Head to head in Halle
Helping to deepen our understanding of a crucial chapter in the history of the European working class movement
“We are on the field of battle. The audience in the hall is divided in two sections; it is as if a knife has cut them sharply in two. Two parties are present” - Grigory Zinoviev’s description of the Halle congress of the Independent Social Democrats (USPD) in October 1920.
Would the USPD and its 700,000 members opt for the Third International or attempt to stay a halfway house, floating uneasily between communism and official social democracy? The Halle congress would decide.
In the debate Zinoviev, Comintern’s president and a Bolshevik since 1903, was pitted against not only the heavyweights of German Social Democracy. He also had to reckon with his Russian contemporary, Julius Martov, the intellectually rigorous and polemically steeled leader of the Menshevik Internationalists.
In publishing Zinoviev’s largely forgotten four-hour speech and Martov’s counterblast for the first time in English, this book helps to deepen our understanding of a crucial chapter in the history of the European working class movement.
The text includes introductory essays by Ben Lewis and Lars T Lih, alongside Zinoviev’s fascinating diary entries made during his stay in Germany.
Now available: £15, including p&p, from November Publications, BCM Box 928, London WC1 3XX.