April 1938

Communist International

ECCI

April 1938



MAY-DAY

MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

(extracts)

Inprecorr, xviii, 22, p. 481, 30 April 1938




Not at any time since the end of the world war has the international situation been so tense. A fourth part of mankind is once more in the grip of war. Fascist governments, having robbed and enslaved the masses of their own people, are bursting into the territory of others. By attacks upon other nations, by armed robbery abroad, they attempt to stifle the rising indignation of the working people within their own countries...


. . . In the Far East the fascist military clique of Japan are waging a war of conquest against the Chinese people for lordship over Asia, for domination of the Pacific. Cities of ancient culture are laid in ruins, thousands of villages given to the flames, tens of thousands of the peaceful population of China shot down by the Japanese executioners.

But the heroism of the four hundred millions of the Chinese people is not to be broken by the executioners. Rallying ever closer together in a united national front, the Chinese people are inflicting severe defeats on the Japanese aggressors. Defending themselves, the Chinese people have made of their bodies a living shield for all the nations of Asia, and are inspiring all the colonial peoples for struggle against their oppressors.

In Spain the hordes of the German-Italian intervention are raging. Powerless to break the stubborn resistance of the Republican Army, they are basely wreaking vengeance on the peaceful population of Spain, raining death from the air upon thousands of women and children. For nearly two years the Spanish people have been fighting with epic courage for their independence against the fascist Powers in coalition—with tacit support from reactionary Tory circles in Britain.

Abandoned by bourgeois-democratic governments, the Spanish people staunchly defend their democratic republic against the combined forces of world reaction.

Defending their liberty, they defend the cause of the whole of advanced and progressive mankind.

Emboldened by the impunity with which it could carry on intervention in Spain, German fascism occupied Austria. By their suppression of the armed struggle of the workers in 1934, by depriving the working people of elementary liberties, the ruling classes of Austria had prepared the ground for the invasion of German fascism.

Already German fascism, without having succeeded in firmly settling itself upon Austria, is preparing an attack on Czechoslovakia. Together with Polish fascism, it strives for the occupation and partition of Lithuania. It is crouching for a spring upon the Balkans, menacing their existence as States and their national independence. It threatens Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries. It surrounds France with a fascist ring and reckons to take it unawares with a sudden blow. Like a beast of prey, it scours far and wide to procure raw materials, and material resources, and human reserves for a large-scale war against the land of socialism.

Whose is the responsibility for this brazen insolence and murderous activity of fascism, for the war conflagration they have raised in various parts of the globe?

The responsibility lies with the reactionary clique of British Conservatism. Not a finger did they raise when the Japanese militarists attacked China. They are only waiting for the military exhaustion of Japan to raise the question of the partition of China. With Italian fascism they have made an arrangement—to bring about the strangling of the Spanish people. To German fascism they lent their aid, giving it the possibility of rearming. For them it is a bloodthirsty ruffian, a 'strong-arm man', to be used against the international working class and the democratic movement of the people.

They gave their blessing to its invasion of Austria. Stealthily, covertly, they direct it towards the East, against the land of the Soviets.

Responsibility also lies with the French reactionary bourgeoisie. By capitulating to German fascism they helped to give it strength. Like the conspirators of Goblenz in the days of the French Revolution, the French reactionaries have plotted with German fascism against their own people. These dark forces dictated to the Blum Government the policy of the blockade of Republican Spain. The bloc of British and French reactionaries dragged in the wake of its pro-fascist policy the leaders of the Socialist and Trade Union Internationals, who remain inactive in the face of the German and Italian intervention in Spain.

The responsibility for the blood, suffering, and sacrifice of the Spanish people, for the bandit onslaught on China, for the military occupation of Austria, lies not only with the fascist scoundrels, but also with those who tolerate and assist them.


Fellow-workers!


The ruling classes basely deceive you when they say that it would be in the interests of the maintenance of peace to reconcile yourselves to the strangling of the Spanish people, the enslavement of China, the subjugation of Austria. It is not by permitting the war instigators to plunder and slaughter other peoples that wars are avoided. Wars are averted by a firm policy of curbing the fascist brigands in good time.

You are being told cynical lies when it is stated that the Governments of Britain, France and the USA are 'powerless' to put a stop to international fascist banditry. To stop this banditry is well within their power. But this requires the adoption of the proposal of the USSR for joint action of all States interested in maintaining peace against the instigators of war.

They must reinforce their action by measures of economic pressure. Let them deprive the fascist bandits of credits, let them refuse to provide them with the raw material necessary for the conduct of war, let them close the channels of trade to them, let them put under blockade not Republican Spain, but those who have attacked it. Let them open the frontiers and furnish the Spanish people with the possibility of freely purchasing arms, and this will be enough to ensure that fascism draws back like a whipped cur.

Put no faith, comrades, in those who assert that you have not at your disposal the means whereby to make governments conduct a policy of struggle against the aggressors. The working class, filled with the consciousness of struggle, is a tower of strength. It, and it alone, carries on the work of pits and plants, of fields, factories, and workships. Without the working class no train is moved, no steamer sails, no ship is laden, no one can hush the voice of hundreds and thousands of demonstrators.

But, brother proletarians, for your strength to be brought into action requires working-class unity. It requires that in your organization there be no treachery at headquarters. It requires that your struggle be not broken by those Labour leaders who are agents of the British bourgeoisie.


Your strength will be multiplied manifold, if all the units of the labour movement fight shoulder to shoulder against the common enemy, fascism. Uniting the struggle internationally, you will secure new, unparalleled strength. . .


. . . It is to this path of struggle that the Communist International calls the working people. It has repeatedly called upon the Socialist and Trade Union Internationals to establish an international fighting front. But a clique of reactionary British leaders have obdurately turned down these calls, disrupting united action by the international proletariat. By their splitting policy they have sought to undermine the confidence of the working class in its own strength, to disarm it in the face of the enemy, and thereby they have encouraged the fascists to undertake further acts of aggression.

Working parallel with these leaders went the Trotskyist-Bukharinite agents of fascism, the spying 'Fourth International'. It was they who wished to restore capitalism in the USSR, to dismember the land of the Soviets, to hand over its peoples to be enslaved by fascism. It was their brood who opened the fronts to the fascist interventionists in Spain, and delivered blows at the rear of the Republican army. It was these who, on the orders of the Japanese Intelligence Service, conduct work of diversion and espionage in China. It is these who operate far and wide as wreckers of the labour movement and, in the interests of fascism, join with Citrine in the effort to prevent united action by the international working class.

These are the infamous spies, wreckers, and murderers, whom such people as Dan take under their wing, making of them a banner for the continuation of their ruinous, splitting policy. By crushing the Trotskyist-Bukharinite gang of warmongers, these base hirelings of Japanese-German fascism, the Soviet people have rendered an inestimable service to the cause of peace, the cause of working-class unity, the cause of anti-fascist struggle. . .


. . . In the name of millions of workers, in the interests of defending the Spanish people, the Communist International again proposes to the Socialist and Trade Union Internationals to establish a united international working-class front.

To help Republican Spain, to defend China, means to fight against world war, to defend your hearths and homes, the liberty and the independence of your countries, against the fascist butchers. A people that would permit the strangling of Republican Spain or China would, with its own hands, be preparing the fascist yoke for itself, would strengthen the chains of its own capitalist slavery. . .


. . . Demand the application of economic, political, and other sanctions against the fascist miscreants! Working people, join forces with the proletariat in a mighty People's Front against fascism and imperialist war!

Peoples of Europe, America, and Asia! Join with the great people of the Soviet Union in building the international peace front against the fascist cut-throats, the incendiaries of wars of plunder.