RESOLUTION OF THE FIFTH COMINTERN CONGRESS ON THE REPORT OF THE ECCI
26 June 1924 Inprekorr, iv, 91, p. 1154, 17 July 1924
The fifth congress of the Comintern fully endorses the activities of the Executive since the fourth congress, and observes that correct and firm leadership by the Executive made an essential contribution to the emergence of the Communist International practically everywhere with greater strength from this period of savage attack by capital fighting for its dictatorship. . . .
The communist movement withstood this violent attack not without severe losses, and not without serious blunders and deviations. But in no country was the capitalist power able to destroy the organization of the communist vanguard or cut it off from the proletarian masses. . . .
During these great class struggles the Executive Committee took a number of most important measures of decisive importance for the correct leadership of the sections of the CI. The congress notes in particular the following cases:
At the international conferences in Essen and Frankfurt in the spring of 1923 the Executive indicated correctly the practical tasks of intensified revolutionary preparation arising from the occupation of the Ruhr for the European proletariat, above all for the communist parties of Germany and France.
When in August the expansion of the revolutionary mass movement presaged a situation favourable to the decisive struggle for power in Germany, the Executive immediately called on the party to direct its work towards the immediate seizure of power, assured the KPD of the utmost help in this work, and mobilized several other sections to give powerful support to the German revolution.
After the October surrender in Germany, effected practically without fighting, and attributable to the treachery of the social-democratic leaders and the failure of the communist party leadership, it was wholly correct and necessary for the Executive, made aware of the strong left tendency in the German party, and with the support of the left, to condemn the opportunist attitude of the German Zentrale, and particularly the distortion of the united front tactic in the Saxon Government experiment, and to decide to draw the political and organizational consequences by a more vigorous and unrelenting struggle against opportunism.
Even earlier the Executive, in line with the ideas of the left, had not only criticized the opportunist deviations of the Leipzig congress of the KPD, but on two occasions before October added representatives of the left opposition to the Zentrale elected at Leipzig. Now, in collaboration with the Executive, a fighting bloc against the right wing has been formed by the union of the left and centre, and it has taken over the leadership of the party, confident that the mass of the membership would approve and ratify the expulsion of the politically bankrupt right wing, as in fact happened.
This determined solution by the Executive both helped the KPD and eliminated the dangers of a split threatened by the unbridgeable internal contradictions, and of the crisis in the German party developing into a crisis of the entire Comintern as a result of the feelings of panic which could be discerned here and there among the more uncertain elements. Credit is due not only to the German party, but also to the German working class, which vigorously demanded the ruthless eradication of right deviations, and which, supported by the International, found within itself the strength to come through such a severe crisis undiscouraged and with forces unimpaired.
Confronted by the danger of right deviations, which turned out to be far greater in the execution of the united front tactics than could have been foreseen, the Executive vigorously rejected all opportunist interpretations of these tactics, as well as every attempt to build them up into anything more than a revolutionary method of agitation and of mobilizing the masses, or of using the slogan of a workers' and peasants' government not for agitation for the proletarian dictatorship, but as a means towards coalition with bourgeois democracy. Similarly, in contrast to the opportunist outlook, the Executive emphasized the true character of social-democracy as the left wing of the bourgeoisie.
Relying on the lessons of the events in Germany for the development of party organization, the Executive initiated vigorous measures in Germany and elsewhere for the formation of factory cells as the basis of party organization. In a few countries a noteworthy beginning has already been made in establishing the factorycell system.
In opposition to the short-sighted opportunist passivity displayed by the Bulgarian party leadership in the June coup d'etat, the Executive immediately sought by open and emphatic criticism to urge the party towards serious preparations for struggle against the expected counterrevolutionary offensive. We were not at the time successful in getting the party leadership to share the Executive's opinion. But with the experience of defeat the Executive's attitude was adopted as the party platform, on which the CP of Bulgaria reformed its ranks and got rid of the decaying right wing.
Similarly, with the collaboration of the Executive and the support of the central committee majority, the French party was freed of the greater part of its opportunist ballast, and thus the party was consolidated. Very great difficulties were experienced in Norway, where the communists, a badly organized minority in the opportunist 'Labour Party', had to wage a severe fractional struggle and were constantly exposed to the danger of being cut off by the ruthless anti-communist leadership. When the boundless presumption of the opportunist leaders of the NLP in regard to Comintern decisions developed into open and systematic sabotage, and, after the October defeat in Germany, turned into cowardly desertion, it was impossible to allow such behaviour to continue under communist colours. Although it was realized that in a break between the leaders of the NLP and the CI a number of good proletarian members would for a time go with their anti-communist leaders, the Executive was compelled to demand of the NLP congress a clear decision for or against loyal co-operation with the International. That led to a split in the party and to the foundation of the independent Norwegian Communist Party. In six months it has won, particularly by its influential participation in big labour disputes, the authority of a revolutionary mass party. . . .
At its second congress in 1923 the Polish party, with the active collaboration of the Comintern Executive, adopted decisions which gave it a bolshevik foundation for the expansion and consolidation of party influence. But in its practical work, particularly in the period of mass struggle in October, the party leadership did not follow a correct revolutionary line. In the Russian and German questions the Polish central committee supported the right wing and tried to suppress any left-wing criticism in their own ranks. . . .
Right-wing deviations were also apparent on the question of the united front in England and America, and on the attitude of the CP to the Labour Party leaders (in America, the so-called third party). The Executive was able to convince the English and American comrades of the necessity to revise their ideas; the new and peculiar problems of the revolutionary movement in the Anglo-Saxon countries were considered in great detail by the Executive many times, and the parties there will need much greater attention in future from the international leadership.
The Executive also had to help overcome ultra-left deviations. In the Italian party there are still tendencies towards an un-Marxist dogmatism, which refuses on principle to apply the implications of a given tactic to the concrete situation and so restricts the party's ability to manoeuvre. The Italian Communist Party must now stand firmly and without reservation on the tactical ground of the Communist International, if it wishes to solve the problem of becoming a mass party. The amalgamation of the third-internationalists with the CPI eliminates one question which caused differences between the CPI and the Comintern. But even after this amalgamation the CPI must deal energetically with the question of winning over those masses who still adhere to the Italian Socialist Party.
13 [sic]. In several countries (particularly France) progress was made in trade union work, giving it greater intensity and uniformity, and important successes registered (for example in England). In Germany last winter communists and sympathizers left the unions in large numbers because of anti-trade union sentiments for which the trade union bureaucracy was responsible. Since the KPD failed to oppose this dangerous deviation with vigour, the Executive intervened energetically, until the decision of the Frankfurt congress, with the emphatic support of the Executive, called a halt to this catastrophic behaviour and effected a complete reversal in favour of revolutionary work in the unions.
Propaganda among the semi-proletarian and petty-bourgeois middle classes was frequently recommended to the sections as a means of combating fascism. In Germany the CP has had considerable success in this respect; in Italy, on the other hand, practically none.
The Executive has emphatically directed all sections to carry out constant and active agitation to win the masses of the poor peasantry to support of the proletarian revolution. With this aim in view the slogan of a 'workers' government' was expanded to 'workers' and peasants' government'. The foundation of the Peasant International, which has turned out to be a most important step, was carried through with the active cooperation of the Executive. The elaboration of an independent communist agrarian policy will in the immediate future be one of the most important tasks of practically all sections.
On the nationality question the Executive had ample cause to remind many sections, for which this question is of the utmost importance, of their inadequate execution of the decisions of the second congress. One of the basic principles of Leninism, requiring the resolute and constant advocacy by communists of the right of national self-determination (secession and the formation of an independent State), has not yet been applied by all sections of the CI as it should be.
In addition to winning the support of the peasant masses and of the oppressed national minorities, the Comintern has to win the revolutionary movements of liberation, among the colonial peoples and all Eastern peoples, as allies of the revolutionary proletariat of the capitalist countries. This requires not only the further development of direct links between the Executive and the national liberation movements of the East, but also closer contacts between the sections in the imperialist countries and the colonies of those countries, and above all an unceasing and relentless struggle in every country against the imperialist colonial policy of the bourgeoisie. In this respect communist work everywhere is still very weak.
As to work inside the army, the Executive together with the Executive of the Youth International made excellent practical preparations (Ruhr). Nevertheless the
sections which have the strongest imperialist Powers to fight have all too often neglected Lenin's teachings about the fight against war and the Executive has had to call them to order. . . .
The CI still falls far short of being a real world party. The congress reminds the sections of their duty to collaborate collectively in the further development of CI work by participating more actively than hitherto in the solution of international questions by regular reports and correspondence, as well as through their members on the Executive.
Experience has shown that it is often impossible to convene the national party congresses after the world congress. Consequently congress repeals the decision on this question. No national party congress (regular or extraordinary) may, however, be convened without the agreement of the Executive.
Congress instructs the Executive to demand more emphatically than before iron discipline from all sections and all party leaders. Congress notes that in some cases the Executive, in order to spare the reputation of deserving comrades, did not proceed energetically enough against breaches of discipline. Congress empowers the Executive to act far more decisively when necessary and not to shrink from the most extreme measures.