THESES

OF THE ELEVENTH ECCI PLENUM

 

ON THE TASKS OF THE COMINTERN SECTIONS

IN CONNEXION WITH THE

DEEPENING OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF

THE CONDITIONS MAKING FOR A REVOLUTIONARY CRISIS IN A

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES

[EXTRACTS]


April 1931 Inprekorr, xi, 38, p. 946, 24 April 1931





I.

THE CRISIS OF THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM:

THE ADVANCE OF SOCIALISM IN THE SOVIET UNION

 

The world economic crisis, which developed on the basis of the general crisis of capitalism and is the most severe crisis yet known, which has struck all capitalist countries and every important industry, and the gigantic expansion of socialist

construction in the Soviet Union have brought out more clearly than ever before the contrast between the advancing socialist system and the decaying capitalist system. .

 

. . This contrast, growing progressively sharper, is the main axis around which international relations today revolve, and affects the further development of contradictions within the imperialist world which have become particularly acute as

a result of the crisis. . . .

 

The year that has passed since the session of the enlarged ECCI presidium in February 1930 witnessed the deepening of the crisis and revealed the inevitability of the decay of capitalism and the victorious advance of socialism. Capitalist stabilization is drawing to an end. In the Soviet Union the construction of the

foundations of a socialist economy is being completed.

 

1. In capitalist countries the development of the industrial crisis is seen in

 

(a) the steady decline of production;

(b) the sharp reduction in consumption and the restriction of the home market because of the impoverishment of the masses;

(c) a tremendous decline in foreign trade.

 

In the Soviet Union, where not only is there no crisis, but an advance, production is increasing at a rate never known in capitalist countries. The Five Year Plan of industrial construction is not only being fulfilled, but actually exceeded. . . .

 

 

5. In the Soviet Union the power of the working class means a firm policy of peace, the establishment of brotherly relations with all peoples, the consistent fight for complete disarmament, the alliance of the working people of all nations

inhabiting the Soviet Union, the economic, political, and cultural progress of all nationalities formerly oppressed by tsarism, the expansion of the role of the country of proletarian dictatorship as the chief obstacle to imperialist war.

In the capitalist countries the robber character of the imperialist State, as the dictatorship of a handful of financial magnates, is expressed with particular force in the conditions of crisis in greater imperialist aggressiveness, in the efforts of the imperialists to extend their colonial possessions and 'spheres of influence', in the intensification of all forms of colonial slavery, in the attempt to transfer the main burdens of the crisis to the weaker countries and the oppressed peoples.

The crisis accentuates particularly sharply the chief contradiction! in the capitalist world—the struggle between Britain and the United States for world hegemony, expressed both in the pressure of American imperialism on the British Dominions and in Britain's policy of imperial tariffs, as well as in the heightened scramble for 'spheres of influence' in Latin America and China. The crisis is releasing all the contradictions inherent in the Versailles system—between the victors and the

vanquished, between the French imperialist clique, who are trying to maintain and strengthen their military and political hegemony in Europe, and the German bourgeoisie, who are meeting with growing resistance from the working masses in

their attempt to execute the Young Plan. Rivalries among the victor countries are also growing more acute—between France and Italy in the Mediterranean and North Africa, and between the vassal States of the big imperialist robbers (the Balkans,

Czechoslovakia, Hungary, etc.)...

 

The imperialist policy of bourgeois dictatorship, which makes all the contradictions of the world imperialist system more acute and creates danger centres for new conflicts, is leading inevitably to monstrous new imperialist wars. Although it will not in the least resolve the contradictions among the imperialists, this policy signifies feverish preparation for a war of intervention against the Soviet Union, the explicitly imperialist and counter-revolutionary war to subjugate the peoples of the Soviet Union and re-establish capitalism.

 

6. As the world economic crisis expands, the development of the class struggle confronts the broad working masses with the decisive choice: either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat; either economic and political slavery, or an end to capitalist exploitation and oppression; either the colonial yoke and imperialist war, or peace and brotherly relations among the peoples; either capitalist anarchy and crises, or the socialist economic system which excludes anarchy and crisis.

The growth of contradictions between the capitalist and socialist worlds, between bourgeois and proletarian dictatorship, makes the danger of a war of intervention

against the Soviet Union ever greater. . . .

 

The same purpose of preparing an anti- Soviet war was and is served by the agrarian, 'disarmament', and Pan-European

conferences, the anti-Soviet campaign against 'religious persecution' conducted by the Roman Pope and the leaders of other religions, the campaigns against Soviet 'dumping' and against 'forced labour' in the Soviet Union.

 

 

II. ACCENTUATION OF THE CLASS STRUGGLE, THE

REVOLUTIONARY SURGE, THE GROWTH OF CONDITIONS OF

REVOLUTIONARY CRISIS IN A NUMBER OF CAPITALIST

COUNTRIES

 

 

1. . . . The recent growth of fascism was possible only because of the support given by international social-democracy since the war to the bourgeois dictatorship, whatever its form. Social-democracy, which, by fabricating a contradiction between

the 'democratic' form of the bourgeois dictatorship and fascism, blunts the vigilance of the masses in the struggle against the rising wave of political reaction and against fascism, and which conceals the counter-revolutionary nature of bourgeois

democracy as one form of bourgeois dictatorship, is the most active factor and pacemaker in the development of the capitalist State towards fascism.

The successful struggle against fascism requires the communist parties to mobilize the masses on the basis of the united front from below against all forms of the bourgeois dictatorship and against every one of its reactionary measures which clears the way for open fascist dictatorship. It requires the rapid and decisive correction of errors, which arise primarily from the liberal idea of a basic difference between fascism and bourgeois democracy, and between the parliamentary and the openly fascist forms of the bourgeois dictatorship; such ideas are a reflection of social-democratic influence in the communist parties.

 

2. Since the last meeting of the enlarged ECCI presidium the revolutionary surge has advanced further, in connexion with the sharp fall in the workers' living standards and the tremendous growth of unemployment; white-collar workers and the urban petty-bourgeoisie are being pushed to the wall, the peasants exploited to the hilt, the colonies impoverished. ...

 

3. In Germany the bourgeoisie . . . supported outright by social-democracy, are moving more and more vigorously to establish a fascist dictatorship. . . .

The development of conditions making for a revolutionary crisis can be seen in the growth of the revolutionary forces of the proletariat (increase of 50 per cent in the communist party, expansion of the revolutionary mass organizations), in the shrinking mass basis of social-democracy, in the launching of

a mass struggle against fascist dictatorship, in the success achieved by the programme of social and national emancipation in pushing back the fascist movement ... in the increasing uncertainty of the ruling classes, as shown in the political regrouping of the bourgeoisie, in the growth of mass discontent with the yoke of Versailles and the Young Plan. . . .

 

In Spain, where the exploitation of the working class and the poverty of the peasant masses, falling into ruin because of the crisis, the church, and semi-feudal landownership, and suffering national oppression (Catalonia, the Basque country) have reached an unprecedented degree, the development of elements of a revolutionary crisis can be seen in the tremendous growth of economic and political strikes among the proletariat, in the beginnings of a revolutionary movement among the peasants, in the mass movement of the petty-bourgeoisie against the monarchy (student demonstrations, etc.), in the accentuation of the national-revolutionary

movement in Catalonia and the Basque country, in the disintegration of the army, and in the disarray of the ruling classes and their parties.

 

In China the revolutionary crisis is reflected in the organizing of Soviets and a Red Army over a territory with a population of several tens of millions, which brings China into the very first place among national-revolutionary movements in the colonial world. The formation of Soviets and of a Red Army is a condition for the successful assertion of proletarian hegemony in the national-revolutionary movement, in the anti-imperialist and agrarian revolution, a hegemony which is already anchored in the beginnings of a State authority. The Soviets, growing out of the agrarian revolution, and the Red Army, are rousing the workers of the industrial centres and the peasant masses, who witness what is happening in the Soviet areas, to struggle; they are liquidating the feudal property of the big landowners, dividing the land in the interests of the overwhelming peasant majority, and are shaking the counter-revolutionary hangman's regime of the Kuomintang more and more severely. . . .

 

In India the revolutionary mass movement against English imperialism is spreading wider and deeper . . . while signs can be observed that the nationalreformist bourgeoisie are resorting to treacherous machinations and moving towards a counter-revolutionary alliance with English imperialism. Millions of workers, peasants, and the urban poor are breaking out of the confines of counterrevolutionary Gandhism, to free themselves from its influence and to move towards open forms of revolutionary struggle. . . . The most important prerequisite for the triumph of the Indian revolution is to establish proletarian leadership in the revolutionary liberation movement of the masses. . . . The working class must organize the revolutionary offensive of the oppressed classes against English

imperialism and against the National Congress, expand the workers' and peasants' movement, organize a strong all-Indian communist party and red mass trade unions and prepare the political general strike.

 

In Indochina the revolutionary surge, which is occurring in conditions of the most brutal terror, with mass shootings and the destruction of entire villages by the French occupation authorities, is characterized by the uninterrupted growth of the

anti-imperialist movement among the working class, the peasantry, and the urban poor, which is largely under communist leadership. . . .

 

 

III.

SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY AS THE CHIEF SOCIAL PILLAR OF

THE BOURGEOISIE

 

 

1. The world economic crisis has revealed most clearly the part played by international social-democracy as the chief social support of the bourgeois dictatorship. At every decisive stage in the development of the class struggle since the imperialist world war and the foundation of the proletarian dictatorship, socialdemocracy has stood on the side of capitalism against the working class. . . .

 

2. The entire course of social-democracy since the war and the rise of the Soviet Union has been an unbroken process of evolution towards fascism. . . .

 

3. The entire counter-revolutionary, anti-working-class policy of international social-democracy reaches its culmination in the preparation of a blockade and a war of intervention against the world's first proletarian State. The swing of the world bourgeoisie, who have lost hope of a capitalist degeneration in the Soviet Union, of a victory for the right-wing elements in the CPSU, to military intervention, the allround offensive against capitalist elements in the Soviet Union, the rise of the revolutionary wave in capitalist countries—all this has strengthened the trend towards intervention and sabotage among all parties of the Second International (above all in German social-democracy, which is the heart of the Second

International), because they realize that the victory of socialism in the Soviet Union will finally undermine their influence over the working masses in capitalist

countries.

 

The trial of the 'Union Bureau' of the Russian mensheviks (social-democrats) . . .

showed that the Second International, whose aim was to re-establish capitalism in the Soviet Union by a war of intervention, and which, through its counterrevolutionary

branch in the Soviet Union, organized sabotage in all branches of the economy, tried to disrupt the system of food supplies for the workers and peasants, and deliberately set out to reduce the real wages of the workers, has turned into assault troops for world imperialism preparing war on the Soviet Union. . . .

Hence the immediate and most urgent task of communist parties is to expose social-democracy and the Second International, to liberate the working masses from their influence, to isolate and subdue social-democracy, for unless they do so success for the proletariat in winning freedom from the capitalist yoke is impossible.

 

 

IV.

THE STATE OF THE CI SECTIONS AND THEIR IMMEDIATE TASKS

 

 

1. The eleventh ECCI plenum notes with satisfaction a number of serious political and organizational achievements among the sections of the Communist International. Since the tenth ECCI plenum the right-wingers in the CPSU, whose views reflected the resistance of those elements in the Soviet Union bent on the restoration of capitalism and hostile to the socialist offensive, have been thoroughly defeated; the groups of right-wingers and conciliators in the communist parties of the capitalist countries, who reflected the pressure of capitalism on the offensive and of social-democracy, have also been defeated. . . .

The most important successes of the CI sections in the period under review are seen in:

(a) The formation of Soviets and of a Red Army in China; the leading role of the communist party in the peasant movement of China and Indochina;

(b) the growth of the political influence of a number of communist parties, the increase in the mass influence of the KPD in the revolutionary struggle against carrying through the fascist dictatorship (4.6 million votes at the elections) . ..

(c) the more and more important part taken by the communist parties in organizing defence against the capitalist offensive . . .

(d) the successful realization of the general line laid down by the fifth RILU congress on the formation of an independent revolutionary trade union movement in Germany . . .

 

2. As well as successes, the eleventh ECCI plenum has also to note a number of great weaknesses and deficiencies in the work of most Comintern sections, revealed primarily in their lagging behind the radicalization of the masses and in the

inadequate exposure of social-democracy; these are particularly dangerous at the present higher stage of the class struggle. These defects are shown in:

(a) a rearguard policy in respect of a number of great revolutionary movements...

(b) backwardness in mobilizing the masses in defence of their daily demands . . .

(c) impermissible passivity in organizing defence against the fascist offensive . . .

(d) opportunist passivity in regard to work in the army, in the struggle against the danger of imperialist war and of an interventionist war against the Soviet Union . . .

(e) the wholly inadequate support of the revolutionary liberation movement in the colonies and semi-colonies by the communist parties of the imperialist countries.. .

(f) the opportunist or sectarian underestimation and neglect of the tremendously important work within reformist trade unions; inadequate work in factories. . .

(g) the general weakness of organizational work; a weakness in consolidating through organization the party's political influence . . .

(h) the mechanical application of general instructions; the failure to give them concrete form in relation to the particular country and to the state of the class struggle there . . .

 

3. The eleventh ECCI plenum, while approving without reservation the general line of the ECCI presidium and its efforts to eliminate the said weaknesses and defects in the work of the CI sections, thinks it necessary to concentrate the attention of the sections on the immediate tasks ahead. .. .

 

The chief task is to win the majority of the working class as the indispensable condition for victory over the bourgeoisie. . . . Success in this is closely bound up with strengthening the independent revolutionary trade union movement. . . .

The fight for the majority of the working class must be pursued along the following main lines:

 

1. Fight against the capitalist offensive and organization of a broad proletarian counter-offensive; against wage reductions and for wage increases, against mass dismissals and for the seven-hour day. . . .

 

2. Fight against the bourgeois dictatorship in all its forms; against terror by the police and the employers; for freedom for revolutionary labour organizations, press freedom, right of association, freedom of speech, the immediate dissolution of

fascist organizations, their disarming and the arming of the workers for defence against fascist attacks, against imperialist terror in the colonies. . . .

 

3. Fight against imperialist war and war of intervention against the Soviet Union.. . .

The eleventh ECCI plenum, which emphasizes the inadequate work of the communist parties in the fight against the direct danger of a war of intervention, imposes on all Comintern sections the duty of conducting the most active struggle in

defence of the Soviet Union, against imperialist war, and for peace, and of tirelessly exposing the scoundrelly pacifist

manoeuvres of the social-fascist Second International—the most active instigator and organizer of counter-revolutionary war against the Soviet Union.

In the preparation and organization of every form of revolutionary action, it is imperative to carry on a most stubborn, consistent, and comprehensive fight against the social-democratic reformist leaders, and to work persistently to win over the social-democratic workers and members of reformist trade unions, using the tactics of a united front from below.


 

 

Comintern

III. International