Third Congress

June 22-July 12 1921







May 1921



complete version in German language – see: )

The third world congress of the Communist International will open in Moscow on 1 June 1921. We have called the conference two months earlier than laid down in the statutes, and are sure that the parties affiliated to the Comintern will agree with us that the interests of the cause require the date to be put forward.

In the nine months which have passed since the second world congress broad discussions have taken place in a whole series of parties on all the questions resolved at the second congress. In a number of countries differentiation has reached the point at which at last there is an open break between the communists and the followers of the 'centre'. In Germany, in France, England, Sweden, Norway, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, and other countries the rupture between the communists and the adherents of the intermediate Two-and-ahalf 'International' is an accomplished fact. . . .

During that time the ECCI had to make a number of most important decisions, on which it will have to report to the entire Communist International.

The third congress will first of all have to satisfy itself in regard to the extent to which each of the affiliated parties has in fact carried out all the conditions advanced by the second congress. An important period of Comintern activity is drawing to an end. Up to its first congress the Communist International went through its gestatory, preparatory period. Between the first and the second congress the Comintern lived through its initial period of agitation. At that time it was not yet a formal international organization. It was only a banner. The period between the second and third congress was a period of greater differentiation, and of the formation of genuine communist parties. The third congress will draw up the balance sheet of all the work done and give the Comintern a finished organization and clearcut tactics. . . .

The Comintern must lay down a firm and definite rule: the ECCI is entirely responsible to the regular world congress. Appeals can be made to the world congress against an ECCI decision. But between one congress and the next the entire conduct of affairs is in the hands of the ECCI. Its decisions must be carried out. Without that the Comintern cannot exist as a centralized and disciplined international organization. If the Communist International is not to call itself the international of action in vain, then as a fighting organization it must have a general staff and there must be certainty that discipline will be maintained not only in words but in fact.

The tactics of forming communist cells inside the trade unions, put forward by the second congress, have been justified. They have had considerable success in Germany, France, England, and other countries. The first substantial blows have been struck against the yellow Amsterdam federation. The yellow leaders vacillate from side to side. Today they are prepared to make concessions, tomorrow they start excluding from the unions all supporters of the Comintern. This is a certain sign of their complete future bankruptcy. . . .

The Comintern has had its first successes in work among the Eastern peoples. The Baku congress of the peoples of the East was of great and undoubted historical importance. The congress of the peoples of the Far East which is to be held will also play its part. The third congress will have to deal with the Eastern question not only theoretically, as at the second congress, but as a practical matter. Without a revolution in Asia there will be no victory for the world proletarian revolution. This too must be firmly grasped by every proletarian communist. Only then will the worker communists be adequately armed ideologically against the 'European' opportunism of Herr Hilferding and other heroes of the Two-and-a-half International, who have in stock nothing but disdainful smiles for the oppressed peoples of the East.

The question of the Italian Socialist Party, the tenth item on the agenda, will be of the greatest importance. The Italian Socialist Party formerly belonged to the Comintern. Under the influence of Serrati's 'centrist' agitation the congress of that party at Leghorn refused in fact to apply the 21 conditions put forward by the second Comintern conrgess for all parties. . . .

The workercommunists formed an independent communist party. In these circumstances the ECCI considered it its duty to recognize the young Italian Communist Party as the only section of the Comintern in Italy, and to expel from the Comintern Serrati's party, which had in fact repudiated the second congress decisions. The Italian Socialist Party protested against this and appealed from the ECCI to the Comintern congress. . . .

In a special letter to the central committee of the Italian Socialist Party the ECCI wrote: 'We invite you to the third congress, but we ask (1) that your delegates should be fully empowered to give definite answers to the congress, (2) that you answer clearly and precisely whether you agree to the expulsion from a Comintern party of the group of Turati, Treves & co.'

The Italian question has assumed international importance. In January Levi's group, which had long been anxious to create some kind of a right wing in the Comintern, seized on the Italian dispute, asserting that the ECCI had made 'tactical' mistakes and was advocating 'mechanical' splits and so on. . . .

We ask all parties and unions belonging to or wishing to join the Comintern to open immediately the widest possible discussion of the third congress agenda in their press and at meetings. We ask them further to deal at once with the question of electing delegates to the congress. The ECCI unanimously agreed to suggest to all parties: (1) that the delegation to the congress should be as large as possible; (2) that one-third of the delegation should be members of the central committee, the other two-thirds to be drawn from the most important local organizations and be most closely connected with the working masses. We attach particularly great importance to this last point.

With communist greetings,

President of the ECCI





III. International