Third Congress

June 22-July 12 1921

 

 

 

 

 

EXTRACTS FROM THE

THESES ON TACTICS

ADOPTED BY THE THIRD

COMINTERN CONGRESS

12 July 1921

 

Thesen und Resolutionen, iii, p. 31

 

 



I. THE DEFINITION OF THE QUESTION


'The new international association of workers is established to organize joint action by the proletariat of the different countries which pursue the one goal: the overthrow of capitalism, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of an international Soviet republic which will completely abolish all classes and realize socialism, the first stage of communist society.' This definition of aims recorded in the Statutes of the Communist International clearly delimits all the tactical questions which are to be solved. They are the tactical questions of our fight for the proletarian dictatorship. They refer to the means for winning the majority of the working class for the principles of communism and to the means for organizing the socially decisive sections of the proletariat for the struggle to bring it into being; they refer to our attitude to the proletarianized petty-bourgeois strata, to the ways and means for the most rapid disintegration of the organs of bourgeois power, their destruction, and the final international struggle for the dictatorship. The question of the dictatorship itself, as the only road to victory, is outside discussion. The development of the world revolution has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that in the given historical situation there is only one alternative, capitalist dictatorship or proletarian dictatorship. The third congress of the Communist International takes up anew the examination of tactical questions at a time when, in a number of countries, the objective situation has become acutely revolutionary and a number of mass communist parties have been formed which, however, nowhere yet possess the actual leadership of the majority of the working class in real revolutionary struggle.



2. TOWARDS NEW STRUGGLES


The world revolution, that is, the downfall of capitalism and the concentration of the revolutionary energy of the proletariat, its organization into an attacking and victorious power, will require a fairly long period of revolutionary struggle. The variety in the degree of acuteness reached by contradictions in different countries, the variety in their social structure and in the obstacles to be surmounted, the high level of organization of the bourgeoisie in the highly developed capitalist countries of west Europe and North America, meant that the world war did not issue immediately in the victory of the world revolution.

Communists were therefore right when they said, even during the war, that the epoch of imperialism would develop into the epoch of social revolution, that is, into a long series of civil wars in various capitalist States, and of wars between the capitalist States on one side and proletarian States and the exploited colonial peoples on the other. The world revolution is not an undeviating process advancing along a straight line; in the period of chronic capitalist decay, the continuous revolutionary sapping comes at times to a head in an acute crisis....

The world economic crisis which began in the middle of 1920 and spread over the whole world, increasing unemployment everywhere, proves to the international proletariat that the bourgeoisie are unable to rebuild the world anew. . . .

The illusions which international social-democracy and the trade union bureaucracy used to restrain the working masses from revolutionary struggle, the illusion that by renouncing the conquest of political power in revolutionary struggle they could gradually and peacefully achieve economic power and self-government, is fading away. . . .



3. THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK TODAY


The most important question before the Communist International today is to win predominating influence over the majority of the working class, and to bring its decisive strata into the struggle. For despite the objectively revolutionary situation, political and economic . . .

the majority of the workers are not yet under communist influence; this is particularly true of those countries where finance capital is very powerful and where consequently large strata of workers are corrupted by imperialism (e.g. England and America), while real revolutionary mass propaganda has only just be gun. From the day of its foundation the Communist International has clearly and unambiguously made its goal the formation not of small communist sects, trying by propaganda and agitation only to establish their influence over the working masses, but participation in the struggle of the working masses, the direction of this struggle in a Communist spirit, and the creation in the course of this struggle of experienced, large, revolutionary, mass communist parties. ...


At its second congress the Communist International publicly rejected sectarian tendencies in its resolutions on the trade union question and on parliament. The experience of two years of struggle by the communist parties has fully confirmed the correctness of this position. By its policy the Communist International succeeded in a number of countries in detaching the revolutionary workers not only from the avowed reformists but also from the centrists. . . .


Thanks to the tactics of the Communist International (revolutionary work in the trade unions, the open letter, etc.) communism in Germany, from being the mere political tendency which it represented in the January and March struggles of 1919, has become a great revolutionary mass party. It has won an influence in the trade unions which has induced the trade union bureaucrats, fearing the revolutionary effect of communist trade union work, to expel many communists from the unions and forced them to take on themselves the odium of splitting the unions. . . .

In France the communists have won the majority of the Socialist Party. In England the communist groups are consolidating themselves on the basis of the tactical platform of the Communist International, and their growing influence is forcing the social-traitors to try to make their affiliation to the Labour Party impossible. Sectarian communist groups (like the KAPD) on the other hand, have had not the slightest success. The theory of strengthening communism by propaganda and agitation alone, by the foundation of separate communist trade unions, has suffered complete shipwreck. Nowhere has it been possible to found an influential communist party by these means.



4. THE SITUATION IN THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL


The Communist International has not everywhere advanced far enough in forming mass communist parties by these means. Indeed, in two of the most important countries of victorious capitalism everything still remains to be done in this respect.

In the United States where, for historical reasons, there was no broad revolutionary movement even before the war, the communists are still only on the threshold of the first stage of forming a communist nucleus and establishing contact with the working masses. The economic crisis, which has thrown five millions out of work, provides a very favourable soil for this work. Conscious of the threatening danger that the workers' movement will become more radical and be influenced by the communists, American capital is trying by the most barbarous persecution to break the young communist movement, to annihilate it and drive it underground, where, it is hoped, lacking contact with the masses, it will degenerate and wither away. . . .

Nor, despite the concentration of its forces into a single communist party, has the English communist movement succeeded in becoming a mass party. The prolonged dislocation of English economy, the unprecedented acute-ness of the strike movement, the growing discontent among the broadest masses of the people with Lloyd George's Government, the possibility that the Labour Party and Liberal Party will win the next general election —all this opens new revolutionary perspectives and confronts English communists with questions of the utmost importance. The cardinal task of the Communist Party of Great Britain is to become a mass party. ...

The powerful strike movement is testing the capacity, the reliability, the steadfastness and conscientiousness of the trade union apparatus and leaders before the eyes of millions of workers. In these circumstances communist work in the trade unions is of decisive importance. No criticism from outside can influence the masses to anything remotely like the extent of the influence which can be exerted by the steadfast day-to-day work of the communist trade union cells, by the work of exposing and discrediting the trade union traitors and philistines who, in England more than in any other country, are the political pawns of capital. . . .


The mass communist parties of central and western Europe are working out appropriate methods of revolutionary agitation and propaganda, elaborating methods of organization which correspond to their fighting character, and are passing over from agitation and propaganda to action. This process is hampered by the fact that in a number of countries the movement of the workers into the communist camp took place under leaders who had not overcome their centrist tendencies, and are unable to conduct genuinely communist popular agitation and propaganda, or who fear it because they know that it will carry the parties on to revolutionary struggles.


In Italy these centrist tendencies have led to a split in the party. The party and trade union leaders around Serrati, instead of transforming the spontaneous movements of the working class and their growing activity into a conscious struggle for power, for which conditions in Italy were ripe, let these movements peter out. . .

. Since they differed from the reformists neither in word nor deed, they did not wish to separate themselves from them, but preferred to separate from the communists. The Serrati policy, which strengthened the influence of the reformists, also created the danger of anarchist and syndicalist influence in the party, and of the growth of anti-parliamentary, sham-radical tendencies. The split at Leghorn, the formation of the Italian Communist Party, the concentration of all genuinely communist elements, on the platform of the decisions of the second Comintern congress, into a communist party, will make communism a mass force in Italy if the party, while fighting steadily and unyieldingly against the opportunist Serrati policy, is at the same time able to link itself with the proletarian masses in the trade unions, in their strikes, in the fight against the counter-revolutionary fascist movement, to fuse and to transform the spontaneous actions of the workers into carefully prepared struggles.


In France, where the chauvinist poison of 'national defence' and the subsequent frenzy of victory were stronger than in any other country, the reaction against the

war developed more slowly than elsewhere. . . .

The French Socialist Party majority developed in a communist direction before the march of events raised the decisive questions of revolutionary action. The French Communist Party will be able to exploit this situation more fully and more advantageously, the more decisively it eliminates from its own ranks, and particularly from its leadership, the survivals, still very strong, of national-pacifist and parliamentary-reformist ideology. ... In its parliamentary struggle the party must make a decisive break with those hypocritical formalities and false personal courtesies of French parliamentary life which the bourgeoisie deliberately encourage in order to intimidate and hypnotize the workers' deputies. Communist party deputies, in their strictly supervised action in parliament, must seek to expose the deception of nationalist democratism and traditional revolutionism, and present every question as one of class interests and inexorable class struggle. . . .


The attempts of impatient and politically inexperienced revolutionary elements to resort to the most extreme methods, which by their very nature imply the decisive revolutionary uprising of the proletariat, for particular problems and tasks (such as the proposal that this year's conscripts shall resist the call-up) contain elements of the most dangerous adventurism and may, if they are employed, frustrate for a long time the genuinely revolutionary preparation of the proletariat for the seizure of power. The French Communist Party, like the parties of other countries, must reject these extremely dangerous methods. This, however, must in no circumstances be used as a pretext for inactivity.

Strengthening the party's contact with the masses means above all closer links with the trade unions. In this field the task of the party does not consist in a mechanical external subordination of the unions to the party, and their renunciation of the autonomy required by the character of their work; it means that the truly revolutionary elements inside the unions, brought together and directed by the communist party, themselves give union work a direction in conformity with the general interests of the proletariat in its fight to capture power. Bearing this in mind, the Communist Party of France must, in a friendly but clear and resolute fashion, criticize those anarcho-syndicalist tendencies which reject the proletarian dictatorship and deny the necessity of the organization of the proletarian vanguard in a single centralized directing body, that is, in a communist party. . . .


The dislike of petty politicians characteristic of French syndicalism is primarily the expression of a perfectly natural hatred of traditional 'socialist' parliamentarians. The genuinely revolutionary character of the communist party will create the possibility of convincing all revolutionary elements of the necessity of political organization if the working class is to seize power.

The amalgamation of the revolutionary-syndicalist and the communist organizations into one is an essential prerequisite for any serious struggle by the French proletariat. . . .


The United Communist Party of Germany . . .

although it is already a mass party, has the great task of increasing and consolidating its influence on the broad masses, of winning the proletarian mass organizations and the trade unions, of destroying the influence of the social-democratic party and trade union bureaucracy, and of becoming the leader of the mass movement in the coming struggles of the proletariat. This, its main task, means that all the work of agitation and organization must be directed to winning the sympathy of the majority of the working class, without which, in view of the strength of German capital, no victory for communism in Germany is possible. Neither in the extent nor in the content of its agitation has the party up to now been equal to this task. Nor did it consistently pursue the policy indicated in the 'open letter', of putting forward the practical interests of the proletariat in opposition to the treacherous policy of the social-democratic parties and trade union bureaucracy. . . .

Centrist tendencies, not yet completely overcome, meant that the party, faced with the necessity of struggle, went into it rashly, without sufficient preparation, and without maintaining the essential moral contact with the non-communist masses. . . .


The active tasks which will soon confront the VKPD, because of the breakdown of the German economy and the capitalist threat to the very existence of the working

masses, can only be accomplished if the party, instead of opposing the tasks of organization and agitation to those of action, of the deed, keeps constantly on the alert the spirit of militancy in its organizations, makes its agitation really popular in character, and builds its organizations in such a way that, through its close ties with the masses, it develops the ability to weigh up situations carefully, to determine the moment for fighting, and to prepare thoroughly for the fight.

The parties of the Communist International will become revolutionary mass parties only if they overcome opportunism, its survivals and traditions, in their own ranks by seeking to link themselves closely with the working masses in their struggle, deriving their tasks from the practical struggles of the proletariat, and in these struggles rejecting both the opportunist policy of self-deception, of hushing up and smoothing over the unbridgeable contradictions, and the use of revolutionary phrases which obscure a clear view into the real relation of forces and ignore the difficulties of the struggle.


The communist parties arose out of a split in the old social-democratic parties. . . .


The watchwords and the principles of the communist parties provide the only ground on which the working masses can again unite, for they express the necessities of the proletarian struggle. Since that is so, it is now the socialdemocratic and centrist parties and groups which reflect the dispersal and division of the forces of the proletariat, while the communist parties represent the element of concentration.



5. PARTIAL STRUGGLES AND PARTIAL DEMANDS


Communist parties can develop only in struggle. Even the smallest communist parties should not restrict themselves to mere propaganda and agitation. They must form the spearhead of all proletarian mass organizations, showing the backward vacillating masses, by putting forward practical proposals for struggle, by urging on the struggle for all the daily needs of the proletariat, how the struggle should be waged, and thus exposing to the masses the treacherous character of all noncommunist parties. Only by placing themselves at the head of the practical struggles of the proletariat, only by promoting these struggles, can they really win over large masses of the proletariat to the fight for the dictatorship.

The entire agitation and propaganda, all the work of communist parties, must be informed with the consciousness that no lasting improvement in the position of the proletarian masses is possible on a capitalist basis. . . .

But this should not imply a renunciation of the struggle for the practical, urgent needs of the proletariat until it is ready to fight for the dictatorship. Social-democracy, which today, in the period of capitalist collapse and decay . . .

puts forward the old social-democratic programme of peaceful reforms, of reforms to be effected by peaceful means within the framework of bankrupt capitalism, is deliberately deceiving the working masses.

Not only is capitalism in decay incapable of ensuring the workers decent living conditions, but the social-democrats, the reformists of all countries, are proving every day that they do not want to wage any struggle even for the most modest demands put forward in their own programme. Equally deceptive is the demand put forward by the centrist parties for the socialization or nationalization of the most important industries. The centrists have misled the masses by trying to persuade them that the most important industries can be wrested from capital before the bourgeoisie have been defeated; moreover, they try to deflect the workers from the real vital struggle for their immediate needs with the hope of gradually taking possession of one industry after another, to be followed by 'planned' economic construction. Thus they get back to the social-democratic minimum programme of the reform of capitalism, which has become notoriously a counter-revolutionary deception. . . .

The communist parties do not put forward any minimum programme to strengthen and improve the tottering structure of capitalism. The destruction of that structure remains their guiding aim and their immediate mission. But to carry out this mission the communist parties must put forward demands whose fulfilment is an immediate and urgent working-class need, and they must fight for these demands in mass struggle, regardless of whether they are compatible with the profit economy of the capitalist class or not.

It is not the viability and competitive capacity of capitalist industry, nor the profitability of capitalist finance to which communist parties should pay regard, but the poverty which the proletariat cannot and should not endure any longer. If the demands correspond to the vital needs of broad proletarian masses and if these masses feel that they cannot exist unless these demands are met, then the struggle for these demands will become the starting-point of the struggle for power. In place of the minimum programme of the reformists and centrists, the Communist

International puts the struggle for the concrete needs of the proletariat, for a system of demands which in their totality disintegrate the power of the bourgeoisie, organize the proletariat, represent stages in the struggle for the proletarian dictatorship, and each of which expresses in itself the need of the broadest masses, even if the masses themselves are not yet consciously in favour of the proletarian dictatorship. . . .

The task of the communist parties is to extend, to deepen, and to unify this struggle for concrete demands. Every partial action undertaken by the working masses to achieve a partial demand, every serious strike mobilizes the entire bourgeoisie, who as a class rally to the threatened section of the employers. . . . The bourgeoisie also bring into action their entire State machine in the struggle against the workers. . . .

The workers who fight for partial demands will be automatically forced into a struggle against the entire bourgeoisie and their State apparatus. To the extent that the struggles for partial demands, and the partial struggles of particular groups of workers develop into a general struggle of the working class against capitalism, the communist party must also intensify and generalize its slogans, bringing them together under the single slogan of the direct defeat of the enemy.

These partial demands, anchored in the needs of the broadest masses, must be put forward by the communist parties in a way which not only leads the masses to struggle, but by its very nature also organizes them. Every practical slogan which derives from the economic needs of the working masses must be channelled into the struggle for the control of production, not as a plan for the bureaucratic organization of the national economy under the capitalist regime, but through the factory councils and revolutionary trade unions. Only by building such organizations, linked together by industry and area, can the struggle of the working masses be organizationally unified and resistance put up to the splitting of the masses by social-democracy and the trade union leaders. The factory councils will accomplish these tasks only if they arise in the struggles for economic ends which are common to the broadest working masses. . . .

Every objection to the putting forward of such partial demands, every charge of reformism on this account, is an emanation of the same inability to grasp the essential conditions of revolutionary action as was expressed in the hostility of some communist groups to participation in the trade unions, or to making use of parliament. It is not a question of proclaiming the final goal to the proletariat, but of intensifying the practical struggle which is the only way of leading the proletariat to the struggle for the final goal. . . .

The revolutionary character of the present epoch consists precisely in this, that the most modest conditions of life for the working masses are incompatible with the existence of capitalist society, and that therefore the fight for even the most modest demands grows into the fight for communism.

While the capitalists use the growing army of the unemployed to reduce the wages of organized labour, the social-democrats, the Independents, and the official trade union leaders keep themselves in cowardly fashion aloof from the unemployed, regarding them merely as the object of official and trade union charity, and politically as the lumpen-proletariat. Communists must realize that in present circumstances the army of the unemployed is a revolutionary factor of immense significance, and they must assume the leadership of this army. Exerting pressure on the trade unions through the unemployed, communists must bring fresh life into the unions and hasten their emancipation from their treacherous leaders. . . .

The more unemployed and short-time workers there are, the more do their interests become the interests of the working class as a whole, to which the temporary interests of the labour aristocracy must be subordinated. ...

As representative of working class interests as a whole, the communist party cannot restrict itself to their recognition and their use in propaganda. It can only represent them effectively if, when circumstances warrant, it leads the masses of the most oppressed and impoverished workers into the struggle, regardless of the resistance of the labour aristocracy.



6. PREPARING FOR THE STRUGGLE


The character of the transitional epoch makes it obligatory for all communist parties to raise to the utmost their readiness for struggle. Any struggle may turn into a struggle for power. . . .

Where communist parties represent a mass force, where their influence extends beyond their own party organization to the broad working masses, they must by action rouse the working masses to struggle. Powerful mass parties cannot confine themselves to criticizing other parties and putting forward communist demands in opposition to theirs. On them, as mass parties, rests the responsibility for the development of the revolution.

Wherever the position of the working masses becomes more and more intolerable, the communist parties must do their utmost to get them to fight for their interests.

Since, in western Europe and America, where the working masses are organized in political parties and trade unions, spontaneous movements are for the time being unlikely except in very rare cases, the communist parties must try, by exerting their influence in the unions, by increasing their pressure on other parties supported by the working masses, to get joint action in the struggle for the immediate interests of the proletariat; should the non-communist parties be forced into the struggle, the communists must warn the working masses from the outset of the possibility of treachery by the non-communist parties at a subsequent stage of the struggle, must do their utmost to make the situation more acute and push it further, in order to be able if necessary to continue the struggle independently (e.g. the open letter of the VKPD, which can serve as a model starting-point for action on these lines). If communist party pressure in the unions and the press does not suffice to get the proletariat into a united front in the struggle, it is the duty of the communist party to try on its own to lead large sections of the working masses into struggle. An organized fighting proletarian minority must be used to counteract mass passivity.

This independent policy of defending the vital interests of the proletariat by its most active and class-conscious section will be successful, and will spur on the backward masses, if its goals derive from the actual situation, if they are intelligible to the broad masses, if the masses see in them their own goals, even though they are not yet capable of fighting for them.

But the communist party must not restrict itself to defence against the dangers threatening the proletariat. ... In the epoch of world revolution it is by its very nature an attacking party, on the offensive against capitalist society; it is obliged, whenever a defensive struggle grows in depth and extent, to turn it into an attack on capitalist society. It is also obliged to do everything it can to lead the workers into this attack whenever the conditions for this are at hand. Whoever is opposed on principle to the policy of the offensive against capitalist society is retreating from the principles of communism.

These conditions are, firstly, the sharpening of the struggle within the bourgeois camp itself, nationally and internationally. If the struggles in the bourgeois camp have become so great that there are prospects that the working class will have to deal with an enemy whose forces are broken up and divided, the party must seize the initiative in leading the masses into struggle after careful political and, so far as possible, organizational preparation. The second condition for offensive action on a broad front is great discontent among the decisive categories of the working class. . .


. While the movement is advancing, the slogans must be stepped up, but should the movement recede, it is the duty of the communist leadership to withdraw the fighting masses from the struggle in as orderly and united a fashion as possible.

Whether the communist party wages an offensive or defensive struggle depends on the actual circumstances. What is most important is that it should be imbued with a spirit of militancy and fighting readiness, and overcome the centrist passivity which necessarily diverts even party propaganda into semi-reformist channels. . . .

The period of capitalist decay must be shortened if the material foundations of communism are not to be destroyed and the energy of the working masses crushed.



7. THE LESSONS OF THE MARCH ACTION


The March action was a struggle forced on the VKPD by the Government's attack on the proletariat of central Germany.

In this first great struggle since its foundation, the VKPD made a number of mistakes, of which the most important was that it did not clearly emphasize the defensive character of the struggle, but by the call to an offensive gave the unscrupulous enemies of the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, the SPD, and the USPD, the opportunity to denounce the VKPD to the proletariat as a plotter of putsches.

This mistake was aggravated by a number of party comrades who represented the offensive as the primary method of struggle for the VKPD in the present situation.

Official party organs, and the party chairman comrade Brandler, came out against these mistakes.

The third congress of the Communist International considers the March action of the VKPD as a step forward. It was a heroic struggle by hundreds of thousands of proletarians against the bourgeoisie. By assuming leadership of the defence of the workers of central Germany, the VKPD showed that it was the party of the revolutionary German proletariat. The congress is of the opinion that the VKPD will in the future be in a position to carry through its mass actions more successfully the better it adapts its fighting slogans to the real situation, the more thoroughly it studies the situation, and the greater the extent of agreement to carry the action through.

In making a thorough examination of the possibilities of struggle, the VKPD must carefully note the circumstances and opinions which indicate difficulties, and subject the reasons advanced against an action to searching inquiry, but once action has been decided on by the party authorities all comrades must obey the decisions of the party and carry the action through. Criticism of the action should begin only after the action itself is ended, it should be made only in party organizations and bodies, and must take account of the situation of the party in relation to the class enemy-Since Levi disregarded these obvious requirements of party discipline and the conditions of party criticism, the congress confirms his expulsion from the party and considers it impermissible for any member of the Communist International to collaborate with him.



8. FORMS AND MEANS OF DIRECT STRUGGLE


The forms and means of struggle, its extent, are, like the question of offensive or defensive action, dependent on definite conditions which cannot be arbitrarily created. Previous revolutionary experience shows various forms of partial action.


1. Partial action by a particular stratum of the working class (the miners, railwaymen, etc., in Germany and England).


2. Partial action by the entire working class for limited objectives (action during the Kapp days, action by English miners against military intervention by the English Government in the Russo-Polish war).

... The communist party must strive to transform every important local struggle into a general struggle. Just as it is obliged wherever possible to summon the entire working class to the defence of the fighting workers in one industry, so it must whenever possible bring out the workers of other industrial centres in defence of the fighting workers in one area. Revolutionary experience shows that the larger the field of battle, the greater the prospects for victory. The bourgeoisie in their struggle against the expanding world revolution rely partly on their white-guard organizations and partly on the dispersal of the workers' forces, the delay in forming the united proletarian front. The greater the masses drawn into the struggle, the broader the field of battle, the more must the enemy divide and split his forces. . . .

The bourgeoisie, who boast of their power and their stability, know perfectly well, in the person of their leading Governments, that they only have a breathing space, and that in present conditions any mass strike has the tendency to develop into civil war and into a direct struggle for power.

In the proletarian struggle against the capitalist offensive it is the duty of communists not only to occupy the front rank and to instil an understanding of the basic revolutionary tasks, but to create their own workers' detachments and defence organizations, relying on the best and most active elements in the factories and trade unions, to resist the fascists and dissuade the jeunesse doree of the bourgeoisie from exasperating the strikers. Because of the extraordinary importance of the counterrevolutionary shock troops the communist party, acting primarily through its trade union cells, must devote special attention to this question, organize a comprehensive information and contact service, keep under constant observation the forces of the white guard, their headquarters, arms depots, connexions with the police, the press, and the political parties, and work out in advance all the details of defence and counter-attack. . . .

Against the acts of white terrorism and the fury of white justice, the communist party must keep alive in the minds of the proletariat the idea that at the time of insurrection it must not let itself be deluded by the enemy's appeals to its clemency. It will set up people's courts, and with proletarian justice settle accounts with the torturers of the proletariat. But when the proletariat is only beginning its march to battle, when it is only beginning to rally its forces by strikes, agitation, and political campaigns, the use of weapons and acts of sabotage have a purpose only if they serve to obstruct the transport of troops intended for use against the fighting proletarian masses or to wrest important positions from the enemy in direct struggle. Individual acts of terrorism, clear symptoms of revolutionary indignation though they are, and however natural when employed against the lynch justice of the bourgeoisie and their social-democratic lackeys, are in no way fitted to strengthen proletarian discipline and militancy, for they arouse among the masses the illusion that individual acts of terrorism can take the place of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.



9. ATTITUDE TO THE PROLETARIAN MIDDLE STRATA


In western Europe there is no large class apart from the proletariat which might become a decisive factor in the world revolution, as was the case in Russia, where from the first war and land hunger made the peasantry as well as the industrial workers a decisive factor in the revolutionary struggle. But even in western Europe the conditions of life of parts of the peasantry, large parts of the urban pettybourgeoisie, and the broad stratum of the so-called new middle classes, white collar workers, etc., are becoming more and more intolerable. Under the pressure of the rising cost of living, of the housing shortage, of insecurity, a ferment is at work among these masses which is shaking them out of their political indifference and drawing them into the fight between revolution and counter-revolution. The bankruptcy of imperialism in the defeated countries, and of pacifism and socialreformism in the victor countries, drives one section of these middle strata into the counter-revolutionary and another into the revolutionary camp. The communist party must give constant attention to these strata. Winning the small peasants for the ideas of communism, and winning over and organizing the agricultural labourers, is one of the most important prerequisites for the victory of the proletarian dictatorship, for it makes it possible to carry the revolution from the industrial centres to the countryside and helps to solve the question of food supplies, which is a question of life and death for the revolution. ...

By energetically taking up the economic demands of the lower and middle ranks of the civil service, regardless of the state of public finances, communist parties are working effectively for the destruction of bourgeois State institutions and preparing for the construction of the proletarian State.



10. INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATION OF ACTION


In order to bring to bear all the forces of the Communist International to effect a breach in the international counter-revolutionary front, in order to accelerate the victory of the revolution, it is essential to exert the utmost effort to bring about a unified international leadership of the revolutionary struggle.

The Communist International imposes on all communist parties the duty of rendering one another the most vigorous support in the struggle. Whenever possible, the proletariat of other countries should immediately intervene when economic struggles are developing in one country. Communists must try to get the trade unions to prevent the despatch of strikebreakers, and also to prevent exports to countries where large sections of the proletariat are engaged in struggle. Where the capitalist government of one country resorts to coercive measures against another country, with the object of plundering or subjecting it, communist parties should not content themselves with protests, but do everything possible to obstruct their government. The third congress of the Communist International welcomes the French communist demonstrations as the beginning of increasing activity against the counter-revolutionary role of French capitalist exploitation. It reminds them of their duty to do everything they can to make the French soldiers in the occupied zone understand the part they are playing as policemen for French capital and reject the shameful task assigned to them....

The presence of black troops in France and the occupied zone imposes special tasks on the French Communist Party. It provides the French party with the opportunity of approaching these colonial slaves and explaining to them that they are serving their own torturers and exploiters, of rallying them to the struggle against the colonial regime, and through them getting into touch with the peoples of the French colonies.

In its activities the German Communist Party must make the German proletariat understand that a struggle against Entente capitalist exploitation is impossible unless the German capitalist Government is overthrown, for despite its clamour against the Entente it acts as overseer and deputy boss for Entente capital. Only if it proves by forceful and unrelenting struggle against the German Government that it is not trying to save bankrupt German imperialism but to clear the ground of the ruins of German imperialism, can the VKPD intensify among the French proletarian masses the will to fight French imperialism. . . .

The German working class can help the Russian workers in their difficult struggle only if they hasten by their own victorious battle the union of agricultural Russia with industrial Germany. . . .

Unconditional support of Soviet Russia remains as before the cardinal duty of the communists of all countries. Not only must they vigorously oppose any attack on Soviet Russia, but they must fight energetically to clear away all the obstacles which the capitalist States place in the way of Soviet Russian trade on the world market and with other nations. Only if Soviet Russia succeeds in restoring its economy, in alleviating the terrible distress caused by three years of imperialist war and three years of civil war, in increasing the working capacity of the masses, will it be able in future to help the victorious proletarian States of the west with food and raw materials and protect them from strangulation by American capital. . . .

It is impossible to predict where the proletarian breakthrough is going to take place. Therefore it is the duty of the Communist International to intensify its efforts on all sectors of the proletarian world front, and it is the duty of the communist parties to do their utmost, with all the means at their disposal, in support of the decisive struggles of any section of the Communist International. Whenever a largescale dispute breaks out in one country, the communist parties in other countries should try to bring all internal conflicts to a head.



11. THE DECAY OF THE SECOND AND TWO-AND-A-HALF INTERNATIONALS


. . . Although the parties of the centre and of social-democracy differ only in the words they use, the union of the two into one International has not yet taken place.

Indeed, in February the centrist parties formed a separate international union with its own platform and statutes. On paper this Two-and-a-half International is trying to hover between democracy and proletarian dictatorship. In fact it is helping the capitalist class in every country by encouraging a spirit of irresolution among the working class. . . .

The basic similarity in the political character of the reformists and centrists is shown in their common defence of the Amsterdam trade union International, the last stronghold of the world bourgeoisie. Wherever they have influence in the unions, the centrists unite with the reformists and the trade union bureaucracy to fight the communists, to reply to the attempts to revolutionize the unions by expelling communists and splitting the unions, so proving that just like the social-democrats they are opponents of the proletarian struggle and pace-makers of the counter-revolution.

 


 

 

Comintern

III. International