The Society of Proletarian Free Thinkers

Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 23, 2010

The Freidenkerbewegung [Free Thinkers’ Movement], with over a million members, was split in numerous different directions because in most cases the political parties were able to make their influence felt. However, the Free Thinkers’ Movement united the proletariat across all party lines against the powerful influence of the church, and from 1927/1928 onwards syndicalists were increasingly engaged in opposition to the machinations of the church through the Society of Proletarian Free Thinkers (GpF). In place of Confirmations they organized a school graduation course, where questions of global importance were introduced and discussed, and which ended with a ceremony and celebration meant to send off the participants into the world. The central feature of this course was the encouragement of congregation members to leave the church.

Nevertheless, members of the KPD were dominant here and used their possession of leading positions to agitate against the syndicalists. The cooperation with authoritarian communists was the subject of considerable debate within the FAUD, but the majority felt it was necessary to actively support the Free Thinkers’ Movement, in whatever form, and not leave the communists unchallenged. Still, syndicalist influence dwindled, primarily due to discord between the individual chapters, the dominance of the social-democratic functionaries and the internecine conflicts between “party-line” KPD members and the Communist Opposition. All told, the Society of Proletarian Free Thinkers’ offered syndicalists only limited opportunities for expansion.