EXTRACTS FROM A

RESOLUTION OF THE ENLARGED ECCI PRESIDIUM

ON THE ECONOMIC CRISIS AND UNEMPLOYMENT

February 1930 Inprekorr, x, 23, p. 547, 7 March 1930


 

 

 

In appraising the characteristics of the world economic and political situation, the tenth ECCI plenum emphasized that the decisive feature of the third period of postwar capitalist development was to be seen in the pronounced sharpening of the fundamental internal and external contradictions of imperialism, now revealed in the acceleration of the rate at which capitalist stability is being shaken; the revolutionary

surge of the international labour movement is becoming both broader and deeper, and the anti-imperialist revolution in the colonial countries is reaching maturity....

The economic crisis in the United States which began three months later, intensifying the depression already existing in a number of capitalist countries and colonies ... is destroying the bourgeois legend of 'enduring prosperity' in the United States (Hoover) and is dealing an annihilating blow at social democratic theories of 'organized capitalism'.

The American crisis is exposing the falseness of the reformist views about 'America's exceptional position' (Lovestone, Pepper), and the pitiful, untenable theory that 'the problems of the market, of prices, of competition and crises are more

and more becoming world economic problems, being replaced within each country by the problem of organization' (Bukharin), and provides confirmatian of the appraisal of the third period given by the sixth world congress and the tenth plenum.

 

I. THE CRISIS, GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT, SHARPENING OF CAPITALIST CONTRADICTIONS

 

1. The significance of the crisis of overproduction in the United States is heightened by the fact that it is developing at a time when the contradictions between the growth of productive forces and the narrowing of the market are rapidly becoming more acute, when the tendency common to all capitalist countries for the periods of depression to be prolonged is clearly apparent, and the depressions take on a chronic character. . . .

 

2. The American crisis, arising from the general crisis of the capitalist system, is more and more becoming a world economic crisis. ...

At the same time the unequal development of the capitalist system means that the manifestations of crisis take on a

variety of forms, differing in character and degree, in the individual countries. . . .

 

3. The crisis is bringing boundless misery to the working class; what hits them worst is the mass unemployment consequent upon the sharp contraction of production in a number of capitalist countries, and the greater exploitation which

accompanies the extension of capitalist rationalization. . . .

 

All together there are about 17 million persons in the capitalist countries —if their dependants are included about 60 million—suffering from unemployment, and in addition millions on part-time work who are liable at any moment to be thrown out on the streets to swell the army of the unemployed. The position of the unemployed masses is the more intolerable as they are either in receipt of no national unemployment benefits, or receive only minimal payments. Chronic unemployment is taking on ever more threatening dimensions as those sections of the poor peasantry ruined by the agrarian crisis join the reserve army of labour, this in turn being exploited by the capitalists to reduce wages still further. . ..

 

4. The consequences of the world crisis will be the more fatal for capitalism as it is taking place at a time when the economy of the Soviet Union is making tremendous progress, thus offering a complete contrast to the capitalist world. . . .

 

There can be no doubt that this is shifting the relation of forces between the two world economic systems in favour of international socialism and making the Soviet Union into an even more powerful factor deepening the capitalist crisis,

revolutionizing the proletariat and all the exploited masses of the world. . . .

 

The development of the economic crisis is bringing to a head the struggle among the monopolist capitalist associations and their States for a re-division of the world and the extension of protectionist policies, thus driving the capitalist world into an

era of new imperialist wars. The Anglo-American struggle for world hegemony, the feverish rivalry in arms between England and the United States, heavy American pressure on the British colonial possessions and Dominions, and England's desperate

struggle to maintain its position . . . all this is accompanied by growing contradictions in Europe itself, rendered more acute by the increasing competition of American capital with its European competitors in the world market.

In these circumstances the Young Plan, as the fighting programme adopted by the bourgeoisie of the victor countries in agreement with the German financial oligarchy, and under the hegemony of American finance capital, is: {a) a plan to

suppress and enslave the German proletariat, lower its standard of living, and increase its exploitation; (b) a plan to increase the power of finance capital in the victor countries (milliards to be squeezed out of Germany), consequently a plan for new attacks by the capitalists on the working class of those countries to reduce their standard of living; (c) a plan for the financial blockade of and for preparing a military attack on the Soviet Union; (d) finally, the Young Plan means that the

struggle inside the imperialist camp itself will grow sharper because of the questions concerning the division of the imperialist spoils.

In this connexion the ECCI presidium calls on all the sections of the Comintern, particularly the English, French, and Italian communist parties, to give active support to the fight of the working class of all countries, particularly the German

proletariat, against the Young Plan...

 

As the bitter struggle within the imperialist camp for a re-division of the world grows, as the revolutionary movement in the capitalist and colonial countries develops, and socialist construction in the Soviet Union moves successfully forward,

the danger of new imperialist wars becomes greater, above all the danger of a military attack on the Soviet Union. The collectivization of agriculture and the policy of liquidating

the kulaks in the Soviet Union, which deprives the imperialist bourgeoisie of their last allies there, on whom they could rely in the event of intervention, necessarily lead to greater activity on the anti-Soviet front, to attempts to extend that front, to

anti-Soviet provocations by the imperialist Powers, energetically supported and inspired by social-democracy in all countries. . . .

 

The defence of the Soviet Union against the threatening danger of imperialist attack is more than ever before the most important task of all Comintern sections.

 

II. THE BALANCE-SHEET OF THE GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES OF THE PARTIES OF THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL

 

6. As the crisis grows, the role of social-democracy as the active executant of the policy of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie becomes ever clearer. ...

 

In Germany the experience of eighteen months of social-fascist government has shown that, at the head of the government coalii tion, it is carrying out the will of the German capitalists and supporting their policy of increasing pressure on the working class and of preparing war. . . .

 

7. In England the same tendencies determine the policy of the Labour Government which, before the elections, promised general disarmament, improved relations with the Soviet Union, democratic reform in the colonies, an improvement

in the position of the working class, and a reduction in unemployment, but which in reality is not only continuing the policy of the Conservatives, but in regard to worsening the position of the working class and suppressing the colonies is even going beyond them. . . .

 

8. This is the record of the two most important parties of the Second International. ...

 

As a rule, where social-democracy is not in the Government, it takes a very active and direct part in carrying out the measures of reactionary bourgeois Governments against the working class and the communist parties, places itself openly at the head of unbridled anti-Soviet campaigns, hand in hand with Russian white guards (France); gives active help to bourgeois parties in introducing fascist constitutions (Austria), mobilizes all its forces in the service of fascist terror against communist and revolutionary workers (Poland)....

 

III. ECONOMIC STRUGGLES, THE UNEMPLOYED MOVEMENT, AND THE TASKS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTIES

 

9. The crisis ... is acting with extraordinary force to deepen social contradictions in the capitalist world. The resulting intensification of the class struggle is leading, at one extreme, to the growth of fascism, to a steady increase in the use of terror against the masses

 

. . . and at the other extreme to an expanding revolutionary surge, to a widening of the front of proletarian struggle,

drawing the peasant reserves of the colonies and of a number of capitalist countries into the general revolutionary front.

 

10. . . . The most important feature of the labour movement since the tenth ECCI plenum is the further expansion of the revolutionary surge in the conditions of ripening world crisis and mass unemployment. What distinguishes the strike

movement which is developing throughout the world on behalf of the economic demands of the proletariat is that, to an ever increasing extent, it is developing in opposition to the reformist unions, which are acting as strikebreakers, that the

unorganized masses are taking an ever more active part in it. . . .

 

11. In the countries which have entered the phase of crisis, the expansion of the revolutionary surge, even in those countries where the number of industrial strikes has diminished, is revealed not only in the sharper character of the strikes

themselves, but also in the variety of the forms of struggle. . . .

The unemployed movement is growing, and taking the form of hunger marches and political demonstrations. . . . The slogan of the political mass strike is on the order of the day.

 

12. As the crisis spreads and deepens, the economic position not only of the industrial workers, but also of the peasant masses, grows worse

 

. . . . The revolutionary peasant movement is beginning to revive, most markedly in some of the colonial countries, where it merges with the movement of the industrial workers and the national-revolutionary emancipation movement. . . .

 

13. Since the tenth ECCI plenum the process of ideological consolidation in the communist parties has gone further, following the sixth congress line of struggle against the deviations of the right-wing and conciliators and cleansing the parties of rotten semi-social-democratic elements. The appraisal given by the tenth plenum of the right wingers and conciliators, which declared right-opportunist ideas to be

incompatible with membership of the Comintern, and asserted that the conciliators had in practice adopted the same position as the right, has been fully confirmed.

The right-wing renegades in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the United States, expelled from the Comintern even before the tenth plenum, have on all basic questions of working-class policy and tactics fallen into social-democratic positions

 

... as have the opportunist elements in the unitary trade union movement and Communist Party of France (where they have united under the lying banner of the so-called League to defend the unions, and conduct vociferous agitation for the socalled

Workers' and Peasants' Party).

Like the social-democrats, the right-wing renegades are in favour of reinforcing capitalist stabilization, deny that the revolutionary wave is rising and the danger of war increasing, use arguments borrowed from the socialdemocrats against independent communist party tactics in the unions, try to shackle communists who are active in the reformist unions by disciplinary means to the social-fascist trade union machine, advocate a united front between communists and social-fascists, take an ever more active part in social-fascist campaigns against the communist party and the Soviet Union, and supply material for these campaigns. In practice, the scattered remnants of the Trotskyist groups have under Trotsky's leadership reached the same position. It can be said that the ideas of the Trotskyist and right-wing renegades completely coincide

 

. . . both, in their capacity as outright agents of social-democracy, are working for the disintegration of the communist

parties.

The resolute fight of the communist parties against social-democracy, which is closely linked with their task of winning the masses for communism, presupposes the ruthless exposure of the right-wing Trotskyist renegades . . . and a further

cleansing of the parties of those elements which are trying to play the same game... .

 

14. The chief tasks of the communist parties in this situation of developing crisis

 

. . . are to win the decisive masses of the proletariat, to mobilize the broad working masses (peasantry, impoverished urban petty-bourgeoisie, and the oppressed nationalities) around the proletariat and under its hegemony, to secure the leadership of all mass actions for the party, and to direct these frequently spontaneous actions

 

... into channels of organized political struggle. . . .

 

To accomplish these tasks requires . . .

 

i. The consolidation of party organizations, particularly the factory cells and trade union fractions. . . .

 

ii. In addition to the utmost reinforcement of agitation and propaganda work, to change the forms and methods of work of communist parties to correspond with the tasks of leading mass proletarian actions. . . .

 

iii. In connexion with the basic task of winning the masses . . . particularly great importance attaches to work in the reformist unions, conducted on the basis of the tactics of a united front from below, to liberate the masses from the influence of

reformist traitors. This also requires more intensive communist party work in the revolutionary unions

 

. . . securing the leading role for the communist party in all

organs of proletarian mass struggle created from below (factory councils, strike committees, unemployed committees, etc.), and strengthening the revolutionary opposition in the reformist unions. . . .

 

iv. The development of industrial struggles . . . imposes on communist parties the task of popularizing the slogan of the political mass strike, and requires them in their activities to combine legal with illegal methods of work. . . .

 

v. The central point of communist party work in colonies and dependent countries must be the creation and consolidation of proletarian mass organizations, and ensuring their independent class character, as the chief condition for winning the leading role of the proletariat in the growing national-revolutionary movement of the working masses of town and country. In China the task of the communist party is to strengthen the party and the red trade unions, to win over the masses in the Kuomintang

unions, and to secure working-class leadership of the revolutionary peasant masses. In India the primary task is to create a communist party as the real leader of the proletariat. The same task confronts the communists of Indonesia and Indo-

China.

 

 

Comintern

III. International