MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin


V. I. Lenin

THE SECOND CONGRESS OF
THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

JULY 19-AUGUST 7, 1920

First  published  in  full  in  1921
in the book  The Second Congress
of  the  Communist   International,
Verbatum Report.
 Published by the
Communist International, Petrograd
 
 
 

The   Report   on  the   International
Situation is published  according  to
the text of the book, checked against
the verbatum report as emended by
Lenin; speeched are published accord-
ing to the text of the book, checked
against   the  verbatum   report   in
German              

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1966

Vol. 31, pp. 213-63.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Julius Katzer


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@cruzio.com (July 1997)


THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL
(July 19-August 7, 1920 )

   1.
 
 

REPORT ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION AND THE FUNDAMENTAL TASKS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL, JULY 19 .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



215

2.

SPEECH ON THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY, JULY 23

235

3.
 

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON THE NATIONAL AND COLONIAL QUESTIONS, JULY 26   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


240

4.
 

SPEECH ON THE TERMS OF ADMISSION INTO THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL JULY 26   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


246

5.

SPEECH ON PARLIAMENTARIANISM, AUGUST 2 .   .   .   .   .

253

6.
 

SPEECH ON AFFILIATION TO THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY, AUGUST 6  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


257

NOTES



page 563


NOTES

  [77] The Second Congress of the Communist International met from July 19 to August 7, 1920. The opening session was held in Petrograd and the subsequent sessions in Moscow. It was attended by over 200 delegates who represented workers ' organisations of 37 countries. Apart from delegates representing the Communist parties and organisations of 31 countries, there were delegates from the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, the Socialist parties of Italy and France, Industrial Workers of the World (Australia, Britain and Ireland), the National Confederation of Labour of Spain and other organisations.
    Lenin directed all the preparatory work before the Congress. At its first session he made a report on the international situation and the fundamental tasks of the Communist International. Throughout the Congress, in his reports and speeches, Lenin fought uncompromisingly against the opportunist Centrist parties, who were attempting to penetrate into the Third International, and levelled sharp criticism at the anarcho-syndicalist trends and "Left" sectarianism of a number of communist organisations. Lenin took part in the work of various commissions and delivered reports and speeches on the international situation and the fundamental tasks of the Communist International, the national and the colonial questions, the agrarian question and the terms of admission into the Communist International. Lenin's theses on the fundamental tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International, the national and the colonial questions, the agrarian question and the terms of admission into the Communist International were endorsed as Congress decisions.
    The Second Congress laid the foundations of the programme, organisational principles, strategy and tactics of the Communist International.    [p.213]

  [78] This international organisation was being set up at the time by the Centrist socialist parties and groups which had left the Second International under pressure from the revolutionary masses. The International Union of the Socialist Parties, as the new organisation was officially called was formed at a conference in Vienna in February 1921 and; was also known as the Two-and-a-Half or Vienna International. Professing opposition to the Second International, the leaders of the Two-and-a-Half International actually pursued the same opportunist and splitting

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policy on the most important questions of the proletarian movement and tried to make the new organisation a counter-balance to the growing innuence of the Communists among the workers. Lenin wrote, "The gentlemen of the Two-and-a-Half International pose as revolutionaries; but in every serious situation they prove to be counter-revolutionaries because they shrink from the violent destruction of the old state machine; they have no faith in the forces of the working class" (see present edition, Vol. 33, "New Times and Old Mistakes in a New Guise").
    In May 1923 the Second International and the Two-and-a-Half International united to form the so-called Labour and Socialist International.    [p.223]

  [79] Guild socialists -- a reformist trend in the British trade unions which arose before the First World War. They denied the class character of the state and sowed illusions among thc workers that it was possible to get rid of exploitation without the class struggle, by establishing, on the basis of the existing trade unions, special associations of producers, so-called guilds whose federation was to take over industrial management. In this way the guild socialists hoped to build socialism.
    After the October Socialist Revolution the Guild socialists stepped up their propaganda, contraposing the "theory" of guild socialism to the ideas of the class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the 1920s guild socialism lost all its influence on the British workers.    [p.233]

  [80] The reference is to the American Federation of Labor and the British Labour Party.
    The American Federation of Labor was formed in 1881, on the guild principle. In the main it organised the labour aristocracy. The reformist A.F.L. Ieaders denied the principles of socialism and the class struggle, preached "class co-operationn and championed the capitalist system. They followed a splitting policy in the international working-class movement, giving active support to the aggressive policy of the U.S. imperialists. In 1955 the A.F.L. merged with the C.I.O.    [p.236]

  [81] See pp. 198-99 in this volume.    [p.236]

  [82] See p. 89 in this volume. [Transcriber's Note: See "Left Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder, pp. 91-92. -- DJR]    [p.236]

  83] The commission on the national and the colonial questions, formed by the Second Congress of the Communist International included representatives of the Communist parties of Russia, Bulgaria, France, Holland, Germany, Hungary, the U.S.A., India, Persia, China, Korea and Britain. The work of the commission was guided by Lenin, whose theses on the national and the colonial questions were discussed at the fourth and fifth sessions of the Congress, and were adopted on July 28.    [p.240]

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  [84] The Basle Manifesto was adopted by the Extraordinary International Socialist Congress held in Basle on November 24-25, 1912. It gave a warning against the imminent world imperialist war, whose predatory aims it unmasked, and called upon the workers of all countries to wage a determined fight for peace and "to pit against the might of capitalist imperialism the international solidarity of the proletariat". The Manifesto denounced the expansionist policy of the imperialist countries and urged socialists to fight against all oppression of small nations and manifestations of chauvinism.    [p.245]

  [85] The terms of admission into the Communist International were first discussed by a commission appointed by the Congress. The commission included representatives of the Communist parties of Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, the U.S.A., HunRary, Austria, Holland, the Irish I.W.W., the Left wing of the Socialist Party of Switzerland and the French Communist group. In its work the commission proceeded from Lenin's theses "The Terms of Admission into the Communist International". Lenin also worked on the commission. The terms of admission into the Communist International were discussed at three Congress sessions, July 29 and 30, and were adopted on August 6.    [p.246]

  [86] Lenin is referring to the German Social-Democratic Party's programme which was adopted at its congress in Erfurt in October 1891. This programme marked an advance over the Gotha Programme of 1875, since it was based on the Marsist thesis that the capitalist mode of production was doomed and would be inevitably replaced by the socialist mode of production; it stressed the need for the working class to wage a political struggle and defined the party's role as leader in that struggle, but it too made serious concessions to opportunism. Engels gave a profound criticism of the draft of the programme in his work "Zur Kritik des sozialdemokratischen Programmentwurfes 1891 " (see Marx/Engels, Werke, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1963, Bd. 22, S. 225-40). In fact, Engels criticised the opportunism of the entire Second International. However, in working out the final version of the programme, the German Social-Democratic leaders concealed Engels's criticism from the Party rank and file and disregarded his most important remarks. According to Lenin, the fact that the Erfurt Programme made no mention of the dictatorship of the proletafiat was the main defect in the programme, and a cowardly concession to opportunism.    [p.246]

  [87] See KPSS v rezolutsiyakh i resheniyakh syezdov, konfercntsii i plenumov TsK (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Its Congresses, Conferences and Plenums of the Central Committee ), Part I, 1954, p. 39.    [p.247]

  [88] The question of the Communist Party's affiliation to the Labour Party was dealt with during the discussion on Lenin's theses on

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the fundamental tasks of the Communist International, at the closing session of the Congress on August 6. Following Lenin's speech the majority (58 votes against 24, with 2 abstentions) approved affiliation. The Labour leaders, however, refused to grant membership to the Communist Party.    [p.257]