collection of texts and quotations

on occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Comintern

5th of March 1919 - 5th of March 2019

arranged by Wolfgang Eggers



The founding of the Third, Communist International heralds the international republic of Soviets, the international victory of communism.

March 5, 1919








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 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 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." ( Lenin: "The Third International and its place in history", April 15, 1919)

* * *

The Second International was up to the year of 1914 dominated by the spirit of Marxism, though the II. International could not any longer be prevented from its increasing process of decay - caused by the dominant betrayal of the opportunists and revisionists. However, and after all, the "Basle-Resolution of 1912" still highlighted elements of the spirit of the revolution which would inevitably break out in consequence of the imperialist war. This law corresponded perfectly to the teaching of Marxism.

Our Stalinist-Hoxhaist world party must learn not only from the teachings and experiences of the I. and III. International but also from the revolutionary experiences of the Second International, and much more from its opportunist process of decay.

 If we defend the Second International, we defend primarily the work of Engels and Lenin in it, in particular their fight against the traitors of the Second International.

Engels was the one who implanted the revolutionary Marxist spirit of the Second International - from the beginning until his death in 1895. And - some years after - it was Lenin who defended and further developed this revolutionary Marxist spirit as one of the leaders of the Second International.

Unfortunately, these two Classics have not worked together personally, but their revolutionary work that they accomplished in the Second International is to be categorized as a great, common, immortal, communist work.


Creation of the Comintern



Letter of Invitation to the First Congress of the Comintern



Lenin at the First Congress of the Comintern


First World Congress



Lenin delivered the opening speech at the First Congress of the Communist International on March 2, 1919.

He began by saying,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party I declare the First Congress of the Communist International open. First I would ask all present to rise in tribute to the finest representatives of the Third International: Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg .

( All rise)

Comrades, our gathering has great historic significance. It testifies to the collapse of all the illusions cherished by bourgeois democrats. Not only in Russia, but in the most developed capitalist countries of Europe, in Germany for example, civil war is a fact. 



V. I. Lenin

Speech at the Opening Session of the Congress March 2





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


V. I. Lenin

Won and Recorded

5 March, 1919
Pravda No. 51, March 6, 1919

Collected Works, Volume 26, 1972, pages 477-479


The only firm gain in a revolution is that which has been won by the mass of the proletariat. The only gain worth recording is that which really has been firmly won.

The founding of the Third, Communist International in Moscow on March 2, 1919, was a record of what has been gained not only by the Russian workers, but also by the German, Austrian, Hungarian, Finnish, Swiss-in a word, by the workers of the world.

Precisely because of this the founding of the Third, Communist International really is firm.

Only four months ago it was impossible to say that Soviet government, the Soviet form of state, was an international achievement.! There was something in it, and moreover something essential, which belonged to all capitalist countries as well as to Russia. But, until it had been put to the test, it was still impossible to say what changes, of what depth and importance, the development of the world revolution would bring.

The German revolution has provided this test. An advanced capitalist country, coming after one of the most backward, has demonstrated to the whole world in a matter of a hundred-odd days not only the same principal revolutionary forces and principal direction of the revolution, but also the same principal form of the new, proletarian democracy-the Soviets.

At the same time in Britain, a victor country, the richest in colonies, the longest serving model of "social peace", or so it was reputed, the oldest capitalist country, we can see an extensive, irrepressible, intense and powerful growth of Soviets and of new Soviet forms of mass proletarian struggle-the Shop Stewards Committees.

In America, the strongest and youngest capitalist country, the workers have tremendous sympathy with the Soviets.

The ice has been broken.

The Soviets have triumphed throughout the world.

They have triumphed first and foremost because they have won the workers' sympathy. That is the main thing. No savagery by the imperialist bourgeoisie, no persecution or murder of Bolsheviks can deprive the people of this gain. The more the "democratic" bourgeoisie rage, the firmer the grip these gains will take on the hearts of the workers, on their moods, on their minds, and the more they will inspire their heroic struggle.

The ice has been broken.

That is why the work of the International Conference of Communists in Moscow which founded the Third International has proceeded so easily, so smoothly, with such calm and firm resolution.

We have recorded what has already been won. We have written down what has already taken a firm grip on the people's minds. Everyone knew, and what is more, everyone saw, felt, sensed, each from his own country's experience, that a new proletarian movement was in full swing. Everyone realised that this unprecedenledly strong arid deepgoing movement cannot be confined to any of the old frameworks, or held in cheek by the past masters at petty politics, neither by the world-schooled, world-skilled Lloyd Georges and Wilsons of British and American "democratic" capitalism, nor by the Hendersons, Renaudels, Brantings and all the other case-hardened heroes of social-chauvinism.

The new movement is heading towards the dictatorship of the proletariat, making headway despite all the vacillation, despite desperate reverses, despite the unparalleled and incredible "Russian" chaos (if one judges superficially as an onlooker). It is heading for Soviet government with the torrential might of millions and tens of millions of workers sweeping everything from their path.

This is what we have recorded. We have embodied in our resolutions, theses, reports and speeches what has already been won.

Marxism, illuminated by the bright light of the new, universally rich experience of the revolutionary workers, has helped us to understand the inevitability of the present development. It will help the workers of the whole world, who are fighting to overthrow capitalist wage-slavery, more clearly to appreciate the aims of their struggle, to march more firmly along the path already outlined, more confidently and firmly to achieve victory and to consolidate it.

The founding of the Third, Communist International heralds the international republic of Soviets, the international victory of communism.

March 5, 1919



V. I. Lenin

Thesis and Report on

Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat



Resolution to the Thesis on Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletarian


On the basis of these thesis and the reports made by the delegates from the different countries, the Congress of the Communist International declares that the chief task of the Communist Parties in all countries where Soviet government has not yet been established, is as follows:

1) to explain to the broad mass of the workers the historic significance and the political and historical necessity of the new, proletarian, democracy which must replace bourgeois democracy and the parliamentary system;

2) to extend the organization of Soviets among the workers in all branches of industry, among the soldiers in the Army and the sailors in the Navy and also among farm laborers and poor peasants;

3) to build a stable Communist majority inside the Soviets.

Pravda No. 54, March 11, 1919 and in the journal Communist International No. 1, May 1, 1919




Founding Of The Communist International

Speech At A Joint Meeting Of The All-Russia Central Executive Committee, The Moscow Soviet, The Moscow Committee Of The Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), The All-Russia Central Council Of Trade Unions, Moscow Trade Unions And Factory Committees To Mark The Founding Of The Communist International

March 6, 1919 Pravda No. 52, March 7, 1919; Published in full in May 1919 Collected Works, Volume 28, pages 480-484


(Stormy ovation.) Comrades, at the First Congress of the Communist International we did not succeed in getting representatives from all countries where this organisation has most faithful friends and where there are workers whose sympathies are entirely with us. Allow me, therefore, to begin with a short quotation which will show you that in reality we have more friends than we can see, than we know and than we were able to assemble here, in Moscow, despite all persecution, despite the entire, seemingly omnipotent, union of the bourgeoisie of the whole world. This persecution has gone to such lengths as to attempt to surround us with a sort of Great Wall of China, and to deport Bolsheviks in dozens from the freest republics of the world. They seem to be scared stiff that ten or a dozen Bolsheviks will infect the whole world. But we, of course, know that this fear is ridiculous—because they have already infected the whole world, because the Russian workers’ struggle has already convinced working people everywhere that the destiny of the world revolution is being decided here,. in Russia.

Comrades, I have here a copy of L’Humanité, a French newspaper whose policy corresponds more to that of our Mensheviks or Right Socialist-Revolutionaries. During the war, this paper was utterly ruthless in its attacks on those who supported our viewpoint. Today it is defending those who during the war went along with their own bourgeoisie. This very newspaper reports in its issue of January 13, 1919, that a mammoth meeting (as the newspaper itself admits) took place in Paris of active party and trade union members of the Seine Federation, i.e., the district nearest to Paris, the centre of the proletarian movement, the centre of all political life in France. The first speaker was Bracke, a socialist who throughout the war took the same line as our Mensheviks and Right-wing defence advocates. He was meek and mild now. Not a word about a single burning issue! He ended by saying that he was against his government’s interference in the struggle of the proletariat of other countries. His words were drowned in applause. The next speaker was a supporter of his, a certain Pierre Laval. He spoke of demobilisation, the burning issue in France today—a country which has probably borne greater sacrifices than any other country in this criminal war. And this country now sees that demobilisation is being dragged out, held up, that there is no desire to carry it through, that preparations are being made for a new war that will obviously demand new sacrifices from the French workers for the sake of settling how much more of the spoils the French or British capitalists will get. The newspaper goes on to say that the crowd listened to the speaker, Pierre Laval, but when he started running down Bolshevism, the protests and excitement stopped the meeting. After that, citizen Pierre Renaudel was refused a hearing, and the meeting ended with a brief statement by citizen Pdricat. He is one of the few people in the French labour movement who in the main is in agreement with us. And so, the newspaper has to admit that the speaker who began to attack the Bolsheviks was immediately pulled up.

Comrades, we have not been able to get even one delegate here directly from France, and only one Frenchman, Comrade Guilbeaux, arrived here, and he with great difficulty. (Stormy applause.) He will speak here today. He spent months in the prisons of that free republic, Switzerland, being accused of having contact with Lenin and preparing a revolution in Switzerland. He was escorted through Germany by gendarmes and officers, for fear, evidently, that he might drop a match that would set Germany on fire. But Germany is ablaze without this match. In France, too, as we can see, there are sympathisers with the Bolshevik movement. The French people are probably among the most experienced, most politically conscious, most active and responsive. They will not allow a speaker at a public meeting to strike a false note: he is stopped. Considering the French temperament, he was lucky not to have been dragged down from the rostrum! Therefore, when a newspaper hostile to us admits what took place at this big meeting we can safely say the French proletariat is on our side.

I am going to read another short quotation, from an Italian newspaper. The attempts to isolate us from the rest of the world are so great that we very rarely receive socialist newspapers from abroad. It is a rare thing to receive a copy of the Italian newspaper Avanti!, the organ of the Italian Socialist Party, a party which participated in Zimmerwald, fought against the war and has now resolved not to attend the yellow congress in Berne, the congress of the old International, which was to be attended by people who had helped their governments to prolong this criminal war. To this day, Avanti! is under strict censorship. But in this issue, which arrived here by chance, I read an item on party life in a small locality called Cavriago (probably a remote spot because it cannot be located on the map). It appears that the workers there adopted a resolution supporting their newspaper for its uncompromising stand and declared their approval of the German Spartacists. Then follow the words “Sovietisti russi” which, even though they are in Italian, can be understood all over the world. They sent greetings to the Russian “Sovietisti” and expressed the wish that the programme of the Russian and German revolutionaries should be adopted throughout the world and serve to carry the fight against the bourgeoisie and military domination to a conclusion. When you read a resolution like that, adopted in some Italian Poshekhonye,’82 you have every right to say to yourself that the Italian people are on our side, the Italian people understand what the Russian “Sovietisti” are, what the programme of the Russian “Sovietisti” and the German Spartacists is. Yet at that time we had no such programme! We had no common programme with the German Spartacists, but the Italian workers rejected all they had seen in their bourgeois press, which, bribed as it is by the millionaires and multimillionaires, spreads slander about us in millions of copies. It failed to deceive the Italian workers, who grasped what the Spartacists and the “Sovietisti” were and declared that they sympathised with their programme, at a time when this programme did not exist. That is why we found our task so easy at this Congress. All we had to do was to record as a programme what had already been implanted in the minds and hearts of the workers, even those cast away in some remote spot and cut off from us by police and military cordons. That is why we have been able to reach concerted decisions on all the main issues with such ease and complete unanimity. And we are fully convinced that these decisions will meet with a powerful response among workers elsewhere.

The Soviet movement, comrades, is the form which has been won in Russia, which is now spreading throughout the world and the very name of which gives the workers a complete programme. I hope that we, having had the good fortune to develop the Soviet form to victory, will not become swelled-headed about it.

We know very well that the reason we were the first to take part in a Soviet proletarian revolution was not because we were as well or better prepared than other workers, but because we were worse prepared. This is why we were faced with the most savage and decrepit enemy, and it is this that accounted for the outward scale of the revolution. But we also know that the Soviets exist here to this day, that they are grappling with gigantic difficulties which originate from an inadequate cultural level and from the burden that has weighed down on us for more than a year, on us who stand alone at our posts, at a time when we are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and when, as you know perfectly well, harrowing ordeals, the hardships of famine and terrible suffering have befallen us.

Those who directly or indirectly side with the bourgeoisie often try to appeal to the workers and provoke indignation among them by pointing to the severe sufferings of the workers today. And we tell them: yes, these sufferings are evere and we do not conceal them from you. We tell the workers that, and they know it well from their own experience. You can see we are fighting not only to win socialism for ourselves, not only to ensure that our children shall only recollect capitalists and landowners as prehistoric monsters; we are fighting to ensure that the workers of the whole world triumph together with us.

And this First Congress of the Communist International, which has made the point that throughout the world the Soviets are winning the sympathy of the workers, shows us that the victory of the world communist revolution is assured. (Applause.) The bourgeoisie will continue to vent their fury in a number of countries; the bourgeoisie there are just beginning to prepare the destruction of the best people, the best representatives of socialism, as is evident from the brutal murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht by the whiteguards. These sacrifices are inevitable. We seek no agreement with the bourgeoisie, we are marching to the final and decisive battle against them. But we know that after the ordeal, agony and distress of the war, when the people throughout the world are fighting for demobilisation, when they feel they have been betrayed and appreciate how incredibly heavy the burden of taxation is that has been placed upon them by the capitalists who killed tens of millions of people to decide who would receive more of the profits—we know that these brigands’ rule is at an end!

Now that the meaning of the word “Soviet” is understood by everybody, the victory of the communist revolution is assured. The comrades present in this hall saw the founding of the first Soviet republic; now they see the founding of the Third, Communist International (applause), and they will all see the founding of the World Federative Republic of Soviets. (Applause.)



Concluding Speech at the Closing Session of the Congress
March 6


That we have been able to gather, despite all the persecution and all the difficulties created by the police, that we have been able without any serious differences and in a brief space of time, reach important decisions on all the vitally urgent questions of the contemporary revolutionary epoch, we owe to the fact that the proletarian masses of the whole world, by their action, have brought up these questions in practice and begun to tackle them.

All we have had to do here has been to record the gains already won by the people in the process of their revolutionary struggle.

Not only in the East European but also in the West European countries, not only in the vanquished but also in the victor countries, for example in Britain, the movement in favor of Soviets is spreading farther and farther, and this movement is, most assuredly, a movement pursuing the aim of establishing the new, proletarian democracy. It is the most significant step towards the dictatorship of the proletariat to, towards the complete victory of communism.

No matter how the bourgeoisie of the whole world rage, how much they deport or jail or even kill Spartacists and Bolsheviks—all this will no longer help. It will only serve to enlighten the masses, help rid them of the old bourgeois-democratic prejudices and steel them in the struggle. The victory of the proletarian revolution on a world scale is assured. The founding of an international Soviet republic is on the way. ( Stormy Applause. )

First published in 1920 in the German and a 1921 in the Russian additions of the minutes of the First Congress of the Communist International




V. I. Lenin


The Third, Communist International

Recorded: End of March 1919;
First Published: Published according to the gramophone records; Organization of these speeches was accomplished by Tsentropechat the central agency of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee for the Supply and Distribution of Periodicals between 1919 and 1921. 13 of Lenin’s speeches were recorded.
Collected Works, Volume 29, pages 240-241


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.


AUDIO (mp3)

The Third, Communist International

[III, Коммунистический Интернационал]

[III, Kommunisticheskij Internatsional]



The Third International and
Its Place in History

 15 April, 1919



The Heroes
Of The Berne International

25 May, 1919



The Tasks of the Third International

Ramsay Macdonald On The Third International

14 July, 1919


Second World Congress




Theses on the Fundamental Tasks

Of the Second Congress Of The Communist International

July 4, 1920








Terms of Admission into Comintern

August 6, 1920



Report On The International Situation
And The Fundamental Tasks Of
The Communist International
July 19, 1920




The Second Congress Of

The Communist International

Written: August 1920 
First Published: Kommunishia No. 3-4, August-September 1920;
Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 31, pages 270-272




V. I. Lenin

Kommunismus, Journal of the Communist International






Third World Congress

June 22-July 12 1921


V. L. Lenin

Third Congress Of The Communist International




Message of greetings to the first International Congress of Revolutionary Trade and Industrial Unions [1921]





Fourth World Congress





Five Years Of The Russian Revolution And The Prospects Of The World Revolution


Report To The Fourth Congress Of The Communist Internatioinal, November 13, 1922







and the Communist International

In his pamphlet," Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution" which he published in 1917 on his return to Russia after the February Revolution of that year, Lenin distinguished three trends in the international movement: the social chauvinists, who were lined up openly with their own imperialists; the centrists, who conciliated with them ; and the genuine internationalists, who opposed the imperialist war. Lennin proclaimed that it was urgently necessary for the latter to set up a new Communist International, which would break completely with opportunism and unite the working class on the basis of the revoludbnary principles of Marxism.

The First Congress of the Communist International was held in the Spring of 1919.

Immediately . afterwards in his article "The Third International and its Place in History" Lenin pointed out that while the 1st International had laid the foundation of the international working class struggle for socialism, and the 2nd International had broadened the movement in a number of countries, the 3rd Internationail was purging the movement of opportunism and had begun to realise the dictatorship of the proletariat, opening up a new epoch in world history.

Throughout Lenin's contributions to the Communist International runs the theme of the fight against opportunism, and also against petty-bourgeois " leftism'' which isolates the Communists from the mass of the workers. (See: Left Wing Communism.)

In the pamphlet: "The Task of the Third Intenational" (July, 1919), Lenin underlined the necessity to:

1. Systematically explain the difference between reform and revolution, while not rejecting reforms nor work in bougeois parliaments.

2 .Combine legal and illegal work.

3. Work for the expulsion of the opportunists from the labour movement.

4. Assist the revolutionary struggle for colonial liberation.

5. Expose those who used revolutionary phrases as a cover for reactjionary deeds.

At the Second Congress of the C.I., in the summer of 1920, Lenin drafted the "Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the 2nd Congress of the C.I." These laid it down that the victory of socialism requires:

1. the overthrow and suppression of the exploiters;

2. the winning of the working masses behind the leadership of the Communist Parties, which must become inseparably linked with the whole life of the working class;

3. the neutralising of wavering sections.

These Theses go on to deal with what the communists must do to realise these conditions and to stress that opportunism in the working class movement is the principal enemy.

In a report delivered to the Second Congress on "The International Situation and the Fundamental Tasks of the C.I. Lenin exhaustively analysed the post-war economic and political situation.

At the Second Congress he drafted "The Conditions of Affiliation to the C.I." And in his speech on this subject he dealt especially with the difference between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the reformist conception of "winning power."

Lenin likewise drafted the Theses on the "Agrarian Question" which dealt with the tasks of building the alliance with the peasants; and the "Theses on the National and Colonial Question.

In a "Speech on The Role of the Communist Party" Lenin replied to the British delegates Tanner and McLaine showing that the conscious revolutionary minority of the working class must form a party in order to lead the masses, and dealing also with the problem of the affiliation of the British Communist Party to the Labour Party.

An Article written at the same time on "False Speeches About Freedom" explains the necessity of a break with opportunism. In a speech "In Support of the Tactics of the C.I, at the Third Congress in the summer of 1921, Lenin stresses that the party must win leadership of the masses, i.e. of the majority of the working people. Unless this majority is won to follow the lead of the party, victory of socialism is impossible.

The same theme recurs in a "Letter to the German Comnunists."




17 Years ago, exactly on 31st of December 2000, the Comintern (SH) was founded !

The Comintern (SH) has gone a long way in 17 years, starting with the hoisting of the flag of the 5 Classics of Marxism-Leninism on December 31, 2000.
The Comintern (SH) has achieved considerable success, to revive the tradition of the Comintern of Lenin and Stalin and to propagate the ideas of communism throughout the world.