The 1931 ‘action program’ adopted by Otto Strasser’s ‘Fighting Community of Revolutionary National Socialists’ for its Black Front project
On 2nd October, 1931, followers of Otto Strasser gathered at Castle Lauenstein in Upper Franconia for the 2nd Reich Congress of the Kampfgemeinschaft Revolutionärer Nationalsozialisten (Fighting Community of Revolutionary National Socialists, KGRNS). The KGRNS was a young movement, yet had already gone through a period of tumultuous upheaval; Strasser’s dabbling in the SA revolt of March 1931 (the ‘Stennes-putsch’) and his subsequent machinations with Freikorps leader Kapitän Hermann Ehrhardt had created chaos within his organization, resulting in a number of humiliating splits which had bled away many of his more radical followers. The 2nd Reich Congress was thus something of a regrouping, an attempt to formalize the KGRNS’s tactical position in the wake of ideological confusion and to set a clear course for the future. One outcome of the Congress was the official declaration of the ‘Black Front’ concept, with associated manifesto. The Black Front was intended to be a political coalition, an umbrella organization (naturally led by the KGRNS) of the various national-revolutionary movements in Germany who shared a common sense of identity and mission in their anti-capitalist, anti-parliamentarian, anti-communist, and anti-Hitlerian ideals. Delegates from the UNSKD, the Wehrwolfbund, the Bund Oberland, and the Bundische Reichschaft, as well as representatives from literary journals Die Tat and Widerstand, all signed up to the Black Front concept – in theory. In reality, most cooperation under the Black Front name never went much further than the writing of newspaper articles or the occasional joint meeting. Over time the KGRNS ended up appropriating the Black Front name for itself, although the basic essence of the original Manifesto, reproduced below, remained as a core ideological guideline for the organization.
The Manifesto of the Black Front
The action program of the
“Fighting Community of Revolutionary National Socialists”
proclaimed at the 2nd Reich Congress at Castle Lauenstein,
2nd – 4th October, 1931.
Through tremendous crises the system of liberalism dies.
The liberal economic system, capitalism, is no longer able to safeguard the food, clothing, and habitation of the German people, as evidenced by the terrible suffering of the broad masses, the unemployment of the proletariat, and the destruction of the peasantry.
The liberal social and political order, the bourgeois class state, and parliamentary democracy, can no longer fulfill that organic union and uniform deployment of the strength of the German people which removes internal instability and increases external performance to the highest possible extent, by which alone the attainment and assertion of national liberty is possible.
The liberal rationalist and materialist conception of culture has torn from the life of German man the inner focus on life’s true meaning and has instead given birth to that restlessness, senselessness, and mood of despair which inevitably leads every community to self-destruction.
The basic law of the capitalist economic order is the “sanctity of private property”; the basic tenet of capitalist economic policy is the integration of the international world economy, crowned by the single gold standard. So long as these pillars of the capitalist economic system stand, so long will there be no change in Germany’s current plight!
The essence of today’s class system and of parliamentary democracy is that of the people’s artificial stratification based on the power of money, creating a selective system in which profession and vocation are in conflict with each other in 97 out of a hundred cases. This unnatural stratification creates ever-increasing tensions within the organism of the people, who are forced to focus all their energy externally, thus ensuring the inevitability of the condition of the nation’s bondage.
This prevailing materialism, combined with a grotesque overestimation of the human mind and its inventions, especially in terms of technology, has disconnected the life of German man more and more from the sources of his being- from nature, from history, from fate, from God- and left it unstable, rootless, and meaningless. The dissolution of all völkish virtues, the loss of any religiosity, were the fatal consequences that eventually led to the negation of life itself.
In the knowledge of these facts, their causes and their consequences, the Black Front seeks that
which will overthrow the present systems of economy, state, and culture, and which will erect a new order founded upon the national community, an order whose aristocracy is manifested through its own forms of economy, state, and culture.
This revolution is socialist, i.e. it denies the sanctity of private ownership of land, natural resources, and the means of production, and affirms that German form of entail that is equally hostile to Western capitalism as it is to Eastern Bolshevism. At the same time it demands the disentanglement of this German, socialist, peoples’ economy from the international world economic system, with the self-evident consequence of this disentanglement being its own independent currency operating within a planned German economy. The goal of this planned economy is to meet the needs of the German people; the realization of their needs requires the agarianisation of Germany, the resettlement of the population, autarchic self-sufficiency, and a state monopoly on foreign trade.
This revolution is nationalistic, i.e. it fights internally for the organic corporate state, and outwardly for national freedom for Germany. Internal reorganization is the prerequisite of the national war of liberation which will violently tear apart the chains of Versailles and the Young Plan that are now enslaving Germany. Only by attaining its national freedom will Germany be able to live in peace amongst the peoples of Europe and the world, a peace based upon respect for the nature and the nobility of these other peoples, peoples to whom nationalism in principle acknowledges the same rights to life and development that it expects for its own people. – The internal constitution of this organic German state is to be based upon the self-government of free estates [i.e. corporations], as far away from the fascist authoritarian state as it is from our present system of anonymous parliamentarism- and the only possible route towards a Greater German Reich.
This revolution is völkish, i.e. it goes back to the root and source of völkish life; it knows and affirms the fateful conditionality of our völkish, our German life, and sees in its unfolding and fulfilment the true meaning of being, the “will of God.” The revival of religiosity free of ecclesiastical dogmatism is as much a necessity to this revolution as it is a cheerful certainty, and its commitment to an idealistic world-view is a major component of its conservative nature.
The Black Front thus avows itself to a German revolution that is
and it fights therefore with relentless severity against the fronts of The System, regardless of whether it is the black-white-red flag of Conservative Reaction or the black-red-gold flag of Liberal Reaction which flutters above them. The Black Front knows that their shared opposition to these fronts of Reaction creates a kind of alliance between it and the Red Front, that front of the liberal revolution [of 1918], but it realizes that this alliance will end on the day the system is overthrown, and then the
struggle between Black and Red
will determine the future shape of Germany.
Deeply imbued with a belief in destiny; galvanized by the sacrificial deaths of the millions of victims of the Great War, of the Freikorps, and of those lost in the post-war turmoil; the Black Front vows to lead and win this fight
so that Germany may live!