Principal German language archive https://www.mao-projekt.de
Various postings at https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/tag/kpdml/
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the KPD, anti-revisionist communists assembled at Cologne in December 1968 to found the KPD/ML as the legitimate successor of the revolutionary KPD of Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg.
Ernst Aust was founder and chairman of the KPD/ML. Born on 12 April 1923 in Hamburg, Ernst Aust had been a former official of the banned KPD, published the newspaper ‘Blinkfuer’ since 1953 and had been critical of the revisionist line of the illegal KPD, breaking from the organisation in 1966. He remained active as publisher of Roter Morgen /Red Dawn from the middle of 1967. He called for the establishment of a German “revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Party”.
The founding of the KPD/ML brought together 33 delegates from ‘Red Dawn’ supporter groups from Hamburg, Karlsruhe and Mannheim with other anti-revisionists critics such as the Frankfurt based Freie Sozialistische Partei (FSP) formed in April 1967 with twenty members such as Werner Heuzeroth, together with experienced KPD communists like Willi Dickhut of the ‘Revolutionary Communists of North Rhine-Westphalia’ and younger Maoist activists.
The KPD/ML explained the revisionist degeneration of the KPD as the influence of the ruling SED in East Germany. The post war developments saw “the personnel and material dependence of the KPD apparatus on the SED led to the fact that the KPD went in the same way as the SED on a revisionist course” as the “bureaucratic methods of the SED were transferred into the KPD and internal-party democracy destroyed.”
When they legal emerged with the establishment of the DKP it was seen as the final act of betrayal:
” For the first time in the history of the German workers movement a party, which calls itself communist, owes its establishment due to the arrangement and co-operation of the reactionary civil system.” The pro-Moscow DKP had co-operated with the public authorities to establish its political existence while the k-groups who were often to organise in a semi-clandestine manner throughout their existence.
The KPD/ML splits
While the KPD/ML eventually attracted around 7/800 militants and it received international recognition from the Party of Labour of Albania, its unity was not sustained. In early 1970 the North Rhine Westphalia branch led by Willi Dickhut broke from the KPD/ML over issues of the class composition of the organisation (specifically, what the proportion of students and intellectuals to workers should be) and the requirements of building a revolutionary party.
He argued for a party-building line to ensure the political roots of the organisation in the working class and was prepared to exclude the radical petit-bourgeoisie from full membership rights. Willi Dickhut proposed not to build up a new party right away, but in the first place, to create the necessary ideological, political and organizational preconditions.
In Dickhut’s assessment the KPD/ML was ill-prepared to take “its first tentative political steps”, it resembled a federal union of individual circles without unified leadership and discipline. He saw petty bourgeois elements- teachers, high school and university students rally to the organisation threatening its proletarian character and composition. A reinforcement for this trend loomed when, in August 1969, West Berlin SDS leaders Semler and Rabehl were involved in exploratory talks with KPD/ML Central Committee members. The student leaders concluded that the formation of the Party had been premature.
The intention to root the KPD/ML within the German working class was expressed in what became known as the ‘September Decisions’, a resolution adopted at September 6/7th 1969 meeting of the KPD/ML leadership. It called for the organisation to concentrate on recruiting industrial blue- and white-collar workers and freeze the candidacy of intellectuals becoming party members.
Willi Dickhut, remembered in an analysis of the struggle, that “decisions were passed on to the party groups without any further explanation or reason.”
October saw KPD/ML’s West Berlin unit (exclusively student in composition) call for a reversal of the “September Decisions” and a purge from the Party ranks who argued for its implementation and political orientation.
By November the Central Committee majority caved in officially revoking “the mechanical and bureaucratic September 1969 decision”. Dickhut explained:
“the petty-bourgeois majority in the KPD/ML won numerically, because some CC members, among them E.Aust, Jurgen L and Gunter A. capitulated to the massive attacks of the West Berlin group in the CC against the proletarian line and opportunistically revoked the ‘September Decisions’.” 
The youth organisation, Red Guards, formed in Spring 69 by young KPD/ML members in North Rhine Westphalia issued an attack on the reversal in Bolshevik, its theoretical publication, aligning itself to Dickhut’s position. It became, in April 1970, the Communist Youth League of Germany and in the political orbit of the KPD/ML (revolutionary way) led by Dickhut.
There was also the emergence of a mircosect, the KPD/ML (Neue Einheit), that arose out of the KPD/ML and the Rote Garde (Red Guard) in 1970. The group had the publishing house Neue Einheit (Dortmund/Berlin) and published the magazine Neue Einheit. One notable intervention was that Klaus Sender sketched out the essentials of what was to emerge as Three World Theory in a 1974 pamphlet, “The International situation, Europe and the Attitude of the Marxist-Leninist Parties – outlines & theoretical explanations (New Unity International Press 1974). Politically, from the beginning of the 1970’s the organization defended the Cultural Revolution. By the end of the 1970’s the organization defended the line of Mao Zedong against the revisionist usurpation in China. The leading personality was Klaus Sender (pen name for Hartmut Dicke). Another personality involved with the group was Rolf Martens based in Sweden. As a group it survived, however, in the new century the internet was its main vehicle of dissemination.
The struggle within the KPD/ML intensified when, in January 1970, the editorship of Rote Morgen, the KPD/ML newspaper was taken over by West Berlin intellectuals and they promoted a process of party-building that rallied around the vanguard on the basis of a programme (representing theory first approach) and then political action of the masses. Critics like Dickhurt asked where was the unity of theory and practice and where in Marxism was the cry “Intellectuals take the lead!” Other contenders came to the fore at an extraordinary state delegates’ party conference taking place in North Rhine-Westphalia in June 14th 1970. Peter Weinfurth announced a strategy of party-building from the top down and the formation of a “Central Bureau” that would lead the process. The “Central Bureau”, led by Peter Weinfurth, Richard Claus, Gerd Genger and Oliver Thomkin, sought to establish a factional power base in opposition to the Aust/ Ezra Gerhardt grouping.
At the KPD/ML Party Congress in December 1971, the contradictions within the organisation exploded. What had been planned as an exercise to consolidate the remaining ranks around Aust’s leadership failed. There was resistance to authoritarian leadership from a party membership more interested in local activities – a stance condemned by Aust as “liquidators”, another position emerged, accused as “conciliators” for opportunistic mediation between the other two positions. An attempt to declare the Congress “unofficial” and downgrade its decision-making authority saw the Chairman Ernst Aust and his supporters walk out of the meeting, elect their own Executive Bureau of the Central Committee and declare themselves the only official delegates to the only valid party Congress.
The majority of the Central Committee and state organisations sided with the “liquidationists” but even though comprising the Party Minority, it left Aust in charge of the Party’s finance and control of the newspaper Rote Morgen. Aust presented the action as not a weakening of the organisation but a long over due purge:
“Without this ballast, which is turning into complete rot, and with the further combative development of the solidarity of principles achieved at the Party Congress, we will take up the tasks of our Party in the interest of the West German working class with all our might.” 
By any measure the KPD/ML were a leading component of the upswing in the anti-revisionist wave of K-Gruppen in the Federal Republic of Germany. In the mutual sectarianism that characterised the movement, it regarded, what it described as,
“certain “leftist” petty-bourgeois circle groups” as “agencies of the bourgeoisie in the Marxist-Leninist movement – and it is difficult to look at them otherwise – the tactic of the bourgeoisie consists in firstly, by ideologically small wars, to keep the Communist Party from its revolutionary tasks towards the working class and secondly, to cause confusion among the masses, to create confusion among the progressive forces of the working class, and to make their way to the party more difficult.”
The idea had come to declare the phase of party building, that of forming the vanguard of the proletariat, would be over. Can you drop the basic form of communist propaganda work (first phase of party-building) and move on to the mass struggle (second phase of a vanguard organisation leading struggles)?
Although in the beginning the KPD/ML had its principal base in Hamburg, by the middle 1970s its membership was principally in a few cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1975, its membership was estimated at about 700. By that time, it was publishing a newspaper Roter Morgen and a theoretical journal, Der Weg der Partei. Its youth group, Rote Garde, claimed to be publishing eleven periodicals for young workers, seven for secondary school and university students, and four for “soldiers in various garrisons.” The KPD/ML also had a front group, Rote Hilfe Deutschlands, which was established at a conference in Dortmund in January 1975 that was attended by 50 delegates from 25 communities.
At the Third Party Congress in 1976, Ernst Aust declared that the first stage of our party building comes to an end. The assertion that the KPD/ML had won the vanguard of the proletariat for communism was based on a serious misjudgment. Forty years later (in 2007) this premature decision was acknowledged in a self-criticism by Wolfgang Eggers Chairman of the much-diminished KPD / ML.
By any criteria drawn from the Bolshevik template on party-building the then existing KPDml failed to match the requirements. At a basic level of propagandist, Eggers acknowledged its periodical named Roter Morgen / Red Morning “was known to only a small minority of the German working class. Anything else would be purpose optimism – far from reality, expression of the party’s self-esteem, a “left” mistake, a party’s teething problem.”
The inflated self-evaluation of the KPD/ML was not unique amongst leftist groups but any presumptions as the vanguard of the class should have be deflated by the cold sober experience of reality. After all, in 1974 the KPD/ML first entered the electoral contest and secured 3,000 votes in Hamburg where it was founded in 1968. If that was “an indicator of our influence among the masses” then it represented 0.3% of the votes cast, clearly an indicator of the stage in which the party building was actually only in the beginning. Even within the German K-groups, the KPD/ML lacked hegemonic position: at its peak in the mid-1970s, the party claimed a membership of around 800, however, West Germany’s biggest Maoist party, was the Communist League of West Germany (Kommunistischer Bund Westdeutschlands, KBW)
“The KPD/ML had about 300 members in 1973 and about 800 full party members in 1978. As a rule, estimates are notoriously difficult both because of the secretive nature of the party and because membership figures usually exclude members in the various affiliated mass organizations of the parties. For the above estimates, as well as estimates on the other major Maoist parties in West Germany, Probst lists 2,500 members for the KBW but acknowledges that this doesn’t include the members of its factory cells, of which there were 160 in 1975; nor of its cells within the military; nor membership of any of its so-called mass-organizations. West German intelligence estimated that in 1975, there were about 10,000-15,000 active Maoists in Germany. For the whole decade of the 1970s, a former full-time functionary of the Communist League of West Germany (KBW) claims that up to 100,000 people may have gone through one of West Germany’s Maoist parties or its many mass organizations.
In the spring of 73, large demonstrations of the KPD/ML against the presence of the South Vietnamese leader Thieu and later the Soviet leader Brezhnev, saw police arrested hundreds each time. Police were deployed against striking workers, e.g. Fords in Cologne. In addition, the first cases began due to the legal provision §90a (deformation of the state). Also, the Red Morning, newspaper of the KPD/ML, was subject to constant police attention. In response to the strong repression, against the KPD/ML at that time, the necessity for the reestablishment of the red assistance was a priority for the K-Group. Starting from 1973 (mainly on initiative of the KPD/ML) the support groups, which worked in particular in areas, against solitary confinement etc., began taking part in tenant fights and the anti-nuclear power plant movement, and it was practice at that time to include in each leaflet all the political demands of the KPD/ML.
Although the KPD/ML openly advocated a violent revolution, it took part in elections, both in the general political field and within factories. In North Rhine-Westphalia Land elections in May 1975 it got 1,735 votes for its candidates.
In 1979, the KPD/ML formed part of the Popular Front Against Reaction, Fascism and War, an electoral coalition of various far-Left groups. In subsequent federal elections, the Front received 9,344 votes.
In trade union elections at the Howaldt Werke factory in Kiel in 1975, an exceptional result saw its Red List got almost 25 percent of the votes. In 1978, the party had candidates on the lists of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition in shop steward elections in the Federal republic and West Berlin.
“At that time we had underestimated the forces of the bourgeoisie, their influence in the labour movement and overestimated the revolutionary forces of the working class, the consciousness of the working class and the influence of the party in the labour movement.”
The KPD/ML formed a self-contained fighting group of the working class. However, its relations to the German working class and its allies was not one that meant it could either inspire or mobilise for participation in the class struggle; its ambition out reached its capabilities. Whilst in did present a disciplined and militant front, the sectarian practice in its active class struggle was a spectacle but ultimately in isolation from the class. Still there were fond memories of those days described by Eggers’ recollection as when
“We were literally at the forefront of the struggle and all other organizations, non-party activists followed us, the KPD/ML. What stood in our way was pushed aside and marginalized. We did not fear the violence of the bourgeoisie. Not the KPD/ML was beaten by the police but, vice versa, the police was beaten by the KPD/ML. If we stormed forward, we carried everyone else along with us.”
KPD/ML Chairman, Ernst Aust (1923-1985) had his own confrontations with the state’s legal arsenal targeted on him for violating the KPD ban, endangerment of state and slander in the early 1960s. Then indicted in 1972, accused of “calling for criminal acts by spreading writings” when responsible editor of Roter Morgen. In all, about twenty cases were brought against him over twenty years seen as proxy attacks upon the German’s revolutionary organisation and its leadership in an attempt to muzzle it and curtail its activity. An intention made obvious in the proposed prohibition ban. Amidst the armed struggle of the Red Army faction, there was the threat to Maoist organisations, the KBW, KPD, and KPD/ML, of political suppression by the state in the Federal German Republic.
Marxism-Leninism Cannot Be Forbidden!
The Marxist-Leninist groups were, after RAF, regarded by the German State as the most dangerous threat to “internal security”. In September 1977, the ruling Christian Democratic Union decided to seek a Constitutional ban on three communist organisations – the KBW, the KPD and the KPD/ML – all three organisations called for a joint demonstration in Bonn on October 8 1977 under the slogan “Marxism-Leninism Cannot Be Forbidden! “ This call to make the organisation illegal came after 50,000 anti-nuclear protestors had lay siege to a nuclear power plant The influence of the K-groups on mass protest was the impetus to curtail their ability to organise and mobilize.
The application to ban the KBW, KPD, KPD/ML (but spare the DKP) resembled a McCarthy-witch hunt echoing the policy that saw the KPD banned in 1956.
The reasons given for the application to ban the groups was “the fictitious assertion that these groups have connections with the so-called terror-scene. This reasoning gives an idea of what is in store not only for communists but also for socialists and democrats if this newest attack on democratic rights is not opposed. In the anti-terrorist hysteria which is being stirred up Volker Schlondorff, theatre director Peymann, Heinrich Boll and a large number of lecturers, journalists, trade unionists and artists are already being cast in the role of “sympathizers of terror” and their livelihood being threatened.”
Already operating against serious infringements of civil rights because of the ‘Berufsverbote‘ which politically vetted state employees, and the ‘Gewaltparagraph 88a’ (law against violence) and arbitrary judicial judgments involving a prison sentence of 40 days for selling the KPD/ML newspaper, Rote Fahne, the KPD/ML’s response was explicit: to “dedicate its forces to the struggle against this reactionary development and do its best to create a large front of communists, socialists and democrats against the erosion of democratic rights in our country.”
The Marxist-Leninists reacted against this attack “on the freedom for independent organisation of the working class” in a joint initiative of protests to defend democratic rights. That opposition was shown at Bonn’s town hall square, despite police harassment of those travelling to the West German capital, some 20,000 marched in Bonn, then the German capital, protesting on October 8th 1977 against a proposal to constitutional ban three Maoist groups (the KBW, KPD and KPD/ML). The KPD sought international support in the campaign against the proposed state repression, and sent letters and appeals to Marxist-Leninists.
Of the Bonn demonstration, Hans Josef Horchem, at that time President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said “We possibly have a block of twelve to fifteen thousand dedicated revolutionaries”.
The fantasy, after the Bonn demonstration, that the ML groups could gradually combine did not materialise as the differences between them could not be bridged. As Guenther Jacob observed; the history of the ML movement cannot be simplistic portrayed in terms of trademark ciphers (“urban guerrilla” or anarchist “Black BlocK”) because it flows inevitably into the political-ideological details. 
Speaking of the 3rd and 4th Congress, Eggers judged that “these Party Congresses looked only at the party’s own development of consciousness, not at the development of the consciousness of the working class, let alone at the development of the consciousness of the masses, at the development of the consciousness of all social forces. And that is why the conditions for this decision were far from being met, it was a premature, a wrong decision, a decision that was based on overestimating the consciousness of the masses, not to mention the party’s self-overestimation.”
The explanation for the subsequent decline of the KPD/ML was that its internal life succumbed to the bourgeoisie’s pressure, who
“sent more and more subversive forces into the party. This had not been without consequences. The party lost its militant spirit gradually, not only in terms of propaganda, agitation and organization, but what was most dangerous also in terms of fighting against opportunist influence within the own ranks. However, this remained hidden behind the success stories of the creation of the party’s new mass organizations, especially the RGO and finally the party’s factory and trade union work.”
“…later did I realize that the faltering presence on the street was due to the ideological decay of the party, not just the ideological decay of the liberalistic leadership, but weariness and waning of party discipline had crept gradually into the Party base.”.
Wolfgang Eggers judged that
“we overestimated our own powers. The idea had come to declare the phase of party building, hat of forming the vanguard of the proletariat, would be over. Can you drop the basic form of communist propaganda work (first phase) and move on to the mass struggle (second phase)? As I said, this completely ignores the real consciousness of the masses at that time, in which bourgeois ideology prevailed! The greatest weakness of the party was not to overcome both the idealization of our proletarian worldview and the idealization of our revolutionary practice as necessary. At that time we had underestimated the forces of the bourgeoisie, their influence in the labour movement and overestimated the revolutionary forces of the working class, the consciousness of the working class and the influence of the party in the labour movement.”
That conceit had not moderated as this 2007 “self-criticism” still proclaimed “There is nothing better than the KPD / ML and we are proud of that. “
It was KPD/ML leader Ernst Aust, in February 1977, who at the first in a series of’ European Internationalist’ rallies, endorsed the 7th Congress Report of the Party of Labour of Albania as “a true Marxist-Leninist document because it affirms the correct principles of Marx, Lenin and Stalin which sweep aside all deviating and opportunist trash”. This internationalist rally at Ludwigshafen was held on the occasion of the closing of its 3rd Congress.
By 1978, the German party removed Mao’s portrait from the masthead of Roter Morgen. Two years previous, Ernst Aust’s deepest condolences on the death of Chairman Mao referred to “the greatest Marxist-Leninist of the contemporary era” and “his immortal contributions” [epithets subsequently solely attributed to the Albanian leader, Enver Hoxha]. 
In June 1978 the party explained: It decided firstly that Mao Tse-tung, contrary to the previous opinion of the party, cannot be regarded as classics of Marxism-Leninism because his teaching is contrary to fundamental questions against the Marxist-Leninist principles. This decision of the Central Committee, which was taken after a thorough discussion in the entire party will be published in Red Morning and explained in the theoretical organ Der Wei Parter / “The Way of the Party” in detail. 
The Decision of the Central Committee, published in Red Morning, stated:
“Since the establishment of our party we have considered Mao Zedong amongst the classics of Marxism-Leninism.
Since August 1968 even before the founding of the party, the emblem with the heads of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong in the banner title of “Red Morning”. This was done under the influence of the Cultural Revolution in China and documented our hostility to modern revisionism. Then, as later, our party did not recognize the serious errors and discrepancies contained in the teachings of Mao Tse-tung. “In the following highlights three important issues that Mao Tse-tung in theory and practice principle of Marxism-Leninism departed: on the question of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, in Mao Tse-tung to the “co-existence in the long run” against the bourgeoisie pursued; in the question of the struggle against revisionism, in Mao Tse tung has taken a vacillating attitude not only against the Tito-revisionism, but also against the Soviet revisionism;. on the issue of counter-revolutionary “theory of the three ranges,” for their development of Mao Tse-tung’s responsible and he has enjoy political support ” These serious deviations from Mao Tse-tung “, according to the decision,” make it clear that he is not a classic of Marxism-Leninism “to conclude:”. An overall assessment of the work of Mao Tse-tung has judged mainly after are actually achieved the successes in terms of the construction of socialism in the PRC under his leadership or not has been made and the context in which today’s revisionist history of the CPC and the PRC with the work of Mao Zedong stands.” 
Over the course of the 1970s, the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists had secured support from China and Albania with varying success. The proximity of the KPD/ML to the Society of the Friends of Albania, founded in 1971, was no guarantee of its political allegiance, however, the previous decade had seen a developing relationship.
Albanian was more open and closer for a visit, supportive of friendship societies, inviting groups to Congresses and conferences, and Radio Tirana reception was possible, and publications received. It was also a source of financial aid as it partly acted as a conduit for grants. 
The KPD/ML managed to develop a strong connection to Albania, with the party’s chairman travelling to Tirana repeatedly and attending the congress of the Party of Labour. A brief review of the history of the KPD/ML would record that the KPD/ML had better relations and contact with the Albanian party than the Communist Party in China, consequentially there was a “lean to one side” within their relationship.
As early as “in April 1969, editors from the Albanian paper Rruga e Partisë wrote to the editorial board of Roter Morgen and asked for ten copies of every issue of the KPD/ML’s paper. In addition, they inquired whether a delegation from the paper would travel to Albania. Apart from getting to know the country, the West Germans were invited to an exchange of views with the Albanian publishers. In subsequent years the leadership of the West German party met regularly with Behar Shtylla, assistant secretary to the central committee of the Party of Labour. The meetings were attended by the KPD/ML’s chairman and a founding member who had first travelled to Albania in 1967.”
In 1974 Ernst Aust the founder-leaders of the KPD/ML, had been officially received by Hoxha on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Albania. Hoxha ‘recognises’ Aust as the “leader of the Albanian oriented German proletariat” and declared his party a fraternal party.
In July 1978, amidst the Sino-Albanian split, Ernst Aust visited Albania, where he “condemned the hostile acts of the Chinese leadership and assured Enver Hoxha of the party’s solidarity and friendship.” Again, in April  Aust, was received by Enver Hoxha, first secretary of the Albanian Party of Labour. Both leaders emphasized the common struggle against imperialism, social imperialism, modem revisionism.”
By the time of the fourth congress in 1978, the KPD/ML adopted a new programme and in the question of either China or Albania, disassociated itself entirely from the Chinese Communist Party, rejecting in particular Mao’s Three Worlds Theory, and identifying with the People’s Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha after the Sino-Albanian split. 
A group closely associated with the KPD/ML in Kiel published and circulated publications with transcripts of Radio Tirana’s international coverage.
“The third issue of Ausgewählte Sendungen von Radio Tirana [Select broadcasts of Radio Tirana] contained a report on the sixth congress of the Party of Labour alongside stories from Angola, Brazil, West Germany, among others. 
There was some listener criticism that the Albanian broadcaster’s coverage of German politics was too narrowly determined by the KPD/ML party’s perspective. Spreen notes, complained that the reports about the Marxist-Leninist movement in West Germany invariably equated Marxism-Leninism with the KPD/ML.
The international commitment of Tirana to (both the illegal Communist Party of Poland) and the underground section of the KPD/ML established in revisionist Democratic Republic of Germany were evidence of the political support as the Albanian embassy in East Berlin would help distribute copies of Roter Morgen and support the establishment of the KPD/ML in East Germany.
The KPD/ML were notable for the formation of a section of its organisation in the GDR – East Germany – where it was subject to state suppression. The existence of communist opposition cells was made public in Rote Morgen February 7 1976: the KPD-ML claimed that it had formed an underground section in the GDR [German Democratic Republic], whose task it is to lead the working class to ‘overthrow with force the bourgeois dictatorship in the GDR.’. Also the KPD-ML intends to enlighten the population in the GDR ‘where fascism has been established.’ A couple of years later, the party claimed that “A miniature edition of Roter Morgen is mailed into the GDR.”
A report written after unification of the two Germanises estimated that the total number of members or supporters of the KPD/ML in the GDR amounted to three dozen people with an additional 50 to 60 sympathisers who were in direct contact with KPD/ML activists. The fledging resistance was smashed by State Security.
Another Turn: disintegration in the Eighties
Owing to his failing health, Aust had resigned as chairman in 1983. Horst-Dieter Koch was elected as the party’s new chairman at the conclusion of the fifth party congress on 6 November 1983. Ernst Aust died 25.8.1985 on the cusp of the KPD/ML’s implosion as it continued to divide and sub divide as one faction rejected the alignment with Albania, and others abandoned its “Stalinist past” and united with a Trotskyist organisation.
One faction of the KPD/ML in 1986, calling itself merely German Communist Party (KPD), after abandoning its “Stalinist legacy” merged with the country’s principal Trotskyist organization, the International Marxist Group (GIM), to form the United Socialist Party (Verinigte Sozialististsche Partei-VSP). The principal leader of the VSP was Horst-Dieter Koch, and its headquarters was established in Cologne. The bi-weekly publication Sozialististsche Zeitung replaced the KPD’s Roter Morgen and the GIM’s Was Tun. The VSP established a youth group, the Autonomous Socialist Youth Group (ASIG). It had a membership of less than 200. Within ten years the remaining members dissolved the organisation and entered the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) in 1995.
A handful of members who opposed the merge split off and formed many groups in the tradition of Aust’s KPD/ML, such as the Communist International (Marxist–Leninist), the Organization for the Construction of a Communist Workers’ Party, dubiously reported a membership of about 300 members, supposedly maintain a Communist University League in Bavaria, and published Kommunistische Arbeiterzeitung. 
There was a rump of mainly party veterans who maintained the KPD/ML name. The name of the Communist Party of Germany (Roter Morgen) maintained by Wolfgang Eggers as members of the KPD who opposed the merger that resulted in the VSP reconfirmed their adherence to the old party statutes and program. Calling themselves the ‘correct’ KPD, they were based in West Berlin. This group, led by Wolfgang Eggers, associated itself with the Hoxhist grouping. In an internet posting there was a self-description of this remnant:
“Since 1990 the KPD/ML struggled united in the whole national area of the imperialist Germany. The party always stood under deep ideological pressure of opportunist and sectarian attacks from inside and outside and went through many splits within the party history. So we learnt a lot by the principals of critics and self critics. Because of the splitting the name of the central organ »Roter Morgen« was captured twice so we published the »ROTER BLITZ« between 1990 and 1995. Later on this newspaper was also captured so that we published once again the original »Roter Morgen« . Because of organisational weakness we have problems to publish it now regularly. This website is now the most important possibility as our official collective propagandist, agitator and organizer.
For short the result means: today the party is minimized up to only a little amount of comrades (some of us are member longer than 27 years and who learnt by and fought together with Comrade Ernst Aust) who truly beware the memory and the spirit of Comrade Ernst Aust. So the party is very little but still alive after nearly 30 years! “
A KPD/ML leader, Wolfgang Eggers (writing in 2007) raised important questions as to the trajectory of the KPD/ML:
“What does it mean when the 4th Party Congress decided to fight the main danger of left-wing sectarianism while – at the 5th Party Congress – the right-wing majority of the party took decisions which sealed the right-wing degeneration and finally our liquidation?
Many questions about the fate of our party.
We fought against left-wing sectarianism while right-wing opportunism gained power over the party.”
The lesson said to be learnt was simply that for Communists here in the West “we have to take account of a fight against strong battalions of capitalism within the workers’ movement.” 
Today a champion of Stalinism-Hoxhaism, Wolfgang Eggers (who has a website dedicated to this, the Comintern (SH) website] still promotes the memory of Aust, “founder and leader of the KPD/ML (friend of Enver Hoxha)” and the politics of “Communist International (Stalinist-Hoxhaists)” and the Party of World Bolshevism.
 The Struggle Over the Proletarian Line-some basic issues of Party building. Revolutionary Way No4 1970 (English Omnibus edition 2001)
3 Roter Morgen, 14 February 1972
4 Zolling, Peter (14 August 2017). “Wie die kommunistischen APO-Erben das Proletariat suchten und im Establishment landeten”. FOCUS.
5 see Probst, “Die Kommunistischen Parteien der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.”
6 See Brown, West Germany and the Global Sixties, 253-254.
7. Koenen, Das rote Jahrzehnt, 18.
8 not to be confused with the later Red Assistance organisation and its Autonomous political orientation.
9 Letter from Komitee Gegen Die Politische Unterdruckung in Beiden Teilen Deutschlands dated 1.10.1977 held in archive of RCLB
10Letter from Zentralkomitee, Kommistische Partei Deutsclands dated 15.10.77 held in RCLB archive
11 See RCLB Class Struggle, November 1977 reproduced in State of the Movement (2010)
12 Trend special: FRG 1977- the police state in action. Who Wins Whom?
13 Peking Review No43 October 22 1976
14 Der Wei Parter no4,1978. English translation provided by November 8th Publishing House, “independent publishers of Marxist-Leninist literature” associated with the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) established by Hardial Bains]
15 “Ten years of struggle for a united, independent, socialist Germany – 1968/69 to 1978/79 – Ten years KPD / ML” (1979)
16 Various postings at https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com e.g. Taking the Lek/ Tirana creates an International/ Radio Tirana
17 David Spreen (2022) Signal strength excellent in West Germany: Radio Tirana, European Maoist internationalism and its disintegration in the global seventies, European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire, 29:3, 391-416, DOI: 10.1080/13507486.2021.1971625
19 See Ausgewählte Sendungen von Radio Tirana (January 15, 1972). Available at https://www.mao-projekt.de/BRD/ORG/GRM/KPDML_TKBML_Radio_Tirana.shtml
20 Tobias Wunschik, ‘The Maoist KPD/ML and the Destruction of its GDR section by the Ministry of State Security’ published Department of Education and Research, Office of the Federal Republic of Germany 1997 http://revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv5n1/gdrkpd.htm
21 It should be noted that the migration of activists was not one way in the 90s towards the reconstructed Social democratic SED and unreconstructed discontents drew upon an older tradition. The KPD (the red flag) does not have to do anything with the KPD/ML and/or the KPD (red morning). It was created by ex -SED functionaries in 1990, because they did not find the direction of the Party of Democratic Socialism satisfactory and bulked at its reluctance to defend the old time East German state security service politics.)
22 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1988. Hoover Institute Stanford, California
23 Self-critical comment to our V. Party Congress (New year 1978/1979)
by Wolfgang Eggers Chairman of the KPD / ML (written on 15. 3. 2007)
24 Eggers’ KPD/ML reflected on developments in Albania in “The Revisionist Alia & Co – Enemies of the Albanian People” November 8th Publishing House 2021. [English translation of Roter Morgen articles from May-July 1991]