Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis en de revolutie.
Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis On Revolution: Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis (1864-1919), until 1879 a Lutheran minister in The Hague, became interested in Marx after reading Capital and especially 77ie Civil War in France. In the lectures he delivered at Amsterdam and Ghent, in 1879, he accepted Marx' thoughts on a new society as a "Social Republic" of Communes set off against the State power and class rule. His main problem in 1880 and 1881 was : what is to be done after a successful revolution; what kind of measures are to be taken in the first place so as not to lose the gains of the revolution by making the wrong decisions ? He consulted G. von Vollmar, who was at that time a left-winger in the German Social Democratic Party and, in January 1881, Marx himself. Marx had changed his views originally expressed in 77ie Civil War in France and stated in his letter of February 22nd, 1881, to Domela Nieuwenhuis that the Commune was not to be considered as a model of a new society, thereby taking a more realistic view of the situation in Paris in 1871. In his book De Franse Burgeroorlog van 1871 (The French Civil War of 1871), Febr. 1881, Domela Nieuwenhuis mainly followed Marx' ideological pattern and considered the Commune as a new society in transition by quoting Marx' lines of 1871 on this subject. In 1871 Marx was inspired by the need of the image of a common front of the International and the Parisian workers against the conservative forces and also by the hope of a reconciliation between the followers of Proudhon and Blanqui and the International. These aspects were to be an everlasting inspiration to Domela Nieuwenhuis, as was also the fact that the workers had proclaimed the Commune. Every year, in March and in May, the Commune was commemorated by Domela Nieuwenhuis in his paper Recht voor Allen (Justice for All) and by his party, the Social Democratic Union. The main function of this celebration was to emphasize the solidarity of the members of the party against capitalism and the bourgeois state. As Domela Nieuwenhuis was expecting a new revolution to take place at fairly short notice, the mistakes made by the Communards were pointed out. Thus the Commune served as an example how to make a revolution. When Domela Nieuwenhuis eventually became an anarchist - a slow process through the years 1893-1897 - Marx' concept of the new society appealed even more strongly to Domela Nieuwenhuis. The Social Democrats did no longer know Marx or Engels, who were both inspired - as Domela Nieuwenhuis saw it - by Proudhon and even Bakunin. This he considered as proof of the truth of the anarchist idea, though he believed that the main trend of history was towards "state socialism", softened by anarchist tendencies. The outcome of the big railway strikes of 1903 in the Netherlands and of the Russian revolutions of 1917 - no social revolution had taken place ! - was a considerable disillusion. He considered Marx to be a great thinker, but he ranked Bakunin higher as a person and as a man of action.