Lessons of Comintern and contemporary goals, report of RCWP at international conference “Comintern-100”
Dear comrades in arms!
Let me greet you on behalf of Russian Communist Workers Party on the land of Great October Socialist Revolution, the land where on initiative of Lenin there was created and developed Communist International was.
Representatives of a number of communist parties from across the world have assembled today at our conference. These are the parties that have retained their allegiance to the great revolutionary teaching of Marxism-Leninism, that still treat Marxism as science and retain its revolutionary proletarian nature. We’ve met in order to commemorate the glorious centennial anniversary of Communist International creation. Still our task is not limited to just celebrating this anniversary, the more so that we actually have to celebrate this date under conditions of reaction. We’ve been in defense against advancing forces of Imperialism in most of countries. That’s why our task is to take lessons from the experience of our predecessors, to implement their experience under contemporary conditions of struggle.
Internationalism is not only an essential feature of Marxism as of any genuine science, it is also main indispensable condition and means of reaching communist goals. This is stipulated unequivocally and clear in our ABC book, in the Communist Manifesto: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”
Marx and Engels founded the First International – International Workingmen Association (1864 – 1876). That organization had sections in different countries and called for international solidarity of workers. The statutory manifesto of the 1-st International was compiled in line with the spirit of the Communist Manifesto and it became important document to determine the goals and organize the struggle of workers class. Marx and Engels led theoretical fight against petty-bourgeois concepts inside the International, because those concepts tried to retain workers movement within the limits of Economism, i.e. to limit workers’ struggle down to momentary economical demands. Those concepts also aimed at preventing independent workers’ politics, at imposing on them ideas of Anarchism and at distancing workers’ class from the implementation of its own independent historical mission.
Awakening of trade unions’ activity on both local and international levels and giving their activities political nature is undisputed merit of the 1-st International. An impact was given to the perception of necessity to create workers’ political parties that was most clearly visible based on the experience of the Commune of Paris’ analysis
The 2nd International was created with active involvement of Engels in 1889 in the period of workers movement’s sweeping development. Marxism was turning into dominant trend in workers movement while overcoming anarcho-syndicalist, reformist and other opportunist forces. The joint effort of parties was aimed at elaborating common understanding of goals and methods of the struggle. Nevertheless, the decisions taken on the congresses of International were not obligatory for each of the national parties. That International didn’t act as an international revolutionary center because there wasn’t created any unified ruling body, or common program, or Charter, there was also no common printed edition. The sad end of the 2-nd International is well known.
The 3rd, Communist International was created in 1919 as a reaction of revolutionary Marxists to the betrayal of the leaders of the 2nd. All the Social-Democratic parties of the 2nd International proclaimed verbally their adherence to internationalism, they even recognized and signed corresponding petitions. Still, all this proved to be words only. As soon as the imperialistic war broke out, almost all the leaders of those parties found themselves in the ranks of defenders of their own Motherlands, of their “own” bourgeoisie. Bourgeois nationalism proved to be of higher priority to them than proletarian internationalism and the interest of bourgeoisie in their countries proved to be more important than the interests of international workers’ movement were. Former comrades turned into bitter adversaries. The majority of the 2nd International leaders came over to the hostile camp of Imperialism, whereas some of them became Military Ministers. Their betrayal didn’t come as a surprise, quite the opposite – that was rather the result of their reformist politics and cooperation with bourgeoisie in the time of peace and the “defense of bourgeois Motherland” in war times. Reformism gave birth to social chauvinism. Bolsheviks in Russia led by V.I. Lenin were prominent exception. All six Bolshevik MPs from Russian Duma were imprisoned and exiled to Siberia. Internationalists of Spartacus League in Germany (Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and others) as well as the Tesnyaki group of Bulgarian worker Socialist. All the rest of the old parties was overwhelmed by the powerful wave of opportunism.
2nd International actually crashed, and this the first lesson that we should learn reads as follows: under certain circumstances nationalistic prejudices may prove to be stronger than correct theoretical views are. The conclusion of V.I. Lenin “the struggle with Imperialism is an empty false phrase unless it is inextricably linked to the struggle with opportunism” is still valid nowadays.
Only a small section of revolutionary Marxists didn’t betray working class then. Those who formed the left group of Zimmerwald were only few of them. Still, their arguments were so persuasive and their selfless struggle for the workers’ cause was so obvious, that they were able to achieve the main goal – to win to their side the most conscious strata of proletariat. This conscious proletariat was able to create their own parties in many countries of the world – those were communist Marxist-Leninist parties. Here is yet another conclusion: principal politics are the most correct and effective ones, however difficult they may be.
Sure, that victorious October Socialist Revolution and the successful socialist construction in USSR influenced a lot the development of workers and communist movement across the world. Nevertheless, we understand and remember well the huge role of international workers’ solidarity in the victory of the revolution. this is yet another important lesson: the slogan by Marx and Engels “”Proletarians of all countries, unite!” is of extremely high import in the epoch of revolutionary battles. Its significance for the coming battles will be undoubtedly even stronger.
With the creation of Comintern communists got their own pole in workers’ movement, that was clearly defined in the field of ideology and organized, whereas social-democrats actually turned into accomplices of Imperialism that were busy with its stabilization, improvement and mitigation, its humanization, with treating its sores and saving it in times of crisis and intensification of class struggle.
Comintern’s development and strengthening wasn’t an easy process, there were acute discussions on the tactics within Comintern, whereas it had both successes and failures. Still the main criterion of any occurrence in political life is success. We are of the opinion that the victory in the mortal battle between Fascism and Socialism in the WWII was the main achievement of Comintern. It was exactly for the purpose of fighting Communism that world Imperialism nourished Hitler’s Fascism and the allied dark forces that were supposed to be immediately directed to march against USSR. Hitler exactly called the union of Fascists created in 1936 Anti-Comintern Pact. It was exactly on the Eastern Front where Fascists broke their teeth against the resistance of Soviet people. Soviet people and its Workers and Peasants’ Red Army provided main contribution to the rout of Fascism and to the victory. We are also well aware of the tremendous role that partisan units and resistance groups in occupied territories had for the victory. We also know well that those forces were led in the majority of cases by communists. You, comrades also know these facts very well. We also know that those forces of resistance acted under the guidance of exactly Comintern. This glorious fact of Comintern’s history cannot be disputed.
That’s why the co-ordination of communists in various countries, the unity of their actions is so important at present. Communists belonging to Marxist-Leninist parties has long ago realize this necessity. In 1997 communists from 36 parties signed the Declaration “October-80”, where they described the main reasons for struggle and its basic principles after the defeat of Socialism in USSR. Regular meetings of communist and workers parties within the framework of Solidnet have taken place since 1998, these meetings started on initiative of the Communist Party of Greece. Nevertheless, one should remember that historically these forums are a meeting place of any sorts of parties where Marxists often meet and sit together with those who distort Marxism. Standing rules of these meetings sometimes allow opportunists to block the entrance of genuine Marxist organizations to the system of Solidnet. We can see a certain trend when various populist, patriotic and progressive organizations join the system of Solidnet. That is the communist nucleus of this system is not properly formed and it doesn’t determine the direction of work. An urgent need to consolidate exactly communist forces has been felt. later, 10 years ago a number of communist parties signed Declaration of Istanbul where they proclaimed the necessity to create the communist pole in our movement as opposed to the advancing opportunism. Since then we’ve been steadily moving towards further convergence of our positions.
Magazine “International Communist Review” founded based on the Declaration of Istanbul plays an important role in this convergence. In annual issues of the magazine since 10 years ago there have been published articles dedicated to agreed themes, these articles prepared by each party that are members of the editing board as well as by their allies. These articles are subject to meticulous joint discussions that allow solving certain acute problems of theory and struggle in our countries. The composition of the editing board is not permanent, as some of the parties have given up revolutionary Marxism. Still even more parties have joined us, our creative theoretical work. This magazine is undoubtedly in a position to become recognized mouthpiece of international communist movement, namely of its orthodox, revolutionary section.
Foundation of European Communist Initiative in 2013 proved a big step towards creation of the communist pole, this body intended to study European issues and develop coordination of their activities. Here is meant the struggle against imperialism and its adepts, first of all the struggle against these belonging to the party of European Left. ECI is now composed of more than 30 parties, and the atmosphere there is much more left, as if to say more communist if compared with the meetings within Solidnet. Documents adopted by ECI organizations have become a recognized, weighty factor of international politics. The influence of ECI has been undoubtedly growing.
Our movement in the direction of unity was marked by yet another step when in 2017 40 communist parties met at international conference in Leningrad organized by RCWP to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and adopted a joint declaration “October-100”.
Our party carries out also our own studies of Comintern’s history of creation and its activities. A team of our theoreticians, ideologists, historians and political writers meticulously studies all the details of this work and issues a series of theoretical, analytical articles where the entire history of Comintern is thoroughly analyzed based on scientific data and archive documents. The main goal of these studies is not only revelation of new details and facts, but rather analysis, the analysis of concrete historical circumstances under which given decision had been taken, clarification why exactly those decisions were taken then and what import they could have pertaining to the present situation. Such articles have been published at our party site on a weekly basis. There have been publish 15 articles dedicated to the subject of “Comintern-100” some more are in the making.
We should mention that Comintern never acted dogmatically. It’s not for nothing that prominent thinkers from various countries and parties were listed among its leadership. The tactics elaborated by both Comintern’s congresses and by its Executive Committee was flexible whereas it was created in full compliance to the laws of logics and history. Those tactics were only changed depending on the changing situation, for all that, our predecessors always adhered to the basics of Marxist-Leninist science. It doesn’t mean that Comintern always took only the best possible decisions and there were no mistakes. There might be some mistakes. Still if any, those were the mistakes committed in the course of the struggle. These were mistakes by parties and people moving under extremely difficult circumstances along the unknown path and not the rejection of Marxist science and not the apostasy under the guise of Marxism’s modernizing – habitual occupation of all opportunists.
There is disagreements between our parties regarding assessment of a number of Comintern’s decisions. As we understand, the most acute discussions may arise while considering the following issues: the tactics of creating Antifascist National Fronts before and in the course of the WWII; sure it’s the issue of consensus by all the parties of Comintern over the issue of its self-dissolution; the strategy and tactics of peaceful coexistence right after the rout of Fascism. Our party comprehensively studies these issues and we are ready to share our views regarding the reasons for those decision takings (corresponding separate reports that will be handed over to comrades). We can argue and this would be even useful. Still these disagreements shouldn’t cast a shadow on the main issue: i.e. the work of Comintern aimed at implementing the idea itself – the idea of practical realization the strategic slogan: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”
Our party is of the opinion that while going on studying history and experience of Comintern we should put into use the things that are unequivocally considered joint achievement of international communist movement.
Sure, it would be only logical to start with comparison of historical situations. Meanwhile our situation in many ways resembles the one observed at the time of the 2nd International crash – the most powerful wave of opportunism has swamped communist and left movement. More than that, contemporary opportunism and revisionism that used be a sort of internal, conscientious and understandable delusions only natural for a period of communist movement’s growth, now have turned into well organized and controlled weapon of bourgeoisie. The utmost manifestation of this politics is the party of European Left. This ideological and organizational center of revisionists exists on EU’s money, follows its laws and assists strengthening of EU’s imperialism.
Based on comparison of the situations it would be only logical for us to address Lenin’s experience of creating Comintern and to think together about our reply to these opportunism and apostasy.
WE believe it’s useful and necessary to recall and mark the elaboration of such statutory document as 21 conditions of entrance to Comintern. V.I. Lenin started to work on those conditions as early as from the very beginning of Comintern’s existence. Later they were comprehensibly discussed and amended, whereas the final version was finally completed and adopted at the 2nd Congress of Comintern in 1920. These conditions represent a tool that allows resolutely breaking with opportunists. To certain extent, they played a role Charter, whose aim was not only restricting the number of participants, but their goal was rather setting a landmark for the parties that were striving to elevate themselves to the level of the parties that were most revolutionary, most prepared for the revolutionary battles. These conditions were and still are the beacon, the lodestar for the entire communist movement. Contemporary communists should study them and try to match their activities against them. This is yet another lesson for contemporary communists.
Nevertheless, comrades we have to tell that in our opinion we haven’t yet reached that level, that high mark of Leninist party that was set by Comintern. This is the reason why we are not yet ready to put forward the proposal on immediate unification within new Communist International, as many good and impatient comrades aspire. In 1919, Comintern was created as a united worldwide communist party aimed at preparation and performing world revolution. One might view those plans with a bit of irony nowadays, still our predecessors had reasons to consider the issues exactly this way.
That was not just dreaming, those were dreams supported by the experience of the most stubborn selfless struggle, the struggle that included the rise of revolutionary movement in Europe, attempts of workers’ insurrections in Finland (1918), in Germany (1918-1923) and Hungary (1919) as well as workers’ activities all over the world, their strikes, demonstrations and boycotts of ammunition transportation at the time of imperialistic intervention of 14 states in Russian civil war.
Now we have quite different situation. The main task of the majority of the parties nowadays is strengthening our own ranks both ideologically, politically, by establishing ties with the masses, by merging with our class and by development of workers’ movement.
We believe that we haven’t yet reached the goals as specified in the declaration of Istanbul. Co-ordination of our activities is not sufficient, our reports at international forums, in particular at annual meetings within Solidnet system are not properly interconnected. The most important international issues and the issues of communist politics are usually discussed between us at our rare meetings only. Opportunism has been strengthening itself and advancing, whereas we’ve been in a passive position of defense.
This is the reason why we believe it’s high time for us all to discuss what additional steps should be taken at this stage to ensure the unity of our actions as well as the movement in the direction of the organizational unity up to creating new Communist International, however distant this future may be. We are well aware of the difficulties awaiting us on this way. Still, when were communists afraid of difficulties?
That’s why on suggestion by Russian Communist Workers Party, Communist Party of the Soviet Union initiated this international conference of the parties that are very close to each other and actually represent the emerging communist pole. This conference is dedicated to exactly centennial anniversary of Communist International. We should analyze the experience of our predecessors, clarify certain difficult issues pertaining to their activities and learn corresponding lessons from all the principles, decisions, tactics and strategy of the Communist International.
We’d like to have less ceremonial speeches and praises of Comintern at our conference. We’d like to focus not only upon historical aspects, but rather achieve the main goal i.e. based on the experience of Comintern we should carry out business discussion on our movement into the future, on concrete actions aimed at strengthening and consolidation of the communist pole. How should we all together move over to practice?
RCWP is of the opinion that first we should further develop available forms of interaction while focusing upon practical aspects of several most important directions:
– We should jointly concentrate on theoretical aspects of struggle against opportunism as an integral and indispensable part of the struggle against imperialism, presentations of the analysis to be coordinated at various international forums whenever possible.
– Organization of workers’ movement and trade unionist struggle should not only become the issue that unites us, but it should also be turned into instrument of strengthening our parties, of expansion their influence over working masses in each country.
– There is an urgent need of joint analysis and elaboration of preferably joint assessment of such complex occurrences influencing world events as theory and practice of socialist construction in China as well as Bolivarian model of XXI Socialism.
– Keeping constant relations between our parties and mutual assistance in the course of strengthening each party’s position on national level as a obligatory condition for strengthening of the communist pole.
Let’s study, remember and follow the undying principles of Marxism-Leninism as embodied in the activities of Bolsheviks and Communist International created by them.
Long live revolutionary Marxism!
Get down the dictatorship of bourgeoisie!
Long live irreconcilable struggle against all types of opportunism!
There shouldn’t be any limits for revolution!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
Proletarians of all countries, unite!