ECCI

AGITPROP DEPARTMENT'S THESES

FOR PROPAGANDISTS ON

THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF LENIN'S DEATH

 

January 1926

Inprekorr, vi, 10, p. 125, 14 January 1926

 

EXTRACTS

 

 

THE WORLD ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL SITUATION

 

 

1.

The fifth world congress of the CI noted an improvement in the position of world capitalism. . . .

With this in mind the enlarged Executive issued the necessary
directives for changing the strategy and tactics of the communist parties in the present epoch, which must be concentrated on one item, the creation of the revolutionary proletarian united front. For, now as before, the basic Leninist
appraisal of the essential character of the present historical epoch remains valid— that of the progressive decay and dying away of capitalist world economy and of the actuality of the world revolution. There has been no change in the operation of those forces which are driving the contradictions within the imperialist camp to a state of greater and greater acuteness, and forcing the antagonism to the first proletarian State, the Soviet Union, to a decision. . . .

 

2.

The analysis of the present stage must therefore be concerned with the two recent phenomena which the social-democratic ideologues of the bourgeoisie interpret as proof that capitalism has been restored and its contradictions overcome:
that is, the Dawes plan and the Locarno pact....

 

3.

Even a superficial examination of the present state of world economy shows that the idea of the possibility of the restoration of a unified world economy on a purely capitalist basis is false. As regards both its present position, and the
tendencies towards its future development, world economy is split by the existence of the Soviet Union into two parts—a capitalist economy and a socialist economy... .

 

4.

The new factors in economic development introduced by American attempts to restore the capitalist world market and the international credit system do not change the situation. The United States, which changed its former debtor position in regard to Europe into an uncontested financial and economic hegemony and which emerged from the world war as the strongest imperialist State, had to abandon its isolationist
attitude towards Europe. The limitations of the home market, the need to find markets to absorb the output of the tremendously expanded production apparatus and to export capital forced this change on America. With the London conference of 1924 which adopted the Dawes plan, America began to bring Europe under its economic and political control. The external occasion for putting the plan into operation was provided by the failure of the French adventure in the Ruhr. The occupation of the Ruhr represented the last attempt of French imperialism to establish its hegemony on the Continent. The attempt was frustrated by the opposition of the United States and England. . . .

The imposition of the Dawes plan on Germany, as well as the 'Dawes-ation' of the rest of Europe, makes the restoration of an orderly economy possible only by still greater exploitation of the masses. . . .

 

6.

The Anglo-Saxon Powers emerged as the strongest imperialist group from the war and the immediate post-war years. The United States and England have won the economic hegemony of the capitalist world, but the rivalry between them for sole
supremacy reflects and comprehends all the inner contradictions of imperialism. The rivalry can be summarized in a simple formula—America is trying to break up the English world empire from within, by bringing the Dominions, particularly Canada and Australia, under its financial and hence its political sway. ...

To this should be added that in the Far East too (China), America is pursuing the opposite policy to England's, for it is to a certain extent interested in the industrialization of China, in
order to find markets for the output of its engineering industry, whereas England wants to keep China as a market for its manufactured goods and as a source of raw materials.
This basic antagonism is supplemented and modified by lesser contradictions among the other imperialist States, those, for example, between America and Japan, England and France, France and Germany.. . .

Thus the characteristic feature of the present stabilization phase of world capitalism remains sharper competition, the
struggle for world markets, and the economic re-division and recasting of the world... .

 

8.

In only one respect can we speak of the relative solidarity and internationalizing of capitalist interests; in regard to the Soviet Union, the capitalist States are able to form a united front. The Locarno pact, praised by the socialdemocrats as the 'no-more-war pact', reflects the fact— admitted with cynical candour by the imperialist Powers themselves— that despite the contradictions they are uniting to fight the fundamental and epoch-making war against the Soviet Union.

 

9.

The Locarno pact is the general political formula for the reorganization of Europe under the control and hegemony of the United States and England. It complements the Dawes plan... It signifies the complete defeat of France and of French imperialism's attempt to establish its hegemony on the continent of Europe.
England appears in the role of arbitrator between France and Germany, and will henceforth use Germany as an instrument to counter French offensive aims. America is preparing to impose a Dawes regime on France. Germany is condemned to a dual slavery. On the one hand it must enter the League of Nations, in order to be in a position to serve as a jumping-off ground for the imperialist attack on the Soviet Union; on the other hand
it is forced into obedience to the will of Anglo-Saxon imperialism, now by slight ameliorations of its economic and political situation, now by a turn of the reparations screw.
But the primary significance of Locarno is the attempt to build up the united front of the capitalist world by pushing aside its internal contradictions in order to establish an imperialist anti-Soviet bloc. Caught between the pincers of victorious and expanding American capitalism, and of the rebellious colonies, hemmed in on all fronts where it might advance by the existence of Soviet Russia, Great Britain is the chief instigator of the policy of a decision by arms between capitalism and socialism and is trying to form a Holy Alliance against the Union of Soviet
Republics. The United States, on the other hand, favours a more peaceful policy, being concerned with drawing its profits from Europe and hoping to introduce a Dawes regime in Soviet Russia and China. . . .

 

 

THE PERSPECTIVES OF WORLD REVOLUTION

 

 

1.

By 'perspectives of world revolution' we do not mean precise or approximate prediction of the date when the revolution will break out in one country or another, or even in the world. When, in the years from 1918 to 1920, the communists counted on an early outbreak of the revolution in the most important European countries, they were influenced by two facts—the imperialist robber war and the Russian proletarian revolution. . . .
These hopes were not fulfilled, as we know, not because the conditions of a socialist revolution in the West were not present, but primarily because of the treachery of one section of the proletariat (the labour aristocracy) and their party,
social-democracy. They helped capitalism and the bourgeoisie economically (by restoring production) and politically (by bourgeois democracy) to maintain their political and economic power. The directly revolutionary situation which did exist thus passed without the proletariat managing to gain power in the important countries of Europe. . . .

 

3.

Since then for every communist it is part of the ABC of Marxism-Leninism that the world revolution will occupy an entire epoch of world history, prolonged and painful, and that the continuation of the world revolution in West Europe will be
incomparably more difficult than its beginning was in Russia. We understand by . . . 'perspectives of world revolution':

(a)

the demonstration that the basic forces making for world revolution, that is, the trends of development, remain unchanged, ...

(b)

the exact analysis of the stage in which we now find ourselves; (c) the balancing of the relation of forces operating in favour of and against the further development of the revolution.

 

4.

As to the first, it was shown in the first part of these theses that the world economic and political situation reveals unchanged those contradictions and rivalries which make the 'normal' functioning of capitalism impossible. The basic thesis of Leninist theory, that 'imperialism is the epoch of dying capitalism', remains unshaken.
As to the analysis of the immediate situation, it is to be noted that we are again in a period when the revolutionary movement is on the upgrade, that large parts of the world are indeed in a directly revolutionary situation.
In the first place there is the revolution in China. The significance of the events in China is immeasurable... .

The national revolution in China is irresistible; it will be a
tremendously powerful factor in revolutionizing the entire East. In the proletarian revolutionary movement the Chinese revolution will play a threefold part: (a) it will intensify the difficulties and contradictions among the imperialist Powers;

(b)

it will revolutionize the European proletariat, and at the same time

(c)

it will stand as an ally of the proletariat against the common enemy and support its struggle.
The Chinese revolution is a link in the chain of world revolution, and hence large parts of the world are in an immediately revolutionary situation. This is a sign of the actuality of world revolution.

 

5.

In Europe the situation is not directly revolutionary; that is to say, the revolutionary upheavals which took the form of outright civil war during the demobilization period and in some degree up to 1923 have yielded to less stormy but no less significant events which bear witness everywhere to a state of profound crisis. . . .

 

6.

Crisis and signs of crisis everywhere. But the workers' movement which, after the defeats in Bulgaria, Germany, and Estonia, after the victory of the Conservative Government in England, the election of Hindenburg in Germany, etc., seemed for a moment to have yielded to reaction, is again showing an upward curve. The main indications are:

(a)

The united front movement and the Anglo-Russian rapprochement. The antagonism between capitalist England and proletarian Russia was never so sharp as it is with the present Conservative Government, but the English working masses have never been so close to the Russian workers as since the Scarborough congress.
. . . The English working class is beginning to shake off its reformist leaders. Not only in England, but everywhere, the working class is beginning to turn to Russia... .
The workers' delegations which visit Russia and tear down the web of lies fabricated by the bourgeoisie and social-democracy are the best sign and one of the best methods of the revolutionizing of the European working class.

(b)

The electoral victories of the communists in Germany and Czechoslovakia, and of the Labour Party in England. . . .

(c

The most important sections of the Comintern have surmounted their crisis, and the parties are beginning to operate, organizationally and ideologically (factory cells, party training) on bolshevik foundations. The further this process goes, the
more it shows results, the more will it contribute to revolutionizing the situation, for the absence of a well organized well-trained disciplined revolutionary party was the
chief reason why the genuinely revolutionary situation of 1918-23 was not exploited.

 


THE SOVIET UNION

1.

 

The existence of the Soviet Union is in itself a sign of the revolutionary situation and an important factor in the revolutionary perspective. Two hostile economic and social systems confront each other, capitalism and socialism. The
strengthening of one means the weakening of the other, and vice versa. . . .

 

4.

The growing power of Soviet Russia is a support for the world revolution; it is not only an ideological, but a material factor of the first importance for all the oppressed (classes, peoples) everywhere. And Soviet Russia's economic power will grow from year to year. . . .

 

5.

This does not mean that the capitalist Powers will yield to the inevitable and make no attempt to stay this triumphant advance. On the contrary, they will try to exploit the inner contradictions associated with the tremendous economic development of a peasant country like the Soviet Union . . . and create difficulties
for the proletarian State, by methods including blockade and war. The CPSU and the Russian proletariat will deal with internal contradictions. The international proletariat must see to it that the aggressive intentions of the reactionary imperialist great Powers are brought to nothing.

 

6.

The tactical tasks which follow from the present stage of the world revolution, and which are common to all communist parties, are:

(a)

To strengthen the organizational structure of the party (factory cells).

(b)

To strengthen educational work among the members. . . .

(c)

United front. As we have seen, we are in a period of rising revolution. The proletarian masses are again becoming revolutionary-minded. To win them and keep them is the most urgent of our tasks. At the same time trade union work must be strengthened.

(d)

To organize workers' delegations to Russia. The living example of Soviet Russia is the best means of agitation.

(e)

To expose the tactics of the bourgeoisie and of social-democracy, who describe Soviet policy as red imperialism. The Soviet Union signifies the practical realization of socialism, and as such it must live in the consciousness of all workers.

(f)

To pay greater attention to the peasantry. . . .

(g)

At every government crisis to increase agitation for a workers' and peasants' government.

(h)

To increase agitation against imperialism and the coming world war.

(i)

To increase agitation against government plans to attack the Soviet Union. . . .


 

THE SPLIT IN THE WORKING CLASS AND UNITED FRONT TACTICS

 

1.

 

The fight for the united front, which has for four years been the basic tactic of the CI, has its theoretical roots in the old principle of the necessity for working-class unity. . . .
The outbreak of the world war and the attitude of the social-democratic leaders in favour of civil peace meant in fact the liquidation of working-class unity, the rupture of working-class international relations; proletarians of various countries shot at
each other. The bankruptcy of the Second International had become a fact.

 

3.

The split in the working class was thus provoked by the spontaneous forces of imperialist development; the working class was split horizontally, along lines of hostile countries. The cause of the international workers' movement could be saved
only by changing this horizontal split into a vertical split, that it to say, by a definite organizational separation of the revolutionary from the opportunist elements. This process . . . was embodied organizationally in the foundation in 1919 of the
Communist International. . . .

4.

In these circumstances the split was an unavoidable necessity, but it was not an end in itself. The split, that is, the destruction of proletarian unity on an opportunist basis, was necessary in order to erect proletarian unity on a higher basis, the basis of revolutionary class struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship.
So long as the revolutionary wave was advancing there was a basis for establishing this unity of the masses in the midst of the direct struggle for the seizure of power. In the period of revolutionary storms it was the only method of establishing unity. But when, because of the treachery of international socialdemocracy, the revolutionary wave ebbed . . . other methods of establishing unity had to be found.

5.

The third world congress of the CI noted this change in the world situation and coined the slogan: 'To the masses'. This raised the problem of united front tactics, which since then has been and still is the basis of all tactical movements in the CI. . . .


6.

Politically, the most important factor in the Comintern struggle for the united proletarian front is without doubt the struggle to establish international trade union unity....

The RILU and its organs were created as a result of the furious persecution of the revolutionary elements in the reformist trade unions by the bureaucratic leadership, in order to keep the excluded together and organize resistance to the capitalist offensive. Although the revolutionary unions in some countries (France, Czechoslovakia) have many successes to their credit, the elimination of the split in the trade union movement is still a necessary condition for success in the approaching struggles. The crystallization of the left wing in the Amsterdam
International, the extremely significant leftward movement of the English proletariat, the formation of the Anglo-Russian unity committee, etc., mark the first great successes in the movement for trade union unity. . . .

 

8.

But the fight for unity cannot be limited to the unions. It must take advantage of every factor and every organizational opening to get closer to the non-party and social-democratic masses, and to convince them that the communist party is the only party which fights resolutely, consistently, and to the end for the interests of the proletariat. Sports organizations, peace associations, every mass organization of the proletariat must be intensively cultivated by our parties for this purpose. The sending of workers' delegations to the Soviet Union — the majority should consist of social-democratic factory workers — has proved brilliantly successful and must be continued with the utmost energy.

 

 

Comintern

III. International