The communist revolution can be victorious only as a world revolution. If a state of affairs arose in which one country was ruled by the working class, while in other countries the working class, not from fear but from conviction, remained submissive to capital, in the end the great robber States would crush the workers' State of the first country. During the years 1917-18-19 all the Powers were trying to crush Soviet Russia; in 1919 they crushed Soviet Hungary. They were, however, unable to crush Soviet Russia, for the internal conditions in their own countries were critical, and the governments were all afraid of being overthrown by their own workers, who demanded the withdrawal of the invading armies from Russia. The significance of this is, in the first place, that the realization of proletarian dictatorship in one country is gravely imperilled unless active assistance is given by the workers of other lands. It signifies, in the second place, that, under such conditions, when the workers have gained the victory in only one country, the organization of economic life in that country is a very difficult matter. Such a country receives little or nothing from abroad; it is blockaded on all sides.
If, however, for the victory of communism, it is essential that there should be a world revolution and that the workers in various lands should render mutual aid one to another, this implies that the international solidarity of the working class is an essential preliminary to victory. The conditions for the general struggle of the workers are like the conditions for the working class struggle in each individual country. In any one country the workers cannot win strikes when these are isolated affairs; they can only win strikes when the workers in separate factories combine for mutual support, when they found a joint organization, and when they conduct a united campaign against all the factory owners. It is just the same for the workers living in the various bourgeois States. They can only gain the victory when they march shoulder to shoulder, when they do not quarrel among themselves, when the proletarians of all lands unite, feeling themselves to be a single class with interests common to them all. Complete mutual trust, a brotherly alliance, united revolutionary action against world capitalism - these alone can bring victory to the working class. THE WORKERS' COMMUNIST MOVEMENT CAN CONQUER ONLY AS AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT.
The need for an international struggle on the part of the proletariat has long been recognized. In the forties of the last century, on the eve of the revolution of 1848, there already existed an international secret organization known as the Communist Federation. Marx and Engels were its leaders. At the London conference of the organization they were instructed to write a manifesto in its name. Such was the origin of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, in which the great champions of the proletariat gave the first exposition of communist teaching.
In 1864 there was constituted under Marx's leadership the International Working Men's Association, now commonly spoken of as the First International. In the First International there were associated a number of working class leaders from various countries, but unity was lacking. Moreover, the organization was not yet based upon the broad masses of the workers, but rather took the form of an international society of revolutionary pro- pagandists. In 1871 the members of the International took part in the rising of the Parisian workers (the Commune of Paris). There ensued everywhere a persecution of the branches of the International. It collapsed in 18'74, having been greatly weakened by internal dissensions, by the struggles between the adherents of Marx and those of the anarchist, Bakunin. After the break-up of the First International, the growth of socialist parties began in various countries. The more rapid the development of industry, the more rapid was the growth of these parties. The need for mutual support was felt so strongly, that in 1889 there was held an international socialist congress attended by delegates of the socialist parties of numerous countries. Thus the Second International came into being. The Second International remained in existence till 1914, when the war gave it its death blow. The causes of its failure will be discussed in the next section.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx already sounded the war cry: 'Proletarians of all lands, unite!' Here are the concluding lines of the manifesto: 'The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can only be attained by the forcible overthrow of the existing social order. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Proletarians of all lands, unite!'
It thus appears that the international solidarity of the proletariat is not a toy or a fine phrase, but a vital necessity, without which the working class movement would be foredoomed to failure.
When the great world war began in August, 1914, the socialist and social-democratic parties of the various belligerent lands (with the exception of Russia, Serbia, and at a later date Italy), instead of declaring war upon the war and instead of inciting the workers to revolt, rallied to the side of their respective governments, and gave their assistance to the campaign for plunder. On one and the same day, the socialist deputies in France and Germany voted the war credits in parliament, thus solidarizing themselves with the robber governments. Instead of joining forces in a rising against the criminal bourgeoisie, the socialist parties took up separate stands, each under the banner of its 'own' bourgeois government. The war began with the direct support of the socialist parties; the leaders of these parties turned their coats and betrayed the cause of socialism. The Second International died an ignominious death.
It is interesting to note that, only a few days before the betrayal, the socialist press and the leaders of the socialist parties were holding forth against the war. Gustave Hervé, for example, the traitor to French socialism, wrote as follows in his newspaper 'La Guerre Sociale' [The Class War, subsequently rechristened Victory]: ' We are to fight in order to save the tsar's prestige!...How delightful to die in so glorious a cause!' Three days before the outbreak of war, the French Socialist Party issued a manifesto against it, and the French syndicalists wrote in their journal, 'Workers! If you are not cowards, protest!' The German social democrats held numerous great meetings of protest. The memory of the resolution passed at the Basle international congress was still fresh, a resolution to the effect that in case of war all possible means must be employed 'to incite the people to revolt and to hasten the collapse of capitalism'. But within a day or two these same parties and these same leaders were insisting upon the need for 'the defence of the fatherland' (this meaning the defence of the robber State of their 'own' bourgeoisie). In Austria the 'Arbeiter Zeitung' [Worker's Gazette] actually declared that the workers must rally to the defence of 'German humanity'
In order to understand the inglorious collapse of the Second International, we must study the development of the working class movement prior to the war. Before this conflict, capitalism in Europe and the USA had largely owed its development to the frantic plunder of the colonies. The loathsome and sanguinary aspects of capitalism were here displayed with exceptional clearness. By brutal exploitation, by robbery, fraud, and force, values were extracted from the colonial nations, and were transmuted into profit for the sharks of European and American financial capital. The stronger the position of any State capitalist trust in the world market, the larger were the profits it could derive from the exploitation of the colonies. Out of these surplus profits the trust could afford to pay its wage slaves a trifle more than the ordinary wages of labour. Not of course to all the wage workers, but only to those who are usually spoken of as skilled workers. These strata of the working class are thereby won over to the side of capital. Their reasoning runs as follows: 'If "our" industry finds a market in the African colonies, so much the better; it will flourish all the more; the boss will make larger' profits, and we shall have a finger in the pie.' Thus capital fetters its wage slaves to its own State, buying one section of them, who are attracted by a share in the colonial plunder.
The founders of scientific communism had already taken note of this phenomenon. Engels, for example in a letter to Kautsky, wrote in the year 1882: You ask me what the British workers think about colonial policy. Very much the same as what they think about politics in general. Here there does not yet exist a labour party; there are only conservatives and liberal radicals; while the workers gladly participate in those advantages which accrue to the British in virtue of their monopoly on the world market and in the colonies.' Upon this soil has flourished a peculiar form of servility, an attachment of the workers to the bourgeoisie of their own country, an abasement before them. Engels wrote in 1889: 'The most repulsive phenomenon here in England is the bourgeois respectability which soaks into the very marrow of the workers . . . . So deeply rooted is this inborn respect for "betters" and "superiors" that Mr Bourgeois finds it an easy matter to catch the workers in his nets. I really believe that, at the bottom of his heart, John Burns is more flattered by his popularity with Cardinal Manning and other notables, with the bourgeoisie generally, than by his popularity with his own class.'
The working masses were not accustomed to carry on a great fight upon the international scale. Indeed, they had no opportunity for anything of the sort. For the most part the activity of their organizations was confined within the limits of the State administered by their own bourgeoisie. 'Their own' bourgeoisie managed to interest in colonial policy a section of the working class, and chiefly the stratum of skilled workers. The same bait was swallowed by the leaders of the working class organizations, by the working class bureaucracy, and by the parliamentary representatives of the workers, these being all persons who had secured cosy corners, and were inclined to advocate 'peaceful', 'quiet', and 'law-abiding' methods. We have already pointed out that the bloodthirsty aspects of capitalism were especially displayed in the colonies. In Europe and the United States, industry was highly developed, and in these regions the struggle of the working class had assumed comparatively peaceful forms. Since 1871 there had been no great revolutions anywhere except in Russia, and in most countries there had been none since 1848. People were universally accustomed to the idea that the future development of capitalism would be peaceful, and even those who spoke of coming wars hardly believed their own words. A section of the workers, including the working class leaders, was more and more inclined to accept the idea that the working class was interested in colonial policy and that the workers ought to join forces with their own bourgeoisie in order to promote, in this matter, 'the common national welfare'. Consequently, large numbers of the lower middle class flocked into the socialist parties. In Germany, for example, among the members of the social-democratic parliamentary group, there was quite a number of publicans and keepers of working class restaurants. In 1892, out of 35 socialist MPs, there were 4 following these occupations; in 1905, there were 6 out of 81; in 1912, there were 12 out of 110.
It is not surprising that in critical moments their devotion to the imperialist robber State outweighed their devotion to international solidarity.
WE SEE, THEN, THAT THE CHIEF CAUSE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL WAS TO BE FOUND IN THE FACT THAT THE COLONIAL POLICY AND THE MONOPOLIST POSITION OF THE GREAT STATE CAPITALIST TRUSTS, HAD ATTACHED THE WORKERS AND ESPECIALLY THE ' UPPER STRATA' OF THE WORKING CLASS - TO THE IMPERIALIST BOURGEOIS STATE.
In the history of the working class movement it has often happened that the workers have made common cause with their oppressors. For example, in the very early stages of development, the worker who sat at the same table with his master, looked upon his master's workshop almost as if it had been his own, and regarded his master not as an enemy but as a 'giver of work'. Only in course of time did the workers in various factories come to unite one with another against all the masters. When the great countries had themselves been converted into 'State capitalist trusts', the workers continued to display towards these State capitalist trusts the same sort of devotion that in earlier days they had displayed towards individual masters.
Only the war has taught them that they must not take the side of their respective bourgeois States, but must join forces for the overthrow of these bourgeois States and for the realization of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The leaders of the socialist parties and of the Second International justified their treason to the cause of the workers and to the common struggle of the working class by saying that it was essential to defend the fatherland.
We have seen that as far as the imperialist war was concerned this was pure nonsense. In that war not one of the Great Powers was on the defensive; all were aggressors. The slogan 'defence of the fatherland' (the defence of the bourgeois State) was humbug, and was shouted by the leaders in order to hide their treason.
Here it is necessary to consider the question in somewhat greater detail.
First of all, what is our fatherland? What is the real meaning of this word? Does it mean, people who all speak the same language; is it the same as 'nation'? No, it is not. Let us consider, for example, tsarist Russia. When the Russian bourgeoisie clamoured for the defence of the fatherland, it was not thinking of the area in which people of one nationality were living, of the area, say, inhabited by the White Russians; it was referring to the peoples of various nationalities who are settled in Russia. What, in fact, did the bourgeoisie mean? Nothing else than the State authority of the Russian bourgeoisie and the landlords. This is what the capitalists wanted the Russian workers to defend. Really, of course, they were not thinking simply of defending it, but of extending its frontiers to include Constantinople and Cracow. When the German bourgeoisie sang the defence of the fatherland, what was the meaning in that case? Here the reference was to the authority of the German bourgeoisie, to an extension of the boundaries of the robber State ruled by William II.
We have then to inquire whether, under capitalism, the working class has any fatherland at all. Marx, in The Manifesto of the Communist Party, replied to this question by saying: 'The workers have no country.' What he said was true. Why? The answer is very simple. Because under capitalism the workers have no power; because under capitalism everything is in the hands of the bourgeoisie; because under capitalism the State is merely an instrument for the suppression and oppression of the working class. We have already seen that the task of the proletariat is to destroy the bourgeois State, not to defend it. Then only will the proletariat have a country, when it has seized the State authority and has become master of the country. Then, and only then, will it be the duty of the proletariat to defend its fatherland; for then it will be defending its own authority and its own cause; it will not be defending the authority of its enemies, and will not be defending the robber policy of its oppressors.
The bourgeoisie is well aware of all this. Here is evidence of the fact. When the proletariat had effected the conquest of power in Russia, the Russian bourgeoisie began to fight against Russia, forming an alliance with anyone who was willing - with the Germans, the Japanese, the British, the Americans, with all the world and his wife. Why? Because, having lost power in Russia, it had also lost the power of robbing and plundering, the power of bourgeois exploitation. The Russian capitalists were ready at any moment to destroy proletarian Russia, to destroy, that is the Soviet Power. Let us take Hungary for another example. When the bourgeois had the power in their own hands they issued appeals for the defence of the fatherland; but in order to destroy proletarian Hungary they were prompt to enter into an alliance with the Rumanians, the Czecho-Slovaks, the Austrians, and the Entente. We see, then, that the bourgeoisie knows perfectly well what it is about. Under the plea of the defence of the fatherland, it appeals to all citizens to defend its own bourgeois power, and it sentences for high treason all who refuse to assist. On the other hand, when it is a question of destroying the proletarian fatherland, it assembles all its forces and sticks at nothing.
The proletariat must take a leaf out of the bourgeois book; it must destroy the bourgeois fatherland and must do nothing for its defence or enlargement; but the proletariat must defend its own fatherland with all its might and to the last drop of its blood.
To these considerations the objector may reply as follows. Do you not know, he will say, that colonial policy and imperialism have helped the industrial development of the Great Powers, and that, thanks to this, crumbs from the masters' table fall to the working class? Surely this means that the worker should defend his master, should help his master against competitors?
It means nothing of the kind. Let us suppose that there are two manufacturers whom we will call Schultz and Petrov. They are rivals in the market. Schultz says to his men: 'Friends, stand by me with all your strength. Do all the harm you can to the Petrov factory, to Petrov himself, to his workmen. Then my factory will flourish, for I shall have downed Petrov and my business will boom. I shall be able to give all you fellows a rise.' Petrov says just the same to his men. Now let us suppose that Schultz has the best of it. It is quite likely that in the flush of victory he will give his workers a rise. But after a time he will cut down wages to the old level. If now the workers in the Schultz factory go on strike, and would like those who had formerly worked in the Petrov factory to help them, the latter would say: 'Mighty fine! You did us all the harm you could, and now you come crawling to us for help! Clear out!' It would be impossible to arrange for a general strike. When the workers are disunited, the capitalist is strong. Now that he has overthrown his competitor, he is able to get the better of his disunited workers. For a brief space the workers in Schultz's factory enjoyed higher wages, but their gains were soon lost. Just the same thing happens in the international struggle. The bourgeois State is a masters' league. When one such league grows fat at the expense of the others, it is able to bribe the workers. The collapse of the Second International and the betrayal of socialism by the leaders of the working class movement occurred because these leaders determined to 'defend' the crumbs that fell from the masters' table and hoped for an increase in the amount of these crumbs. During the war, when, owing to the aforesaid treason, the workers were disunited, capital in all countries imposed terrible burdens upon them. The workers came to realize their miscalculation; they came to understand that their leaders had sold them for the merest trifle. Thus began the rebirth of socialism. We can readily understand that the first protests came from the badly paid, unskilled workers. The 'aristocracy of labour' (the printers, for instance) and the old leaders, continued to play a traitor's game.
Not content with using the slogan of the defence of the (bourgeois) fatherland, the bourgeoisie has another means with which to cheat and befool the working masses. We refer to the so-called pacifism. This name is given to the view that within the framework of capitalism - without any revolution, without any revolt of the workers - a reign of universal peace can be established. It would suffice, we are told, to set up courts of arbitration between the various Powers, to abolish secret diplomacy, to agree upon disarmament (at first, perhaps, only to a limited extent). With this and a few similar measures, all would be well.
The basic error of pacifism is that the bourgeoisie simply will not carry out any of these fine things like disarmament. It is absolutely absurd to preach disarmament in an era of imperialism and civil war. The bourgeoisie will take care to be well armed; and if the workers were to disarm or were to fail to arm themselves, they would be inviting destruction. We can thus realize how the pacifist watchwords cannot fail to lead the proletariat astray. PACIFISM TENDS TO PREVENT THE WORKERS FROM CONCENTRATING THEIR ATTENTION UPON THE ARMED STRUGGLE FOR COMMUNISM.
The best example of the fraudulent character of pacifism is furnished by the policy of Wilson, and by his fourteen points. Here, under a garnish of fine words, and in the name of the League of Nations, world-wide plunder and a civil war against the proletariat are promulgated. The following examples will show to what depths of baseness the pacifists can descend. Taft, sometime president of the USA, was one of the founders of the American Peace Society, and at the same time a rabid imperialist. Ford, the famous American motor-car manufacturer, financed entire expeditions to Europe in order to trumpet his pacifist views; but at the very same time he was netting millions of dollars from the work his factories were doing for the war. Fried, in his Handbook of the Peace Movement (Handbuch der Friedensbewegung, vol. ii, pp. 149-50) assures his readers that the joint expedition of the imperialists against China in 1900 proved the 'brotherhood of the nations'. He writes as follows: 'The expedition to China furnished another proof of the ascendancy of the idea of peace in contemporary affairs. An international association of armies was displayed . . . . The armies marched, as a pacific force, under the command of a European generalissimo. We, the friends of peace, regard this world generalissimo' [he was writing about Count Waldersee, who was appointed generalissimo by William II] 'as merely the forerunner of that world statesman who will be in a position to realize our ideal of peaceful methods.' Here we see open and universal robbery designated 'the brotherhood of the nations'. In like manner, the robber League of Capitalists is dished up with the League of Nations' sauce.
The false watchwords with which, day after day, the bourgeoisie deafened the masses, with which the newspapers were filled, and which clamoured from every hoarding, were also adopted as slogans by the traitors to socialism.
In nearly all countries, the old socialist parties were split up. Three trends were manifest. First of all, there were open and brazen-faced traitors, the jingo socialists. Secondly, there were secret and vacillating traitors, constituting the so-called centre. Thirdly, there were those who remained faithful to socialism. Out of the members of this third group, the communist parties were subsequently organized.
In nearly every country the leaders of the old socialist parties proved to be jingo socialists. Under the banner of socialism, they preached international hatred; under the lying watchword of the defence of the fatherland, they preached the support of the robber bourgeois States. Among the jingo socialists in Germany were Scheidemann, Noske, Ebert, David, Heine, and others; in England, Henderson; in the U S A, Russell, Gompers; in France, Renaudel, Albert-Thomas, Guesde, Jouhaux; in Russia, Plekhanov, Potresov, the right essers (Breshko-Breshkovskaya, Kerensky, Chernov), and the right mensheviks (Liber, Rosanov); in Austria, Renner, Seitz, Victor Adler; in Hungary, Garami, Buchinger, etc.
One and all they were for the 'defence' of the bourgeois fatherland. Many of them openly declared themselves in favour of the robber policy of annexations and indemnities, and advocated the seizure of the colonial possessions of other nations. These were usually spoken of as the imperialist socialists. Throughout the war, they supported it, not only by voting the war credits, but by propaganda. In Russia, Plekhanov's manifesto was widely posted on the hoardings by Hvostov, the tsarist minister of State. General Kornilov made Plekhanov a member of his administration. Kerensky (the social revolutionary) and Tseretelli (the menshevik), concealed the tsar's secret treaties from the people; in the July days, they bludgeoned the Petrograd proletariat; the social revolutionaries and the right mensheviks were members of Kolchak's administration; Rosanov was one of Yudenich's spies. In a word, like all the bourgeoisie, they stood for the support of the robber bourgeois fatherland, and for the destruction of the proletarian soviet fatherland. The French jingo socialists, Guesde and AlbertThomas, entered the robber government; they supported all the predatory plans of the Entente; they stood for the suppression of the Russian revolution and for the sending of troops against the Russian workers. The German jingo socialists entered the ministry while William I I was still on the throne (Scheidemann); they supported the emperor when he suppressed the Finnish revolution and when he ravaged Ukraine and Great Russia; members of the Social-Democratic Party (for instance, Winnig in Riga) conducted campaigns against the Russian and the Latvian workers; subsequently, the German jingo socialists murdered Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, and drowned in blood the risings of the communist workers of Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Munich, etc. The Hungarian jingo socialists gave their support to the monarchical government as long as that was in power; afterwards they betrayed the Soviet Republic. IN A WORD, IN ALL COUNTRIES ALIKE, THE JINGO SOCIALISTS ASSUMED THE ROLE OF EXECUTIONERS AGAINST THE WORKING CLASS.
When Plekhanov was still a revolutionist, writing in the Russian newspaper 'Iskra' (published in Switzerland) he declared that in the twentieth century, which was destined to witness the realization of socialism, there would in all probability be a great split in the socialist ranks, and that a fierce struggle would ensue between the two factions. Just as, in the days of the French revolution 1789-93), the extremist revolutionary party (nicknamed the Mountain) carried on a civil war against the moderates who were later organized as a counter-revolutionary party (spoken of as the Gironde) so- said Plekhanov - in the twentieth century, those who had at one time been brothers in opinion would probably be split into two warring sections, for some of them would have taken sides with the bourgeoisie.
Plekhanov's prophecy was fulfilled. But when he wrote he did not foresee that he himself would be among the traitors.
In this way the jingo socialists (sometimes spoken of as opportunists) are transformed into the open class enemies of the proletariat. During the great world revolution they fight in the ranks of the Whites against the Reds; they march shoulder to shoulder with the military caste, with the great bourgeoisie and with the landlords. It is perfectly clear that we must wage as relentless a war against them as against the bourgeoisie, whose agents they are.
The remnants of the Second International, which the members of these parties have endeavoured to revive, form merely a branch office of the League of Nations. THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL IS NOW ONE OF THE WEAPONS USED BY THE BOURGEOISIE IN ITS FIGHT WITH THE PROLETARIAT.
Another group of parties composed of those who were once socialists constitutes the so-called 'Centre'. Persons of this trend are said to form the 'Centre' because they waver between the communists on one side and the jingo socialists on the other. Of this complexion are: in Russia, the left mensheviks under the leadership of Martov ; in Germany, the ' independents' (the Independent Social Democratic Party), under the leadership of Kautsky and Haase; in France, the group led by Jean Longuet; in the USA, the Socialist Party of America, under the leadership of Hilquit; in Great Britain, part of the British Socialist Party, the Independent Labour Party; and so on.
At the outset of the war the centrists advocated the defence of the fatherland (making common cause in this matter with the traitors to socialism), and they opposed the idea of revolution. Kautsky wrote that the 'enemy invasion' was the most terrible thing in the world, and that the class struggle must be postponed until everything was over. In Kautsky's opinion, as long as the war lasted, there was nothing whatever for the International to do. After the conclusion of 'peace', Kautsky began to write that everything was now in a state of such great confusion that it was no use dreaming about socialism. The reasoning amounts to this. While the war was on, we must drop the class struggle, for it would be useless, and we must wait until after the war; when peace has come, there is no use thinking about the class war, for the imperialist war has entailed general exhaustion. It is plain that Kautsky's theory is an avowal of absolute impotence, that it is calculated to lead the proletariat utterly astray, and that it is closely akin to rank treason. Worse still, when we were in the very throes of revolution, Kautsky could find nothing better to do than to raise the hunt against the bolsheviks. Forgetting Marx's teaching, he persisted in a campaign against the proletarian dictatorship, the Terror, etc., ignoring the fact that in this way he was himself assisting the White Terror of the bourgeoisie. His own hopes would appear to be now those of the ordinary pacifist; he wants courts of arbitration, and things of that sort. Thus he has come to resemble any bourgeois pacifist you care to name.
Although Kautsky's position is to the right of the Centre, we choose him as an example rather than another because his theory is typical of the centrist outlook.
The chief characteristic of centrist policy is the way in which it wobbles between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The Centre is unsteady on its legs; wants to reconcile irreconcilables; and at the critical moment betrays the proletariat. During the Russian November Revolution, the Russian Centre (Martov & Co.) vociferated against the use of force by the bolsheviks; it endeavoured to 'reconcile' everybody, thus actually helping the White Guards, and reducing the energy of the proletariat in the hour of struggle. The mensheviks did not even exclude from their party those who had acted as spies and plotters for the military caste. In the crisis of the proletarian struggle, the Centre advocated a strike in the name of the Constituent Assembly against the dictatorship of the proletariat. During Kolchak's onslaught, some of these mensheviks, solidarizing themselves with the bourgeois plotters, raised the slogan, 'Stop the civil war' (the menshevik Pleskov). In Germany the 'independents' played a treacherous part at the time of the rising of the Berlin workers, for they practised their policy of 'concilation' while the fight was actually in progress, and thus contributed to the defeat. Among the independents there are many advocates of collaboration with the Seheidemannites. But the gravest charge against them is that they refrain from the advocacy of a mass rising against the bourgeoisie, and that they wish to drug the proletariat with pacifist hopes. In France and Britain, the Centre 'condemns' the counter-revolution; it 'protests' in words against the crushing of the revolution; but it displays utter incapacity for mass action.
At the present time the centrist group does quite as much harm as do the jingo socialists. The centrists, sometimes spoken of as the Kautskyites, are attempting, like the jingo socialists, to reanimate the corpse of the Second International and to 'reconcile' it with the communists. Unquestionably, a victory over the counter- revolution is impossible without a definite breach, and without a decisive struggle against them.
The attempts to revive the Second International took place under the benevolent patronage of the robber League of Nations. For, in fact, the jingo socialists are faithful supporters of the decaying capitalist order, and are its very last props. The imperialist war could never have continued to rage for five years but for the treachery of the socialist parties. Directly the period of revolution began, the bourgeoisie looked to the socialist traitors for help in crushing the proletarian movement. The sometime socialist parties were the chief obstacle in the way of the struggle of the working class for the overthrow of capitalism. Throughout the war, every one of the traitor socialist parties echoed all that the bourgeoisie said. After the peace of Versailles, when the League of Nations was founded, the remnants of the Second International (the Centre as well as the jingo socialists) began to re-echo all the slogans uttered by the League of Nations. The League accused the bolsheviks of terrorism, of violating democracy, of Red imperialism. The Second International repeated the accusations. Instead of engaging in a decisive struggle against the imperialists, it voiced the imperialist war-cries. Just as the various parties of socialist traitors had supported the respective bourgeois administrations, so did the Second International support the League of Nations.
The jingo socialists and the Centre adopted as their watchword during the war, the defence of the (bourgeois) fatherland, this meaning the defence of the State organization of the enemies of the proletariat. A logical sequel was the watchword of the 'party truce', which signified universal submission to the bourgeois State. The matter is perfectly clear. When Plekhanov or Scheide mann considered it necessary to 'defend' the tsarist or kaiserist fatherland, they had, of course, to insist that the workers must do absolutely nothing to interfere with the defence of the robber State. Consequently, there must be no strikes, and still less must there be any talk of rising against the bourgeoisie. The socialist traitors reasoned as follows. First of all, they said, we must settle accounts with the 'foreign' enemy, and then we shall see. For example, Plekhanov declared in his manifesto that there must be no strikes now that Russia was in danger. The workers of all the belligerent lands were enslaved by the bourgeoisie in like manner. But from the first days of the war there were groups of trusty socialists who realized that the 'defence of the fatherland' and the 'truce of parties' tied the proletariat hand and foot, and that to utter these slogans was treason to the workers. The bolsheviks saw this from the outset. As early as 1914 they declared that there must be no truce with the bourgeoisie, but unceasing struggle against the capitalists revolution. The first duty of the proletariat in any country is to overthrow its own bourgeoisie - such was the opinion voiced by our party in the early days of the war. In Germany, too, there was formed a group of comrades led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. This group took the name of International, declaring that the international solidarity of the proletariat was the first of all duties. Soon Karl Liebknecht openly proclaimed the need for civil war, and incited the workers to armed insurrection against the bourgeoisie. Such was the origin of the party of the German bolsheviks - the Spartacist group. In the other countries, too, there was a split in the old parties. In Sweden there were bolsheviks, who formed what was known as the Left Socialist Party; while in Norway the 'lefts' gained entire control of the party. The Italian socialists took a firm stand throughout. In a word, there gradually came into existence the parties which stood for the revolution. An attempt to secure unified action was now made in Switzerland. In two conferences, at Zimmerwald and Kienthal respectively, were laid the foundations of the Third International. Soon, however, it became apparent that certain dubious elements from the Centre were adhering to the movement, and were in fact hindering it. Within the international union of Zimmerwald there was formed the so-called ' Zimmerwald Left' under the leadership of Comrade Lenin. The Zimmerwald Left was in favour of decisive action. It fiercely criticized the Zimmerwald Centre led by Kautsky.
After the November revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Power in Russia, that country came to occupy the most important place in the international movement. In order to distinguish itself from the party of the traitors to socialism, and in order to return to the fine old fighting name, our party now called itself the Communist Party. Under the impulsion of the Russian revolution, communist parties were formed in other lands. The Spartacus League changed its name to the Communist Party of Germany. A communist party was formed in Hungary, headed by Bela Kun, who had at one time been a prisoner of war in Russia. Parties were also formed in Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Finland, etc., and subsequently in France. In the United States, the centre expelled the left wing from the party, and the lefts thereupon organized themselves into a fighting communist party. In Britain, negotiations for the formation of a united communist party were begun in the autumn of 1919. To sum up, after the split between the Centre and the Left, the formation and active development of real revolutionary workers' parties began everywhere. The development of these parties led to the formation of a new International, the Communist International. In March, 1919, at the Kremlin in Moscow, was held the first international communist congress, at which the Third, or Communist, International was formally constituted. The congress was attended by delegates from the German, Russian, Austrian, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish communists; communists from France, the USA, Britain, etc., were also present.
The platform put forward by the German and Russian communists was adopted by the congress with complete unanimity, this showing that the proletariat had planted its feet solidly under the banner of the dictatorship of the proletariat, soviet power, and communism.
The Third International took the name of Communist International in conformity with that of the Communist Federation which had been headed by Karl Marx. In all its works the Third International shows that it is following in the footsteps of Marx, that it is on the revolutionary road towards the forcible overthrow of the capitalist system. It is not surprising that all who are live, trusty, and revolutionary minded members of the international proletariat are turning more and more eagerly towards the new International, and are joining forces to form the workers' vanguard.
The very name Communist International suffices to show that the organization has absolutely nothing in common with the traitors to socialism.
Marx and Engels consider the name 'social democrat' unsuitable for the party of the revolutionary proletariat. 'Democrat' signifies one who advocates a particular form of rule. But, as we have previously seen, in the society of the future there will be no 'State' of any kind. During the transitional period there will have to be a dictatorship of the workers. Those who have betrayed the working class look no farther than a bourgeois republic. We are out for communism.
In the preface to the 1888 edition of the Communist Manifesto, Engels wrote that the name socialist had in 1847, when the manifesto was penned, signified 'men outside the working class movement, and looking rather to the "educated" classes for support'; but communism in 1847 was a working class movement. We see the same thing today. The communists look for support to the rank and file of the workers; the social democrats look for support to the aristocracy of the workers, to the professional classes, to the small shopkeepers, and to the petty bourgeoisie in general.
THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL HAS THUS REALIZED MARX'S DOCTRINES IN ACTUAL FACT, FOR IT HAS FREED THEM FROM THE ACCRETIONS WHICH HAD FORMED UPON THEM DURING THE 'PEACEFUL' PERIOD OF CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT. THAT WHICH THE GREAT TEACHER OF COMMUNISM WAS PREACHING SEVENTY YEARS AGO, IS BEING FULFILLED TODAY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL.
Lenin and Zinoviev, Socialism and the War; Lenin and Zinoviev, Up Stream; Zinoviev, The War and the Crisis in Socialism; Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky; Gorter, Imperialism. Zimmerwald Manifestos and Bulletins of the Zimmerwald Committee. The file of the 'Communist International'.