Paul Levi

Paul Levi (11 March 1883 – 9 February 1930) was a German Communist politician.Fact|date=February 2007 Levi, born in Hechingen into a Jewish middle-class family, joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany(SPD) in 1906. There he became part of the party’s left wing together with Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Levi was also Luxemburg's lawyer in political cases.Fact|date=February 2007

During World War I Levi was conscripted. Discharged in 1916, he settled in Switzerland, associating with Karl Radek and Vladimir Lenin, becoming a part of the Zimmerwald Left. [Pierre Broué (1971) "The German Revolution 1917-1923'".] He was recalled to the army, again discharged and became one of the leaders of the Spartacist League in 1918, which soon became the Communist Party of Germany(KPD). He opposed the initiatives of Karl Liebknecht in January 1919. After the failure of the German Revolution of 1918/1919, and the killing of the KPD’s main leaders Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and Leo Jogiches, Levi took over as the central leader of the Communist Party, waging struggles against the party's ultra-left. He led the party away from the policy of immediate revolution, in an effort to win over SPD and Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany(USPD) workers. These efforts were rewarded when a substantial section of the USPD joined the KPD, making it a mass party for the first time.

Levi headed the German delegation to the second congress of the Comintern in Moscow in 1920, but it is said that Lenin did not like him.Fact|date=February 2007

Following disputes within the KPD around splits within the Italian Socialist Party(PSI), which were fuelled in part by the role of the Comintern, Levi resigned from the leadership of the Communist Party in early 1921. [ Duncan Hallas (1985) "The Comintern" [http://www.marxists.org/archive/hallas/works/1985/comintern/ch3.htm#s2] ] [Pierre Broué (1971) "The German Revolution 1917-1923'".] Ernst Daumig, Clara Zetkin, Otto Brass and Adolf Hofman also resigned from the Zentral (Central Comittee). Shortly after, under the influence of Bela Kun, the party lauched the March uprisings of 1921. Following the uprisings Levi was expelled from the Communist Party for publicly criticizing party policies. [Leon Trotsky (1922) "Paul Levi and Some 'Lefts'". "The First Five Years of the Communist International". Retrieved from [http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/ffyci-2/07.htm] May 20, 2007] . Lenin and Trotsky substantially agreed with his criticisms, but not the way in which he had made them. [Pierre Broué (1971) "The German Revolution 1917-1923'".] [ Vladimir Lenin (1921) "A Letter to the German Communists". [http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/aug/14.htm] ] Lenin sent him a private letter through his friend Clara Zetkin, where he asked Levi to accept the expulsion for "break of discipline" and then adopt a friendly approach towards the KPD and cooperate with them in the class struggle in a loyal manner. If so, Lenin would then push for his reinstatement in the party. [Pierre Broué (1971) "The German Revolution 1917-1923'"] . Levi did not accept this proposal and continued to criticize the party sharply and condemn its leaders. [Mike Jones (1985) "The Decline, Disorientation and Decomposition of a Leadership". 'Revolutinary History, Vol 2 No 3, Autumn 1989'. [http://www.revolutionary-history.co.uk/backiss/Vol2/No3/decline.html] ] .

After being expelled from the Communist Party, Levi formed the Communist Working Collective (KAG). In 1922 he joined the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany(USPD). Later, he rejoined the Social Democratic Party.

Levi died in Berlin in 1930. He succumbed to injuries he suffered when he fell out of his window. The circumstances of his fall have not been clarified.Fact|date=February 2007

References

External links

* [http://www.revolutionary-history.co.uk/supplem/Levlenin.htm Paul Levi on Lenin in retrospect in 1927 translated by Mike Jones]
* [http://www.ucc.ie/acad/appsoc/tmp_store/mia/Library/history/etol/revhist/otherdox/Whatnext/Heldgerm.html Why the German Revolution Failed by Walter Held]
* [http://www.ucc.ie/acad/appsoc/tmp_store/mia/Library/history/etol/revhist/otherdox/Whatnext/Heijgerm.html The German Revolution In the Leninist Period by Jean Van Heijenoort]
* [http://www.marxists.org/archive/radek/1921/05/downfall_levi.htm The Downfall of Levi by Karl Radek]
* [http://www.isreview.org/issues/52/broue2.shtml Pierre Broué's German Revolution 1917-1923 by Todd Chretien]


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