ECCI MANIFESTO ON THE
21st ANNIVERSARY OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
- EXTRACTS -
World News and Views, xviii, 53, p. 1203, 5 November 1938
To-day the Soviet people marks the twenty-first year of its great Socialist Revolution, of its heroic struggle, of its world historic victories.
At the time when the peoples of the Soviet Republic are completing the construction of a classless socialist society and are advancing full of confidence towards communism, the capitalist world is in the throes of an ominous war fever.
The second imperialist war, a robber war for a new repartition of the earth, has in fact already begun. It is already raging in various corners of the globe. In Spain and in China the fascist butchers are doing their abominable work. Over five hundred million human beings have been hurled into the abyss of bloody destruction. War threatens to spread to new territories and to involve new peoples. Hundreds of millions of people are menaced with attack by the fascist beasts-of-prey.
Never yet, as during these days of fascist brigandage, have the masses of the people of the capitalist countries had such a strong and profound feeling of their
blood-bond with the great land of socialism. The peoples see in the USSR the bulwark of their struggle for liberty and independence, the embodiment of their ageold aspirations. They see that the Soviet people, thanks to the proletarian dictatorship, have withstood a host of enemies, have maintained and consolidated their independence, have built socialism. . . .
Conscious of its strength the Soviet land pursues its path with resolute and tranquil step. The justness of its cause constitutes its greatness. Its hand is formidable to enemies and will not fail to succour friends. Its Stalinist word is inviolable. It is with confidence that it looks into its future. . . .
The Soviet land will yield to no one its achievements, its inexhaustible riches.
The frontiers of the Soviet country are inviolable.
On the borders of the USSR there stands unyielding the strongest army in the world, the Red Army of Socialism. By the lesson it taught the Japanese cut-throats at Lake Hasan it provided a clear example of how the cause of peace should be defended. By wiping out the gang of Trotskyist-Bukharinite spies, the Soviet people teaches how one should conduct the struggle against traitors, capitulators, and enemies of the people.
By its unswerving loyalty to the obligations it had undertaken, the Soviet Government, during the Czechoslovak crisis, showed how agreements should be kept and collective security defended. Only the Soviet people supported and continues to support the Spanish people against the violence of the plunderers and the treachery of their accomplices. Only the Soviet Union stretches out a helping hand to the Chinese people. Only the land of the proletarian dictatorship supremely upholds, with Stalinist courage and stalwartness, the cause of liberty throughout the world. . . .
In their mortal hatred of socialism, of the international working class, of every democratic movement, the imperialist cliques of Britain and France concluded a counter-revolutionary alliance with German and Italian fascism.
The Munich agreement was not only a blow at Czechoslovakia. It is a far wider imperialist conspiracy. It is a conspiracy against the small nations which Britain and France are betraying to the fascist plunderers. It is a conspiracy against the Spanish Republic, whose heroic people they wish to place in bondage to the German and Italian violators. It is an onslaught on the French people around whose neck German and Italian fascism are drawing the noose ever tighter. It is an onslaught on the British people against whom war is being prepared by its age-old enemy German imperialism. It is a treacherous blow against the German people, whose enslavement becomes severer the greater the concessions made to the hangmen of the working people of Germany. It is against the People's Front movement, against the breast of the international proletariat that the Munich conspiracy is directed. It is against world peace that the blow is directed by the Munich conspirators, who come forward hypocritically in the role of 'saviours of peace'.
Not peace was saved by the British and French reactionaries; what they did was to save German fascism from collapse. They strengthened Hitler's position for the conduct of a major war.
Workers! Was it possible to preserve peace and avert the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia ? Yes, comrades, it was!
Neither from the military nor the economic point of view was Hitler Germany ready for war. It was lacking in raw materials, foodstuffs, and financial resources.
Its fortifications were not completed. Its army did not possess trained personnel in sufficient quantity. The rear of German fascism constituted a terrible danger to it.
The German people had no desire for war. They were filled with deep discontent. A wave of popular indignation threatened, if war broke out, to sweep away the fascist
Ranged against Germany were forces on whose side was the overwhelming preponderance. Czechoslovakia possessed an excellent army and was protected by a system of first-class fortresses. The British and French fleets were in a position to ensure the blockade of Germany. Action by the Soviet Union would have given rise to a powerful wave of the antifascist movement in defence of the just cause of the peoples. Faced by such forces, German fascism would have had no alternative but to retreat. But the British bourgeoisie who dragged France in the wake of their policy did not want to permit this political defeat of the fascist gendarme of Europe.
Britain and France did everything possible to compel Czechoslovakia to capitulate. By exerting unheard of pressure, by supporting the German blackmail, by threatening to take the side of Germany, they succeeded in getting the Czech Government to accept the bandit ultimatum of German fascism.
The Munich conspiracy took place because the reactionary bourgeoisie decided to resist by every means the formation of an international peace front together with the Soviet Union. Not at any price would they permit a powerful movement of the peoples against fascism. Having in advance come to agreement with the German fascists, and having distributed the roles, the British reactionaries organized the deception of the peoples with the aid of the farce of ostentatious military mobilization in Britain and France.
The Munich conspiracy was able to take place because the hypocritical advocates of French 'democracy' preferred cowardly capitulation to a policy of resisting the aggressor, because the capitulators broke the determination of the peoples to struggle by sanctimoniously preaching the pacifist creed of peace at any price. The Munich conspiracy was facilitated by the fact that the working class, as a result of the splitting, capitulatory policy of the leaders of the Second International, was unable to muster its forces so as to frustrate the criminal conspiracy of German fascism and of British reaction.
Now, when millions of people are asking themselves what is the way out of the situation created by the Munich conspiracy, we communists say: The policy of capitulation did not and does not save peace. It has already led to war. Abyssinia and Spain, Manchuria and China, Austria and Czechoslovakia—such are the bloodstained landmarks of this policy, of the policy of concessions to fascism. By weakening the peace forces, by strengthening the fascist aggressors, it helps them to unleash new, even more destructive wars, brings closer a monstrous conflagration of world imperialist war. There is only one way by which to save peace, namely, the way of resolute struggle against the fascist aggressor.
He who does not fight for peace, cannot avert war.
To fight for peace means that in each country the liberty of the people must be defended against the reactionary bourgeoisie. Just as the feudal nobility during the period of the collapse of feudalism plotted with the enemies of France against the French Republic, so now in the epoch of decaying capitalism, the reactionary bourgeoisie in alliance with German fascism are brandishing the sword over the heads of their own peoples.
A successful fight for peace cannot be conducted unless ruthless blows are dealt at those who betray their country and their people. The fascist aggressors, who have cast off all restraint, cannot be curbed unless a resolute struggle is undertaken against the capitulators in one's own country.
The peoples cannot entrust the fate of their countries to governments which conspire with foreign fascism against their own peoples. They cannot entrust
either the defence of the country, or armaments to such governments. It is against the working class, against all labouring people, against the liberation struggle of other peoples that these reactionary governments will direct their guns.
The condition for a successful struggle to strengthen the cause of peace is to replace the governments of national treachery and shame in the countries menaced by fascist blows from without, by governments that are ready to repulse the fascist aggressors. A government of real national salvation cannot pursue the ruinous path of capitulation. It will conduct a ruthless struggle against capitulators and agents of foreign fascism. It will ruthlessly crush the fascist machinations of reaction at home.
It will purge the army of the fascist enemies of its own people. It will establish real control by the working class over the defence of the country. It will disarm the fascist leagues and make the working-class organizations the mainstay of the country's defence. It will conduct a consistent policy of collective security and will not shrink from employing sanctions against the aggressor. With the aid of such governments, that are ready to use armed force in defence of the liberty and the independence of their peoples, it will be possible for a firm front of the peoples to arise which will compel the fascist aggressors to respect frontiers and keep the peace.
Only through the medium of an alliance of peoples conducting a self-sacrificing struggle for the cause of peace is it possible to frustrate the criminal plans of the instigators of war. A defence cordon of armed peoples who have joined their forces with the great Soviet people will doom fascism to impotence and hasten on its defeat and its inevitable ruin.
At the time when fascism has already set about the repartition of Europe, when it is crippling other peoples and tearing them to pieces, the task of the working class now is to head the liberation struggle of the enslaved nations and the defence of the peoples threatened by foreign domination. The nation is not the gang of fascists, reactionary financiers and industrial magnates who rob and betray the people. The nation is the many millions of workers, peasants, and working people generally— the people that is devoted to its country, cherishes its liberty, and defends its independence. Just as in Spain and China where the people are fighting with arms in hand, and in Austria and Czechoslovakia—so also in all countries menaced by fascist invasion from without, only the working class can rally, rouse, and lead the people to a victorious struggle for national liberation. The working class is the backbone of the nation, the bulwark of its liberty, dignity, and independence.
Do not let yourselves be led astray by the treachery of the bourgeois politicians to the People's Front. Let the traitors break with the People's Front movement—their departure will only be a gain to it. You are faced with a big and noble task, namely, not only to strengthen but also to extend the front of the people. New people and new sections of the population, who do not barter the fate of their country and their people, will join with you in the struggle against reactionary traitors, in the struggle to save the people.
Who can hammer out this broad front against fascist brigandage? Only a united working class.
The working class is the greatest force in modern society. It is the real master of the world, if it is united.
In face of the international conspiracy of fascism, international working-class unity has become a matter that brooks no delay. The Communist International carries on an unceasing struggle for this unity. It has repeatedly made the proposal to the Labour and Socialist International to establish united action by the international working class. Millions of workers throughout the world demand unity. Unity is desired by many social-democratic and trade union organizations.
But this unity is not wanted by the reactionary leaders entrenched in the leadership of the Second International and in a number of social-democratic parties and trade unions. They systematically disrupt the formation of a united, anti-fascist, working-class fighting front. It is they who, while retreating step by step before fascism, conduct a shameless slanderous campaign against the land of socialism. It is they who gather up with a solicitous hand from the cesspool of fascism, the Trotskyist agents of the Gestapo, whom they allow to do wrecking work in the labour movement with impunity. It is they who by their policy of non-intervention have helped the hangmen who seek to strangle Republican Spain. It is they who without protest accepted the Munich ultimatum, hypocritically declaring it to be a supreme victory for the cause of peace. It is they who after Munich continue the same policy of splits and capitulation, the policy of disintegrating the labour movement.
Without a daily and resolute struggle against these enemies of working-class unity, these agents of the bourgeoisie, it is impossible to achieve the cohesion of the ranks of the proletariat. Now it is not enough to declare oneself a supporter of unity; now one must boldly put it into immediate practice on a local scale, as our Spanish brothers have done. . . .
Proletarians of all lands, unite, so as to lay the foundation of unity of the peoples against fascist aggression!
Proletarians, working people of all countries, strengthen the fraternal fighting alliance with the great Soviet people!