THESES

ON THE BASIC TASKS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

ADOPTED BY THE SECOND COMINTERN CONGRESS

19 July 1920

 

Protokoll, ii, p. 746

 

EXTRACTS

 

[ These theses were drafted by comrade Lenin

and introduced on the opening day of the congress ]

 

 

 



 



1.

 

It is characteristic of the present moment in the development of the international communist movement that in all capitalist countries the best representatives of the revolutionary proletariat have reached a thorough understanding of the most important principles of the Communist International, the

dictatorship of the proletariat and Soviet power, and that they have enthusiastically come over to the side of the Communist International. It is a still bigger and more important step forward that everywhere, not only among the broadest masses of the urban proletariat, but also among the more advanced rural workers, unreserved sympathy with these most important principles is clearly apparent.

On the other hand, two errors or weaknesses have emerged in this international movement, which is growing with such unusual rapidity. One very serious mistake, which is of the greatest immediate danger to the success of the cause of proletarian emancipation, arises from the fact that some of the old leaders and old parties of the Second International, in part half unconsciously yielding to the wishes and the pressure of the masses, in part deceiving them in order to maintain their former role as agents and assistants of the bourgeoisie within the workers' movement, proclaim their conditional or even

unconditional adherence to the Communist International, while in fact they remain, in all their practical party activities and political performances, on the level of the Second International. Such a state of affairs is quite intolerable, for it creates

confusion among the masses, hampers the formation and development of a strong communist party, diminishes respect for the Communist International, and threatens a repetition of the treachery committed by the Hungarian social-democrats, who hastened to don the red garb of communism. Another, but far less important error, which is rather a growing sickness in the movement, consists in the anxiety to be 'radical'; this leads to an incorrect appreciation of the role and tasks of the party in

relation to the class and the masses and of the obligation of revolutionary communists to work in bourgeois parliaments and reactionary trade unions.

It is the duty of communists not to hush up the weaknesses of their movement, but to criticize them openly, in order the more quickly and thoroughly to eradicate them. For this purpose it is necessary, firstly, to define the concepts of 'proletarian

dictatorship' and 'Soviet power' more concretely, using, in particular, practical experience; secondly, to state in what the immediate preparatory work for the realization of these slogans can and should consist in all countries; thirdly, to

indicate ways and means of curing our movement of its defects.

 

 

 

I.

THE NATURE OF PROLETARIAN DICTATORSHIP AND SOVIET POWER

 

 

2.

 

The victory of socialism (as the first stage of communism) over capitalism requires the proletariat, as the only truly revolutionary class, to carry out the following three tasks. First: to overthrow the exploiters, and above all others the

bourgeoisie, as their chief economic and political representatives; to crush their resistance, to make impossible any attempt on their part to restore the capitalist yoke and wage-slavery. Second: to attract not only the entire proletariat, or its overwhelming majority, but also the entire mass of working people and of those exploited by capital, and to bring them into position behind the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat, the communist party; to educate, organize, train, and discipline them in the course of unflagging, bold, and relentless struggle against the exploiters; to rescue this overwhelming majority of the population in all capitalist

countries from dependence on the bourgeoisie; to instil in them, through practical experience, belief in the leading role of the proletariat and of its revolutionary vanguard. The third task consists in neutralizing, in making harmless, the inevitable waverings between bourgeoisie and proletariat, between bourgeois democracy and Soviet power, of the class of small proprietors in agriculture, in industry, and in trade, a class which is still fairly numerous in all advanced countries, even though they do not form the majority of the population, and also in neutralizing the vacillations among that section of the intellectuals and white-collar workers associated with this class.

The first and second tasks are independent in character, and each requires special measures to be taken in regard to both the exploiters and the exploited. The third follows from the first two, and requires only a skilful, timely, and flexible

combination of the measures designed for the first two, according to the concrete circumstances of each particular case of vacillation.

 

 

3.

 

In the concrete situation created throughout the entire world, and particularly in the most advanced, most powerful, most enlightened and free capitalist States, by militarism, imperialism, the oppression of the colonies and weak countries, the imperialist world slaughter and the Versailles 'peace', any concession to the idea that the capitalists will peacefully submit to the will of the exploited majority, the idea of a peaceful reformist transition to socialism, is not merely proof of extreme pettybourgeois stupidity, but is a direct deception of the workers, a gilding of capitalist wage-slavery, a concealment of the truth. The truth is this, that the bourgeoisie, even the most enlightened and democratic, already shrink from no fraud and no crime, nor from the murder of millions of workers and peasants, to save private property in

the means of production. Only the forcible overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the seizure of their property, the destruction of the entire bourgeois State machine from top to bottom—parliamentary, judicial, military, bureaucratic, administrative, municipal, etc.—going as far as the exile or internment of the most dangerous and stubborn exploiters, keeping a strict watch over them to combat the inevitable attempts at resistance and to restore capitalist slavery—only by such measures can the real submission of the entire exploiting class be attained and secured.

There is another idea which whitewashes capitalism and bourgeois democracy and deceives the workers: that is the opinion common among the old parties and old leaders of the Second International, that the majority of the working people and the exploited are able, in the conditions of capitalist slavery and under the yoke of the bourgeoisie—which assumes countless different forms, both more refined and more cruel and ruthless the more civilized the country is—to acquire for themselves a completely clear socialist consciousness, firm socialist convictions and attitudes. In reality the education, training, and organization of the working and exploited masses

under the influence and guidance of communists, their liberation from egoism, from sectionalism, from the vices and weaknesses engendered by private property, their transformation into a free union of free workers—all that is possible only in the actual course of the most acute class struggles, only when the vanguard of the proletariat, supported by all or by a majority of this class, which is the only revolutionary class, has overthrown and suppressed the exploiters, freed the exploited from their position of slavery and improved their conditions of life at the expense of the expropriated capitalists.

 

 

4.

 

To win victory over capitalism there must be the right relation between the communist party, as leader, the revolutionary class, the proletariat, on the one hand, and the masses, that is, all the working people and the exploited, on the other. Only

if the communist party is really the vanguard of the revolutionary class, if it includes all the best representatives of that class, if it consists of thoroughly conscious and devoted communists, trained and steeled by the experiences of stubborn

revolutionary struggle, only if the party has been able to tie itself indissolubly to the entire life of its class, and hence to the entire masses of the exploited, and enjoys the complete confidence of that class and those masses, only then is the party in a position to lead the proletariat in the unrelenting, decisive, last battle against all the forces of capitalism. On the other hand, it is only under the leadership of such a party that the proletariat is able to develop the full force of its revolutionary assault—which, because of the economic structure of capitalist society, is immeasurably greater than would correspond with the proportion of the total population represented by the proletariat—and to nullify the inevitable apathy and in part also the resistance of the small minority of the labour aristocracy, the old trade union and co-operative leaders, etc., corrupted by capitalism. Finally, it is only when

the masses, i.e. all the working and exploited people, are really liberated from the yoke of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois State machine, and have been given the opportunity to organize themselves freely in Soviets, that they will be able in their

millions, for the first time in history, to develop all the initiative and energy suppressed by capitalism. Only when the Soviets have become the sole machinery of State can there be real participation in government by the entire mass of the

exploited, who, even under the most enlightened and free bourgeois democracy, have in reality always been ninety-nine per cent excluded from participation in government. Only in the Soviets do the exploited masses begin to learn, not from

books but from their own practical experience, how to set about the work of socialist construction, of the creation of a new social discipline, a free union of free workers.

 

 

2.

PREPARATION FOR THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT;

WORK THAT MUST BE CARRIED OUT EVERYWHERE WITHOUT DELAY

 

 

5.

 

It is a distinguishing feature of the present moment in the development of the international communist movement that in the great majority of capitalist countries the preparations of the proletariat to bring its dictatorship into being have not been completed, indeed in many cases have not even been systematically begun. It does not follow that the proletarian revolution is impossible in the immediate future. It is quite possible, for the entire economic and political situation is unusually rich in inflammable material and in reasons for its

suddenly catching fire. A further prerequisite of revolution, apart from the preparation of the proletariat, namely, a general state of crisis in all ruling and all bourgeois parties, is also present. But from what has been said it follows that for the communist parties the immediate task is to accelerate the revolution, taking care not to provoke it artificially before adequate preparations have been made. The preparation of the proletariat for the revolution must be promoted by action. On the other hand the history of many socialist parties, previously referred to, makes it essential to see that recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat does not remain an empty word.

From the standpoint of the international proletarian movement, therefore, the chief task of the communist parties at the present moment is to rally the scattered communist forces, to create a united communist party in each country (or the consolidation and regeneration of the parties already in existence), to multiply tenfold the work of preparing the proletariat for the conquest of State power in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The socialist work usually done by groups and parties which recognize the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet by a long way been subjected to that radical transformation and regeneration which are essential if it is to be regarded as communist work, corresponding to the tasks on the eve of the proletarian dictatorship.

 

 

6.

 

The conquest of political power by the proletariat does not put an end to its class struggle against the bourgeoisie; on the contrary, it makes this struggle particularly comprehensive, acute, and unrelenting. Because the struggle has reached a pitch of the utmost intensity, all groups, parties, and active participants in the workers' movement which are wholly or partly reformist or 'centrist' in character move inevitably either to the side of the bourgeoisie or to the side of the waverers, or

(what is most dangerous) they join the unreliable friends of the victorious proletariat.

That is why preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat requires not only an intensified struggle against reformist and 'centrist' tendencies, but also a change in the character of that struggle. It must not be restricted to explaining the incorrectness of these tendencies, but must mercilessly and ruthlessly expose every leading individual in the workers' movement who displays these tendencies, for otherwise the proletariat cannot learn with whom to act in the decisive struggle against the bourgeoisie. This struggle is of such a character that it may at any moment replace the weapon of criticism by the criticism of weapons, and, as experience has already shown, it not only may, but does. Any inconsistency or weakness in exposing those who turn out to be reformists or 'centrists' directly increases the danger of the overthrow of the power of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, who will tomorrow

make use of what today seems to shortsighted people nothing but a 'theoretical difference of opinion'.

 

 

7.

 

In particular it is not enough to be content with the usual rejection in principle of any co-operation between proletariat and bourgeoisie, any 'class collaboration'. In conditions of the proletarian dictatorship—which will never be able to abolish

private property completely at one blow—the simple defence of 'freedom' and 'equality' changes, while private property in the means of production is maintained, into 'co-operation' with the bourgeoisie, which directly undermines the power of the working class. For the dictatorship of the proletariat means that the entire apparatus of State power is used to establish and secure 'unfreedom' for the exploiters to carry on their work of oppression and exploitation, 'inequality' between property owners (that is, those who appropriate for their own use the means of production created by social labour) and the propertyless. What seems, before the victory of the proletariat, nothing but a theoretical difference of opinion about 'democracy' inevitably becomes, on the morrow of victory, a question to be decided by force of arms.

Consequently, without a fundamental change in the entire character of the struggle against the 'centrists' and the 'defenders of democracy' even a preliminary preparation of the masses for the realization of the proletarian dictatorship is

impossible.

 

 

8.

 

The dictatorship of the proletariat is the most determined form of the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. This struggle can only be successful if the revolutionary vanguard is supported by the overwhelming majority of the proletariat. Preparation for the proletarian dictatorship therefore demands not only explaining the bourgeois character of any kind of reformism, any defence of democracy that involves the maintenance of private property in the means of

production, not merely exposing those tendencies which mean in fact that the bourgeoisie are defended within the workers' movement; it also requires that the old leaders shall be replaced by communists in absolutely every kind of proletarian

organization, not only political, but also trade union, co operative, educational, etc.

The longer bourgeois democracy has prevailed in a country, the more complete and well established it is, the more successful have the bourgeoisie of that country been in getting into those leading positions people who are reared in bourgeois democracy, saturated in its attitudes and prejudices, and very frequently bribed by it, whether directly or indirectly. These representatives of the labour aristocracy, or of workers who have become bourgeois in outlook, must be pushed out of all their positions a hundred times more boldly than ever before, and replaced even by inexperienced workers, so long as they are closely tied to the exploited masses and enjoy their confidence in the struggle against the exploiters. The dictatorship of the proletariat will make it necessary to appoint such inexperienced workers to the most responsible offices of State, otherwise the power of the workers' government will be ineffective and will not be supported by the masses.

 

 

9.

 

The dictatorship of the proletariat is the most complete realization of the leadership of all working and exploited people, who have been enslaved, downtrodden, oppressed, intimidated, disunited, and deceived by the capitalist class,

by the one class which the entire history of capitalism has prepared for this leading part. Consequently the work of preparing for the dictatorship of the proletariat must be everywhere undertaken without delay, along the following lines:

In all organizations, unions and associations of the working and exploited masses without exception, first in the proletarian and then in the non-proletarian (political, trade union, military, co-operative, educational, sport, etc.), groups or cells of

communists must be formed, chiefly open in character, but also secret, the latter being obligatory wherever their dissolution, or the arrest or deportation of their members by the bourgeoisie, is likely; these cells, closely connected with each other and with the party centre, shall pool their experience, carry on propaganda, agitation, and organizational work, adapting themselves to absolutely every sphere of public life and to every kind and group of the working masses, and by this varied work systematically train themselves, the party, the class, and the masses.

In this connexion it is of the utmost importance to work out and to develop the methods necessary for all these activities: the leaders or responsible representatives hopelessly corrupted by petty-bourgeois or imperialist prejudices must be mercilessly exposed and driven out of the workers' movement. In regard to the masses, however, who, particularly after the imperialist slaughter, are largely inclined to give a hearing to and to accept the theory of the necessity of the rule of the proletariat as the only way out of capitalist slavery, particular patience and caution must be shown in studying and allowing for the peculiarities and particular psychological features of every section, every occupation, etc.

 

 

10.

 

There is one communist group or cell which deserves the party's particular attention and care; that is the parliamentary fraction, the group of members of parliament, deputies to bourgeois representative bodies (particularly in central, but

also in local and municipal government). These bodies are of particularly great importance in the eyes of the backward working masses saturated in petty-bourgeois prejudices. Therefore communists must from that very tribune carry on the work of propaganda, agitation, and organization, and explain to the masses why it was legitimate in Russia (and in due course will be legitimate in any country) for the Soviet congress to dissolve the bourgeois parliament. On the other hand the entire course of bourgeois democracy has turned parliament, particularly in the advanced countries, into the main or one of the main centres for incredible swindles, for the financial and political deception of the people, for careerism, hypocrisy, and

the oppression of the working people. That is why the burning hatred of parliament felt by the best representatives of the revolutionary proletariat is fully justified. That is why communist parties, and all parties of the Communist International—particularly if they were founded not by breakaways from the old parties, and in protracted and stubborn struggles with them, but as a result of the old parties going over (often in appearance only) to new political positions'— must be specially strict in their attitude to their parliamentary fractions. The fractions must be completely subject to the control and direction of the central committee of the party; they must consist largely of revolutionary workers; their speeches in parliament must be carefully analysed from the communist standpoint in the party press and at party meetings; members of parliament must be detailed for agitational work among the masses, and any member of the fraction who shows Second International tendencies must be

expelled.

 

 

11.

 

One of the chief difficulties encountered by the revolutionary workers' movement in the advanced capitalist countries arises from the fact that capital, thanks to colonial possessions and the surplus profits of finance capital etc., is able to detach a comparatively broad and stable stratum, the labour aristocracy, which is a small minority of the working class. They enjoy good wages and are most deeply imbued with a narrow craft spirit and with petty-bourgeois and imperialist

prejudices. They represent the real social 'pillars' of the Second International of reformists and 'centrists', and at the present moment are almost the sole social mainstay of the bourgeoisie. It is impossible even to begin to prepare the proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie without an immediate, systematic, comprehensive, and open struggle against this stratum which—as experience has already clearly demonstrated—will undoubtedly provide the bourgeois white guard with not a few recruits after the victory of the proletariat. All parties adhering to the Communist International must, at whatever cost, carry through the slogan 'deeper

into the masses', 'closer contact with the masses', meaning by the masses all working people and all who are exploited by capital, particularly those who are least organized and least enlightened, most deeply oppressed and least accessible to

organization.

The proletariat becomes revolutionary only in so far as it does not lock itself up in narrow craft limits, only in so far as it takes part in all activities and all spheres of public life as leader of all the working and exploited masses, and it is impossible for it to achieve its dictatorship if it is not ready and able to make the greatest sacrifices for the sake of victory over the bourgeoisie. In this respect Russia's experience is of both theoretical and practical significance. There the proletariat could not have established its dictatorship, could

not have won the respect and confidence of all the working masses, if it had not made greater sacrifices and suffered greater hunger than any other section of the masses, in the most difficult periods of attack, of war, and of the blockade by the world bourgeoisie.

The communist party and the entire advanced proletariat must, in particular, give all-round and self-denying support to the broad and spontaneous mass strike movement, which alone is able really to rouse the masses under the yoke of capital, to get them into action, to educate and organize them, and to foster in them complete confidence in the leading role of the revolutionary proletariat. Without this preparation no dictatorship of the proletariat is possible, and people who come out openly against strikes, like Kautsky in Germany and Turati in Italy, can in no circumstances be tolerated in parties which adhere to the Communist International.

This of course applies in still greater degree to the trade union and parliamentary leaders who often betray the workers by using the experience of strikes to preach reformism and not revolution, for example Jouhaux in France, Gompers in America, J. H. Thomas in England.

 

 

12.

 

In all countries, even the freest, most 'legal' and most 'peaceful'— that is, where the class struggle is least acute—the time has come when it is imperative for every communist party systematically to combine legal with illegal work, legal with

illegal organization. For even in the most enlightened and free countries with the most 'solid' bourgeois-democratic regime the governments are already beginning, despite their own false and hypocritical statements, to keep regular secret lists of

communists, to resort to violations of their own constitution, to half-secret andsecret support of the white guards, and to the murder of communists in every country, to secret preparation for the arrest of communists, to smuggling agents provocateurs into communist circles, etc. Only the most reactionary petty-bourgeois, however fine the 'democratic' and pacifist phrases he may use, can deny these facts or the conclusion which necessarily follows from them—the necessity for all communist parties to establish without delay illegal organizations to carry on systematic illegal work and make thorough preparations for the day when bourgeois persecution comes out into the open. This illegal work is particularly necessary in the army, the navy, and the police, for after the great imperialist slaughter all governments have begun to fear national armies which are open to the worker and the peasant, and have begun in secret to single out from among the troops detachments recruited from the bourgeoisie and provided with special and technically superior equipment.

On the other hand it is also necessary, in all cases without exception, not to restrict oneself to illegal work but to carry out legal work, to overcome all obstacles, to found legal press organs and legal organizations under the most varied names, and when necessary to change the names frequently. This is being done by the illegal communist parties in Finland and Hungary, and to some extent in Germany, Poland, Latvia, etc. This must also be done by the IWW in America, and by all legal communist parties, if the public prosecutor finds it convenient to use decisions of the congresses of the Communist International to start persecuting them.

The imperative necessity, as a matter of principle, of combining illegal with legal work, is determined not merely by the totality of the special features of the present period, on the eve of the proletarian dictatorship, but also by the need to

demonstrate to the bourgeoisie that there is not and cannot be any sphere of activity which the communists cannot conquer, and still more by the existence everywhere of broad strata of the proletariat, and even more of the non-proletarian working and exploited masses, who still have faith in bourgeois-democratic legality and whom it is very important for us to convince of the contrary.

 

 

13.

 

The position of the workers' press in the most advanced capitalist countries shows particularly clearly both the entire mendacity of freedom and equality in a bourgeois democracy, and the necessity of systematic combination of legal and illegal work. In both defeated Germany and victorious America the entire power of the bourgeois State apparatus, and all the tricks of its financial tycoons, are used to deprive the workers of their press—prosecution in the courts and the arrest (even the murder by hired assassins) of its editors, the prohibition of distribution through the post, refusal of paper supplies, etc. Moreover, the news reports which are necessary for a daily paper are controlled by bourgeois press agencies, and the advertisements without which a large newspaper cannot pay its way are at the 'free' disposition of capitalists. In these ways, by fraud and by the pressure of capital and of bourgeois rule, the bourgeoisie deprive the revolutionary proletariat of its press.

To combat this the communist parties must start a new kind of periodical press for mass distribution among the workers; first, legal publications which, without calling themselves communist or referring to their adherence to the party, must learn to take advantage of the slightest legal opportunities, as the Bolsheviks did after 1905 under the Tsar; secondly, illegal papers, even if they are only very small and are published only irregularly, but which can be reproduced in small printing shops

by the workers (either secretly, or if the movement has become strong enough, by the revolutionary seizure of printing presses), and which give the proletariat revolutionary information and revolutionary watchwords.

Without a revolutionary struggle for the freedom of the communist press which carries the masses along with it, preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible.

 

 

3.

CORRECTING THE POLICY AND PARTLY ALSO THE COMPOSITION OF

THE PARTIES WHICH HAVE JOINED OR WISH TO JOIN THE COMMUNIST

INTERNATIONAL

 

 

14.

 

The degree to which the proletariat in the countries which are most important from the standpoint of world economy and world politics is prepared for the realization of its dictatorship is indicated with the greatest objectivity and precision by the breakaway of the most influential parties in the Second International—the French Socialist Party, the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, the Independent Labour Party in England, the American Socialist Party—from that yellow International, and by their decision to adhere conditionally to the Communist International. This shows that not only the vanguard but the majority of the revolutionary proletariat, convinced by the course of events, have begun to come over to our side. The chief thing now is to know how to make this change complete and to consolidate what has been attained in lasting organizational form, so that progress can be made along the whole line without any hesitation.

 

 

15.

 

The entire activity of the parties mentioned (to which the Swiss Socialist Party will most probably be added) shows, and their periodical press clearly confirms, that this activity is not yet communist and not infrequently is frankly incompatible with the basic principles of the Communist International, namely,

recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of Soviet power instead ofbourgeois democracy.

Therefore the second congress of the Communist International has decided that it does not consider it possible to accept these parties immediately; that it approves the answer given by the ECCI to the German 'Independents', that it confirms its readiness to conduct negotiations with any party which leaves the Second International and wishes to approach the Communist International; that it grants delegates of such parties a consultative voice at all its congresses and conferences; that it makes the following conditions for the complete unification of these (and similar) parties with the Communist International:

 

(i)

Publication of all decisions of all congresses of the Communist Internationaland of its Executive Committee in all the party's periodicals.

 

(ii)

Discussion of these decisions at special meetings of all sections or local groups of the party.

 

(iii)

The convening, after such discussion, of a special congress of the party to draw the conclusions. This congress must be called as early as possible and in any case not later than four months after the second congress of the Communist International.

 

(iv)

The party to be cleansed of all elements which continue to act in the spirit of the Second International.

 

(v)

All party periodicals to be put in the hands of exclusively communist editorial boards.

 

(vi)

Parties which now wish to enter the Communist International but have not yet made a radical break with their old tactics must ensure that two-thirds of the membership of their central committees and central bodies consist of comrades who, before the second congress, came out openly in favour of adherence to the Communist International. Exceptions can be made only with the consent of the ECCI

.

(vii)

Members of the party who reject the conditions and theses adopted by the Communist International must be expelled. The same applies to members of the extraordinary congress.

The second congress of the Communist International instructs the Executive Committee to accept the parties mentioned, and similar parties, into the Communist International, after satisfying itself that all these conditions have really been fulfilled and the party's activity has become communist in character.

 

 

16.

 

As to the question how communists, who are now in the minority, should behave when they occupy responsible positions in the said parties, the second congress of the Communist International has decided that, in view of the present rapid growth in the revolutionary spirit of the masses, it is not desirable for communists to leave these parties so long as they have the opportunity of working in them for the recognition of the proletarian dictatorship and the Soviet power, and of

criticizing the opportunists and centrists who still remain in these parties. Whenever the left wing of a centrist party has become strong enough, and the development of the communist movement requires it, it may leave the party in a body and form a communist party.

At the same time the second congress of the Communist International is in favour of the affiliation of communist or sympathizing groups and organizations in England to the Labour Party, although the Labour Party belongs to the Second International.

For so long as this party allows the organizations affiliated to it their present freedom of criticism and freedom to engage in propaganda, agitation, and organization for the proletarian dictatorship and the Soviet power, so long as this party retains the character of an association of all trade union organizations of the working class, communists must do everything they can, and even make certain organizational compromises, to have the possibility of exercising influence on the broad working masses, of exposing their opportunist leaders from a high tribune visible to the masses, of accelerating the transference of political power from the direct representatives of the bourgeoisie to the 'labour lieutenants of the capitalist class', in order to cure the masses quickly of their last illusions on this score.

 

 

17.

 

As to the Italian Socialist Party, the second congress of the

Communist International recognizes that the revision of the programme decided on at the Bologna congress of this party last year marks a very important stage in this party's road to communism, and that the proposals put forward by the Turin section to the National Council of the party and published in L'Ordine Nuovo of 8 May 1920 are in conformity with all the basic principles of the Communist International.

The congress requests the Italian Socialist Party at its next congress, which is to be held in accordance with its own statutes and the conditions of admission to the Communist International, to examine the said proposals and all the decisions of the two congresses of the Communist International, particularly with respect to the parliamentary fraction, the trade unions, and non-communist elements in the party.

 

 

18.

 

The second congress of the Communist International judges as incorrect the views about the relation of the party to the class and the masses, about communist party participation in bourgeois parliaments and in reactionary trade unions held and

defended in their most thoroughgoing form by the Communist Labour Party of Germany (KAPD), and in part by the Communist Party of Switzerland, and in Der Kommunismus, organ of the East European secretariat of the Communist International in Vienna, by some Dutch comrades, and by some communist

organizations in England, for example the Socialist Workers' Federation and the Shop Stewards' Committee, and by the IWW in America; these views have been refuted in detail in special resolutions of the second congress.

Nevertheless the second congress of the Communist International considers both possible and desirable the immediate affiliation to the Communist International of such of these organizations as have not yet officially joined, for in these cases— particularly the IWW in America and Australia, and the shop stewards in England, we are dealing with a profoundly proletarian mass movement, whose principles

really correspond to the basic principles of the Communist International. In such organizations the incorrect views about participation in bourgeois parliaments derive not so much from the influence of members of bourgeois origin, who bring their

basically petty-bourgeois outlook into the movement—an outlook which anarchists often share—as from the lack of political experience of thoroughly revolutionary proletarians who are closely bound to the masses.

The second congress of the Communist International therefore requests all communist organizations and groups in the Anglo-Saxon countries, even if the IWW and the shop stewards should not immediately join, to pursue a friendly policy towards these organizations, to draw closer to them and to the masses who

sympathize with them, and to explain to them, in the light of the experiences of all revolutions and particularly of the three Russian revolutions of the twentieth century, in a most friendly way the incorrectness of their views in this respect, and not to desist from repeated attempts to unite with these organizations into a single communist party.

 

 

19.

 

In this connexion the congress directs the attention of all comrades, particularly in the Latin and Anglo-Saxon countries, to the deep theoretical cleavage that has been taking place since the war among anarchists throughout the world on the question of their attitude to the proletarian dictatorship and the Soviet power.

The proletarian elements, who were frequently driven to anarchism by a wholly natural hatred of the opportunism and reformism of the parties of the Second International, have a particularly good grasp of these principles, which is growing as

they become more familiar with the experience of Russia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Germany.

The congress therefore thinks it the duty of all comrades to support to the utmost the movement of all mass proletarian elements from anarchism towards the Communist International. The congress declares that the success of the work of genuine communist parties can be measured among other things by the extent to which they succeed in attracting from anarchism to their side all the mass proletarian elements.


 

 

Comintern

III. International