To the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left: What Have You Achieved?

Against War, Fascism, and Lateral Fronts ( Luxemburg-Liebknecht Demo Berlin 2022)
Lesezeit30 min

Another Day of Liberation1 in which we have even less liberty than the last. What best captures the wretched state of the German left at this moment? It is hard to choose. One could point to the complete disintegration of Die Linke2 and the menacing rise of the AfD3 in the East. Or the failure to hinder the barbaric war policy and reckless rearmament undertaken by a coalition led by the Greens and Social Democrats (SPD). But perhaps one really gets to the heart of things by simply noting the astounding fact that for the second year in a row, the flag of the liberators was not permitted to be flown on the Day of Liberation in Berlin. Some comrades are still flogging the tired old call for this — Nazi arming, Soviet flag banning — government to make May 8 a holiday. Comrades, are you really in the mood for celebrating?

Why this left has failed was also made clear to us yet again, when a comrade from the Freie Linke Zukunft (FLZ) was slandered as right wing and told he was unwelcome at the May 8th event in Frankfurt, by three members of the VVN‐​BdA.4 In the same city, just a week earlier, so‐​called revolutionary leftists stood by while members of the Communist Organization5 were harassed for insufficient Russophobia. In a country where Die Linke increasingly fails to even rise above 5 percent in the polls despite deteriorating living standards and popular alienation from the mainstream parties, one can hardly believe there are self‐​professed leftists who seem to be chiefly preoccupied with keeping avowed left‐​wing anti‐​fascists out of their demonstrations. 

Why, exactly? Well of course, because we are actually right‐​wingers, they declare. How do they establish this? Unlike last time, the excluding VVN‐​BdAlers were willing to engage in at least some discussion. The results were in some sense more tragic, however, because it became clear that their analysis of both the so‐​called pandemic and the protest in response to it has neither evolved nor developed an inch in three years. The same, benighted picture of the crisis which was manufactured and distributed by the psychological operations brigades of the ruling class is fully in force, seemingly immune to any contradiction by empirical reality. So we would like to briefly go through the charges against us, however stale. We would like to compare and contrast the fundamental, differing positions we took with regard to the alleged pandemic and the protest movement. We are quite convinced that, like King Lear, we are more sinned against, than sinning. 

We seek here not merely to justify ourselves, but also to try once again to prompt further reflection and critical examination from the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left, as they lead us all, despite their best intentions, down the path of unfreedom and enslavement. In so doing, we apply the same principles that drove us to form such varied alliances in the fight against the corona measures — the very same principles which also, a century earlier, dictated the policy of the popular front. As we stressed in our last flyer, »Fascism is Back: Onwards to the Struggle!« the situation could not be more grave. Fascism IS back. It is here already. And at least some of the responsibility for this falls on the forces of the supposed anti‐​fascist left who have not lived up to their historic duty. We remain convinced that there are many genuine amongst you, who have been confused by sophisticated ruling class propaganda — just like there are many people with confused »right wing« views in the Corona protest movement. We must try and reach out, we can hardly do otherwise, for eventually the honest amongst you will understand and fight with, not against us — we just hope that point comes before it is too late. 

We can start by merely asking, even on your own terms, how successful your approach to the so‐​called pandemic was? What has been achieved, in the midst of this epochal crisis, by directing so much of your energy against the opponents of the government? Presumably you will at least acknowledge that you didn’t manage to push the government to enact a response based on solidarity, either internally or internationally. You were not able to combat the extreme national chauvinism of the government’s approach to both travel restrictions and vaccine (or other medical resource) distribution. You did not even manage to eek out meaningful preferential protections for the vulnerable — nevermind anything approximating »ZeroCovid.« Does anyone even still maintain that this was the desirable approach, by the way? And can they point to any meaningful examples of success, especially ones that could have any applicability to the German context? Of course, Germany and most other countries with aggressively interventionist policies dramatically surpassed Sweden in excess mortality before the alleged pandemic even reached its halfway point. One‐​time models like Australia and New Zealand have sustained sky‐​high rates of excess mortality since their vaccination campaigns. Even China no longer clings to ZeroCovid.

From the very beginning, we warned that even if one thought in ideal circumstances — e.g., a socialist government over which the population exerted real, strong democratic control — a ZeroCovid approach would have been optimal and viable, such an approach was manifestly incompatible with the entire structure and organization of imperialist capitalist economies. And we pleaded with you to consider the practical consequences of how the utopian call for ZeroCovid would actually be used in our concrete political circumstances. With the dust somewhat settled, and the heady days of the seemingly never‐​ending stay‐​at‐​home snow day over, have you soberly reflected on what you could’ve possibly been hoping for with such calls in the real, class‐​riven world in which we live? We are forced to suspect that the apocalyptic ecstasy of the corona spectacle tapped into a dangerous tendency already well‐​established in the imperialist core left: the abandonment of a class‐​struggle based analysis in favor of a millenarian faith that some force external to capitalism will somehow save us. This structure of thought had been made pervasive in the mainstream climate movement, and only needed minor tweaks for reapplication to the health emergency. Behind these utopian fantasies lurk the sinister (proto-)fascist belief in solidarity achieved through the »Gemeinschaft«6 unifying against some external enemy. Of course, real solidarity can only arise through principled, lucid, internationalist class struggle, grounded in the concrete shared interest of the oppressed masses — not class collaboration with the oppressors against whatever boogeyman they invent! 

In the real world we live in, ZeroCovid thus chiefly served to rationalize and shield from critical analysis an unprecedented concentration of power in the hands of the highest levels of the ruling class — i.e., a dynamic which would structurally ensure, on the whole, less solidarity, less egalitarianism, and less favorable conditions to further carry on the class struggle in the pursuit of our collective interests. Many adopted an almost cartoonishly mechanical analysis of capitalism in this context, based on an understanding of capitalists as something like pre‐​programmed videogame characters or algorithms, who can only accumulate through ›legitimate‹ capitalist enterprise. What an absurd flight from history, what abstract, idealist befuddlement. Of course, concrete capitalists have no deep ideological devotion to capitalism or markets per se, but only to their own class interests, in whatever form they may be advanced. Concrete capitalists have historically eagerly seized on opportunities for accumulation and empowerment more stable and less risky than capitalism — feudalism, slavery, outright plunder. They do whatever they can get away with, and always will. Precisely as we predicted, the supposedly anti‐​capitalist, economy devastating policies implemented under the pretext of ›lockdown‹ in fact consistently worked to accelerate the most pernicious monopoly tendencies of late imperialist capitalism. The most aggressive, reactionary elements of finance capital have massively expanded and consolidated their wealth and power. Smaller, weaker capitals have been devoured, and the lower‐​rungs of the bourgeoisie, as well as the middle classes generally, have been substantially impoverished. The more one scrutinizes the recent supposed »disasters« for capitalism fed to us by the spectacle, one sees no loss of power or wealth for the highest rungs of the ruling class. One sees instead that the global middle classes are being systematically plundered in a blitzkrieg financial assault.

The ruling class loves nothing more than to substitute the putsch for the revolution, the fasces for the hammer and sickle, the pogrom for the class struggle. They are trying to sell this massive program of theft and consolidation as so many defeats for a comic book cut out ›capitalism‹. Consider the Small and medium‐​sized enterprises gobbled up in »lockdowns,« or the ones that barely survived only to be throttled by absurd climate and sanctions policies. Think of the fate of Dutch farmers, or the confiscations of yachts and other assets of »Russian oligarchs«. There are clear parallels here with earlier episodes of »extra‐​capitalist« plunder by the ruling capitalist classes in history, such as the looting of the GDR, or the »Aryanization« of Jewish wealth by the Nazis. Even greater, perhaps, are parallels to those who celebrate such maneuvers as anti‐​capitalist or socialist! This was, afterall, a classic maneuver of fascism: co‐​opting the genuine revolutionary sentiments of the people by mendaciously passing off its own extra‐ or intra‐​capitalist attacks, such as direct accumulation through expropriation, as »anti‐​capitalist.« Of course, the fascists plundered Jewish wealth because they simply wanted it. Simultaneously, however, they tried to set up Jews as a scapegoat for abstract capitalism, and thus sold Aryanization (as well as attacks on Jewish businesses, etc.) as »anti‐​capitalist.« In the same way, the ruling class today is in the process of carrying out an orgy of plunder on all but the highest rungs of the bourgeoisie, and ceaselessly trying to market this plunder to the masses as anti‐capitalist.

In providing cover for the most aggressive, dominant sections of the ruling class in dismantling and absorbing smaller, weaker rungs, did the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left win any leverage for themselves, or for the working masses they claim to fight for? Did their policy enable them to at least force some distribution of that intra‐​capitalist plunder? Of course not. In fact, the entire burden of the artificial crisis is being imposed on the masses. The German population is living through the greatest reduction in real living standards in living history, while the ruling class has the audacity to pour 100 Billion Euros into rearming the state apparatus which just spent three years relentlessly surveilling, harassing, and repressing its own population, often with the tacit or even open approval of this same supposed Left. Indeed, instead of orienting the population to the reconquest of our own collective wealth and the material abundance we could all enjoy if we were liberated and in control of the means of production, many are more preoccupied with staking out even more aggressive positions against popular living standards than the rulers. The actual ravagers of the earth will be left untouched, while the masses must be deprived of any semblance of well being or liberties in order to save‹ it. This absurdity could not be better encapsulated than the Green’s simultaneous embrace of imperialist war in the East and domestic economic war on their own population. Could there be anything more unequivocally environmentally destructive than the imperialist war machine itself? Could there actually be any »Green« party worth the name whose first priority, far and ahead of any other, was not dismantling it? 

Indeed, perhaps nothing reveals the fundamental dishonesty of the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left supposedly principled distancing from us — rightwingers, allegedly — is the refusal to draw any such line of demarcation against the supporters of the now objectively fasciszed parliamentary parties. Contact with someone who marched with someone who was once present at a right‐​wing demonstration is enough to declare us irremediably »right‐​open.«7 With the traffic light coalition8, who are really actively rearming German imperialism, and who are actively materially supporting Neonazis in Ukraine, who are banning the symbols of anti‐​fascist liberation, who are enshrining the anti‐​semitic Nazi propaganda narrative of the Holomodor as official state‐​enforced truth — well, one can have a reasonable disagreement with them, apparently. Indeed, one is not only permitted to march with them, to organize with them, to vote for them. It is deemed entirely acceptable that the new‐​elected Frankfurt Mayor of this SPD, as it leads this coalition, gives the keynote speech at the First of May Demonstration. 

Which brings us to perhaps the most striking failure of your course: your relationship with the protest movement against the corona measures itself. Irrespective of how one assessed the real nature of the crisis, we can hopefully agree on some indisputable facts. The first is that the response of bourgeoise governments to crises is never driven by benevolence. One might argue that they are driven to do the »right« thing by the necessity of maintaining the system, in order to ensure the continued flow of profit; they might be compelled by popular expectations, the need to be re‐​elected, etc.; they may also, perhaps, simply need to at least in part save the population if it is the only way to also save themselves. Fine, well and good. But certainly, we are all agreed that bourgeoise governments can be expected to go no further, and that if they can use a crisis cynically, to advance their own class interests against those of the working masses, they certainly will. And we know that the cynicism of the ruling class can simply not be underestimated. »Never let a good crisis go to waste.« 

So in the circumstances of a crisis — real or manufactured — we must expect the ruling class to misuse it as far as they can possibly get away with. Every ruling class in history has loved nothing more than a state of emergency to free itself from democratic or popular constraints. In so far as a crisis is real, we might add, we must expect that the ruling class will seek to remedy it only insofar as doing so advances their own interest. Any action further beyond their own interests, or invariably, against their own interest and in ours, must be compelled by political struggle. So the only correct left response to a crisis must entail the mobilization of the population, not their disempowerment. 

The Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left not only failed to mobilize the population, but actively aided the government in trying to demobilize them — indeed, to place them under house arrest or curfew. You accepted slavishly the most risible, protest‐​restricting dictates of the state, even when they hardly stood up to scrutiny by the terms of the fantastical and surreal logic of alleged Covid pathogenesis. You urged others to comply with the government; many of you urged the government to crack down even harder on resistance. And most scandalously of all, some even volunteered to serve as the very shock troops of the government, disrupting, hindering, harassing and assaulting those protesting. And what did you achieve in doing this? Did you help to hinder the recrudescence of the radical right in Germany? No, you achieved just the opposite. Unprecedented numbers of the population, many if not most drawn from the lower middle and working classes, began to really radically question for the first time the legitimacy of not only the current government but capitalism and parliamentary democracy themselves. Did you engage with them, help them to work through the barriers of their previous indoctrination, productively critique, educate, and enlighten? No, you declared them all, with one fell swoop, to be right‐​wingers — in the most grotesque tragedy of self‐​confirmation that has perhaps ever been displayed. For what you achieved through all this — through your objective alignment with the government and the vanguard of the ruling class whom it serves, through your hysterical, rabid rejection of all critical thought about the official narrative, through your betrayal of basic principles — you drove innumerable potential allies into the hands of the worst right wing demagogues. You fed fire to the most lurid, often anti‐​semetic right‐​wing fantasies about the conspiracy of the »radical left« and »international finance« against the population. You have made the work of those of us who will really fight fascism as it really, concretely manifests itself today inordinately more difficult. The divergent fates of Die Linke and AfD bear stark witness to this fact. 

We should speak a bit about this issue of fascism directly as well. First, we should address perhaps the most absurd and self‐​defeating tenets of the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left: that anyone who compared any aspect of the corona‐​measures with any aspects of historical fascism could only have been relativizing and diminishing historical fascism, with the aim of ultimately recuperating it. Of course, such a gambit is carried out on the right — frequently, and with increasing mendacity. It is indeed now carried out by the federal government itself, with the declaration of the so‐​called »Holomodor« as a genocide, and the undermining of the specificity of the charge of Volksverhetzung.9 What was so profoundly disingenuous about the interpretation (and subsequent slandering) of the Corona protest movement was that so many of you simply took for granted (at the prompting, no doubt, of state intelligence agents) that any such comparisons made in the contexts of the Corona protests must have been of this relativizing, diminishing sort. Because, of course, you had already declared the protest to be right‐​wing and fascistic, so of course they could only mean it in such a way. And the proof that they were right‐​wing and fascistic? That they were guilty of such relativizing, of course! 

Now if you had ever simply tried to engage, even briefly, with participants in the protests, you would have discovered that, barring a small handful of provocateurs, when people in a Corona‐​Demo made comparisons to fascism or National Socialism, they did so precisely because as anti‐​fascists and anti‐​Nazis they saw these as referents for the most absolute evil. They — and many of us — felt and feel that the current ruling class– which in many ways has an unbroken continuity with those that carried out fascism — are bent on once again committing crimes as heinous, as unimaginable, as grotesque as those monstrous crimes carried out less than a century ago. You may think us wrong, in such an assessment; you may not construe this as a relativizing or a diminishment of those crimes. It is precisely in our fidelity to their full horror that we feel compelled to speak the truth about their looming rehearsal. 

We may, indeed, note a profound contradiction in your own logic. If you believe that all comparisons to fascism must be relativizing, that of course means that you actually must think it is impossible for fascism, or something equally monstrous, to occur again. Because then there would be at least a theoretical circumstance in which it was not relativizing. And of course, if you believed this, anti‐​fascism would actually be redundant. Of course, you don’t. Indeed, many of you had no qualms about declaring us, or those who marched with us, fascists, without even the slightest inspection of our actual views or positions. Was this not relativizing? In fact, it was, and of a much worse, more profound, and more pernicious sort than that which we or our fellow demonstrators are accused of. Because you really have managed to seriously undermine the meaning, weight, and import of terms like »fascist« and »Nazi.« You can hardly grasp what damage you have done, and how exceedingly difficult you made the important and real struggle against fascism which we conducted from within the protest movement. Because for so many of those newly politicized or re‐​politicized by the Corona protest, who were so unmoored by the events of the past few years, and the consequent the collapse of their former presuppositions, you sapped these words of their necessary gravity and coherence. In the process, you performed an invaluable service to the actual fascist demagogues operating within the protests, who could hardly have been more pleased to swim in such muddy waters. These are the fruits of your horribly miscalculated strategy, which indeed have not even fully ripened, but will continue to hamper political education and anti‐​fascist organizing as we move forward. 

More than anything else, this error betrays the astounding narrow‐​mindedness, gullibility, and shallowness of thought prevalent on the Anti‐​Anti‐​Lockdown Left. You have utterly failed to grasp the gravity of the current situation, or the nature of the opponent we face in the current ruling class, above all the sophistication of its psychological operation. The ruling class has learned and improved on the earlier methods of fascism, which draw much of their strength and power from the spectacular appropriation of and inversion of leftwing revolutionary critique. As we quote in the flier so unwelcome by the VVN‐​BdA on the 8th of May, Dmitrov wrote:

Fascism comes to power as a party of attack on the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, on the mass of the people who are in a state of unrest; yet it stages its accession to power as a ›revolutionary‹ movement against the bourgeoisie on behalf of ›the whole nation‹ and for the ’salvation‹ of the nation. One recalls Mussolini’s »march« on Rome, Pilsudski’s ›march‹ on Warsaw, Hitler’s National‐​Socialist ›revolution‹ in Germany, and so forth.

The ruling class has significantly advanced this formula. It undertakes nothing of significance today without a vast machinery of disorientation and disinformation. Typically, this entails not only dressing up its own primary maneuver in some sort of ›left‹ or ›progressive‹ guise, but also concocting various controlled opposition movements to itself, which serve a number of stacked functions. Consider, for instance, how the ruling class has sought to link the struggle against imperialism in Syria or Ukraine with white nationalism, or support for Palestine with anti‐semtism. 

The case of 9/​11 is perhaps even more illuminating here. The imperial ruling class made sure to saddle the leftist forces which should’ve been able to halt their program with the disastrous »blowback narrative.« This was profoundly attractive to the petty‐​bourgeoisie loyal »left« opponents of the ruling class, who believe endlessly in their own cleverness and the supposed incompetence of the rulers. It flattered all their preconceptions, proved them »right« — as if the problem with imperialism was bad strategy! — and gave them endless material for gloating self‐​righteousness tut‐​tutting. Of course, in the process they were seduced into accepting the profoundly racist, Islamaphobic, orientalist assumptions necessary to believe such a risible narrative. And it committed them to a fanatical, absurd negationism about the historical role of the USA in the Western Asia and North Africa (and, of course, domestically). In so doing, the ruling class managed to commit major portions of the leadership of the ›left‹ to a line which 1) reinforced the most indispensable elements of the official narrative 2) totally perplexed, divided, and disoriented popular resistance to the fascist Bush‐​Cheney regime and 3) alienated them from the vast majority of the working class, especially the non‐​white working class, who had no qualms about recognizing an obvious »conspiracy« for what it was. 

In the case of the so‐​called Pandemic, the ruling class launched an unprecedented campaign of disinformation, not to downplay, but in fact to exaggerate harm — both in the sense of overstating the threat posed, and in the sense of actively constructing lethal and otherwise harmful circumstances — in hospitals, in care homes, and in the community at large. They have used the media and elite institutions to manufacture a false impression of expert consensus. Most significantly, the capitalist media and governments have exploited the widespread cynicism induced by their past disinformation to orchestrate the current global psychological operation: by propagating amongst the left the idea that they are denying or minimizing the threat, they have given themselves a remarkably effective cover to limitlessly exaggerate it.

In conjunction with this campaign, the ruling class deliberately cultivated and manufactured an »opposition« out of their own traditional political shock troops and pawns (e.g., libertarians, nationalists, right wing esotericists, etc.) as well as large segments of the increasingly disposable petty bourgeoisie (such as the soon to be extinct small business owner‹). They could be assumed to pose little threat, having virtually no organization, capacity, or inclination for serious confrontation with the state. They were for the most part hopelessly invested in capitalist ideology, making them easy to misdirect, or even totally recuperate in future. Extraordinarily, it has become taboo on the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left to suggest that the ruling class navigates the field of class war with such strategy and foresight, pitting other class strata against each other to advance its own core aims. To assume this is now »conspiracy theory.« Was it »conspiracy theory« when Marx did the same, in the 18th Brumaire, or Revolution and Counter‐​Revolution in Germany?

Those of us who would come to form the Freie Linke movement recognized the field for what it was, and recognized that we could only intervene in it as such. We knew that, as Marx observed in the 18th Brumaire, »Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self‐​selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.« You could not be roused from your fanatical trance — we certainly made every effort to try. The ruling class was embarking on a blitzkrieg global assault. Masses were forming on the street, and the ruling class had deployed its army of operatives, influencers, misdirectors of all sorts to capture, confuse, and herd them. We had to be there. We had to help the masses fashion their correct intuitions and insights into an integrated, rational, materialist analysis of the situation. We had to help combat the innumerable traps laid for them by the ruling class. And we had to learn from them, like all real revolutionaries! We had to debate, discuss, and struggle with them.

Before any movement could even get off its feet, meanwhile, you took to the script offered you by the ruling class. You immediately slandered all participants, anyone skeptical of this unprecedented advance in ruling class despotism, as fascists, anti‐​semites, right‐​wing radicals. In so doing of course, you helped terrify many other politically advanced left wing critics, who could have helped establish a left‐​hegemony in the protest movement, into staying home, leaving the field to the agents and demagogues. Being armed with a historical and materialist understanding of reaction, we were not so easily cowed. We should briefly clarify that. It is not a coincidence, as noted by Dmitrov above, that German fascism appropriated the term »socialism« for itself. There is much truth, indeed, in the pithy characterization of anti‐​semitism as ›the socialism of fools.‹ The masses are the wellspring of revolutionary ideology, which they forge and clarify in the struggle with their oppressors. Reactionary ideologies can be generally understood as the ideological weapons of the ruling classes and their henchmen, likewise forged in their struggle to subjugate the masses and hinder any germs of self enlightenment which emerge amongst them. Class consciousness — the true and correct insight that the ruling class is a class, discrete and opposed to the masses in its interests and goals, is perhaps the most dangerous of such germs.

Thus the ruling class makes every effort to, on the one hand, disarm this fundamental insight, and, on the other, to leech off its potency, to provide substance to its own ideological materials. The ruling class produces nothing; even its ideology is an appropriation and perversion of mankind’s general output. Reactionary programs ensnare the masses insofar as they ape the real revolutionary programs which their oppression impells the masses towards. The sometimes confused, inchoate forms of class analysis — i.e. conspiracy theories — which the masses produce (especially when bereft of real revolutionary leadership!) come from a fundamentally correct instinct and orientation. The job of the revolutionary is to engage with and clarify them.

The position of the Pro‐​Lockdown‐​Left reflects a completely contrary to this approach. The masses in Germany have been subjected to unrelenting ruling class propaganda for decades, many for their entire lives. In school, in the workplace, in the media they have lived on a forced diet of capitalist individualism, imperialist chauvinism and racism, sexism, malthusianism, militarism, anti‐​communism. The moment, moreover, they look even slightly outside the mainstream, they are bombarded with a million flavors of poisonous controlled opposition and disinformation operations. In spite of this, the merest taint, personally or even by association, was enough for you to condemn them as beyond redemption, and indeed to cheer on their direct repression by the state. This fundamentally idealist, indeed, even quasi‐​religious approach is very effective at providing adherents with a satisfying sense of ritual purity. As a political program, it is the greatest friend re‐​ascendant fascism could ever ask for. 

The broad left of the Anti‐​Lockdown movement have made our own mistakes, which we are busy analyzing, examining, and subjecting to criticism and self‐​criticism. This is not the place to hash them out. On the most fundamental question, those of us on the left who decided to intervene and take part in the protest movement — not just the Freie Linke, but also, e.g., Klartext from Frankfurt, the Freidenker, the Berliner Kommunarden, the Rote Fahne from Austria, and many others — were correct. While you contributed noisily to the ruling class led chorus declaring — and thus trying to really make — the protest »right‐​wing« we established a clear presence and helped encourage at least some that you tried to scare away to take part. We also helped combat the ruling class propaganda which dressed up their program as left or communist, thus combatting the black mark you put on all our names. We combatted resurgent fascism by waging a principled struggle directed at its real souce, the ruling class and its henchmen, and by engaging with and providing the better — because true ! — materialist analysis of the situation to supplant the disinformation. Of course, you hindered our work all along the way. In so doing, you acted as the running dogs for the most sinister of lateral fronts10, that which runs from Washington through the CDU11 and traffic light coalition to the Azov battalion. Yet you have the audacity to scrutinize who we may or may not have marched with in circumstances of awesome state repression, disinformation, and disorientation — when one often had no idea who was behind a protest, or who would be there. Before the Freie Linke itself could even coalesce into a remotely coherent entity it was subject to such overwhelming forces of decomposition, the fact that we accomplished anything will absolve us of any sins. The important thing, the essential thing, was to get on the streets, engage the masses, and struggle against the ruling class. 

It remains so today. The agents of the ruling class were no doubt as displeased to see us at Corona demos as you are to see us at demos against the war, against fascism, against capitalism and imperialism. But we have no intention of staying home. We will continue to try, we must, and some of you, we are sure, will start to understand that the situation was and is as urgent as we warned. You will see that our course was fundamentally justified; that your course was in the gravest error. We of course will continue to heartily welcome genuine, good faith criticisms. We are hardly satisfied with what we achieved either. Speak to us anytime. We’ll see you on the streets. 

More analyses from the Netzwerk Linker Widerstand

For those of you who are willing to honestly engage in an alternative analysis of the current situation, we recommend reading the material which has emerged within the Left Resistance Network and has been published in the MagMa—Magazine of the Masses. Below you will find some recommendations:

In English:

From Pandemic to Permanent Emergency—Assemblea Militante

Fascism is back: onwards to the struggle! (Flyer of the FLZ)

Imperialism and the Great Reset—Jan Müller (FLZ) (Serialized translation in progress)

Virology as Ideology—T. Mohr (FLZ)

See the Magma English for more.

In German:

Flugblätter und Texte der Freien Linken Zukunft

Texte der Freien Linken Österreich

Vom pandemischen zum permanenten Notstand — Assemblea Militante

Für einen klassenkämpferischen Widerstand gegen das autoritäre Pandemiemanagement — Assemblea Militante

Imperialismus und Great Reset — Jan Müller

Dark Winter. Analysen zum Corona‐Kapitalismus

Der linke Beitrag zur Debatte — Jean‐​Marie Jacoby

Virologie als Ideologie — T. Mohr

Warum die Freie Linke gegen die Corona‐​Maßnahmen protestiert — Freya Leu

Aufruf der Freien Linken

See the MagMa for more.


1 German: Tag der Befreiung — Victory Day, May 8/​9.

2 The Left — Germany’s most leftwing major party, a technical successor of the Socialist Unity Party which ruled East Germany. It has since strayed about as far from those roots as could be imagined, and offers no real radical alternative.

3 Alternative for Germany — far right party which the government and media work tirelessly to coral all resentment and opposition to their policies into. Though they aggressively supported the first lockdown, they have since staked out a position as the major party most vocally critical of lockdowns, vaccine mandates, etc.

4 Association of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime/​Federation of Antifascists — a once illustrious organization with intimate ties to the communist movement in Germany. Now seemingly irredeemably compromised. Their chief preoccupation over the last three years appears to have been slandering any opponents of the German government’s corona measures as fascists, and organizing counter‐​protests against them.

5 Kommunistische Organisation (KO) — recently split into two factions: one which aligns with the KKE ›imperialist pyramid‹ framework and views the conflict in Ukraine as essentially and inter‐​imperialist war, and one which sees the conflict primarily in terms of NATO aggression and tends to identify the Russian Special Military Operation as legitimately defensive and perhaps even progressive. We refer here to comrades from the latter.

6 Community — the notion of a Volksgemeinschaft (alternatively translated as people’s‑, racial‑, or national‐ community) in which class divisions remained but class consciousness was superseded by a harmonious national /​racial consciousness was an essential element of Nazi ideology and propaganda.

7 German: »rechtsoffen,« a common term of abuse for anyone not petrified of contact‐​guilt with any political forces designated as right‐​wing by the government or media. It often comes with the implication that one is attempting to construct, or is perhaps amenable to being incorporated into, some sort of lateral front (see below).

8 The current governing coalition in Germany: Red for Social Democrats, Yellow for FDP (Center‐​right, liberal party), and the Greens.

9 Volksverhetzung is a concept in German criminal law, officially translated as »incitement to hatred« of national, racial, religious group or a group defined by their ethnic origins. Generally applied to Holocaust denial, but the government this year has been laying the groundwork for using it to prosecute anyone who questions the lie, fabricated by the Nazis, that the soviets and or Stalin personally manufactured famines with the delibrate intent of wiping out Ukranians as a race. It has also been used to criminalize placing the current polices of the government in their historical context and relationship with Nazism. See: https://​magma​-magazin​.su/​2​0​2​3​/​0​2​/​b​e​r​n​h​a​r​d​-​k​l​e​v​e​n​z​/​a​b​s​u​r​d​-​a​l​a​r​m​i​n​g​-​s​c​a​n​d​a​l​o​u​s​-​a​n​t​i​f​a​s​c​i​s​t​-​b​e​r​n​h​a​r​d​-​k​l​e​v​e​n​z​-​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​s​-​o​n​-​h​i​s​-​c​o​n​v​i​c​t​i​o​n​-​f​o​r​-​i​n​c​i​t​e​m​e​n​t​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​p​e​o​p​le/

10 Lateral front, or »querfront« is a common term in German politics, referring to attempts (real and alleged) to unite »leftist« and »rightist« forces, typically via some sort of nationalistic, third‐​positionist platform. It is a strategy actively pursued by a number of Neo‐​Nazi groups.

11 Christian Democratic Union, the major center‐​right party in Germany.

Image: Against War, Fascism, and Lateral Fronts ( Luxemburg‐​Liebknecht Demo Berlin 2022).

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