August 18, 2004: A Significant Change of Mood Among the Broad Masses

Interview with Stefan Engel, Chairman of the MLPD, August 18, 2004 (Rote Fahne, No. 34, 2004)

stefan-engel.jpgWe are currently seeing a fast growing wave of Monday demonstrations which the government has yet been unable to cope with. What do we have to get prepared for?

Three weeks ago, the Monday demonstrations started as a new mass movement against the government. One of its characteristics is that it is growing fast. At the first Monday demonstrations three weeks ago, not yet ten activities with a few thousand participants took place. Two weeks ago, real mass demonstrations started in some of the East German federal states: with 10,000 in Magdeburg, 1,200 in Dessau. Starting from these mass demonstrations, a strongly rising nationwide movement developed last week, on August 9. All in all, 58,000 people went to the streets in 42 cities. This week, on August 16, as far as we know, 117 Monday demonstrations and rallies took place; according to incomplete reports, there was an estimated number of 170,000 people participating in them.

The fast rising numbers of activities and participants indicate a deep-reaching change occurring in the consciousness of the broad masses. Individual anger changes into joint militant action. Increasingly, political mass demonstrations are the main feature and indicate an end of the relative calm in the class struggle. It must be expected that these mass demonstrations will become a political movement of millions of people.

What is also specific about these Monday demonstrations under the slogan "We are the people!" is that they are not organized by big organizations like trade unions, churches and other big social groups but come directly from within the people. More and more people are no longer willing to accept the government's politics and go over to actively fight the government.

The clear direction of thrust against the Schroeder/Fischer government increasingly combines with the slogan that this government must resign – together with its Hartz IV laws and the entire Agenda 2010. Interestingly, the bourgeois opposition cannot profit from this movement, because it, too, voted for Hartz IV. Therefore, the entire bourgeois party landscape is under attack by the demonstrations. Due to its governmental policy in Mecklenburg/West Pomerania and Berlin, die PDS, too, comes under the criticism of broad sectors of the demonstrators.

Last week, the government attempted to take the sting out of the demonstrations by making minor concessions. This was utterly frustrated. Obviously, those in power have not yet understood the fundamental character this movement has adopted.

What is also new about these mass demonstrations is that the MLPD is firmly rooted in them and that it even takes a leading and organizing role in many places.

This will also be the reason for the fact that the national press, TV and radio must increasingly deal with the MLPD, its representatives, and alliances in which the MLPD is working.

Of course. Anyone who followed up the national media reports about August 16 could see the lively participation, the constructive influence and attractive role of the MLPD and its representatives. No channel could ignore it – and open-minded and objective reporters did not even want to! Obviously, those in rule have the opinion that the importance of the MLPD is increasing and that they can no longer continue their policy of relative isolation against the MLPD by way of keeping quiet about it in the media. Thus, step by step, they go over to deal with the MLPD, starting at the local level. Of course, they do not intend to pursue objective reports but strengthen their attempts at discriminating the MLPD and issue warnings against it in order to continue the policy of relative isolation in that way. Thus, we also observe an increase of slander against the MLPD in the media, presenting the Monday demonstrations as creations of the MLPD or vaguely warning against it. In part, these warnings are issued by reformist trade-union leaders or ATTAC functionaries, who play a very ignominious, sometimes even splittist role in many places. In Berlin, the splitters group around Halbauer, Kimmerle, ATTAC and PDS, notorious since November 1, 2003, even called for a parallel demonstration which, in the absence of participants, had to be cancelled. To date, these people have not succeeded in crowding the MLPD out of the alliances in any way or even in getting any significant influence on the demonstrations. Indeed, it goes without saying that the MLPD belongs to the main actors and organizers of the Monday actions on the national level. That might be a thorn in the flesh of some, especially in the trade unions or in ATTAC or the PDS, too, but mere slander will not be able to change the fact. People are in the very process of forming their own ideas about policy, detaching themselves from years of manipulation, and that is what they will do in relation to the MLPD, too.

This means that close cooperation between the militant activities of the masses and the MLPD has recently increased strongly.

How can this sudden upswing of mass demonstrations be explained?

There are several factors playing a role here. Certainly, the direct causes were the notorious 16-page questionnaire which must be answered by the future recipients of "unemployment benefit II" and that more and more scandalous details became known about the contents of Hartz IV. One of the politically most important factors definitely was the company-wide workers' struggles at DaimlerChrysler and Siemens. They were directed against the introduction of the 40-hour workweek and extortion in the form of threats to relocate production. Despite massive pressure and propaganda in the media, those in power did not succeed in keeping the workers away from struggle or even in defeating them. On the contrary, at DaimlerChrysler, for instance, we see how a fierce attack against the workforce in Sindelfingen was rejected by the workforce of almost all the other Daimler locations in Germany at a militant day of action. In order to prevent an unlimited mass strike of Daimler workers covering all areas, the DaimlerChrysler management had to give up its plans of introducing the regular 40-hour workweek. Now it took several measures to save 500 million Euros, but by distributing these measures over several years and larger sectors of the workforce, their effects are not as dramatic as originally intended. With this, the intention of one of the most powerful supermonopolies of the world to break collective agreements has been foiled by the active resistance of the fighting workers. While the employers' associations, the bourgeois parties and the rightist trade-union leadership, too, in tendency always directed the workers to think in terms of preserving local industry locations and competing between the different locations, in these struggles there developed a mood to look beyond the individual factory, beyond the individual corporation, beyond the individual industry, even beyond borders. It is the mood of a developing class consciousness which has asserted itself against the maneuvers of division and competition and in the end proved stronger. Now those in power find themselves confronted with a stabilization and development of class consciousness. The ground for the transition to the working-class offensive is maturing.

It is striking that the people, in spite of slight tendencies of economic recovery, don't take a liking to the propaganda of the media, the government and the bourgeois "economic experts" about an alleged economic upswing.

This is correct. Back in 1993, in connection with the struggle in Bischofferode, we still saw how a developed mass movement waned because of an economic recovery. A real setback of class consciousness occurred. Today, reports on an "oncoming upswing" don't tempt anybody anymore. The more so as, parallel to the recovery, profits are exploding, but unemployment reaches new record heights and the economic situation of the broad masses deteriorates drastically.

Also, the process of the relative recovery of world economy moves on a relatively low level. To date, industrial production has not yet reached the pre-crisis level, neither in the USA nor in Germany nor Japan. The German gross domestic product, it is true, has increased again since the fourth quarter of 2004, with a slight tendency to rise. But it is completely dependent on export which, in June 2003, was about 10 percent above the same period of the previous year. Meanwhile, growth rates clearly drop off again in the USA, Japan and some EU states, and the increased oil prices, too, will take a heavy toll. There are many reasons to believe that a tendency towards economic stagnation is emergent again.

Obviously, Hartz IV is intended to become the big drumbeat of how unemployment can be overcome.

Hartz IV will fail fundamentally, because the bourgeois economists start from completely wrong assumptions. According to them, unemployment has increased mainly because wage costs are so high in international comparison. They overlook the fact that increasing mass unemployment and underemployment are international phenomena, irrespective of the wage level of the individual country. The main reason of unemployment is a drastically increasing exploitation of the workers in the factories. Thus, in German factories labor productivity per worker rose by 111.8 percent in the last 13 years whereas, at the same time, the gross domestic product in Germany increased by 40.8 percent. The outcome of this contradiction is the destruction of 2.5 million industrial jobs in Germany alone. Within a short time, the monopolies want to boost exploitation by 25 percent through lengthening working hours without wage compensation, wage reduction, etc. The conceptions of those in rule even intensify this contradiction and will rather increase than reduce mass unemployment and underemployment. According to calculations of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung wissenschaftlicher Studien zur Arbeiterbewegung (Society for the Promotion of Scientific Studies on the Working-Class Movement), the destruction of more than 440,000 jobs was announced in the first half of 2004, while, in the first half of 2003, such announcements were made for less than half of this. It is the effect of an international structural crisis on the basis of the reorganization of international production. All this will further intensify the political instability.

Therefore, the only effective measure to lastingly reduce unemployment is the redistribution of work between unemployed and employed people. This is why the demand for gaining the 30-hour workweek with full wage compensation is one of the central tasks of the working-class movement in the class struggle. Of course, the redistribution of work cannot be done at the expense of the workers and the unemployed, but must be carried out by way of full compensation of wages. Due to increased labor productivity, the workers have long since obtained the costs of such a cut in working hours many times over. It is only right and proper that the fruit of this increase of labor productivity is applied not to raise maximum profits but to reduce unemployment. This, however, can be gained through fierce class struggle only.

The media give the impression that the Monday demonstrations are all just  based on a big misunderstanding. Supposedly, people are just badly informed.

Exactly the opposite is the case. If you carefully analyze the participants’ own slogans and their contributions to the rallies, you can recognize a very differentiated understanding and exact knowledge of the entire scope of the attack upon the living conditions of the broad masses.

Firstly, Hartz IV means that the employers are being taken out of their responsibility  for social insurance even further in the future. By setting an upper limit for unemployment insurance, the employers have the guarantee that they need not expect any further expenses  in spite of growing mass unemployment. The problem of the lack of money for social funding will then be shifted to the tax payers and directly to the unemployed and to the recipients of public welfare. The abolition of reduced-rate unemployment benefit and the reduction of the benefits, practically to the level of public welfare, amount to a dramatic decline in incomes for millions of the long-term unemployed and their families.

Secondly, what is new about Hartz IV is that people are forced to accept every job possible, regardless of how much they are paid. That signifies the introduction of low wages prescribed by the state. By law, these can lie up to 30 percent below the wage level which is common in an area. This will result in earners of union wage rates being replaced with low-wage earners. The result will be a general decline in the wage level.  This is accompanied by the introduction of special economic zones as known in the developing countries. There, without trade-union and social rights, exploitation is brought to a head.

Furthermore, the decline of the wage level will lower pension payments and create more funding gaps in the social insurance funds. That means that Hartz IV does not only affect the unemployed, but also the workers, the ill and needy, the pensioners, the youth and children, in short - the broad masses of the population. That is also a reason for the broad participation in the Monday actions.

How do people react to the massive counter-propaganda in the media and by the bourgeois politicians?

If bourgeois parliamentarianism and the bourgeois manipulation of public opinion were still functioning smoothly, that would certainly have its effects. The current information campaign is actually a disinformation campaign intended to prevent a struggle and to make the struggle against Hartz IV seem ridiculous and pointless. We are just experiencing how the more the Monday demonstrations are being opposed, verbally attacked and discriminated, the greater is the anger, the greater is the participation in the demonstrations and in militant actions. Clement called the demonstrators ”outrageous” for using the method of the Monday demonstrations against the Federal Government. His warnings about so-called pied pipers (”rat catchers”) angered people especially, because that means denouncing all demonstrators as rats when they are making use of their democratic right to assemble and their right of free speech.

We are going to experience how the bourgeois manipulation of public opinion in the media is going to be seen through more and more.  It is no coincidence that at the ”open microphone” at the Monday demonstration in Gelsenkirchen, five contributions were held dealing with the fact that the local press gave no information of any kind on when and where this demonstration was taking place in Gelsenkirchen. Anger was directed especially against the ”independent” press which actually serves to protect the bourgeois  parties and government and tries to depict the demonstrators as outsiders and idiots.

In the meantime, such a mood has matured that this kind of treatment only leads people to turn away from bourgeois propaganda more and more and find the way to their own opinions, to their own class interests. That is of very great significance, not only for the Monday demonstrations, but also for the entire future development of class consciousness in this country.

What perspective do the Monday demonstrations have?

This Monday movement must first develop into a movement encompassing millions of people. Of course, this has to develop primarily on a local level. Only on such a basis should centralized actions like a March on Berlin take place in which not only 100 000 people take part, as on 1 November 2003, but millions of people. This must be accompanied by strikes and blockades, as we could learn in Argentina. All of that can shake the government and lead to Hartz really falling. But we cannot presume that Hartz will fall without the government having to resign. For the development of class consciousness and the struggle of the masses, it is of utmost significance that the government is actually forced to resign. That  would restrict any other government’s leeway from the very beginning.

What significance do the coming elections have for the movement?

Despite the anger over the bourgeois parties, we cannot assume that bourgeois parliamentarianism is already completely worn out. It is therefore very sensible to participate in electoral activities, for example on a municipal level, in order to use the election campaign and the election as a rallying center of the militant opposition. The MLPD is therefore participating in about 30 to 40 electoral alliances in various cities in Germany in order to support this process. It will also participate again in the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt in 2006. We do not aim so much at getting seats in parliament, but at the emergence of new organizational forms in which the movement ”The Country Needs New Politicians” can find expression. It is very possible that the electoral alliances of individuals in which members of the MLPD also work will become a real alternative for a growing number of voters in North Rhine-Westphalia. For us, this will be a relative barometer for the mood of the voters. In state monopoly capitalism elections never can mean more anyway. We should never forget this!

The SPD is evidently at an historical low. In some federal states, for example in Brandenburg or in Saxony, their decline seems to be continuing.

The detachment of the working class from social democracy is of utmost significance for the ability of the broad masses to become receptive to the arguments and influence of the MLPD and for the development of a revolutionary mood. Since the failure of the ”Alliance for Jobs”, the number of militant workers rejecting reformist class collaboration has grown significantly. In the company-wide strikes at Siemens and DaimlerChrysler this found a temporary climax. The loss of the social-democratic mass base in the working class is a great problem for those in rule. It is therefore not unwelcome for them that a so-called electoral alternative, a ”Left-Wing Party”, runs for election. This can pick up the dissatisfied social-democratic voters from the left and confine them within the framework of reformist illusions. On the other hand, the nomination of such a reformist Left-Wing Party would undermine the role of the SPD as the social basis of the dictatorship of the monopolies in the working class for decades. How can that ever be undone? More and more, the PDS is also following in the wake of the reformists, but to date it is hardly in a position to take over the role the SPD has played until now. It remains a predominantly East German phenomenon with little response in the working class. This is the time of mass debate on the uselessness of reformism and revisionism, a debate which is the basis for enlarging the mass influence of the MLPD.

At the 7th Party Congress of the MLPD in the spring of 2004, you predicted the inexorable decline of the PDS. At the current time, it actually seems to be gaining in elections instead. Was the MLPD wrong?

With 6.1 percent of the votes in the European elections, the PDS gained a bit more than 2 percent, compared with the national elections in 2002. But in absolute figures their votes remained about the same. Wherever the PDS can realize its push to take over responsibility for governing, it is also responsible for a policy of dismantling social rights. This experience led 18.7 percent of the former PDS voters in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to turn their backs on the party in great numbers. At our party congress I spoke of the ”erosion of the mass base” of the PDS. We have nothing to take back in this point. This is confirmed by a continuous loss in membership for the PDS, with a further loss of 15 percent since the year 2000. The PDS lost the most members in West Germany, and I don’t see any reason to believe that anything has changed. At the most, more people will vote for the PDS for tactical reasons in order to oppose the bourgeois parties.

The PDS is now being built up by the media into the ”organizers of the Monday demonstrations” – but that is not true! As a rule, the PDS is not among the organizers, although many PDS sympathizers are participating in the activities.

Those in rule need a political instrument to take the explosive political power out of the growing mass protests against Hartz IV and lead them on parliamentary paths. They especially need the PDS to build a wall against the growing influence of the MLPD. But they will not succeed in this attempt. Whoever, like the PDS, has the word socialism in its party’s name but, in practice, rejects the demand for the government to resign and does a good job of implementing its policies in the state governments, proves himself to be a real charlatan.  Whoever wants to struggle for genuine socialism must turn to the address of the MLPD.

The class-conscious workers are obviously orienting themselves increasingly towards the MLPD?

Without a doubt. In the struggle of the DaimlerChrysler workers it was already apparent that the class-conscious core of the workers completely agreed with the strategy and tactics of the party in the struggle against the attacks of the DaimlerChrysler enterprise. The company-wide newspaper Stoßstange (”Bumper”) at DaimlerChrysler, in which the MLPD also cooperates, became the voice of the struggling DaimlerChrysler workers.  Our proposal to counter the attack upon the workforce in Sindelfingen with a day of struggle in the entire company asserted itself against the resistance of the right-wing trade union and works council leadership.

In the social movements of the broad masses in the struggle against the government, we are now also experiencing that the MLPD is becoming a central contact for all of those  people who have scores to settle with those in rule.

This underscores the great responsibility of the MLPD for the social development.  

The 7th Party Congress of the MLPD set the task of breaking through the relative isolation of the party lastingly. What does that mean?

The relative isolation of the MLPD, which was forced upon us for a long time, has its roots in an - in Germany - especially aggressive method of struggle of the bourgeoisie with a strong tradition, namely in anticommunism. Its tradition goes back to the German empire and Hitler fascism, to the Cold War, and to modern anticommunism since the 1980’s. The revisionist degeneration of the former socialist parties and countries, as well as all sectarian and opportunist mistakes ever made by communist parties were exploited by anticommunism. But today, the adhesive power of anticommunism is clearly declining in connection with the destabilization of the system. This is a complicated, but in no way automatic process, because anticommunism has been a ”state religion” for almost two centuries and has become imbedded in the thinking, feeling and acting of a broad mass of people in Germany.

A very deep-going and differentiated process of assessment is necessary that can only occur consciously. We have to be patient.

The party congress established that within the last four years we have gained repeated successes in the struggle for breaking through the relative isolation. That required to concentrate our forces and to develop and prove our ability to mobilize and lead masses of people. This was very successful in the Iraq War, but also in the struggle against the Schroeder/Fischer government and its Agenda 2010. But we also experienced how this  break-through in the relative isolation was not yet organized lastingly and how it went back when the movement ebbed down again. The emergence of a society-changing movement is unthinkable without the permanent presence and effect of Marxist-Leninist arguments, politics, and representatives in the entire society and, last but not least, without the proletarian culture of debate which they put into practice.

One of the MLPD’s most important publications was the book ”Twilight of the Gods – Götterdämmerung over the ‘New World Order’”. After 15 months of publication and sales you surely have positive results.

The book ”Twilight of the Gods – Götterdämmerung over the ‘New World Order’” is undoubtedly the best distributed scientific book of the MLPD since its founding. We are presently selling the rest of the third edition and preparing the fourth. In the meantime, the book has also appeared in Spanish and English and, in short, the Russian, Turkish and French editions will appear. Publishers in India, Argentina and Mexico have meanwhile reprinted the book under license and it meets with international interest.

Within the party and the working-class movement, the book has led to our being able to evaluate social processes with increased certainty and self-assurance and trace them back to their social roots.

As we know, the MLPD is planning to publish a ”sequel” to ”Twilight of the Gods – Götterdämmerung over the ‘New World Order’”. Do basic ideas and first studies already exist?

Reality is undergoing deep changes, often very quickly, too. And only he who understands the driving forces behind these changes can make use of the laws governing them for his activities. Only dogmatists or pragmatists can deny the necessity of this theoretical work. Under the slogan, "Basically, everything remains as it used to be" or under the basic line of "I am too busy to care for fundamental questions," they blindly stumble through the new times.

With the "Twilight of the Gods – Götterdämmerung over the 'New World Order'" we have a matured and all-around analysis of the reorganization of international production. On the other hand, a theoretical assessment of the conclusions which must urgently be drawn for strategy and tactics does not yet exist. The most important task which the 7th Party Congress of the MLPD has set is the scientific elaboration of a "Strategy and Tactics of the International Proletarian Revolution" – that is the working title. This is impossible without the rich experiences of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement.

Of course, the MLPD cannot elaborate a comprehensive strategy and tactics of the world revolution, but can only make its contribution to how this society-changing struggle is to take place in Germany. But for the aim of an international coordination and revolutionization of the class struggle we must very intensively deal with the different society-changing movements and struggles in the most important countries and movements of the world. This can be done only in an intensive, comradely cooperation on equal footing and in exchange with the many revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations with which the MLPD maintains friendly relationships today. Therefore, the book will also be a product of the international discussion about the conclusions from the reorganization of international production and from the fact that today we find ourselves at the beginning of a new historical phase of transformation from capitalism to socialism.

An international conference took place recently, didn't it?

In spring, the 8th International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations was held with 29 participants from 26 countries. It was the biggest international conference of that kind to date. What was conspicuous was an upswing in the concrete analysis of the concrete conditions, a positive development of the class struggle in most countries and also a strengthening of the Marxist-Leninist forces in most countries.

At the same time, the conference still has problems in unifying certain positions. That, however, is necessary for a joint, cross-border class struggle.

The central link of the development of the class struggle in the individual countries as well as for the coordination and revolutionization of the class struggle on the international level is the accelerated Marxist-Leninist party building. In the future, the MLPD will more strongly concentrate its international solidarity and active cooperation on this aspect.

There was a General Investigation on the party's work among youth before the Party Congress. How did youth work develop since then?

The Party Congress reaffirmed the General Investigation and developed a series of further creative criticisms and proposals on youth work. Without doubt, the summer camp of Rebell and Red Foxes in Truckenthal is again an important practical field to put these findings into practice. With more than 500 participants a big number of young people and children meet again for rebellious joint holidays, combined with tasks of building the Truckenthal holiday resort. As last year, work continues under expert guidance, with discipline and enthusiasm to complete the holiday resort. This way of learning physical work with industrial working methods has proved an excellent component of the school of life for the proletarian mode of thinking. This year, new projects have been added relating among other things to the working-class offensive, cultural work, sports, Ché Guevara and genuine socialism, and combining a lively unity of theory and practice: for instance, the organizing of visits to factories connected with rebellious vocational guidance; street theatre, sports festival, Ché day, exhibition on the history of the holiday resort, etc. This will not remain restricted to the camp, but will also give important new stimulus to the systematic rank-and-file work of the local Rebell groups.

The Party Congress had expressed criticism concerning two fields. Issue one pertained to work at colleges and universities, the work among academics and members of the intermediate strata in general...

In June 2004, the newspaper of the MLPD university groups, ”Galileo - Streitbare Wissenschaft” (Galileo - Militant Science) appeared for the first time. Now it regularly appears at the beginning of semesters and addresses the masses of students, university teachers, scientific workers and others working in the university sector. Beyond our university and college groups, some MLPD county organizations and local groups also use it to initiate work at universities and colleges. In addition, we now intend to build up student groups in Rebell in which young male and female college and university students and secondary school students who have decided to study can get organized.

There is a positive development of relations to academics and people of the intermediate strata in the framework of the environmental movement, educational work, in alliances on the level of local politics. Here, our trumps are the scientifically founded work of the MLPD and the increasingly improving realization of a proletarian culture of debate through our members. We have taken some decisive steps in the right direction, but we will see how this reflects in practical development. This depends crucially on overcoming in the party the denigration of preparing the alliance with the petty-bourgeois intermediate strata.

... Issue 2 of the critical discussion was related to the MLPD's work among women. The focal points of the current development actually are no specific "women's issues" – does the strengthening of the militant women's movement really have such importance?

The thesis – "no women's issues" – reveals an extremely superficial way of consideration! In reality, all essential processes of the current development intensify in a law-governed way the double exploitation and oppression of the masses of women inherent in the system. At the same time, they substantially increase the gainful employment of women, their importance in production and their role in societal life! With 45 percent in 2003, the employment rate of women has clearly increased to its highest rate in (West) German history, versus 39.2 percent in 1990 (proportion of gainfully employed women in the women population). In connection with the privatization and industrialization of the sectors of health and education, the masses of women employed in these sectors become a new component of the vocationally active industrial proletariat. This extends the basis for the strengthening of  the working-class movement and the proletarian women's movement as the backbone of the militant women's movement. Of course, these far-reaching changes do not automatically reflect in consciousness – but, under the influence of a petty-bourgeois mode of thinking, they can at first be digested as an "acid test that makes any political work impossible". That is the pathetic thesis of the bourgeois women's movement, leading automatically to a way of acting in the "poor women's" stead. The Party Congress criticized that worshipping of spontaneity in our party led to uncritical acceptance of such theses and caused a real setback to the party's work among women. 

Meanwhile, we have again recruited more women as party members. But this can become a lasting self-transformation only if the entire party discards the displacement, the ignorance of our theoretical foundations, mainly the Revolutionärer Weg, Nos. 27-28, "Class Struggle and the Struggle for the Liberation of Women".

Presently, the concrete practical yardstick of the deeper understanding of the militant women's movement is whether the entire party, every member, makes an effective contribution to a great success of the Women's Political Counsel that will take place in Duesseldorf from October 29th to 31st, 2004.

In our last interview, you issued the slogan, "The MLPD must get prepared for everything!" How is that adopted in the party?

Spontaneously, of course, the party members have at first totally different ideas about this slogan. Some understand it mainly in relation to everyday events only, and it can even happen that, with a wrong understanding of this slogan, worshipping of spontaneity is strengthened. But "Get prepared for everything" mainly means to purposefully put party building into the fore and be ready for everything our great struggle might demand.

On the one hand, it means to strengthen the MLPD by recruiting many new members. Also, the training of these members for Marxist-Leninist work in trade unions and factories, for the revolutionary work among women, youth work, work in local politics, etc. Last but not least, "party building into the fore" also means to build up manifold relations between the party and the masses and different self-run organizations on the basis of struggle. It will always be the case that only the most conscious sector of the masses organize themselves in the party. But the society-changing revolutionary struggle will be conducted by very broad masses with the industrial proletariat as their core. This is possible only if the MLPD has built up friendly relationships with many of these people.

The main danger is to underestimate the future development and not to get prepared for the comprehensive tasks in party building and class struggle in due time. With the mass struggles increasing, the demands on the MLPD increase, too. Ultimately they can be accomplished only if we have a sufficient number of comrades capable of and willing to move and lead masses of people as the decisive prerequisite of the higher development of the class struggle towards the working-class offensive and the inclusion of the broad masses in the struggle against the government. But if I may take a mid-way stock since the 7th Party Congress, I see an excellent development of our party. Thus the party has strengthened since the Party Congress by approximately five percent in terms of membership. I am firmly convinced that we shall go through a very impressive process of self-transformation in the next four years which will leave deep-reaching effects in society.

Thank you very much for the interview.

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