A Brief History of the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland

The history of the German and Italian left is relatively well known, even if mainly within left communist circles. We know that similar currents existed in other communist parties, although much of that history is yet still to be documented. This article is an attempt at that. The first section is an introduction to the history of the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland (KPRP) and the second a more thorough look at its left-wing.

The Communist Workers’ Party of Poland

As the final machinations of the warring nations played out, a revolutionary wave was on the horizon. The havoc and destitution which followed the First World War rallied the working classes, and for many the events in Russia served as an inspiration. Poland was no different. In 1918, workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ councils formed across the land. Some were quickly neutered by reformist and patriotic tendencies; others formed their own militias, the red guards, and openly challenged the rising Polish state for control. [1] All manner of militants got involved in their structures, vying for influence. Among these was the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (Socjaldemokracja Królestwa Polskiego i Litwy, SDKPiL), a sister party of the RSDRP, and the PPS-Left, an internationalist split from the social-patriotic Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS). After years of common struggle, these two groups, the SDKPiL and the PPS-Left, would merge in 1918 to form the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland (Komunistyczna Partia Robotnicza Polski, KPRP). A year later, the KPRP, represented by the delegate Józef Unszlicht (in the absence of Julian Marchlewski), took part in the founding congress of the Communist International (Comintern). From that point onwards, the future of the Polish party was directly linked with developments in the International.

It is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the exact moment that the revolution was lost on Polish territories. Certainly the dismantling of worker’s councils in 1919 at the hands of the newly reconstituted Polish state and the reformist section of the PPS signalled the end of that initial revolutionary wave that swept through Europe in 1917. [2] The period that followed, however, was nothing if not turbulent – railway strikes in Poznań in 1920, hunger riots in Rawicz in 1921, a general strike of agricultural workers in Greater Poland in 1922, a workers’ insurrection in Kraków in 1923. A year did not go by without significant breakouts of violent class struggle. The future of an independent Polish state was far from certain – its early years accompanied by border disputes and military conflicts with Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Lithuania and soon the Soviet Union, and mired by political instability (an unsuccessful nationalist coup in 1919, the assassination of the first Polish president, Narutowicz, in 1922). The Polish bourgeoisie was divided among itself and cornered by enemies from all sides. The KPRP constituted one of these threats. For its revolutionary stance and for supporting the Red Army in the Polish-Soviet war, the party was essentially outlawed in 1919 and would remain illegal until its dissolution in 1938.

The way the KPRP was founded was to have a lasting influence on the dynamics within it. The SDKPiL and the PPS-Left, although coming to similar conclusions (support for the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution, internationalism and the necessity for a dictatorship of the proletariat through the council form), nevertheless constituted two different parties. After the unification of the two groups into the KPRP, a central committee was chosen to represent both, with six members from each – from the SDKPiL: Władysław Kowalski-Grzech, Henryk Stein-Domski, Franciszek Grzelszczak-Grzegorzewski, Franciszek Fiedler, Adolf Zalberg-Piotrowski and Szczepan Rybacki; from the PPS-Left: Józef Ciszewski, Maksymilian Horwitz-Walecki, Henryk Iwiński, Maria Koszutska-Kostrzewa, Stefan Królikowski and Wacław Wróblewski. The divisions and factions that sprung up within the KPRP in the following years were to some degree based on old, sometimes personal, conflicts between former members of the two organisations. The accusations of sectarianism against the ultralefts for example were a consequence of their past allegiances, many of whom could trace their party history back to the SDKPiL.

The initial left-wing trend in the KPRP, the so-called ‘Luxemburgist error’ – its opposition to national self-determination and the united front, its boycott of the 1919 Polish parliamentary elections – was influenced by a number of factors. The membership of the KPRP, and before it the SDKPiL and the PPS-Left, spanned multiple nationalities (Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, German, Lithuanian). Before the war, they resided in a nation divided across the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian empires and often found themselves working beyond borders. The multi-lingual and multi-ethnic population of the territories meant that, in order to reach as many workers as possible, socialist parties had to be internationalist in practice (although statistics are estimates at best, only 65% of people in Polish territories spoke the Polish language as their first in 1900, by 1931 the figure rose to around 69% [3]). Links were made with the likes of the SPD in Germany or the RSDRP in Russia. Many of the leading theorists and militants of the movement crossed national boundaries: Rosa Luxemburg was of Polish-Jewish descent and was active in Polish and German social democracy, Leo Jogiches of Jewish descent was active in Polish and German social democracy, Feliks Dzierżyński of Polish descent was active in Polish, Russian and Lithuanian social democracy, Feliks Kon of Jewish descent was active in the Polish and Ukrainian movements, etc. Linked to that, there was the political influence of these leading theorists, particularly Luxemburg, who engaged in international debates and whose contributions had a lasting effect on many SDKPiL and future KPRP members. Furthermore, the analysis of Polish capitalism led to the observation that, especially in certain industrial hubs like Łódź, the working class was more developed than in many other parts of Europe. While the population was still primarily rural, places in Congress Poland constituted some of the most advanced industrial centres of Tsarist Russia (15% of the Russian Empire’s industrial output came from Congress Poland [4]). Lastly, following the revolution just over the border in Russia, there was the belief that the abolition of capitalism was impending and even inevitable, and hence that it was logical to adopt certain ultraleft positions as anything less would put a brake on revolutionary tendencies within the proletariat.

As such, many KPRP members felt that creating distinct Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian or Lithuanian states would be a step backwards, that it would reinforce nationalist fervour instead of class politics, and that it would potentially break already existing links between revolutionary organisations, and workers, throughout the empires. They did not want to give ground to their main opponent on the left, the PPS, and so they opposed calls for national self-determination. They boycotted the elections, because they had the soviets. They adopted explicitly working class rhetoric, and were critical of pandering to the peasants because they believed conditions in Poland demanded this (hence the inclusion of the term ‘workers’ in the name of the party). These attitudes, however, did not last long, especially once it became clear that the initial revolutionary wave was faltering. From 1922 onwards the KPRP would stand for the first time in elections through an electoral front called the Union of Urban and Rural Proletariat (Związek Proletariatu Miast i Wsi, ZPMiW). Gradually, the degenerating Comintern began to exert more and more pressure on the KPRP, and with time condemned many of the positions initially espoused by the party. Simultaneously, the party made a rightward drift, which, apart from a few occasions and incidents (e.g. the short-lived ‘leftist’ provisional secretariat of 1925), was embraced by party leadership. The left was soon pushed to the margins, and the situation would only get worse following the death of Lenin in 1924. As Stalin rose to the top, the domination of the Russian party over the Comintern became even more obvious.

In 1925, according with Comintern standards, the name of the party was changed to the Communist Party of Poland (Komunistyczna Partia Polski, KPP). The party accepted the programme of ‘Bolshevisation’. Greater discipline and centralism was introduced, which in practice often meant toeing the line of the Comintern. New divisions in the KPP sprang up – it was now a matter of who could better convince the Comintern, and hence Stalin, of their loyalty. New factions formed – ‘mniejszościowcy’ (the minority: Julian Leszczyński-Leński, Jan Paszyn, Alfred Lampe, Jerzy Heryng and Franciszek Fiedler) and the ‘większościowcy’ (the majority: Adolf Warski, Maria Koszutska, Edward Próchniak and Aleksander Danieluk). The ‘większościowcy’ would control the party until 1929, when power was transferred to the ‘mniejszościowcy’ faction closer to Stalin.

No longer known as the KPRP, and devoid of its former Luxemburgist streak, by the 1930s the party was more or less a puppet of the Comintern. Still not meeting the requirements of the Russian leadership however, in 1938 the KPP was disbanded and most of its members on Russian territories executed as part of the Polish Operation of the NKVD. This paved the way for the creation, out of cadres loyal to the Kremlin, of the Stalinist Polish Workers' Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza, PPR) in 1942. The PPR leadership was tasked with setting up a people’s republic allied with the USSR following the end of the Second World War. In the end, throughout its 40 years in power, the PPR turned the very word ‘socialism’ in Poland into a curse, making Kropotkin’s 1920 remark a reality. The PPR claimed ideological lineage to the pre-war KPRP, yet it had little in common with the party that originally formed on the revolutionary wave of 1917, particularly its left-wing.

The Communist Left in Poland

We can point towards two main currents on the left of the KPRP. The more forgotten, but also more interesting, were the so-called Grzechists (‘Grzechiści’) of the 1918-23 period, rallied around one of the KPRP founders Władysław Kowalski-Grzech. The label has been used to denote sympathisers of Grzech, but was most likely not the way they identified themselves. [5] The other was a group which in the years 1924-25 became known as the Berlin Four (‘czwórka berlińska’), consisting of Henryk Stein-Domski, Julian Leszczyński-Leński, Zofia Unszlicht-Osińska and Ludwik Henryk Prentki-Damowski.

What follows is a short biographical sketch of Grzech and Domski prior to the formation of the KPRP. Before that however, a brief note to keep in mind: the politics of Grzech and the Grzechists should not be conflated with the politics of Domski (and especially the later Berlin Four). They were all on the left of the party and came to similar conclusions on a number of issues, but they never quite constituted the same faction.

Kowalski-Grzech (1883—1937?)

Władysław Kowalski (pseudonyms Grzech, Ślusarski) was born in 1883 in Warsaw. A student activist in his youth, around the age of 20, in 1903, he joined the PPS. Following the PPS split in 1906, he transferred to the PPS-Left and would eventually become a member of its central committee. He was on the left of that party, particularly opposed to the social-patriotic tendencies within it. Between 1908-10 he studied in Switzerland and then France, but remained politically active and came back to Warsaw in 1911. He has been described as ‘eloquent, highly ambitious and longing for popularity, for the attainment of which he did not shy away from demagogy.’ [6] Following the outbreak of WWI, he was one of the authors of a joint statement put out by the PPS-Left, the SDKPiL and the Bund against the war. [7] His disagreements with the PPS-Left reached a turning point at the Piotrków Conference in December 1915. The conference discussed the onset of the war, came to anti-war conclusions, but did not recognise this period as revolutionary, instead stressing strategies around worker’s cultural and theoretical development. Grzech believed this to be a grave error as he characterised the period as one of deciding class struggles that could potentially lead to the overthrow of capitalism. As such, in May 1916, he and at least 26 other PPS-Left members [8] resigned from the PPS-Left in order to join the ‘zarządowcy’ faction of the SDKPiL. [9]

Once in the SDKPiL, Kowalski-Grzech immediately became one of its most active members in Warsaw – he was the initiator, main publicist and editor of the short-lived weekly SDKPiL paper ‘Nasza Sprawa’ (Our Cause, running from June until November 1916), stood in elections to the city council as an SDKPiL candidate, regularly spoke at SDKPiL rallies, and all the while remained active in the social-democratic trade unions. Although he was in the ‘zarządowcy’ faction, he did not actively engage in factional disputes, and was in favour of party unity (indeed the entrance of his group into the SDKPiL ultimately helped to bring the two factions closer together). In November 1916, following a number of industrial strikes in the city, the new German authorities began to persecute members and activists of the SDKPiL, PPS-Left and the Bund. Much of the SDKPiL leadership, including Grzech, was arrested and sent to a POW camp in Havelberg. He would return to Warsaw in 1918, following the armistice with Germany and the proclamation of Polish independence. At this point Grzech and the SDKPiL turned their attention to the worker’s councils and the formation of a communist party, in which a Grzechist current soon developed.

Stein-Domski (1883—1937)

Henryk Stein (pseudonyms Leon Domski, Kamieński) was likewise born in 1883 in Warsaw. He was the older brother of Władysław Stein (1886-1937; pseudonyms Antoni, Krajewski). Domski joined the SDKPiL around the age of 21, in 1904. He lived abroad from 1908 to 1915, where in the 1911 split he took the side of the ‘rozłamowcy’ faction and, as one of its main representatives, played a role in furthering sectarian disputes. In 1913 he was present as a delegate at the Poronin Conference of the central committee of the RSDRP, where he and Radek critiqued the resolution on the national question, arguing that the principle of the right of nations to self-determination is harmful to class unity within the Russian Empire and may play into the hands of the nationalists. In March 1914, the SDKPiL in Kraków arranged a talk by Lenin on the national question where members of the PPS, the PPS-Left and other socialist organisations and youth groups were invited. Stein-Domski, together with his brother Stein-Krajewski, once again challenged Lenin – arguing against his call for self-determination. At least one source suggests that Domski, who was in Switzerland at the time, may have also been present at the 1915 Zimmerwald Conference.

With the outbreak of the war, Domski was joined abroad by many other prominent SDKPiL members who left Congress Poland. In 1915 an SDKPiL ‘rozłamowcy’ faction formed in Zürich, with Stein-Domski as one of its leaders. The group moved to Warsaw in the second half of 1915, after Germany took the city from Russia. Once in Poland, between January and November 1916, Stein-Domski became one of the main publicists in ‘Nasza Trybuna’ (Our Tribune; it is also likely he wrote in ‘Gazeta Robotnicza’ – Worker’s Gazette – but the articles in this paper were anonymous). He gave speeches at rallies in Warsaw, participated in social-democratic trade unions and directed socialist educational events (Towarzystwa Szerzenia Wiedzy). Like Grzech, he was arrested in the November 1916 clampdown on socialists in Warsaw, and sent to the camp in Havelberg. By 1918 he was back in now independent Poland and set about forming a communist party.

Between the First and Second Congress of the KPRP (1918-1923)

As is clear from the outline above, both Grzech and Domski were prominent members of the SDKPiL and the socialist movement in Poland. It should come as no surprise then that both were part of the 12 person central committee chosen at the founding congress of the KPRP in December 1918. The left-wing tendency present among certain Polish communists active in Germany, in the Spartakusbund (Luxemburg, Jogiches), and in Russia, around the journal Kommunist (Unszlicht, Radek, Jakub Dolecki), also existed within the party in Poland. What is sometimes known as Luxemburgism constituted the politics of the KPRP for its first few years of existence. This was on the one hand thanks to the revolutionary conditions in Europe favourable to such politics, but at the same time also thanks to the struggles of the left-wing within the party.

The early days of the KPRP were turbulent. Prior to unification the membership of the SDKPiL and the PPS-Left exceeded 5 000 members (although estimates vary by how much). The process of unification was laborious and took months, with people both joining and leaving the newly founded communist party. At the First Congress of the KPRP, after separate conferences of the PPS-Left and the SDKPiL, the structure of the party was established. The highest decision-making body of the party was to be the congress (zjazd) where delegates from all over the country met and at which the executive body, the central committee governing the party between congresses, was elected. If a congress could not be arranged, a conference (konferencja) would be called instead, usually with smaller numbers attending. Both elected to the central committee at the First Congress of the KPRP in 1918, Grzech and Domski shaped its politics at least until 1922.

It was that First Congress which gave the party its early reputation as Luxemburgist. A look at some of its early documents, for example the 1919 ‘Sprawozdanie ze Zjazdu Organizacyjnego KPRP’ (report from the founding congress of the KPRP), provides an interesting picture. In the section titled ‘political platform’ the KPRP outlines how it hopes to persuade the working class to fight directly against capitalism, unmask the true nature of all bourgeois parties, and sharpen everyday class struggle. The party stands for class unity, opposing divisions according to nationality, ethnic origin, or religion. As such, it pledges to combat the PPS and the Bund within the working class movement for their stance on nationalism and autonomy serves to divide the class. The dictatorship of the proletariat is that of local councils of workers’ delegates (soviets) united and centralised into one organism, and not that of the party. The role of the party is to provide the movement with momentum and clarity of goals. In the amendments introduced by the SDKPiL conference at the end of the platform, the influence of Grzech and the ultraleft becomes even clearer. One of the amendments states that currently a ‘nest of opportunism’ is to be found among party and trade union functionaries who, in the name of the working class, only further their own bureaucratic aspirations. Another states that the proletariat has to reject slogans such as ‘independence’ or ‘self-determination’ as bourgeois principles which serve to obscure class consciousness. Within the same 1919 document, a proclamation directed towards the proletariat of Poland has the following to say:

Workers! The Communist Workers’ Party of Poland promises you nothing but gruelling sacrificial struggle, nothing but what the working class alone, in the heat of battle and revolution, can build, consolidate and develop. Only by your own hands can you seize power, only through your own efforts can you topple that old edifice of exploitation and tormenting oppression, to build a society of common ownership and common labour, freedom and the brotherhood of peoples.

Statements such as these were a far cry from the substitutionist, opportunist, and at times nationalist, politics that the KPP would later adopt. But in 1918-19 the party was still involved in soviets. They agitated among the workers, among the unemployed, the army and demobilised soldiers. Already the trade unions under KPRP influence counted around 78 000 members in total. The party boycotted the parliamentary elections in January 1919 – juxtaposing the soviets to the bourgeois Sejm.

This revolutionary and reinvigorating spirit did not last long however. In February 1919, military skirmishes began on the eastern borders of Poland. By July 1919, once the PPS reformists pulled their support and the state established its monopoly, the soviets on Polish territories collapsed. The KPRP was de facto delegalized and condemned as Russian agents for opposing the legitimacy of the Polish state. Repressions soon followed. The party, which grew to some 8 000 members, dramatically decreased in size and its activity was effectively paralysed. Even up to 2 000 members were arrested. By April 1920, following an attack on Kiev by the united forces of Piłsudski and Petliura, a Russian counteroffensive was triggered, turning the conflict into all-out war. The KPRP had to adapt to new circumstances. In July 1920, at the behest of the Bolsheviks, the Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee (Polrewkom), made up of such individuals as Dzierżyński, Marchlewski, Kon and Unszlicht, was established in Białystok in preparation for a Red Army victory. The Polrewkom proved to be contentious – Warsaw communists for example thought that an all-Polish congress of soviets would be convened in Warsaw to carry out the elections. According to Jabłonowski, a KPRP member at the time, during discussions around the subject the favourite for the position of commissar for foreign affairs was actually Grzech. [10] However, with the defeat of the Red Army by October 1920, the Polrewkom was dissolved and Grzech’s prospective nomination amounted to nothing. It did however highlight what other Polish communists would later recall in their memoirs – that Grzech had ‘significant popularity’ in the party, especially in Warsaw. [11]

In August 1920, in preparation for the Second Congress of the Comintern, Grzech, as representative of the central committee, was the author of a document containing instructions for Polish delegates, which he sent to Domski. [12] This fact would give credence to the belief (later held by the opponents of the left in the party) that the two occasionally collaborated. Domski however would not be present at the congress – either because he was not able to attend or because he was prevented from attending. Instead, only Marchlewski, who had close ties with the Bolsheviks, ended up representing the Polish party. At its 1920 conference, the KPRP reinstated its revolutionary politics, while also commenting on the fact it had been driven underground not unlike in the Tsarist years – in response, the organisational aims of the party highlighted the need for developing its democratic character: active and self-sufficient local branches, highest possible participation in local and national decision making, party activity to be carried out by rank and file members rather than paid functionaries, and a call for the revival of the worker’s councils. [13]

However, with defeat after defeat for revolutionary forces in Europe, the prospect of revolution was becoming less likely. The Comintern recognised this at its Third Congress in 1921, when it declared that ‘the first period of the post-war revolutionary movement […] seems in essentials to be over.’ [14] For some communists this became the pretext for adopting a more reformist attitude. Grzech, however, continued to uphold revolutionary principles – in February 1921, at the Second KPRP Conference, he put forward a motion against participation in elections, even though there were no soviets to speak of. He warned how opportunist tendencies tend to benefit from seats in parliament, and argued that an anti-parliamentary line should be fought for within the Comintern as well. He was an internationalist opposed not only to the Polish state and its imperialist behaviour, but also to the nationalist aspirations of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Lithuanians. At this time, Grzech, although critical of the Bolsheviks, still had hopes in the Third International. He contrasted the Bolsheviks, who had become representatives of a state (even if not a bourgeois one), with the internationalist potential of the Comintern.

At the Third KPRP Conference in April 1922, as a gradual rightward drift within the party and its leadership was setting in, there were attempts to revise some previous policies. Three different currents crystallised at the time – one, represented by Warski and Koszutska, with Comintern backing, argued in favour of the united front and for land distribution among the peasants. A left-wing current around Grzech opposed the united front and favoured land collectivisation against any compromises to the peasants – ‘in terms reminiscent of the earlier polemics of Rosa Luxemburg against Lenin and the Bolsheviks, the Grzechists emphasized the purely working-class character of the KPRP.’ [15] A third moderate current was represented by Stein-Krajewski, who did not oppose the united front in theory but found it difficult to introduce in the Polish context (unless as a united front from below), and Julian Brun, who thought decisions regarding the agrarian question in either direction were premature. Because of their support for early party policies, the Grzechists were accused of dogmatism. Grzech also received criticism for voicing his opposition to the NEP, which he saw as another compromise by Lenin, and for allegedly saying the Russian party had a negative influence on the Comintern. [16] The right managed to make progress on united front policy, but failed regarding the agrarian question. The change in course for the KPRP was well exemplified when in the November 1922 elections the party stood in elections as the ZPMiW. Turnout was 68%, with the ZPMiW receiving around 121 000 votes, amounting to about 1.5%. Grzech and Domski of course opposed the decision to stand, arguing that the electoral front should be dismantled.

Starting in August 1922, a theoretical attack on Grzech was instigated in the party paper ‘Nowy Przegląd’ (New Review). In the article ‘W sprawach partyjnych’, written by Warski and published in multiple parts over multiple issues, the author laments the fact that, although the party has come closer to the positions of the Comintern at the Third Conference, regarding the united front, parliamentarism and partial demands, it still has not overcome its ‘left-wing infantile disorder’. Warski takes special issue with Grzech’s refusal to cooperate with other workers’ parties, his opposition to the NEP, and for sticking to old tactics from the 1918-19 period. He labels the Grzechists as ‘our KAPDists’, ‘metaphysicians’ who do not adapt to reality, ‘a pseudo-revolutionary current’ that uses ‘anarcho-syndicalist expressions’, etc. Warski concludes that this ultraleft current in the Polish party is alien to the Comintern. It appears that, at least in ‘Nowy Przegląd’, Grzech did not reply to the accusations. His conduct in the following months however shows he did consider the right-wing within the party to be a threat.

In November 1922, at the Fourth Congress of the Comintern, Emanuel Vajtauer, Ruth Fischer, Jean Duret, Amadeo Bordiga and Domski (who this time did attend) all expressed scepticism or outright disagreement with the united front and the new call for a ‘workers’ government’ slogan. For this they came under criticism from the ECCI. At the congress, Warski (under the pseudonym Michałkowski) also complained about a ‘KAP-type current’ in the KPRP which:

advocates positions counterposed to those of the Party on the Communist Party’s character and role, the use of parliamentary elections, the united-front tactic, and finally on the policies of the Soviet government and the role of the Russian Communist Party as a ruling party that also leads the Communist International. This current takes positions of a KAP-type on all these questions. [17]

Domski, proving he was not quite the ultraleftist portrayed by his opponents, replied by saying that it is ‘slander’ to suggest that the KPRP ‘would supposedly tolerate for years the presence of KAPDers’. However, he continued, that while he does not disagree with the united front tactic in theory, he does not believe it can currently be applied in Poland (approaching a similar position to that of his brother’s), and likewise criticised the slogan of ‘worker’s government’, arguing that instead communists should continue ‘to focus on the struggle for proletarian dictatorship’.

A speech by Koszutska, during her later factional disputes with Domski, sheds light on who the KAPD label refers to; Koszutska recalls how she ‘fought resolutely against the views of Comrade Ślusarski [Grzech], who in fact sided with the KAPD.’ [18] It is difficult to say what the relationship between Grzech and the KAPD actually was. In contrast to Koszutska, Warski actually says that Grzech did not hear or read KAPD arguments, and that while the two currents said similar things they were not actually aware of each other. [19] Grzech also had the dubious honour of being mentioned by Zinoviev at the Fourth Congress:

The Polish comrades also gave me a speech by Comrade Ślusarski [Grzech], a representative of the Polish opposition, who, unfortunately, did not take the floor. Comrade Domski told me personally not to confuse him with Comrade Ślusarski and not to think their positions are the same. Comrade Ślusarski said the following in his speech to the party conference:

When Comrade Lenin says, 'We will not retreat another step', I gladly believe that this is his sincere intention. But unfortunately that is impossible. The real dictator of Russia is the peasant.

We face the question of the Communist International's relationship to this policy. The Soviet Russia seeks to use all means to buttress its policy. In this regard, the social mediators and opportunists can exert great influence on government policy. The united-front tactic creates contact with the opportunists and makes it possible for them to exercise this influence. [20]

Zinoviev of course called these the ‘worst accusations that can be raised against the Soviet government.’ Furthermore, in order to delegitimise Domski, Zinoviev came close to not only accusing him of sympathising with Grzech, but also of nationalism for disagreeing that socialism could be brought to Poland by ‘the bayonets of the Soviet government’ (at the time of the Polish–Soviet war Domski was one of those who argued that it was up to the Polish proletariat to carry out its own revolution).

It was also at the Fourth Congress that Grzech’s confidence in the Comintern was shattered. He filed a complaint regarding the leadership of the KPRP, accusing it of ‘opportunism and liquidationism’. For Grzech it was clear that adopting certain tactics – such as the united front, the ‘worker-peasant alliance’, revising the relationship with the PPS, participating in bourgeois elections, etc. – will inevitably water down the communist content of the KPRP. The party might grow in membership, but will achieve this through opportunism and by abandoning its revolutionary character. To him, the Polish leadership who stood at the helm of this process (mostly former PPS-Left members) were guilty of liquidationism. A special Comintern committee was formed to examine the complaint, which rejected it as an unjustified accusation. This was of course no surprise as the ECCI and the Russian leadership actively pursued the very same policies that Grzech opposed. Grzech, no longer on the KPRP central committee, now failed to receive backing from the International as well. To the accusations of dogmatism, he was also labelled a sectarian for flaming up old divisions between the PPS-Left and the SDKPiL, which in his view were never resolved. And so in Polish historiography Grzech became known as the ‘dogmatic-sectarian’.

Unlike Grzech, Domski has left more available documents outlining his views from the early period of the KPRP. One of these is the 1923 article ‘Niektóre zagadnienia taktyczne’. [21] In it, Domski talks about revisionism within the Comintern, produced by a current period of reaction and how, while past conditions created KAPDist errors, the new ones resurrect Menshevism. Domski goes on to analyse how the ways in which certain tactics get applied, such as the united front, partial demands, and the return of the minimum programme, are really the signs of neo-Menshevism and reformism. Instead of the united front which makes the Third International more and more like the Second International, he proposes the united font from below; instead of partial demands, he proposes taking part in everyday struggles but always under the banner of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Domski states that while political manoeuvring, such as the Brest-Litovsk treaty or the NEP, is appropriate for a party in power like the Bolsheviks, for parties still fighting for the revolution, the same tactics only end up degenerating into opportunism. Was this course of argumentation ultraleftism of the KAPD kind? Domski’s enemies did not care for nuance – in an article from the same issue, picking up on Warski’s notion of an ‘alien current’ in the party, Brand attacks both Grzech and Domski by claiming they have more in common with the Fourth International of the KAPD than the Comintern. Brand concludes that for spreading insinuations against the Russian party the leftists should be treated as an enemy within, and so, as it is implied, purged. [22] These theoretical attacks on Grzech and Domski were eventually used to denounce their supposed ultraleft current, and to prepare for their isolation.

Lenartowicz proudly recalls how the Grzechists were finally crushed at the Second Congress of the KPRP in September 1923, following attacks from both the leadership and allegedly the rank and file. [23] The congress took place in Bolshevo, in the USSR, rather than in Poland, which likely contributed to the nature of the proceedings. Grzech was condemned for ‘ultraleft-sectarianism’ and for opposing the mass party approach in favour of ‘active minorities’. It was there and then that the KPRP officially changed its stance on the agrarian question towards the ‘worker-peasant alliance’, embraced the slogan of ‘land for the peasants’ and the right of nations to self-determination. Stein-Domski was present at the congress and stood in opposition to some of these changes. According to Lenartowicz, Domski accused Lenin of contributing to the spread of nationalism in countries such as Poland and Finland with the slogan of self-determination. For this he, like Grzech, was also strongly criticised by party leadership and lost his position on the central committee. And so, at the Second Congress, the party finally abandoned classical Luxemburgist positions in favour of official Leninism. At the time the KPRP had around 5 000 members, gradually recovering its numbers following initial state repression. As Grzech and Domski were no longer in the central committee, the 3Ws – Adolf *W*arski, Maria Koszutska (pseudonym *W*era Kostrzewa) and Maksymilian Horwitz (pseudonym Henryk *W*alecki) – solidified their position as the leadership of the party. A Politburo was formed within the party to weaken the opposition and make sure Comintern policies are followed and enacted.

After its interventions in the KPRP and the Comintern failed to halt the rightward drift, and with its main theorist dismissed, the Grzechist current seems to disappear in 1923. Since a full list of the Grzechists does not exist, we cannot trace what happened to each of its adherents. Grzech himself, knowing at least five different languages, found a job in the Soviet foreign commerce industry, which allowed him to work across multiple European cities and to eventually settle in the USSR in 1926. Stein-Domski however would have one more go at altering the political course of the KPRP.

Bolshevisation (1924-1926)

Years 1923-26 were a period of crisis for the KPRP. After an unsuccessful uprising in Kraków, in which the party failed to make an intervention, doubts began to arise regarding the tactics of the leadership of the 3Ws. This, coupled with controversies within the Comintern around the Left Opposition and Stalin, which spilled over to the affiliated parties, created an atmosphere of uncertainty among the ranks. In February 1924, a group of Polish communists in Berlin, led by Domski and Leński, published a document in the German press of the KPD in which they criticised the leadership of the 3Ws and resolutions of the Second Congress of the KPRP (the one that got rid of Grzech and Domski). In ‘O kryzysie w KPRP i najbliższych zadaniach partii’, the Berlin Four accused the 3Ws of opportunism, ‘right-wing Menshevism’ and lack of revolutionary resolve regarding the Kraków insurrection. In July 1924, at the Fifth Congress of the Comintern, Stalin joined the chorus by condemning the Polish leadership for their soft stance on the Trotskyites and the Brandlerites and called the party to ‘reorganise its central committee at the forthcoming congress or conference.’ [24] Bankrupt within the party and viewed with suspicion by the Comintern, the 3Ws were removed from leadership – in January 1925, the Third Congress of the KPRP chose a new central committee with a ‘leftist’ provisional secretariat (Tymczasowy Sekretariat KC KPRP). In the vacuum left behind by the 3Ws, Domski, Unszlicht-Osińska and Leński managed to climb the party hierarchy, with the latter becoming general secretary. As recommended by Domski, the new leadership rejected a number of decisions of the Second Congress (namely, the united front and some of the agrarian policies). At the same time however, the KPRP was undergoing the process of ‘Bolshevisation’ – the party now became known as the KPP. By removing the term ‘workers’ from its name, according to Comintern standards, the party symbolically opened itself to non-proletarian elements, especially the peasants.

At this point it might be worth making a distinction between the Domski of 1920 and the Domski of 1925, who revised some of his previous positions. [25] He now voiced his support for so-called revolutionary parliamentarism and the slogan of ‘land for the peasants’, rejected the old SDKPiL stance on the national question as no longer relevant and embraced ‘Bolshevisation’. Nevertheless, this still put him on the left of the party, which, if anything, highlights just how far the political line of the KPRP shifted to the right in only a couple of years. In 1924, following his time at the Fifth Congress of the Comintern, Domski was impressed with the Italian lefts and called Bordiga ‘one of the outstanding figures in the International.’ [26] Statements like these meant that people like Karolski continued to discredit Domski as an ultraleftist. [27] However, it is aspects such as the ‘Bolshevisation’ of the party that highlight the problematic position of Domski. It was a double edged sword – in the process of factional squabbles within the Russian party and the extension of the influence of the Russian party over Comintern affiliates, Domski was able to climb the leadership. But soon he fell victim to the same methods.

In November 1925, at the Fourth Conference of the KPP, which took place in Moscow, representatives of the Comintern condemned Domski for not stamping down on instances of individual terror [28] and for not applying the ‘correct’ Leninist approach to certain party policies. Domski’s group, once again criticised for ultraleft deviations, and for backing the wrong factions in the International (Maslow, Fischer, Treint) was then removed from leadership after only a few months in power. The party reverted back to the policies adopted at the Second Congress. In the documents from the Sixth Enlarged Plenum of the ECCI in 1926, we find the following note:

Domski (who had on the recommendation of the ECCI replaced Warski as leader of the Polish CP after the fifth Comintern congress, but had been removed from the central committee following an ECCI resolution of 28 July 1925 condemning Polish support of the ultra-lefts in Germany [Maslow, Fischer] and France [Treint]) attended the plenum, though not as a delegate. There, while admitting the ultra-left errors of the Polish central committee, he pointed to the advances that had been made. [29]

At the same plenum, this statement regarding the crises in the Polish, German and Italian parties was made by the ECCI:

Lominadze thought Zinoviev had dealt too lightly with the mistakes of the Maslow-Fischer group. The ultra-left crises in the German, Italian, and Polish parties were connected with the crisis in the CPSU. The Fischer group had hinted at 'kulak deviations' in the Russian central committee, as the opposition in Leningrad were now doing. The ECCI had saved these three parties from catastrophe, but if the discussion in the Russian party were carried over into the Comintern catastrophe could not be avoided. He therefore proposed that there should be no discussion of the CPSU crisis in other parties. [30]

The process of Domski’s rise and fall was very reminiscent to that of Maslow and Fischer in Germany. In both cases the change of personnel followed failed uprisings (Hamburg and Kraków 1923). In both cases it was a result of ‘tactical changes forced upon the Russian leadership and by a struggle for control raging within the Russian party.’ [31] In both cases, the new leaders were soon removed. For the KPP this meant the return of the 3Ws, who, now as the ‘większościowcy’ faction, led the party until 1929. They resisted Stalinisation, but in reality let it in through the back door in their attempts to Bolshevise the party in the early 1920s. In May 1926, their opportunism was made manifest when they supported the Piłsudski coup hoping for a ‘Polish Kerensky’, but what they got instead was a military dictatorship hostile to the left and the workers’ movement. In 1929, the ‘mniejszościowcy’ faction, led by Leński and backed by Stalin, took control of the KPP. In the following years the party undeniably grew in size – in 1934 it had over 10 300 members (17 000 if counting the Belarusian and Ukrainian sections, 33 000 if we also include all the youth sections) – however, more than 30% of the KPP (and even up to 70-80% of the Belarusian and Ukrainian sections) was made up of peasants, making it the most ‘peasant party’ out of all the communist parties in Europe. [32] KPP influence also increased within the trade unions, in significant part thanks to a popular front with the PPS. This is what characterised the KPP in its final era: popular frontism, social-patriotism, endorsement of Polish independence and support for the reactionary politics of the Soviet Union. The KPP became what its original left-wing warned against. And soon after that, the whole party was terminated by the very clique in Russia that it swore its loyalty to.

Concluding notes

Losing favour in both the KPP and the Comintern signalled the end of Domski’s party career. By 1926, he and some of his associates moved to Russia, which in effect meant the end of their KPP career. Domski did not stop his political activity however. According to Hass, in 1927, Regina Budzyńska, Unszlicht-Osińska and Domski, all previously involved in some way with the ‘leftist’ provisional secretariat of 1925, signed the Declaration of the Eighty-Four. [33] That same year, Domski and Unszlicht-Osińska also apparently signed the Platform of the Joint Opposition. As such, there was some connection between Domski and the Trotskyist opposition, which may even go back to 1923 when one of the Warsaw party circles allegedly backed Trotsky, possibly thanks to Domski. Certainly some Polish Trotskyists were later influenced by Domski – in 1927 a Polish Faction of Trotskyists (Polska Frakcja Trockistów) wrote a statement against Stalinist repression (‘Słowo o Wewnętrznych Wrogach Komunizmu’) and opposed the treatment of Domski by the Russian leadership. The group disappeared soon after however. But the Trotskyists were more successful at regrouping than the original left-wing of the KPRP. In 1931, a proper Trotskyist faction within the KPP was formed and a year later kicked out leading to the formation of their own group – KPP Opposition (Opozycja KPP). In 1934 this group changed its name to the Union of Communist Internationalists of Poland (Związek Komunistów-Internacjonalistów Polski) and attempted to take part in building the Trotskyist Fourth International. Other KPP members who managed to regroup after coming into conflict with party leadership were those who went on to join the Anarchist Federation of Poland founded in 1926. [34] Unlike the German KAPD or the Italian Left, the original left-wing of the KPRP was never able or willing to regroup itself, its political tradition was lost and the 1930s proved particularly bleak for its militants.

Grzech who lived in Russia since 1926, was, as far as is known, no longer politically active. Nevertheless, already in 1934 he was arrested by the NKVD and put in prison on false charges. He most likely died in 1937. Domski was arrested in 1937 and died the same year as well. Not only the left of the KPRP had to face executions or death in prisons however, for the same fate was shared by most KPP members who were unlucky enough to be in Russia at the time. Out of the original central committee of 12 that formed the KPRP, only Franciszek Fiedler survived the purges. [35] Even Leński, the former left who later led the Stalinist ‘mniejszościowcy’ faction, perished.

In 1956, following de-Stalinisation in the Eastern Bloc, members of the KPP were posthumously rehabilitated. Books about the repressed history of the KPP, and its destruction on Stalin’s orders, began to be published. Still entangled in the dogmatic language of the regime however, historiography was not kind to the left-wing of the party either. Accusations of ‘sectarianism’, ‘dogmatism’, of being ‘anti-democratic’, ‘anti-Leninist’ etc., are repeated even in allegedly academic works from the period 1956-1989. All the existing information about the current is scattered over multiple books, pamphlets and party documents, and has mostly been compiled by its political opponents. Of course today there is little interest in uncovering that history either. English sources are scarce too – one may point out a chapter on the international communist left by Dauvé and Authier, and a thesis by Kowalski, both of which mention the early left-wing politics of the party, but do not actually identify the Grzechist current by name or any of its adherents. [36] There is also an article by Szafar on the emergence of the KPRP, and a book by Simoncini on the early history of the party, both of which do briefly mention the Grzechists. [37] Not much else. And so information regarding the existence of these currents is limited – this is especially true of Grzech, but a bit less so of Domski, who at least to some degree has been embraced by contemporary Trotskyists.

We should also be careful with some of the ways in which the ultra-left label has been applied to Grzech and Domski (in many cases meant as slander). Dauvé and Martin provide a working definition of the ultra-left for comparison:

What is the ultra-left? It is both the product and one of the aspects of the revolutionary movement which followed the First World War and shook capitalist Europe without destroying it from 1917 to 1921 or 1923. Ultra-left ideas are rooted in that movement of the twenties, which was the expression of hundreds of thousands of revolutionary workers in Europe. That movement remained a minority in the Communist International and opposed the general line of the international communist movement. The term suggests the character of the ultra-left. There is the right (the social-patriots, Noske...), the centre (Kautsky...), the left (Lenin and the Communist International), and the ultra-left. The ultra-left is primarily an opposition […] it asserts itself through a critique of the prevailing ideas of the communist movement, i.e., through a critique of Leninism. [38]

While this definition is still a bit imprecise since it very much rests on what one means by ‘Leninism’, it does provide us with a timeline. The Berlin Four does not fit it – it formed after 1923 and asserted its ‘Leninism’, but Leński turned out to be a Stalinist, while Unszlicht-Osińska and Domski aligned with the United Opposition. The Domski of the 1918-1923 period approaches Dauvé and Martin's definition, even if he later rejected the ultraleft label. He would instead see himself as part of an ‘international Leninist left’, as did most of the Italian Left at that time, and, at least according to his opponents, at one point belonged to the same bloc in the International as Bordiga. What about the Grzechists? Their unwavering refusal to participate in bourgeois parliaments and united fronts, their staunch internationalism – all in the period 1918-1923 – put them in conflict with the official Comintern line. Indeed, possibly the only difference which distinguished them from left communists of other countries was that they were less critical of trade union activity (although still primarily active within red unions). For their principled opposition to the national degeneration within the Comintern, the Polish party and the Soviet state, it would not be a stretch to recognise the Grzechists, and Domski even though he later revised some of his early positions, as an ultraleft tendency, and certainly the closest equivalent to a historical communist left current in Poland. As victims of a brutal period of reaction, history has not been kind to them, so it is all the more important to at least remember and understand their attempts at preventing the degeneration of the international communist movement of the early 1920s..

Dyjbas,

December 2015

Photo at top: 1919 May day demonstration in Łódź, under a KPRP banner.

Footnotes

[1] The re-creation of an independent Polish state was a gradual and localised process that lasted months, if not years. In November 1916, after Germany occupied territories formerly under Russian control, it set up a puppet state called the Kingdom of Poland. In September 1917, a Regency Council manned by Poles was formed to administer the area. Following a number of military defeats for Austro-Hungary and Germany, and revolution in Russia, a power vacuum was created in which multiple forces on Polish territories could compete for power. On 7 October 1918, the Regency Council declared Polish independence, and elected a government in Warsaw initially headed by Józef Świeżyński. On 28 October, a provisional government, the Polish Liquidation Committee, was formed in Kraków, headed by Wincenty Witos. In November, worker’s councils sprang up in multiple regions, some calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat. On 7 November, another provisional government was formed, based in Lublin and headed by Ignacy Daszyński, a PPS member. Finally, on 11 November, the Regency Council declared Józef Piłsudski Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army and tasked him with creating a single coalition government (Piłsudski, a former PPS member, was the creator of the Polish Military Organisation and the Polish Legions). A process of centralisation followed, in which the Daszyński government, the Polish Liquidation Committee, and the PPS dominated councils passed power onto Piłsudski. First parliamentary elections were held in January 1919. During the next few years, however, elected governments experienced crisis after crisis, and in 1926 Piłsudski, who wished for stability and still had a large influence in the military, carried out a coup. He remained a military dictator until his death in 1935.

[2] Workers’ councils in Poland began to form around November 1918. Organisations active within them included: SDKPiL, PPS-Left, KPRP, PPS, Bund, Poaley Syjon, National Workers' Union (Narodowy Związek Robotniczy, NZW). The most radical councils, like in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, coordinated with factory committees and set up their own Red Guard units after disarming government forces and the retreating occupant troops. Cautious of their revolutionary potential, some factions withdrew from the councils (e.g. the PPS and the NZW). The PPS, attempting to further reduce the influence of the communists and prevent the emergence of a national congress of councils, formed their own pro-government councils in certain areas in order to split the working class. The new state saw the councils as a threat, on occasion government forces attacked the councils directly, arresting their leaders, and attempting to disarm the workers. By July 1919 – faced with repression, declining enthusiasm, economic destitution, and obstruction and lockouts by factory owners – the council movement faded away.

[3] N. Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present, pp. 133-134

[4] J. Marcus, H. Strauss (ed.), Hostages of Modernization: Austria, Hungary, Poland, Russia, p. 1093

[5] Little is known about the precise way that the Grzechists functioned, how many or who exactly belonged to the group. It is also difficult to say how formal and organised they were, and whether they could be characterised as an actual faction within the party. There was certainly some overlap between the group that originally joined the SDKPiL together with Grzech, and the future Grzechists.

[6] J. Kasprzakowa, Maria Koszutska, p. 230

[7] ‘Odezwa SDKPiL, PPS-Lewicy i Bundu z 2 VIII 1914, Do proletariatu Polski’, English version: libcom.org

[8] The group was led by Kowalski-Grzech, Włodzimierz Dąbrowski, Lucyna Baranowska and Abram Wajcblum-Karolski. Grzech married Lucyna Baranowska in 1916 (the marriage did not last too long – in 1926 he married someone else). Baranowska (1895-1935?) worked as a teacher, joined the PPS-Left in 1913, and in 1916, together with Grzech, moved to the SDKPiL. From 1918 a member of the KPRP, she was present at its First Congress and Third Conference. She was a Grzechist. Moved to the USSR in the 1920s, was arrested around 1935, and died sometime that year.

[9] In 1911 the SDKPiL split into two factions: the ‘zarządowcy’ (those who backed ‘Zarząd Główny’, the SDKPiL executive in Berlin) and ‘rozłamowcy’ (splitters) who disagreed with the tactics of the centre. The ‘rozłamowcy’ eventually began to publish their own paper ‘Nasza Trybuna’ (1915-1918), and in a few months the ‘zarządowcy’ followed suit with ‘Nasza Sprawa’ (1916). The conflict resonated on the international level, as the ‘zarządowcy’ were closer to the left of the SPD, while ‘rozłamowcy’ to the Bolsheviks. Out of the more famous SDKPiL members, Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogiches took the side of ‘zarządowcy’, while Karl Radek of the ‘rozłamowcy’. This divide would later contribute to the so-called ‘Radek affair’ – a peculiar incident in which Radek was accused of stealing resources from the party and expelled by the SDKPiL executive in 1912. An issue emerged of whether an expelled member of one of the Second International’s affiliates could still be a member of a different affiliate. Luxemburg, Jogiches and Marchlewski wanted Radek out of the SPD. Lenin, Trotsky, Pannekoek and Liebknecht, who all thought this was a politically motivated attack on Radek for his support of the SDKPiL splitters, opposed the decision. In the end, with the outbreak of war and the collapse of the Second International, the matter was never completely resolved.

[10] R. Jabłonowski, Wspomnienia: 1905-1928, p. 259

[11] M. Kamińska, Ścieżkami wspomnień, p. 206

[12] W. Kowalski-Grzech, ‘Instrukcja KC dla delegatów polskich na III Międzynarodówkę’, 1920

[13] KC KPRP, ‘Pierwsza Konferencja KPRP’, 1920

[14] L. Trotsky, ‘Theses of the Third World Congress on the International Situation and the Tasks of the Comintern’, 1921

[15] T. Szafar, The Origins of the Communist Party in Poland 1918-1921

[16] A. Warski, ‘Gdzie jest prawica?’, Nowy Przegląd, 23-4, 1927

[17] J. Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922

[18] M. Koszutska, ‘Spineless people are dangerous’, World Marxist Review, Vol. 32

[19] A. Warski, ‘W sprawach partyjnych’, Nowy Przegląd, no. 5, 1922

[20] J. Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front, p. 284

[21] L. Domski, ‘Niektóre zagadnienia taktyczne’, Nowy Przegląd, 9, 1923

[22] E. Brand, ‘Czas skończyć z obcym kierunkiem’, Nowy Przegląd, 9, 1923

[23] A. Lenartowicz, Na II Zjeździe KPRP

[24] J. Stalin, The Communist Party of Poland (July, 1924)

[25] See for example L. Domski, ‘Przełom w Międzynarodówce i Jego przyczyny’, Nowy Przegląd, no. 14, 1925.

[26] L. Domski, ‘Z obrad V Kongresu’, Nowy Przegląd, no. 12, 1924

[27] A. Karolski, ‘Czem jest ultralewica’, Nowy Przegląd, 17, 1926

[28] In years 1922-25, the KPRP was seriously infiltrated by the state, with police agents and informants entering party structures. Police agents who were exposed were often sentenced to death by local party structures. The KPRP lapsed into individual terror – special battle units were formed, the ‘Oddział Bojowy KPRP’, which consisted of armed squads that would carry out the sentences. More self-defence units were formed in years 1924-25. Predictably, the state often retaliated by hunting down KPRP members, resulting in shootouts and losses on both sides.

[29] ‘The sixth enlarged plenum of the ECCI’, January 1926 in: in: J. Degras (ed.), Communist International 1923-1928: Documents

[30] ‘Extracts from the Resolution of the sixth ECCI plenum on the German question’, March 1926, in: J. Degras (ed.), Communist International 1923-1928: Documents

[31] P. Mattick, Stalin and German Communism

[32] H. Cimek, 'Wpływy organizacyjne partii rewolucyjnych na wsi w Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej', Zeszyty Nukowe WSP w Rzeszowie

[33] L. Hass, ‘Trockizm w Polsce do 1945 r.’

[34] Involved in the foundation of the Anarchist Federation of Poland in 1926 was the carpenter Józef Golędzinowski (1895-1943), former SDKPiL and KPP member, and secretary of the Union of Wood Industry Workers (Związek Robotników Przemysłu Drzewnego). Attacked by government thugs in 1927, he fled to the Soviet Union, but in 1937 was arrested and either executed or died in prison. In 1928 there was apparently a small split in the KPP and the Union of Communist Youth, with some joining the AFP as well. See section ‘Organizacje’ in: P. L. Marek, Na krawędzi życia. Wspomnienia anarchisty 1943-44

[35] It is not known what happened to Henryk Iwiński.

[36] G. Dauvé, D. Authier, The Communist Left in Germany 1918-1921; R. Kowalski, The Development of ‘Left Communism’ Until 1921: Soviet Russia, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania

[37] T. Szafar, The Origins of the Communist Party in Poland 1918-1921; G. Simoncini, The Communist Party of Poland, 1918-1929

[38] G. Dauvé and F. Martin, Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement

Additional sources:

A. Czubiński, Komunistyczna Partia Polski (1918-1938)

B. Radlak, SDKPiL w latach 1914-1917

H. Cimek, L. Kieszczyński, Komunistyczna Partia Polski 1918-1938

J. Jakubowski, ‘Nasza Sprawa: tygodnik SDKPiL (3 VI-4 XI 1916)’

J. Maciszewski (ed.), Tragedia Komunistycznej Partii Polski

J. Sobczak, E. Tomaszewski, Walka o dominacje marksizmu w polskim ruchu robotniczym

K. Trembicka, ‘Poglądy Komunistycznej Partii Polski w kwestii władzy państwowej’, ‘Komunistyczna Partia Robotnicza Polski wobec wojny polsko-radzieckiej w latach 1919-1920’

M. Kasprzak, ‘Nationalism and Internationalism: Theory and Practice of Marxist Nationality Policy from Marx and Engels to Lenin and the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland’

T. Feder, Adolf Warski

W. Konopczyński (ed.), Polski słownik biograficzny, v. 14

Z. Zaporowski, ‘Komunistyczna Partia Polski wobec parlamentaryzmu’

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Comments

This article certainly contains a mass of historical data, with very many references to individual members of what might be broadly considered to have been of the 'communist left' in Poland. Is there any data about what they did, for or against the war to defeat the forces of Hitler ? Did any of them fight together for the Red Army, for instance against pro-nazi Ukrainian nationalists ? Is anything known of any 'communist left' in concentration camps ?

No. All of the Polish left communists mentioned in this text were killed during Stalin's purges.

Thank you, Dyjbas, for your reply.