The Spartacus Manifesto makes some pretty bold claims. But then again, most manifestos do. Famous ones include the United States’ Declaration of Independence, the Communist Manifesto, and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Each of these, in one way or another, is the public declaration of a mission and aims to convince people to join their movement.
The Spartacus Manifesto was aimed at the proletariat class, with the goal was to embolden the working class to rise up against their oppressive government. The time could not have been more ripe. With Russia leading the movement, it was made easier to follow suit. They also made an effort to call upon proletariats from all over, not just Germany. They knew their message would be harder to ignore if it came from all over. It’s easy to blow off an uprising if only one country tries to revolt. But if many, or every country rises up, then the message is clear: something is not right. And it wasn’t.
Published in November of 1918, this was right after the end of WWI. The end of WWI brought about a lot of political unrest with the Kaiser’s abdication. This created a political vacuum that needed to be filled. But by what? With tensions running as high as they were in Germany it was easy to take the feelings of self doubt and depression that engulfed the nation, turn them into ones of anger and bitterness, and then direct them towards the government that put Germany in that position of instability and unrest in the first place.
The authors of the Manifesto not only sought a political and social revolution, but took it a step further and blamed their imperialist and capitalist governments for the struggles faced by the working class. They also blamed their government for starting the war and using people of the working class to do their dirty work in the trenches. The icing on the cake was of course that Germany had lost the war. And lost it badly. The solution, therefore, was not to install the same kind government, but to create a whole new one: a socialist government that would cater to the needs of everyone, not a select few. Hm… this sounds a lot like the struggle between political parties here in the United States. But the political polarization was much, much worse than what we have here today. I guess if anything this Manifesto serves as an example of the extreme political chaos that Germany was thrown into post WWI.