In a word: our principles are ours, but their application to life, political tactics, depends on the respective political and economic conditions and needs and is determined for the most part by the conduct of those who hold power and the other parties.
What this means is that our tactics today cannot be the same as during the State of Emergency. Even then we did not give up parliamentary activity and participation in the politics of the day; except that the primary tasks of the party at that time had to lie in the most relentless, ruthless opposition to the government, which was placing us in principle outside of the law and was intent on destroying us politically and personally, hence there could be only war with the government, not negotiations. Today, the situation is different. To be sure, the government has not given up the struggle against us. But this is no longer the barbaric war of annihilation; instead, they have recognized us as a belligerent power and are engaged in an orderly quarrel with us, in which we can achieve substantial successes through our abilities. [ . . . ]
Source: Georg von Vollmar, Über die naechsten Aufgaben der deutschen Sozialdemokratie. Zwei Reden gehalten am 1. Juni und 6. Juli im "Eldorado" zu München [On the Next Tasks of German Social Democracy. Two Speeches held on 1. June and 6. July in the “Eldorado” in Munich]. Munich: Ernst, 1891, p. 5 f.
Original German text also reprinted in Rüdiger vom Bruch and Björn Hofmeister, eds., Kaiserreich und Erster Weltkrieg 1871-1918 [Wilhelmine Germany and the First World War, 1871-1918]. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, vol. 8. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 2000, pp. 218-20.
Translation: Thomas Dunlap