No not my grandad – but the grandad of Hollywood director Mike Nichols – you know ‘The Graduate’ and loads of other films. How strange is that? Does not compute? Discovered this last night after listening to the very affable and erudite Gabriel Kuhn talk about his newly edited book of Landauer’s writings called ‘Revolution’. I’m a big fan of Landauer because he tried to make a revolution in circumstances far from his own choosing. He could have buggered off to Berlin and continued his writing but he was there in Bavaria and decided to seize the time and paid the price. I also discovered he was the man who wrote ‘You can’t blow up a social relationship’ .Top geezer.


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  1. You sure about that last bit? I was pretty sure he died in 1919, thought “You can’t blow up…” was written a lot later than that.

  2. ianbone

    yes well what he actually wrote was this:
    ‘The state is a social relationship; a certain way of people relating to one another.It can be destroyed by creating new social relationships; by people relating to one another differently’
    I think this was behind the later ‘You can’t blow up a social relationship’ pamphlet – certainly in spirit. Interestingly this quote is widely read now as Julian Assange used to sign off with it.

  3. some memorabilia on Landauer: … his grave on the second image was destroyed by the nazis in 1933

  4. p.s.: a dodgy aspect of Landauers writing were his occasionally positive references to Eugen Dühring


    I’ve always been intrigued by the (alleged) meeting between Erich Muhsam (Landaur’s comrade) and Hitler ( as a hated ‘Jewish subversive’ and ‘November criminal’), before the nazi fuckers murdered him in Oranienburg…
    Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation…

  6. Ah, I see what you mean now. He was definitely a good bloke, and it’s always worth remembering him and all the other victims of the Freikorps whenever lefties start banging on about the need to build the workers’ party or get back to Old Labour – no matter how far back you go, the old social democratic parties were always the enemy.

  7. ianbone

    In reply to incubus – Gabriel Kuhn daid last night it was the Strassers Muhsam met with not hitler.


      Thanks Ian, I know Gregor Strasser was in Oranienburg, but according to Albert Meltzer, Hitler had a ‘personal interview’ with Muhsam just after his arrest…

    • Otto Strasser who was expelled from the NSDAP in 1930 had good personal contacts with a number of people on the left; after the Nazis came to power, his “Schwarze Front” (Black Front) was one of the few non-leftist groups which participated in the resistance already 1933; contacts with Strasser and his group of “oppositional Nazis” were however toxic due to the large number of Strasserites who defected back to the NSDAP and also because of his big ego

  8. gabriel kuhn


    A couple of comments.


    It is true that Landauer was on the USPD list of the small town of Krumbach for the 1919 Bavarian Landtag (Krumbach was the hometown of his long-time partner Hedwig Lachmann). However, according to Siegbert Wolf, Germany’s most prominent Landauer scholar, he agreed to be on the list because it gave him more public speaking opportunities – which he used to promote the council system. In any case, Landauer was critical of Eisner’s decision to call for general elections in January 1919. He was also never a USPD member.


    Incubus, where does Albert Meltzer write about this personal meeting between Mühsam and Hitler? This is news to me.

    The meetings with Otto Strasser that Ian mentions happened before Mühsam’s arrest. In 1930, after Strasser’s expulsion from the NSDAP, Strasser got in touch with Berlin’s “Anarchistische Vereinigung”, of which Mühsam was a member. Three official meetings to discuss topics like “Socialism and Nationalism” were organized. At one meeting, Strasser discussed with Rudolf Rocker, at another with Erich Mühsam. There were no meetings beyond that, and there was never any kind of close collaboration.

    • must have a look what Ulrich Linse wrote in Gustav Landauer und die Revolutionszeit 1918-19 wrote about it, I assume, that it also was simply about giving some support to his friend Eisner … Otto Strasser debated with more or less everyone on the left before Hitler came into power; after 1933, he had to flee into exile


      Hi Gabriel,
      Meltzer wrote this in his ‘Anarcho Quiz Book’ published by Simian Publications in the early 80’s as a fundraiser for Black Flag and the ABC,-
      “19. Soon after coming to power, Hitler interviewed a well-known German Anarchist, Who, why, and in what circumstances?
      Erich Muehsam, after arrest, was recognised by an SS guard who “remembered Hitler’s humiliation by the Munich Commune”. Hitler rushed to the concentration camp immediately he heard. Muehsam died.”

      That’s it I’m afraid, with no reference given. I have to say I’ve read a few biographies on Hitler, and this event isn’t mentioned at all… I’ve always thought it would’ve made a fantastic play, the Libertarian Revolutionary confronting the racist, social-darwinist dictator…

      • the main German language webpages on Mühsam say nothing about a visit by Hitler, would be worth to have a look in Stefan Szende’s book Erich Mühsam zum 40. Todestag (1974); the left socialist Szende was close to Mühsam during the period in Oranienburg

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