The People's Front
The policy of the People's Front of struggle against fascism and war, proclaimed
by the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, has aroused a mighty
echo among the working masses of all countries. The practical realization
of this policy in France and Spain has provided clear proof that the People's
Front is actually possible and has enhanced its popularity.
There is not a single country, at the present time, where the
idea of the People's Front does not daily find more and more adherents
among all those who cherish democracy and freedom, among all those who
advocate peace among nations. The effort to form a People's Front is growing
as well in countries where the bourgeois-democratic revolution has still
by no means had its last say; in Japan, for instance, where the fascist-feudal
military clique, with its rapacious military adventures on Chinese territory
and on the frontiers of the great Soviet Union, is thrusting the Japanese
people into an abyss of most terrible calamities. And it is growing also
in the so-called classic countries of bourgeois democracy, in Great Britain,
for instance, where the destinies of nations have been traditionally decided
by the two parties of monopoly capital -- the Tory and the Liberal -- which,
by their reactionary policy both nationally and internationally, pave the
way for the burial of democracy and peace.
The tremendous historical significance, the correctness and timeliness
of the People's Front policy, are perhaps particularly clearly expressed
in the attitude toward this policy shown by the enemies of the proletariat,
the enemies of democracy and peace, the fascist war-incendiaries, and the
reactionary forces throughout the world. The governments of capitalist
countries, bourgeois parties, statesmen and politicians, bourgeois newspapers,
have all become seriously alarmed by the decisions of the Congress. The
reactionaries of all countries have raised an unparalleled campaign of
slander and calumny against the Communist International and against all
adherents of the People's Front. In fascist Germany they have even formed
a special organization, called the "Anti-Comintern," to carry on propaganda
on an international scale against the Communist International and to combat
the policy of the People's Front. At the National-Socialist Congress in
Nuremberg, Hitler, Goebbels and Rosenberg opened a particularly furious
cannonade against the danger of the People's Front, which is menacing the
fascist dictatorship, and against democracy in general. While directing
the most vehement outbursts against the already existing People's Front
in France and Spain, they at the same time thus expressed their alarm and
fear of the People's Front movement which is taking shape in Germany itself.
The Pope at Rome and their "graces" the bishops in different countries
hastened with epistles and sermons, to shield their flock from that "frightful
Bolshevik danger," the People's Front. The question of the People's Front
is always in the columns of the press in the capitalist countries and is
the subject of the most lively discussion.
The workers' class enemy quickly sensed and understood what a
tremendous danger the People's Front, the unity of all anti-fascist forces,
constitutes for him. As long as the proletariat is disunited, as long as
it is isolated from the other strata of toilers, the working people in
town and country, as long as it has not established proper relationships
and collaboration with the other democratic forces in the country, it is
not so difficult, as the examples of Italy, Germany and Austria have shown,
for the handful of financial and industrial magnates, for the fascist bourgeoisie,
to crush the working class movement, to defeat the various strata of the
people one by one, and destroy democracy. The fascists have successfully
applied the well-known crafty motto -- "divide and rule."
But when the scattered proletarian detachments, at the initiative
of the Communists, join hands for the struggle against the common enemy,
when the working class, marching as a unit, begins to act together with
the peasantry, the lower middle classes and all democratic elements, on
the basis of the People's Front program, then the offensive of the fascist
bourgeoisie is confronted with an insurmountable barrier. A force arises
which can offer determined resistance to fascism, prevent it from coming
to power in countries of bourgeois democracy and overthrow its barbarous
rule where it is already established.
As the examples of France and Spain have shown, the establishment
of the People's Front signifies a turning point in the relation of forces
between the proletariat on the one hand, and the fascist bourgeoisie on
the other; to the advantage of millions of the working masses. The People's
Front makes it possible for the lower middle classes, the peasantry and
the democratic intelligentsia, not only to resist the tutelage and oppression
of the clique of finance capital, but also to rise up against it in defense
of their vital interests and rights, relying for support on the militant
collaboration of the working class nationally and on an international scale.
The People's Front offers a way out of the situation which seemed so hopeless
to the sections of the lower middle classes, who considered themselves
doomed to submission to fascist domination. The People's Front helps the
working class to avoid the political isolation toward which the bourgeoisie
purposely impels it; it creates the most favorable conditions for the working
class to accomplish its historic role, to head the struggle of their people
against the small clique of financial magnates, big capitalists and landlords,
to be in the vanguard in the uncompleted democratic revolution and in all
movements for progress and culture. The class struggle between exploited
and exploiters thus receives an immeasurably wider base and a mighty scope.
While the split in the ranks of the working class, the absence
of unity between them and the other strata of the working people, pave
the way to power for fascism, the unity of the proletarian ranks and the
formation of the People's Front ensure victory for democracy over fascism,
defend peace against fascist incendiaries of war, and in the long run pave
the way for the victory of labor over capital.
It is difficult to imagine a higher degree of political shortsightedness
and absurdity than to contrast the principles of the class struggle with
the policy of the People's Front, as some of our overzealous critics "from
the Left" do in regard to the decisions of the Seventh Congress of the
Communist International. We frequently observe the characteristic phenomenon
that not a few Left Socialists, who have become disillusioned with the
Social-Democratic policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, and
are moving away from reformism are frequently inclined to go to the other
extreme and become the victims of sectarianism and Leftist excesses. They
make the mistake of identifying the policy of the People's Front with the
policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, and demand "a pure
working-class policy," declaring that the joint struggle of the working
class and the democratic sections of the lower middle classes, the peasantry
and intelligentsia against fascism constitutes a retreat from the position
of the class struggle. But this does not at all mean that the People's
Front policy is identical with the policy of class collaboration with the
bourgeoisie it only shows that we must patiently explain the class meaning
of the People's Front policy to the sincere Left Socialists and help them
to get rid of their own political shortsightedness, which can only play
into the hands of fascism and reaction in general.
As was stated at the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, the
People's Front will be formed in a different way in different countries,
depending on the historical social and political peculiarities of each
country and the concrete situation existing therein. To imitate' uncritically
and transfer mechanically the methods and forms of the People's Front in
one country to another can only complicate its formation, expansion and
However, as experience has shown, it is equally true for the majority
of the capitalist countries, that:
First, the formation of the People's Front is possible in the
actual struggle today against fascism;
Second the People's Front will be realized the more rapidly and
the sections of the working masses joining it will be the greater, the
more determinedly the working class itself acts as one unit, the more quickly
its organizations, and in the first place the mass trade unions and the
Communist and Social-Democratic Parties, bring about unity of action in
the struggle against fascism;
Third, the People's Front will spread and strengthen as its program
for the defense of the interests of the working people, for the defense
of democracy and peace against fascism and the fascist warmongers, is carried
Fourth, the success of the People's Front is entirely dependent
upon the extent to which its ranks are consolidated, and upon the extent
to which the masses and organizations which take part in it have undergone
political and organizational preparation so as to be ready promptly to
repulse every blow aimed by fascism, without waiting for its general offensive.
Today, when the Spanish people is engaged in a deadly struggle
against the fascist rebels, when fascism is raising its head everywhere
in the capitalist countries and, in the first place, in France, Czechoslovakia
and Belgium, it is the supreme duty of the working class to hasten in every
way the formation and consolidation of the People's Front by establishing
united action nationally and on an international scale. It is the duty
of Communists to do everything necessary, taking into consideration the
conditions in their own countries, to help the working class to fulfill
this its historic task.
If we are briefly to formulate the most important, immediate tasks
which the whole situation today places before the world proletariat, they
may be reduced to the following:
- To exert every effort to help the Spanish people to crush the fascist
- Not to allow the People's Front in France to be discredited
- To hasten by every means the establishment of a world People's
Front of struggle against fascism and war.
All these tasks are closely linked. The most urgent, though, of these tasks,
the very first at the present moment, is that of organizing international
aid to the Spanish people for their victory over fascism.
The course of development in all the capitalist countries in the
near future will depend a great deal upon the outcome of the struggle of
the Spanish people against the fascist brigands. The action undertaken
by the fascists in Spain has shown once more that fascism is not only the
bitterest enemy of the proletariat, the enemy of the Soviet Socialist Republics,
but the enemy of every form of liberty, of every democratic country, even
if its political and economic regime does not go beyond the bounds of bourgeois
Fascism means the destruction of all the democratic rights won
by the people, the establishment of a kingdom of darkness and ignorance
and the destruction of culture; it means nonsensical race theories and
the preaching of hatred of man for man, for the purpose of kindling wars
of conquest. Death and destruction are being spread today in Spain by the
rabble who form the Foreign Legion, by the duped Moroccan troops led by
fascist generals, and by the ammunition and military units sent to Spain
by the fascist rulers of Germany, Italy and Portugal. The combatants of
the Republican army fighting at the walls of Madrid, in Catalonia, in the
mountains of Asturias, all over the peninsula, are laying down their lives
to defend not only the liberty and independence of Republican Spain, but
also the democratic gains of all nations, and the cause of peace against
the fascist war incendiaries.
The special significance of the Spanish events consists in the
fact that they have demonstrated the mighty power of united proletarian
action, the power of the People's Front in the struggle against fascism.
For it is now quite clear to everybody that if united action had not been
achieved between the Communist, Socialist and Anarchist workers in Spain,
if a broad fighting front of the Spanish people -- from the Communists
to the Left Republicans -- had not been formed, the fascist generals would
long ago have established their dictatorship. They would have wreaked bloody
vengeance upon the workers and other toilers and upon all democratic elements
all over the whole of Spanish territory. They would have doomed the country
to an orgy of medieval reaction and inquisition, would have placed it under
the heel of German and Italian fascism, would have handed over to them
the most important strategic points in the Mediterranean, and have turned
Spain into a military base for carrying out their robber war plans.
But in Spain the fascist rebels and their inspirers from Berlin
and Rome have encountered that force which is barring their way. They have
encountered the armed resistance of the People's Front. The Spanish
people by their heroic struggle are today demonstrating how democracy is
to be defended against fascism. The victory of the Spanish people is the
interest of all who do not want to suffer fascist barbarism in their country.
The victory of the Spanish people will be the victory of the whole of world
democracy, the victory of progress and culture over fascist reaction, the
victory of the peace the People's Front in France and strike a heavy blow
at fascism in all countries.
The heroic struggle of the Spanish people serves as a striking
and convincing warning to the fascist forces of darkness in those countries
where they are feverishly preparing for fascist coups d'état,
that the time has passed when fascism can make use of disunity in the ranks
of the working class and other toilers, when it can catch the people unawares,
when it can deceive the politically backward sections of the population
and seize state power. It shows that where there are a firm People's Front
and international solidarity of action among the working class, it will
be impossible to establish fascist rule over a people prepared to defend
their freedom and independence. Thus, the cause of democracy and peace
in Europe, the struggle against fascism and war in all countries, is linked
in a thousand ways with the interests of the People's Front in Spain, whose
courageous fighters have taken up arms to defend the Republic and ensure
the victory of the Spanish revolution.
Everything that has happened during the recent period, and primarily the
lessons of the Spanish events, point to the fact that the time has come
when we must defend democracy by every means, including the force of arms.
These are the lessons that must be learned and well remembered by all workers
and other toilers, by all those who do not want to become victims of fascist
bondage and savage violence.
It is not at all that the supporters of democracy and peace are
in general advocates of armed struggle, but that fascism kindles the flames
of civil war against the democratic regime of the country, brings about
destruction and death, and compels the people to defend their lives, their
freedom and independence by taking up arms.
It must be understood that it is not a case now of some far distant
menace of fascism, but that fascism, which has already set up its terroristic
dictatorship in such big countries as Germany and Italy, and is seeking
to do the same in Spain, is preparing to crush the working class movement
and to destroy democracy in other countries, and that it kindles the flames
of world imperialist war.
The war undertaken by fascism against the Spanish people cannot
be considered as a casual isolated act. No, this war is a link to the chain
of the fascist offensive on the international arena. No illusions must
be harbored that the war undertaken by fascism against the Spanish people
will be the last of its kind. Fascism is preparing to strike at democracy
in France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, at the democracy of England, Switzerland,
Scandinavia and other countries. Everywhere the fascist reactionaries are
feverishly working, from within and without, to prepare, organize and,
at a convenient moment, to carry out fascist rebellions and coups d'état.
In order to prepare for a new imperialist war, to seize foreign territories
and to subject other nations, in order to ensure the unbridled rule of
the most reactionary, rapacious elements of finance capital and to Organize
a crusade against the Soviet Union, fascism needs to smash the working
class movement and destroy European democracy.
All adherents of democracy must bear in mind that the fate of
anti-fascist democracy in Europe is indissolubly bound up with the fate
of the working class, with the establishment of the People's Front. Democracy
will inevitably perish under the blows of the fascist offensive, if it
does not rely for support on the working class and the broad masses of
the working people, if it is not prepared to defend itself against fascism
by every means at its disposal.
The policy of retreating before fascism, both nationally and on
an international scale, brings grist to the mill of fascism; it brings
destruction to the nations, it means the end of democracy. This policy
is equally harmful for those who retreat before fascism inside the country
and those states which retreat before it on the international arena.
The fascist rulers of Germany are systematically blackmailing
the countries of bourgeois democracy, and the present rulers of those countries
succumb to the influence of this blackmail. But it must be realized that
the brazen fascists are becoming the more insolent the more concessions
are ceded to them, and the less the resistance they meet. The fascists
are using their well-tried method of provocation. In Germany they burned
the Reichstag and then shouted that the Communists had done it. In Spain
they started a rebellion against the parliamentary regime, against the
lawful republican government, and then shouted that the People's Front
was to blame for the civil war. The fascists put fear into the hearts of
the spineless liberals and flabby democrats; while the democratic jobbers
fearing for their profits and the ministers, politicians and leaders from
the ranks of various liberal and democratic parties who cling to their
soft seats, as well as not a few people from the Socialist and Amsterdam
Internationals, give way to this intimidation and do their utmost to find
means of conciliation with fascism. They try to persuade us that such a
"middle" policy can be adopted whereby "the wolves would be satisfied and
the sheep go unharmed." But concessions will not sate the fascist wolves.
This kind of policy will not check them. Actually it only leads to demobilizing
the forces and the will of the working masses.
The Spanish events provide a particularly vivid example in this
respect, too. It is now clear to all that the fascists, and first and foremost
the fascists of Germany and Italy who have raised the revolt, with the
Spanish generals as their cat's-paws, counted upon the young Spanish Republican
government not offering them any serious resistance; they expected that
it would not be difficult for them to subject the country and take over
its natural wealth and the islands having strategic importance. In resorting
to military action in Spain the fascists had before them the examples of
the recent past, when their criminal acts had been allowed to go unpunished.
The introduction of compulsory military service in Germany, the militarization
of the Rhineland, the seizure of Ethiopia by Italy and the earlier seizure
of parts of China by Japan, which took place with the connivance of the
bourgeois democratic countries and the League of Nations, have whetted
the appetites of the fascist bullies and encouraged them to attempt a new
robber raid. The fascists would never have dared to kindle the flames of
civil war in other countries, to send arms, airplanes, tanks, flotillas
of warships and, lastly, army units, had they been promptly and firmly
checked. They would have been compelled to retreat if; at the very beginning
of the fascist rebellion in Spain, they had encountered the mighty force
of the international working class movement marching in a united front,
if they had encountered resistance on the part of the bourgeois democratic
governments, if these governments had not supported the blockade of the
Spanish Republic by their fraudulent policy of non-intervention.
We often hear the argument advanced by people who pretend to be
adherents of democracy, that the establishment of the People's Front only
leads to increased fascist aggression, that it hastens the armed action
of fascism. From this they draw the conclusion that if you want to avoid
the barbarous rule of fascism, do not form a People's Front, but try to
come to terms peacefully with Hitler and Mussolini and your own Hitlers
and Mussolinis in each country. But nothing could be more misguiding and
harmful for the proletariat and the people in the bourgeois democratic
countries than to follow the sheepish wisdom of these woebegone democrats.
It amounts to the absurd, stupid, foul moral: "Don't annoy the beast if
you don't want it to attack you." And this monstrous moral is being taught
to the Social-Democratic workers precisely after the cruel defeat of the
working people of Germany and Austria!
For in Germany and Austria, as is well known, the leaders of Social-Democracy
and the trade unions had absolutely refused to undertake any joint action
with the Communists, their excuse being that the united front with the
Communist Party would alienate the middle strata from the working class,
would strengthen the position and the aggression of fascism, would hasten
on its general offensive and lead to fascist victory and the annihilation
of democracy. It was as a result of this policy that the German and Austrian
people suffered heavy defeats, followed by countless horrors and calamities.
On the other hand, we see that the People's Front in France has
barred the way against fascism, while it is precisely owing to the People's
Front that for five months now the Spanish people have been heroically
defending their liberty and independence. In this grave struggle the chances
for victory will be the greater the more the Spanish working class is able
to maintain to the end the firm unity of the People's Front, the more it
is able to subordinate the historically formed differences between the
Communists, Socialists and Anarchists, to the greater interests of the
people, to the cause of suppressing the fascist rebellion, the more determinedly
it resists the attempts at taking dangerous leaps over the inevitable stages
of the revolution advocated by certain shortsighted sectarians, light-minded
visionaries and Trotskyite provocateurs. Finally, the quicker and more
resolute the support afforded to the Spanish people by the world proletariat
and the whole of progressive mankind, the sooner will the Spanish people
finish with the fascist rebels.
An analogy, it is true, is not always proof, but frequently it
throws a clearer light on a given situation. We can definitely assert that
if; at the time of the Leipzig trial when the sword of brutal Hitler fascism
hung over the heads of the accused Communists, the anti-fascists of all
countries, and we in court, had adhered to this wiseacre policy of "Don't
annoy the beast," German fascism would not then have suffered such a moral
and political defeat, the heads of the falsely accused Communists would
not have remained on their shoulders, and the "St. Bartholomew Night" prepared
by the bloodthirsty fascists for the thousands of prisoners of fascism
in the jails and concentration camps would not have been averted.
No, the policy of "Don't annoy the beast," is an unworthy policy!
It is a policy which under all circumstances is fatal for the working class,
for democracy and peace. On the contrary, the fascist beast must be
muzzled. It must be confronted by the mighty organized fist of the People's
Front. It must be muzzled in iron so as to prevent it from biting. It must
be struck at and finished once and for all, in order to save the democratic
gains won by the people and safeguard peace.
This, of course, does not mean that we should fall prey to the
provocations of the fascists, who, while using all means to kindle the
flames of civil war inside the country and imperialist war abroad, seek
to deceive the masses of the people and create the impression that it is
precisely the parties of the People's Front and the states which support
peace that lead to civil war and military complications.
In the contemporary political history of Europe we have two most
important and instructive examples showing different attitudes toward fascism
that led to diametrically opposite results.
While in Germany the Social-Democratic leaders refused to establish
united working class action and, precisely because of this, facilitated
the advent of the fascists to power, we have a different example in France.
The French proletariat, thanks to the joint action of the Communist and
Socialist Parties and the policy of unswerving struggle on the basis of
the People's Front against the fascist danger, caused fascism to be effectively
repulsed and prevented the fascists from establishing their rule. This
is the greatest victory of the proletariat and democracy in Europe after
the coming of fascism to power in Germany. And the working people of other
capitalist countries can and must learn much from the French proletariat.
But these successes in France are only the first successes. They
must be consolidated; they demand that the offensive against fascism proceed
further. Every attempt to discredit and break up the People's Front must
meet with the most resolute resistance on the part of all workers, all
anti-fascists. The mustering of the fascist forces within the country,
the growing fascist aggression in neighboring countries, the Spanish events,
which are fraught with lessons to be learned, indicate clearly to the workers
and all anti-fascists that they must increase their efforts tenfold in
the struggle against fascism, that they must forge an even stronger and
more stable united People's Front.
There is no ground to doubt that this line will be followed persistently
and firmly, as the only correct line in the struggle against growing fascist
aggression. But maintaining the People's Front in France does not mean
by far that the working class will support the present government at any
price. The composition of the government may change, but the People's Front
must remain and grow stronger all the time. If for some reason or other
the existing government should turn out to be unable to put through the
program of the People's Front, if it takes the line of retreat before the
enemy at home and abroad, if its policy leads to the discrediting of the
People's Front and thus weakens the resistance to the fascist offensive,
then the working class, while still further strengthening the bonds of
the People's Front, will strive to bring about the substitution of another
government for the present one, of a government which will firmly carry
out the program of the People's Front, will be capable of dealing with
the fascist danger, will safeguard the democratic liberties of the French
people and ensure its defense against foreign fascist aggression.
Alongside with maintaining and strengthening the People's Front
in France, the unfolding of united action among all sections of the English
working class against fascism and war deserves special attention. England
plays a tremendous role in the whole of the political life of the world.
Her position most definitely influences a number of bourgeois democratic
countries and the international situation in general. The whole situation
today raises with particular force the question of the role of the working
class of England nationally and on an international scale. This fact imposes
on it particularly important obligations with regard to the struggle against
fascism and for the preservation of peace, and also with regard to the
task of establishing international unity of the working class movement.
The English working class won democratic rights earlier than the working
people of other countries. The democratic regime they won has made it possible
for them to influence the policies of their country to a greater extent
than is the case with the proletariat of a number of other countries. The
English workers possess powerful means for the struggle for democracy,
to safeguard peace against fascism and, in particular, against the fascist
brigands in Spain and the German, Italian and Portuguese interventionists.
There is no doubt that the working class of England, with the
glorious traditions of the Chartist movement behind it, the proletariat
in whose midst the First International of Marx and Engels was established,
and which possesses powerful, united trade union organizations, will find
in itself sufficient strength and will power to overcome all obstacles
on the way to creating a united People's Front of struggle against fascism
and war, and to fulfill with honor its international obligations in defense
of democracy, culture and peace.
The decisive role in the task of establishing a mighty People's Front belongs
to the working class. It can and must rally around itself all working people,
all the forces of democracy, all anti-fascists. At the present juncture,
when we are faced with furious fascist aggression directed, as was particularly
clearly demonstrated by the Nuremberg Congress of the bestial German fascists,
against every kind of democracy, when everything must be done to
save the Spanish democratic republic, when over the world hangs the ominous
threat of a new world imperialist war, it is not only impermissible
to allow the forces of the proletariat to be divided, but it is impermissible
and criminal to allow any slackening in the work of establishing the united
front. This slackening only plays into the hands of fascism. It may
cause the proletariat and democracy to suffer new heavy blows.
The working class must no longer tolerate a situation where, at
a time when in Spain the Socialist and Communist workers are fighting and
dying together at the front, defending not only the liberty and democracy
of the Spanish people but the democracy and culture of the whole of Europe
against fascist barbarism, there are to be found leaders of the Second
Socialist International who bring all their influence to bear to widen
the split in the proletarian ranks.
At a time when the fascist rebels in Spain are slaughtering Socialist
and Communist workers who are fighting shoulder to shoulder at the front,
when they are spreading death and destruction throughout the country, the
leadership of the Socialist Inter national persistently refuses to organize
aid for the Spanish people jointly with the Communist International.
There are a number of countries with Social-Democratic governments
or coalition governments in which Social-Democratic ministers, leaders
of the Social-Democratic Parties and of the Socialist International, are
taking part. But not only do these governments not make common cause with
the Soviet Union in its position on the Spanish question, the only position
which is in accord with the interests of the Spanish people and with the
cause of the defense of democracy and peace, but by the manner in which
they act they lend support to the hypocritical policy of non-intervention
and actually hinder the cause of effective resistance to the fascist interventionists
and murderers of the Spanish people.
Of course, the responsibility for this policy, which is most detrimental
to the interests of the world proletariat, lies with the Socialist leaders
who are carrying it out. But it would be against the historical truth if
we were to keep silent concerning that share of responsibility which falls
upon all leaders and members of the Socialist and Amsterdam Internationals.
For the leaders speak and act on their behalf, as their representatives.
Inasmuch as they allow such a policy to be pursued, they cannot disclaim
responsibility for it. They must become cognizant of the common duty history
places upon them, together with the Communists, to do everything to bar
the way against fascism and to safeguard peace.
In the formation and extension of the People's Front of struggle
against fascism and war, the greatest significance is attached to the united
front of the working class itself in the main capitalist countries, to
united action on the part of the Communist and Social-Democratic parties,
as well as the trade unions of different political tendencies and, on the
international arena, to joint action of the Communist and Socialist and
Amsterdam International. All obstacles in the way of this united action
must be removed as rapidly as possible. To this end the Communist Parties
and all supporters of proletarian unity and the People's Front in the ranks
of the Socialist and Amsterdam Internationals have a tremendous amount
of intensive daily activity ahead of them.
The Seventh Congress of the Communist International was fully
aware of the fact that it is no simple task to put an end to the split
in the ranks of the working class. All that the enemies of the working
class, their agents and henchmen have done over the course of long decades
for the purpose of dividing the forces of the working people cannot be
eliminated with a wave of the hand and by mere wishes.
Our whole experience since the congress has shown still more clearly
that the road to united action on the part of the working class nationally
and on an international scale is far from being a straight, smooth,
paved road. It is a pretty hard, zigzag road, often thorny and steep.
Open and covert enemies of unity never cease to throw up different kinds
of obstacles and barriers along that road. Every step has to be taken after
great effort, by stubborn work and struggle. There are the misguided ones
who must have things explained to them patiently, so that they may become
convinced. There are the waverers and those of little faith who have to
be urged on all the time. There are saboteurs and double-dealers who must
be ruthlessly exposed. There is a persistent struggle to be waged against
the cunning sophists, the crafty politicians and practiced demagogues,
who do their utmost to persuade the rank and file, the politically inexperienced
workers, that two times two are not four, but three, that the united
front of the working class does not increase their power, but only leads
to increased fascist aggression.
And at the same time it is necessary to be on guard against falling
prey to the provocative maneuvers of the enemies of unity, but untiringly
to extend a brotherly hand to all organizations of the working people,
inviting them to joint struggle even when they have avowed opponents of
unity at their head. For every Communist, every class-conscious worker,
must not forget for a minute that the opponents of unity of the international
proletariat would be extremely gratified if, in the face of their sabotage
and provocation, the Communists themselves would give up the struggle for
unity and refrain from consistently carrying out the People's Front policy.
This would only make it easier for these leaders to carry on in their role
as splitters and would save them for the time being from the severe verdict
of the proletariat and of history. We must know how to carry on an unabated,
ideological struggle against reformism and other anti-Marxist tendencies
in the ranks of the working class movement, and at the same time fight
persistently for the establishment of the united People's Front and carefully
avoid any disruption of united action in the daily struggle against fascism
Twenty-two years ago, on the eve of the world imperialist war,
when he was gathering together the forces of the working class for the
coming struggle for socialism, the great Lenin spoke of the tremendous
importance of unity in the ranks of the proletariat:
The workers do need unity. And the thing that must be understood above
all else is that, apart from the workers themselves, no one will
"give" them unity, no one is in a position to help their unity.
Unity cannot be "promised"-that would be an empty boast, self-deception;
unity cannot be "created" out of "agreement" between little groups of intellectuals
-- this is an error of the saddest, most naive and ignorant type.
Unity must be won, and only by the workers themselves;
the class-conscious workers themselves are capable of achieving this by
stubborn and persistent work.
Nothing is easier than to write the word "unity" in letters a
yard high, to promise unity, to "proclaim" oneself an adherent of unity.
But in reality, unity can only be advanced by work and the organization
of the advanced workers, of all class-conscious workers.
This is not easy. It requires work, persistence, the rallying
together of all class-conscious workers. But without such work there is
no use in talking of the unity of the workers.
[V. I. Lenin, Collected
These remarkable words of Lenin are particularly valuable and instructive
for the working class of all capitalist countries at the present period.
The whole course of events since the Seventh Congress of the Communist
International provides indisputable confirmation of the vital necessity
of the earliest possible realization of its historic slogans regarding
working class unity and the People's Front of struggle against the worst
enemy of mankind -- fascism. The Communist International and the Communist
Parties of the various countries, backed by the masses of the working people,
will not cease for one moment to exert all their power in the fight to
bring about this unity. They will not fall prey to any provocation whatsoever
directed toward widening the split in the ranks of the working class and
breaking up the People's Front. And despite the opposition of the saboteurs
in the Socialist and Amsterdam Internationals, the world proletariat will
bring about its militant unity.
In the struggle against fascism and war, not empty words, not
platonic wishes, but action is needed. To achieve this action it is necessary
to bring about the unification of all the forces of the working class and
to carry out unswervingly the policy of the People's Front.