Saturday, March 06, 2010

*From The Pages Of The Communist International-In Honor Of The 91st Anniversary Of Its Founding (March 1919) And The 90th Anniversary Of The Second World Congress (1920)-Trotsky and Zinoviev's Closing Remarks

Honor The 91st Anniversary Of The Founding Of The Communist International (March, 1919)- Honor The 90th Anniversary Of The Historic Second World Congress (The 21 Conditions Congress) Of The CI (July-August 1920)

Markin comment:

Some anniversaries, like those marking the publication of a book, play or poem, are worthy of remembrance every five, ten, or twenty-five years. Other more world historic events like the remembrance of the Paris Commune of 1871, the Bolshevik Russian Revolution of 1917, and, as here, the founding of the Communist International (also known as the Third International, Comintern, and CI) in 1919 are worthy of yearly attention. Why is that so in the case of the long departed (1943, by Stalin fiat) and, at the end unlamented, Comintern? That is what this year’s remembrance, through CI documentation and other commentary, will attempt to impart on those leftist militants who are serious about studying the lessons of our revolutionary, our communist revolutionary past.

No question that the old injunction of Marx and Engels as early as the Communist Manifesto that the workers of the world needed to unite would have been hollow, and reduced to hortatory holiday speechifying (there was enough of that, as it was) without an organization expression. And they, Marx and Engels, fitfully made their efforts with the all-encompassing pan-working class First International. Later the less all encompassing but still party of the whole class-oriented socialist Second International made important, if limited, contributions to fulfilling that slogan before the advent of world imperialism left its outlook wanting, very wanting.

The Third International thus was created, as mentioned in one of the commentaries in this series, to pick up the fallen banner of international socialism after the betrayals of the Second International. More importantly, it was the first international organization that took upon itself in its early, heroic revolutionary days, at least, the strategic question of how to make, and win, a revolution in the age of world imperialism. The Trotsky-led effort of creating a Fourth International in the 1930s, somewhat stillborn as it turned out to be, nevertheless based itself, correctly, on those early days of the Comintern. So in some of the specific details of the posts in this year’s series, highlighting the 90th anniversary of the Third World Congress this is “just” history, but right underneath, and not far underneath at that, are rich lessons for us to ponder today.
Minutes of the Second Congress of the Communist International

Fifteenth Session
August 7
Kalinin: Comrades, I declare open the joint session of the Second Congress of the Communist International, the All Russian Central Executive Committee, the Moscow Soviet and the plenum of the trades unions and the works councils. [Applause – The Internationale.]

Comrades, the workers and peasants of the Russian Soviet Republic can be proud and happy that the Second Congress of the Communist International takes place in our country. Comrades, for twenty-five years the Second International, which was moderate and stood in more or less friendly, or at least not hostile, relations to the bourgeoisie, triumphed. But it could not meet in Russia. It met in Western Europe, in hired halls. It did not have available the halls that the Second Congress of the Communist International does. As you know, the Second Congress met in gilded halls, in the halls of the great palace of the Kremlin, where only recently the might of Russian Tsarism showed itself. And as this Congress began, the death of the old order and the birth of the new proletarian order was accomplished before our very eyes.

We greet the Second Congress of the Communist International quite particularly because, to a certain extent, it frees us from the political responsibility that the Russian working class and the Russian Communist Party have carried on their shoulders. We already thought and confidently hoped that the revolutionary energy and work of the Russian proletariat would be taken up and carried further by the international proletariat, that we could count on its ready assistance. And today, comrades, in the period of the Second Congress, we see that a certain part of the revolutionary work, a part of the burden, has been transferred from the shoulders of the Russian proletariat to the shoulders of the international working class. That, comrades, is the greatest assistance that the Western European working class could give.

We need not mention here that the French and British proletariat from time to time held up war materials destined for White Poland. We saw the highest expression of solidarity just recently when the revolutionary committee was formed in Poland. While we participate in the revolutionary work and stand continually in the fire of the revolution, we miss out the greatest events which signify a new chapter in the history of the workers’ movement. Without a doubt, the emergence of the Polish proletariat at the moment that White Poland is fighting the Russian Soviet Republic is a new stage, a new phase in the. revolutionary struggle. Apart from the Russian, no proletariat has yet succeeded in seizing power at a time of the bitterest war. Now, however, we see a continuation of the tactics of the Russian proletariat in the way the Polish proletariat is taking up the fight against the Polish bourgeoisie. It is an event of the greatest importance. Not only historians but also political leaders will later learn from it.

We heartily greet the representatives of the Communist International as the best representatives of those proletarian classes that want to help us. We wish them the quickest possible return to the international proletariat and hope that we shall meet the international proletariat as soon as possible on our fighting front. Long live the Communist International. Long live the Second Congress of the Communist International. [Applause.]

The representative of the Scottish workers, Comrade Gallacher, has the floor.

Gallacher: [Speaks in English.]

Chairman: Comrade Radek has the floor to translate.

Radek: Comrades, allow me first of all to say who Comrade Gallacher is who has spoken here, and whom the workers of Moscow do not know as well as they ought to. He is a worker from an area of Britain where there are gigantic munitions factories. He was one of the main leaders of the revolutionary struggle in this area during the war. Together with Comrade McLaine, Comrade Gallacher organised this enormous struggle which was so successful that British ministers find it impossible to speak calmly of Comrade Gallagher.

Comrade Gallacher says that now, when the delegates to the Second Congress are already dispersing, he has received news that the British government is preparing a new attack on Soviet Russia, that the British government intends to appear as the defender of Polish independence. The same British government that pillages and enslaves Ireland, Egypt and India now dares to say that it appears as the defender of Polish independence. This independence is not at all threatened by the Red Army. The British government is using the flag of Polish independence dishonourably, for it is fighting to prevent the uprising of the masses of Polish workers, in order to make it impossible to create soviet power in Warsaw.

Comrade Gallacher is convinced that the threats of the British government will not deter the Russian workers. The Russian revolution has created a powerful Red Army. Comrade Gallacher calls on the whole working class of Russia to support the Red Army as one man, and to think only of supporting this Red Army so that it can break the last resistance of the hostile forces and achieve the final victory. He says that they can now rely, not only on the Red Army, but also on other armies that will come to the defence of Soviet Russia, that is to say the armies of the Western European proletariat, who have got to know Soviet Russia in the last few years, and for whom Soviet Russia has the meaning of a homeland, for it is the first country of the rising sun of socialism.

He says that he himself and his comrades, returning to Britain, will be the link that will call on British workers, not only to fight for the defence of Soviet Russia, but also to fight for the seizure of power by the British working class. [Applause.]

He knows the enormous obstacles that encumber the path of the British revolutionaries. In Britain the compromisers are still strong for whom the blood of the working class is not dear, who have spilled it in the cause of the bourgeoisie and who, when it is a question of the liberation of the proletariat, say: ‘Be careful, spare your blood, do not make sacrifices!’ But however strong these people, these bureaucrats, are in the trades union movement, however strong they are in parliament, he is convinced that the British working class will chase them to the devil, for the British working class is becoming more and more convinced that the only way out of the situation is the path trodden two and a half years ago by the Russian proletariat. In his own name and that of his comrades he swears that, having returned, the British comrades will only have one thought: How to help Soviet Russia in her struggles, how to make it clear to the British working class that here was born the great Red Army on which the Russian working class rests, and that the British workers must unite with Russian workers for a common victory over world imperialism. [Applause.]

Chairman: Comrades, Britain is making efforts to force White Finland into a war with Soviet Russia. I give the floor to the best representative of the Finnish workers, Comrade Manner.

Manner: [Speaks in Finnish.]

Chairman: Comrade Rakhia has the floor to translate.

Rakhia: Comrade Manner, the representative of the Communist Party of Finland at the Second Congress of the Communist International, is one of the oldest leaders of the workers’ movement in Finland. Even when Finland stood under the banner of Social Democracy, Comrade Manner was one of the best representatives of the workers’ movement. At one time he was President of the Diet, when the Finnish workers had 103 out of 200 seats. In 1918, Comrade Manner was President of the Council of Peoples Commissars, in socialist Finland, which fell under the blows of German imperialism.

He greets you, and in your persons the revolutionary proletariat of Russia, and says that he does so at a time when the imperialists of the whole world, under the leadership of the British government and British capital are once more. preparing a blow in order finally to smash Soviet Russia. For this blow they will use all the forces they have to hand, chiefly the small border territories that wait like dogs for the master’s command. At the very moment when the Finnish bourgeoisie is holding peace negotiations at Dorpat with the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, Britain is trying to influence White Guard troops to make them attack Petrograd.

Comrade Manner says that two years ago, in 1918, the Finnish proletariat was the first to follow the call of the Russian proletariat and begin the fight with and alongside the Russian proletariat. At that time the Finnish proletariat had no idea how a revolution is to be carried out, and suffered a defeat. Now, however, after the fearful blows of the terror, the Finnish proletariat, which was beaten two years ago, has learnt that you must have a strongly forged revolutionary organisation if you want to win. Such an organisation which, however small, is well organised, is now present in Finland, and therefore Comrade Manner declares on behalf of the revolutionary proletariat of Finland that, if the Finnish bourgeoisie should dare to carry out Britain’s instructions, and attack Petrograd, the revolutionary proletariat of Finland will fall upon them from the rear. [Applause.]

Two years of fearful White terror have taught the Finnish proletariat one thing: a small country, a country that can hardly be seen on the map, has at least this destiny in the international revolutionary struggle – to die, if its death can help the working class of the whole world to victory, and the Finnish proletariat will know how to do this. [Applause.]

Chairman: The member of the Congress and representative of the Communist Party of Germany Spartakusbund, Comrade Levi, has the floor.

Levi: [Speaks in German.]

Chairman: Comrade Radek has the floor to translate.

Radek: Comrades, since the death of Comrades Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, Comrade Levi has led the whole illegal work of the Communist Party of Germany.

He says that world capital was of the opinion that it had ended the World War at Versailles, but that now, after four years of war and a year and a half after the ‘end’ of the war, the whole world is still where it was in August 1914. It is once more faced with a great war which will perhaps break out between Soviet Russia and the Allies, but which cannot leave Germany indifferent, which will draw Germany into the struggle and force the German proletariat and bourgeoisie to participate in the solution of the international question.

The German bourgeoisie returned home defeated from the war. The German bourgeoisie expected a handsome sum from British capital in order to turn once more against the proletariat. Now, however, the German proletariat is no longer the same as it was in 1914, when it accepted the decision of the bourgeoisie without objection, sent its sons to the battlefield for the cause of the bourgeoisie, and at that time did not see its own path. The German proletariat lost millions of its sons on the battlefield. It knows now that capitalism means poverty and death.

When, after four and a half years of the war that the bourgeoisie forced it into, it returned home, it found the streets of Germany stained with the blood of the proletariat for whose liberation Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht had died. It grasped that there was no other salvation than revolutionary war, for otherwise slavery would once more be imposed. This proletariat has already learnt how to fight; it has not yet been able to take power into its hands, but it has already learnt how to use the means that stand at its disposal. The position of this proletariat, hundreds and thousands of whom are now thrown out of work onto the streets. is a terrible one, and it will now have to choose between its rum and the fight against the whole capitalist world.

The moment the Entente dares to incite Germany against Soviet Russia, the moment the Entente tries to reach White Poland through Germany, the German proletariat will understand that the decisive hour has struck, and that it must fight for the world revolution. And Comrade Levi is profoundly convinced that the German working class will do this without hesitating. For the struggle to save Soviet Russia is the struggle of the German proletariat against poverty and slavery. He is convinced that the cry that echoes through Russia, the cry: ‘Long live Soviet Russia!’ will find a loud echo in the masses of millions of the German proletariat. And if, in its fight with Poland’s White Army, the Red Army approaches the frontiers of Germany, then it will hear from the other side, over the bayonets, the cry of the German proletariat, the cry: ‘Long live Soviet Russia!’ [Applause.]

Chairman: Comrade Radek has the floor as the representative of the Polish proletariat.

Radek: Comrades, I am convinced that our Red Army will continue to be in a position to deal blows to the Polish landowners who are attacking Soviet Russia, and I am convinced that no efforts on the part of Polish capital and the Polish landowners will be able to stifle the Polish proletariat. In the last few days we have received the news that Pilsudsky’s government, the government of bankrupts, is trying to hold up the course of events by throwing hundreds more Communists in gaol. The majority of the leaders of the Polish Communist movement known to us are now under lock and key, and the Polish government threatens them and their families that, if the Polish White Army has to abandon Warsaw, they will leave the corpses of the Polish communists behind them in the city, just as they already killed our old comrades Wesselowski and Fabrikevitch.

Precisely this cry of desperation from the Polish bourgeoisie proves not only that the Red Army threatens its domination, but that the Polish working class too knows very well that Russia does not threaten the independence of the Polish people, but that she wants to help the Polish workers to sunder the chains forged for them by Poland’s capitalists and the Entente. Poland is now an absolutely dependent country. Even the Polish bourgeoisie is saying at the moment that its army is receiving munitions from the Entente, and that its army is fed with bread that the Entente gives so that Poland can fight.

The campaign, however, that Soviet Russia is fighting against White Poland, is support for Poland and not its conquest. It is the assistance of the Russian working class which for twenty years has fought in alliance with the Polish working class against its enemies and now wants to unite itself once more with the Polish proletariat. Once the Polish insurgents, trying to unite with the Russian revolutionaries, put forward the slogan ‘For our Freedom and Yours.’ We have not buried this slogan. Now we stride forward to victory in order to go to work together to build the temple of socialism with our own hands, with our own strength, in the devastated countries.

Comrades, I am firmly convinced that the Polish proletariat, which throughout has fought side by side with the Moscow and Petrograd proletariat in the front ranks of the Russian revolution, will prove by deeds that it knows how to deal with the terrible, ferocious pressure of the world bourgeoisie. I am certain that our Red Army, which is coming to the assistance of the Polish proletariat with powerful blows, will find there iron divisions of old Polish workers steeled in struggle, who – I am firmly convinced of this – will march as your allies until the final victory. [Applause.]

Trotsky [Stormy ovation – the Internationale is sung.]: Comrades, the Second Congress of the Communist International has met a year and a half after the First Congress. One and a half years are only a few months, but they have more historic content than whole years did previously, and for us the Second Congress of the Communist International is not simply an international period, not simply a parade. Comrades, on the path that leads upwards over obstacles and abysses, we must cast a glance backwards to ascertain the path we have covered, without losing sight of the enemy. We must set up signposts on the path before us and stride forward without delay. And if now we look back over these 17-18 months that lie between the First and the Second Congresses of the International, and check our consciousness, our revolutionary conscience, with the greatest care, we have the right to say that the path that we sketched for ourselves at the First Congress of the International of the World Commune was the correct path, and that, if we have achieved successes, then it was on this path.

If the world proletariat has suffered defeats and has often had to go into retreat, then it was because it did not take the path shown by the Communist International. The 18 months that have passed since the First Congress have drawn a bloody line under this whole epoch of the development of humanity. This epoch had its laws, its methods, its equilibrium, its international relations, its alliances, its struggle, its lies, the democratic lie of official science, the lie of the Church. The World War has drawn up the balance sheet of all this. And the bourgeois classes who hailed the peoples into this world slaughter at the same time promised them a new Testament, a new order, a new regime.

But what do Europe and the whole world show us, what do they look like after the World War, in what condition have they emerged from the workshops of the Versailles Peace? There is not one single basis of support for the bourgeois order. Everything has been thrown into motion, all the supports are tottering, all the state programmes of the bourgeoisie have been crossed out, all the international alliances have been torn up, and the bourgeoisie, trembling before the new day, seeks a way out of this situation created by centuries of robbery and rape, and finds no way out.

Britain, France and the United States promised to give the peoples an international association, the ‘League of Nations’, which would put an end to imperialist collisions, international wars. And now we have the League of Nations before us. Scarcely had it emerged from the chancelleries of the diplomats, when he who was its creator shrank back from it: the American President Wilson. Comrades, only recently, ten or twelve months ago, all the leaders of the Second International were greeting Wilson’s plans and calling on workers to support him. Against this our International was already saying a year and a half ago in Moscow that Wilson’s campaign is an attempt by the American plutocracy, the New York Stock Exchange, to subordinate Europe and the whole world to itself, that the League of Nations will be an international company headed by United States capital. American capital is used to expanding through associations and drawing ever new millions of people into its area of exploitation. And it has attempted to extend its conditions to Europe, Asia and the whole world.

When Wilson, however, came from his great American province to Europe and ran head on into all the life and death questions of the whole world, he saw that Britain had its hand on the helm. Britain has the strongest fleet, the longest telegraph cables, the richest experience in matters of world pillage and rape. And this small-town American, Wilson, who carried the dollar’s excellent international exchange rate not only in his pocket but also on his sleeve, who thought that his Fourteen Points would become the Gospel of the world, stumbled upon the British Navy and on something even more menacing: he stumbled upon Soviet Russia and Communism. Thereupon the troubled American apostle returned to his Mount Sinai, the White House in Washington.

However, comrades, we cannot assume that this means a renunciation of world domination. American capital has no other path. As long as American capital was in the early stages of accumulation, expansion and liberation, it took as its theory the Monroe Doctrine, which said: ‘America for the Americans’, that is to say, let no one dare to intervene in the affairs of America, where American capital alone rules, exploits and robs. The frontiers of America, of the Northern part, which it had made into its colony, became too narrow for American capital. During the war, American heavy industry was raised like a gigantic pillar to heaven, and therefore American capital rejected the slogan ‘America for the Americans’, or rather changed it to say: ‘Not only America, but the whole world for the Americans’. Thereupon it sent forth the Apostle Wilson with a New Testament.

We know that Wilson did not carry out the mission. But the mission has remained. and the American oligarchy is now drawing its conclusions and saying: ‘Our navy is weaker than the British Navy by so many tons and by so many guns of this and that calibre’. And the American Navy Department works out a new programme which by 1925 – many claim even quicker, within three years – will make the American Navy bigger than Britain’s. But what does that mean? Britain’s strength is her navy. Britain guards all the sea lanes, and that gives her the power to plunder the world. Britain’s naval programme consists in this, that at any given time its navy is stronger than those of her two closest rival sea-powers put together. And now America, with its shining dollar, whose exchange rate stands high in the heavens of the stock exchanges, says: ‘In three years my navy must be stronger than Britain’s.’ That means that British imperialism is faced with the question: ‘To be or not to be?’ It further means that Britain and the United States are headed at full steam for a new, great, bloody conflict, for there can be no dual power in the world of imperialist states. The crown of world dominion must, in the final analysis, belong to Britain or America, unless the world proletariat wrenches it from them first. And after four years of terrible world war, which has laid the mightiest states of Central Europe in ruins, which has devastated Europe and ruined the whole world, we see that a new, even more violent struggle is being prepared on the bones of the fallen.

France is Soviet Russia’s main enemy, the bitterest and most rabid enemy of the international proletariat. She now thinks she is a victor, or rather, the simpletons, the petty bourgeoisie, the social patriots, and a deluded section of the working class think that France won. That is a cruel mistake. Long before German imperialism was beaten, Austro-Hungary was a defeated country. It was maintained by German militarism, just as French imperialism was maintained by the Entente. And now France is one of the most exhausted and ruined of the independent countries in the world. France can of course plunder the Black Sea, but only until it is the turn of Britain. France can dictate laws to tiny Belgium, which she has turned into a province. France herself, however, is no more than a big Belgium in her relations with Great Britain. Without American and British support, France would be defenceless both economically and militarily; but in her petty bourgeois obtuseness she raises claims to dominion, and thinks to play the role of chairman and umpire between the United States and Britain. The United States did not even join the League of Nations, and France had to beg on its knees, as if for alms, for a guarantee of its state independence.

And the small nations, the small states? They were all promised freedom and independence, and Britain has laid her imperious hand on all of them: on Finland, as on white Esthonia and Latvia. Where are the remnants of Swedish and Norwegian independence? They have disappeared. What does the Baltic represent? A bay in which Britain takes little outings. What does the Indian Ocean represent, surrounded by peoples who are subjected to Britain? Through Egypt, Persia, Afghanistan and India, the Indian Ocean has become a British lake. From the corpse of Austro-Hungary, from old Tsarist Russia, a whole series of small states have been carved out that are not viable and which the Entente and the League of Nations, that is to say, Britain, for the moment will not allow to die.

We have an Austria nailed to the cross and mangled. We have a Hungary that made the heroic attempt to lead Central Europe out of the chaos and to tread the path of soviet federation, that is to say of a fraternal league of victorious workers in economic, cultural and other respects. She was trampled and thrown back into chaos. We have a Poland, a wretched Poland whose liberation fills the earliest pages of the history of the First International. It was created by moribund imperialism for its dirty purposes and tasks. This democratic republic, for which whole generations of Polish patriots struggled who fled to the West in great waves from Tsarism and fought and died on every barricade of the revolution, this democratic Poland is at present a dirty and bloody tool, in the hands of French capital. Comrades, if the First International in its struggle against Tsarism inscribed an independent Poland on one of the first pages of its history, then Russia, liberated from Tsarism, will now fulfil its great mission and give crucified, violated Poland back to the Polish worker and the Polish peasant. [Applause.]

From all the parliamentary platforms there is talk of the economic reconstruction of Europe. There is no greater lie than this. Europe has been unable to reconstruct herself during the year and a half that have passed since our First Congress. She is incomparably poorer and more hopeless than she was, and with her the whole world. Can Europe be reconstructed without Russian raw materials and Russian corn? Can Europe be reconstructed without German technique, without the German working class? It is impossible. Returning home, the representatives of every country will say: ‘Workers of Europe and of the whole world, on the basis of the little that we have seen, we testify that, if imperialism leaves Soviet Russia in peace, if we come to the aid of Soviet Russia, even only slightly, with our technique, then in two, three, or at the most, five years Soviet Russia will give you six times more corn and raw materials than Tsarist, bourgeois Russia did, precisely because it is a Soviet Republic based on the principles of Communism.’

Hot on the tracks of victory, Anglo-French capital thinks that boundless areas for colonisation lie before it. Tsarism was formerly Britain’s competitor in Asia, and Germany was an even bigger competitor of Britain on the world market. Germany is defeated. Germany is nailed to the cross. Austria even more so. And they believe that the colonies start immediately to the East: the German people, who are subjected to France, and then Soviet Russia. To overrun Soviet Russia, to take Russian raw materials and corn, to force German workers to work like slaves and transform Russian raw materials into finished products that are then at the disposal of Anglo-French capital, that is the dazzling programme of the first period of the League of Nations. And it is trying to carry it out. It is trying to overthrow the Soviet Republic in order to bring our steppes, our lakes, our woods and our subterranean wealth under its control and to use German coal and German labour power to process them.

A year and a half of hard struggle have passed, and with justified pride we can tell our Western European brothers: ‘Your bourgeoisie has not overthrown us, we are still alive, we are receiving you in Moscow.’ And if that is so, then it is only thanks to the powerful efforts of the Russian working class and the army it has created. We know our efforts and our sacrifices, and now the envoys of the working class of the world have become more closely acquainted with them. We must however say that the main reason that we have stood firm is that we felt and knew the growing assistance in Europe, America and every part of the world. Every strike of the Scottish proletariat on the Clyde, every movement in the towns and villages of Ireland, where not only the green flag of Irish nationalism but also the red flag of proletarian struggle is flying, every strike, every protest, every uprising in whatever town in Europe, America or Asia, the powerful movement of Britain’s colonial slaves in India and the growth of the development of consciousness, the growth of one central slogan – the slogan ‘Soviet World Federation’ – that is what gave us the certainty that we are on the right path. That is what, in the darkest hours, when we were surrounded on all sides and it seemed that they would strangle us, permitted us to stand up and say: ‘We are not alone, the proletariat of Europe and Asia and the whole world is with us, we will not give way, we will stand firm.’ And we stood firm. [Applause.]

Europe cannot be reconstructed without Russia and without Germany. To reconstruct Germany she must be allowed to live, to feed herself to work. But if crucified and oppressed Germany is not allowed to live, to feed herself and to work, then she will rise up against French imperialism. And therefore French imperialism, which only knows one commandment – pay up! Germany must pay up! Russia must pay up! – these French usurers are prepared to set fire to the world from all four corners if only they receive their interest payments properly. And they have one single prescription for realising the terms of the Versailles Treaty. This prescription is the Senegalese, the African Negroes and Arabs they send over the Rhine to occupy German cities. And if too little coal comes to France from Germany, if the German gold does not arrive on time, the French bourgeoisie grinds its teeth and says: ‘Why don’t they pay up on time? Has Marshal Foch no blacks left?’

Comrades, we greet at this Congress Comrade Roy, the representative of the toiling masses of India. [Applause] I hope, comrades, that at the Third Congress of our International African Communists, Arabs, Senegalese and other Negro peoples from the colonial possessions of France and Britain will be among us. Today four or five hundred Senegalese brought our Russian soldiers, who were slaves in France for years, back to the harbours of Odessa. Despite the precautionary measures that were taken to keep the Senegalese away from the Russian soldiers, we know that no foreign regiment, no foreign company has ever entered a Russian harbour with impunity.

Comrades, the policies of Marshal Foch who supplies sea-planes to Wrangel, who helps Poland in her hopeless struggle, these policies will not restore the economy of Europe, these are the policies of a gambler who has hopelessly gambled away everything, who has already gambled away millions. Only recently the French parliament discovered that, of the 4,000 million francs set aside for the reconstruction of the devastated Northern departments of France, Clémenceau has only spent 11/2 million for this purpose, and that he has used 3,998 1/2 million, not for the reconstruction of the devastated departments of France, but for the devastation of the Gubernias and Districts of Russia. These policies, this squandering of thousands of millions, are the policies of a gambler who is possessed by the hope of winning something on the last throw, and who usually wins nothing. At the present moment we can say with quiet certainty that the hour is at hand when, in alliance with the French proletariat, we will break the bank of the French banker. [Applause.]

The Senegalese in Odessa harbour, the French Generals in Warsaw are perhaps still there, but they are facing West, not East any more. [Stormy applause.] Altogether they will not increase by a single pood the amount of coal and other raw materials, the amount of corn that France needs.

The whole world is suffering from the deepest crisis, the lack of fuel and raw materials, and the fact that during the war the whole of labour was directed not at creating values but at their destruction cannot fail to bear results, for the most basic labour is that in which men apply their thoughts and their machines to taking the most important materials, corn and coal, from the bosom of the earth. This labour has constantly fallen. Now the whole policy of world production must be aimed at securing free trade with Germany, Russia and Austro-Hungary. All countries have survived up to now on the supplies remaining to them, and the whole policy of imperialism amounts to trading relations in the coming year standing under the sign of mutual exclusion. Now, moreover, we have the policy of robbery; but we have seen that during the many months that the British were in Baku they only succeeded in taking away a few million poods of oil, while they could have taken some tens of millions of poods. The world economy suffered its greatest losses when the British and French mercenaries devastated the Don area, when the French blew up the bridges and wrecked the railway lines, when British battleships blockaded the shipping lanes to every country and thus undermined production. Those are the last word in the Entente’s economic policy.

Therefore, comrades, when we look back over a year and a half of our work in the Soviet economy, when we know all its shortcomings, all its wants, we have no cause to mask these shortcomings, but unfold this picture of our work before all our Western brothers, the Americans and the other representatives of all countries, all parts of the world. I think that if anybody came here with any doubts, he will have convinced himself that we have chosen the right path, and that the only possible way out of the poverty of the world is the planned socialisation of the world economy, the removal of all artificial state obstacles and barriers, and the pursuit of the policies that are necessary for a unified economy. And comrades, if we were able, despite the war and the blockade, not only to supply our army, but also to live for the last three years, especially the last year and a half – this fact alone is the greatest historical fact – then we were able to do so thanks to the circumstance that our economy was based on the principles of communism.

Finally, comrades, if we proceed from the questions of international politics and the economy to the questions of the political struggle, then we must say that the path sketched out by the First Congress of the Communist International was the correct path and that it has been confirmed by experience m all its basic features. If there are still honest thinking workers who still expect something from democracy, then it is an empty phantom. Where is there a democracy in Europe? The new-born democracy of Germany possesses the democratic form of suffrage. At its head stands the social-democrat Ebert. This democracy murders the best labour leaders, the best representatives of the working class, in whose names Comrade Levi has spoken. Who rules there? The magnates of capital who do their most important business in the caves of the stock exchange. During the war the French bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie of other countries still clung on to a few remnants of the old democratic ideology. The bourgeoisie had to deceive the workers, it spoke of defence of the fatherland, it said that this war would be the last one, it spoke of a League of Nations. Now, however, after the war and the Versailles Peace, when the hangman has shown himself in all his nakedness, when the toiling masses are robbed and brought to beggary, now the last remnants of this ideology are thrown aside, now the bourgeoisie itself almost renounces any reference to the Old Testament of democracy which earlier served it to deceive the working class, now it demands a firm, steel-hard will.

We can take any parliamentary report of any country we have to hand, and we see that the most miserable bourgeois minister, any petty official, can harvest a storm of applause if he wants to by shaking a threatening fist in the direction of the revolutionary proletariat. From its proteges, servants and ministers the bourgeoisie demands blood and iron; for it has grasped that we – we: the whole world have entered not the epoch of parliamentary arbitration between the classes, but the epoch of relentless and hard struggle ... And what did the working class, that is to say, the part of it that returned home from the war, find at home? The working class found in its towns and villages a new bourgeoisie, even more brazen and bloody than the one it left behind. War contractors, internationally known black-marketeers, have climbed up, parvenus with a dubious past, who have robbed millions and more millions and thousands of millions by speculation in blood. This rapacious and unbridled scum have polluted the air of the European and American towns with their poisoned breath. Their ostentation has taken on the form of a reckless fever, the recklessness of the drunkard, a nervous delirium. The workers have returned home from the trenches and see before them this ‘bourgeoisie dorée’ that has taken possession of everything, that tramples on everything, that wants to enjoy everything, that is ready at any given moment to shoot the working class down with its cannons merely in order to secure the possibility of living, ruling and enjoying.

And the outrage of the working class is fanned in every country to ever brighter flames. The rise in prices produces strikes and demonstrations by the starving workers. And what a great factor in the labour movement, in the history of the whole of mankind, is the circumstance that women, the subjugated slaves, have awoken and that the proletarian youth are arising in ever greater masses, are coming to our aid and relieving us. With the women and the revolutionary youth a new powerful stream of revolutionary lava is poured into the revolutionary movement of the world proletariat, which will bring new, inexhaustible supplies of energy to the movement of the Communist International. [Applause.]

Comrades, there is no doubt that the proletariat of every country would already be in power if there were not between it and the masses, between the revolutionary masses and the advanced groups of the revolutionary masses, still a big, strong, sophisticated machine, still the parties of the Second International and the trades unions of the world who, in the epoch of the decay, of the death of the bourgeoisie, have placed their apparatus in the service of that bourgeoisie. Precisely the Second International, which bound its fate to the fate of the bourgeoisie by mutual guarantees during the war, has assumed responsibility for the old world and has intercepted the first rush of rebellion and indignation on the part of the toiling masses. Its authority has sunk, it has fallen apart. Larger and larger parts, millions of the toiling masses, are splitting from it. But the first rush of the proletariat against bourgeois society, the first outbreak of rebellion, was met by the Second International like a buffer. And if the German working class has suffered and will suffer tens of thousands of victims, then German social democracy is guilty. At the most responsible moment in world history, it was transformed into a counter-revolutionary apparatus, just as all the leading parties of Second International have been transformed into a counter-revolutionary apparatus in the service of bourgeois society.

And if we look back over the whole of past history and seek counter-revolutionary forces there, we can find nothing comparable. We know the world history of the Catholic Church which, like all other churches, was a mighty tool, a strong and mighty means, in the hands of the possessing classes for the defence of their privileges and dominion. But the services that the world church and world catholicism performed for the possessing classes are nothing compared with the role played by the parties of the Second International at the critical moment of world history. For decades they led the working class, enjoyed its confidence, organised it and sustained it with their authority. But at the moment the working class had to harness all its ability to act to its liberation from the yoke of capital, they used this apparatus to tie the working class hand and foot, to make them not only the material, physical slaves of world capital, but also its intellectual slaves.

As we hold the Second Congress here in Moscow, there meets in Geneva the Congress of the Second International which, in its programme and its spirit – opposes itself to our International of the Red Proletarian Commune. And from this day on, from this Congress on, from these two Congresses on, the split inside the world working class will be carried out with tenfold speed. Programme against programme, tactics against tactics, method against method. We, the Communist International, forced the German Independent Social Democratic Party, which hesitated and vacillated, and whose upper layers are still vacillating to this day, to send its representatives here through the pressure of the German working class. The Party of French parliamentary socialism was also forced by the revolt of the proletarian masses to send envoys to us. But we will not agree to any concessions: The Communist International is not an International of compromises and agreements. We have a banner and a programme. Whoever wants to can place himself under this banner. That is what we told the representatives of the German Independent Social Democratic Party and of the French parliamentary party. We asked them: ‘Do you hope to introduce reforms through your parliaments that will gradually lead to the realm of socialism?’ We asked that ironically, for the facts of life have already given us the bitter answer. And if the German Independent Party and even the Party of French parliamentary socialism have not yet learnt to lead the proletariat on the path of the civil war and the proletarian dictatorship, they have at least already learnt to place no more faith in the path of parliamentary reformism. And the French and German workers have learnt to place no more faith in their hesitant and vacillating leaders.

This Congress that coincides with the Congress of the Second International, which – and that is important and significant for us and for the workers of the whole world – coincides with the threatening struggles that the Entente is waging against the Soviet Republic through the medium of white Poland; this Congress, that coincides with the glorious victories of the Red Army on the Southern and South Western fronts, will set up big signposts for the further development of the proletarian world revolution. In its decisions this Congress has drawn up a balance sheet of the whole experience of the working class of the world. This Congress turns to the working men and women of the whole world with a manifesto whose essential content I have set out here in my report, a manifesto that will be published in every language, which draws up a balance sheet of the work of imperialism in the field of international relations and in the economic field, which correctly assesses the last remnants of bourgeois democracy and bourgeois parliamentarism and shows the proletariat of the whole world and the subjugated toiling masses of the colonial countries the sure, clear and distinct path of struggle.

And what joy, what pride, do we workers of Moscow and of the whole of Russia feel that the best fighters of the working class of the world have been able to meet for a second time in our country, that we have been able, on the basis of our experience, to help them to forge their weapons. With your hands, comrades, we have fanned a blaze in our Moscow forge. In this blaze we have heated the proletarian steel to white heat, we have worked it with the hammer of our proletarian soviet revolution, we have tempered it with the experience of the civil war and forged a splendid, and incomparable sword for the international proletariat. We will arm ourselves with this sword, we will arm the others with it. We say to the workers of the whole world: ‘We have forged a strong sword in the Moscow fire. Take it in your hands and plunge it into the heart of world capital.’ [Applause.]

Zinoviev: Comrades, during the last fourteen days meetings have taken place in Moscow of the representatives of the workers’ organisations of the whole world and during this whole time we have seen how the fraternal league of workers of the whole world has become firmer each day.

When we first raised the question of the possibility of illegally convening the Congress in Moscow some time ago, many were doubtful of the success of this plan. They very thought of it seemed daring for it goes without saying that the bourgeoisie of the whole world persecutes its worst enemy, the Communist International, with the greatest hatred, with all the scourges possible.

But comrades, the striving of workers all over the world to reach us was so great, the cry ‘to Moscow’ was so general, that despite the resistance of the world bourgeoisie, despite all the obstacles that were placed in our way, as you see, the Congress convened and we can now say in front of the whole world that this Congress was completely successful and that it was a world Congress of the proletariat. [Applause.]

Comrades. just as the earth, after a long drought, pants for rain, so the workers of the world pant for the end of the accursed war, for unification. This striving of the workers for unification is the greatest factor in world history. It is the driving force of the Communist International. The class consciousness of workers all over the world expresses itself in this: they recognise that they can only achieve what history has promised them in close unity. This consciousness is the most important world-historical life-force of the Communist International and thanks to it we have succeeded in holding the Congress although the blockade has only just been lifted, although it still exists in part, and although our comrades have to work illegally in a whole series of countries.

The register of the delegations fills several pages. I shall only mention the countries that were represented. [He reads out the list.] From some of these countries we only had a few representatives, but nevertheless the delegations represent everything that exists throughout the world of vital revolutionary fighting spirit. Of great importance is the circumstance that among us there are not only representatives of the European and American proletariat but also representatives of the workers and the poorest peasants of the whole East – of Turkey, Persia, India, the British colonies and so forth. In this we see proof of the fact that the movement in the East is beginning and that it will also develop further, that no power in the world will succeed in holding this movement back, which in India has a purely proletarian character. These movements will unite with those of Europe and America to deliver the death-blow to capitalism.

The most varied shadings of the labour movement were represented at our Congress. At the present moment the labour movement is still in a process of fermentation and crystallisation. That is understandable. After the terrible crisis that the working class of the world has experienced, after the gigantic collapse of the Second International and after the blood-letting that was carried out on the workers of the whole world, it is completely understandable that there cannot now be complete political clarity among the workers. But if the working class was united, if it was completely clear about its fundamental tasks, we would have defeated the bourgeoisie long ago. The curse of our class is this: part of our brothers were for many decades deceived by our enemies; another part is organised in associations which actually help the bourgeoisie. In some countries the working class today is in a certain sense at a parting of the ways. After the fearful storm that was unleashed on mankind during the imperialist war, it seeks the correct way. We have set ourselves the task of uniting all the vital, rich and powerful forces that the working class can muster under the banner of the Communist International for the struggle against the bourgeoisie. We have intentionally also called upon the organisations that have not taken on complete form to enter the Communist International.

Representatives of the best section of the syndicalists, representatives of the best section of the anarchists, have taken part in our Congress. In our midst there are representatives of the shop stewards of Britain, of the Austrian factory committees and representatives of the IWW. The mainstream of the world labour movement flows in the river-bed of communism. We see a mighty communist stream before us. But besides it also, a series of smaller rivers must flow into the great stream of the Communist International. We see a whole number of such proletarian movements which are still in ferment, that are only half turned towards us, which are in many ways infected with anarchist and syndicalist prejudices, which do not entirely share our programme but which nevertheless fight with us against the bourgeoisie and on whom we look as brothers. We break with the hated traditions of the Second International which treated badly the revolutionary workers, the best fighters. When in the Second International there were a handful of venerable representatives of the yellow imperialist bodies and other organisations, at every attempt by this or that group of workers to dare to subject the policies of the Second International to criticism, the door was slammed shut. We open our doors wide to all honest proletarian, revolutionary organisations which today are not yet communist, but which tomorrow will be, which today are ready, arms in hand, to fight together with us against world capital. [Applause.]

Apart from the group which in the opinion of some formed an opposition from the left – but which in reality was not at all revolutionary-minded since for the working class, for communism, there can be no opposition from the left – there took part in our Congress a group of penitent sinners. I mean the representatives of the French Socialist Party, of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany and of the Italian Socialist Party. All these parties are among those big workers’ organisations who still stand with one foot in the old camp but which attempt to take a new path. It seems to me that our Congress gained an even greater significance from the fact that these representatives of old parties appeared before it, that some of them asked for an amnesty and would have been glad to receive from the Communist International the answer: ‘Guilty under extenuating circumstances.’ Insofar, however, as it is a question of leaders who are responsible for the imperialist war, we have adopted a completely irreconcilable position. You have read our answer to the French Socialist Party, the letter which we have them to take on their way so that they could study it at their leisure In it we gave an exact description of all the characteristics of the French Socialist Party in the person of the leaders of their yellow socialists. What we gave them was what the Germans call a Steckbrief. That is to say a letter from which any honest worker can immediately recognise the criminal who at the moment stands in the path of the world proletariat; a letter that says: ‘See, you workers, this is what a leader of the working class should not look like.’

Comrades, there is a significant number of workers in the ranks of the French Party. 50,000 copies of its central press organ are printed. The party of the Independents in Germany numbers around a million members. Some 11,000 members of the party, predominantly workers, are languishing in jail. It goes without saying that the workers who are languishing in the jails of the German Republic fill us with the greatest respect and we are prepared to take our hats off to them. Of course what we say to the ranks of the German Independent Party is the same as what we say to the French Socialist Party. We try to make their mistakes clear to them. We try to unify with them.

Comrades, in this connection the Congress has worked out a whole number of Conditions (there are 21 of them) for admission to the Communist International. Comrades, I think that when you have become acquainted with these Conditions, you will say with us that it can truly be said if it is not easy for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then, I hope, it will not be easy for the supporters of the Centre who are always going to remain such, to slip through these 21 Conditions set up by the Communist International. [Applause.] We have set these Conditions so that the workers in the ranks of the French Socialist Party, the USPD and of the American and of the Italian Socialist parties, all organised workers in general, know what the international staff of the proletarian revolution is demanding of them so that they can drive them into a corner and receive an answer on all the questions mentioned in the conditions. And, comrades, we hope that these Conditions will achieve their purpose. If we were told a year and a half ago that the Communist International ran the danger of having too few members, then now we are faced with a different danger.

For many the Communist International is becoming a fashion. The Brussels International which is now meeting in Geneva has, it is said, taken the decision to declare a General Strike. It seems that the Second International wants to follow in the footsteps of Moscow. We do not know how many living ghosts have gathered there, but it is clear to everybody that the Second International now represents a heap of ruins and that among the old leaders of these crown-socialists, as they could be called, there are many who always want to be with the majority and to lean upon some power or other. On the international scale this power is now the Communist International. They want to lean on us, to make concessions in words and thus assure themselves a certain autonomy in order to carry on with the old routine. We hope that our second Congress of the Communist International has shut the door sufficiently firmly to these gentlemen. We hope that the decisions we have taken will be sufficient to draw such a line between the parties that all workers who honestly want to fight for communism will step into our ranks, but everything that is rotten will fly like chaff into the dustbin and will never again hold back the advance of the working class.

A whole series of questions has been dealt with by the Second Congress, the most important of which was the question of the role of the Communist Party. It is not necessary to prove its necessity in a hall in which I may say a great majority of Communist Party members are gathered. But at an international Congress where representatives of the most different countries with completely different histories, with different traditions, were present, it was necessary finally to clarify the role and the significance of the Communist parties. The old parties have gone bankrupt and it is understandable that they have dinned into a number of workers the thought that it is not the Second International that collapsed but the policy of the leaders in general. It was necessary to become clear on the role and the significance of the proletarian revolution and I hope that you realise that it was a great victory when the best representatives of revolutionary syndicalism voted for our resolutions as did also the best representatives of other workers’ organisations.

Now we must say to the syndicalist workers, the anarchists and other elements who did not believe in the significance of the Party, ‘You did not believe that there could be other parties than the Scheidemanns, that there is a real workers’ party which leads the working class in the fight against capital. Look here and convince yourselves. Here is the Communist Party of Russia. That is the work of the Russian worker. Here is the Hungarian Communist Party. There is the German party of the Spartacists; see what they have done for the enlightenment of the German working class. There are the Communist parties of a whole series of countries. Look and learn. Here is an example of what we are striving for. We must build such parties!

The national and colonial question was also discussed and it seems to me that the resolution passed unanimously on this question similarly signifies a great moral victory for us. You know that the Second International approached the question of so-called national policies, that in general a policy of patience was suggested and that in 1907 the majority spoke out in favour of socialists supporting the policy of so-called cultural nationalism. Towards the peoples of the black and yellow races the Second International adopted an attitude calculated to arouse the deepest mistrust in these peoples. The Communist International had to return to the traditions of the First International. It was its duty to say, and it did say, that it did not only want to be an International of the toilers of the white race but also an International of the toilers of the black and yellow races, an International of the toilers of the whole world. [Applause.] I am convinced that the fraternal alliance that we have concluded in the Congress with the representatives of India, Korea, Turkey and a whole number of other countries will strike to the heart of international capital. This is the greatest conquest of the working class.

We have also discussed the question of the trades unions. You know that in Moscow we have created the first international cell of the trade union federation. I contend that this also has a general historical significance for the whole world. The last support of capitalism is the yellow Amsterdam labour organisation. If we bring the best part of the workers of this organisation to us what we thus achieve is that the Second International will lose the masses and that we will gather around us everything that is vital in the working class. At the Congress we had to carry out a sharp polemic with a number of our English and American comrades who have had to fight against the enormous betrayal of their leaders, who have no strong Communist Party and who have broken with parliamentarism. The Second Congress of the Communist International had told all these parties what the most important thing for them is. As the experiences of the Russian Revolution teach us – remember this in England and America! – the most important thing of all is to stay in the midst of the masses of workers. You will often go wrong with them, but never leave the mass organisations of the working class, however reactionary they may be at any given moment.

The bourgeois state we must destroy. But the workers’ organisations, on the contrary, we must conquer, transform and take into our ranks, otherwise the victory of Communism is impossible. We have already broken many lances with some of our comrades on this question. But what the Communist International has said on this becomes a law for all, including the comrades who defended a different point of view. The aim of the Communist International is to found a Communist Party in every country so that all the currents of the present healthy, revolutionary, proletarian movements come together into one mighty river. And those who know what enormous authority the Communist International possesses in the eyes of the world working class will not doubt that this task will be easy to perform and that a successful unification will be achieved.

Comrades, it would be of special interest to draw up a comparison between what happened at our Congress and what is being done in bourgeois circles. Comrade Trotsky has clearly depicted what is happening in the upper layers of the ruling bourgeoisie. Comrades, is it not significant that while we in Moscow, within a short space of time have reached agreement on a whole number of important questions with workers who have come here from Australia and America despite differences in culture, history and tradition, and feel that our fraternal alliance is becoming firmer with every hour, is it not significant that in the same period among bourgeois ruling circles each group is trying to put a spoke in the other’s wheel. The British bourgeoisie rages at us and attempts to outwit its French rivals. They persecute each other and are not in a position to create unity.

In 1919, the Second International attempted to come back to life by binding its fate to the ‘League of Nations’ according to the old principle: ‘There is no animal stronger than the cat.’ By thus leaning on the League of Nations it believed it would obtain decades of world domination. A year and a few months have passed and we can already see the League of Nations collapsing before our eyes, turning into a fiction where all elbow each other and deceive each other. The Second International tied its fate to the League of Nations with which it will go under, whose bankruptcy it will share. At the same time, however, the true international fraternity of workers with the toiling peasantry is growing. I am profoundly convinced that the Second World Congress will be the precursor of another world congress, the World Congress of Soviet Republics. [Applause.]

Comrades, it is a significant fact that the only resolution that was adopted unanimously without the slightest debate by all representatives was the resolution on the soviets. Because the soviet idea, the idea of the creation of a soviet state, of this form of the proletarian dictatorship, has penetrated into the broadest masses of workers and into the lowest layers and has won millions and tens of millions of workers. There not only needs to be no conflict about it at the World Congress, but there does not even need to be discussion. Much rather, this idea is our fundamental conquest. Comrades, the idea of soviets is a simple thought but it forms the firm iron foundation on which our Communist International stands.

Our work is approaching its end. We have exchanged our experiences with the representatives of the most varied countries. We have considered a series of contested questions. We have mapped out the path that we shall have to follow in struggle in the course of long months. We do not know what blows of fate lie in wait for this or that of our sister parties. But one thing we do know; that we will build up an organisation which at any given moment will give the workers of the whole world the greatest possible help. We have adopted the Statutes of the Communist International. That is no mere formality. It is confirmation of the fact that we are creating a unified, international Communist Party with branches in all the various countries. [Applause.]

In these Statutes we remember the words of the Statutes of the First International, founded by Karl Marx? the words: ‘If the working class is now in chains and not free then that is because up to now there has been no unity in the working class and the workers of different countries have not proceeded in solidarity.’ That is a simple truth, a simple thought, and yet it took several decades for the working class of the whole world to assimilate this thought. And we have added in the Statutes of the Communist International: ‘Remember the imperialist war and its countless victims! This is the first appeal of the Communist International to every toiler wherever he may live and whatever language he may speak. If you support capitalism you can have new wars. Our international fraternity was born after difficult experiences. If you want to take responsible decisions think of the imperialist murders that destroyed workers’ organisations and cost tens of millions of workers their lives and which can reignite any moment if we do not destroy capitalism.’

The adoption of the Statutes means that we have finally closed our ranks, that we have an international fraternity of workers, that we possess an organisation, centralised on an international scale, welded together with blood. And we will tell our comrades that so that they understand how we in Russia had to create in the civil war a centralised organisation of iron cast in one piece, with military discipline which was often very difficult for individual party members and demanded the greatest effort and sacrifice.

In the same way we must create on an international scale an international organisation that is cast in one piece with the same iron discipline and the same centralisation, with unconditional mutual confidence and with the same unselfish preparedness for self-sacrifice for the common cause of the victory of the proletarian revolution. [Applause.]

Comrades are travelling from here to a number of countries where states of emergency, prison, punishment and betrayal on the part of the Western European social democracy and of capitalism’s hirelings are waiting for them. We wish our comrades courage for this struggle and we ask them in difficult moments to think of this, that the Soviet Republic is prepared to share everything that it possesses with them. The Communist Party of Russia thinks it an honourable duty to come to the aid of sister parties with everything that it has. To those of our brothers who are now setting off to carry out the highest historical mission and the highest historical tasks that have ever faced the proletariat, we wish courage, strength and certainty.

Long live the Communist International. Long live our comrades who are setting off to the bourgeois countries to carry out propaganda for world communism. [Stormy applause. Cheers.]


Comrade Kalinin declares the session closed.

*From The Pages Of The Communist International-In Honor Of The 91st Anniversary Of Its Founding (March 1919) And The 90th Anniversary Of The Second World Congress (1920)-Thirteenth Session- On Entry Into The British Labor Party

Honor The 91st Anniversary Of The Founding Of The Communist International (March, 1919)- Honor The 90th Anniversary Of The Historic Second World Congress (The 21 Conditions Congress) Of The CI (July-August 1920)

Markin comment:

Some anniversaries, like those marking the publication of a book, play or poem, are worthy of remembrance every five, ten, or twenty-five years. Other more world historic events like the remembrance of the Paris Commune of 1871, the Bolshevik Russian Revolution of 1917, and, as here, the founding of the Communist International (also known as the Third International, Comintern, and CI) in 1919 are worthy of yearly attention. Why is that so in the case of the long departed (1943, by Stalin fiat) and, at the end unlamented, Comintern? That is what this year’s remembrance, through CI documentation and other commentary, will attempt to impart on those leftist militants who are serious about studying the lessons of our revolutionary, our communist revolutionary past.

No question that the old injunction of Marx and Engels as early as the Communist Manifesto that the workers of the world needed to unite would have been hollow, and reduced to hortatory holiday speechifying (there was enough of that, as it was) without an organization expression. And they, Marx and Engels, fitfully made their efforts with the all-encompassing pan-working class First International. Later the less all encompassing but still party of the whole class-oriented socialist Second International made important, if limited, contributions to fulfilling that slogan before the advent of world imperialism left its outlook wanting, very wanting.

The Third International thus was created, as mentioned in one of the commentaries in this series, to pick up the fallen banner of international socialism after the betrayals of the Second International. More importantly, it was the first international organization that took upon itself in its early, heroic revolutionary days, at least, the strategic question of how to make, and win, a revolution in the age of world imperialism. The Trotsky-led effort of creating a Fourth International in the 1930s, somewhat stillborn as it turned out to be, nevertheless based itself, correctly, on those early days of the Comintern. So in some of the specific details of the posts in this year’s series, highlighting the 90th anniversary of the Third World Congress this is “just” history, but right underneath, and not far underneath at that, are rich lessons for us to ponder today.
Minutes of the Second Congress of the Communist International

Thirteenth Session
August 6
Zinoviev: The Bureau proposes to end the Congress with today’s session.

Münzenberg: I propose on behalf of the members of the youth organisations present the motion that the Congress should not be closed without having discussed the question of the youth movement. On the one hand the representatives of the youth movements have every interest in discussing the question of the communist youth movement and its relationship to the Communist International in a full session. On the other hand the significance of the youth movement is so great in the Communist Party that the discussion of the question in front of the whole Congress should take place. Perhaps it is possible to so so today in which case we have got nothing against the Bureau’s motion. If not, then the question of the youth movement should be discussed.

Sylvia Pankhurst: We have been sitting so long already we could continue meeting for some time more. The question that is being dealt with now has not yet been discussed enough. I am against finishing the work of the Congress.

Goldenberg: I repeat what Münzenberg has said. The youth question must be discussed before the Congress is over.

Zinoviev: I should like to defend the Presidium’s proposal. Those comrades who were unfortunately greatly delayed in coming, like Sylvia Pankhurst, know that we have been discussing the question here for the last two weeks and that we discussed it previously two or three months ago on the Executive. I therefore propose that we close today, for we cannot deal with the youth question thoroughly today. It would have been very useful for dealing with the youth question if the representatives of the youth movements had been present for the whole discussion. Perhaps it would he advisable for the youth movement and for the whole International if we have a discussion and the comrades who have already been away from home for two weeks should go back. Therefore we want to finish today and solve the question quickly and without debates. [The proposal is adopted.]

Zinoviev: Comrades, we have decided to close the Congress today. Therefore we must use our time economically. Moreover, we already have twelve speakers registered for every question. I propose the following. New amendments which have not been dealt with in the Commission will only be published and not discussed. Secondly on the question of entry into the Labour Party only two speakers for and two against will be allowed.

Wijnkoop: Comrades, I am against this proposal, for the question of the Labour Party and the BSP is of the utmost importance. Because this is so, and not for Britain but for the whole world, it seems to me to be necessary to be able to discuss the question really freely. If only two speakers for the one standpoint and two for the other are allowed here, then in fact only the British delegation will be able to have anything to say about this matter. Two perhaps against, one for and perhaps another party apart from the British will have the opportunity to say something; that is no good. The workers of the whole world have the right to know why we take one side or the other. This is of the very greatest importance and I would therefore be in favour of free discussion on this question. But even if we do not decide to have a free discussion I think that two speakers for and two against are too few. We should in any case give a few more parties the opportunity to express their standpoint. I propose against the Presidium to have a free discussion on this matter. [Vote. Zinoviev’s proposal is adopted.]

Pankhurst: It is quite impossible to tell workers what difference there is between the Communist Party, the BSP and the Labour Party. It is very characteristic of Britain in general that no clear demarcation lines exist in politics there which would give the workers in particular the opportunity to distinguish one party from another. Therefore it is difficult to explain to workers how the supporters of the Communist Party are distinguished from those to whose party they themselves belong. Think of the example of Comrade Williams of whom it was thought that he adopted the standpoint of soviets. We had to discover that he was in favour of English workers loading munitions for Poland.

I say this in order to show how easy it is to be wrong. On the one hand one claims to belong to a tendency and on the other hand one is forced by membership of the Labour Party to carry out such policies. If we think of the position at any phase in the election campaign a fine of demarcation must exist between the candidates. That is to say that one would like to know who the candidates are and what programmes they represent. I deny that it is possible because of the structure of the Labour Party which is dominated by old traditions. There is also the question of paid officials there. Moreover, all members of the parties which belong to the Labour Party are subjected to the strictest discipline and when it is a question of making a showing in parliament on this or that question then they are officially subordinated to Party discipline.

In the elections, too, a local organisation can choose its candidates, but when it is a question of being put up as a candidate one must be confirmed by the Labour Party headquarters. It is the same with the individual speeches and votes. This way of doing things has also forced the members of the Independent Labour Party to understand that it is very difficult to be a member of the Independent Labour Party and at the same time belong to another party because one is tied down too much by the discipline.

I refer to an expression of Comrade Lenin’s, who said, one should not be too extreme. I think, however, one should be even more extreme than one is. Particularly in England there is a lack of courageous people. Although I am a socialist I have fought for a long time in the suffragette movement and I have seen how important it is to be extreme and to have the courage to defend one’s ideas. A candidate of the Independent Labour Party who was also very radical was put up as a candidate and read his manifesto, his programme, to his electors before he was Proposed to the Labour Party. When he read his manifesto once more to his electors after it had been checked by the Labour Party there was great excitement for the Labour Party had changed its member’s manifesto.

I emphasize once more the great degree of dependency and discipline within the Labour Party. If you speak of the Labour Party then you must also speak of its extremely ossified structure and of the structure of the trades unions which belong to it which are also bureaucratic, ossified organisations. Thus you find quite a different structure from what you thought. It is impossible to remain inside the party and change this organisation in any way.

In the parliamentary arena one is in a very difficult situation in Britain. We are dealing with a country with a parliamentary tradition that goes back many years and with really democratic traditions. These traditions are rooted in the workers too and if you propose to them to participate in the elections in order to do damage to the Labour Party then the English workers would not understand such advice. That will not get through to them because they have been worked on by the bourgeois press. You cannot compare these experiences with experiences in Russia. In England every worker reads the bourgeois press. I myself have seen – and I was one of those speakers who came out most often on the question of the Russian Revolution that the most difficult thing to teach the workers was the attitude towards parliamentarism. They asked why the Constituent Assembly had been convened and then afterwards dispersed. I believe that the democratic prejudices which one will have to take into account are deeply rooted in the English workers. There is another reason why I am against the point of view taken here by the International. If one were to say to the parties that they should join the Labour Party and allow themselves to be tied by a common discipline and action one would thus give the fate of the English proletarian revolution into the hands of the old trades unions. All the arguments that have been advanced here are against that and one can see daily how difficult it is to breathe a new spirit into the old trades unions.

If the English Communists are required to affiliate to the Labour Party the fate of the trades unions and the soviets would thus be given into the hands of the old ossified trades unions. The special conditions must be taken into account under which people in Britain live. The most extreme points of view must be defended in politics. That was proved in the question of support for the soviet power in Britain and everywhere that it was a question of coming out boldly. I stand by my point of view and therefore ask you not to adopt the motion on entry into the Labour Party.

McLaine: What has been said here is nothing new because Comrade Pankhurst’s attitude towards parliamentarism in general is known. The decision proposed here to the Congress by the Commission is only a logical development of those decisions that have already been taken on other questions. It is no mere coincidence that precisely those who have come out most of all in favour of affiliation of the Communist Party to the Labour Party are the representatives of a country in which the dictatorship of the proletariat already exists. They were mainly Russian comrades. What is this Labour Party really? The Labour Party is nothing other than the political expression of the trade union-organised workers. The workers in the Labour Party defend the economic standpoint in one question or another. Nine tenths of those who belong to the Labour Party simultaneously belong to the trades unions.

Comrade Pankhurst’s example is childish. She has chosen the most reactionary of all trades unions. By and large there can be nobody who does not see that the workers, organised in the trades unions, are developing to the left. One can see the trade union movement change under the pressure of time and of events. One cannot regard the trades unions and their members as something eternally fixed. I remember the great strike of engineers in Manchester in 1917. Various comrades took part in it. The Communists emerged there and represented the standpoint of the strikers in the light of the Communist movement. We obtained the best possible results. In the beginning it was moved that the Labour Party itself should affiliate to the Communist International but the motion did not come to a vote. Nevertheless the fact that the question was raised aroused great political interest for this question was discussed everywhere in England, in all the sections of the Labour Party who otherwise never heard anything. A tremendous agitation was developed this way.

In contradiction to what has been said here and despite the fact that the BSP has become a member of the Labour Party, it still retains complete freedom of criticism. I myself and my party comrades have repeatedly criticised the press, and on other occasions at various congresses, the leaders of the Labour Party without that leading to any consequences at all. I insist on two points: first of all that the Labour Party is the political expression of the workers organised in the trades unions and must be conceived of as a political organisation, and secondly that within the Labour Party the supporters of another party retain their complete freedom of movement and of criticism.

Gallacher: I regret that this Congress has to concern itself with the same threadbare phrases that have been discussed for twenty years inside the British workers’ movement. And, moreover, on the part of the British Socialist Party that defended the same point of view that is defended here today. It is said that the particular reason that this affiliation to the Labour Party is encouraged is that it is thought possible thus to get into contact with the masses. We are in contact with the masses. One must distinguish between those who really want to get into contact with the masses and those who do not want to do so. [...] It was we who organised big demonstrations in Glasgow in Scotland. The greatest orators in England came to Scotland and tried to make social-patriotic speeches there. They had brought their clique with them – the worst section of the population. They had support. And although the representatives of the ILP suggested we should keep quiet, the comrades there managed to prevent the speakers in question from getting a hearing. The biggest popular meetings were organised although we didn’t want the speakers to get a hearing. I emphasize this kind of direct contact with the masses.

I refer to the experiences during the war, when the Scottish workers, despite the prevalent chauvinism, took good care that the wives and children of German internees were given the opportunity to live in a humane way while the other workers’ parties, whose freedom of action was limited by their bending to the bourgeoisie, could not participate in this. I should also like to point to the various internationally famous social-patriots like Thomas and Henderson who have betrayed the working class in a variety of ways. How would it look if we were to come out in the name of the same party whose representative Henderson is? I have clarified my views in my article against chauvinism. The paper which at the time was not prepared to publish this article was the Call. It was very strange to me to hear Comrade Lenin and others adopting the standpoint of Comrade McLaine here. The responsibility that Comrade McLaine has taken on himself is probably very weighty since he has converted the other communists to this point of view which does not correspond to their interests.

What matters is to bring the masses to an understanding of the present moment through agitation and through action. One should call forth the indignation of the proletariat, bring the masses to action by all ways and means, and not choose such diversions, such means that could divert them from their revolutionary struggle.

I shall close my speech with the appeal that the motion that is put here, and which would cause the Communist Party to distort its character, should not be accepted. I ask the comrades who represent the various parties here not to be too hasty in this question. We should be given the opportunity to found a true Communist Party on a true communist basis and to find the ways and means of speaking to the masses. Then they will be given the opportunity to decide this question too. It cannot be demanded of us that we should deny and work against everything for which we have been fighting for years. That is the decision between the revolutionary and the communist elements. The position of the Scottish comrades should not be made difficult and intolerable by a decision being forced upon them which they cannot defend in their position because it contradicts everything that they have defended previously in their lives and everything that they grew up with.

Lenin: Comrades, Comrade Gallacher began his speech by expressing regret at our having been compelled to listen here for the hundredth and the thousandth time to sentences that Comrade McLaine and other British comrades have reiterated a thousand times in speeches, newspapers and magazines. I think there is no need for regret. The old International used the method of referring such questions for decision to the individual parties in the countries concerned. That was a grave error. We may not be fully familiar with the conditions in one party or another, but in this case we are dealing with the principles underlying a Communist Party’s tactics. That is very important and, in the name of the Third International, we must herewith clearly state the communist point of view.

First of all, I should like to mention a slight inaccuracy on the part of Comrade McLaine, which cannot be agreed to. He called the Labour Party the political organisation of the trade union movement, and later repeated the statement when he said that the Labour Party is ‘the political expression of the workers organised in trades unions’. I have met the same view several times in the paper of the British Socialist Party. It is erroneous, and is partly the cause of the opposition, fully justified in some measure, coming from the British revolutionary workers. Indeed, the concepts ‘political department of the trades unions’ or ‘political expression’ of the trade union movement, are erroneous. Of course, most of the Labour Party’s members are working men. However, whether or not a party is really a political party of the workers does not depend solely upon a membership of workers but also upon the men that lead it, and the content of its actions and its political tactics. Only that determines whether we really have before us a political party of the proletariat. Regarded from this, the only correct point of view, the Labour Party is a thoroughly bourgeois party, because, although made up of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst kind of reactionaries at that, who act quite in the spirit of the bourgeoisie. It is an organisation of the bourgeoisie, which exists to systematically dupe the workers with the aid of the British Noses and Scheidemanns.

We have also heard another point of view, defended by Comrade Sylvia Pankhurst and Comrade Gallacher, who have voiced their opinion in the matter. What was the substance of the speeches delivered by Gallacher and many of his friends? They have told us that they are insufficiently linked with the masses. But take the instance of the British Socialist Party, they went on. It is still less linked with the masses and it is a very weak party. Comrade Gallacher has told us here how he and his comrades have organised, and done so really splendidly, the revolutionary movement in Glasgow, in Scotland, how in their wartime tactics they manoeuvred skilfully, how they gave able support to the petty-bourgeois pacifists Ramsay MacDonald and Snowden when they come to Glasgow, and used this support to organise a mass movement against the war.

It is our aim to integrate this new and excellent revolutionary movement – represented here by Comrade Gallacher and his friends – into a Communist Party with genuinely communist, i.e., Marxist tactics. That is our task today. On the one hand, the British Socialist Party is too weak and incapable of properly carrying on agitation among the masses; on the other hand, we have the younger revolutionary elements so well represented here by Comrade Gallacher, who, although in touch with the masses, are not a political party, and in this sense are even weaker than the British Socialist Party and are totally unable to organise their political work. Under these circumstances, we must express our frank opinion on the correct tactics. When, in speaking of the British Socialist Party, Comrade Gallacher said that is is ‘hopelessly reformist’, he was undoubtedly exaggerating. But the general tenor and content of all the resolutions we have adopted here show with absolute clarity that we demand a change, in this spirit, in the tactics of the British Socialist Party; the only correct tactics of Gallacher’s friends will consist in their joining the Communist Party without delay, so as to modify its tactics in the spirit of the resolutions adopted here. If you have so many supporters that you are able to organise mass meetings in Glasgow, it will not be difficult for you to bring more than ten thousand new members into the Party. The latest Conference of the British Socialist Party, held in London three or four days ago, decided to assume the name of the Communist Party and introduced into its programme a clause providing for participation in parliamentary elections and affiliation to the Labour Party. Ten thousand organised members were represented at the Conference. It will therefore not be at all difficult for the Scottish comrades to bring into this ‘Communist Party of Great Britain’ more than ten thousand revolutionary workers who are better versed in the art of working among the masses, and thus to modify the old tactics of the British Socialist Party in the sense of better agitation and more revolutionary action.

In the Commission, Comrade Sylvia Pankhurst pointed out several times that Britain needed ‘Lefts’. I, of course, replied that this was absolutely true, but that one must not overdo this ‘Leftism’. Furthermore she said that they were better pioneers, but for the moment were rather noisy. I do not take this in a bad sense, but rather in a good one, namely, that they are better able to carry on revolutionary agitation. We do and should value this. We expressed this in all our resolutions, for we always emphasize that we can consider a party to be a workers’ party only when it is really linked up with the masses and fights against the old and thoroughly corrupt leaders, against both the right-wing chauvinists and those who, like the Right Independents in Germany, take up an intermediate position. We have asserted and reiterated this a dozen times and more in all our resolutions, which means that we demand a transformation of the old party, in the sense of bringing it closer to the masses.

Sylvia Pankhurst also asked: ‘Is it possible for a Communist Party to join another political party which still belongs to the Second International?’ She replied that it was not. It should, however, be borne in mind that the British Labour Party is in a very special position: it is a highly original type of party, or rather, it is not at all a party in the ordinary sense of the word. It is made up of members of all trades unions, and has a membership of about four million, and allows sufficient freedom to all affiliated political parties. It thus includes a vast number of British workers who follow the lead of the worst bourgeois elements, the social-traitors, who are even worse than Scheidemann, Noske and similar people.

At the same time, however, the Labour Party has let the British Socialist Party into its ranks, permitting it to have its own press organs, in which members of the selfsame Labour Party can freely and openly declare that the party leaders are social-traitors. Comrade McLaine has cited quotations from such statements by the British Socialist Party. I, too, can certify that I have seen in The Call, organ of the British Socialist Party, statements that the Labour Party leaders are social-patriots and social-traitors. This shows that a party affiliated to the Labour Party is able, not only to severely criticise but openly and specifically to mention the old leaders by name, and call them social-traitors. This is a very original situation: a party which unites enormous masses of workers, so that it might seem a political party, is nevertheless obliged to grant its members complete latitude. Comrade McLaine has told us here that, at the Labour Party Conference, the British Scheidemanns were obliged to openly raise the question of affiliation to the Third International, and that an party branches and sections were obliged to discuss the matter. In such circumstances, it would be a mistake not to join this party.

In a private talk, Comrade Pankhurst said to me: ‘If we are real revolutionaries and join the Labour Party, these gentlemen will expel us.’ But that would not be bad at all. Our resolution says that we favour affiliation insofar as the Labour Party permits sufficient freedom of criticism. On that point we are absolutely consistent. Comrade McLaine has emphasised that the conditions now prevailing in Britain are such that, should it so desire, a political party may remain a revolutionary workers’ party even if it is connected with a special kind of labour organisation of four million members, which is half trade union and half political and is headed by bourgeois leaders. In such circumstances it would be highly erroneous for the best revolutionary elements not to do everything possible to remain in such a party. Let the Thomases and other social-traitors, whom you have called by that name, expel you. That will have an excellent effect upon the mass of the British workers.

The comrades have emphasised that the labour aristocracy is stronger in Britain than in any other country. That is true. After all, the labour aristocracy has existed in Britain, not for decades but for centuries. The British bourgeoisie, which has had far more experience – democratic experience – than that of any other country, has been able to buy workers over and to create among them a sizeable stratum, greater than in any other country, but one that is not so great compared with the masses of the workers. This stratum is thoroughly imbued with bourgeois prejudices and pursues a definitely bourgeois-reformist policy. In Ireland, for instance, there are two hundred thousand British soldiers who are applying ferocious terror methods to suppress the Irish. The British socialists are not conducting any revolutionary propaganda among these soldiers, though our resolutions clearly state that we can accept into the Communist International only those British parties that conduct genuinely revolutionary propaganda among the British workers and soldiers. I emphasize that we have heard no objections to this either here or in the Commissions.

Comrades Gallacher and Sylvia Pankhurst cannot deny that. They cannot refute the fact that, in the ranks of the Labour Party, the British Socialist Party enjoys sufficient freedom to write that certain leaders of the Labour Party are traitors; that these old leaders represent the interests of the bourgeoisie; that they are agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement. They cannot deny all this because it is the absolute truth. When Communists enjoy such freedom, it is their duty to join the Labour Party if they take due account of the experience of revolutionaries in all countries, not only of the Russian revolution (for here we are not at a Russian congress but at one that is international). Comrade Gallacher has said ironically that in the present instance we are under the influence of the British Socialist Party. That is not true; it is the experience of all revolutions in all countries that has convinced us. We think that we must say that to the masses. The British Communist Party must retain the freedom necessary to expose and criticise the betrayers of the working class, who are much more powerful in Britain than in any other country. This is readily understandable.

Comrade Gallacher is wrong in asserting that by advocating affiliation to the Labour Party we shall repel the best elements among the British workers. We must test this by experience. We are convinced that all the resolutions and decisions that will be adopted by our Congress will be published in all British revolutionary socialist newspapers and that all the branches and sections will be able to discuss them. The entire content of our resolutions shows with crystal clarity that we are representatives of working-class revolutionary tactics in all countries and that our aim is to fight against the old reformism and opportunism. The events reveal that our tactics are indeed defeating the old reformism. In that case the finest revolutionary elements in the working class, who are dissatisfied with the slow progress being made – and progress in Britain will perhaps be slower than in other countries – will all come over to us. Progress is slow because the British bourgeoisie are in a position to create better conditions for the labour aristocracy and thereby to retard the revolutionary movement in Britain. That is why the British comrades should strive, not only to revolutionise the masses – they are doing that splendidly (as Comrade Gallacher has shown), but must at the same time strive to create a real working-class political party. Comrade Gallacher and Comrade Sylvia Pankhurst, who have both spoken here, do not as yet belong to a revolutionary Communist Party. That excellent proletarian organisation, the Shop Stewards’ movement, has not yet joined a political party. If you organise politically you will find that our tactics are based on a correct understanding of political developments in the past decades, and that a real revolutionary party can be created only when it absorbs the best elements of the revolutionary class and uses every opportunity to fight the reactionary leaders, wherever they show themselves.

If the British Communist Party starts by acting in a revolutionary manner in the Labour Party, and if the Hendersons are obliged to expel this Party, that will be a great victory for the communist and revolutionary working-class movement in Britain.

Zinoviev: A vote must now be taken on the question of the entry of the English parties into the Labour Party. All those in favour of the Commission’s motion, that is to say for affiliation to the Labour Party, please raise your hands. [The motion is adopted by 58 votes to 24 with 2 abstentions.]

We now wish to take the vote on the whole resolution but first to give the floor to some comrades to make statements.

Serrati: I declare that I shall vote against the theses because of the attitude on the English and American question and because of the criticisms that have been made of the leadership of the Italian Party. I should not like to hold up the Congress with a long statement but I shall hand over a long statement to the Presidium for the minutes.

Graziadei: We propose that the 17th thesis should be formulated as follows:

‘As far as the Italian Socialist Party is concerned the Second Congress of the Communist International recognises that the revision of the programme that the Bologna Party Congress adopted in the last year marks an important stage in its transformation to communism, and that the proposals that were presented to the General Council of the Party by the Turin section, and published on May 8, 1920 in the newspaper Ordine Nuovo, are in agreement with the fundamental principles of communism. The Congress asks the Socialist Party of to check the above proposals and all the decisions of the two Congresses of the Communist International, particularly those concerning parliamentary action, the trades unions and the non-communist elements in the Party, at the next Congress which has to take place on the basis of the Statutes and the general conditions of affiliation to the Communist International.
Signed., Graziadei, Bombacci, Polano.’

Zinoviev: On behalf of three members of the Russian delegation, Lenin, Bukharin and myself, I declare that we accept this wording by Graziadei and hope that the majority of the Commission will also accept this wording.

Wijnkoop: I should like to state here that I shall vote for these Theses although they are against my views on the English question, because they take up a very sharp position against the opportunists and because, in the Commission, they were sharpened up even further precisely on the Italian question.

Serrati: Despite the statement that has now been made by Graziadei and the members of the Commission, I still stand by my statement that in fact there is no difference between what has been said in the Theses and what has been said now. Perhaps a lawyer could read a difference in or out of it but we are not a Congress of lawyers but of communists. These theses mean a disavowal of the Italian Party leadership and of Avanti. We should say that straight out.

Zinoviev: I must state that Serrati is right. In fact it is the same. But this is a proposal by the Italian comrades and we have gone halfway to meet it. We are always prepared to make concessions in form for comrades who want to fight against lawyers and say on this question the members of the Commission and the Congress are on the S side of Comrade Serrati.

Bordiga: On behalf of the left wing of the Italian party I declare that I am not at all concerned with the form or the style but only with the content.

And I believe what emerges from all the speeches made by Lenin and Zinoviev is that the Italian party is being criticised because at the Bologna Congress it did not do its duty on the question of parliamentary activity. Should the Italian party have the opportunity to do justice to the obligations it has assumed here it will do so. The Central Committee will be able to gain acceptance of the decisions that have been taken here.

Zinoviev: We now come to the vote on the Theses as a whole. [The Theses are adopted with 3 votes against and 1 abstention.]

The question is thus settled.