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(Interesting to see the parallels between the German social democracy in 1930 and today's Democratic Party.)

At the Social Democratic election meetings, mostly taking one monotonous form of ‘demonstrations’, gloom reigned supreme. There was a palpable gulf between speakers and audiences. There was much dissension even over the mode of address. In a meeting in Saxony, Severing, one of the biggest guns of the Social Democratic Party, was shouted down when he commenced: ‘Ladies and gentlemen’ – a few days later Hitler spoke in the same hall, addressing the meeting: ‘German men and women’, and was cheered. In many Social Democratic meetings the speakers would repeat the Nazi formula Volksgenossen, inspiring the socialist audiences with contempt. These external trivialities showed how wide the cleft between leaders and masses had grown.

Instead of an incisive criticism of the capitalist system and the policy of the government, anxiously awaited by the masses; instead of demanding drastic measures against unemployment and misery; instead of holding out a prospect of a bright socialist future, the Social Democratic apologists generally confined themselves to a purely negative criticism of the contradictory programme of the Nazis, and to a rejection of the Communist slogans. Their positive proposals seemed petty and insufficient, or gave the impression of no more than pious hopes, since there was the feeling that there was no serious intention of immediate action behind it.

In these exciting times the branch meetings presented a similar picture. The appointment of speakers as well as the selection of subjects was in the hands of indifferent employees at party offices, the slaves of red tape. A Social Democratic woman lecturer complained to us that she had been asked to address a Berlin women’s meeting on ‘Socialism in the Family’ just before the breakdown... The youth ignored these meetings. The elderly people, bound up with the party for a lifetime, remained sulkily in their seats. It brought to mind Heinrich Heine’s little story of the two old people who from their childhood had been used to praying before the image of a saint painted in glowing colours in a niche. Now the image had faded, the niche was in ruins – unmindful of this, they continued to pray.

full: https://www.marxists.org/archive/petroff/1934/hitlers-secret.htm
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