The Communist International
"A Manifesto to the Peoples of the East"
(Petrograd, December 20, 1920)
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 far distant, 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 East.
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
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 mulkadars.
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 govern herself
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
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
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
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 is gain.
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 oppression.
The first Congress of the Peoples of the East throughout
the whole world loudly proclaims to the capitalists who rule England: - This
shall not happen!
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 rising.
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
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
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
A holy war for the freedom, independence, and happiness
of all the peoples of the East, all the millions of peasants and workers
enslaved by England!
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
Long live its militant staff - the Communist
May the holy war of the Peoples of the East and the
toilers of the whole world burn with unquenchable fire against imperialist
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