Unity of the Working Class against Fascism
Concluding speech before the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International
Delivered: August 13, 1935
Source: Dimitrov, Georgi Selected Works, volume 2, Sofia Press 1972, pp. 86-119
Transcription/HTML Markup: Mathias Bismo
The Struggle against Fascism Must Be Concrete
United Proletarian Front or Anti.Fascist Popular Front
The Role of Social Democracy and Its Attitude towards the United Front of the Proletariat
The United Front Government
Attitude towards Burgeois Democracy
A Correct Line Alone is Not Enough
Comrades, the very full discussion on my report bear witness to the immense interest taken by the Congress in the fundamental tactical problems and tasks of the struggle of the working class against the offensive of capital and fascism, and against the threat of an imperialist war.
Summing up the eight-day discussion, we can state that all the principal propositions contained in the report have met with the unanimous approval of the Congress. None, of the speakers objected to the tactical line we have proposed or to the resolution which has been submitted.
I venture to say that at none of the previous Congresses of the Communist International has such ideological and political solidarity been revealed as at the present Congress. The complete unanimity displayed at the Congress indicates that the necessity of revising our policy and tactics in accordance with the changed conditions and on the basis of the extremely abundant and instructive experience of the past few years, has come to be fully recognized in our ranks.
This unanimity may, undoubtedly be regarded as one of the most important conditions for success in solving the paramount immediate problem of the international proletarian movement, namely, establishing unity of action of all sections of the working class in the struggle against fascism.
The successful solution of this problem requires, first, that Communists, skilfully wield the weapon of Marxist-Leninist analysis, while carefully studying the actual situation and the allignment of class forces as these develop and that they plan their activity and struggle accordingly
We must mercilessly root out the weakness not infrequently observed among our comrades, for cut-and-dried schemes, lifeless formulas and ready-made patterns. We must put an end to the state of affairs in which Communists, when lacking the knowledge or ability for Marxist-Leninist analysis substitute for it general phrases and slogans such as 'the revolutionary way out of the crisis,' without making the slightest serious attempt to explain what must be the conditions, the relationship of class forces, the degree of revolutionary maturity of the proletariat and mass of working people, and the level of influence of the Communist Party for making possible such a revolutionary way out of the crisis. Without such an analysis all these catchwords become dud shells, empty phrases which only obscure out tasks of the day. Without a concrete Marxist-Leninist analysis we shall never be able correctly to present and solve the problem of fascism, the problems of the proletarian united front and the Popular Front, the problem of our attitude to bourgeois democracy, the problem of a united front government, the problem of the processes going on -within the working class, particularly among the Social Democratic workers, or any of the numerous other new and complex problems with which life itself and the development of the class struggle confront us now and will confront us in the future.
Second, we need live people - people who have grown up from the masses of the workers, have sprung from their every-day struggle, people of militant action, whole-heartedly devoted to the cause of the proletariat people whose brains and hands will give effect to the decisions of our Congress. Without Bolshevik, Leninist cadres we shall be unable to solve the enormous problems that confront the working people in the fight against fascism.
Third, we need people equipped with the compass of Marxist-Leninist theory, without the skilful use of which they, turn into narrow-minded and shortsighted practicians, unable to look ahead, who take decisions only from case to case, and lose the broad perspective of the struggle which shows the masses where we are going and we are leading the working people.
Fourth, we need the organization of the masses in order to put our decisions into practice. Our ideological and political influence alone is not enough. We must put a stop to reliance on the hope that the movement will develop of its own accord, which is one of our fundamental weaknesses. We must remember that without persistent, prolonged, patient, and sometimes seemingly thankless organizational work on our part the masses will never make for the Communist shore. In order to be able to organize the masses we must acquire the Leninist art of making our decisions the property not only of the Communists but also of the widest masses of working people. We must learn to talk to the masses, not in the language of book formulas, but in the language of fighters for the cause of the masses, whose every, word and every idea reflect the innermost thoughts and sentiments of millions.
It is primarily with these problems that I should like to deal in my reply to the discussion.
Comrades, the Congress has welcomed the new tactical lines with great enthusiasm and unanimity. Enthusiasm and unanimity are, excellent things of course, but it is still better when these are combined with a deeply considered and critical approach to the tasks that confront us, with a proper mastery of the decisions adopted and a real understanding of the means and methods by which these decisions are to be applied to the particular circumstances of each country.
After all, we have unanimously. adopted good resolutions before now, but the trouble was that we not infrequently adopted these decisions in a formal manner, and at best made them the property of only the small vanguard of the working class. Our decisions did not become flesh and blood for millions of people, nor a guide to their actions.
Can we assert that we have already finally, abandoned this formal approach to adopted decisions? No. It must be said that even at this Congress the speeches of some of the comrades gave indication of vestiges of formalism, a desire made itself felt at times to substitute for the concrete analysis of reality, and living experience some sort of new scheme, some sort of new, over-simplified, lifeless formula, to represent as actually existing what we desire, but what does not yet exist.
THE STRUGGLE AGAINST FASCISM MUST BE CONCRETE
No general characterization of fascism, however correct in itself, can relieve us of the need to study and take into account the special features of the development of fascism and the various forms of fascist dictatorship in the individual countries and at its various stages. It is necessary in each country to investigate, study and ascertain the national peculiar ties, the specific national features of fascism and to map out accordingly effective methods and forms of struggle against fascism.
Lenin persistently warned us against such 'stereotyped methods, such mechanical levelling and identification of tactical rules, of rules of struggle.' This warning is particularly to the point when it is a question of fighting at enemy, who so subtly and Jesuitically exploits the national sentiments and prejudices of the masses and the anti-capitalist inclinations in the interests of big capital. Such an enemy must be known to perfection, from every angle. We must, without any, delay whatever, react to his various manoeuvres, discover his hidden moves, be prepared to repel him in any, arena and at any moment. We must not hesitate even to learn from the enemy if that will help us more quickly and more effectively to wring his neck.
It would be a gross mistake to lay down any sort of universal scheme of the development of fascism, valid for all countries and all peoples. Such a scheme would not help but would hamper us in carrying on a real struggle. Apart from everything else, it would result in indiscriminately thrusting into the camp of fascism those sections of the population which, if properly approached, could at a certain stage of development be brought into the struggle against fascism or could at least be neutralized.
Let us take, for example, the development of fascism in France and in Germany. Some comrades believe that, generally speaking, fascism cannot develop as easily in France as in Germany. What is true and what is false in this contention? It is true that there were no such deepseated democratic traditions in Germany as there are. In France, which went through several revolutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is true that France is a country which won the war and imposed the Versailles treaty on other countries, that the national sentiments of the French people have not been hurt as they have been in Germany, where this factor played such a great part. It is true that in France the basic masses of the peasantry are prorepublic and anti-fascist, especially in the south, in contrast to Germany, where even before fascism came to power a considerable section of the peasantry was under the influence of reactionary parties.
But, Comrades, notwithstanding the existing differences in the development of the fascist movement in France and in Germany, notwithstanding the factors which impede the onslaught of fascism in France, it would be shortsighted not to notice the uninterrupted growth there of the fascist peril or to underestimate the possibility of a fascist coup d'état Moreover, a number of factors in France favour the development of fascism. One must not forget that the economic crisis, which began later in France than in other capitalist countries, continues to become deeper and more acute, and that this greatly encourages the orgy of fascist demagogy. French fascism holds strong positions in the army, among the officers, such as the National Socialists did not have in the Reichswehr before their advent to power. Furthermore, in no other country, perhaps, has the parliamentary regime been corrupted to such an enormous extent and caused such indignation among the masses as in France, and the French fascists, as we know, use this demagogically in their fight against bourgeois democracy. Nor must it be forgotten that the development of fascism is furthered by the French bourgeoisie's keen fear of losing its political and military hegemony in Europe.
Hence it follows that the successes scored by the antifascist movement in France, of which Comrades Thorez and Cachin have spoken here and over which we so heartily rejoice, are still far from indicating that the working masses have definitely succeeded in blocking the road to fascism. We must emphatically stress once more the great importance of the tasks of the French working class in the struggle against fascism, of which I have already spoken in my report.
It would likewise be dangerous to cherish illusions regarding the weakness of fascism in other countries where it does not have a broad mass base. We have the example of such countries as Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Finland, where fascism, although it had no broad base, came to power, relying on the armed forces of the state, and then sought to broaden its base by making use of the state apparatus.
Comrade Dutt was right in his contention that there has been a tendency among us to contemplate fascism in general, without taking into account the specific features of the fascist movement in the various countries, erroneously classifying all reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie as fascism and going so far as calling the entire non-Communist camp fascist. The struggle against fascism was not strengthened but rather weakened in consequence.
Even now we still have survivals of a stereotyped approach to the question of fascism. When some comrades assert that Roosevelt's 'New Deal' represents an even clearer and more pronounced form of the development of the bourgeoisie toward fascism than the 'National Government' in Great Britain, for example, is this not a manifestation of such a stereotyped approach to the question? One must be very partial to hackneyed schemes not to see that the most partial to reactionary circles of American finance capital, which are attacking Roosevelt, are above all the very force which is stimulating and organizing the fascist movement in the United States, Not to see the beginnings of real fascism in the United States behind the hypocritical outpourings of these circles 'in defence of the democratic rights of the American citizen' is tantamount to misleading the working class in the struggle against its worst enemy.
In the colonial and semi-colonial countries also, as was mentioned in the discussion, certain fascist groups are developing, but of course there can be no question of the kind of fascism that we are accustomed to see in Germany Italy and other capitalist countries. Here we must study and take into account the quite special economic, political and historical conditions, in accordance with which fascism is assuming and will continue to assume peculiar forms of its own.
Unable to approach the phenomena of real life concretely, some comrades who suffer from mental laziness substitute general, noncommittal formulas for a careful and concrete study of the actual situation and the relationship of class forces. They remind us, not of sharpshooters who shoot with unerring aim, but of those 'crack' riflemen who regularly and unfailingly miss the target, shooting either too high or too low, too near or too far. But, we, Comrades, as Communist fighters in the labour movement, as the revolutionary vanguard of the working class, want to be sharpshooters who unfailingly hit the target.
UNITED PROLETARIAN FRONT OR ANTI-FASCIST POPULAR FRONT
Some comrades are quite needlessly racking their brains over the problem of what to begin with - the united proletarian front or the anti-fascist Popular Front.
Some say that we cannot start forming the anti-fascist Popular Front until we have organized a solid united front of the proletariat.
Others argue that, since the establishment of the united proletarian front meets in a number of countries with the resistance of the reactionary part of Social Democracy, it is better to start at once with building up the Popular Front, and then develop the united working class front on this basis.
Evidently, both groups fail to understand that the united proletarian front and the anti-fascist Popular Front are connected by the living dialectics of struggle; that they are interwoven, the one passing into the other in the process of the practical struggle against fascism, and that there is certainly no Chinese wall to keep them apart.
For it cannot be seriously supposed that it is possible to establish a genuine anti-fascist Popular Front without securing the unity of action of the working class itself, the leading force of this anti-fascist Popular Front. At the same time, the further development of the united proletarian front depends, to a considerable degree, upon its transformation into a Popular Front against fascism.
Comrades, just picture to yourselves a devotee of cut-and-dried theories of this kind, gazing upon our resolution and contriving his pet scheme with the zeal of a true pedant:
First, local united proletarian front from below;
Then, regional united front from below;
Thereafter, united front from above, passing through the same stages;
Then, unity in the trade union movement;
After that, the enlistment of other anti-fascist parties;
This to be followed by the extended Popular Front, from above and from below.
After which the movement must be raised to a higher level, politicized, revolutionized, and so on and so forth.
You will say, Comrades, that this is sheer nonsense. I agree with you. But the unfortunate thing is that in some form or other this kind of sectarian nonsense is still to be found quite frequently in our ranks.
How does the matter really stand? Of course, we must strive everywhere for a wide Popular Front of struggle against fascism. But in a number of countries we shall not get beyond general talk about the Popular Front unless we succeed in mobilizing the masses of the workers for the purpose of breaking down the resistance of the reactionary, section of Social Democracy to the proletarian united front of struggle. Primarily this is how the matter stands in Great Britain, where the working class comprises the majority, of the population and where the bulk of the working class follows the lead of the trade unions and the Labour Party. That is how matters stand in Belgium and in the Scandinavian countries, where the numerically small Communist Parties must face strong mass trade unions and numerically large Social Democratic Parties.
In these countries the Communists would commit a very serious political mistake if they shirked the struggle to establish a united proletarian front, under cover of general talk about the Popular Front, which cannot be formed without the participation of the mass working class organizations. In order to bring about a genuine Popular Front in these countries, the Communists must carry out an enormous amount of political and organizational work among the masses of the workers. They must overcome the preconceived ideas of these masses, who regard their large reformist organizations as already the embodiment of proletarian unity. They must convince these masses that the establishment of a united front with the Communists means a shift on the part of those masses to the position of the class struggle, and that only this shift guarantees success in the struggle against the offensive of capital and fascism. We shall not overcome our difficulties by setting ourselves much wider tasks here. On the contrary, in fighting to remove these difficulties we shall, in fact and not in words alone, prepare the ground for the creation of a genuine Popular Front of struggle against fascism, against the capitalist offensive and against the threat of imperialist war.
The problem is different in countries like Poland, where a strong peasant movement is developing alongside the labour movement, where the peasant masses have their own organizations, which 'are becoming radicalized as a result of the agrarian crisis, and where national oppression evokes indignation among the national minorities. Here the development of the Popular Front of struggle will proceed parallel with the development of the united proletarian front, and at times in this type of country the movement for a general Popular Front may even outstrip the movement for a working-class front.
Take a country like Spain, which is in the process of a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Can it be said that because the proletariat is split up into numerous small organizations, complete fighting unity of the working class must first be established here before a workers' and peasants' front against Lerroux 1) and Gil Robles 2) is created? By tackling the question in this way we would isolate tile proletariat from the peasantry, we would in effect be withdrawing the slogan of the agrarian revolution, and we would make it easier for the enemies of the people to disunite the prolelariat and the peasantry and set the peasantry in opposition to the working class. Yet this, Comrades, as is well known, was one of the main reasons why the working class was defeated in the October events of 1934 in the Asturias.
However, one thing must not he forgotten in all countries, where the proletariat is comparatively small in numbers, where the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeois strata predominate, it is all the more necessary to make every effort to set up a firm united front of the working class itself, so that it may be able to take its place as the leading factor in relation to all the working people.
Thus, Comrades, in attacking the problem of the proletarian front and the Popular Front, there can be no general panacea suitable for all cases, all countries, all peoples. In this matter universalism, the application of one and the same recipe to all countries, is equivalent, if, you will allow me to say so, to ignorance, and ignorance should be flogged, even when it stalks about, nay, particularly when it stalks about in the cloak of universal cut-and-dried schemes.
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY AND ITS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE UNITED FRONT OF THE PROLETARIAT
Comrades, in view of the tactical problems confronting us, it is very important to give a correct reply to the question of whither Social Democracy at the present time is still the principal bulwark of the bourgeoisie, and if so, where?
Some of the comrades who participated in the discussion (Comrades Florin, butt) touched upon this question but in view of its importance a fuller reply must be given to it, for it is a question which workers of all trends, particularly Social Democratic workers, are asking and cannot help asking.
It must be borne in mind that in a number of countries the position of Social Democracy in the bourgeois state, and its attitude towards the bourgeoisie, has been undergoing a change.
In the first place, the crisis has severely shaken the position of even the most secure sections of the working class, the so-called aristocracy of labour which, as we know, is the main support of Social Democracy. These sections, too, are beginning more and more to revise their views as to the expediency of the policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie.
Second, as I pointed out in my report, the bourgeoisie in a number of countries is itself compelled to abandon bourgeois democracy and resort to the terroristic form of dictatorship, depriving Social Democracy not only of its previous position in the state system of finance capital, but also, under certain conditions, of its legal status, persecuting and even suppressing it.
Third, under the influence of the lessons learned from the defeat of the workers in Germany, Austria and Spain 3), a defeat which was largely due to the Social Democratic policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie and, on the other hand, under the influence of the victory of socialism in the Soviet Union as a result of Bolshevik policy and the application of revolutionary Marxism, the Social Democratic workers are becoming revolutionized and are beginning to turn to the class struggle against the bourgeoisie.
The combined effect of this has been to make it increasingly difficult, and in some countries actually impossible, for Social Democracy to preserve its former role of a bulwark of the bourgeoisie.
Failure to understand this is particularly harmful in those countries where the fascist dictatorship has deprived Social Democracy of its legal status. From this point of view the self-criticism of those German comrades who in their speeches mentioned the necessity of ceasing to cling to the letter of obsolete formulas and decisions concerning Social Democracy, of ceasing to ignore the changes that have taken place in its position, was correct. It is clear that if we ignore these changes, it will lead to a distortion of our policy for bringing about the unity of the working class, and will Make it easier for the reactionary elements of the Social Democratic Parties to sabotage the united front.
The process of revolutionization in the ranks of the Social Democratic Parties, now going on in all countries, is developing unevenly. It must not be imagined that the Social Democratic workers who are becoming revolutionized will at once and on a mass scale pass over to the position of consistent class struggle and will straightway unite with the Communists without any intermediate stages. In a number of countries this will be a more or less difficult, complicated and prolonged process, essentially dependent, at any rate, on the correctness of our policy and tactics. We must even reckon with the possibility that, in passing from the position of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, some Social Democratic Parties and organizations will continue to exist for a time as independent organizations or parties. In such an event there can, of course, be no thought of such Social Democratic organizations or parties being regarded as a bulwark of the bourgeoisie.
It cannot be expected that workers who are under the influence of those Social Democratic the ideology of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, which has been instilled in them for decades, will break with this ideology of their own accord, by the action of objective causes alone. No. It is our business, the business of Communists, to help them free themselves from the hold of reformist ideology. The work of explaining the principles and programme of Communism must be carried on patiently, in a comradely fashion, and must be adapted to the degree of development of the individual Social Democratic workers. Our criticism of Social Democracy must become more concrete and systematic, and must be based on the experience of the Social Democratic masses themselves. It must be borne in mind that primarily by utilizing their experience in the joint struggle with the Communists against the class enemy will it be possible and necessary to facilitate and speed up the revolutionary development of the Social Democratic workers. There is no more effective way for overcoming the doubts and hesitations of the Social Democratic workers than by their participation in the proletarian united front.
We shall do all in our power to make it easier, not only for the Social Democratic workers, but also for those leading members of the Social Democratic Parties and organizations who sincerely desire to adopt the revolutionary class position, to work and fight with us against the class enemy. At the same time we declare that any Social Democratic functionary, lower official or worker who continues to uphold the disruptive tactics of the reactionary Social Democratic leaders, who comes out against the united front and thus directly or indirectly aids the class enemy, will thereby incur at least equal guilt before the working class as those who are historically responsible for having supported the Social Democratic policy of class collaboration, the policy which in a number of European countries doomed the revolution in 1918 and cleared the way for fascism.
The attitude to the united front marks the watershed between the reactionary sections of Social Democracy and the sections that are becoming revolutionary. Our assistance to the latter will be the more effective the more we intensify, our fight against the reactionary camp of Social Democracy that takes part in a bloc with the bourgeoisie. And within the Left camp the self-determination of its various elements will take place the sooner, the more determinedly the Communists fight for a united front with the Social Democratic Parties. The experience of the class struggle and the participation of the Social Democrats in the united front movement will show who in that camp will prove to be 'Left' in words and who is really Left.
THE UNITED FRONT GOVERNMENT
While the attitude of Social Democracy towards the practical realization of the proletarian united front is, generally speaking, the chief sign in every country of whether the previous role in the bourgeois state of the Social Democratic Party or of its individual parts has changed, and if so, to what extent - the attitude of Social Democracy on the issue of a united front government will be a particularly clear test in this respect.
When a situation arises in which the question of creating a united front government becomes an immediate practical problem, this issue will become a decisive test of the policy of Social Democracy in the given country: either jointly with the bourgeoisie, that is moving towards fascism, against the working class, or jointly with the revolutionary proletariat against fascism and reaction, not merely in words but in deeds. That is how the question will inevitably present itself at the time the united front government is formed as well as while it is in power.
With regard to the character and conditions for the formation of the united front government or anti-fascist popular Front government, I think that my report gave what was necessary for general tactical direction. To expect us over and above this to indicate all possible forms and all conditions under which such governments may be formed would mean to lose oneself in barren conjecture.
I would like to utter a note of warning against oversimplification or the application of cut-and-dried schemes in this question. Life is more complex than any scheme. For example, it would be wrong to imagine that the united front government is an indispensable stage on the road to the establishment of proletarian dictatorship. That is just as wrong as the former assertion that there will be no intermediary .stages in the fascist countries and that fascist dictatorship is certain to be immediately superseded by proletarian dictatorship.
The whole question boils down to this: Will the proletariat itself be prepared at the decisive moment for the direct overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of its own power, and will it be able in that event to ensure the ,support of its allies? Or will the movement of the united proletarian from and the anti-fascist Popular Front at the particular stage be in a position only to suppress or overthrow fascism, without directly proceeding to abolish the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie? In the latter case it would be an intolerable piece of political shortsightedness, and not serious revolutionary politics, on this ground alone to refuse to create and support a united front or a Popular Front government.
It is likewise not difficult to understand that the establishment of a united front government in countries where fascism is not yet in power is something different from the creation of such a government in countries where the fascist dictatorship holds sway. In the latter countries a united front government can be created only in the process of overthrowing fascist rule. In countries where the bourgeois-democratic revolution is developing, a Popular Front government may become the government of the democratic dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry.
As I have already pointed out in my report, the Communists will do all in their power to support a united front government to the extent that the latter will really fight against the enemies of the people and grant freedom of action to the Communist Party and to the working class. The question of whether Communists will take part in the ,government will be determined entirely by, the actual situation prevailing at the time Such questions will be settled as they arise. No readymade recipes can be prescribed in advance.
ATTITUDE TOWARDS BOURGEOIS DEMOCRACY
In his speech Comrade Lenski pointed out that while mobilizing the masses to repel the onslaught of fascism against the rights of the working people, the Polish Party at the same time 'had its misgivings about formulating positive democratic demands lest this would create democratic illusions among the masses.' The Polish Party is, of course, not the only one in which such fear of formulating positive democratic demands exists in one form or another.
Where does this fear steam from, Comrades? It comes from an incorrect, non-dialectical conception of our attitude towards bourgeois democracy. We Communists are unswerving upholders of Soviet democracy, the great example of which is the proletarian dictatorship in the Soviet Union, where the introduction of equal suffrage and the direct and secret ballot has been proclaimed by-resolution of the Seventh Congress of Soviets, at the very time when the last vestiges of bourgeois democracy, are being wiped out in the capitalist countries. This Soviet democracy presupposes the victory of the proletarian revolution, the conversion of private ownership of the means of production into public ownership, the adoption of the road to socialism by the overwhelming majority of the people. This democracy does not represent a final form; it develops and will continue to develop, depending on the further achievements of socialist construction, in the creation of a classless society and in the overcoming of the survivals of capitalism in economic life and in the minds of the people.
But today the millions of working people living under capitalism are faced with the necessity of deciding their attitude to those forms in which the rule of the bourgeoisie is clad in the various countries. We are not Anarchists, and it is not at all a matter of indifference to us what kind of political regime exists in any given country: whether a bourgeois dictatorship in the form of bourgeois democracy, even with democratic rights and liberties greatly curtailed, or a bourgeois dictatorship in its open, fascist form. While being upholders of Soviet democracy, we shall defend every inch the democratic gains which the working class has wrested in the course of years of stubborn struggle, and shall resolutely fight to extend these gains.
How great were the sacrifices of the British working class before it secured the right to strike, a legal status for its trade unions, the right of assembly and freedom of the press, extension of the franchise, and other rights. How many tens of thousands of workers gave their lives in the revolutionary battles fought in France in the nineteenth century to obtain the elementary rights and the lawful opportunity of organizing their forces for the struggle against the exploiters. The proletariat of all countries has shed much of its blood to win bourgeois- democratic liberties and will naturally fight with all its strength to retain them.
Our attitude to bourgeois democracy is not the same under all conditions. For instance, at the lime of the October
Revolution, the Russian Bolsheviks engaged in a life-and-death struggle against all those political parties which, under the slogan of the defence of bourgeois democracy, opposed the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship. The Bolsheviks fought these parties because the banner of bourgeois democracy had at that time become the standard around which all counter-revolutionary forces mobilized to challenge the victory of the proletariat. The situation is quite different in the capitalist countries at present. Now the fascist counter-revoution is attacking bourgeois democracy in an effort to establish the most barbarous regime of exploitation and suppression of the working masses. Now the working masses in a number of capitalist countries are faced with the necessity of making a definite choice, and of making it today, not between proletarian dictatorship and bourgeois democracy , but between bourgeois democracy and fascism.
Besides, we have now a situation which differs from that which existed, for example, in the epoch of capitalist stabilization. At that time the fascist danger was not as acute as it is today. At that time it was bourgeois dictatorship in the form of bourgeois democracy that the revolutionary workers were facing in a number of countries and it was against bourgeois democracy, that they were concentrating their fire. In Germany, they fought against the Weimar Republic, not because it was a republic, but because it was a bourgeois republic that was engaged in crushing the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, especially in 1918-20 and in 1923.
But could the Communists retain the same position also when the fascist movement began to raise its head, when, for instance, in 1932 the fascists in Germany, were organizing and arming hundreds of thousands of storm troopers against the working class" Of course not. It was the mistake of the Communists in a number of countries, particularly in Germany, that they failed to take account of the changes that had taken place, but continued to repeat the slogans and maintain the tactical positions that had been correct a few years before, especially when the struggle for the proletarian dictatorship was an immediate issue, and when the entire German counter-revolution was rallying under the banner of the Weimar Republic, as it did in 1918-20.
And the circumstance that even today we can still notice in our ranks a fear of launching positive democratic slogans indicates how little our comrades have mastered the Marxist-Leninist method of approaching such important problems of our tactics. Some say that the struggle for democratic rights may divert the workers from the struggle for the proletarian dictatorship. It may not be amiss to recall what Lenin said on this question:
It would be a fundamental mistake to suppose that the struggle for democracy can divert the proletariat from the socialist revolution, or obscure or overshadow it, etc. On the contrary, just as socialism cannot be victorious unless it introduces complete democracy., so the proletariat will be unable to prepare for victory over the bourgeoisie unless it wages a many-sided, consistent and revolutionary struggle for democracy. (V. I. Lenin Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 133>
These words should be firmly fixed in the memories of all our comrades, bearing in mind that in history great revolutions have grown out of small movements for the defence of the elementary rights of the workingclass. But in order to be able to link up the struggle for democratic rights with the struggle of the working class for socialism, it is necessary first and foremost to discard any cut-and-dried approach to the question of defence of bourgeois democracy.
A CORRECT LINE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH
Comrades, it is clear, of course, that for the Communist International and each of its Sections the fundamental thing is to work out a correct line. But a correct line alone is not enough for concrete leadership in the class struggle.
For that, a number of conditions must be fulfilled, above all the following:
First, organizational guarantees that adopted decisions will be carried out in practice and that all obstacles in the way will be resolutely overcome. What comrade Stalin said at the 12th Congress of the CPSU(b) about the conditions necessary to carry out the Party line, can and must be applied fully to the decisions taken by our Congress.
Comrade Stalin said:
Some people imagine that it is quite sufficient to map out a correct Party line, to proclaim it so as to bring it to everyone's attention, to set it forth in general theses and resolutions and to vote it unanimously, and victory will come by itself, so to say, of its own accord Of course this is quite wrong. This is a big illusion. Only incorrigible bureaucrats are capable of such reasoning. . . . Fine resolutions and declarations in favour of the general policy of the Party are just the beginning because they only indicate a desire for victory, not victory itself. After the correct policy has been outlined, and the correct solution indicated, success depends on organizational work, on the organization of the struggle to implement the Party line, and the proper selection of workers, on the control over the implementation of the decisions on the part of the leading organs. If these are lacking, the correct Party line and correct decisions stand a great risk of being seriously impaired. What is more, after the correct policy has been hammered out, everything depends on organizational work, including the political line itself - its implementation or its failure.
It is hardly necessary to add anything to these words, which must become a guiding principle in the whole work of our Party.
Another condition is the ability to convert decisions of the Communist International and its Sections into decisions of the widest masses themselves. This is all the more necessary 'low, when we are faced with the task of organizing a united front of the proletariat and drawing very wide masses of the people into an anti-fascist Popular Front. The political and tactical genius of Lenin stands out most clearly and vividly in his masterly ability to get the masses to understand the correct line and the slogans of the Party through their own experience. If we trace the history of Bolshevism, that greatest of treasure houses of the political strategy, and tactics of the revolutionary, workers' movement, we shall see that the Bolsheviks never substituted methods of leading the Party for methods of leading the masses.
Comrade Stalin pointed out that one of the particular features of the tactics of the Russian Bolsheviks on the eve of the October Revolution resided in the fact that they were able to find the roads and turns which led the masses to the slogans of the Party, and to the very 'threshold of the revolution' in a natural way helping them to feel, check and recognize the correctness of these slogans through their own experience; that they did not confuse Party leadership with leadership of the masses, but clearly saw the difference between the former and the latter, thus elaborating tactics not merely as a science of Party leadership but of the leadership of millions of working people.
Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that the masses cannot assimilate our decisions unless we learn to speak a language which they understand. We do not always know how to speak simply concretely, in images which are familiar and intelligible to the masses. We are still unable to refrain from abstract formulas which we have learnt by rote. As a matter of fact if you look through our leaflets, newspapers, resolutions and theses, you will find that they are often written in a language and style so heavy that they are difficult for even our Party functionaries to understand, let alone the rank-and-file workers.
If we consider, Comrades, that the workers, especially in fascist countries, who distribute or only read these leaflets risk their very lives by doing so, we shall realize still more clearly, the need of writing for the masses in a language which they understand, so that the sacrifices made shall not have been in vain.
The same applies in no less degree to our oral agitation and propaganda. We must admit quite frankly that in this respect the fascists have often proved more dexterous and flexible than many of our comrades
I recall, for example, a meeting of unemployed in Berlin before Hitler's accession to power. It was at the time of the trial of those notorious swindlers and profiteers, the Sklarek brothers, which dragged on for several months. A National Socialist speaker in addressing the meeting made demagogic use of that trial to further his own ends. He referred to the swindlers, the bribery and other crimes committed by the Sklarek brothers, emphasized that the trial had been dragging on for months and figured out how many hundreds of thousands of marks it had already cost the German people. To the accompaniment of loud applause the speaker declared that such bandits as the Sklarek brothers should have been shot without any ado and the money wasted on the trial should have gone to the unemployed.
A Communist rose and asked for the floor. The chairman at first refused but under the pressure of the audience, which wanted to bear a Communist, he had to let him speak. When the Communist got up on the platform, everybody awaited with tense expectation what the Communist speak-er would have to say. Well, what did he say?
'Comrades,' he began in a loud and ringing voice, 'the Plenum of the Communist International has just closed. It showed the way to the salvation of the working class. The chief task it puts before You. Comrades, is to win the majority of the working class. ... The Plenum pointed out that the unemployed movement must be politicized. The Plenum calls on us to raise it to a higher level.... The Plenum appeals for this movement to be raised to a higher level.'
He went on in the same strain, evidently under the impression that he was 'explaining' authentic decisions of the Plenum.
Could such a speech appeal to the unemployed? Could they find any satisfaction in the fact that first we intended to politicize, then revolutionize, and finally mobilize them in order to raise their movement to a higher level?
Sitting in a corner of the hall, I observed with chagrin how the unemployed. who had been so eager to hear a Communist in order to find out from him what to do concretely, began to yawn and display unmistakable signs of disappointment. And I was not at all surprised when towards the end the chairman rudely cut our speaker short without any, protest from the meeting.
This, unfortunately, is not the only case of its kind in our agitational work. Nor were such cases confined to Germany. To agitate in such fashion means to agitate against one's own cause. It is high time to put an end once and for all to these, to say, the least, childish methods of agitation.
During my report, the chairman, Comrade Kuusinen, received a characteristic letter from the floor of the Congress addressed to me. Let me read it:
In your speech at the Congress, please take up the following question, namely, that all resolutions and decisions adopted in the future by the Communist International be written so that not only trained Communists can get the meaning, but that any working man reading the material of the Comintern might without any preliminary training be able to see at once what the Communists want, and of what service communism is to mankind. Some Party leaders forget this. They Must be reminded of it, and very strongly, too. Also that agitation for communism be conducted in understandable language.
I do not know exactly who is the author of this letter, but I have no doubt that this comrade voiced in his letter the opinion and desire of millions of workers. Many of our comrades think that the more highsounding words and the more formulas, often unintelligible to the masses, they use the better their agitation and propaganda, forgetting that the greatest leader and theoretician of the working class of our epoch, Lenin, has always spoken and written in highly popular language, readily understood by the masses.
Every one of us must make this a law , a Bolshevik law, an elementary rule:
When writing or speaking, always have in mind the rank-and-file worker who must understand you, must believe in your appeal and be ready to follow you. You must have in mind those for whom you write, to whom you speak.
Comrades, our best resolutions will remain scraps of paper if we lack the people who can put them into effect. Unfortunately, however, I must state that the problem of cadres, one of the most important questions facing us, has received almost no attention at this Congress.
The report of the Executive Committee of the Communist International was discussed for seven days, there were many speakers from various countries, but only a few, and they only in passing, discussed this question, so extremely vital for the Communist Parties and the labour movement, In their practical work our Parties have not yet realize by far that people, cadres, decide everything.
A negligent attitude to the problem of cadres is all the more impermissible as we are constantly losing some of the most valuable of our cadres in the struggle. For we are not a learned society but a militant movement which is constantly in the firing line. Our most energetic, most courageous and most class-conscious elements are in the front ranks. It is precisely these front-line men that the enemy hunts down, murders, throws into jail and concentration camps and subjects to excruciating torture, particularly in fascist countries. This gives rise to the urgent necessity of constantly replenishing the ranks, cultivating and training new cadres as well as carefully preserving the existing cadres.
The problem of cadres is of particular urgency for the additional reason that under our influence the mass united front movement is gaining momentum and bringing forward many thousands of new working-class militants. Moreover, it is not only voting revolutionary elements, not only workers just becoming revolutionary, who have never before participated in a political movement, that stream into our ranks. Very often former members and militants of the Social Democratic Parties also join us. These new cadres require special attention, particularly in the illegal Communist Parties, the more so because in their practical work these cadres with their poor theoretical training frequently come up against very serious political problems which they have to solve for themselves.
The problem of what should be the correct policy with regard to cadres is a very serious one for our Parties, as well as for the Young Communist League and for all other mass organizations - for the entire revolutionary labour movement.
What does a correct policy. with regard to cadres imply?
First, knowing one's people. As a rule there is no systematic study. of cadres in our Parties. Only, recently have the Communist Parties of France and Poland and, in the East, the Communist Party of China, achieved certain successes in this direction. The Communist Party of Germany, before its underground period, had also undertaken a of its cadres. The experience of these Parties has shown that as soon as they began to study their people, Party workers were discovered who had remained unnoticed before. On the other hand, the Parties began to be purged of alien elements who were ideologically and politically harmful. It is sufficient to point to the example of Célor and Barbé in France who, when put under the Bolshevik microscope, turned out to be agents of the class enemy, and were thrown out of the Party'. In Hungary the verification of cadres made it easier to discover nests of provocateurs, agents of the enemy, who had sedulously, concealed their identity.
Second, proper promotion of cadres. Promotion should not be something casual but one of the normal functions of the Party. It is bad when promotion is made exclusively on the basis of narrow Party considerations, without regard to whether the Communist promoted has contact with the masses or not. Promotion should take place on the basis of the ability, of the various Party workers to discharge particular functions, and of their popularity, among the masses. We have examples in our Parties of promotions which have produced excellent results. For instance, we have a Spanish woman Communist, sitting in the Presidium of this Congress, Comrade Dolores. Two years ago she was still a rank-and-file Party-worker. But in the very first clashes with the class enemy she proved to be an excellent agitator and fighter. Subsequently. promoted to the leading body. of the Party, she has proved herself a most worthy member of that body.
I could point to a number of similar cases in several other countries, but in the majority of cases promotions are made in an unorganized and haphazard manner, and therefore are not always fortunate. Sometimes moralizers, phrasemongers and chatterboxes who actually harm the cause are promoted to leading positions.
Third, the ability to use people to the best advantage. We must be able to ascertain and utilize the valuable qualities of every, single active member. There are no ideal people; we must take them as they are and correct their weaknesses and shortcomings. We know of glaring examples in our Parties of the wrong utilization of good, honest Communists who might have been very useful had they, been given work that they were better fit to do.
Fourth, proper distribution of cadres. First of all, we must see to it that the main links of the movement are in the hands of capable people who have contacts with the masses, who have sprung from the grassroots, who have initiative and are staunch. The more important districts should have an appropriate number of such activists. In capitalist countries it is not an easy matter to transfer cadres from one place to another. Such a task encounters a number of obstacles and difficulties, including lack of funds, family considerations, etc., difficulties which must be taken into account and properly overcome. But usually we neglect to do this altogether.
Fifth, systematic assistance to cadres. This assistance should consist in detailed instruction, in friendly check-up, in correction of shortcomings and errors, and in concrete day-to-day guidance of cadres.
Sixth, care for the preservation of cadres. We must learn promptly to withdraw Party workers to the rear whenever circumstances so require and replace them by others. We must demand that the Party, leadership, particularly in countries where the Parties are illegal, assume paramount resposibility for the preservation of cadres. The proper preservation of cadres also presupposes a highly efficient organization of secrecy in the Party. In some of our Parties many, comrades think that the Parties are already prepared for the event of illegality even though they, have reorganized them only formally, according to ready-made rules. We had to pay very dearly for having started the real work of reorganization only after the Party had gone underground under the direct heavy blows of the enemy. Remember the severe losses the Communist Party of Germany suffered during its transition to underground conditions. Its experience should serve as a serious warning to those of our Parties which today are still legal but may lose their legal status tomorrow.
Only, a correct policy in regard to cadres will enable our Parties to develop and utilize all available forces to the utmost, and obtain from the enormous reservoir of the mass movement ever fresh reinforcements of new and] better active workers.
What should be our main criterion in selecting cadres?
First, absolute devotion to the cause of the working class, loyalty to the Party, tested in face of the class enemy - in battle, in prison, in court.
Second, the closest possible contact with the masses. The comrades concerned must be wholly absorbed in the interests of the masses, feel the life pulse of the masses, know their sentiments and requirements. The prestige of the leaders of our Party organizations should be based, first of all, on the fact that the masses regard them as their leaders and are convinced through their own experience of their ability as leaders and of their determination and self-sacrifice in struggle.
Third, ability independently to find one's bearings in given circumstances and not to be afraid of assuming responsibility in making decisions. He who fears to take responsibility is not a leader. He who is unable to display initiative, who says: 'I will do only what I am told,' is not a Bolshevik. Only he is a real Bolshevik leader who does not lose his head at moments of defeat, who does not get a swelled head at moments of success, who displays indomitable firmness in carrying out decisions. Cadres develop and grow best when they are placed in the position of having to solve concrete problems of the struggle independently, and are aware that they are fully responsible for their decisions.
Fourth, discipline and Bolshevik hardening in the struggle against the class enemy as well as in their irreconcilable opposition to all deviations from the Bolshevik line.
We must place all the more emphazis on these conditions which determine the correct selection of cadres, because in practice preference is very often given to a comrade who, for example, is able to write well and is a good speaker, but is not a man or woman of action, and is not suited for the struggle as some other comrade who may not be able to write or speak so well, but is staunch comrade, possessing initiative and contact with the masses, and is capable of going into battle and leading others into battle. Have there not been many cases of sectarians, doctrinaires or moralizers crowding out loyal mass workers, genuine workingclass leaders?
Our leading cadres should combine the knowledge of what they must do with Bolshevik stamina revolutionary strength of character and the power to carry it through.
In connection with the question of cadres, permit me, comrades, to dwell also on the very great part which the International Labour Defence is called upon to play, in relation to the cadres of the labour movement. The material and moral assistance which the ILD organizations render to our prisoners and their families, to political emigrants, to persecuted revolutionaries and anti-fascists, has saved the lives and preserved the strength and fighting capacity of thousands upon thousands of most valuable fighters of the working class in many countries. Those of us who have been in jail have found out directly, through our own experience the enormous significance of the activity of the ILD.
By, its activity the ILD has won the affection, devotion and deep gratitude of hundreds of thousands of proletarians and of revolutionary elements among the peasantry and intellectuals.
Under present conditions, when bourgeois reaction is growing, when fascism is raging and the class struggle is becoming more acute, the role of the ILD is increasing immensely. The task now before the ILD is to become a genuine mass organization of the working people in all capitalist Countries (particularly, in fascist countries, where it must adapt itself to the special conditions prevailing there). It must become, so to speak, a sort of 'Red Cross' of the united front of the proletariat and of the anti-fascist Popular Front, embracing millions of working people - the 'Red Cross' of the army of the toiling classes embattled I fascism, fighting for peace and socialism. If the ILD is to perform its part successfully,, it must train thousands of its own active militants, a multitude of its own cadres, ILD cadres, answering in their character and capacity to the special purposes of this extremely important organization.
And here I must say as categorically, and as sharply as possible that while a bureaucratic approach and a soulless attitude towards people is harmful in the labour movement taken in general, in the sphere of activity, of the ILD such an attitude is an evil bordering on the criminal. The fighters of the working class, the victims of reaction and fascism who are suffering agony, in torture chambers and concentration camps, political emigrants and their families, should all meet with the most sympathetic care and solicitude on the part of the organizations and functionaries of the ILD. The ILD must still better appreciate and discharge its duty of assisting the fighters in the proletarian and anti-fascist movement, particularly in physically and morally preserving the cadres of the workers' movement. The Communists and revolutionary workers who are active in the ILD organizations must realize at every step the enormous responsibility they have before the working class and the Communist International for the successful fulfilment of the role and tasks of the ILD.
Comrades, as you know, cadres receive their best train in the process of struggle, in surmounting difficulties and withstanding tests, and also from favourable and unfavourable examples of conduct. We have hundreds of exampies of splendid conduct in times of strikes, during demonstrations, in jail, in court. We have thousands of instances of heroism, but unfortunately also not a few cases of faintheartedness, lack of firmness and even desertion. We often forget these examples, both good and bad. We do not teach people to benefit by these examples. We do not show them what should be emulated and what rejected. We must study, the conduct of our comrades and militant workers during class conflicts, under police interrogation, in the jails and concentration camps, in court, etc. The good examples should be brought to light and held up as models to be followed, and all that is rotten, non-Bolshevik and philistine should be cast aside. Since the Reichstag Fire Trial we have had quite a few comrades whose statements before bourgeois and fascist courts show that numerous cadres are growing up with an excellent understanding of what really constitutes Bolshevik conduct in court.
But how many even of you, delegates to the Congress, know the details of the trial of the railwaymen in Rumania, know about the trial of Fiete Schulze, who was subsequently beheaded by the fascists in Germany, the trial of our valiant Japanese comrade Itsikawa, the trial of the Bulgarian revolutionary soldiers, and many other trials at which admirable examples of proletarian heroism were displayed?
Such worthy examples of proletarian heroism must be popularized, must be contrasted with the manifestations of faint-heartedness, philistinism, and every kind of rottenness and frailty in cur ranks and the ranks of the working class. These examples must be used most extensively, in educating the cadres of the workers' movement.
Comrades, our Party leaders often complain that there are no people, that they are short of people for agitational and propaganda work, for the newspapers, the trade unions, for work among the youth, among women. Not enough, not enough - that is the cry. We simply haven't got the people. To this we could reply in the old yet eternally new words of Lenin:
There are no people - yet there are enormous numbers of people. There are enormous numbers of people, because the working class and ever more diverse strata of society, year after year, throw up from their ranks an increasing number of discontented people who desire to protest.... At the same time we have no people, because we have... no talented organizers capable of organizing extensive and at the same time uniform and harmonious work that would give employment to all forces, even the most inconsiderable. (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 436-437)
These words of Lenin must be throughly grasped by our Parties and applied by them as a guide in their everyday work. There are plenty of people. They need only to be discovered in our own organizations, during strikes and demon strations, in various mass organizations of the workers, in united front bodies. They must be helped to grow in the course of their work and struggle, they must be put in a situation where they can really be useful to the workers cause.
Comrades, we Communists are people of action. Ours is the problem of practical struggle against the offensive of capital, against fascism and the threat of imperialist war, the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism. It is precisely this practical task that obliges Communist cadres to equip themselves with revolutionary theory, for theory gives those engaged in practical work the power of orientation, clarity of vision, assurance in work, belief in the triumph of our cause.
But real revolutionary theory is irreconcilably hostile to all emasculated theorizing, all barren play with abstract definitions. Our theory is not a dogma, but a guide to action; Lenin used to say. It is such a theory that our cadres need, and they need it as badly as they need their daily bread, as they need air or water.
Whoever really wishes to rid our work of deadening, cut-and-dried schemes, of pernicious scholasticism, must burn them out with a red-hot iron, both by practical, active struggle waged together with and at the head of the masses, and by untiring effort to master the mighty, fertile, all powerful teaching of Marx, Engels, Lenin.
In this connection I consider it particularly necessary to draw your attention to the work of our Party schools. It is not pedants, moralizers or adepts at quoting that our schools must train. No. It is practical frontrank fighters in the cause of the working class that should graduate from there, people who are front-rank fighters not only because of their boldness and readiness for self-sacrifice, but also because they see further than rank-and-file workers and know better than they the path that leads to the emancipation of the working people. All sections of the Communist International must without any dilly-dallying seriously take up the question of the proper organization of Party schools, in order to turn them into smithies where these fighting cadres are forged.
The principal task of our Party schools, it seems to me, is to teach the Party and Young Communist League members there how to apply, the Marxist-Leninist method to the concrete situation in particular countries, to definite conditions, not the struggle against an enemy 'in general,' but against a particular, definite enemy. This makes necessary a study of not merely the letter of Leninism, but its living revolutionary spirit.
There are two ways of training cadres in our Party schools:
First method: teaching people abstract theory, trying to give them the greatest possible dose of dry learning, coaching them how to write theses and resolutions in a literary style and only incidentally touching upon the problems of the particular 'country, of the particular labour movement, its history and traditions, and the experience of the Communist Party in question.
Second method: theoretical training in which mastering the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism is based on practical study by the student of the key problems of the struggle of the proletariat in his own country. On returning to his practical work, the student will then be able to find his bearings by himself, and become an independent practical organizer and leader capable of leading the masses in battle against the class enemy.
Not all graduates of our Party schools prove to be suit able. There are many phrases, abstractions, a good deal of book knowledge and show of learning. But we need real truly Bolshevik organizers and leaders of the masses. And we need them badly this very day. It does not matter if such students cannot write good theses (though we need that very much, too), but they must know how to organize and lead undaunted by difficulties, capable of surmounting them.
Revolutionary theory is the generalized, summarized experience of the revolutionary movement. Communists must carefully utilize in their countries not only the experience of the past but also the experience of the present struggle of other detachments of the international workers' movement. However, correct utilization of experience does not by any means denote mechanical transposition of readymade forms and methods of struggle from one set of conditions to another, from one country to another, as so often happens in our Parties. Bare imitation, simple copying of methods and forms of work, even of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in countries where capitalism is still supreme, may with the best of intentions result in harm rather than good, as has so often actually been the case. It is precisely from the experience of the Russian Bolsheviks that we must learn to apply effectually, to the specific conditions of life in each country, the single international line; in the struggle against capitalism we must learn pitilessly to cast aside, pillory and hold up to general ridicule all phrase -mongering, use of hackneyed formulas, pedantry and dogmatism.
It is necessary to learn, Comrades, to learn always, at every, step, in the course of the struggle, at liberty and in jail. To learn and to fight, to fight and to learn.
Comrades, never has any international congress of Communists aroused such keen interest on the part of world public opinion as we witness now in regard to our present Congress. It may be said without fear of exaggeration that there is not a single serious newspaper, not a single political party, not a single more or less serious political or social leader that is not following the course of our Congress with the closest attention.
The eyes of millions of workers, peasants, small townspeople, office workers and intellectuals, of colonial peoples and oppressed nationalities are turned towards Moscow, the great capital of the first but not the last state of the international proletariat. In this we see a confirmation of the enormous importance and urgency of the questions discussed at the Congress and of its decisions.
The frenzied howling of the fascists of all countries, particularly of rabid German fascism, only confirms us in the belief 'that our decisions have indeed hit the mark.
In the dark night of bourgeois reaction and fascism in which the class enemy is endeavouring to keep the working masses of the capitalist countries, the Communist International, the international Party. of the Bolsheviks, stands out like a beacon, showing all mankind the one way to emancipation from the voke of capitalism, from fascist barbarity and the horrors of imperialist war.
The establishment of unity of action of the working class is the decisive stage on that road. Yes, unity. of action by, the organizations of the working class of every trend, the consolidation of its forces in all spheres of its activity and in all sectors of the class struggle.
The working class must achieve the unify of its trade unions. In vain do some reformist trade union leaders attempt to frighten the workers with the spectre of a trade union democracy. destroyed by the interference of the Communist Parties in the affairs of the united trade unions, by the existence of Communist factions within the trade unions. To depict us Communists as opponents of trade union democracy. is sheer nonsense. We advocate and consistently uphold the right of the trade unions to decide their problems for themselves. We are even prepared to forego the creation of Communist factions in the trade unions if that is necessary in the interests of trade union unity. We are prepared to come to an agreement on the independence of the united trade unions from all political parties. But we are decidedly opposed to any dependence of the trade unions on the bourgeoise, and do not give up our basic point of view that it is impermissible for trade unions to adopt a neutral position in regard to the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
The working class must strive to secure the union of all forces of the working-class youth and of all organizations of the anti-fascist youth, and win over that section of the working youth which has come under the demoralizing influence of fascism and other enemies of the people.
The working class must and will achieve unity of action in all fields of the labour movement. This will come about !he sooner the more firmly and resolutely we Communists and revolutionary workers of all capitalist countries apply. in practice the new tactical line adopted by our Congress in relation to the most important urgent questions of the international workers' movement.
We know that there are many difficulties ahead. Our path is not a smooth asphalt road, our path is not strewn with roses. The working class will have to overcome many an obstacle, including obstacles in its own midst; it faces the task above all of reducing to naught the disruptive machinations of the reactionary elements of Social Democracy. Many are the sacrifices that will be exacted under the hammer blows of bourgeois reaction and fascism. The revolutionary ship of the proletariat will have to steer its course through a multitude of submerged rocks before it reaches its port.
But the working class in the capitalist countries is today no longer what it was in 1914, at the beginning of the imperialist war, nor what it was in 1918, at the end of the war. The working class has behind it twenty years of rich experience and revolutionary trials, bitter lessons of a number of defeats, especially in Germany, Austria and Spain.
The working class has before it the inspiring example of the Soviet Union, the land of victorious socialism, an example of how the class enemy can be defeated, how the working class can establish its own government and build a socialist society .
The bourgeoisie no longer holds undivided dominion over the whole expanse of the world. Now the victorious working class rules over one sixth of the globe. Soviets rule over a vast part of the great China.
The working class possesses a firm, well-knit revolutionary vanguard, the Communist International.
The whole course of historical development, Comrades, favours the cause of the working class. In vain are the efforts of the reactionaries, the fascists of every hue, the entire world bourgeoisie, to turn back the wheel of history. No, that wheel is turning forward and will continue to turn forward towards a worldwide Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, until the final victory of socialism throughout the world.
There is but one thing that the working class of the capitalist countries still lacks - unity in its own ranks.
So let the battle cry of the Communist International, the clarion call of Marx, Engels and Lenin ring out all the more loudly from this platform to the whole world.
Workers of all countries, unite...
1) Lerroux, Alexandro Garcia - Spanish politician and leader of the Republican Radical Party. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the first Republican government after the proclamation of the Republic of April 1931, sided with Franco during the fascist uprising.
2) Robles, Gil - Spanish reactionary statesman, minister in the Lerroux Government.
3) Referring to the defeat of the German revolution in 1918-1923, the defeat of the revolutionary movement in Austria in 1934 and the defeat of the workers' revolutions in Asturia (Spani) in 1934.