MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin


V. I. Lenin

THIRD CONGRESS OF
THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

JUNE 22-JULY 12, 1921

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965

Vol. 32, pp. 451-96.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Yuri Sdobnikov


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


THIRD CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL,[121]
June 22-July 12, 1921

  1.

THESES FOR A REPORT ON THE TACTICS OF THE R.C.P.   .   .

453


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
 
6.
 
7.
 
 
8.
9.
 
10.
 
 

The International Position of R.S.F.S.R. .  .   .   .   .   .
The International Alignment of Class Forces .   .   .   .
The Alignment of Class Forces in Russia  .   .   .   .   .
The Proletariat and the Peasantry in Russia  .   .   .   .
The Military Alliance Between the Proletariat and the Peasantry in the R.S.F.S.R. .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Transition to Proper Economic Relations Between
the Proletariat and the Peasantry   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Conditions Under Which the Soviet Government Can Permit Capitalism and Concessions, and the Signifi-
cance Thereof .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Success of Our Food Policy  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Material Basis of Socialism and the Plan for the
Electrification of Russia  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Role of "Pure Democracy", the Second and Two-
and-a-Half Internationals, the Socialist-Revolution-
aries and the Menshevicks as the Allies of Capital .   .

453
454
455
455
 
456
 
457
 
 
457
458
 
459
 
 
460

2.

SPEECH ON THE ITALIAN QUESTION, JUNE 28  .   .   .   .   .

462

3.
 

SPEECH IN DEFENSE OF THE TACTICS OF THE COMMUNIST
INTERNATIONAL, JULY 1 .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


468

4.
 

REPORT ON THE TACTICS OF THE TACTICS OF THE R.C.P.,
JULY 5 .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


478

NOTES




    page 560


    NOTES

      [121] The Third Congress was held in Moscow from June 22 to July 12, 1921. Its 605 delegates (291 with voice and vote, and 314 with voice only) represented 103 organisations from 52 countries, namely: 48 Communist Parties, 8 Socialist Parties, 28 Youth Leagues, 4 syndicalist organisations, 2 opposition Communist Parties (the Communist Workers' Party of Gerrnany and the Workers' Communist Party of Spain) and 13 other organisations. The 72 delegates from the Russian Communist Party of Bolsheviks were headed by Lenin.
        The Congress discussed the world economic crisis and the new tasks of the Communist International; the report on the activity of the Executive Committee of the Communist International; the Communist Workers' Party of Germany, the Italian question; the tactics of the Communist International the attitude of the Red Internationa] Council of Trade Unions to the Communist International; the struggle against the Amsterdam International; the tactics of the R.C.P.(B.); the Communist International and the Communist youth movement; the women's movement; the United Communist Party of Germany, etc.
        Lenin directed preparations for and the activities of the Congress; he was elected its Honorary Chairman; he took part in drafting all the key resolutions; he gave a report on the tactics of the R.C.P.(B.); he spoke in defence of the Communist International's tactics, on the Italian question; in the commissions and at the enlarged sittings of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, and at the delegates' meetings. Before and during the Congress, Lenin met and talked with delegates about the state of affairs in the Communist Parties.

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        The Third Congress had a great influence on the formation and development of young Communist Parties. It paid great attention to the Comintern's organisation and tactics in the new conditions of the world communist movement. Lenin had to combat the Centrist deviation and "Leftist" dogmatism, pseudo-revolutionary "Leftist" cant and sectarianism. As a result, revolutionary Marxism prevailed over the "Leftist" danger.
        In the history of the world communist movement the Third Congress is known for the following achievements: it worked out the basic tactics of the Communist Parties; it defined the task of winning the masses over to the side of the proletariat, strengthening working-class unity and implementing united front tactics. The most important aspect of its resolutions, Lenin said, was "more careful, more thorough preparation for fresh and more decisive battles, both defensive and offensive".    [p.451]

      [122] On April 13, 1919, in Amritsar, an industrial centre in Punjab, India, British troops fired on a mass meeting of working people who were protesting against the colonialist reign of terror. About 1,000 were killed and 2,000 wounded. The massacre led to popular uprisings in Punjab and other provinces, which were ruthlessly suppressed by the British colonialists.    [p.455]

      [123] Posledniye Novosti (The Latest News ) -- an émigré daily, the organ of the counter-revolutionary party of Constitutional-Democrats, published in Paris from April 1920 to July 1940. Its editor was P. N. Milyukov.    [p.460]

      [124] Kommunistichesky Trud (Communist Labour ) -- a daily published by the Moscow R.C.P.(B.) Committee and the Moscow Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies from March 18, 1920. On February 7, 1922, it took the name of Rabochaya Moskva (Workers' Moscow ); on March 1, 1939, Moskovsky Bolshevik (Moscow Bolshevik ), and ever since February 19, 1950, has been appearing as Moskovskaya Pravda (Moscow Truth ).    [p.461]

      [125] La Stampa (Press ) -- an Italian bourgeois newspaper published in Turin since 1867.    [p.462]

      [126] Corriere della Sera (Evening Courier ) -- an innuential Italian bourgeois newspaper published in Milan since 1876.    [p.462]

      [127] The conference of the reformist wing of the Italian Socialist Party, the so-called "socialist concentration" group, took place in Reggio Emilia on October 10-11, 1920. Lenin gave a detailed characteristic of it in his article, "On the Struggle Within the Italian Socialist Party" (Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 377-96).
        The report on the conference mentioned by Lenin was published in Corriere della Sera No. 244 and No. 245, of October 11 and 12, 1920, as well as in Avanti! No. 245 of October 13, 1920.    [p.462]

    page 562

      [128] Avanti! (Forward! ) -- a daily, the Central Organ of the Italian Socialist Party, founded in Rome in December 1896. During the First World War, it took an inconsistently internationalist stand, and did not break with the reformists. In 1926, the paper was closed down by Mussolini's fascist government, but continued to appear abroad. It resumed publication in Italy in 1943.    [p.462]

      [129] Lenin apparently refers to the conference of the "unitary" group (Serrati, Baratono and others) in Florence on November 20-21, 1920 which came out against the break with the reformists and, with this reservation, for the acceptance of the 21 conditions of affiliation to the Communist International.    [p.463]

      [130] In January 1919, the Ebert-Scheidemann government dismissed the Berlin police chief, Eichhorn (a Left-wing Independent) who was very popular with the workers. This sparked off a workers' protest demonstration on January 4, the day following Eichhorn's retirement, and later a general strike and an armed uprising to overthrow the Ebert-Scheidemann government. The Revolutionary Committee of Action which headed the uprising included some Independents and Karl Liebknecht and Wilhelm Pieck of the Communist Party of Germany. The Communist Party considered the uprising premature, but decided to support the revolutionary mass movement in every way. Berlin events fired the proletariat's revolutionary struggle in the Rheinland, the Ruhr, Bremen and elsewhere.
        Alarmed by the scope of the movement, the Central Committee of the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany started negotiations with the government, who used them for preparing a counter-revolutionary offensive. On January 11, its forces, led by Noske, attacked the workers and drowned their uprising in blood. Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, the leaders of the German working class, were arrested and killed at the height of the counter-revolutionary reign of terror. Workers' action in other parts of the country was fiereely suppressed.    [p.463]

      [131] In September 1920, Italian steelworkers occupied their mills on the initiative of their trade union, which was in conflict with the association of industrialists. The movement started in Turin and Milan, then spread through Piedmont and Northern Italy across the eountry, from the metallurgical industry to other industries and to agriculture. In Sicily and in other areas peasants occupied the land. The scope of the movement jeopardised the capitalist regime, but the reformist leaders of the Socialist Party and the trade unions, terrified by the political character of the movement, adopted a decision to confine it to within the trade unions and prevent it from developing into a revolution. They also decided to start negotiations with the industrialists.
        This was a hard blow at the Italian workers' movement and showed the leaders' inability to lead the mass forces. Fascism used

    page 563

    the confusion within the working class to start its armed offensive in Italy.    [p.465]

      [132] The amendments were proposed by the German, Austrian and Italian delegations to the draft theses on tactics, motioned by the Russian delegation at the Third Congress of the Comintern. They were published in German in Moskau, the organ of the Third Congress.    [p.468]

      [133] The Open Letter (Offenor Brief) of the Central Committee of the United Communist Party of Germany to the Socialist Party of Germany, Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, the Communist Workers' Party of Germany and all trade unions, was published in Die Rote Fahne (The Red Banner ) on January 8, 1921. The U.C.P.G. called on all workers, trade unions and socialist organisations to unite their forces in combating reaction and the capitalists' offensive against the working people's vital rights. Their programme of joint action included demands for higher pensions for disabled war veterans; elimination of unemployment; improvement of the country's finances at the expense of the monopolies, introduction of factory and plant committee control over all stocks of food, raw materials and fuel restarting of all closed enterprises; control over sowing, harvesting and marketing of farm produce by the Peasants' Councils together with the agricultural labourers' organisations; immediate disarming and dissolution of all bourgeois militarised organisations; establishment of workers' self-defence; amnesty of all political prisoners; immediate re-establishment of trade and diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia. Lenin said these tactics were "quite correct" (see Lenin Miscellany XXXVI, p. 221).
        The Right-wing leaders of the organisations to whom the Open Letter was addressed rejected the proposal for joint action with the Communists, despite the fact that the workers came out for a united front of the proletariat.    [p.470]

      [134] The theory of an offensive struggle or "theory of the offensive" was proclaimed at the Unity Congress of the Communist Party of Germany and the Left-wing Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany in December 1920. It envisaged that the party should conduct offensive tactics, regardless of whether there were any objective conditions for revolutionary activity or whether the working people supported the Communist Party. The theory found its followors among the "Leftists" in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Austria, and France, and was one of the causes of the defeat of the March 1921 uprising in Germany. But the "Left ists" tried to justify the mistakes of the Central Committee of the U.C.P.G. The theses on the March uprising adopted by the U.C.P.G. Central Committee on April 8, 1921, reitorated that the

    page 564

    U.C.P.G. was always to "follow the line of revolutionary offensive" and that offensive tactics, "even when unsuccessful, were a prerequisite of future victory and the only means for a revolutionary party to win over the masses". At the Third Congress of the Comintern the followers of this theory fought to make it the basis of the Communist International's resolutions on tactics. Lenin proved this theory to be wrong and adventurous, and the Congress approved his line of patient preparation and winning over of the majority of the working class to the side of the communist movement.    [p.471]

      [135] See Note 97 on the British miners' strike in April-June 1921.
        [Note 97: The miners' strike in Britain lasted from April until June 1921, in protest of the mineowners' intention to cut wages. More than a million workers participated in the strike, with all the miners taking part. The miners' federation called on the executive committees of the transport and railway unions to strike in solidarity, but their reformist leaders were secretly negotiating with the government and the mineowners for a compromise to break up the strike. The miners had to return to work after a heroic three-month struggle.]    [p.476]

      [136] The reference is to the resolution of the Third Congress of the Communist International, "The International Situation and Our Tasks". See Kommunistichesky Internatsional v dokumentakh. Resheniya, tezisy i vozzvaniya kongressov Kominterna i plenumov IKKI. 1919-1932 (The Communist International in Documents. Resolutions, Theses and Appeals of Congresses of the Comintern and Plenary Meetings of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. 1919-1932, Moscow, 1933, pp. 165-80).    [p.478]

      [137] On May 26, 1921, in Vladivostok, the whiteguards, supported by the Japanese interventionists, overthrew the Maritime Regional Administration of the Far Eastern Republic and established a regime of bourgeois dictatorship and terror headed by industrialists, the Merkulov brothers. South Primorye became a spring-board for continued imperialist intervention in the Far East.
        The Revolutionary People's Army of the Far Eastern Republic, under V. K. Blyukher, and later I. P. Uborevich, defeated the whiteguards, liberating Khabarovsk on February 14, 1922, and Vladivostok on October 25, 1922. Japan had to withdraw her forces from the Far East. On November 14, 1922, the People's Assembly of the Far Eastern Republic set up the Far East Revolutionary Committee with plenipotentiary powers to implement the union of the Far East with Soviet Russia. On November 15, 1922, the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee issued a decree proclaiming the Far Eastern Republic an inseparable part of the R.S.F.S.R.    [p.479]

      [138] The Csechoslovak Social-Democratic Party (Left) Congress held in Prague from May 14 to 16, 1921, was the Inaugural Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. It was attended by 569 delegates representing more than 350,000 Party members. The Congress adopted a resolution by acclamation on affiliation to the Third International. B. Smeral was the chief rapporteur at the Congress.
        Lenin made a thorough study of the material of the Congress (see Lenin Miscellany XXXVI, pp. 288, 289, 311).
        Vorwärts (Forward ) -- a newspaper published by the Austrian Left-wing Social-Democrats from May 1911 in Reichenberg. In

    page 565

    1921, it became the organ of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (German group).    [p.488]

      [139] The verbatim report then goes on to say (Lenin spoke in German) "als Glied der Weltwirtschafw"; the French translation was "comme membre de l'économie mondiale", and the English, "as a member of the world's economy". The text in this volume is taken from Pravda, July 9, 1921, which did not contain these words.    [p.491]

      [140] See Note 55 on the counter-revolutionary Kronstadt mutiny in March 1921.
        [Note 55: The counter-revolutionary mutiny in Kronstadt which began on February 28, 1921, was organised by the S.R.s, Mensheviks and whiteguards. It involved newly recruited sailors, most of whom came from the countryside and were politically ignorant and discontented with the surplus appropriation system. The mutiny was sparked off by the economic hardships and facilitated by the fact that the Kronstadt Bolshevik organisation was weakened.
        The counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie did not dare cone out against the Soviet power openly and used a new tactic. In an attempt to deceive the people the leaders of the mutiny put forward the slogan "Soviets without the Bolsheviks", hoping to drive out the Bolsheviks from the Soviets and re-establish capitalist rule in Russia.
        On March 2, the mutineers arrested the fleet command and got in touch with foreign imperialists who promised them military and financial aid. The events in Kronstadt were a threat to Petrograd.
        Red Army units under M. N. Tukhachevsky and over 300 delegates of the Tenth Party Congress who had military experience, led by K. Y. Voroshilov, were sent to storm Kronstadt. On March 18, the revolt was crushed.]    [p.495]