Heinrich Brandler

In the Camp of Our Enemies

The Executive Session
of the 2½ International

(22 September 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 81, 22 September 1922, pp. 611–612.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2020). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

On the 2nd and 3rd of September, the Executive of the 2½ International met at Frankfort. It appears from the report that the Americans sent three delegates – Morris Hillquit, Algernon Lee and Jacob Panken – and that the Socialist Party of America has applied for admission into the 2½ International. The resolution on international relations was, according to the report of the Freiheit (central organ of the 2½), unanimously adopted, the Russian, Schreider, abstaining from voting. The second resolution on the fusion of the Social Democratic Parties of Germany was accepted by nine votes against two in the preliminary voting, and finally with all votes against that of Schreider.

That the Americans were represented by three delegates is not perchance to be attributed to the strength of the Social Democratic Party of America, but only to the favorable valuta conditions. The three American Social Patriots have not fifty thousand members behind them in all America.

After the Independent Socialist Party of Germany is fused with the Social Democratic Party, there will be no mass party remaining in the Vienna International outside of the Austrian and Swiss Social Democrats. The English who are affiliated to the 2½ International have even less members behind them than Brake and Longuet in France or Marlow and Schreider in Russia, and the German Social Democrats in Czecho-Slovakia. The feebleness of the 2½ International will certainly not be reduced by the fact that this time a representative of Poale Zion took part in the executive session, who also had no masses behind him.

The resolution on international relations is indeed very long, but apart from the usual indignation over the Communist International in general and Soviet Russia in particular, it contains nothing. In the introduction, the Executive of the 2½ International apologizes for the fact that it is still in the world at all. The whole resolution is a product of confusion and embarrassment which is unable to conceal the fact that the fusion of the Social Democratic Parties of Germany means the death of the 2½ International. The sickly consolation that the remarriage of the two Social Democratic Parties of Germany will prove a strong impulse for livelier activity on the part of the 2½ International has no basis in reality.

In Resolution I, all the “deeds” of the adherents of the 2½ were enumerated. In this resolution they claim to have cleared up the reparations question at the Five Nations Conference held at Frankfort, in February. Further, they pride themselves in having “cooperated for the protection of the German Republic” with the International Trade Union Federation of Amsterdam.

The Frankfort Menshevik Conference which, according to the manifesto, is claimed by them to have cleared up the reparations problem, was a typical example of that impotent speechifying, for the core of its resolution at the time was as follows:

“The solution of the problem is only possible through measures ..., which have as their object ... the rapid restoration of the devastated areas, without overburdening France and Belgium with unavoidable cash expenditures, and the promotion of the financial restoration of Germany, while the necessary postponement of payment and alleviations are accorded to her.”

It is according to this prescription of the Frankfort Conference that Germany and Austria have been placed in the position they are in today, i.e. – faced with the immediate collapse of the working class of these countries. The Executive Session of the 2½ International did not trouble itself to say a word with regard to this crying problem which must be solved in the interest of the bare self-preservation of the working class, but instead, discussed for two long days, the question of maintaining their Party existence.

The leading Party of the 2½ International, the Austrian Social Democracy, stands impotent before the collapse of its policy.

The bourgeoisie is at its wits end and sends its ministers to go about in the world begging. The international exploiters unite to place Austria under an administration of force and to hold the rebellious Austrian proletariat in check by means of an international gendarmerie if it dares rebel against starvation. The Austrian Social Democrats, instead of summoning the working class to organize for the struggle in order to transfer the burdens of the collapse upon the bourgeoisie, declare themselves ready to enter into an Austrian Coalition Government in order to help carry out the plans of the international robbers and exploiters.

The German Independents who are uniting with the Social Democrats in order to replace the secret coalition with open participation in the bourgeois government, likewise do not consider it necessary, in view of the disastrous increase of prices, to summon the proletariat, both national and international, to the defensive struggle.

Just as the Independent Social Democrats in Germany criminally take advantage of the deep will of the proletariat to unite for the common defensive struggle; just as they delude the working class with the belief that the fusion of the two Social Democratic organizations, neither of which will fight, is the way to the proletarian united front which is to enable the workers to beat back the capitalist offensive – so does the Vienna International take advantage of the intentional proletariat’s desire for unity, in order to hold back the workers from the fight, and to accuse the Communists of being the hinderers of the proletarian united front, because they will not have a hand in this treachery.

This base trick is to be accomplished by the following false account of the failure to call a Workers’ World Congress for repelling the capitalist offensive, as begun trough the negotiations of the three Internationals and the Committee of Nine. The resolution states:

“Further development in this direction was rendered exceedingly difficult through the attitude of the Second International and was finally made impossible through – the conduct of the Third International.”

Fine diplomats who are exquisitely versed in the art of distortion! The conduct of the Third International has, according to this account, rendered impossible the World Congress and the united defensive struggle against the bourgeoisie!

It is a fact that the Communist International put all points of dispute into the background in order to render possible the united struggle. Moreover, it is a fact that the Communist International, and Soviet Russia had made the greatest concessions to the representatives of the Second and 2½ Internationals, in order to prepare for the World Congress and thereby, for the united international struggle against the bourgeoisie.

It was the representatives of the Second International who sabotaged the bringing about of the World Congress, because as flunkeys of their national bourgeoisies they demanded as an ultimatum, the renunciation of the fight against the Versailles Peace, and instead of fighting against the bourgeoisie they wished to turn the Committee of Nine and the World Congress into a weapon against the first Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, against Soviet Russia.

The leaders of the 2½ International have faithfully assisted the representatives of the Second International by means of this sabotage, and although Soviet Russia declared herself ready to spare the lives of the protégés of the Second and the 2½ Internationals – the Social Revolutionaries – in the event of the World Congress for the organization of the defensive struggle against the bourgeoisie being convened, the Vienna International, in the resolution of its Executive Session reverts again to the lying accusations, that the Third International had hindered the World Congress and through the death sentences against the SR’s had broken the agreements which had already been annulled by the rupture of the Committee of Nine and the obstacles put in the way of the World Congress by the representatives of the Second and 2½ Internationals.

The hypocritical whining, the shameless perversion of the truth is the starting point from which the resolution of the Executive Session diverts to the further existence of the Vienna International. They hypocritically declare:

“We wanted the Workers’ World Congress with the Moscow International. The project has been wrecked. Moscow itself has rendered such a congress impossible. But there must be a congress. It is an urgent and ever increasingly urgent need of the whole world proletariat.”

If anyone assumes that this tirade would be followed by a summons to the convening of a Workers’ World Congress of all those who are prepared to take up the national and international fight against the bourgeoisie, is sadly mistaken. The resolution closes with the following appeal:

“The Executive Session therefore appeals to the affiliated Parties to immediately review all these questions; it empowers its Bureau to work in the direction indicated and to report upon the results of their labors as quickly as possible at a new session of the Enlarged Executive Committee.”

The second resolution with regard to the fusion of the Social Democratic Parties merely demands that after the fusion has taken place, the Social Democrats of the Second International allow the “United” Independents to continue their adherence to the 2½ International. The passage in question reads:

“We expect our Comrades of the Independent Social Democratic Party to act towards the two Internationals on the basis of equality of the two coalescing Parties, so that their adherents may continue to work for the principles set up at the Vienna International Conference, in February 1921, and that in international relations no sacrifice is imposed upon the membership of the I.A.S.P. (the 2½) which is not equally borne by the members of the other Party.”

The coalition policy allows the members of the I.A.S.P. to act with the bourgeoisie. The sacrifice is not too great; but to give up its affiliation to the 2½ International – to make this sacrifice is not permissible.

The Executive Session of the Vienna International on the 2nd and 3rd of September, reveals the nature of the emasculate union of the Social Democratic and the Independent Social Democratic Parties of Germany, as the effort of the 2½ to create an International, “which excludes no section of the world proletariat”, by ways and methods which every thinking worker must recognize, will lead into the morass, into the united front with the bourgeoisie against the fighting proletariat.

This Executive Session also proves and confirms the part played by the 2½ International as the decoy and game-beater of the Second International and thereby also of the bourgeoisie.

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Last updated on 31 August 2020