April 20, 1919
MAY DAY MANIFESTO
TO THE WORKING PEOPLE OF THE WHOLE WORLD
. . . Now that the imperialist war has ended the workers of all countries can count the number of its victims. Thirty million killed and crippled, countries laid waste, millions of people starving, milliards of new war debts. These are the results of the imperialist slaughter. The war has ended, and the bourgeoisie in those countries where they are still on their feet are not asking much of the working class—only that the workers themselves should fill the gaps in production left by the extermination of thirty million workers and peasants. . . .
The Second International is dead. It signed its own death warrant on 4 August 1914 when the German and French social-patriots, equally shameful, voted for the war credits, that is, for the support of the imperialist slaughter. But the idea of the International is alive. Never before have the workers of all countries so passionately demanded international union as now. . . .
In Paris the imperialist extortioners are trying to create their own black international', the so-called League of Nations. Conscious workers throughout the world know perfectly well that the so-called League of Nations is in fact a league of bourgeois robbers for the oppression of nations, for the division of the world, for the
enslavement of the workers, for strangling the proletarian revolution.
And the social-traitors, those people who in the name of 'socialism' betrayed the working class to the bourgeoisie and the landlords, in their turn tried to create their own yellow 'international' in Berne.
The attempt to revive the corpse of the Second International did not succeed. The revolutionary workers of all countries refused to take part in the abominable comedy at Berne. . . .
The yellow Berne international is only a branch of the black Paris international. . . .
But in 1919 the red international was formed, the international of communism. Our Third International is an international fellowship of the proletarians of all countries which has set itself the task of overthrowing the bourgeoisie and establishing the international Soviet republic. Our Third Communist International is taking over the organization of the international May Day celebrations. . . .
In what circumstances do we greet the first May Day after the end of the war? All over Europe the ruins are smoking and millions of proletarian children are dying of
But on the ruins of the old a new world is being born. The more the bourgeoisie suppressed the workers' movement during the war, the stronger the revolutionary flame is now burning. The working class is taking revenge for the tortures it suffered at the hands of the bourgeoisie in alliance with official 'socialdemocracy'.
Communism has come out on to the streets. The communist revolution is growing before our eyes. A Soviet republic in Russia, a Soviet republic in Hungary, a Soviet republic in Bavaria—these are the results of the recent struggles of the working class. The whole of Germany is shaking under the strain of civil war. In Germany there is not a single town where the working class has not risen in revolt against the power of the bourgeoisie and the social-democrats....
In France huge workers' demonstrations have begun. …
In Italy the struggle has reached boiling point and the communists are calling for the dictatorship of the proletariat. In England strikes have taken on an epidemic character. Here and there workers' Soviets are being created. In America the working class has come out on to the streets and is getting ready for the decisive conflict. . . .
Before a year has passed, the whole of Europe will be Soviet. In every country the workers have realized that the decisive moment has come ....
The workers see that in all the leading bourgeois countries the much vaunted 'democracy' is nothing but the arbitrary and unrestrained dictatorship of a gang of robbers, bankers, and generals. . . .
They see that the bourgeoisie of all countries are preparing with united forces to stifle the proletarian revolution in Russia, Hungary, and Bavaria, and the proletarian revolution which is beginning in Austria and Germany. . . .
They know that the proletarian dictatorship can save mankind from the bloody horror into which they were plunged by the bourgeoisie of all countries.
The workers know that the proletarian dictatorship leads to the triumph of socialism. There is no middle way. Either the bloody dictatorship of hangmen-generals, killing hundreds of thousands of workers and peasants in the interests of a gang of bankers, or the dictatorship of the working class, that is, of the overwhelming majority of the working people, disarming the bourgeoisie, creating their own red army, and liberating the whole world from slavery.
Down with the autocracy of tsars and kings. That cry rang out in Russia in 1917 and echoed throughout Europe. . . .
Down with the autocracy of capital. This cry resounds now, when the workers of the majority of countries are beginning their second revolution, when they are rising for the second time, when they are getting ready for the last and decisive battle. The eight-hour working day!—that was the May Day slogan in the past. The Soviet republics have already carried out this demand. . . .
Down with the imperialist war!—this was the cry of the workers of the whole world on the first of May. Down with their war, down with the war which the Allied imperialists want to declare on the Soviet republics of Russia and Hungary—that is what we say now. For the civil war, the only just war, in which the oppressed class fights against its oppressors. . . .
Down with the French imperialists, down with the bourgeois 'Alliance', down with the robbers who want to send their troops to Russia to give power back to the landlords, to re-establish the monarchy, to restore the bourgeoisie.
Workers and soldiers of France, England, America, Italy, Serbia, Rumania, Poland. Turn your weapons against your own bourgeoisie. Your enemy is in your own country. Stir up rebellion in the rear against your bourgeois governments. . . .
Workers and peasants of Germany and Austria. Turn your weapons against your own bourgeoisie and the 'social-democrats' who serve them. ... You, only you, can save your country from the torments of hunger and unemployment. . . .
The storm is rising. The flames of the proletarian revolution are spreading all over Europe, and it is invincible. The moment is drawing near for which our predecessors and teachers waited. . . .
That of which the best among mankind dreamed is becoming reality. Our banner, reddened with the heart's blood of whole generations of great fighters and martyrs of the working class, flies over the whole world. The last hour of our oppressors has struck. ...
In thunder and storm, in blood and tears, in hunger and unending suffering, the new world is being born, the bright world of communism, of the universal brotherhood of labour.
In 1919 the great Communist International was born. In 1920 the great International Soviet Republic will come to birth.