STATEMENT ON THE MEETING OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
SECOND, TWO-AND-A-HALF, AND THIRD INTERNATIONALS
2 April 1922
Inprekorr, ii, 39, p. 312, 3 April 1922
The delegation of the Communist International considers it its duty to make the following declaration at the opening of the negotiations with the representatives of the executives of the Second International and the Union of Socialist Parties.
This is the first time since July 1914, when the last meeting of the International Bureau was held in Brussels and was followed by the world war and the collapse of the Second International, that representatives of all sections of the international labour movement, which once formed a single international association, are to deliberate together at one table. This event cannot be passed over in silence. It cannot take place without our placing on record before the international proletariat the origin of the present split in the working class. This was the fact that some strata of the working class agreed to a temporary community of interest with the imperialist States—a fact expressed in the counter-revolutionary attitude of many
working-class parties and organizations.
So long as the working class does not come together in a common struggle for its interests against international capital, so long as it maintains a coalition with the representatives of capitalism, so long as it fails to rise to the struggle for political
power, so long will the split endure which is one of capitalism's most important sources of strength. This cannot be changed by regrets or by wishes. Since the working class has not yet risen to this united struggle, since in this struggle it has not yet grasped that capitalism can only be defeated if the great majority of the proletariat conquers power in revolutionary contest and establishes the dictatorship of the working people, we declare that organizational unity of the international
proletarian organizations at present based on varying principles would be wholly Utopian and therefore injurious. But this does not prevent us from recognizing what the entire world situation imperatively demands. Despite all the deep contradictions
dividing the working class they must unite for defensive struggle against the world capitalist offensive. At the end of the war, when the armed and uprooted working masses returned home, there to learn that democracy and the welfare of the people for which they had ostensibly shed their blood, was nothing but a capitalist He to conceal the struggle of capital for profits, there was a possibility of defeating the
capitalist world; but the irresolution of the broad masses of the working class, the democratic illusions which were widespread among them and which were systematically nourished by the reformist parties and their open and tacit coalition with the bourgeoisie, prevented the working class from following the glorious example of the Russian October revolution. Instead they helped world capital to ward off the first proletarian attack. The working masses of the entire world can now feel in their own lives the consequences of this policy. The international bourgeoisie are incapable of bringing order into the world on a capitalist basis or even of ensuring to the proletariat their pre-war standard of living. But the capitalist world, shaken to its deepest foundations, still has enough strength to try to load on to the proletariat the costs of the war.
The world bourgeoisie have not yet given up hope of covering a great part of the costs of the war by intensifying the exploitation of the German proletariat by means of reparations, and of the entire Russian people by means of peaceful penetration into Soviet Russia, which they were unable to overthrow by military means, by exploiting the newly-created States which are being used as instruments of the military and imperialist policy of the great Powers, and by the greater exploitation and oppression of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples (China, Persia, Turkey).
But even those circles of the international bourgeoisie who have not yet realized that it is impossible to squeeze hundreds of milliards out of the exhausted masses of the defeated countries, of Soviet Russia, and of the colonies—even they understand that if they were to succeed in reaching this goal, not even their monstrous extortions would be enough to provide means for capitalist reconstruction. That is why throughout the world the bourgeoisie are going over to the offensive against the working class. That is why in every country, despite unemployment, they are trying to lengthen the working day. That is why they are trying to reduce wages. The international working class is to meet all the costs of the war and in addition to provide means for the further consolidation of the capitalist world system.
This situation confronts the international working class with momentous decisions. Either they will now come together for the defensive struggle against all the onslaughts of international capital, either they will advance in solidarity against the attempts to squeeze the life out of the defeated States, Soviet Russia, and the colonies, and also against the wave of lockouts, either they will rise up to the struggle for the abrogation of the Versailles treaty, for the recognition of Soviet
Russia and for its economic reconstruction, for the control of production in all countries, or they will pay with their own lives and health the costs of the peace as they had to pay the costs of the war.
The Communist International calls on the working masses, regardless of their opinion about the road which will lead to final victory and the means of securing this road, to unite for the struggle against the present capitalist offensive and to
wage it energetically. That is why the Communist International issued the slogan of the united front for the struggle against the bourgeoisie, and welcomed the initiative of the Vienna Union in calling for an international workers' congress. It regards the proposed congress as a way of unifying the workers' struggles which are now opening.
To make this congress successful the Communist International proposes that all proletarian trade union organizations should be invited to take part. The trade unions cover the majority of the proletariat. They cover the working masses regardless of
their political differences. They are concerned with their daily needs. If the international workers' congress is to be more than a mere demonstration, if it is to unify international proletarian action, the trade unions must take part. The split in the central organizations of the proletariat and even in some countries in the mass organizations is no reason for excluding the unions but on the contrary a reason for bringing them in. For it is precisely because the trade unions are organized round two centres that an understanding on action is necessary. We suggest that invitations be sent to the Amsterdam Trade Union International, the Red International of Labour Unions, as well as to the syndicalist organizations which do not belong to those bodies, the American Federation of Labour, and the independent unions.
As to the proletarian parties, we propose that, in addition to the representatives of the parties covered by the three executives, invitations be sent to the parties and political groups which do not belong to any of the international associations. We have in mind in the first place the anarchist and syndicalist organizations. They are not great numerically but they include genuinely revolutionary working-class elements who should be enrolled in the general fighting front of the proletariat. Great differences divide us from these groups. We think it our duty to try to come to an understanding with them on questions of action at a time when the situation makes it necessary to come to an understanding with the reformist parties also whose policy, directed against the interests of the working class, encourages the errors and deviations of these left elements.
We think it essential that the international workers' conference should be convened as quickly as possible. The Genoa conference represents the attempt of world capital, now that its Versailles policy is being more and more shaken by events, to initiate a new partition of the world, a new world capitalist order. During the Versailles conference the international working class remained perplexed and incapable of action. Only Soviet Russia fought weapon in hand against the attempts of Entente capital to enslave the entire world. Today, after three years of capitalist chaos and of progressive capitalist decline, Soviet Russia, victorious in battle, stands untouched. It is however the object of fierce 'peaceful' attacks by world capital. The first State created by the first wave of the world revolution must be helped to resist the attempts to force her to social capitulation. Thanks to the complete capitulation of the German bourgeoisie to the Entente the German proletariat, despite its resistance, has become the wage-reducer of the world proletariat. The struggle against Allied reparations policy is a struggle for the working masses' standard of life in the countries of the Entente, and in America.
Unless the international proletariat opposes with the utmost energy the continuation in force of the Versailles treaty, the attempts to strangle Soviet Russia economically, the plundering of the colonies, the exploitation of the population in the newly created small States, there is no chance of overcoming unemployment and the world economic crisis. That is why the international working class must raise its voice during the Genoa conference. It must try to force the Genoa conference, which is ostensibly concerned with the reconstruction of world economy, to deal with the labour question, with unemployment, and with the eight-hour day. Not as at Versailles, where the representatives of the various workers' organizations, who were not backed up by any militant masses, came hat in hand to request the Entente to consider the interests of the proletariat, but supported by fighting and demonstrating masses—that is how the international representatives of the working class should demand of the representatives of world capital assembled in Genoa to make good the promises they have so shamelessly broken.
The delegation of the Communist International are prepared, without for a moment concealing what separates them from the reformist and semi-reformist parties, to use all their strength in the common struggle of the international proletariat. They can do so the more easily since they are convinced that every day of struggle and every experience in the struggle vvill hammer home the lesson to the proletarians of all countries that no compromise with capital is capable of ensuring peace and a decent worthy life, that what is essential if this is to be attained is the victory of the proletariat, who must take control over the ordering of the world into its own strong hands and construct it in accordance with the interests of the overwhelming majority of mankind.
For all these reasons the Communist International delegation propose that at the forthcoming international conference only such questions shall be dealt with as concern the immediate practical common action of the working masses, questions which do not divide but unite them. Consequently the Communist International suggests the following agenda for the international conference:
1. Defence against the capitalist offensive.
2. The fight against reaction.
3. Preparation of the struggle against new imperialist wars.
4. Assistance in re-establishing the Russian Soviet Republic.
5. The Versailles treaty and the reconstruction of the devastated areas.