24 June 2014

Critique of the Gotha Programme

National Democratic Revolution, Part 1a

Critique of the Gotha Programme

Why does the Critique of the Gotha Programme come in here? What does it have to do with the NDR?

Because: The Gotha Programme was a Unity Programme. It was supposed to be the basis upon which the separate factions of the German Social Democrats were going to unite and go forward together.

The National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance must be a united front, broad alliance, popular front or unity-in-action. The one that Marx criticised in this document was founded on a false basis. It needed to be an honest programme, but it was not.

If you skip over Engels’ foreword, you will find that the actual “Critique” is only eight pages long. It is a short read but it contains a lot. Some of it is controversial, even today – for example Marx’s remarks about co-operatives (p. 9).

The person called Lassalle who Marx refers to had been the energetic leader of the politically weaker faction. By this point in time Lassalle was deceased, but his followers were still being called the “Lasalleans”.

Our South African National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance does not require the creation of a monolithic Party.

Perhaps this is one reason why we have celebrated the centenary of the ANC, without the collapse of the essential class alliance.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx, Part 1 and Part 2.


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