non-committal advice, that it could be this way, but it could also be another way. And finally we can create “the dialectical unity of agitation, propaganda and organization, of party and masses, of national struggle and internationalist obligation” (page 334). For us this says nothing.

We do not want to torment the readers with further countless “pieces of advice.” If someone needs them they can read the whole book.

All things international?

Stefan Engel’s book ends with the appeal:

Forward with the international socialist revolution!

Forward to the united socialist states of the world!” (p. 570)

He concludes: “With the strategy and tactics of the international revolution they are in the position to unite the struggles for social and national liberation taking place worldwide into a mighty flood which tears down all the barriers of the old society.” (p. 569)

Apart from his above-mentioned “advice,” however, he does not tell us what he means by this. Once more let us remember Lenin’s comment that we already quoted above:

“As a separate slogan, however, the slogan of a United States of the World would hardly be a correct one, first, because it merges with socialism; second, because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible, and it may also create misconceptions as to the relations of such a country to the others.” (“On the Slogan for a United States of Europe, Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 342)

Stefan Engel already invoked the internationalization of production, of the ruling class but also of the proletariat. He writes:

“In the process of the international division of labour and at the level of the international systems of production, in the past few decades an international industrial proletariat has developed. Today it is the force which can and must go into the lead of the international struggle against imperialism and for socialism.” (p. 18)

“The internationalization of the productive forces must inevitably result in the internationalization of the class struggle and spur it on. Unmistakable signs that this process already is in full swing can be observed everywhere in the worlds” (p. 12)

“But the line of development at the beginning of the twenty-first century is clear: the main tendency in the world is the preparation of the international socialist revolution." (p. 13)

“The general crisis proneness of imperialism has developed in a universal way. (...) They constitute the general material fundament for the emergence of a revolutionary world crisis, the objective and subjective condition for the maturing of the international socialist revolution." (p. 18)

It is a fact that the conditions for the working class in different countries have developed differently. For example: the situation of the working class in Greece cannot at all be compared with the one in Germany. And when we look at the Indian or Argentine working class we see that the differences are even more drastic. We can take any country at all to see that the differences are growing. From the materialist point of view, this in reality leads to sharper competition within the working class. Of course, international solidarity works against this! But this has existed since the time of Marx and Engels. What is new here?

We must even notice that the differences have become even bigger. Already in 1915, Lenin wrote: “Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism."” (Lenin, On the Slogan for a United States of Europe, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 342.)

Let us take as an example the so-called “Arab Spring.” In Tunisia, where this process had its beginning, there existed a strong Communist Party, a militant working class and progressive forces within the people. They were able both to chase away the dictator Ben Ali and to prevent an Islamist dictatorship. In Egypt, this process was different. While there was a strong progressive movement, it lacked a strong revolutionary force. Although the people could bring down the dictator Mubarak, imperialism could initially establish an Islamist government under President Mursi, which, shortly thereafter, when the Islamists were no longer needed, was overthrown by a military coup and a military dictatorship was again established. In Libya and Syria, imperialism took advantage of the initial protests in order to fight against governments unacceptable to them with the aid of reactionary Islamic forces and terrorist gangs. The conditions, the course and the results are therefore extremely different. Lenin always explained these difficulties in detail, while Stefan Engel avoids this.

But he took precautions to be on the safe side. On the one hand he broadcasts great slogans, while on the other hand he also states the contrary, thus covering himself against any change. He also says:

“The concrete conditions for the proletarian class smuggle differ greatly from country to country, because the internationalization of capitalist production has also resulted in the intensification of the uneven development of capitalism. Never before has the weight of the different imperialist powers or power blocs shifted so rapidly, have great powers and alliances fallen behind or gained new predominance so dramatically. In the ebb and flow of these changing relative strengths, the social contradictions within the countries and sometimes even these countries’ character change.” (p. 304) (The German word “Gewoge” has been translated here as “ebb and flow”; it means “stormy waters.” that is, “rapid changes.”)

“The reorganization of international capitalist production further intensified the uneven development of the neocolonial counties.” (p. 490)

As has already been said: it is easier to nail a pancake to the wall than to tie Stefan Engel to anything concrete in the “stormy waves” of his thinking.

And once more, we must recall Trotsky, whom we already quoted above:

“The entire formulation of the questions as outlined above flows from the dynamics of the revolutionary process taken as a whole. The international revolution is regarded as an interconnected process which cannot be predicted in all its concreteness, and, so to speak, its order of occurrence, but which is absolutely clear-cut in its general historical outline. Unless the Matter is understood, a correct political orientation is entirely out of the question.” (Quoted at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti01.htm#p1-01)

Instead of “stormy waves” we here find “dynamism” – in both cases the meaning is vague. We cannot see any difference in their positions.

It is similar with a trend to the left, discovered by Stefan Engel. With reference to Germany in the years 2004-2005, he writes:

“A trend to the left among the masses developed which increasingly opposed not only the profit- and power-hungry managers of the monopolies, but also the profit system and capitalism as a whole.

"The trend to the left is an international phenomenon occurring in different forms and having different characteristics. It means the transition to a qualitatively new stage in the development of class consciousness, a definite development towards the transition to socialist consciousness.” (p. 214)

On page 155 he speaks of a “worldwide trend to the left.

“Despite all the differences existing in the individual countries, class consciousness has awakened on a broad scale and a universal trend to the left has emerged among the masses.” (p. 304)

Again, this has been very simply put together. In reality, we see very different developments in the individual countries. Whereas in France workers and young people are fighting in the streets against the new labour law, the precarious work conditions and low wages, the racist, reactionary Front National obtained very high election results from backward strata. In Germany, the racist, reactionary Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party with many fascist members, obtained big election results, unfortunately, above all from parts of the working class. In some states of Eastern Europe such as the Baltic countries, Hungary, Poland etc., the most reactionary forces form the governments. And such tendencies were already known five years ago. Instead of a concrete study, there is nothing but phrases in Stefan Engel’s book! Trotsky already fought with such phrases against the building of socialism in the USSR.

“Linking up countries and continents that stand on different levels of development into a system of mutual dependence and antagonism, leveling out the various stages of their development and at the same time immediately enhancing the differences between them, and ruthlessly counterposing one country to another, world economy has become a mighty reality which holds sway over the economic life of individual countries and continents. This basic fact alone invests the idea of a world communist party with a supreme reality. ” (The Third International After Lenin, at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti01.htm#p1-01

These phrases are similarly vague, as are those of Stefan Engel. The consistency of the book “Dawn of the International Socialist Revolution” is confusion, escape into pretty spiritual utopias instead of dealing with the realities of the class struggle. Such idealist phrases have nothing to do with Marxism.

Lenin’s judgment about Kautsky’s fantasies and the damage that they caused apply here too:

But in practice this means becoming an opportunist, turning away from the acute problems of the day to dream of the unacute problems of the future. In theory this means refusing to be guided by actual developments, forsaking them arbitrarily for such dreams." (“Preface to N. Bukharin’s Pamphlet, Imperialism and the World Economy,” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 107)

Concluding Remarks

For many years, we have co-operated with comrades of the MLPD in many places in the class struggle, for example in companies and trade unions, in the struggle against fascism and war and against social cutbacks. Despite our criticism, we will continue such co-operation. We think that it is necessary to create a common front against capital. Our criticism is not limited to Stefan Engel and his collective of authors. For a long time, we have observed that forces that see themselves as communists or Marxist- Leninists frequently use the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin as a box of spare parts from which they take what is convenient for them. Everyone has already formed an opinion, hypothesis, “analysis” and then looks for quotations to use them as a shield against any criticism or as “evidence.” That is not Marxism but is extremely superficial and a sign of intellectual bankruptcy. Marxism-Leninism is a science. Quotations, irrespective of from whom, are not evidence. Evidence must be taken from reality. That was the method of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. And that must be the method of all Marxist-Leninists. When we study the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, we do that not to adorn ourselves with them but to understand them, to assimilate them and to use them for a dialectical, materialist and historical analysis of our situation and to progress towards the socialist revolution.

Lenin and the supermonopoly

One reader pointed out that in the theoretical organ of the MLPD a quotation from Lenin is cited, in which he uses the term “supermonopolies”.

For Lenin, the word supermonopoly appears in his work “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” only once, not more! I don’t know any other references. The connection is clear: It is not something new, as Stefan Engel complained.

Here is the complete quote in context:

“As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and ‘spheres of influence’ of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things ‘naturally’ gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels.

“This is a new stage of world concentration of capital and production, incomparably higher than the preceding stages. Let us see how this supermonopoly develops.

“The electrical industry is highly typical of the latest technical achievements and is most typical of capitalism at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. This industry has developed most in the two leaders of the new capitalist countries, the United States and Germany. In Germany, the crisis of 1900 gave a particularly strong impetus to its concentration. During the crisis, the banks, which by that time had become fairly well merged with industry, enormously accelerated and intensified the ruin of relatively small firms and their absorption by the large ones. ‘The banks,’ writes Jeidels, ‘refused a helping hand to the very firms in greatest need of capital, and brought on first a frenzied boom and then the hopeless failure of the companies which have not been connected with them closely enough.’

“As a result, after 1900, concentration in Germany progressed with giant strides. Up to 1900 there had been seven or eight groups” in the electrical industry. Each consisted of several companies (altogether there were 28) and each was backed by from 2 to 11 banks. Between 1908 and 1912 all these groups were merged into two, or one. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 246.

One can find the complete text of the chapter on the Internet at: https://www. marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch05.htm

It is clear from the context that by supermonopolies Lenin obviously means the formation of cartels of different monopolies. That is self-evident. However, this is not, as Stefan Engel claims, a new form of monopolies, but temporary mergers of monopolies, which can also split up once again, if mutual competition requires it. In this respect, the reference by Stefan Engel to this single statement by Lenin, which is intended to illustrate the degree of cartel formation, is wrong. It is as always with Stefan Engel: he tears quotations out of context to justify his preconceived notions. And since this all refers to 1900 (!!!), it cannot be anything new that Stefan Engel “analyzed” in recent years.

Lenin created a basic economic definition of imperialism in which the term “supermonopolies” does not appear:

“And so, without forgetting the conditional and relative value of all definitions in general, which can never embrace all the concatenations of a phenomenon in its full development, we must give a definition of imperialism that will include the following five of its basic features:

(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the inter- national trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.” Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 266-267


1 This is a quote from Karl Liebknecht, in which he stressed that despite the defeat of the proletarian revolution in Germany in 1919, we have to continue our fight to overthrow bourgeois power.

2 (Ueberparteilich – literally: above-party – means working together in equality, on the basis of struggle, for common goals, without regard to party affiliation – translator's note.) (Note in the English edition of Stefan Engel’s book. The common meaning of the German word “ueberparteilich” is: “non-partisan” or “above-party.”)

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