Communist International

95th Anniversary

March 4, 1919 - March 4, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long live the 95th anniversary of the Communist International !

founded on March 4, 1919

 

Greeting Message of the Comintern (SH)

 

Today, we celebrate the 95th Anniversary of the foundation of the Comintern of Lenin and Stalin.

The Comintern (SH) sends militant greetings to all communist internationalists around the world.

The Third International (1919 - 1943) - called the "Comintern" - continued the Marxist legacy of the First International and the Second International, namely as long as it had not yet deviated from Marxism, thus, so long as it had not yet turned into an open tool of the international counter-revolution (1914).

The Communist International was founded by Lenin, emerged from the victory of the October Revolution (1917) in the end of the First World War, and organized all internationalist forces of the world proletarian revolution on the basis of Marxism-Leninism.

The Communist International linked the center of world revolution with all revolutionary movements around the world and was the international collective propagandist, agitator and organizer of the world socialist revolution.

The Communist International became the highest form of class organization of the world proletariat and was the leader of the communist movement.

With the goal of the dictatorship of the world proletariat, the Comintern united the proletariat of the Soviet Union with the proletarians of all countries who were still fighting for the conquest of the dictatorship of the proletariat. By this symbiosis, the Soviet Union became a powerful, open base and mighty lever of the world revolutionary movement. And the Soviet Union, in turn, received its necessary support from the world revolutionary movement - organized by the Comintern.

Only the Comintern embodied the true unity of the revolutionary workers and the liberation movements of the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world.

The glorious history of the CPSU (B) Lenin and Stalin gave significantly distinction to the glorious history of the Comintern, which began its work on Soviet ground and finished its work from there.

The Comintern of Lenin and Stalin occupies an honorable place in the history of world communism. 

The Comintern grew up to be a strong umbrella organization of the communist parties of the countries, which were affiliated to the Comintern as its Sections. According to the globalization of world capitalism we do not need an umbrella organization of communist parties of the countries, but a sole Stalinist-Hoxhaist world party of the entire revolutionary world proletariat - with its own Sections in each country - a centralist Communist International of a new Stalinist-Hoxhaist type.

We have drawn lessons from the dissolution of the Comintern.

With the VI. Congress and under the leadership of Stalin, the Comintern reached its most powerful stage and even transcontinental detachments of the Comintern were formed. However, with the Seventh World Congress, Dimitroff opened the path towards modern revisionism and prepared and implemented the liquidation of the Comintern in 1943.

The now 14 years long existence of Comintern (SH) shows proof that the world revolutionary spirit of the Comintern of Lenin and Stalin could not be liquidated. It is still alive. The re-foundation of the Comintern on December 31, 2000, was a heavy blow to the world bourgeoisie and her revisionist and neo-revisionist lackeys. Lenin was totally right when he foretold:

"The Communist International had not ceased to exist and it will not cease to exist" (Lenin ).

Instead of dying out, the Comintern did only pass to a higher period of further development where it's already globalized tendencies will more and more become realities. The guarantee of the final victory of the Communist International is based on Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism-Hoxhaism.

The existence of a Communist International is absolutely indespensable for the fulfillment of the revolutionary mission of the world proletariat - thus to destroy the dictatorship of the world bourgeoisie and to remove world capitalism. Moreover the Communist International is needed for the establishment of the dictatorship of the world proletariat and for leading the construction of world socialism. The Communist International will therefore be indispensable during the entire historical period of world socialism and its transition to world communism.

The Comintern will yet have to undergo many a change, before world communism is finally realized. 95 Years have already passed in which the struggle of the Communist International went on and on. This struggle of the Communist International will further go on and on, until communism has triumphed all over the world.

The Communist International is indestructible, because the teachings of the 5 Classics of Marxism-Leninism on the inevitability of the socialist world proletarian revolution are indestructible. The socialist world revolution is indestructible because the world proletariat is indestructible.

The continuation of the history of the Comintern is an important step for the victory of the socialist world revolution and socialism on a world scale, namely a victory in the fight for the elimination of the inevitability of the danger of its own bourgeois degeneracy and repeated dissolution. This danger exists as long as imperialism dominates the world - but not for much longer !

Long live the 95th Anniversary of the Comintern of Lenin and Stalin !

Comintern (SH)

 

 

 

 

"The victory of the proletarian revolution on a world scale is assured. The founding of an international Soviet republic is on the way."

(Lenin: March 6, 1919 - Concluding Speech at the Closing Session of the Congress)

 

 

 

SPEECH ON GRAMOPHONE RECORDS

V. I. Lenin

The Third, Communist International

 

In March of this year of 1919, an international congress of Communists was held in Moscow. This congress founded the Third, Communist International, an association of the workers of the whole world who are striving to establish Soviet power in all countries.

The First International, founded by Marx, existed from 1864 to 1872. The defeat of the heroic workers of Paris-of the celebrated Paris Commune-marked the end of this International. It is unforgettable, it will remain for ever in the history of the workers' struggle for their emancipation. It laid the foundation of that edifice of the world socialist republic which it is now our good fortune to be building.

The Second International existed from 1889 to 1914, up to the war. This was the period of the most calm and peaceful development of capitalism, a period without great revolutions. During this period the working-class movement gained strength and matured in a number of countries. But the workers' leaders in most of the parties had become accustomed to peaceful conditions and had lost the ability to wage a revolutionary struggle. When, in 1914, there began the war, that drenched the earth with blood for four years, the war between the capitalists over the division of profits, the war for supremacy over small and weak nations, these leaders deserted to the side of their respective governments. They betrayed the workers, they helped to prolong the slaughter, they became enemies of socialism, they went over to the side of the capitalists.

The masses of workers turned their backs on these traitors to socialism. All over the world there was a turn towards the revolutionary struggle. The war proved that capitalism was doomed. A new system is coming to take its place. The old word socialism had been desecrated by the traitors to socialism.

Today, the workers who have remained loyal to the cause of throwing off the yoke of capital call themselves Communists. All over the world the association of Communists is growing. In a number of countries Soviet power has already triumphed. Soon we shall see the victory of communism throughout the world; we shall see the foundation of the World Federative Republic of Soviets.

 


V. I. LENIN

The Third International and
Its Place in History

Written: 15 April, 1919

(Excerpts)

 

"The Third International has been founded in a world situation that does not allow prohibitions, petty and miserable devices of the Entente imperialists or of capitalist lackeys like the Scheidemanns in Germany and the Renners in Austria to prevent news of this International and sympathy for it spreading among the working class of the world. This situation has been brought about by the growth of the proletarian revolution, which is manifestly developing everywhere by leaps and bounds. It has been brought about by the Soviet movement among the working people, which has already achieved such strength as to become really international.

The First International (1864-72) laid the foundation of an international organisation of the workers for the preparation of their revolutionary attack on capital. The Second International (1889-1914) was an international organisation of the proletarian movement whose growth proceeded in breadth, at the cost of a temporary drop in the revolutionary level, a temporary strengthening of opportunism, which in the end led to the disgraceful collapse of this International.

The Third International actually emerged in 1918, when the long years of struggle against opportunism and social-chauvinism, especially during the war, led to the formation of Communist Parties in a number of countries. Officially, the Third International was founded at its First Congress, in March 1919, in Moscow. And the most characteristic feature of this International, its mission of fulfilling, of implementing the precepts of Marxism, and of achieving the age-old ideals of socialism and the working-class movement—this most characteristic feature of the Third International has manifested itself immediately in the fact that the new, third, “International Working Men’s Association” has already begun to develop, to a certain extent, into a union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The First International laid the foundation of the proletarian, international struggle for socialism.

The Second International marked a period in which the soil was prepared for the broad, mass spread of the movement in a number of countries.

The Third International has gathered the fruits of the work of the Second International, discarded its opportunist, social-chauvinist, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois dross, and has begun to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The international alliance of the parties which are leading the most revolutionary movement in the world, the movement of the proletariat for the overthrow of the yoke of capital, now rests on an unprecedentedly firm base, in the shape of several Soviet republics, which are implementing the dictatorship of the proletariat and are the embodiment of victory over capitalism on an international scale.

The epoch-making significance of the Third, Communist International lies in its having begun to give effect to Marx’s cardinal slogan, the slogan which sums up the centuries-old development of socialism and the working-class movement, the slogan which is expressed in the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

World history is leading unswervingly towards the dictatorship of the proletariat, but is doing so by paths that are anything but smooth, simple and straight.

Leadership in the revolutionary proletarian International has passed for a time—for a short time, it goes without saying—to the Russians, just as at various periods of the nineteenth century it was in the hands of the British, then of the French, then of the Germans.

Soviet, or proletarian, democracy was born in Russia. Following the Paris Commune a second epoch-making step was taken. The proletarian and peasant Soviet Republic has proved to be the first stable socialist republic in the world. As a new type of state it cannot die. It no longer stands alone.

The bankrupt Second International is now dying and rotting alive. Actually, it is playing the role of lackey to the world bourgeoisie. It is a truly yellow International. Its foremost ideological leaders, such as Kautsky, laudbourgeois democracy and call it “democracy” in general, or—what is still more stupid and still more crude—“pure democracy”.

Bourgeois democracy has outlived its day, just as the Second International has, though the International performed historically necessary and useful work when the task of the moment was to train the working-class masses within the framework of this bourgeois democracy.

No bourgeois republic, however democratic, ever was or could have been anything but a machine for the suppression of the working people by capital, an instrument of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the political rule of capital. The democratic bourgeois republic promised and proclaimed majority rule, but it could never put this into effect as long as private ownership of the land and other means of production existed.

“Freedom” in the bourgeois-democratic republic was actually freedom for the rich. The proletarians and working peasants could and should have utilised it for the purpose of preparing their forces to overthrow capital, to overcome bourgeois democracy, but in fact the working masses were, as a general rule, unable to enjoy democracy under capitalism.

Soviet? or proletarian, democracy has for the first time in the world created democracy for the masses, for the working people, for the factory workers and small peasants.

Never yet has the world seen political power wielded by the majority of the population, power actually wielded by this majority, as it is in the case of Soviet rule.

It suppresses the “freedom” of the exploiters and their accomplices; it deprives them of “freedom” to exploit, “freedom” to batten on starvation, “freedom” to fight for the restoration of the rule of capital, “freedom” to compact with the foreign bourgeoisie against the workers and peasants of their own country.

Anyone who has read Marx and failed to understand that in capitalist society, at every acute moment, in every serious class conflict, the alternative is either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat, has understood nothing of either the economic or the political doctrines of Marx."

(Lenin: The Third International and Its Place in History; written: 15 April, 1919)


 

 

On occasion of the 95th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist International

we publish the following new documents:

 

 

RESOLUTION CONSTITUTING THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL PASSED AT ITS FIRST CONGRESS

4 March 1919 Protokoll, i, p. 131


The representatives of the Communist Party of German-Austria, of the left Social-Democratic Party of Sweden, of the Social-Democratic Revolutionary Workers' Federation of the Balkans, of the Communist Party of Hungary, move that the Communist International be founded.


1. The fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat requires a united, resolute, international organization of all communist elements which adopt this platform.


2. The foundation of the Communist International is the more imperative since now at Berne, and possibly later elsewhere also, an attempt is being made to restore the old opportunist International and to rally to it all the confused and undecided elements of the proletariat. It is therefore essential to make a sharp break between the revolutionary proletariat and the social-traitor elements.


3. If the conference now sitting in Moscow were not to found the Third International, the impression would be created that the communist parties are not at one; this would weaken our position and increase the confusion among the undecided elements of the proletariat in all countries.


4. To constitute the Third International is therefore an unconditional historical imperative which must be put into effect by the international communist conference now sitting in Moscow.

Unterschrift: N.Lenin

veröffentlicht im Mai 1919.

Nach dem Stenogramm


 

RESOLUTION OF THE FIRST COMINTERN CONGRESS

ON THE BERNE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES OF THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL


5 March 1919 Protokoll, i, p. 163

EXTRACTS


I


As early as 1907, at the international socialist congress at Stuttgart which discussed questions of colonial policy and imperialist war, it was clear that more than half the Second International, and the majority of its leaders, held views on these questions much closer to those of the bourgeoisie than to those of Marx and Engels. Nevertheless the Stuttgart congress accepted an amendment moved by the representatives of the revolutionary wing, N. Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, which ran as follows:

'If, however, a war should break out, socialists are obliged to intervene to bring it to an end as quickly as possible, and to exploit in every way the economic and political crisis created by the war to stir up the people and so to accelerate the overthrow of capitalist rule. . . .'

Even at the end of July and beginning of August 1914, 24 hours before the outbreak of the world war, the leading organs and bodies of the Second International continued to condemn the approaching war as the greatest crime of the bourgeoisie. The statements issued by the leading parties of the Second International at that time serve as the most eloquent accusation against its leaders.

At the first shot in the mass slaughter, the chief parties of the Second International betrayed the working class, and each of them, on the pretext of 'defence of the fatherland', went over to the side of 'its' bourgeoisie. . . .

It was at that moment that the Second International finally reached bankruptcy and perished. . . .

Three basic trends were already visible within the Second International. In the course of the war, up to the beginning of the proletarian revolution in Europe, their outlines emerged with unmistakable clarity.

1. The social-chauvinist trend (the 'majority' trend), whose most typical representatives are the German social-democrats now sharing power with the German bourgeoisie, who were later to become the murderers of the leaders of the Communist International, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. The socialchauvinists have now exposed themselves completely as class enemies of the proletariat, and are following the programme for 'liquidating' the war prescribed by the bourgeoisie: shunting the greater part of the tax burden on to the working masses; leaving private property untouched; leaving the army in the hands of the bourgeoisie; dissolving the workers' councils which are springing up everywhere ; leaving political power in the hands of the bourgeoisie; supporting bourgeois democracy against socialism.

Although the communists have up to now fought vigorously against the 'majority socialists', the workers have not yet grasped the danger threatening the international proletariat from these traitors. One of the most important tasks of the international proletarian revolution is to open the workers' eyes to this Judas-work of the socialchauvinists, and with armed hand to make this counter-revolutionary party harmless.

2. The 'centrist' trend (social pacifists, Kautskyites, Independents). This trend began to be formed even before the war, chiefly in Germany. On the outbreak of war the 'centre' nearly everywhere occupied roughly the same ground as the socialchauvinists.

The theoretical leader of the centre', Kautsky, came forward with a defence of the policy pursued by the German and French social-chauvinists. The International was only a 'peace-time instrument'. 'Fight for peace', 'the class struggle in peace time'—these were Kautsky's slogans. After war broke out the 'centre' insisted on 'unity' with the social-chauvinists. After the murder of Liebknecht and Luxemburg the 'centre' again preached the same 'unity', that is, the unity of communist workers with the murderers of the communist leaders, Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

Early in the war the 'centre' (Kautsky, Viktor Adler, Turati, Mac-Donald), began to advocate a 'reciprocal amnesty', to be valid for the leaders of the social-chauvinist parties of Germany and Austria on the one side, and France and England on the other. The 'centre' is still advocating this amnesty today, after the war has ended, and thus prevents the workers getting a clear understanding of the causes of the breakdown of the Second International. The centre has sent its representatives to Berne, to the international conference of compromising socialists, and has thus made it easier for the Scheidemanns and Renaudels to deceive the workers.

It is absolutely essential to split the most revolutionary elements off from the 'centre'; this can be done only by the ruthless criticism and exposure of the 'centrist' leaders. The organizational break with the 'centre' is an absolute historical necessity.

It is the task of the communists in each country to determine the moment for this break, according to the stage of development which the movement has reached there.

3. Communists. In the Second International, where this trend put forward communist-Marxist views on war and the tasks of the proletariat (the Lenin-Luxemburg resolution, Stuttgart, 1907), they remained a minority. The 'left radical' group (later the Spartakus group) in Germany, the Bolshevik party in Russia, the Tribunists in Holland, the youth group in Sweden, the left wing of the Youth International in a number of countries, formed the first kernel of the new international.

Faithful to the interests of the working class, this trend from the beginning of the war proclaimed as its slogan: Turn the imperialist war into a civil war. This trend has now constituted itself the Third International.



II


The Berne socialist conference of February 1919 was an attempt to galvanize the corpse of the Second International. The composition of the Berne conference shows clearly that the revolutionary proletariat of the world has nothing in common with this conference.

The victorious proletariat of Russia, the heroic proletariat of Germany, the Italian proletariat, the communist section of the proletariat of Austria and Hungary, the proletariat of Switzerland, the working class of Bulgaria, Rumania, Serbia, the leftwing workers' parties of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Ukraine, the Lettish and Polish proletariat, the best part of the organized English proletariat, the Youth International and the Women's International, demonstratively refused to take part in the Berne conference of social-patriots.

Of the participants, those who still have some contact with the real workers' movement of our time formed an opposition group, which, at least in the chief question —'Appraisal of the Russian Revolution'—opposed the doings of the socialpatriots.

The declaration of the French comrade Loriot, who scourged the majority of the Berne conference as servants of the bourgeoisie, represents the real opinion of all class-conscious workers throughout the world.

On the so-called 'guilt' question the Berne conference did not escape from the bourgeois ideological frame. The German and French social-patriots made the same charges against each other as the German and French bourgeoisie. The Berne conference lost its way in a flood of petty details about what this or that bourgeois minister had done before the war, and refused to see that capitalism, the financecapitalists of both coalitions, and their social-patriot lackeys, are those primarily guilty. The social-patriot majority at Berne wanted to find out who were chiefly responsible for the war. They had only to look in a mirror, and they would have recognized themselves all as guilty. . . .

The most reactionary representative of the imperialist bourgeoisie, M. Clemenceau, acknowledged the service rendered to imperialist reaction by the Berne conference of social-patriots by receiving a delegation from the conference and suggesting that they take part in all the relevant commissions of the imperialist conference at Paris.

On the colonial question it emerged clearly that the Berne conference was at one with those liberal-bourgeois colonial politicians who find nothing wrong in the exploitation and enslavement of colonies by the imperialist bourgeoisie, but try to plaster it over with humanitarian and philanthropic phrases. The German socialpatriots demanded that the German colonies should continue to belong to the German Reich, that is, that German capital should continue to exploit these colonies. The disagreements which thereupon came to light showed that the socialpatriots of the Entente have the same slave-holders' attitude, and think it quite natural that French and English capital should continue to enslave French and English colonies. In this the Berne conference showed that it had completely forgotten the slogan: 'Clear out of the colonies.'

In its appraisal of the 'League of Nations' the Berne conference showed that it was treading in the footsteps of those bourgeois elements who want to use the deceptive illusion of the so-called League of Nations to conjure away the proletarian revolution which is advancing throughout the world. Instead of exposing the goings-on at the Paris conference as haggling with nations and economic areas, the Berne conference seconded Paris by degrading itself into its instrument. The obsequious attitude of the conference, which left to a bourgeois government conference in Paris the question of labour legislation, shows that the social-patriots were knowingly in favour of maintaining capitalist wage slavery and are ready to let the working class be put off with petty reforms.

It was only the efforts of the opposition which defeated the attempt, inspired by the policy of the bourgeoisie, to get the Berne conference to pass a resolution which would have provided a cover for any future armed intervention in Russia. This victory of the Berne opposition over the outspoken chauvinist elements provides indirect proof that the proletariat of western Europe sympathizes with the Russian proletarian revolution and is ready to fight against the imperialist bourgeoisie.

The fear that these lackeys of the bourgeoisie feel for the inevitable extension of the workers' council movement can be seen in their anxiety to avoid spending any time whatever on this world-historical phenomenon. The workers' councils are the most important phenomenon since the Paris Commune. By ignoring them, the Berne conference publicly proclaimed its moral poverty and theoretical bankruptcy.

The congress of the Communist International considers the 'International' which the Berne conference is trying to establish a yellow strikebreaking international, which is and will remain nothing but a tool of the bourgeoisie.

The congress calls on the workers of all countries to start a resolute fight against the yellow international and to warn the broad masses of the proletariat against this lying and fraudulent international.

 

 

 

APPEAL OF THE FIRST CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL TO THE WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES

5 March 1919 Protokoll, i, p. 195

EXTRACTS

The first congress of the Third International, assembled on 5 March 1919 in the Kremlin, expresses its grateful admiration to the Russian revolutionary proletariat and to its directing party, the Communist Party of Bolsheviks.

The great revolution, undertaken to guide socialist doctrine, so long corrupted by the opportunists, back to its original source, Marxism, the superhuman efforts made for nearly a year and a half to create, in the place of the old bourgeois world, a new communist social order, both in moral and intellectual culture, as well as in the material spheres, collective or individual, of political, economic, and social life, the help given at all times to the workers of all countries against their militarist and despotic governments—all this must call forth the universal and enthusiastic approval of the working class of all countries. . . .

It is not the fault of the Soviet system or of bolshevism that this goal has not yet been reached, that the population of Central Russia are suffering from hunger and from a growing shortage of finished products. On the contrary, it was only the Soviet system and bolshevism which made it possible to put a complete end to the anarchy and chaos provoked by Kerensky and bourgeois democracy; they alone enabled the country to keep economic life going at its present level.

The responsibility for the crisis rests solely on the internal and external enemies of the Soviet regime, for by sabotage, plots, and military intervention they compelled Russia to spend a great part of its strength, its man-power, and its resources on the creation of a new army.

Despite their burning desire for peace, the entire Russian people courageously recognized and accepted this necessity. Everybody knows with what extraordinary success the Soviet power managed to carry out this immense task. The blame may be put on bolshevism, but the best way of finding out whether it is to blame or not would be for the Entente Powers to cease forcing the Soviet power to defend itself by arms.

To do that they must not only stop sending armed forces to Russia and evacuate its ports; they must also refrain from exerting any pressure inside the country, they must cease to support with money, arms, and advisers the counter-revolutionary bands which without the help of the Entente would soon melt away of themselves.

Then the soldiers of the Red Army could return to their families, and the best workers, the most devoted organizers, the most skilled engineers would be at the disposal of the Soviet power. Their activities in peaceful economic labour would soon yield the most substantial results.

It should not be forgotten, however, that the young Russian industry never was able to manage without foreign assistance. The Entente is paralysing the new economic organization by forbidding the foreign specialists, who in fact used to manage Russian industry, to return to Russia. It is hampering the equipment and maintenance of the factories, the transport of raw materials and fuel; it is condemning industry to ruin and the people to unemployment by prohibiting the import into Russia of machinery, trucks, and locomotives. . . .

More than once the Soviet Republic has officially expressed its desire to continue to call on the help of foreign industry and specialists; it has stated its readiness to pay a high price for their services, which are at the present time indispensable to the prosperity of Russian economic life. But the Entente, without even troubling to answer these proposals, is operating a strict blockade, using threats and force against Russia and even against the Central Powers and neutral countries.

The working masses of all countries must demand of their governments a genuine renunciation of any direct or indirect intervention in Soviet Russian affairs. To give these demands a precise form, the congress of the Third International proposes to all peoples the following programme of action.

The honour, independence, and most elementary interests of the proletariat of all countries demand that they should immediately act and use all means at their disposal, if necessary, revolutionary means, to give effect to the following demands:

1. Non-intervention by the Entente in the internal affairs of Soviet Russia.

2. Immediate recall of all Allied European and Asiatic troops now in Russia.

3. Abandonment of any direct or indirect policy of intervention, whether it takes the form of provocation or of material and moral support for the Russian counter revolutionaries or the reactionary border States.

4. Cancellation of treaties already concluded contemplating intervention by the given State, by Russian counter-revolutionaries, or by countries bordering on Russia, in the internal affairs of the Soviet Republic; immediate return to their countries of the diplomatic and military missions which the Entente governments dispatched to north and south Russia, to Rumania, Finland, Poland, and the Czech countries with the object of stirring up struggle against the Soviet Republics.

5. Recognition of the Soviet Government which after being eighteen months in existence is stronger and more popular than ever.

6. Re-establishment of diplomatic relations, carrying with it the sending of official representatives (socialists) to Russia and the recognition of Russian representatives abroad.

7. The admission to the peace conference of delegates of the Soviet Government as the representatives, and indeed the only representatives, of the Russian people. A European peace negotiated and concluded without Russia would be in the highest degree unstable. It would be odious and ridiculous to admit to the conference, in the absence of the bolsheviks, or even alongside them, as representatives of the whole of Russia or a part of Russia, those mountebanks forming the various regional governments artificially created by the Allies, existing only thanks to Allied support, and who, moreover, stand for practically nothing but a few personal aspirations and interests.

8. Cessation of the economic blockade which may soon condemn Russia to industrial ruin and hunger.

9. Resumption of trade relations and conclusion of trade agreements.

10. Dispatch to Russia of a few hundred or rather a few thousand organizers, engineers, instructors, and skilled workmen, in particular metal workers, to give the young socialist republic real help in the industrial field, above all in carrying out the most important tasks, the restoration of rolling-stock and of the railways, and the organization of transport.

 

 

 

THESES ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION

AND THE POLICY OF THE ENTENTE

ADOPTED BY THE FIRST COMINTERN CONGRESS


6 March 1919 Beschlüsse des ersten Kongresses, p. 53

EXTRACTS


The events of the world war exposed the imperialist policy of the bourgeois 'democracies' as the militant policy of the great Powers aimed at carving up the world and consolidating the economic and political dictatorship of finance capital over the exploited and oppressed masses. The killing and crippling of millions of men, the impoverishment and enslavement of the proletariat, the unparalleled enrichment of the upper strata of the bourgeoisie through war contracts, loans, etc., the triumph of military reaction in all countries—all this began to destroy the illusions of national defence, of civil peace, and of'democracy'. The 'peace policy' is revealing the real aims of the bourgeoisie of all countries and making the exposure final.


THE BREST-LITOVSK PEACE AND THE EXPOSURE OF GERMAN IMPERIALISM


The Brest-Litovsk peace, and subsequently the treaty of Bucharest, revealed the predatory and reactionary character of the imperialism of the Central Powers. The victors wrung indemnities and annexations from defenceless Russia. They used the right of national self-determination as cover for an annexationist policy by creating vassal States whose reactionary governments promoted their predatory policy and suppressed the revolutionary movement of the working masses. . . .


THE VICTORY OF THE ENTENTE AND THE ALIGNMENT OF STATES


The victory of the Entente has divided the so-called civilized countries of the world into the following groups: the first group consists of the lords of the capitalist world, the victorious imperialist great Powers (England, America, France, Japan, and Italy). Opposed to them are the countries of defeated imperialism, broken by war and their structure shaken by the beginning of the proletarian revolution (Germany, Austria, Hungary, and their former vassals). The vassal States of the Entente Powers form the third group. It consists of the small capitalist States who fought the war on the side of the Entente (Belgium, Serbia, Portugal, etc.), and also of the recently created 'national' republics and buffer States (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russian counter-revolutionary republics, etc.). The position of the neutral States is approximately that of the vassal States, but they are subject to heavy political and economic pressure which at times makes their position similar to that of the defeated States. The socialist republic of Russia is a workers' and peasants' State standing apart from the capitalist world and representing a tremendous social danger for victorious imperialism, the danger that all the fruits of victory will be lost in the flood of world revolution.


ENTENTE IMPERIALISM'S 'PEACE POLICY' AND ITS SELF-EXPOSURE


The 'peace policy' of the five ruling Powers was and is, when we regard it as a whole, one of continuous self-revelation.

Notwithstanding all the talk about their 'democratic foreign policy', it represents the complete triumph of secret diplomacy, deciding the fate of the world by arrangements between the agents of the financial trusts behind the backs and at the expense of the millions of workers of all countries. All important questions without exception are decided by the Paris committee of the five great Powers behind closed doors, in the absence of representatives of the defeated and neutral countries, and even of the vassal States.

The speeches of Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Sonnino, etc., frankly proclaim and justify the need for annexations and indemnities.

Regardless of lying words about the 'war for universal disarmament', the need for further armaments and in particular for the maintenance of British sea power, ostensibly 'to safeguard the freedom of the seas', is openly announced.

The right of national self-determination proclaimed by the Entente is publicly trampled under foot and for it is substituted the division of the disputed areas among the ruling States and their vassals.

Alsace-Lorraine has been incorporated in France without consulting its population; Ireland, Egypt, India, have no right of national self-determination; the Yugoslav State and the Czechoslovak Republic were established by armed force; shameless haggling is going on about the division of European and Asiatic Turkey, the distribution of the German colonies has in fact already begun, and so on.

The policy of indemnities has been pushed to the point of complete plundering of the defeated countries; they are not only presented with bills running into many milliards, they are not only deprived of all weapons, but the Entente countries are also taking their locomotives, railway trucks, ships, agricultural equipment, gold stocks, etc., and in addition the prisoners of war are to be made the slaves of the victors. Proposals for compulsory labour service for German workers are being discussed. The Allied Powers intend to impoverish them and make them the hungry slaves of Entente capital. . . .

Reaction is in the saddle both within the Entente countries themselves— France has reverted to the worst features of Napoleon III—as well as throughout the capitalist world which is under Entente influence. The Allies are strangling the revolution in the occupied areas of Germany, in Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.; they are inciting the bourgeois opportunist governments of the defeated countries against the revolutionary workers by threatening the withdrawal of food supplies. The Allies have stated that they will sink all German ships which dare to raise the red flag of revolution; they have refused to recognize the German workers' councils; they have abolished the eight-hour day in the occupied parts of Germany. Quite apart from supporting reactionary policies in the neutral States and promoting them in the vassal States (the Paderewski regime in Poland), the Allies are inciting the reactionary elements in these countries (Finland, Poland, Sweden, etc.) against revolutionary Russia and demanding the intervention of German armed forces.


CONTRADICTIONS AMONG THE ENTENTE STATES


A number of profound contradictions are appearing among the great Powers who rule the capitalist world, despite the similarity of the basic features of their imperialist policy.

These contradictions are focused mainly on the peace programme of American finance capital (the so-called Wilson programme). The most important points in this programme are: 'freedom of the seas', 'the League of Nations', and 'internationalization of colonies'. The slogan of freedom of the seas—stripped of its hypocritical cloak—means in fact the abolition of the supremacy of some great Powers (primarily England) at sea and the opening of all sea routes to American trade. The League of Nations means that the European great Powers (primarily France) are refused the right of directly annexing the weaker States and peoples. The internationalization of colonies has the same significance in regard to colonial areas.

This programme derives from the fact that American capital. . . has no possibility of making direct annexations in Europe and therefore contemplates the exploitation of weak States and peoples by means of trade and capital investment. ...

In the field of economic exploitation highly-developed American finance capital will win hegemony and thus be able to secure for itself world economic and political supremacy.

The 'freedom of the seas' is in most acute conflict with the interests of England and Japan, and partly also of Italy (in the Adriatic). The 'League of Nations' and the 'internationalization of colonies' are most emphatically in conflict with the interests of France and Japan, and to a lesser extent with the interests of all other imperialist Powers. Imperialist France, where industrial development is weak and the forces of production have been completely shattered by the war, is resorting to the most desperate means to maintain the capitalist regime; these include the savage spoliation of Germany, the subjection and predatory exploitation of the vassal States (proposals for a Danubian federation, for a South Slav State), and the squeezing out by force of the debts incurred by Russian Tsarism to the French Shylock. . . .

While the interests of the great Powers conflict with those of America, they also conflict with one another. England fears a strengthening of France on the continent; in Asia Minor and Africa its interests are incompatible with French interests. Italy's interests in the Balkan peninsula and the Tyrol are in conflict with French interests.

Japan disputes the Pacific islands with English Australia, etc.


GROUPS AND TRENDS WITHIN THE ENTENTE


These contradictions among the great Powers lead to various combinations within the Entente; the two principal combinations which have emerged are the French- English-Japanese combination, directed against America and Italy, and the Anglo-American, which is opposed to the other great Powers. . . .

The Anglo-American bloc is opposed to French priority in the spoliation of Germany and to its excessive intensity. It places certain limitations on the exaggerated annexationist demands of France, Italy, and Japan. It prevents the newly formed vassal States from being directly subjected to them. In the Russian question the Anglo-American combination is more peacefully inclined; it wants a free hand to complete the partition of the world, to strangle the European revolution, and then to turn to the suppression of the Russian revolution.

These two combinations of Powers correspond to two trends, one the extreme annexationist, the other the more moderate; the Wilson-Lloyd George combination supports the latter.


THE 'LEAGUE OF NATIONS'


Faced by the irreconcilable contradictions which have made their appearance within the Entente itself, the League of Nations—if it should come into formal existence—will only play the part of a Holy Alliance of the capitalists to suppress the workers' revolution. Propaganda for the 'League of Nations' is the best way of introducing confusion into the revolutionary consciousness of the working class.

Instead of the slogan of an international union of revolutionary workers' republics, the slogan of an international association of sham democracies is put forward, to be attained by class collaboration between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

The 'League of Nations' is a delusive slogan by means of which the socialtraitors, acting on behalf of international capital, split the forces of the proletariat and promote the imperialist counter-revolution.

The revolutionary proletariat of all countries of the world must wage an irreconcilable struggle against the idea of the Wilsonian 'League of Nations' and protest against entry into this League of robbery, of exploitation, and of imperialist counter-revolution.


FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC POLICY IN THE DEFEATED COUNTRIES


The crushing military defeat and the internal collapse of Austrian and German imperialism brought bourgeois-social-opportunist regimes to power in the first period of the revolution in the Central States. Behind the shield of democracy and socialism the German social-traitors are defending and restoring the economic rule and the political dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. In their foreign policy they are trying to re-establish German imperialism by demanding the return of the colonies and the admission of Germany to the predatory League of Nations. ...

At the same time the bourgeois-social-opportunist Government is undermining the international solidarity of the proletariat and separating the German workers from their brother workers, by carrying out the counter-revolutionary instructions of the Allies, and particularly, in order to please the Entente, by inciting the German workers against the Russian workers' revolution. The policy of the bourgeoisie and the socialopportunists in Austria and Hungary repeats, in an attenuated form, the policy of the bourgeois-opportunist bloc in Germany.


THE VASSAL STATES OF THE ENTENTE


In the vassal States and the republics newly created by the Entente (the Czechs, the South Slavs, and also Poland, Finland, etc.) Entente policy, relying on the ruling classes and the social nationalists, is designed to create centres for a national counter-revolutionary movement. This movement is to be directed against the defeated countries, to keep the forces of the newly arisen States in equilibrium and subordinate them to the Entente, to obstruct the revolutionary movements developing within the new 'national' republics, and finally to supply white guards for the struggle against the international, in particular the Russian revolution.

As to Belgium, Portugal, Greece, and other small countries allied with the Entente, their policy is wholly determined by the policy of the big robbers, to whom they are completely subject and whose help they solicit in getting their minor annexations and war indemnities. . . .


THE ENTENTE AND SOVIET RUSSIA


The predatory, misanthropic, and reactionary character of Entente imperialism is most clearly shown in relation to Soviet Russia. From the beginning of the November revolution the Entente Powers took the side of the counter-revolutionary parties and governments of Russia. With the help of bourgeois counterrevolutionaries they annexed Siberia, the Urals, the shores of European Russia, the Caucasus, and part of Turkestan. From the annexed areas they stole raw materials (timber, oil, manganese, etc.). With the help of bands of Czechoslovak mercenaries they seized the gold reserve of the Russian empire. Working under the English diplomat Lock-hart, English and French spies plotted to blow up bridges, destroy railways, and hamper the movement of food supplies. With money and arms the Entente supported the reactionary generals Denikin, Kolchak, and Krasnov, who hanged and shot thousands of workers in Rostov, Yusovka, Novorossiisk, Omsk, etc. Through the mouth of Clemenceau and Pichon the Entente openly proclaimed the principle of 'economic encirclement', that is, of starving out and annihilating the republic of revolutionary workers and peasants, and promised 'technical assistance' to the bands of Denikin, Kolchak, and Krasnov. The Entente has rejected the repeated peace offers of the Soviet Government.

On 23 January 1919 the Entente Powers, among whom the more moderate tendency was at the time growing stronger, addressed a proposal to all Russian governments to send representatives to Prinkipo. This proposal undoubtedly had an element of provocation in it, in regard to the Soviet Government. But although the Entente received an affirmative answer from the Soviet Government on 4 February, in which the latter even stated its readiness to discuss annexations, indemnities, and concessions, in order to free the Russian workers and peasants from the war forced on them by the Entente, the Entente made no reply even to this Soviet Russian peace offer.

This confirms that the annexationist-reactionary tendencies in the ranks of the Entente imperialists have a sure hold. They threaten the socialist republic with further annexations and counter-revolutionary attacks.

In this the Entente 'peace policy' conclusively reveals to the international proletariat the nature of Entente imperialism in general. At the same time it shows that the imperialist governments are incapable of concluding a 'just' or a 'just and lasting' peace, and that finance capital is unable to restore the destroyed economy.

The continued rule of finance capital would lead either to the complete destruction of civilized society, or to greater exploitation, to further enslavement, political reaction, and armaments, and finally to new destructive wars.

 

 

 

RESOLUTION OF THE FIRST COMINTERN CONGRESS

ON THE ORGANIZATION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL


6 March 1919 Protokoll, i, p. 200


In order to start work without delay, the congress shall now elect the necessary bodies, believing that the definitive constitution of the Communist International should be decided at the next congress, on the report of the bureau.

The conduct of the business of the Communist International is entrusted to an Executive Committee. This shall be composed of one representative from each of the most important countries. The parties of the following countries shall immediately delegate their representatives to the first Executive Committee:

Russia

Germany

German-Austria

Hungary

The Balkan federation

Switzerland

Scandinavia


Parties of other countries which proclaim their adherence to the Communist International before the second congress shall have a seat on the Executive Committee.

Until the arrival of these representatives from abroad the comrades of the country where the Executive Committee has its seat shall take over the work.

The Executive Committee shall elect a bureau of five persons.

 

 

 

MANIFESTO

OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

TO THE PROLETARIAT OF THE ENTIRE WORLD


6 March 1919 Beschlüsse des ersten Kongresses, p. 3


Seventy-two years have passed since the Communist Party announced its programme to the world in the form of a Manifesto written by the greatest teachers of the proletarian revolution, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Even at that time communism, which had barely entered the arena of struggle, was beset by the baiting, lies, hatred, and persecution of the possessing classes, who rightly sensed in it their mortal enemy. In the course of those seven decades communism developed along complex paths, periods of stormy advance alternating with periods of decline; it has known successes, but also severe defeats. But essentially the movement proceeded along the path indicated in advance by the Manifesto of the Communist Party. The epoch of final, decisive struggle came later than the apostles of social revolution had expected and hoped. But it has come. We communists, the representatives of the revolutionary proletariat of various countries of Europe, America, and Asia, who have gathered in Soviet Moscow, feel and consider ourselves to be the heirs and executors of the cause whose programme was announced 72 years ago. Our task is to generalize the revolutionary experience of the working class, to cleanse the movement of the disintegrating admixtures of opportunism and social-patriotism, to mobilize the forces of all genuinely revolutionary parties of the world proletariat and thereby facilitate and hasten the victory of the communist revolution throughout the world.

Today, when Europe is covered with debris and smoking ruins, the most infamous incendiarists are busy seeking out the criminals responsible for the war. Behind them stand their professors, members of parliament, journalists, social-patriots, and other political pimps of the bourgeoisie.

For many years socialism predicted the inevitability of imperialist war, seeing its causes in the insatiable greed of the possessing classes of the two chief camps and, in general, of all capitalist countries. At the Basle congress, two years before the outbreak of war, responsible socialist leaders of all countries branded imperialism as originator of the impending war, and threatened the bourgeoisie with socialist revolution as the proletarian retribution for the crimes of militarism. Today, after the experience of the last five years, after history has laid bare the predatory appetites of Germany, and the no less criminal acts of the Entente, the State-socialists of the Entente countries continue together with their governments to expose the overthrown German Kaiser. On top of this, the German social-patriots who in August 1914 proclaimed the Hohenzollern diplomatic White Book to be the most sacred gospel of the peoples, are now, like vile toadies, following in the footsteps of the Entente socialists and accusing the overthrown German monarchy, which they had once slavishly served, as the chief criminal. They hope in this way that their own guilt will be forgotten and at the same time to earn the goodwill of the victors.

But the light cast by unfolding events and diplomatic revelations shows up, alongside the toppled dynasties of the Romanovs, the Hohenzollerns, and the Habsburgs, and the capitalist cliques of their countries, the ruling classes of France, England, Italy, and the United States in all their boundless infamy.

English diplomacy did not raise its veil of secrecy up to the very moment when war broke out. The government of the financiers took care to make no unambiguous statement of its intention of entering the war on the side of the Entente in order not to frighten the Berlin Government. In London they wanted war. That is why they behaved in such a way that Berlin and Vienna counted on England's neutrality, while Paris and Petrograd relied firmly on England's intervention.

Matured by the entire course of events over decades, the war was unleashed through the direct and deliberate provocation of Great Britain. The English Government calculated on extending just enough aid to Russia and France to keep them going until, themselves exhausted, England's mortal enemy, Germany, was also crippled. But the power of the German military machine proved too formidable and demanded of England not token but actual intervention in the war. The role of tertius gaudens to which Great Britain, following ancient tradition, aspired, fell to the United States. The Washington Government reconciled itself the more easily to the English blockade, which unilaterally restricted American stock exchange speculation in European blood, since the countries of the Entente compensated the American bourgeoisie with fat profits for violations of 'international law'. But Germany's enormous military superiority compelled the Washington Government to abandon its fictitious neutrality. In relation to Europe as

a whole, the United States assumed the role which England had taken in relation to the continent in previous wars and tried to take in the last war, namely: weakening one camp by helping the other, intervening in military operations only so far as to secure for itself all the advantages of the situation. According to American standards of gambling, Wilson's stake was not very high, but it was the final stake, and it secured him the prize.

The war has made mankind aware of the contradictions of the capitalist system in the shape of primitive sufferings, hunger and cold, epidemics, and moral savagery.

This has settled once and for all the academic controversy within the socialist movement over the theory of impoverishment and the gradual undermining of capitalism by socialism. Statisticians and pedants of the theory that contradictions were being smoothed out have for decades been trying to dig out from every corner of the globe real or alleged facts testifying to the greater well-being of various groups and categories of the working class. It was assumed that the theory of impoverishment had been buried to the accompaniment of contemptuous jeers from the eunuchs of bourgeois professordom and the mandarins of socialist opportunism.

Today this impoverishment, no longer only of a social kind, but also physiological and biological, confronts us in all its shocking reality.

The catastrophe of the imperialist war has swept away all the gains of the trade union and parliamentary struggle. For this war itself was just as much a product of the inherent tendencies of capitalism as were those economic agreements and parliamentary compromises which the war buried in blood and mud.

Finance capital, which plunged mankind into the abyss of war, has itself suffered catastrophic changes in the course of the war. The relation between paper money and the material foundation of production has been completely disrupted. Steadily losing significance as the means and regulator of capitalist commodity circulation, paper money has become an instrument of requisition, of robbery, and of militaryeconomic violence in general. The complete debasement of paper money reflects the general mortal crisis of capitalist commodity exchange. In the decades preceding the war, free competition, as the regulator of production and distribution, had already been supplanted in the major fields of economic life by the system of trusts and monopolies; but the course of events during the war tore this role from the hands of these economic associations and transferred it directly to the military State power.

The distribution of raw materials, the utilization of Baku or Rumanian oil, of Donetz coal and Ukrainian wheat, the fate of German locomotives, trucks, and automobiles, the provisioning of starving Europe with bread and meat—all these fundamental questions of the world's economic life are being settled not by free competition, nor by associations of national and international trusts and consortiums, but by the direct application of military power in the interests of its continued preservation. If the complete subjection of State power to the power of finance capital led mankind into the imperialist shambles, then through this mass slaughter finance capital has completely militarized not only the State but also itself, and it is no longer capable of fulfilling its cardinal economic functions otherwise than by means of blood and iron.

The opportunists, who before the world war appealed to the workers to practise moderation for the sake of the gradual transition to socialism, and who during the war demanded class docility in the name of civil peace and national defence, are now again demanding self-denial of the proletariat in order to overcome the frightful consequences of the war. If this sermon were to be obeyed by the working masses, capitalist development would celebrate its restoration in new, more concentrated and more monstrous forms on the bones of many generations, with the prospect of a new and inevitable world war. Fortunately for mankind this is no longer possible.

State control of economic life, which capitalist liberalism resisted so strongly, has become a fact. There is no return to free competition, nor even to the domination of trusts, syndicates, and other economic monsters. There is only one question: Who shall henceforth take charge of nationalized production—the imperialist State or the State of the victorious proletariat?

In other words: Shall all toiling mankind become the bond slaves of a victorious world clique who, under the name of the League of Nations and aided by an 'international' army and 'international' navy, will plunder and strangle in one place and cast crumbs elsewhere, while everywhere shackling the proletariat, with the sole object of maintaining their own rule; or shall the working class of Europe and of the advanced countries in other parts of the world themselves take in hand the disrupted and ruined economy in order to assure its reconstruction on socialist foundations?

It is possible to shorten the present epoch of crisis only by means of the proletarian dictatorship which does not look back to the past, which respects neither hereditary privileges nor property rights, but takes as its starting-point the need of saving the starving masses and to this end mobilizes all forces and resources, introduces universal labour conscription, establishes the regime of labour discipline, in order in the course of a few years not only to heal the gaping wounds inflicted by war but also to raise mankind to new and unimagined heights.

The national State, which imparted a mighty impulse to capitalist development, has become too narrow for the further development of productive forces. This makes still more untenable the position of the small States hemmed in by the major Powers of Europe and other continents. These small States, which arose at different times as fragments chipped from larger ones, as small change in payment for various services rendered, or as strategic buffers, have their own dynasties, their own ruling cliques, their own imperialist pretensions, their own diplomatic intrigues. Their illusory independence rested, before the war, on the same foundations as the European balance of power—the uninterrupted antagonism between the two imperialist camps.

The war has disrupted this equilibrium. By giving an enormous preponderance to Germany in its early stages, the war forced the small States to seek salvation in the magnanimity of German militarism. When Germany was defeated, the bourgeoisie of the small States, together with their patriotic 'socialists', turned to the victorious Allied imperialists and began to seek guarantees for their continued independent existence in the hypocritical provisions of the Wilsonian programme. At the same time the number of small States increased; out of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, out of parts of the former Tsarist empire, new State entities have been carved, which were no sooner born than they sprang at one another's throats over the question of State frontiers. Meanwhile the Allied imperialists are constructing combinations of small Powers, both old and new, bound to themselves by the pledge of mutual hatreds and common impotence.

While oppressing and coercing the small and weak peoples, condemning them to hunger and degradation, the Allied imperialists, like the imperialists of the Central Powers a short while ago, do not stop talking about the right of national selfdetermination, which is today trampled underfoot in Europe as in all other parts of the world.

The small peoples can be assured the opportunity of a free existence only by the proletarian revolution, which will liberate the productive forces of all countries from the constraint of the national State, unite the peoples in closest economic collaboration on the basis of a common economic plan, and afford even the smallest and weakest people the opportunity of conducting their national cultural affairs freely and independently, without detriment to the unified and centralized European and world economy.

The last war, which was not least a war for colonies, was at the same time a war fought with the help of colonies. The colonial populations were drawn into the European war on an unprecedented scale. Indians, Negroes, Arabs, and Madagascans fought on the European continent— for what? For their right to remain the slaves of England and France. Never before has the infamy of capitalist rule been shown up so clearly; never before has the problem of colonial slavery been posed so sharply as it is today.

Consequently there has been a series of open insurrections, revolutionary ferment in all the colonies. In Europe itself Ireland reminded us by bloody street battles that it still remains and still feels itself an enslaved country. In Madagascar, Annam, and other countries the troops of the bourgeois republic had more than one revolt of colonial slaves to suppress during the war. In India the revolutionary movement has not subsided for a single day, and has lately led to the greatest workers' strike in Asia, which the British Government met by ordering its armoured cars into action in Bombay.

Thus the colonial question in its fullest extent has been placed on the agenda, not only on the order papers of the diplomats in congress in Paris, but also in the colonies themselves. Wilson's programme, at its best, is meant only to change the commercial label of colonial slavery. The emancipation of the colonies is possible only in conjunction with the emancipation of the metropolitan working class. The workers and peasants not only of Annam, Algiers, and Bengal, but also of Persia and Armenia, will gain their opportunity of independent existence only when the workers of England and France have overthrown Lloyd George and Clemenceau and taken State power into their own hands. Even now the struggle in the more developed colonies is more than the struggle for national liberation; it is assuming an explicitly social character. If capitalist Europe forcibly dragged the backward sections of the world into the capitalist whirlpool, then socialist Europe will come to the aid of liberated colonies with its technology, its organization, its spiritual forces, in order to facilitate their transition to a planned and organized socialist economy. Colonial slaves of Africa and Asia! The hour of proletarian dictatorship in Europe will also be the hour of your own liberation!

The entire bourgeois world accuses the communists of abolishing freedom and political democracy. That is not true. Having taken power, the proletariat merely asserts the utter impossibility of employing the methods of bourgeois democracy, and creates the conditions and forms of a new and higher workers' democracy. The whole course of capitalist development, especially during its final imperialist epoch, has undermined political democracy not only by splitting nations into two irreconcilable classes, but also by condemning the numerous petty-bourgeois and semi-proletarian strata, as well as the lowest strata of the proletariat, to permanent economic deprivation and political impotence.

In those countries where history provided the opportunity, the working class utilized the regime of political democracy in order to organize the fight against capital. The same thing will happen in those countries where conditions for the workers' revolution have not yet matured. But the broad intermediate strata in the countryside as well as the town are being hampered by capitalism, and are behindhand in their historical development. The peasant in Baden and Bavaria who still cannot see beyond the spire of his village church, the small French wine producer who is being ruined by the large-scale capitalists who adulterate wine, and the small American farmer fleeced and cheated by bankers and Congressmen—all these social strata, thrust by capitalism out of the main stream of development, are ostensibly called on, under the regime of political democracy, to run the State. But in reality, on all the important questions which determine the destinies of the peoples, the financial oligarchy make the decision behind the back of parliamentary democracy. That was true above all on the question of war; it is true now on the question of peace.

When the financial oligarchy think it advisable to get parliamentary cover for their acts of violence, the bourgeois State has at its disposal for this purpose all the manifold instruments inherited from centuries of class rule and multiplied by all the miracles of capitalist technology—lies, demagogy, baiting, calumny, bribery, and terror.

To demand of the proletariat that like meek lambs they comply with the requirements of bourgeois democracy in the final life-and-death struggle with capitalism is like asking a man fighting for his life against cut-throats to observe the artificial and restrictive rules of French wrestling, drawn up but not observed by his enemy.

In this realm of destruction, where not only the means of production and exchange but also the institutions of political democracy lie in bloody ruins, the proletariat must create its own apparatus, designed first and foremost to bind together the working class and to ensure the possibility of its revolutionary intervention in the further development of mankind. This apparatus is the workers' Soviets. The old parties, the old trade unions, have in the persons of their leaders proved incapable of carrying out, even of understanding, the tasks presented by the new epoch. The proletariat has created a new kind of apparatus, which embraces the entire working class regardless of occupation or political maturity; a flexible apparatus capable of continual renewal and extension, of drawing broader and broader strata into its orbit, opening its doors to the working people in town and country who stand close to the proletariat. This irreplaceable organization of working-class self-government, of its struggle, and later of its conquest of State power, has been tested in the experience of various countries and represents the greatest achievement and mightiest weapon of the proletariat of our time.

In all countries where the masses have wakened to consciousness, Soviets of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies will continue to be built. To strengthen the Soviets, to raise their authority, to put them up in opposition to the State apparatus of the bourgeoisie—this is today the most important task of the class-conscious and honest workers of all countries. Through the Soviets the working class can save itself from the disintegration introduced into its midst by the hellish sufferings of war and of hunger, by the violence of the possessing classes and by the treachery of its former leaders. Through the Soviets the working class will be able most surely and easily to come to power in all those countries where the Soviets are able to rally the majority of the working people.

Through the Soviets the working class, having conquered power, will manage all spheres of economic and cultural life, as is the case at present in Russia.

The collapse of the imperialist State, from the Tsarist to the most democratic, is proceeding simultaneously with the collapse of the imperialist military system. The multimillioned armies mobilized by imperialism could stand firm only so long as the proletariat remained obediently under the yoke of the bourgeoisie. The breakdown of national unity means also an inevitable breakdown of the army. This is what happened first in Russia, then in Austria-Hungary and Germany. The same thing may be expected to occur in other imperialist States. The revolt of the peasant against the landlord, of the worker against the capitalist, and of both against the monarchical or democratic bureaucracy, inevitably brings in its train the revolt of soldiers against the army command, and subsequently a sharp split between the proletarian and bourgeois elements of the army. The imperialist war, which pitted one nation against another, has passed and is passing over into civil war which pits one class against another.

The outcry of the bourgeois world against civil war and red terror is the most monstrous hypocrisy yet known in the history of political struggle. There would be no civil war if the clique of exploiters who have brought mankind to the very brink of ruin had not resisted every forward step of the working masses, if they had not instigated conspiracies and assassinations, and summoned armed assistance from without in order to maintain or restore their thievish privileges.

Civil war is forced on the working class by its arch-enemies. Unless it renounces itself and its own future, which is also the future of all mankind, the working class must give blow for blow. The communist parties, which never conjure up civil war artificially, try to shorten it as much as possible whenever with iron necessity it does break out, to reduce to a minimum the number of victims and, above all, to assure victory to the proletariat. Hence arises the necessity of disarming the bourgeoisie in time, of arming the workers, of creating a communist army to defend the proletarian power and the inviolability of its socialist construction. Such is the Red Army of Soviet Russia which arose to defend the conquests of the working class against all attacks from within and without. The Soviet Army is inseparable from the Soviet State.

Conscious of the world-historical character of their tasks, the enlightened workers, from the very beginning of their organized socialist movement, strove for association on an international scale. The foundation stone was laid in London in 1864 in the shape of the First International. The Franco-Prussian war, from which the Germany of the Hohenzollerns emerged, undermined the First International, while at the same time it gave an impetus to the development of national workers' parties. In 1889 these parties came together at a congress in Paris and created the organization of the Second International. But the centre of gravity of the workers' movement during this period remained wholly on national soil, wholly within the framework of national States, founded upon national industry and confined within the sphere of national parliamentarianism. Decades of reformist organizational activity created a generation of leaders the majority of whom recognized in words the programme of social revolution but denied it by their actions; they were bogged down in reformism and in adaptation to the bourgeois State. The opportunist character of the leading parties of the Second International was finally revealed, and it led to the greatest collapse in world history at a moment when the march of events demanded revolutionary methods of struggle from the working-class parties. If the war of 1870 dealt a blow to the First International, disclosing that there was as yet no resolute mass power behind its social-revolutionary programme, then the war of 1914 killed the Second International, disclosing that the working masses, though welded together, were dominated by parties which had become transformed into subsidiary organs of the bourgeois State!

This applies not only to the social-patriots who have today gone over openly to the camp of the bourgeoisie, who have become their favourite agents and the most reliable hangmen of the working class; it also applies to the amorphous, unstable socialist centre, which is now trying to reestablish the Second International, that is, to re-establish the narrowness, the opportunism, and the revolutionary impotence of its leading elites. The Independent Party of Germany, the present majority of the Socialist Party of France, the Menshevik group of Russia, the Independent Labour Party of England, and other such groups are actually trying to fill the place occupied before the war by the old official parties of the Second International by coming forward, as before, with ideas of compromise and unity, using all the means at their disposal to paralyse the energy of the proletariat, to prolong the crisis, and thus make Europe's calamities even greater. The struggle against the socialist centre is the indispensable premiss for the successful struggle against imperialism.

In rejecting the timidity, the lies, and the corruption of the obsolete official socialist parties, we communists, united in the Third International, consider that we are carrying on in direct succession the heroic endeavours and martyrdom of a long line of revolutionary generations from Babeuf to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

If the First International predicted the future course of development and indicated the roads it would take, if the Second International rallied and organized millions of proletarians, then the Third International is the International of open mass struggle, the International of revolutionary realization, the International of action.

The bourgeois world order has been sufficiently lashed by socialist criticism. The task of the international communist party consists in overthrowing that order and erecting in its place the edifice of the socialist order.

We summon the working men and women of all countries to unite under the communist banner under which the first great victories have already been won.

Proletarians of all countries! In the struggle against imperialist savagery, against monarchy, against the privileged estates, against the bourgeois State and bourgeois property, against all kinds and forms of social and national oppression—Unite!

Under the banner of workers' Soviets, under the banner of revolutionary struggle for power and the dictatorship of the proletariat, under the banner of the Third International—proletarians of all countries, unite! Signed in Moscow, 6 March 1919,

by:


MAX ALBERT [Hugo Eberlein] for Germany

N. LENIN for Russia

K. GRUBER for German Austria

A. RUDNIANSKY for Hungary

OTTO GRIMLUND for Sweden

FRITZ PLATTEN for Switzerland

B. REINSTEIN for the United States

C. RAKOVSKY for the Balkan Federation

J. UNSCHLICHT (Turovsky) for Poland

YRJO SIROLA for Finland

SKRYPNIK for the Ukraine

K. GAILIS for Latvia

HANS POGELMANN for Estonia

HAIKUNI for Armenia

G. KLINGER For the Volga German colonists

ZHALYMOV for the Eastern peoples of Russia

HENRI GUILBEAUX for the French Zimmerwald left


 

 

The First Congress of the Communist International

met in Moscow from March 2-6, 1919.

Information


In January 1919 a meeting of representatives from a number of Communist Parties and Left-wing Socialist groups, held to discuss the founding of the Third, Communist International, adopted a Manifesto entitled "For the First Congress of the Communist International", which was worked out with Lenin's direct participation. It was published on behalf of the Central Committee of the R.C.P. (B.), foreign bureaus of the Communist Workers' Party of Poland, Hungarian Communist Party, Communist Party of German Austria, the Russian bureau of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party, Central Committee of the Finnish Communist Party, Executive Committee of the Balkan Revolutionary Social-Democratic Federation and the Socialist Labour Party of America.
At the end of February delegates from many countries arrived in Moscow in response to the Manifesto. On March 1 a preliminary meeting was held under Lenin's chairmanship to discuss the agenda of the Congress.
March 2, 1919, was the opening day of the International Communist Conference, attended by 52 delegates (34 delegates with vote and 18 delegates with voice but no vote). Among the delegates were V. I. Lenin, V. V. Vorovsky, G. V. Chicherin, H. Eberlein (M. Albert), O. V. Kuusinen, F. Platten, B. Reinstein, S. Rutgers, I. S. Unshlikht (Yurovsky), Y. Sirola, N. A. Skrypnik, S. I. Gopner, K. Shteingard (I. Gruber), J. Fineberg, J. Sadoul and others. The following Communist and Socialist parties, groups and organisations were represented: the Communist Parties of Russia, Germany, German Austria, Hungary, Poland, Finland, the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Byelorussia, Estonia, Armenia, the Volga German region; Swedish Left Social-Democratic Party, Norwegian Social-Democratic Party, Swiss Social-Democratic Party (the Opposition), Balkan Revolutionary Social-Democratic Federation; the Joint Group of the Eastern peoples of Russia, Zimmerwald Left wing of France; Czech, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, British, French and Swiss Communist groups; Dutch Social-Democratic group; Socialist Propaganda League and Socialist Labour Party of America; Socialist Workers' Party of China; Korean Workers' Union; Turkestan, Turkish, Georgian, Azerbaijanian and Persian sections of the Central Bureau of the Eastern peoples, and the Zimmerwald Commission.
The first meeting decided "to hold sessions as an International Communist Conference" and adopted the following agenda:

1) constitution;

2) reports;

3) policy statement of the International Communist Conference;

4) bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat;

5) the Berne Conference and attituds towards socialist trends;

6) the international situation and the Entente's policy;

7) Manifesto;

8) White terror; 9) elections to the Bureau and other questions of organisation.


Lenin's theses and report on bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat attracted much attention. The theses in Russian and German were circulated among the delegates. At the third session on March 4, Lenin read his theses and substantiated the last two points of the theses in his report. The Conference expressed its unanimous approval of Lenin's theses and decided to submit them to the Bureau for wide circulation. It also adopted a resolution moved by Lenin as a supplement to the theses (see p. 475 of this volume).
On March 4, after the adoption of the theses and the resolution on Lenin's report, the question was raised again of founding the Communist International in view of the fact that new delegates had arrived. On the motion of the delegates of the Communist Party af German Austria, Left Social-Democratic Party of Sweden, Balkan Revolutionary Social-Democratic Federation and Hungarian Communist Party the Conference resolved "to constitute itself as the Third International and adopt the name of the Communist International". On the same day a unanimous resolution was passed to consider the Zimmerwald association dissolved. The Conference formulated the policy statement of the Communist International, which contained the following main propositions: 1) inevitability of the replacement of the capitalist by the communist social system; 2) necessity of the proletarian revolutionary struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois governments, and 3) destruction of the bourgeois state and its replacement by a new type of state, a proletarian state of the Soviet type, which would ensure the transition to communist society.


The Manifesto to the workers of the world was one of the most important documents of the Congress. It stated that the Communist International carried on the ideas expounded in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. The Congress urged the workers of all countries to support Soviet Russia and demanded from the Entente non-interference in the internal affairs of the Soviet Republic, with drawal of interventionist troops from her territory, recognition of the Soviet state, lifting of the economic blockade and restoration of trade relations.
The resolution "On the Attitude Towards 'Socialist' Trends and the Berne Conference" condemned attempts to restore the Second International, "a tool in the hands of the bourgeoisie", and declared that the revolutionary proletariat had dissociated itself from the Berne Conference.
The founding of the Third, Communist International played an important role in exposing opportunism in the working-class movement, restoring the ties between the working people in different countries, and creating and strengthening Communist Parties.

 

published by the Comintern - 80 years ago ...

FIFTEEN YEARS OF THE COMMUNIST
INTERNATIONAL

THESES FOR INSTRUCTORS