German Communists Answer theses of CPUSA's Sam Webb, by Dr. Hans-Peter Brenner writing in the Berlin socialist daily Junge Welt , July20, 2011
Coping with political defeat, July 20, 2011 by Hans-Peter Brenner
Certain Features of the Historical Development of Marxism is a work of Vladimir IlyichLenin. In it he dealt with the consequences of the defeat of the first Russian revolution of 1905. At that time, many party members (including many recently enrolled intellectuals)left the revolutionary party in droves. Soon after that, the farewell to Marxism, which wetoo experienced in 1989-1991, became the fashion.As a reflection of this change there occurred profound disintegration, confusion, shakingand swaying of all sorts – in a word, there appeared a very serious internal crisis of Marxism. The resolute defense against this decay, the determined and persistent strugglefor the basics of Marxism, again came on the agenda.That was Lenin’s diagnosis.It was — and still is — important for us German Communists to examine whatconclusions other Communist parties later drew from the defeat of socialism in Europeand the USSR.First of all, I think about the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, which hadalready adjusted to this disaster before the shameful end of Mikhail Gorbachev whodrove to ruin Soviet socialism, his country, and his party. Cuba — the country and theCommunist Party – understood this: the harsh “drought” of the Special Period wouldgovern the 1990s and early 2000s. Without its revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist character,the Communist Party of Cuba would have given up its socialist goal.
Self-awareness or Self-doubt?
I recall one Communist leader, prominent but, unfortunately, less noted in Germany ,Alvaro Cunhal (1913-2005), the longtime general secretary of the Portuguese CommunistParty (PCP). At the time of the fascist Salazar dictatorship, Cunhal’s undergroundstruggle, his inspiring and mobilizing role during and after the 1974 victory of the“Carnation Revolution,” as well as his shrewd leadership, are legendary.The advance of the socialist stage of the revolutionary upheaval in Portugal was stopped by the united and coordinated actions of U.S. imperialism, NATO, the EU, the mainEuropean imperialist states, international social democracy, and domestic reaction.