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From the Resolution of the First Party Conference of the SED (January 28, 1949)

On January 28, 1949, the first party conference of the SED advocated the further development of the SED into a Leninist-Stalinist cadre party with centralized leadership by a Politburo and strict party discipline. The formal equality that had previously existed between KPD and SPD functionaries no longer applied. In its political goals and ideological orientation, the SED was to follow the Soviet model without reservations.

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IV. The Development of the SED into a “new type of party”

1. The huge tasks facing the working people of Germany make it necessary to make up for the great historical failure of the German workers’ movement and to develop the SED into a new type of party.

The merger of the KPD and the SPD to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany was the most significant occurrence in the recent history of the German workers’ movement. The union has proved of value – this is evidenced by the successes in the democratic development of the Eastern Zone. This is also evidenced by the ideological unity and cohesiveness of the party, which were achieved during the nearly three years since unification.

It must be stated self-critically that the struggle for ideological clarity within the party after the unification was not carried on actively enough. In particular, the important step towards ideological clarification taken by the second party assembly was not sufficiently analysed within the party as a whole. There were also serious weaknesses in the ideological struggle which encouraged certain elements to undertake attempts to turn the SED into an opportunistic party of the western type. These attempts were assisted by the class enemy using its Schumacher agency to send spies and agents into the ranks of our party with the task of creating anti-Soviet and nationalistic tendencies and attitudes within the SED.

The danger thus raised was averted when the party committee at its 11th assembly in June 1948 took a decisive turn and linked the task of developing the SED into a party of the new type to the acceptance of the Two-Year-Plan. This work was continued in the 12th and 13th assemblies of the party committee and in particular the question of the ideological struggle was brought to the forefront of party activity. It has been shown by the party discussion which followed the 13th assembly, in which a series of fundamental questions were settled (our relationship to the Soviet Union, to Marxism-Leninism, the path to socialism, the false theory of a special German path, the degeneration of the Yugoslavian leadership, the alliance with the farming population, the role of the party, the importance and aims of work in factory groups, etc.), that the party has already achieved a high theoretical standard and far-reaching ideological unity. The differences in opinion which were resolved showed that the previous ideological difference between communists and social democrats has largely disappeared and that the party has many new members who belonged to neither of the old parties. Party discussion and practical party work have proved that the hitherto obtaining parity principle in filling all major positions has outlived its usefulness and has become an impediment to the effective deployment of members.

The party discussion has also made clear that we are on the way to becoming a party of the new type, that is a campaigning Marxist-Leninist party.

[2.] The characteristics of a party of the new type are:

The Marxist-Leninist party is the conscious vanguard of the working class. That is, it must be a workers’ party which primarily has in its ranks the best elements of the working class, who are constantly heightening their class consciousness. The party can only fulfil its role as the vanguard of the proletariat if it has mastered Marxist-Leninist theory, which gives it insight into the laws of development of society. Therefore the first task in the development of the SED into a party of the new type is the political and ideological education of the membership and particularly of the office-bearers in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism.

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