This report bears out the fact which was already quite evident at the International Congress in Stuttgart. The German delegation is composed equally of Party representatives and trade union representatives. The latter are almost all opportunists as it is usually the secretaries and other trade union "bureaucrats" who are elected. In general the Germans are incapable of pursuing a consistent line of principle at International Congresses and the hegemony in the International often slips from their hands. Wurm's impotence before Elm is but one more illustration of the crisis in German Social-Democracy which consists in the growth of an inevitable and decisive breach with the opportunists.
On the question of financial support for the Party from the co-operative societies, Elm and Jaurès during the proceedings of the subcommission also won an excessive concession from the Belgians, who agreed to the formula: "It rests with the co-operative societies of each country to decide whether and to what extent they should assist the political and trade union movement directly from their own funds."
When the subcommission's draft came back to the commission for final adoption these were the two points upon which we fixed our attention. Together with Guesde we moved two (main) amendments: firstly, to replace the words "(the co-operative societies) help the workers to prepare the democratisation and socialisation of production and distribution" by the words: "(the co-operative societies) help to a certain extent to prepare the functioning of production and distribution after the expropriation of the capitalist class." This amendment, which stylistically is not very happily formulated, does not mean that the co-operative societies cannot help the workers at present, but that the future mode of production and distribution, which is being prepared now by the co-operative societies, can begin to function only after the expropriation of the capitalists. The second amendment concerned the point which speaks of the relation of co-operative societies to the Party. We proposed either to add the words "which (i.e., aid to the workers' struggle) is in any case desirable from the standpoint of socialism", or to replace the whole of this point by another expressly recommending socialists in the co-operative societies to advocate and insist upon direct support for the class struggle of the proletariat.
Both amendments were rejected by the commission and collected only about 15 votes. The Socialist-Revolutionaries -- as they always do at International Congresses -- voted for Jaurès. Before the Russian public they are not averse to reproaching even Bebel with opportunism, but before the European they follow Jaurès and Elm! Wurm tried to patch up the last part of the resolution by rearranging the order of the last three paragraphs. Let it be said first of all that the unification of the co-operatives in a single federation is desirable (second paragraph from the end). Then let it be stated that it rests with the co-operative societies to decide whether they should render direct assistance to the Party or not (third paragraph from the end). And let the last paragraph begin with "but" (but the congress declares that it would be desirable to have increasingly intimate relations between the Party, the trade unions and the co-operative societies). Then it would be clear from the general context that the Congress recommends the co-operative
societies to help the Party. Elm rejected even this amendment! Wurm then withdrew it. After that Wibaut moved it in his own name, we voted for it, but the amendment was rejected.
As to the line to pursue at the plenary session of the Congress, we had a conference with Guesde. Guesde considered -- and his opinion was shared by the German revolutionary Social-Democrats -- that at the plenary session of the Congress we ought not to start a fight over minor changes, but to vote for the resolution as a whole. Its defects consist in the admission of a revisionist phrase which is not a substitute for the definition of the aim of socialism but stands alongside this definition -- and in one insufficiently emphatic expression of the idea that workers' co-operative societies should help the workers' class struggle. An attempt should be made to remove such defects but there were no grounds for starting a fight at the general meeting because of them. We agreed with this opinion of Guesde's and the resolution was unanimously adopted at the plenary session of the Congress.
To sum up the work of the Congress on the question of co-operative societies, we must say -- without concealing the defects of the resolution either from ourselves or from the workers -- that the International gave, in essentials, a correct definition of the tasks of the proletarian co-operative societies. Every member of the Party, every Social-Democratic worker, every class-conscious worker-co-operator must be guided by the resolution that was adopted and carry on all his activity in the spirit of this resolution.
The Copenhagen Congress marks that stage in the development of the labour movement in which its growth was, so to speak, mainly in breadth and in which it began to bring the proletarian co-operatives into the orbit of class struggle. Differences with the revisionists came to light but the revisionists are still a long way from coming out with an independent programme. The fight against revisionism has been postponed, but it will come inevitably.