April 1937

Communist International


April 1937




Inprecorr, xvii, 19, p. 445, 1 May 1937

This year, May First, the day of international proletarian solidarity, is marked by the heroic struggle of the Spanish people for liberty and national independence.

The German and Italian fascists have attacked the Spanish people and their democratic republic without formally declaring war. Mussolini's and Hitler's hordes are trampling Spanish soil, destroying towns and villages, murdering women and children, and covering the country with the blood of the finest sons of the Spanish people. A foul crime is being committed before the eyes of the world with the support of the British Conservatives and the connivance of the bourgeois democracy of France and other capitalist countries.

The Spanish people are victoriously repulsing the attack of the fascists. They are not only battling for their own freedom, but are fighting the German and Italian interventionists for the freedom of all nations. Madrid is making legend; it has become the battle-ground of all advanced and progressive humanity against bestial fascism. The banner of aid for the fighting Spanish people has been raised aloft among the working people of all countries. But the final victory over fascism in Spain has still to be won. New millions in all countries must rally still closer around the working class of Spain, around its people and its republic, so that this victory may be expedited.

The whole working class, not only the communists, but the socialist workers also, are heart and soul with the Spanish people. They are profoundly indignant at the German and Italian intervention in Spain. Like the communist workers, they are opposed to the comedy of nonintervention, which is, in reality, favouring the fascist gang of bandits. But what prevents them demanding the united action of all workers' organizations in defence of the Spanish people ? Is it not clear that such united action would multiply the strength of the fighting Spanish people and facilitate their victory? Why do they not demand that the leaders of the Second International and the Amsterdam International should establish international united action in defence of the Spanish democracy? Why do they tolerate the sabotage of men like Citrine and Friedrich Adler, who are sacrificing the lives of the Spanish fighters for liberty and frustrating the will of the working class in the interests of the bourgeoisie ?

Now, more than ever before, the united action of the entire international proletariat, and of all the organizations of the proletariat against the common enemy, is the supreme demand of the present moment.

Working men and women, raise your voices in protest against the betrayal of the cause of the Spanish people! This May Day unite as class brothers in a mighty demonstration in support of the Spanish People's Front! Compel your parliaments and your governments to support the People's Government of Spain!

By defending the Spanish people, you will defend yourselves, your people and your own liberty against fascism. Remember that around Madrid, on the battlefields of Spain, fascism is kindling the torch of war over the world. Unable to cope with the internal antagonisms that are rending it, fascism is seeking a way out in military adventures and the enslavement of other peoples. Clearing the way for its aggression, German fascism is conspiring against the regime of bourgeois democracy in other capitalist countries. Under the pretext of combating bolshevism, it is everywhere intriguing and plotting, inciting revolt and disseminating counterrevolutionary anarchy. It is striving to subjugate the small nations in preparation for a new imperialist re-division of the world and new wars. It is blackmailing the governments of these small countries and making cunning use of their capitulatory policy in its own interests. But no policy of capitulation will restrain the fascist marauders. War cannot be averted by prayers and incantation. Only the unity and determination of the working people can prevent it. Only the rallying of all the forces of peace, in close unity with the enslaved peoples of Germany and Italy, who are profoundly hostile to fascism, can stay the hand of the fascist brigands.

Your governments tell you that the savage beast must not be provoked, that we must bow to it so as to avoid its fangs. Does not the example of Spain prove the contrary? Would not Spain have been converted into a second Manchuria if the Spanish people had not opposed the strength of the masses to the violence of the fascists? The defeat of the Italian fascists at Guadalajara has shown the whole world that the strength of the fascist government lies in the weakness of the people being subjugated by them. They can smash a resistance that is feeble and brutally suppress the defenceless. But when people rise against them who are prepared to wage a supreme struggle, all the instability of the fascist regime is revealed. . .

. . . The fascist beasts of prey are striving towards the colonial countries, so as to carry on the imperialist plunder with even greater ruthlessness. German fascism is reaching out its paw to the colonies with growing insistence. Every worker and every honest democrat is filled with hatred at the thought of the gallows, arson, robbery, and violence to which Italian fascism has subjected defenceless Abyssinia.

The fascist militarists of Japan will stop at no provocation and baseness in their violation of the great Chinese people. The modern cannibals stop at no act of brutality in robbing and strangling the colonial peoples.

But the oppressed peoples are beginning to realize that the more they bow their heads, the more savagely they are beaten. The more abject the enslaved, the more aggressive the enslaver becomes. The Abyssinian people have not admitted their defeat, and are again rising against their enslavers. The great Chinese people, who have learnt from bitter experience what are the consequences of a policy of nonresistance to the plunderers, are forging a national front in defence against the Japanese imperialist brigands. The finest people and the foremost parties and groups all over the colonial world are uniting their peoples against alien oppression, against the imperialist plunderers, and in defence of peace and liberty.

Proletarians and working people of the colonial Powers!

Peoples of the colonies!

Let May Day be a day of fraternity and of joint struggle against fascism, war and the disfranchised conditions of the colonial peoples!

The working people in all capitalist countries are suffering fearful want. The world economic crisis has ruined millions of people. The insatiable rich, the millionaires, took advantage of the crisis to depress the standard of living of the working people. The worker's wage is a beggarly pittance. Exploitation in the factories has assumed unprecedented proportions.

Wholesale unemployment has become a permanent feature. Peasants, artisans, and small tradesmen are staggering beneath the yoke of monopoly-capital. And the more the working people retreated, the more brazen the rich capitalists became. Now that a period of economic revival has begun they are raking in huge profits, but would leave the masses of the people to starve, as they did during the crisis. But the workers are not willing to retreat any more. Wherever, as in the United States and France, they rise in revolt against the regime of starvation and poverty, and demand bread for themselves and liberty for their organizations, they are successfully restraining the capitalist offensive. . .

. . . Let the May Day demonstration be a mighty weapon that will strengthen the workers' organizations and make for trade union unity, which is the guarantee of success in the struggle for bread and work!

Let the example of the French workers, who in the course of a year created a united trade union organization 5 million strong, inspire you to strive for the unity of the national and international trade union movement. Let the example of the People's Front in Spain and France strengthen the will to unity among the workers all over the world. Oppose all who disrupt your unity in the interests of the class enemy. Rid your ranks of the agents of fascism— the Trotskyists, who are rabid enemies of working-class unity, disorganizers and wreckers of the working-class movement, foul provokers of war and masked spies of General Franco's Fifth Column.

The great example of the USSR shows that the working people can successfully throw off the yoke of the exploiters!

It was only by a resolute and thoroughly consistent class struggle, fought under the guidance of the Party of Lenin and Stalin, that the working class of the Soviet Union achieved its historic victories. . .

. . . Thanks to the dictatorship of the working class, a genuine democracy, embodied in the Stalin Constitution, is spreading widely among the peoples of the Land of the Soviets. Every Soviet citizen is guaranteed the right to work, rest, and education.

Thanks to its might and its supreme fidelity to proletarian internationalism, the USSR is a great bulwark of peace and culture, and of the liberty of all peoples.

This is why the fascist warmongers rage against the great land of socialism! But the Soviet Union is a beacon for the millions of working people of the capitalist countries, pointing the true way to the victory of socialism.

The knell of capitalism has sounded. It is an obstacle to human progress, and must be overthrown. Only the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by socialism will put an end to the exploitation of man by man and to wars.