April 1933

Communist International

ECCI

April 1933



MAY-DAY

MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

(extracts)


Rundschau, ii, 11, p. 301, 28 April 1933




Never has the capitalist world presented such a picture of chaos as now. And still no end to the crisis can be seen. Bankrupt capitalism can only increase its exploitation of the working people, but it cannot give work to the unemployed or bread to the hungry. Incapable of finding a way out of the crisis, the bourgeoisie in a number of capitalist countries are going over to open fascist dictatorship, dragging the working people into the abyss of new imperialist wars.

Political reaction is spreading throughout the capitalist world. In Germany the fascist terror is indulging in bloody orgies; hundreds of workers have been murdered, thousands have been tortured and crippled in the fascist dungeons and barracks, tens of thousands thrown into prison and concentration camp; the communist press has been closed down, the offices of workers' organizations broken up, and their property, bought with the workers' pennies, looted by the fascist gangs.

In the Far East the flames of Japan's robber war on China are spreading. All the contradictions of the capitalist system have reached their most acute stage. An imperialist bloodbath to re-divide the world is on the agenda. In Europe the crisis of the Versailles system threatens hourly to plunge the working people into new bloody hostilities. All those stirring up war against the USSR, the country of proletarian dictatorship and socialism, are setting feverishly to work. The Four-Power pact devised by the two former socialists MacDonald and Mussolini is a pact to consolidate fascist reaction and the anti-Soviet bloc.

The decisive struggle between the world of the exploited and the world of the exploiters is drawing near. Everywhere there is rising the wave of indignation of the workers and peasants against capitalism, bourgeois dictatorship, and fascist terror. A profound revolutionary ferment has seized the working people, the revolutionary surge is advancing irresistibly. The ground under capitalism is shaking. In the tempestuous strikes, in the heroic struggles of the proletariat against fascism, in the revolts in the navies, in the triumphs of the Red Army in China, capitalist reaction scents the subterranean shocks of the approaching revolutionary explosion. It is enraged because the victories of socialism in the USSR are making the workers and the oppressed of the entire capitalist world still more revolutionary.

For years we communists have been telling you that the Second International was leading you towards fascism and imperialist war. Why were the bourgeoisie successful in establishing the bloody fascist dictatorship in Germany? They were successful because social-democracy went over to their side, because the bourgeoisie were and are still supported by social-democracy, which split the German proletariat. ..


. . . It is German social-democracy, the strongest section of the Second International, which, by yielding to the bourgeoisie one after another the positions won by the workers, cleared the road for fascism and helped it to power. It is the Second International which, by slandering the proletarian dictatorship, socialism, and the Red Army, the solid bulwark of the USSR, undermined the striking power and determination of the working class in its struggle for the proletarian dictatorship. It is the Second International which took a direct part in preparing armed intervention in the USSR and is now trying to disarm the proletariat in the international arena too. . .


. . . Were the communists not right when they warned you that the Second International and its parties wanted to have nothing to do with a united class front of proletarian struggle? In order to save capitalism, interna-national socialdemocracy broke up the workers' united front, is breaking it up now, and will continue to do so.

In Germany the most important party of the Second International has gone over to the side of fascism. Through the mouth of its leader Wels it cynically admits that it brought Hitler to power. It is bECCIng the fascists for the right to be incorporated in the system of the fascist dictatorship and thereby announcing its readiness to take part in all the bloody crimes of fascism against the working class. It is surrendering the trade unions to the fascists. It defends the fascist terrorist dictatorship and is assuming the part of an outright fascist agent outside Germany. In the Reichstag it expressed complete solidarity with the war policy of German fascism. On Hitler's orders it has left the Second International, openly becoming a nationalist 'German' party.

The road of German social-democracy is the road of the entire Second International. The social-democratic policy of 'the lesser evil', which brought Hitler to power, is the reactionary policy of the united front with the bourgeoisie, of the entire Second International against the revolutionary workers.

Have not the most prominent leaders of the Second International—MacDonald, Thomas, Snowden, Boncour—gone over openly to the bourgeois camp? The Austrian Socialist Party, under the banner of defending democracy—in this following German social-democracy— has brought the working class to a position in which it is directly exposed to the blows of fascism. Its earlier arrogant declarations that if the bourgeoisie resorted to force, it would answer with force, embodied the same tactics of disarming the proletariat as does the tactic of 'the lesser evil'. Like Wels and Leipart, the French socialists are advocates of the united front with the bourgeoisie and combat frenziedly the united front of the working class. It does not matter with which fraction of the bourgeoisie— with the 'left', the moderates, or the right—the socialists unite in a bloc against the proletariat. What matters is that these are only different stages of the development of socialdemocracy into fascism. The hypocritical words of the French socialists and the English Labour Party people against German fascism are nothing but a flimsy cloak which they drape round their own 'national' imperialism which is preparing the new war.

Take note, proletarians, that international social-democracy prefers a united front with fascism to defend and save capitalism to a united front with the working class to overthrow fascism by the proletarian revolution. Take note, proletarians, that the Second International, at the moment of greatest war danger and the spread of fascism, rejected the Communist International's proposal of 5 March 1933 for a united fighting front against fascism and the capitalist offensive. . . .

What we need now is the united front from below and not negotiations at the summit with Wels and Renaudel. For the leaders of the Second International negotiations at top level are only a way of putting off the united working-class front, hampering it and breaking it up. Only the initiative of the working masses themselves, their effective intervention ..


. . . will ensure the fulfilment of this central task of the international labour movement. Only the struggle of the masses themselves under the leadership of the communist party will put an end to the exploitation of the workers by social-democracy to strengthen the reactionary united front of capital. Only the mass front of proletarian struggle will spread beyond the frontiers of individual countries and become one with the heroic proletariat of the USSR, the lofty cause of socialist construction, the Soviets of China, and so become one fighting front of the entire international working class, which no force in the world will be able to break . . .


. . . By widespread mass strikes against wage reductions, for wage increases, by fighting for the forty-hour week without wage cuts, for immediate aid to the unemployed, for social insurance at the expense of the capitalists, the proletariat will re-establish its revolutionary unity as a class. By political action against fascist terror, in defence of its press, its political rights, and its class organizations, the proletariat will consolidate and extend this unity in the political field. By its devoted advocacy of the demands of the peasants facing ruin, by fighting for immediate aid at the expense of the junkers, for the annulment of peasant debts and exemption from taxation, the united proletariat will extend its revolutionary united front by drawing in the bulk of the peasantry. In this way and only in this way will it approach the struggle for the proletarian dictatorship and bring it nearer.

Eighty-five years ago Marx wrote that 'communists scorn to hide their views and aims. They openly declare that their purposes can only be achieved by the forcible overthrow of the whole extant social order.' Today also the Communist International declares openly to the millions of workers of the whole world that there can be no real unity of the working class without the fight for the violent overthrow of the entire existing capitalist order, for the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship.

The bankruptcy of German social-democracy is the bloody collapse of the legend of the entire Second International about democracy as the road to socialism. Workers, you must realize that there is no other way to emancipation from the yoke of capital than the proletarian revolution, no other road to socialism than the proletarian dictatorship.

It is only the proletariat of the USSR, which took the road of proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship, which today knows neither crises nor unemployment, neither wage reductions nor the ruin of the peasants, neither oppression by one nation of another, nor international enslavement and dependence.

The land of Soviets . .

. . stands as an impregnable wall against international fascism, and by the successes of socialist construction is mobilizing the working class of the entire world against capitalism. By ruthlessly defeating the capitalist elements, by liquidating the big peasants as a class, the proletariat of the USSR is advancing victoriously to the classless society. Day by day the working people of the Soviet Union are showing by practical experience, which the millions can understand, the advantages of the socialist system over the decaying capitalist system.