Part of Alliance 2004: Issue 2: September


Being A Response From Undergraduates Expelled From Academic History


Recently, a correspondence was posted onto the list-web-pages of "International Struggle Marxist-Leninist" (ISML), which was of interest.
Alliance gives a reply to this correspondence, which follows on immediately from the above exchange between GG and Gazza.

The reply concentrates on the question of Georgii Dimitrov and the Reichstag Trial.

We do not here address the other matters raised, such as that of the behaviours of the Italian section of the ISML, these have
been adequately dealt with on our web-pages (Via subject index via

One other point is raised, the claim by Gazza that the legacy of Bill Bland rests in the hands of the Communist Party Alliance (CPA).
It is not for us to deny the wish to associate their organisation with Bland's legacy - Far from it!
However we must point out that the CPA refused explictly to join with Bland and the Communist League in the formation of a
new party, rather than an alliance to create one in the future.

As to who might legitimately call themselves Bland's inheritors, this is no doubt a question for future generations and we do not need to waste
time on this.

Editors, Alliance Marxist-Leninist

Since various matters cited in the correspondence below (part One) and the Reply (Part Two), are noted as arising from prior articles, we have listed these and their web-references here.
Bland, William B                                                                An Initial Assessment of His Legacy
                                                                                                 Bland Memorial Interview with Communist League
Bland Correspondences                                                Debate Within the MLOB
                                                                                               Some Correspondences on Dimitrov
Bland Reply To a Reader On Dimitrov & Hoxha
      Reply To A Reader    
Blum, Leon                                                                          Betrayal of the Popular Front
Bulgaria, The Revolution and History                         Dimitrov 
Balkan Federation; Stalin's opposition to 

'Marxist Study Group" Birmingham - critiques        Critique of Compass 112     
Comintern and Take-over of by Revisionism            Stalin & Comintern
Comintern,                                                                           Dissolution of & Revisionist Take-Over of 
         & also see                                                                    Stalin Society
Comintern                                                                            Betrayal of the Popular Front
Communist Information Bureau                                    Established to fight revisionism 
Cominform Documents & Commentary by NS   
CPG Fight against fascism 1928-1940                          Debate Within the MLOB
Dimitrov & Subversion of United Front Tactics          United Front       
Dimitrov & Bulgaria, Revolution & History of              Dimitrov 



From GG:  Tue Aug 31, 2004: Message One: Subject:  On Georgi Dimitrov

While perusing the Alliance M-L page, I came across a 1994 article from 'Compass' which attempts, quite poorly, to slander the name and legacy of Georgi
Dimitrov. In connection with the 1933 Reichstag Trial, during which Dimitrov made Hermann Goering and the entire National Socialist regime appear foolish before
the entire world, the reader is to believe that:


Seven points are made to support this outrageous conclusion, namely:

1. Dimitrov received comparatively favorable treatment  at the hands of the Nazis.
2. Dimitrov and the other Bulgarians received a public trial, while other Communists simply disappeared. 
3. The German prosecutors asked the court to acquit the Bulgarians.
4. The defendants were in fact found not guilty.
5. Newspapers in capitalist countries supported Dimitrov's innocence.
6. The Bulgarian defendants were flown to Moscow while the acquitted German defendant was imprisoned in a concentration camp.
7. "[I]n the years that followed the Reichstag revisionism continue[d] to extol Dimitrov as a 'heroic Marxist-Leninist' whiledenouncing...Stalin."

First, when the so-called Reichstag Trial took place, German judiciary had yet to fall under the complete sway of Hitler's government. The loyalty oaths and purges of government officials which were to characterize the National Socialist regime had yet to occur. Hitler had yet to consolidate his position as Fuehrer; he did not do so until the death of Hindenburg several months later. Many non-Nazis remained in high positions within the government bureaucracy; indeed, some of these men kept their positions until the end of the regime. That most barbaric feature of National Socialist jurisprudence, "The People's Court", had yet to make its appearance.

Second, and in relation to the fifth point, the opinion of Western newspapers is frankly irrelevant to the author's thesis. Indeed, this statement weakens
the entire article, since if it were true one assumes that more than one newspaper editorial could be found to support it.

Dimitrov's relatively favorable treatment may be accounted for in the fact that he was not only a foreign citizen but a rather prominent foreign citizen as well. His arrest may well have been a kind of afterthought in the whole Reichstag affair, while the arrest of German Communists was not:

"When asked about Hitler's decision to pass the Emergency Decree on 28 February 1933 following the Reichstag fire, which was used to justify the mass arrest of German Communists, Goering confessed that he had already authorized lists 'for the destruction of the Communist Party' well before the fire, and insisted that 'they would have been arrested anyway' within a few days or 'a week later', regardless of Hitler's sudden intervention. Asked whether he had started the fire deliberately, as was then generally believed, but has since been largely discredited, he denied any responsibility with characteristic gusto:

'If I started the fire, then I would have burned it for a completely different reason, because the big congress hall was so ugly.'
Overy, Richard."Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945." [New York, 2001.] p. 150)

Rather than apply Occam's Razor, which explains the Reichstag Trial simply and without need of mysterious theories and leaps of logic, the author of this
article relies on bizarre conjecture and logical leaps worthy of an Olympic gymnast.

The Communist League's 'Dimitrov Thesis' has had no small effect on it and Alliance's international reputation, resulting in its being labeled as
'neo-Trotskyite' by some and, along with other issues, provoking the departure of the Italian Lenin Committee from ISM-L. This ahistorical piece of slander is an embarrassment that any undergraduate student of history would be ashamed of.

From Gazza to GG: Sep 3 2004. Message 2: Subject: ISML, GG and Communist League thesis on Dimitrov   

Hello Comrade,

I agree with you that the late Bill Bland's hypothesis on Dimitrov is not convincing. As the late Carl Sagan said ' Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence', something that is not provided by Bill's analysis.

When Bill died in March 2001, the Communist League effectively ceased to exist, its work being carried on in Britain by Communist Party Alliance (, and in North America by Alliance.

Now, I have one or two disagreements with the Communist League and Alliance's stance, on Dimitrov, as I said and also on the nature of Cuba; but I haven't felt the need to label CL & Alliance as 'neo-trotskyist', not have I felt the need to split on those issues.

Marxism-Leninism is a science not a sum total of dogmas, and, if the late Sir Karl Popper is right, it (science) develops through a series of conjectures and refutations. Nothing in Marxism-Leninism should be regarded as "eternal truth"; even the principles of our science have the status they have due to being continuously put to the test of practice, just as the theory of gravity is corroborated every day of the week in innumerable ways by practical activity.

Bill was very much of this opinion. If he could be shown and convinced that his hypothesis was wrong then he would not have hesitated to admit that his hypothesis was wrong and he would have drawn the necessary conclusions from it, just as a good Marxist-Lenninist does, or should do.

Therefore, to label him as a neo-Trotskyist as some people have done is just the kindergarten antics of individuals who are stuck too far up their own self importance.

As for the Lenin Committee in Italy splitting from the ISML, my reaction is - poor them!

Before certain comrades condemn the CL and Alliance and ISML, please judge them on the entire corpus of work, not on individual hypotheses that they have put forward.

Bill Bland took a stand against Khruschevite revisionism right from the very start and the vast majority of his work was spot on – why don't you take the time to study his "the Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union" and other works - then you will be better able to judge the man.

Greetings from Gazza

GG: Date:  Fri Sep 3, 2004; Message 3: Subject:  Re: ISML, GG and Communist League thesis on Dimitrov



  I agree that an individual or group should be judged on a corpus of work or activities, not merely one piece of bad work here or there. Given the
cut-and-paste style of the Dimitrov piece I cited, I assumed it was written by Bill Bland, but since it wasn't signed I didn't mention him by name. (I should
mention that while I find his writing style to be annoying -- it seems he was never introduced to the concept of footnotes --I find much of his scholarship
to be quite good.)

The 'neo-Trotskyist' label is not one which I applied, but rather was applied to Alliance and the late Bill Bland by, if I recall correctly, the journal
Revolutionary Democracy. I hardly agree with their sentiment, but it does indicate how one bad piece of scholarship/reasoning can cause far-reaching damage or
provide ammunition to those who, as you indicated, are already inclined to indulge in name-calling.


From: Gazza: Date: Sat Sep 4, 2004 Message 4: Subject:  isml and Dimitrov


Hello George,

Yes, I think you are right about those who indulge in name calling, as for writing style, well, Bill had a certain style that worked for him,
Klo has a style that works for him - those styles are not the way I work, but "to each their own" I say; I don't have any problem with it

I think that we have more pressing problems to sort out nowadays, what with the alphabet soup proliferation of parties, organisations and
groups splitting off and the splits establishing themselves, the latest example in the case of Britain being the creation of the CPGB(M-L) in July this
year from those who were expelled and resigned from Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party...It is issues like this, i.e., the fencing off of the class
conscious workers into innumerable little groups and the ways and means to overcome this - this is what is important, whether Dimitrov was a
revisionist or as I think a good marxist-leninist can only be a secondary issue at best, otherwise we will spend forever trying to reslove the less important,
secondary issues instead of getting on and solving the really important problems that the movement must overcome in order for the
cause of Marxism-Leninism to advance, in our countries.
Greetings from Gazza


CORRESPONDENCE: MORE ON GEORGII DIMITROV: Being A Response From Undergraduates Expelled From Academic History


(i) Bland’s Role in Uncovering Hidden Revisionism

Uncovering the root origin of revisionism is the single most pressing ideological task facing the world Marxist-Leninist movement today. 
If our movement is to regain the vigor and strength it once possessed; if our movement is to have legitimacy in the eyes of the class conscious workers
 and peasants it claims to the vanguard of, then we must provide a cogent and comprehensive answer to the question those self-same class conscious
workers ask:  "What went wrong?"  This is not a secondary issue, nor is it mere academic curiosity.  It is a vital problem which must be taken up for solution. 
It is a problem which strikes at the heart of the entire revolutionary experience of the twentieth century.

To take on this task means to address the core issue of the crisis of Communism:  'Why did the great achievements of the October Revolution and the
apparent spread of Socialism around the globe end, not in a triumphant victory of world revolution, but in an ignominious defeat and the restoration of
capitalism?'  This crisis cannot be rectified by catering to the vanity of some would-be "Great Leader;" nor yet by mass producing t-shirts bearing the
image of one or another past icon.  The only way the crisis of the World Communist Movement may be overcome is by applying the tools given us by the
science of Marxism-Leninism and placing the history of our movement under its relentless scientific gaze.  Only through a "ruthless criticism," as Marx
would phrase it, would the errors and mistakes of the past become clear and the path towards the future evident.  Thus, rigorous scientific objectivity must
be maintained.  No preconceived notions, no unassailable heroes, no sacred icons.  This is the only possible way forward.  It is the rational, scientific way. 
It is the Marxist-Leninist way. As Bland put it in an old dispute with Vijay Singh, the leader of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’, history makes sense.


Eschewing the formulaic simplicities inherent in the "Stalin good/Khrushchev bad/end-of-story" view that many Marxist-Leninist organizations adopted,
Bland realized an essential truth.  That is, that the spread of revisionism started while Stalin was still alive and involved many highly placed (and hitherto
respected) figures in the Soviet and Comintern leadership.  Hence Bland's insistence that the documentary truth speak for itself and that no one be above
scrutiny and critical examination.


It is to this proposition, that the solution to the crisis of the World Communist Movement lay in uncovering the roots of revisionism through a
thorough-going and meticulous examination of our history, that Comrade Bill Bland devoted his life. 


That anyone assuming such a task would encounter opposition could have been safely predicted.  These came, and come, in many forms: 
From thoughtful, comradely critiques to vicious character assassination.  Alliance Marxist-Leninist, in upholding and modestly seeking to continue
Comrade Bland's work has come in for the same.  Some of these "criticisms," such as the one that we are "Neo-Trotskyists” - are so [in plain English]
stupid as to not merit addressing, save to point out their stupidity. 

The present criticism of Bill Bland's article on Dimitrov's revisionism put forward by GG, does parrot  unquestioningly charges of  some like
‘Revolutionary Democracy’. Surprisingly it is also rather naïve in the simple acceptance of ‘facts’, for example, that the parting of the ways between the Italian
section of the ISML and the remainder of ISML hinged upon the assessment of Dimitrov.
This is especially surprising in such an accomplished lecturer to failed undergraduates, and writer of political history as GG. We have already written on these
matters in some detail and go into them no further here.


GG takes issue with Bland's conclusion that Georgi Dimitrov was a conscious, hidden-revisionist who, once placed into a position of high authority within the
Communist International, strove to steer that organization and the World Communist Movement as a whole in right-revisionist direction.  In voicing his
disagreement, GG accuses Bland of producing an "ahistorical piece of slander [that] is an embarrassment any undergraduate student of history would be
ashamed of."  While we carefully refrain from any comment on the sensibilities of college freshman, we would point out  that Bill Bland, self-taught as he was,
always displayed a rigorous concern for documentation and scholar standards, and displayed a respect for historical proofs that many university trained
'professionals' would envy. 


GG misses that the return to an unchallenged capitalist world domination, depended upon the growth of revisionism world-wide. To successfully achieve this
meant the cultivation of both conscious and unconscious agents of capitalism world-wide.

The uncovering of the path whereby revisionism grew in the USSR to the point that it could over-turn the socialist development, was very largely a unique
viewpoint developed by Bland in isolation. Nonetheless uncovering the path of such as Vosnosenksy was at that time quite novel, and required both intellectual
courage, and determination to withstand isolation and opprobrium. Since that time, many including ‘Revolutionary Democracy’, have learnt from Bland’s work
and have done some useful further economic critiques. However it must be stressed that these have only built upon the key foundations of Bland’s insights.


On what historical insights does GG pillory Bland and Alliance, as:


“'neo-Trotskyite' … (writing an - ed) ahistorical piece of slander (which – ed) is an embarrassment that any undergraduate student of history
would be ashamed of.” 
E-Mail to Stalinist GG: Aug 31, 2004  Subject:  On Georgi Dimitrov


(ii) GG’s Critique of Bland’s Criticism of Dimitrov –
The ‘Independence’ of the German Ruling Class and the Judiciary From Fascist Aims


The core of GG’s comments merit a reply. We leave aside for now, naïve assertions that prominent members of the communist pantheon, are above reproach.
We will return to his breathless admiration later, as it betokens a continued failure of the anti-revisionist movement world-wide. Here we focus on his central


It is, perhaps, worth noting that GG criticisms focus on a relatively short section of a 23 page article.  Namely, that section dealing with the Reichstag Fire of

1933 and the subsequent trial of  Dimitrov.  The remainder of the piece, examining Dimitrov's politics in depth, goes un-commented on by GG. 
GG challenges Bland's assertion that Dimitrov received favorable treatment at the hands of the Nazis. 


        GG states that:

"when the so-called Reichstag trial took place, (the) German judiciary had yet to fall under the complete sway of Hitler's government.  The loyalty
oaths and purges of government officials which were to characterize the National Socialist regime had yet to occur.  Hitler had yet to consolidate
his position as Fuehrer; he did not do so  until the death of Hindenburg several months later.  Many non-Nazis remained in high positions within
the government bureaucracy; indeed, some of these men kept their positions until the end of the regime.  That most barbaric  feature of 
National Socialist jurisprudence, "The People's Court," had yet to make it's appearance."
E-Mail to Stalinist GG: Aug 31, 2004  Subject:  On Georgi Dimitrov


Here, GG  combines a handful of truisms with a large dose of decontextualization, a touch of mistaken chronology, and a smattering of simple ignorance.
Although his approach is designed to give a semblance of “independence” to the judiciary, he enters a world of mystery, where Hitler’s accession to power
is somehow “happen-stance”. This perpetuates a bourgeois falsehood.


(a)   The Links of Fascism to the German Ruling Class


Marxists understand that State personalities are representatives of class forces.
As Marx put it:


"I paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur de rose. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are the
personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class relations and class interests.";

"We shall find that the characters who appear on the economic stage are but the personifications of the economic relations that exist
between them".
Karl Marx; ‘Capital - Volume 1”; in Preface to the 1st German Edition; Collected Works; Volume 35;p. 10; &
Chapter 2: Exchange"; Collected Works; Volume 35; p.95; Moscow; 1996.


GG ignores the fundamental fact that Hitler came to power at the head of a coalition of radical right parties whose stated purpose was the destruction
of German Communism.  GG ignores the fact that there was a large and substantial common interest between the Nazis and Nationalists-Conservatives. 
In fact, Hitler's later full consolidation of Nazi rule may be viewed as merely the final act of a faction fight within the reactionary camp.  However, the point
is that the self-same reactionary camp had many points in common. 


The economic crisis within the German state had by the early1930’s split the ruling class into two main ruling groups:
The Harzburg Front and the Bruning Front.


“During 1931 and 1932, the crucial years for the formation of the power constellation around Hitler, German industry was clearly split into two factions.
One was usually summed up under the name of the ‘export industries’, the other liked to think of itself as ‘autarchists’, those who aimed at self-sufficiency by basing the national economy on the home market. .. In reality they both had international economic struggle in mind”;
Sohn-Rethell A; “Economy and Class structure of German Fascism”; London; 1978; p. 31.

The Bruning Front, consisted of an alliance between the most advanced high technical industries led by Siemens, who initially saw their interests only in preserving a foreign linkage allowing ‘international cooperation’ and ‘conciliation’ with the victor powers:


“The really crucial objects of struggle were the great investment and construction contracts which a government in China or South America or Africa
might put out to tender for the construction of power stations, the electrifications of a railway network or for the building of electric tram systems and so on…
For comprehensive orders of this kind there existed the Siemens Building Union in which Siemens had gone into partnership with other large firms…….
Germany’s defeat in the war had dire consequences with the loss of her foreign capital assets of around 25-30 billion marks in gold. The governments
inviting tenders for such giant ‘modernisation’ projects were dependant on loans .. in London New York or Paris and sponsored by a consortium of banks. ..
After (1914 ) Germany , that is her banks and industry would have no further influence on the financing of investment contracts in China or in any other of
the ‘third world’ countries reneged in modernisation’. … under such conditions a firm like Siemens with a vital interest in the competitive struggle for the
world market required a conciliatory relationship with the victor powers……… It was precisely because of this that they released their dependence on
the path of international cooperation , and thus on Stresemann’s  policy of ‘conciliation’ with the other major powers…”
Sohn-Rethell Ibid; p. 35-37.

Gustav Streseman was the German Foreign Minister who strived to fulfill the full reparations demanded under the Versailles Plan, as a point of:

“national honour”.
John Weitz; Hitler’s Banker; New York; p. 97.

It was the iron and steel conglomerates which signaled a break from Streseman’s ‘conciliationism’ and recrudescence of German imperialism, when they split away from the Deutsches Volkspartei in 1929 [Sohn-Rethel; Ibid; p. 17]. They first tried to engineer a new imperialism by forming a German-Austrian Customs Union, but the International Court of the Hague ruled this unacceptable in September 1931, as:

 ”incompatible with the post war system”;
Sohn-Rethel; Ibid; p. 17.  

They re-grouped under the name of an association called the ‘Langnam-Verein’ – in English the Association with the Long Name. [It had been once the Verein zur Wharung der gemeinsamen wirtschaftlichen Interessen in Reheinland und Westfalen’ or the Association for the Protection of the Common Economic Interests in the Rhinelands & Westphalia” [Sohn-Rethell Ibid p. 18].


The Harzburg Front was composed largely of the iron and steel magnates, but in close alliance with the banking finance capitalists, led by the former head of the Reich Bank, Hjalamar Schacht. This section was most concerned to prevent further financial inflation and erosion of its own profits. This had come on the heels of the international monetary crises of the late 1920’s, and been latterly exacerbated by the Bank of England’s departure from the gold standard. It was largely Schacht who engineered the anti-inflation policy of the rentenemark – a new currency that was exchanged for the inflated mark. As Scahcht put it, he had:


“Tried to make German money scarce and valuable”.
Cited Weitz; Ibid; p. 71.


The Harzburg Front quickly came into support of Hitler:


“The Harzburg Front representatives of big business such as Thyssen and Flick [the main financiers of the Steel Trust- Editor], Albert Volger, Schact, Kirdorf
and Borsig [owner of a heavy locomotive & heavy machinery company-Editor ]. And it is not merely incidental to the political climate that among them were
the principal financiers of Hitler. In fact seen symptomatically, the financing of Hitler from this source indicates very precisely the deeper economic
forces whose compulsive dynamic gave the Harzburg Front its fascist perspective… (it) coincided with the hard core within the modern forces of production,
which in their qualitative development towards large-scale combine and flow methods was preeminently suited to undermine the finance capitalist network
of world economy. It was due to this economic dynamic embodied in the Steel Trust and other members of the Düsseldorf ‘Stahlhof’ that the Harzburg Front
was pitted against the Bruinng camp with an alternative which transcended the market standards of a capitalist economy… the Krupp concern.. owed its
special status to a unique vertical concentration of its plant extending form a base in mining and heavy industry right up to large-scale manufacturing production.. what made the firm so supremely dominant in the (economic) crisis was above all, its vast economic independence… ”;
Sohn-Rethel. Ibid; p. 45; p. 47.


Even by August 29 1932, Schacht had already written to Hitler:

“Do not put forward any detailed economic program.. Even if you occasionally find me ‘within the fortress’, you can always count one me as
your reliable helper”. 
Weitz; Ibid; p. 127.


On February 25th 1933, Goering held a meeting with members of the Harzburg Group, who then under Shacht’s invocation of:


 “All right gentlemen. Now to the cash register!”

Weitz; Ibid; p. 139


promptly pledged 3 million marks to finance Hitler’s re-election, following his dissolution of  the Reichstag on March 5th 1933


Of course this division in the ranks of the ruling class was only temporary. The vision of an internal safe economic market that would be built by the relation of
 a Europe under German sway was adequate to assuage either minor moral scruples about the methods of the Nazis, or minor economic differences. But
this was not Hitler’s idea. Already Schacht had confronted the Allies from the First World War, at the Young Conference to discuss German reparations,
over the Polish Corridor:

“He suddenly confronted the conference with a new explosive memorandum containing demands that were bound to be unacceptable to the Allied
delegates. The memorandum claimed that Germany could no meet the payments outlined earlier in Paris, unless its colonies were restored, because
German industry needed colonial raw materials to produce good s for export. An even more startling demand involved the important East Prussian
area that had been taken from Germany by the Versailles Treaty and made into landlocked Poland’s passage to the Baltic Sea. This so-called
Polish Corridor separated Germany from its East Prussian area. According to Schacht it would have to be restored to Germany so that needed
agricultural products could once more flow directly from East Germany into the country”;
Weitz; Ibid; p. 99.


And the Langnam-Verein had already re-grouped after their earlier disappointment. In 1932 they had proposed a policy that united the split industrial ruling
class. It proposed an alliance with the remnants of the Junker landed aristocracy, a drive East:


“With cartelization programme a policy had been found which could provide the various imperialist groups with a common basis. Even if the antagonism
between industry and agriculture had not been fully bridged, it has at least accessible to manipulation. The programme for Central Europe had taken
on such a tangible form that now even the large secondary manufacturing and export firms could begin to align themselves with heavy industry ….
Using agrarian cartelization… trade policies could now be introduced in East and South East Europe, in fact right across the continent, by which
other countries could now become the prime objects for exploitation by German monopoly capital since Germany could offer to import a large part
of their excess diary products and at alluring prices”.
Sohn-Rethel Ibid; p. 58.


These plans were blocked by British and French capital. However they had arisen.    What was needed to effect them became ever clearer, it was “brute force” (Sohn-Rethell Ibid; p.61). As shown above, the most rapacious sections of the German ruling class had already arrived at this conclusion and were greasing
 Hitler’s path to power.


GG’s narrative omits to place adequate attention to this.


True, many non-Nazis remained in public life.  Indeed, there are some extreme examples that GG neglects to point out, such as Heinrich Muller, a
professional police office who, under the Weimar Republic headed the Berlin Police Department's "Political Desk."  Not only was Muller, initially not a
Nazi, he often rounded up Nazis.  Muller would, with Hitler and Himmler's blessing, later become head of the Gestapo.  Muller's career is illuminating,
and helps defeat GG's assertion. It under-scores the truth that many non-Nazis came to loyally serve the Nazi regime – even in its most bestial aspects
– out of simple careerist motives. 


       (b) The German judiciary


With respect to the German judiciary, even this type of self-interested sail trimming was unnecessary.  The Germany judiciary was and had been, heavily
 biased towards the far right for years.  As a recent study points out:


"After years, indeed decades, of treating Social-Democratic and left-liberal critics of the Kaiser's government as criminals, judges were unwilling to
readjust their attitudes when the political situation changed.  Their loyalty was given, not to the new Republic, but to the same abstract ideals of the
Reich which their counterparts in the officer corps continued to serve; an ideal built largely on memories of the authoritarian system of the Bismarckian
Reich.  Inevitably, perhaps, in the numerous political trials which arose from the deep political conflicts of the Weimar years, they sided overwhelmingly
with those right-wing offenders who claimed also to be acting in the name of this ideal, and cheered on the prosecution of  those on the left who did not.

"In the mid-1920s the left-wing statistician Emil Julius Gumbel published figures showing that 22 political murders committed by left-wing offenders
 from late 1919 to mid-1922 led to 38 convictions, including 10 executions and prison sentences averaging 15 years apiece.  By contrast, the 354
political murders committed by right-wing offenders in the same period led to 24 convictions, no executions at all, and prison sentences averaging
a mere 4 months apiece.; 23 right-wing murderers who confessed to their crimes were actually acquitted by the courts. . .  The right-wing and
anti-Republican bias of the judiciary was shared by state prosecutors as well.  In considering what charges to bring against right-wing offenders,
in dealing with pleas, in examining witnesses, even in framing their opening and closing speeches, prosecutors routinely treated nationalist beliefs
and intentions as mitigating factors."
Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich. Penguin: New York, 2004, pp. 135-38.


That these men were not card-carrying pin-wearing Nazis is irrelevant.  They shared the Nazis' reactionary world view and served fascism loyally.


It is quite correct that the process of fascist take-over was not necessarily complete as soon as Hitler acceded to power as Chancellor in  January 30 1933,
sworn in by President von Hindenburg.


Dimitrov was taken into custody 6 days after the arrest of Ernst Thaelmann – on March 9 1933. Thaelmann was, as the Official Bulgarian revisionist
biography of Dimitrov states:


“The true and tried leader of the German Communist Party”;

Hadjinikolov V, Elzar, Michev D, Panayotov L, Radenkova P.

“Georgii Dimitrov 1882-1949’; Sofia Press; nd; p. 115.


Yet by February 1933, already there had been drastic changes in the legal climate. An acknowledged historian (not an undergraduate by the by – but a
full professor) of the communist resistance to Hitler, Allan Merson, writes in  “Communist Resistance in Nazi Germany”; London; 1985, the following:


“The Courts of Law”: the political police had acquired, under the presidential emergency decrees of 4 and 28 February 1933, the power of
holding political opponents in so-called 'protective custody' (later, and more accurately, termed 'preventive detention') without charge or trial
for an indefinite period of time. They made extensive use of this power from that time onwards, holding in concentration camps thousands of
Communists who had been arrested after the Reichstag Fire but could not plausibly be charged with breaking any law then in force. After the
first disorderly months, however, the Gestapo usually preferred, or was expected, to bring arrested political opponents before the courts for trial.
Under laws hitherto in force, a suspect arrested by the police could not be held in custody for longer than twenty-four hours unless an examining
magistrate issued a warrant and undertook a preliminary enquiry, which itself must culminate within a definite time in a decision either to drop the
case for lack of prima facie evidence or to proceed on a specific charge to a formal judicial enquiry. This procedure was drastically modified by
successive changes after February 1933. Police arrest ceased to be limited to twenty-four hours, and the preliminary judicial investigation was
soon dispensed with, an indictment now being drawn up by the state prosecutor, largely on the basis of reports, depositions and other material
supplied by the police, without prior judicial sifting. The choice of charge to be brought, and therefore, of the court before which the accused would
be tried, rested with the State Prosecutor's branch. An almost infinitely extendable range of political offences involving violence or instigation to
violence, infringement of government decrees, or even 'malicious criticism'  of the government, could be made the subject of charges under the
Reichstag Fire decree of 28 February 1933 and the 'malicious opposition' (Heimtucke) decree of 21 March 1933. Such charges would be
brought before one of the Special Courts which had been set up by another emergency decree of 21 March specifically to try political offences
by a summary procedure.”
Merson A; “Communist Resistance in Nazi Germany”; London; 1985; p. 55-56.

While these changes took time, the courts on occasion were slow in carrying out the Nazi objectives at times. But “the courts were soon brought into line”
well before the Peoples’ Courts were struck in April 1934

“Although the law itself was made increasingly elastic, and although the standard of proof was progressively lowered by changes in court procedure,
it was still necessary, in 1933-35, for judges to adduce some grounds for finding accused persons guilty of an infringement of the law. At first sight
 the simplest way of dealing with Communist Party activities might seem to have been to apply the law of 14 July 1933, which had forbidden the
formation or continuation of any political party other than the National Socialist Party, on pain of up to three years hard labour, and, indeed, this
was occasionally used. ….
The state prosecutors therefore chose in most cases to try to persuade the judges that membership of the Communist Party had been treasonable
before 14 July 1933. This doctrine was accepted by the courts and embodied in judgments which stand today as monuments of tortuous and
dishonest reasoning. ….
In course of time the judges increasingly adopted the simple doctrine that the Communist Party could be taken, without need of proof, to have
become illegal at the time of the 'transfer of power' of 30 January 1933. …. In the assessment of sentences, too, legal considerations were
increasingly outweighed by political arguments. …..                                              
Old liberal standards of fairness and impartiality in the conduct of the proceedings and the assessment of evidence - never very conspicuous
in political trials - were now still further debased, though not without some protests from a tiny minority of liberal lawyers. …..
While it is true that in the early years the Gestapo was sometimes irritated by the lingering scruples of judges and their concern with legal
technicalities, the courts were soon brought into line…”
Merson Ibid; pp 56-59.

In any case, the court treatment meted out to Dimitrov, from the start of the trial in September 1933,  was done so not by any judges that had any
‘lingering’ bourgeois misconceptions of judicial fairness. If the reports of the Dimitrov trial given in his official biography (Ibid; pp 114-144) are read,
it will be seen that Dimitrov was faced by an examining magistrate Vogt who:

“was an anti-communist”;
Hadjinikolov V et al: Ibid;  p118;

and a Trial Court President, Dr Buenger, who was manifestly hostile to him according to the Official Bulgarian account.

Yet, despite numerous demonstrations of the line that Dimitrov would put in public, he was given repeated stages to put his line, with:

“Flood-lights, microphones, phonograph recordings, film cameras… foreign correspondents.. given free access to the trial”.
Hadjinikolov V et al: Ibid;  p124

We contend that this was neither stupidity on the parts of the judges and state prosecutors, nor was it an accident. After all:

“Nazi legislation provided for extremely summary trial of political offenders, particularly by the Special Courts… applied mainly to individual actions.”
Merson ibid; p. 59.


GG goes on to say that: 


“Dimitrov's relatively favorable treatment may be accounted for in the fact that he was not only a foreign citizen but a rather prominent foreign citizen
as well. His arrest may well have been a kind of afterthought in the whole Reichstag affair, while the arrest of German Communists was not”
Email; Ibid.

To buttress this he quotes Goering’s speech displaying prior intent to pin blame for the Reichstag Fire on German communists (Citing R.Overy).   

However, that the Nazis had no great respect for foreign citizens is evidenced by their treatment of Poles forcibly marched to the Polish border and
long standing foreign residents being summarily deported.  A foreign passport served not as protection against the Brown Shirts, but rather drew their
violent attention.  Moreover, why would they have any reason to respect this particular foreign citizen?  It's not as though Tsar Boris' pro-German
government in Sofia would have raised a hue-and-cry over the treatment metted out to Bulgarian 'communist.' 


Also, Dimitrov was a ranking figure in the Comintern, but that hardly made him a celebrity.  In fact, he was unknown to the German public as whole. 
Which raises the question that, if the Reichstag Trial was to have been a show trial to discredit the KPD in the eyes of the German public, why choose
three unknown foreign communists (and a mentally defective Dutch anarchist) to be the 'stars' of the show?  It would have been easy enough for the Nazis
to have pulled Ernst Thaelmann or any of a number of very well-known German Communist political, intellectual and cultural figures from out of detention –
perhaps after having secured a confession through torture – and put them on trial.  This would have made a lot more sense from a propagandistic point of
view.  Again, why these three specifically? 


(iii) A Footnote


We notice that GG urges footnotes upon undergraduate writers.


In an effort to comply, we must ask – purely as a footnote – since he himself does not raise the matters – what explains the strange other facts on Dimitrov? These have been included in our various articles.


For example, the traitorous policy of the United Front applied in France?

For example the omission of Dimitrov from the work of the Communist Information Bureau?

For example his curious reluctance to move beyond the first stage of the revolution in Bulgaria?

Finally, a matter we have not raised before – what role did he have in the adoption of the ultra-left strategy of the KPD that in effect, destroyed the opposition to the Nazi rise to power, that disrupted a potential meaningful United Front in Germany?

After all, he was known to have a marked ultra-leftist approach in Bulgaria, and he was present in Germany in a leading capacity for the West European Bureau of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (WEB):

“Which had been set up to promote closer relations between the Comintern and its West European sections. Dimitrov was made a member of the WEB; in April 1929 he became its chief executive. He held this responsible post until the beginning of 1933. In the course of these four years he engaged in wide range of activities.. under the assumed names of Dr Schaafsma and Dr Rudolph Hediger”.
Hadjinikolov V: Ibid; p. 107.


To Conclude

Regrettably, we must return to GG his compliments, and state that we find his rebuttal weak – especially given the very high standards that he insists upon.
It is necessary to re-state, that we have asked for factual rebuttals on these related matters and thus far have not received any. We would be very glad
to see GG’s, and if we are proven wrong we will be the first to state a firm self-criticism.

Nonetheless, we ask for a proper critique rather than righteous indignation.


Righteous indignation at leveling accusations against a well-known and beloved figure in the Communist world, is a noble sentiment.


But it would be better placed if it were coupled with a post-graduate – nay a professorial – full and appropriate analysis, of why the charges
are “false” and “slander”.

Editors For Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America)