April 1940

Communist International

ECCI

April 1940



MAY-DAY

MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

(extracts)


World News and Views, xx, 18, p. 261, 4 May 1940 





Proletarians and working people throughout the world!



May Day, day of international solidarity, is being celebrated by the working people in the ominous surroundings of a new imperialist war. Never yet has the idea of international proletarian solidarity been of such vital significance for the workers of all lands as during these days of the war conflagration that has enveloped Europe and Asia.

The war in Europe has already lasted eight months, but the end of it is far from being in sight. The theatre of military operations is extending even further. The imperialist potentates are forcibly drawing into the war the colonial peoples under their sway. The longer the war lasts, the clearer does it become that the small neutral countries are bagatelles in the hands of the imperialists. In answer to the gross violation by England and France of the neutrality of the Scandinavian countries, Germany led its troops into Denmark and occupied strategic positions in Norway. England and France, in their turn, landed troops. The territory of Norway became a theatre of war. Belgium and Holland are threatened. Yet another war base is being prepared in the Near East. The struggle of the imperialist Powers for the Balkans and for supremacy in the Mediterranean threatens to draw additional capitalist States into the war. Preparations to intervene in the war are being made by Italy, which has strengthened its positions in Spain and the Balkans. In the Far East, Japan for almost three years has already been waging a war of conquest against China. It wants to transform that great country, with its population of 400 million people, into its colony. Ruined and exhausted by the war, it is hastening to force its predatory 'peace' on China, so as to have its hands free to participate in the further repartition of the world. The strife between the imperialists in the Pacific threatens to develop into new wars. A dispute has already begun between Japan, England, and the USA over the Dutch East Indies. The bourgeoisie of the USA are, as a beginning, stretching out their hands to Iceland, Greenland, and the possessions of Britain and France in the Caribbean Sea.

The capitalist miscreants are dragging the peoples into a new world imperialist carnage. Facing the capitalist world, which is in the throes of the fever of war, stands the great land of Socialism. The British and French warmongers and their socialdemocratic lick-spittles are furious at the fact that the Soviet Union occupies a position of neutrality towards their imperialist war. They are in a rage at the fact that the USSR is increasingly growing and gathering strength, whereas they are in the throes of imperialist contradictions and war. They are furious because the USSR has secured the benefits of peace for its peoples, is living at peace with Germany, just as it is also desirous of living at peace with other States that do not infringe on its rights. They are in a rage because the USSR, by its policy of honest neutrality, hinders the spreading of military conflagration to other countries. They are overcome with fear at the fact that the peace policy of the USSR is strengthening the urge for peace of their own peoples. The warmongers are in a fury because their provocation in Finland fell through, when the glorious Red Army did away with the base prepared by them long ago for war against the USSR. They are furious at the fact that the USSR, by concluding peace with Finland, has brought the Anglo-French provocators of war into the light of day, compelled them to show their hand, and exposed their real designs to the peoples. The capitalists would like the USSR to conduct a policy that suits them.

But the USSR pursues its own policy, one dictated by the interests of socialism. The USSR upholds the interests of its great people, who are completing the construction of classless socialist society. Thereby it defends the interests of the working people throughout the world, the interests of all peoples. The capitalists need imperialist conquest and plunder. The USSR needs creative labour, socialist prosperity, a happy and joyous life for the working people. Proletarians throughout the world are justly proud of their vanguard, the great land of socialism. Working people of the capitalist countries! The war has already brought you incredible privation and suffering. There have been no big battles yet, but the earth is already covered with the blood of the fallen. Thousands upon thousands of sailors have gone to their death in the seas and oceans. In Europe alone 20 million men have been placed under arms. They have been torn away from productive labour, from their hearths and homes.

Hunger and want are knocking at the doors of families whose breadwinners have been driven to the war by the bourgeoisie. The wives, mothers, and children of the men who have been mobilized have been cast to the mercy of fate. The hungry and the poor are plundered by the bourgeoisie, by increased prices for articles of first necessity. The people have their food rationed by the bourgeoisie, while the rich men spend their money like water and gorge themselves to the full. The workers are made to work like convicts in the chain-gang, they are enslaved in the factories. By the unexampled lengthening of the working day, by monstrous wage-cuts, by terrific intensification of exploitation, the bourgeoisie sap the last drops of blood out of them. By calling the sons of the peasants to the war, they bring desolation to the countryside. By requisitioning horses, cattle, food supplies and fodder, they are ruining millions of peasant farms. Those who by the sweat of their brows till the land are deprived by the bourgeoisie of the fruits of their labour. The young generation of to-day is being doomed to death and destruction for the sake of the interests of the moneybags. Grievous thoughts torment the soldiers in the trenches as to what the morrow will bring them, as to what will happen to their families tomorrow. The rear, however, is the scene of the disgusting orgy of the war pillagers and profiteers, who are piling up profits from the poverty of the people. For them, war is a rainfall of gold. Human blood and tears are transformed by them into shares, dividends, and fabulous profits. But the bourgeoisie, employing the slavish services of the Blums, Jouhauxs, and the British Labour leaders, are not only conducting a furious offensive on the living standards of the working people. In all the capitalist countries they are establishing a reign of reactionary obscurantism, arbitrary practice, terror, and disfranchisement for the working people. They are making use of the war so as to deprive the industrial workers and the toilers of town and country of the last vestiges of their rights, where they still remain. They answer the will of the masses for peace with the courtmartial, sentences of hard labour, and shootings. The communists, the foremost fighters for the freedom and happiness of the people, are placed beyond the pale of the 'law' by the bourgeoisie. They imprison, cast into concentration camps hundreds of thousands of communists, Spanish refugees, political emigres. Such is what the war brings to-day, such is the bourgeois system of to-day. And what, working people, are the bourgeoisie preparing for you tomorrow, if you do not put an end to the war, if the capitalists continue further to hold sway over you? Europe and Asia, and perhaps other continents as well, will become transformed into the arena of sanguinary batdes, the like of which the history of mankind has never seen. The war brings in its train millions of killed and crippled, millions of widows and orphans. Unbearable loads of new annexations and indemnities. A wastage of material wealth and immeasurable ruin for the peoples, on a scale such as even the world war of 1914-18 did not bring. The bourgeoisie will place all the enormous costs of the war on your backs, working people. They will still further increase the already intolerable burden of taxation hanging round your necks. The trust magnates, bankers, and Stock Exchange sharks will enslave you still further, will make of you, your wives, and your children their forced payers of tribute. They will establish for you a regime of brutal exploitation such as they have till now only applied in the colonies.

Under the flag of 'Federated Europe' and 'A new organization of the world', the imperialists are preparing to dismember big States and annex small countries, still further to intensify colonial oppression and to enslave the peoples of Europe. They will carry national oppression to such limits as were even unknown by the great empires of the past, which rose up on the bones and blood of subjugated peoples.

Proletarians and working people!

Who helped, and are now helping, the bourgeoisie to deprive you and your children of your last crust of bread, to throttle you with the terror regime of bourgeois dictatorship ? Who, along with the bourgeoisie, prepared the sanguinary heinous crime of which we are witness ? The leaders of social-democracy and of the reformist trade unions. Would the world be the spectacle it is now if they had not helped the bourgeoisie to crush the movement of the working people against capitalism that followed from the world war of 1914-18 ? Like dogs on the leash they defended the capitalist system, and are defending it now. It was their Noskes who shot workers down. It was their Bauers who dulled the workers' heads with the dope of 'bourgeois democracy'. It was their MacDonalds who smashed general strikes. It was their Blums who, together with world reaction, openly called, and are now calling, for a crusade against the land of socialism. By their policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie they prepared the way for the present arbitrary rule of the capitalists. By capitulating and surrendering to the bourgeoisie the achievements won by the working class, they assisted in bringing about the present orgy of reaction. By their complicity in acts of imperialist conquest they contributed to the outbreak of the present war. By the policy of 'nonintervention' they opened the floodgates to the deluge of war in Europe. By their betrayal of Republican Spain they made the collapse of the People's Front in France a foregone conclusion, and cleared the way for reaction throughout the capitalist world. By their shameless support of the present imperialist war they are helping the bourgeoisie to fasten on the people chains of still worse slavery. But the wishes of the bourgeoisie and their social-democratic hangers-on will not come to pass. However much the ruling class may rage, they will not escape responsibility for the present war before the peoples. They rage because the working people want freedom and not slavery, peace and not war, socialism and not capitalism. The working people are coming to understand with ever-growing clarity that there is no other salvation from the tribulations into which they have been dragged by the bourgeoisie than by a self-sacrificing, resolute struggle against imperialist wars, reaction, and capitalism. They know that this struggle brings sacrifices in its train.

But the sacrifices demanded of them by the bourgeoisie for the sake of maintaining their domination are a hundred times greater.

Millions of people at the front and in the rear are talking in an undertone as yet of what the communists are saying for all to hear. Now it is not individual heroes who are opposing the imperialist war, but tens of thousands of advanced workers in all corners of the globe are raising aloft the sacred banner of proletarian internationalism. It was courageously raised on high by the French communist Deputies as they were being court-martialled. Fighting under this banner are hundreds of thousands of obscure French workers. This banner is in the firm grip of the heroic fighters of Republican Spain. Under this banner the foremost workers of England are demanding peace. Against the imperialist war, for peace, stands an army of 5 million young people in the USA; peace is the desire of the German workers and peasants, Japanese soldiers are thirsting for the end of the war. There is a growing and extending movement against imperialist oppression in the colonial and dependent countries.

A sturdy struggle for the independence of their country is being waged by the foremost workers and peasants of India. A gallant fight is being fought for the national liberation by the great Chinese people against the Japanese invaders. In all capitalist countries the working people want to put an end to the imperialist war, to the arbitrary rule of bourgeois reaction, to the mockery it makes of them. They are demanding the restoration and extension of their political rights and liberties, of human conditions of existence, a reduction of the working day, increased wages, increased pay for soldiers and allowances for their families. Peace, bread, and freedom—such is the battle cry of the many millions of the army of labour. But the mass movement is as yet divided; the bourgeoisie are attempting to hold it back by their military and police terror.

To break the barriers set up by bourgeois reaction, the proletarians and working people need united action.

They need it so as to merge the as yet divided and scattered movements into one mighty current. In each separate country they need a united workers' front, a popular front of the working people, established from below by the masses.

To conduct the struggle against the imperialist war the proletariat needs united action on an international scale. Proletarians, working people, colonial peoples!

The guarantee of the success of your struggle lies in the unification of your forces.

Hammer out the United Front of Labour against the offensive of capital, the front of freedom against reaction, the front of peace against imperialist war, the front of the exploited and oppressed against their exploiters and oppressors.

Only in a ruthless struggle against the social-democratic leaders, against the treacherous top leaders of the Second International can the working people establish such a fighting front. Close your ranks with the great land of Socialism.

Defend its peace policy, which expresses the innermost aspirations of the peoples of all lands.

Demonstrate on May Day for peace, against the provocators and incendiaries of war.

Mothers, wives and sisters!

Demand for all to hear, before it is too late, the return of your sons, husbands, and brothers. Working people!

Fight for the financial burdens of the war to be placed on the backs of the rich!

Demand the confiscation of war profits!

Demand freedom for your press, organizations, and meetings!

Demand the liberation of the gallant French communist Deputies and all fighters against imperialist war and reaction.

Prison for the war pillagers and profiteers!

Freedom for the captives of capital!

The Communist International calls on you, workers, to take your stand under the glorious banner of proletarian internationalism, under the great banner of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, for only under this banner will you win victory.

Down with imperialist war! Down with capitalist reaction! Peace to the peoples!

Long live the USSR, the bulwark of peace, freedom, and socialism! Long live the fraternal alliance of the workers of all lands!