MANIFESTO ON THE
22ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
November 1939 World News and Views, xix, 53, p. 1073, 11 November 1939
To-day the working people of all lands are greeting the 22nd anniversary of the great October Socialist Revolution. To-day the peoples of the USSR are summing up the epoch-making results of the victories of socialism, won under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, the glorious party of Lenin and Stalin. Completing the construction of classless socialist society the Soviet people is advancing to communism. . . .
Absolutely different are the conditions in which the working people of the capitalist countries greet this noteworthy anniversary. They greet it in the midst of the second imperialist war, begun by their governments.
For over two years already the Japanese imperialists have been tearing the flesh of China, which is fighting for its independence. War is being waged in the very heart of Europe. The ruling circles of England, France, and Germany are waging war for world supremacy.
This war is the continuation of the many years of imperialist strife in the camp of capitalism.
Three of the richest States—England, France, and the USA—hold sway over the most important world routes and markets. They seized possession of the main sources of raw materials. In their hands are huge economic resources. They hold over one-half of mankind in subjection. They cover up the exploitation of the working people, the exploitation of the oppressed peoples, with the false phantom of democracy, so as the more easily to deceive the masses.
Fighting against their world supremacy, and for their own mastery, are the other capitalist States, which came later on to the arena of colonial expansion. They want to divide anew, to their own advantage, the sources of raw materials, food, gold reserves, and the huge masses of people in the colonies. Such is the real meaning of this war, which is an unjust, reactionary, imperialist war.
In this war the blame falls on all the capitalist governments, and primarily the ruling classes of the belligerent States.
The working class cannot support such a war.
The communists have always been in opposition to such a war. They repeatedly warned the working people that the ruling classes were preparing an annihilating, sanguinary butchery for hundreds of millions of people.
The bourgeoisie prepared this war for years. They prepared it by their agreements, conferences, and blocs, using pacifist, allegedly peaceable phrases to cover up their brutal imperialist nature. They prepared it by their intrigues and provocation against the land of the Soviets. They prepared this war by the onslaught on Abyssinia, by the intervention in Spain, by the invasion of China. They directly prepared this war by the Munich Pact.
The bourgeoisie began this war because they became hopelessly entangled in the insurmountable contradictions of the capitalist system and are endeavouring to solve these contradictions by means of new wars.
For over two decades the Soviet Union has conducted an increasing unceasing struggle for the maintenance of peace.
It displayed supreme restraint and firmness in face of unceasing acts of provocation on its frontiers. It proposed general and partial disarmament, and the organization of collective security. It did everything in its power to help the establishment of a stable peace front. But the bourgeois governments rejected all its proposals. They continued their crazed policy of isolating the USSR.
However, despite all machinations, the Soviet Union continued to uphold the cause of peace. And even when it became clear to everybody that war was already inevitable, the Soviet Union made a last effort to save peace. It undertook negotiations with the Governments of England and France.
But the provokers of war were aiming at something else. They were striving to utilize the negotiations to lull the vigilance of the masses, to rid themselves of the responsibility for the war prepared by them. They were inciting Poland against the land of the Soviets. While engaged in negotiations with the USSR, they were trying surreptitiously to hound Germany against the USSR.
By concluding a non-aggression pact with Germany, the Soviet Union foiled the insidious plans of the provokers of anti-Soviet war. By this pact it placed its peoples beyond the bounds of the sanguinary slaughter and narrowed the arena of the European war conflagration.
And when the Polish State—that real prison of peoples—fell to pieces, the Soviet Union gave a helping hand to the fraternal peoples of West Ukraine and West Byelorussia. It wrested 13 million people from the slough of war, liberated them from the oppression of the Polish landlords and capitalists. It gave them the right themselves to determine their political and social order and guaranteed them freedom of national self-determination.
By its mutual-assistance pacts with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the USSR defended these countries from the plunderous designs of the imperialist States. By all its might it has rendered secure their independence and strengthened the security of the Soviet frontiers. By handing over to Lithuania the city of Vilna, which was seized 20 years ago by the Polish generals, the USSR gave an unparalleled example of respect for the national rights of small nations.
By its declaration in favour of the cessation of the war, by its amity and frontier pact with Germany, the Soviet Union has made a new contribution to the cause of peace. It is hindering the provokers of war from drawing the Danube States and the Baltic countries into the war. It is frustrating the machinations of those who are striving to transform the European war into a world war. The working people of all countries will never forget this great service rendered by the Soviet Union.
However, the dark forces of war continue to rage. They want war 'to a victorious finish', they want war to the fulfilment of their imperialist aims. For this they are determined to sacrifice the lives of the peoples.
But what, proletarians and working people, do you stand to gain from this war?
Now already reaction is everywhere undertaking a furious offensive. Now already the bourgeois dictatorship is cynically casting off the 'democratic' mask, crushing the movement of the working people, and establishing a regime of military terror. Now, already, the bourgeoisie are worsening your conditions, both in the warring and non-warring countries. Now, already, they are depriving you of the remnants of your rights and achievements. They are shamelessly plundering you by lengthening the working day, cutting wages, raising the prices of articles of prime necessity. They are still further throttling millions of peasants with taxation. They are laying villages waste,
leaving the fields uncultivated, by taking the peasants' sons away to the war. Your blood and suffering are a source of enrichment for the parasitic gang of speculators and war freebooters.
The bourgeoisie of the so-called neutral States are also warming their hands at the fire of war. Under the pharisaical mask of 'neutrality' they are growing rich on war orders. The American bourgeoisie are interested in the further spread of the war, they are repealing the embargo on the export of arms to the warring countries because war orders guarantee huge, enormous profits to the uncrowned kings of the war industry, and the manufacturers of guns, airplanes, and other types of military supplies.
The Italian bourgeoisie are only waiting for a suitable moment to hurl themselves on the vanquished and snatch their share of the booty.
All the governments of the 'neutral' countries are using the war to plunder the masses of the people, to intensify reaction, to crush the working-class movement.
Don't believe those who wave the flag of national unity. What can there be in common between you and those who profit by war? What unity can there be
between exploited and exploiters?
Don't believe those who are calling upon you to support the war under the false pretext of the defence of democracy. What right to speak of democracy have those who oppress India, Indo-China, the Arab countries, who keep half of the world in the chains of colonial slavery?
By their loans the bankers of London and Paris have in the past saved, and continue now to save, the worst reactionary regimes in Europe. The lords of Britain maintain reaction on all the five continents of the earth. The belauded democrats of France throw communist deputies into jail, destroy the communist press, abolish political liberties.
It is not for the freedom of nations that they are fighting, but for their enslavement. Not for the salvation of democracy from fascism, but for the triumph of reaction. Not for a stable peace, but for new imperialist conquests, fraught with new wars.
But the bourgeoisie could not have begun or have waged this war had they not been aided by the treacherous top leaders of the social-democratic parties. These leaders are now coming forward as the pioneers of reaction. It is they who are taking up the bankrupt anti-Comintern banner. It is they who are now calling on the workers to die in order to restore the reactionary regime of the Pilsudski clique.
It is the Blums who, at the dictates of reaction, disrupted the united working-class and people's front in France. It is on the demand of Blum that members of the communist parliamentary group are being court martialled, that communist municipal councils are being disbanded, and that communists are being arrested in thousands. It is Blum, together with Jouhaux, who—on orders from the magnates of finance capital—is splitting the French trade unions. It is the Blums, together with the British Labour leaders, who prevented united action of the international proletariat.
Proletarians and working people! More than ever before you need active unity for the struggle against war, reaction, and the capitalist offensive. But now this unity is only possible apart from, and against, the leaders of social-democracy, who have crossed over wholly and completely to the service of the imperialists.
There can be neither a united Workers' Front, nor a People's Front, with them, or with the leaders of the other petty-bourgeois parties that are supporting the war.
Now working-class unity, and the united people's front, must be established from below, in a struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie, against the top leaders of the social-democratic and other petty-bourgeois parties, who have gone bankrupt and have crossed over to the camp of the imperialists, in a struggle to stop the imperialist war, that is bringing ruin, starvation, and death to millions of working people.
Hundreds of thousands of social-democratic workers now stand at the parting of the ways.
Where is their place, in the camp of imperialist reaction, or with their class brothers waging a struggle against it? With the instigators of imperialist war, or with the millions of workers and peasants who are thirsting for peace? With the stranglers and butchers of liberty, or with those who are self-sacrificingly defending it?
Their place is in the common fighting-front of the great army of labour which is righting for peace, bread, liberty. In a ruthless struggle against the bourgeoisie, against the treacherous social-democratic leaders, will the communist and socialdemocratic workers hammer out unity in their ranks.
The working class, while exposing the plunderous character of the present war and convincing the widest masses that they should not support it, comes forward as the defender of the vital, fundamental interests of all working people of town and country, who bear on their backs all the burdens and sacrifices of the imperialist war, begun by the ruling classes.
By coming forward as the basic force of the united people's front of struggle against war and reaction, the working class thereby upholds the interests of all working folk, of the entire people, for whom the war means countless hardships and the intensification of capitalist oppression. By conducting a struggle against the warmongers in its own country, the working class hammers out unity between the proletarians of all lands, hammers out the most unfailing instrument of its victory.
The Communist International calls you to show your opposition to the imperialist war. It calls on you
'to be true to the end to the cause of Proletarian Internationalism, to the cause of the fraternal alliance of the proletarians of all countries'—(Stalin).
The Communist International calls you to its ranks under the great banner of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. The Communist International calls on you to strengthen the fraternal alliance with the toilers of town and country, with the enslaved peoples of the colonies. It calls on you to defend the Chinese people against the imperialist plunderers.
Proletarians, Working People!
By your joint efforts put a stop to the war of the imperialists. Come out against those who stand for the continuation of the war!
Expose them as abettors of the imperialists who are hurling millions of people to destruction for the sake of their mercenary interests.
Demand the release of the imprisoned vanguard fighters of the working class!
Demand the arrest of the war freebooters and profiteers! Fight for the freedom of your organizations, of assembly and of your honest working-class press!
Defend every inch of your rights and your achievements!
Do not allow the bourgeoisie to throw all the burdens of the war on to your backs. Wives, mothers, and sisters, don't furtively wipe tears from your eyes, but
demand—for all to hear—that your husbands, sons and brothers are saved from the horrors of war.
Rally closer, working people, around the great land of socialism, render support to its socialist peace policy, aimed at the well-being of all nations.