the origins of the movement for workers’ councils in germany

Ninety years ago the German working class unseated the Kaiser and the military establishment with a series of strikes and mutinies which brought World War I to a close.

Conscripted sailors and soldiers created strike committees, and then joined with industrial workers to create workers’ councils akin to the soviets which existed during the Russian revolution. These enjoyed extensive working class participation and in some cities held power: but over the subsequent five year revolutionary wave the working class was time and again crushed by the Social Democrats and the right-wing troops it could call upon to defend capital.

For our latest pamphlet we have reprinted a seventy-year old pamphlet on the workers’ council movement produced by the Dutch GIK (Group of International Communists) accompanied by the autobiography of leading GIK member Jan Appel (a participant in the revolution and the commandeering of a ship) along with a chronology of the German revolution.

Printed copies cost £1 each – email or write to The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY.

click here for pdf

5 thoughts on “the origins of the movement for workers’ councils in germany

  1. Stuart,

    Your memory seems to be failing you. I was not referring to a drunken pub conversation but a rather humorous exchange that you, Bill Jeffries, Mark Fischer, Nick Jones and I had when we had a stall next to each other at the May 68 event at Conway Hall. You said propaganda for the militia was ultra-left and suggested that we should instead call for the disarming of the cops – presumably throwing some sort of transitional fairy dust onto the question.

    Good to see that you appear to have changed your mind though.



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