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IThe German Elections. I


I The German Elections. I POLITICAL PARTIES IN GERMANY. I COALITION WITH BOURGEOIS PROBABLE. The elections for the Constituent AssemljJy in Germany, so far as is known at the time of writ- ing, have resulted in a positive victory for the Majority Socialists, without giving them com- plete power in the control ol affairs. Many of the parties which took part Ï:l the elect-ion have been transformed in name, if not in character, since tlit Revolution, and it is difficult precisely to define their relationships with one another and with German Social Democracy. It mav help to elucidate the Election Returns if the character of the several parties is understood. German Social Democracy, IS is well known, is split into three factions The Majority Socialists, led by Haase and Dittmann; and the Spartacus Group, the leadership of which was shared by Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg, and in some degree hy Ledebour (nominally an Independent), before the recent disorders that resulted in the death of the two former. One result of the re- cent outbreak has been the separation of the In- dependent Socialists from the Socialist Majority; they were represented in the Council of People' 8 Commissaries by Haase, Dittmann. and Barth. who resigned when it appeared that the Centra] Conned of Workmen and Soldiers' Councils m Berlin supported the action of the three Major- ity members of the Council of People's Commis- | saries—Rlffrrt, Scheidemann, and Landsberg—in the action they took in employing armed force during the Spartacus disturbances. Successors have been appointed to the Council of People's Commissaries in place of the three Independents, and the Government, up to the time of the Elec- tion, was composed of Ebert, who is in charge of internal affairs, Scheidemann, who deals with foreign affairs; Noska, in charge of the Army and Navy; Landsberg of finance; and Wissel of social policy; all these ministers belong to the Majority Wing. INDEPENDENTS ILL-SUCCESS. I The Independents have likewise been largely extruded from the Berlin Executive Council. in which they previously had equal representation with the Majority. The. ill-success of the Inde- pendents during the Election is attributed to their failure to separate themselves decisively from the Spartacus Group. There has, in fact been at least one important defection from the Independents on this account, Bernstein having rejoined the Majority as a protest against the drift of the Independents towards the extreme left wing represented by Spartacus. The Spartacus Group, for its part, appears finally to have detached itself from the Indepen- dent Socialists, andxhas become even more closely identified with the Russian Bolsheviks. It has reformed its organisation, assuming the title of the Communist Party, and refused to take any part in the elections for the Constituent Assem- bly. There were sharp cleavages even among the Spartaeists on this latter question: some of its most influential leaders, including Ledebour, Daumug, and Richard Midler (who was presi- dent of the former Executive Council), tried to induce the Spa rtarists to participate in the Elections. BOURGEOIS CLEAVAGES. I Equally deep cleavages appear to exist in the ranks of the bourgeois parties. The old Conser- vative Party now bears the name of the German National People's Party. The old Catholic Centre—-which does not seem formally to have changed its name, although it is sometimes t- l i(? C l ir s an P l e's called the Christian People's Party—remains fairly solid and homogeneous. Next to it is the German People's Party—composed mainly of the right wing of the National Liberals. On its left has arisen a new group, called the German Democratic Party. This group has been de- scribed as the right wing ot Social Democracy rather than the left wing of the bourgeois par- ties. It is composed of the more advanced sec- tions of the National Liberal and the Progres- sive organisations, and represents perhaps the most democratic elements of the middle-class parties.* Its emergence seems to make the for- mation of a bourgeois bloc against Social Demo- cracy impossible. The elections have taken place upon a some- what complicated system of proportional repre- sentation. The country has been divided into 38 electoral districts for the election of 433 depu- ties. Jh each district every vote cast is a vote for a particular party's list of candidates whose number is equal to the number of seats allotted to the electoral district. Under the electoral law it is possible for two or more parties to com- bine their lists and to; pool" the aggregate total votes secured by them. It does not seem that any of the parties have combined generany in this manner for this Election, but local ar- rangements have been made. Until the full re- sults are known it is hazardous to speculate upon the probable direction of affairs in Ger- many, but it is not unreasonable to expect that the German Socialist Majority will be obliged to enter into some kind of Coalition with the bourgeois parties.


Demobilisation and The Miners.

ILabour in Conference. (

[No title]



Political Notes