MIA: History: ETOL: Documents: FI: 1938-1949: World War II: Emergency Conference: 1940
Emergency Conference Of The Fourth International
Organizational Report Of The International Communists Of Germany (IKD)
Adopted by the Emergency Conference of the Fourth International
May 19-26, 1940
The outbreak of the war made more difficult the close collaboration of the groups as well as the National Committee members of the IKD [International Communists of Germany], who took refuge in several different countries. Reorganization was necessary. The administration and organizational direction was transferred to New York. The following report is intended to give information regarding the relations with the different groups and their position on the American faction fight which has made necessary this extraordinary conference.
All of the twenty comrades in France have been interned. Among them is NC member J. He has expressed himself against the position of Shachtman.
The group in Antwerp, Belgium, has until very recently functioned especially well. In its hands were entrusted the administration and production of Unser Won, but this responsibility had to be given up after the arrest of H. They have adopted a majority resolution as against the Held (Oslo) resolution with which they are acquainted. Other comrades in Belgium and Holland are in close contact with the Antwerp group. They are fifteen comrades all told.
The London group previously counted four people, but has lately reported a recruitment of a whole batch of new young friends. Comrade M., who corresponds with us in the name of this group, has declared himself against the American minority.
The Scandinavian groups in Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc. have been in close contact with Oslo. NC member H. is at present safe. The Oslo group is the only one in the IKD which, although retaining the position of unconditional defense of the USSR, adopted a position on the Finnish-Russian war to some extent comparable with the position of Shachtman. At the game time Held, in correspondence, has energetically opposed any split in the SWP because of these differences and is “for unity with the Cannon faction."
There are furthermore groups in Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico. Only the last mentioned has declared itself on the American factional struggle, adopting a position along the lines of the majority. Our comrades in Switzerland work together with the Swiss section there.
In New York, the group has recruited a number of young friends with whom a systematic activity in other emigrant groups has been initiated. The majority of this group is for the position of the American majority.
The publication of Unser Won as a bimonthly organ is assured. uw; as well as the published pamphlet of H. David on the war, has greatly increased our influence in America. The Nazi victories in Czechoslovakia and Poland, Scandinavia and in the present war in Belgium and Holland, as well as the acute censorship in France and in the English colonies, have naturally curtailed the European circulation of Unser Wort considerably, but by no means prevented the paper from reaching into those countries.
We hope that our friends in the countries occupied by the Nazis will be able to overcome the present difficult situation. It is to be regretted that the International Labor Aid has not shown the necessary understanding and the required energy to help our comrades, who are all tested militants, in avoiding this dangerous situation. 189
At the time of the seizure of power by fascism, the German section had 1,000 members. Only 50 of them emigrated. In Germany itself there was at first close contact among the groups themselves as well as with the leadership abroad. Unser Wort had a comparatively broad circulation despite conditions of illegality. For several years now, however, regular connections with our comrades there as well as among the groups themselves have been disrupted. It must be assumed that half of the membership has withdrawn. At least 150 are under arrest.
From the others we have received, up to the time of the outbreak of the war, information that gave evidence that they are far from giving up the struggle, and that they are preparing themselves for the coming upsurge.
We have even heard from a comrade that at his place of work he has organized several former KPD (Stalinist) members into a group. It is to be assumed that other comrades have found simithr pe,nthpt
Herewith is an interesting excerpt from a letter which we received last month from a member of the IKD:
“Recently I received a rather lengthy report from my home in the Rhineland. According to this report feeling in all layers of the population is extremely depressing. The war of nerves seems to get on the nerves of the Germans themselves more and more. Here’s an extraordinarily interesting symptom the churches, Protestant as well as Catholic, have such overflow crowds every Sunday that many are turned away, whereas the official Nazi meetings and affairs are attended rather sparsely.
“Through a woman comrade in S., who has just got through serving three years imprisonment, we have once again established connections with a number of our comrades in the prisons, above all in X. and Y. Our friends remain, as before, firmly with us and have even won new friends in the prisons.”
Last updated on 12.5.2005