Communist condemn the Ebert government (1920)

The following response to the Kapp putsch was written by American communist leader Louis Fraina and published on March 28th 1920. In his essay, Fraina condemns the Ebert government for failing to make a stronger stand against the Kapp rebels:

“The Ebert-Noske-Bauer government, shorn of Noske and Bauer, is again in power. The streets are still a mass of barbed-wire entanglements erected by the counter-revolutionary troops against the government troops, armed with rifles, bayonets and hand-grenades, patrol the streets prepared to shoot down the workers (scores have already been shot) – the identical troops that did not fire a shot in defence of the city against the counter-revolutionary invasion of Luttwitz-Kapp.

The old apathy is again dominant in the streets of Berlin – that cold, hopeless apathy which immediately impresses the observer in Germany. In the ‘high life’ districts… the swirl of frightful gaiety again rushes on, while in the proletarian districts, there is sullen resentment, tempered by partial anticipations of a new struggle…

These are the inescapable facts of the situation. The Ebert government is in power but the military coup d’etat has partially conquered since it has compelled the government to compromise and move to the right. The government is withdrawing its concessions, or rather its promises of concessions to the masses… the government is compelled to rely more than ever on military forces while the Cabinet is being reconstructed according to the policy of the Right and not according to the demands of the Left…

There was no power of resistance in the government – no resistance in democracy and the parliamentary regime. Aggressive and relentless against the proletarian revolution, the government was weaker than a woman’s tears against the counter-revolution…

A revolutionary government would have answered the treat of von Luttwitz to march on Berlin by mobilising the armed proletariat and by the general arrest of reactionaries [but] the government chose to retreat and compromise…

Democracy and the parliamentary regime, acclaimed as the final symbols of the revolution and the means to socialism, broke in pieces. Democracy? It was in the persons of the government fleeing to Dresden in an automobile, and their issuing proclamations about law and order, right and the constitution, at a moment when the issue was power against power and might against might.  The Parliament and the National Assembly? It was dispersed [like] chaff before the wind by the bayonets of the Luttwitz troops.”