Heinrich Mertens – We Are Revolutionary Socialists (August 1930)

[From a speech by Heinrich Mertens, the editor of Das Rote Blatt der Katholischen Sozialisten, at the fifth Congress of the Bund der Religiösen Sozialisten in August 1930.]

You would severely misunderstand us Catholic Socialists if you wanted to assign us in some way to the “right wing” of Social Democracy. We do not see it as our task to bring in a bourgeois churchgoing into the socialist movement in order to increase the appeal to the bourgeois circles of workers, salaried staff and officials or even the farmers and the middle class. We are convinced that for every true socialist, regardless of where they come from, the most profound break with the bourgeois life and intellectual world is essential. What will remain alive and must remain alive in socialism, is in its innermost nature not tied to any historical epoch or social structure but what was given to “the human being absolutely”. We believe in religion, in the revelation of God through Christ; we do not believe in the hardened, rigid forms of Christianity, which are influenced by the “circumstances”, the socio-economic conditions, of every era.

We are revolutionary socialists. And we want complete socialism, which is not possible without Karl Marx. Here again we want Karl Marx in his ownmost achievement, which survives today in dialectical materialism; we want real Marxism, which has not been dulled and corrupted by scientific and philosophical materialisms. In this sense we profess ourselves as Marxists. That should be said at this juncture in order to take away the grounds for all misunderstandings, in Social Democracy as well.

[Translated by R. V.]