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What happened? After a period of great difficulties the old ruling classes hoisted themselves back into the saddle with the help of the great Marxist 28 Karl Korsch party of the Second International, the SPD. It was quite clear that the determinist formulae of the 'orthodox' Marxists of the Second International were seriously at fault. In the heat of battle, they had, as Korsch saw it, not only been passive in leading their own supporters into the struggle for practical socialist measures, but also in many cases had proved to be in the front ranks of the defenders of the old regime.

They each have quite a different conception of the relation between politics and economics, and of the 'transition period' between capitalism and socialism. The question to which Marx primarily addressed himself in his Critique of the Gotha Programme was that of the state. After the overthrow of capitalist society, and before the achievement of communist society, there is 'a political transition period in which, the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. 69 Thus Korsch views even a different kind of state as not much of an improvement.

97 But he was not yet concerned with such philosophical questions. His immediate concern was with the political problems facing the socialisation movement. In a somewhat different form, these were the subject of his next major work, Arbeitsrecht fur Betriebsriite (Labour Law for Factory Councils), which is discussed in the next chapter. 13 3 Labour Lawfor Factory Councils The second phase of Korsch's writings on the struggle by the working class for direct control over production concerns the factory councils (Betriebsrate) rather than the more broadly based workers' councils (Arbeiterrate).

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