"A Manifesto to the Peoples of the East"
Internatsional, no. 15 (Petrograd, December 20, 1920)
Transcribed: for marxists.org by Sam Berner 2008.
PEOPLES OF THE EAST
Six years ago, there broke out in Europe a colossal and
monstrous carnage, a world war in which 35,000,000 human lives were lost,
hundreds of major cities and thousands of villages destroyed, European countries
devastated, and all the peoples were subjected to the torment of unheard-of
poverty and unprecedented starvation.
Up to the present time, this colossal war has been waged in
Europe, only partially affecting Asia and Africa.
This war was waged by the European peoples and the peoples of
the East took a relatively small part in it: only the forces of hundreds of
thousands of Turkish peasants who were deceived by their rulers and led by
German capitalists, and from two to three million Indians and Negroes - slaves,
bought by English and French capitalists and, as slaves, hurled to death on the
fardistant, foreign battlefields of France, in defense of the foreign, and to
them, unintelligible interests of English and French bankers and industrialists.
Although the peoples of the East remained aloof from this
gigantic war, although they took only a insignificant part in it, nevertheless,
this carnage was waged, not for the countries of Europe, not for the countries
and peoples of the West, but for the countries and peoples of the East.
It was waged for the partition of the entire world, and
mainly for the partition of Asia, for the partition of the East. It was waged in
order to determine who will control the Asiatic countries, whose slaves the
peoples of the East will be.
It was waged in order to determine precisely who, the English
or the German capitalists, will skin the Turkish, Persian, Egyptian, and Indian
peasants and workers.
The monstrous four years of carnage ended in a victory for
England and France. The German capitalists were crushed, and along with them the
entire German people were likewise crushed, destroyed, and doomed to death by
starvation. Victorious France, where the war almost wiped out the entire adult
population and destroyed all the industrialized areas, bled in the struggle and
after the victory remained completely powerless. And as a result of the
colossal, barbaric carnage, imperialist England emerged the sole and
all-powerful master of Europe and Asia. She, alone, in all Europe was still able
to muster sufficient strength, for she waged the war with foreign hands, with
the hands of the peoples she had enslaved, Indians and Negroes, and at the
expense of her oppressed colonies.
Having emerged the victor and the complete ruler and master
of half the world, the English government began to carry out the objectives for
which the war was waged: it began to consolidate its hold on all the Asiatic
countries and to bring about the complete enslavement of all the peoples of the
With none to interfere and fearing no one, the junta of
greedy bankers and capitalists at the head of the English government quite
openly and brazenly put aside all shame and began to reduce to slavery the
peasants and workers of the countries of the East.
Peoples of the East! You know what England has done in India;
you know how she transformed the multimillion masses of Indian peasants and
workers into unprivileged and dumb driven beasts.
The Indian peasant is obliged to give up to the English
government so much of his crop that the remainder does not suffice him even for
a few months. The Indian worker must work in the factory of the English
capitalist for such a pittance that he cannot buy with it the handful of rice
necessary for his daily subsistence. Millions of Indians die from starvation
annually. Every year millions of Indians perish in the swamps and jungles from
hard labor, undertaken by the English capitalists for their own enrichment.
Millions of Indians, having failed to obtain their daily
bread in their own very rich and fertile native land, are forced to enter the
English army and go away, in order to eke out for the rest of their lives a
difficult soldier's existence and to wage endless wars in all corners of the
world with all the peoples of the world, establishing everywhere ruthless
English domination. Buying with their lives and blood an unending increase in
wealth for the English capitalists, insuring them huge profits, luxury, and
prosperity, the Indians themselves do not enjoy any human rights; the powers
that be - the English officers, insolent sons of the English bourgeoisie which
grew fat on Indian corpses - do not recognize them as people.
The Indian does not dare to sit at the same table with an
Englishman, use the same quarters, travel in the same coach, study in the same
school. In the eyes of the English bourgeois, every Indian is a pariah, a slave,
a beast of burden, who does not dare to experience any human feelings, does not
dare to make any demands. To each uprising brought about by the extremities of
the Indian peasants and workers, the English retaliate with ruthless mass
shootings. The streets of those Indian villages which revolted are covered with
hundreds of corpses and those who remain alive are compelled by the English
officers for their own amusement to crawl on their bellies and to lick the boots
of their enslavers.
Peoples of the East! You know what England has done to Turkey
England has offered Turkey a peace by which three-fourths of Asia Minor,
inhabited exclusively by Ottomans, including all the industrial cities, has gone
to France, England, Italy, and Greece; and on the remainder of the Turkish land
they have levied such taxes that the Ottomans have become perpetually insolvent,
and have to pay tribute forever to England.
When the Turkish people refused to accept such a disastrous
peace, the English occupied Istanbul, sacred to the Muslims, drove out the
Turkish Parliament, arrested all the people's leaders, shot the best of them,
and exiled hundreds of others to the island of Malta, where they were imprisoned
in the dark and damp dungeon of an old fortress. Now the English reign in
Constantinople. From the Turks they have taken everything that it was possible
to take. They have taken money, banks, factories and foundries, railroads and
ships, and have cut off all access to Asia Minor. There is not a piece of
material, not a piece of metal in Turkey. The Turkish peasant is forced to go
without a shirt and he must plough the land with a wooden plough.
The English, with the aid of the Greek army, occupied the
vilayet of Smyrna; with the aid of the French, Adana; and with the colonials,
Bursa and Izmit. They have besieged the Turks on every side and are moving
steadily into the interior of the country, attempting to bring about the
complete exhaustion of the Turkish people, who, even aside from that, have been
tormented and devastated by ten uninterrupted wars. And in Turkish areas already
occupied by the English, the latter, true to their custom, scoff and jeer
intolerably at the Turkish people. In Constantinople they occupied all the
schools and universities for their own barracks, they forbade Turkish education,
closed up Turkish newspapers, destroyed workers' organizations, filled the jails
with Turkish patriots, and handed over the entire population to the uncontrolled
jurisdiction of the English police, which regards itself as having the right,
without any pretext, and in broad daylight in the streets of Constantinople to
club over the head people wearing a fez. To the English bourgeois, one who wears
a fez, one who is a Turk, is a creature of the lowest species, a pariah, a
slave, who can be treated as a dog.
In Turkish occupied localities, the English indeed treat the
Turks like dogs, sending them to forced labor, and punishing them by beating
them up with a stick. By every ruse, baseness, and compulsion they strive to
transform Turkey into a conquered country and to compel the Turkish people's
masses to work for their enrichment.
Peoples of the East! What has England done to Persia Having
suppressed the peasant uprising against the Shah and the landowners, having shot
and hanged thousands upon thousands of Persian peasants, the English capitalists
have again restored the power of the Shah and the landowners who had been
overthrown by the people, they have deprived the peasants of the landowners'
lands which they had seized, and have again reduced them to the status of
slaves, have again reduced them to rayalis and unprivileged slaves of the
And then, having bribed the Shah's corrupt government, the
English capitalists, by means of a base and treacherous treaty, obtained
complete ownership of all Persia, with the entire Persian people. They have
seized all Persian wealth, stationed in all Persian cities garrisons composed of
deceived Indians and Sepoys, bought into slavery, and they have begun to run
Persia as a conquered country, treating the independent (in name) Persian people
as a people reduced to serfdom.
Peoples of the East! What has England done to Mesopotamia and
Arabia Without any ado, she declared these independent Muslim countries to be
her own colonies, drove from the land the former owners, the Arabs, deprived
them of the best fertile valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, deprived them of
the best pastures indispensable to subsistence, took away the richest oil
resources of Mosul and Basra, and thus depriving the Arabs of all means of
subsistence, counted on starvation to make them her slaves.
What has England done to Palestine, where, at first, to
please the Anglo-Jewish capitalists, she drove the Arabs from their lands in
order to transfer these lands to the Jewish settlers, and then in order to
provide an outlet for the discontent of the Arabs, she turned them against the
very Jewish settlements she had established, sowing discord, hostility, and
resentment among the various tribes, weakening both sides, in order to rule and
What has England done to Egypt, where the entire native
population already for the eighth decade is sighing under the heavy yoke of the
English capitalists, a yoke even heavier and more ruinous for the people than
the past yoke of the Egyptian pharaohs, who with the labor of their slaves built
the huge pyramids
What has England done to China This enormous country she,
together with her partner, imperialistic Japan, transformed into her own colony,
exploiting and poisoning with opium the 300,000,000 people; and with the aid of
her own and Japanese forces, she suppresses with unheard-of atrocities the
revolutionary ferment which is beginning. By restoring the old despots
overthrown by the people, she tries with all her strength to hold the
multimillion people under the yoke of despotism, oppression, and poverty, in
order to exploit them more successfully.
What has England done to Korea, to this flourishing country
with its thousand years of culture She handed her over to be devoured by
Japanese capitalists, who now by fire and sword subjugate the Korean people to
English and Japanese capital.
What has England done to Afghanistan where, by bribing the
Emir's government, she holds the people in oppression, poverty, and ignorance,
trying to make this country into something resembling a desert, and by means of
this desert to fence in India, which she has oppressed, from any contact with
the outside world
What is England doing in Armenia and Georgia where, with her
gold, she holds the masses of peasants and workers under the yoke of the hated
and corrupt Dashnak and Menshevik governments which terrorize and oppress their
own peoples and drive them to fight against the peoples of Azerbaijan and
Russia, liberated from the yoke of the bourgeoisie
Even into Turkestan, Khiva, Bokhara, Azerbaijan, Daghestan,
and the Northern Caucasus, English imperialism penetrates; its agents poke their
noses into everything, distribute with a generous hand English gold obtained
with the blood and sweat of oppressed peoples, and everywhere they try to
support tyrants and despots, khans and landlords, to fight the budding
revolutionary movement, and to hold at any cost all the peoples in oppression,
ruin, poverty, and ignorance.
The oppression and ruination, poverty and ignorance of the
peoples of the East serve as sources of enrichment for imperialist England.
Peoples of the East! To you belong the richest, the most
fertile, the most extensive lands of the entire world; these lands, once the
cradle of all mankind, could feed not only their own inhabitants, but also the
population of the whole world; nevertheless, every year 10,000,000 Turkish and
Persian peasants and workers now find for themselves neither a crust of bread
nor employment on their own most fertile and spacious lands, and are compelled
to leave their native land and to seek subsistence in foreign countries.
They are forced to do that because in their native land
everything - lands, money, banks, factories, and shops - all these are in the
hands of the English capitalists. They are compelled to do that because in their
native country they are not the masters and do not dare to give any orders; on
the contrary, the foreigners - the English capitalists - give them orders. Such
was the situation formerly, such it was prior to the war, when imperialist
England still had rivals in the rapacious German, French, and Russian
imperialists, when she did not yet dare to clamp her paws on all the countries
of the East, fearing that she might receive a blow on her extended paws from
some rapacious rival.
But now, when imperialist England has crushed and weakened
all her rivals, when she has become the complete master of Europe and Asia, now
her ruling capitalists will give way to all their wolfish appetites and without
restraint, without shame, will sink their rapacious fangs and claws into the
bleeding body of the peoples of the East.
English capital is cramped in Europe, it has grown, it lacks
opportunity, and European workers, enlightened by revolutionary consciousness,
likewise become bad slaves; already they refuse to work for nothing, they demand
good wages, good food. In order that capital may have elbow room, may produce a
good profit, and may be able to throw a sop to the European workers to impede
the growth of their revolutionary mood, in order that it may be able to bribe
the top leaders of the working masses, English capital needs new lands and new
workers - unprivileged and unenfranchised slaves.
And English capitalists have found these new lands in the
Eastern countries, and the unprivileged and unenfranchised slave workers among
the peoples of the East.
The English capitalists are trying to seize Turkey and
Persia, Mesopotamia and Arabia, Afghanistan and Egypt, in order to take away the
land from the peasants in these countries, by buying for a mere trifle all the
plots of those who are ruined and deeply in debt; out of these plots they
purchased they intend to create huge estates and plantations, and to drive the
landless Eastern peasants onto them as farm hands and slaves. In Turkey, Persia,
and Mesopotamia they want, by means of cheap labor, with the unpaid hands of the
hungry Turkish, Persian, and Arab poor, to construct factories and foundries, to
build railroads, and to work the mines. They want, by means of cheap production
of factory products, to destroy native trades and millions of local craftsmen
with whom the cities of the East are teeming, to throw them into the street,
depriving them of work. By establishing huge firms, they want to ruin the small
local merchants and to throw them likewise into the street, into the ranks of
the proletariat who sell only their labor.
The English capitalists want to proletarianize in toto all
the peoples of the East, to ruin the economy of all the peasants, of all the
craftsmen, of all the merchants, and to drive them onto their plantations and
into their factories, foundries, and mines, as starving slave laborers.
Thereafter, by back-bending labor, by starvation wages, they want to squeeze
from these enslaved Eastern peoples both sweat and blood. And to turn this labor
sweat, this peasant blood, into increased value, into profit, into pure gold,
into hard cash.
This is the kind of future imperialist England has in store
for the peoples of the East!
England, with a population of barely forty millions, of which
only one-fortieth constitutes a group of oppressors and exploiters, and the
remaining 39 million belong to the oppressed and exploited workers and peasants,
wants to dominate half the world, wants to hold in serfdom 800 million toilers
living in the East. One English bourgeois capitalist, who already compels 39
English workers to work for him, likewise wants to force 2,000 more workers and
peasants from Persia, Turkey, Mesopotamia, India, and Egypt to work for him. Two
thousand and forty hungry and tortured people who enjoy none of the blessings of
life, must toil all their lives for one do-nothing parasite - an English
capitalist. One million such parasites and exploiters, English bankers and
industrialists, want to reduce to serfdom 800 million proletarians of the East!
And it should be said that they know how to achieve their goal, they have
neither shame, conscience, nor fear, they have nothing but savage greed and
unlimited thirst for gain. Ruin, hunger, blood, torment, the sighs of 800
million people, mean nothing to them. All that counts is profit, all that counts
And, in pursuit of this profit and gain, the English
imperialists have a tenacious grip on the throat of the peoples of the East, and
prepare for them a dark future: complete ruin, eternal slavery, no rights,
oppression, and unlimited exploitation. That is what is in store for the peoples
of the East, if the present English government retains its power, if imperialist
England retains its strength and consolidates its domination over the countries
of the East.
A pitiful handful of English bankers will devour hundreds of
millions of peasants and workers of the East.
But this shall not happen!
Before the English capitalists, the rulers of imperialist
England, rises the organized might of the peasants and workers of the peoples of
the East, united under the red banner of the Communist International, under the
red banner of the union of revolutionary workers, who have set as their goal the
liberation of the entire world, of all mankind from any exploitation and any
The first Congress of the Peoples of the East throughout the
whole world loudly proclaims to the capitalists who rule England: - This shall
You dogs shall not devour the peoples of the East, your
pitiful handful of oppressors shall not reduce to eternal serfdom hundreds of
millions of Eastern peasants and workers! You have grabbed too big a slice, you
have bitten off more than you can chew, and it will choke you.
The peoples of the East have long stagnated in darkness and
ignorance under the despotic yoke of their own rulers and tyrants, under the
yoke of foreign conquerors and capitalists. But the roar of the world carnage,
the thunder of the Russian workers' revolution, which has cast off from the
eastern Russian people the century-old chains of capitalist serfdom, has
awakened them, and now, aroused from the sleep of many centuries, they are
They wake up and hear a call to a holy war, to a gazovat.
This is our call!
This is the appeal of the first Congress of the
Representatives of the Peoples of the East, united with the revolutionary
proletariat of the West under the banner of the Communist International.
It is we - the representatives of the toiling masses of all
the peoples of the East - India, Turkey, Persia, Egypt, Afghanistan,
Baluchistan, Kashgar, China, Indo-China, Japan, Korea, Georgia, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Daghestan, North Caucasus, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine,
Khiva, Bokhara, Turkestan, Fergan, Tamaria, Bashkiria, Kirghizia, etc., united
in an unbreakable union among ourselves and with the revolutionary workers of
the West - we summon our peoples to a holy war.
Peoples of the East! Many times you have heard from your
governments the summons to a holy war, you marched under the green banner of the
Prophet; but all these holy wars were deceitful and false, and served the
interests of your selfish rulers; but you, peasants and workers, even after
these wars remained in serfdom and destitution; you won the blessings of life
for others, but you yourselves never enjoyed any of them.
Now we summon you to the first genuine holy war under the red
banner of the Communist International.
We summon you to a holy war for your own welfare, for your
freedom, for your life.
England, the last mighty imperialist robber remaining in
Europe, spreads over the Muslim countries of the East her black wings, trying to
reduce the peoples of the East to her slaves and her prey.
Slavery, appalling slavery, ruination, oppression, and
exploitation, she brings to the peoples of the East. Save yourselves, then,
peoples of the East!
Rise, then, for the struggle against this plunderer!
Rise, all of you, as one man, for a holy war against the
Arise, Indian, exhausted by starvation and heavy slave labor!
Arise, Anatolian peasant, crushed by taxes and usurers!
Arise, Persian rayah, choked by the mulkadar!
Arise Armenian toiler, driven into the barren mountains!
Arise, Arabs and Afghans, lost in the sandy deserts and cut
off by the English from the entire world!
Arise, all of you, for the struggle against the common enemy
- imperialist England!
High waves the red banner of the holy war!
This is a holy war for the liberation of the peoples of the
East, so that mankind shall no longer be divided into oppressors and oppressed,
for the complete equality of all peoples and tribes, irrespective of the
language they speak, irrespective of the color of their skin, no matter what
religion they confess!
A holy war to put an end to the division of countries into
progressive and backward, dependent and independent, mother countries and
A holy war for the liberation of all mankind from the yoke of
capitalist and imperialist slavery, for the elimination of any oppression of
people by people and any exploitation of man by man!
A holy war against the last citadel of capitalism and
imperialism in Europe, against the nest of robbers on sea and land, against the
eternal oppressor of all the peoples of the East, against imperialist England!
A holy war for the freedom, independence, and happiness of
all the peoples of the East, all the millions of peasants and workers enslaved
Peoples of the East! In this holy war, all the revolutionary
workers and all the oppressed peasants of the West will be with you. They will
help you. They will fight and die with you.
It is the first Congress of the Representatives of the
Peoples of the East that speaks to you.
Long live the union of all the peasants and workers of the
East and the West, the union of all the toilers, of all the oppressed and
Long live its militant staff - the Communist International!
May the holy war of the Peoples of the East and the toilers
of the whole world burn with unquenchable fire against imperialist England!
Honorary Members of the Presidium
Radek (Russia), Bela-Kun (Hungary), Rosmer (France), Quelch
(England), Reed (America), Steinhart-Gruber (Austria), Janson (Holland), Shablin
(Balkan Federation), Yoshiharo (Japan). Zinoviev, Chairman of the Congress
Members of the Presidium
Ryskulov, Abdurashidov, Karriev (Turkestan), Mustala, Subhi
(Turkey), Van (China), Karid (Lidisi), Mulabekdzhan, Rakhmanov (Khiva),
Mukhamedov (Bokhara), Korkmasov (Daghestan), Digurov (Terek Region), Aliev
(Northern Caucasus), Kostanyan (Armenia), Narimanov (Azerbaijan), Yenikeyev
(Tatar Republic), Amur-Sanan (Kalmyk Republic), Makharadze (Georgia), Haidar
Khan (Persia), Aga-Zade (Afghanistan), Narbutabekov (Tashkent), Makhmudov (Fergan),
Takhsim-Baarri, Khaavis-Mahomed (Anatolia), Kuleyev (Transcaspia), Niyas-Kuli (Turkmenia),
Kari-Tadzhi (Samarkand), Nazyr-Sedyki (India), Sidadzhedin, Kardash-Ogly (Daghestan),
Yelchiev, Musayev (Azerbaijan), Azim (Afghanistan), Abdulayev (Khiva).
Ostrovsky, Secretary of the Congress