of the Communist International
adopted by the Second World Congress
on August 4, 1920
In London, in 1864, was established the first International Association of Workers, later known as the First International. The Statutes of the International Association of Workers read as follows:
‘That the emancipation of the working class must be carried out by the working class itself.
‘That the struggle for the emancipation of the working class does not imply a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and equal obligations and the abolition of all class domination.
‘That the economic subjection of the workers to the monopolists of the means of production, the sources of life, is the cause of servitude in all its forms, the cause of all social misery, mental degradation and political dependence.
‘That, consequently, the economic emancipation of the working class is the great aim to which every political movement must be subordinated.
‘That all endeavours directed to this great aim have hitherto failed because of the lack of solidarity between the various branches of industry in each country and because of the absence of a fraternal bond of unity between the working classes of the different countries.
‘That the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national problem, but one of a social character embracing every civilised country, and the solution of which depends on the theoretical and practical co-operation of the most progressive countries.
‘That the present revival of the workers’ movement in the industrial countries of Europe, while awakening new hopes, contains a solemn warning against a relapse into old errors, and calls for an immediate union of the hitherto disconnected movement.'
The Second International, which was established in Paris in 1889, undertook to continue the work of the First International. At the outbreak of the world slaughter in 1914 the Second International perished – undermined by opportunism and betrayed by its leaders who rallied to the side of the bourgeoisie.
The Third (Communist) International, established in March, 1919, in Moscow, the capital city of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, solemnly proclaims to the whole world that it takes upon itself the task of continuing and completing the great cause begun by the First International Association of Workers.
The Third (Communist) International was formed at a moment when the imperialist slaughter of 1914-1918, in which the imperialist bourgeoisie of the various countries sacrificed twenty million men, had come to an end.
Remember the imperialist war! This is the first appeal of the Communist International to every toiler wherever he may live and whatever language he may speak. Remember that owing to the existence of the capitalist system a small group of imperialists had the opportunity during four long years of compelling the workers of various countries to cut each other’s throats. Remember that this imperialist war had reduced Europe and the whole world to a state of extreme destitution and starvation. Remember that unless the capitalist system is overthrown a repetition of this criminal war is not only possible but is inevitable.
The Communist International sets itself the aim of fighting with all means, also with arms in hand, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international soviet republic as a transition to the complete abolition of the state. The Communist International considers the dictatorship of the proletariat an essential means for the liberation of humanity from the horrors of capitalism; and regards the Soviet form of government as the historically necessary form of this dictatorship.
The imperialist war linked the fate of the workers of each country particularly closely with the fate of the workers of every other country; it emphasised once again what was pointed out in the Statutes of the First International: that the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national problem, but one of a social and international character.
The Communist International breaks once and for all with the traditions of the Second International which, in reality, only recognised the white race. The task of the Communist International is to emancipate the workers of the whole world. In its ranks are fraternally united men of all colours – white, yellow and black – the toilers of the entire world.
The Communist International fully and unreservedly upholds the gains of the great proletarian revolution in Russia, the first victorious socialist revolution in the world’s history, and calls upon all workers to follow the same road. The Communist International makes it its duty to support, by all the power at its disposal, every Soviet Republic wherever it may be formed.
The Communist International is aware that for the purpose of the speedy achievement of victory, the international association of the workers which is struggling for the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of Communism, must possess a firm and centralised organisation.
To all intents and purposes the Communist International should represent a single universal Communist Party, of which the parties operating in the different countries form individual sections. The organisation of the Communist International is directed towards securing for the workers of every country the possibility, at any given moment, of obtaining the maximum of aid from the organised workers of the other countries.
For this purpose the Communist International confirms the following Statutes:
The new international association of workers is established for the purpose of organising common action between the workers of various countries who are striving towards a single aim: the overthrow of capitalism, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the international Soviet Republic, the complete abolition of classes and the realisation of socialism, as the first step to communist society.
The new international association of workers has been given the name of The Communist International.
All the parties and organisations comprising the Communist International bear the name of the Communist Party of the particular country (section of the Communist International).
The World Congress of all parties and organisations forming part of the Communist International is the supreme authority of this International. The World Congress meets regularly once a year. The World Congress alone is empowered to change the programme of the Communist International; it discusses and decides the more important questions of programme and tactics connected with the activity of the Communist International. The allocation of full votes at the World Congress between the constituent parties and organisations is decided by a special regulation of the Congress; it is necessary to strive for the speedy establishment of a standard of representation based on the actual membership and real influence of the party in question.
The World Congress elects an Executive Committee of the Communist International which serves as the principal authority of the Communist International in the interim between the World Congresses. The Executive Committee is responsible only to the World Congress.
The place of residence of the Executive Committee of the Communist International is determined at each World Congress.
A special World Congress of the Communist International may be convened either by decision of the Executive Committee, or on the demand of one-half of the parties affiliated to the Communist International at the time of the previous World Congress.
The greater part of the work and principal responsibility in regard to the Executive Committee of the Communist International devolves upon the Party in the particular country where, in keeping with the decision of the World Congress, the Executive Committee has its residence for the time being. The Party of the country in question sends to the Executive Committee not less than five members with a full vow. In addition, each of the ten to thirteen largest Communist Parties is entitled to send one representative with a full vote to the Executive Committee. The list of these representatives has to be ratified by the World Congress. The remaining parties and organisations forming part of the Communist International each enjoy the right of sending to the Executive Committee one representative with a consultative vote.
The Executive Committee directs the whole work of the Communist International between Congresses. The Executive Committee publishes, in not less than four languages, the central organ of the Communist International (the periodical, Communist International). The Executive Committee makes the necessary appeals on behalf of the Communist International and issues instructions binding on all parties and organisations forming part of the Communist International. The Executive Committee has the right to demand from affiliated parties the exclusion of members and groups guilty of the infringement of international proletarian discipline, and also to exclude from the Communist International any parties that infringe the regulations of the World Congress, such parties having the right of appeal to the World Congress. Where necessary the Executive Committee organises in different countries its technical and auxiliary bureaux, which are entirely under the control of the Executive Committee. The representatives of the Executive Committee shall carry out their political tasks in the closest contact with the Party centre of the country concerned.
The Executive Committee of the International has the right to include in its ranks representatives (with a consultative vote only) from parties and organisations which, while not belonging to the Communist International, sympathise with it and stand near to it.
The organs of all the parties and organisations forming part of the Communist International, as well as those who consider themselves sympathisers of the Communist International, are obliged to publish all official decisions of the Communist International and of its Executive Committee.
The general conditions prevailing in Europe and America compel communists throughout the world to form illegal Communist organisations side by side with the legal organisations. The Executive Committee has charge of the universal application of this rule.
As a rule political communication between individual parties affiliated to the Communist International is carried out through the Executive Committee of the Communist International. In cases of urgent need, however, direct relations are permissible, provided that the Executive Committee is informed thereof at the same time.
Trades unions that have accepted the Communist platform and are united internationally under the guidance of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, form Trade Union Sections of the Communist International. These trades unions send their representatives to the World Congresses of the Communist International through the medium of the Communist Parties of their respective countries. The Trade Union Section of the Communist International delegates a representative with a full vote to the Executive Committee of the Communist International. The Executive Committee of the Communist International has the right to send a representative with a full vote to the Trade Union Section of the Communist International.
The International League of Young Communists is as a member of the Communist International subordinated to it and its Executive Committee. One representative of the Executive Committee of the International League of Young Communists with a full vote is delegated to the Executive Committee of the Communist International. The Executive Committee of the Communist International, on the other hand, has the right of sending a representative with a full vote to the Executive Committee of the International League of ‘Young Communists.
The Executive Committee of the Communist International confirms the appointment of the International Secretary of the Communist Women’s Movement and organises a Women’s Section of the Communist International.
A member of the Communist International journeying to another country has a right to the fraternal support of the local members of the Third International.
The Statutes are unanimously adopted.