N. Bukharin

Program of the Communist


(November 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 103, 28 November 1922, pp. 827–834.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

I. Capitalist Slavery

General Characteristics of Capitalism as a System of Exploitation


At the present time almost the whole globe is under the rule of capitalism.

This rule is based upon private property and the production of commodities for the market.

a) Private Property and the Production of Commodities for Sale.

b) The Monopoly of the Means of Production.

A small group of persons is in possession of the monopoly of the means of producing these goods, and of the means of distributing them; this group is the capitalist class. This monopoly assures to this class an undivided economic domination over millions of proletarians, who possess no means of production, and who are forced to sell their labor power.

c) State Power as a Monopolist Organization of the Ruling Class; Monopoly of Arms.

The economic domination of the bourgeoisie is secured by its political rule, and by its state organization, which gives it a monopoly over all arms and means of applying physical force.

d) The Monopoly of Education.

The Rule of the bourgeoisie is also secured culturally, for it possesses the monopoly of education, this being in the hands of the capitalists.

Wage Labor and the Conditions of Exploitation


The working class which forms a constantly growing majority of the population, thus serves as a living source of profit to the bourgeoisie exploiting its labor.

e) The Worker as Wage Slave.

The working class, economically oppressed, subjected politically and culturally, ia the slave of capital.

Contradictions in the Development of the Capitalist System


The hunt for profits forced the bourgeoisie to develop its productive powers continuously and increasingly, and to extend the sphere of operations of capitalist production. But the fundamental defects of the capitalist system revealed themselves at the same time with ever growing distinctness; these defects inevitably lead to the complete breakdown of the capitalist system.

a) Anarchy of Production, Competition, Crises.

The rule of private property imparts an anarchic character to production, and leads to blind production regulated by no conscious power. This is shown on the one hand in the severe conflicts between various competing concerns and groups of concerns, causing an enormous waste of energy; on the other hand the unregulated production causes periodically recurring crises, accompanied by destruction of productive forces and mass unemployment among the proletariat.

b) The Class War.

To the anarchy of production must be added the class conflicts. Capitalist society, built up on the exploitation of an overwhelming majority of the population by an inconsiderable minority, is torn in two, and its whole history is one of conflicts between the classes.

c) The Struggle of Capitalism far Domination; Wars.

The struggle of the capitalist system for world domination leads to a special form of competition among the capitalist states, finally expressed in wars which are equally inevitable accompaniments of capitalism, as are crises and unemployment.

d) The Process of Centralization of Capital reflects the Contradictions of Capitalism.

The extension of capitalist production, involving the development of productive forces, is accompanied by the decay of pre-capitalist economic forms in the competitive struggles, by the decay of a part of the peasantry, by the disappearance of handicraft, by the economic defeat of small and medium capital, and by the open plundering and merciless exploitation of the colonial countries. This process leads on the one hand to an accumulation of capital, to its concentration (centralization) in the hands of a few multi-millionaires, and is, on the other hand, accompanied by a tremendous increase in the numbers of the proletariat which, having passed through the severe school of the capitalist system, becomes the deadly enemy of the bourgeoisie and its system of society.

The process of the centralization of capital, and of the extension of the capitalist system, constantly reproduces the fundamental defects of capitalism on an ever-increasing scale. The competition among small capitalists ceases, only to be replaced by one among big capitalists; where competition among big capitalists conies to a standstill, it widens its radius and becomes a competition between the gigantic associations of the millionaires and their states; the crises change from those of local and national character io crises extending over a number of countries, and finally to world crises; the local wars are replaced by alliances and world wars; the class war develops from isolated actions of single groups of workers, first to a national struggle, and then to an international struggle of the world proletariat against the world bourgeoisie

e) Organization of Antagonistic Social Forces.

The inevitable sharpening of the class antagonisms is accompanied by a simultaneous consolidation of the antagonistic class forces. On the one side the capitalist bourgeoisie forms its associations, secures its state power, and organizes its armed forces; on the other side the working class, brought into one camp and united by the mechanism of capitalist production itself, creates its own powerful organizations, which are sooner or later transformed into weapons of the proletariat in the war against the bourgeoisie and its main support, – state power.

f) Inevitableness of the Breakdown of the Capitalist System.

The natural course of capitalist evolution thus inevitably sharpens the contradictions of the capitalist system, and finally renders the existence of the system itself impossible. The living force which overthrows the capitalist system is the proletariat, which revolts against its bondage, annihilates the regime of capital, and organizes the systematic economics of Socialism, the premises of which are created by capitalism itself.

g) The Pre-requisite of Socialism.

These premises of the new form of society which has to replace capitalism, are: the concentration of the means of production, a powerful capitalist technique, the science created by capitalist evolution, the workers’ organizations, which will be able to furnish the first organizers of the new order of society.

The Last Stage of Capitalism


The last decades of the rule of capital are characterized by special features of evolution, rendering the internal contradictions intensely acute, and leading to the unheard of war crisis of 1914 and the years following.

a) The Universal Character of Capitalism.

Capitalism became world capitalism, a form of economics which subordinated all other forms on the whole surface of the globe.

b) The Monopolist Character of Modern Capitalism.

The numerous private undertakings competing with one another and destroying each other in this competition, have been replaced by mighty associations of industrial magnates (syndicates and trusts), consolidated by the banks. This new form of capital, in which banking capital amalgamates with industrial capital, in which the possessions of the large landowners also become a part of the general organization through the agency of the banks, where there are cliques of enormously rich financial oligarchies almost possessing the character of hereditary dynasties, bears a sharply accentuated monopolist character. The free competition which has taken the place of the feudal monopolist economics now changes into a monopoly of finance capital.

c) New Forms of the Competitive Struggle and its growing Acuteness.

This organization of capital, essentially monopolist in nature, and frequently causing separate groups of the bourgeoisie of different branches of industry to unite, also gives rise to substantial changes in the type of competitive struggle. Instead of competing by means of low prices, there is a growing tendency to use force openly: boycotts and other forms of pressure within the country itself; high protective duties, tariff wars, the employment of armed force backed by state power – in international relations. This increasing acuteness of competition is in international economic relations largely due to two facts: first to the general division of the colonies among the greatest capitalist states; secondly, to the extraordinary increase in the export of capital, accompanied by the increased endeavour to fully occupy the territories to which the exported capital flows.

d) The State Power of Finance Capital. Militarism. Imperialism

Under such conditions state power and its armed forces assume a special significance for the bourgeoisie. The policy of finance capital is directed to rapacious activity of the utmost intensity (Imperialism), requiring enormous reinforcements for armies, air fleets, and every description of means of annihilation. The gigantic development of militarism becomes one of the causes of international competition, increasing the acuteness of the competitive struggle and leading to disastrous wars.

e) The Central Points of Capitalist Oppression. State Economic Associations. Colonies.

The process of the centralization of capital on a world scale has thus led to the creation of mighty state capitalist trusts, great powers of finance capital, which have become the central points of the capitalist pressure extending throughout the world, of the capitalist predatory raids, and of the exploitation and enslavement of enormous numbers of proletarian, semi-proletarian, and peasant elements. The weaker bourgeois states exist in direct or indirect dependence on these mighty powers, and live at their mercy. A direct object for enslavement and exploitation is finally formed by the colonies, which number hundreds of millions of working and exploited inhabitants.

f) The Anti-capitalist Forces (the Working Class, the Colonies). Hindering tendencies (Labor Aristocracy, Social Democracy etc.).

There are two main forces organizing against the mighty organized forces of finance capital: on one side the workers of the capitalist states, on the other the oppressed peoples of the colonies. This basic revolutionary tendency is however temporarily paralyzed by the corruption of a considerable section of the European and American proletariat by the imperialist bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie of the most powerful imperialist states, which have reaped enormous profits by plundering colonies and semi-colonies, have raised the wages of continental workers out of the booty of their plunder, thereby interesting these workers in allegiance to the imperialist “Fatherland” and in its plunderings. This systematic bribery has taken special effect among the labor aristocracy and among the leading bureaucratic elements of the working class, Social Democrats, and trade unions, which have been perfect tools in the hands of the bourgeoisie.

g) Sharpening Contradictions and the War of 1914, – the Beginning of the Collapse of Capitalism.

The keen competition among the most powerful of the great powers for the possession of the colonies led to the world war of 1914. This war shook the foundations of capitalist economics to such an extent, rendered the position of the working class so much worse, destroyed so many imperialistic illusions among the proletariat, that it brought on a new historic phase in the disintegration of capitalist production.

The Results of the War and the Beginning of the Decay of Capitalism

a) The Costs of the War and the Destruction of the Productive Forces.

The war of 1914–1918 brought about a destruction of productive forces never before experienced in history; it led to the immediate annihilation of gigantic means of production and of the best living working forces of humanity; it caused an unheard of waste of energy as a result of productive power being used for unproductive purposes. The attempt made by the national state capitalist trusts to compensate for this wastage by the perfection of the forms of organization (the subjection of private capitalist enterprises to the state, the so-called State Capitalism) only served to render the struggle between the separate states the more acute.

b) Disorganization of the World’s Traffic.

The total disorganization of the world’s traffic thus brought about, the chaos in the division of labor hitherto obtaining throughout the world, the collapse of the reciprocal and regulated modes of settlement, the disturbed rates of exchange, and the unheard of state debts, all these factors intensify the ruin of capitalist world economics.

c) Liberation of Colonial Reserves.

The imperialistic economic systems undergo essential changes, for the colonial and semi-colonial countries take advantage of the slackening of the imperialist grip to gain for themselves greater economic independence. This circumstance undermines the sources of the affluence of the mother countries, and intensifies the general crisis.

d) The Redistribution of the Sinking Income of Society.

All the above stated fundamental facts of the war and post-war periods are expressed in the sinking of the total income of society.

e) The Acuter Struggle between the Imperialist Oligarchical Groups.

f) The Acuter Struggles between Colonies and Mother Countries.

g) The Sharpening of the Class Struggle.

The sinking of the collective income of society leads in the first place to an acuter struggle in the re-division of the income, not only in the competitive struggles of the various groups of the financial oligarchies, and in the struggles of the colonies with the mother countries, but in the class war of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, in which the intermediate groups show the tendency to join the proletariat in those cases where they have particularly suffered during the war.

h) The Absolute Instability of the Capitalist System.

The post-war position of capitalism can in general be characterized as being absolutely unstable in every sphere of its existence: economic, political, social, and even on the ideological and cultural fields; for in the background of the general crisis there appear obvious signs of the decomposition of the bourgeoisie, the return to religion, to mysticism, to occultism, and so forth, plainly showing the coming fall of bourgeois civilization.

The Breach in the Imperialist Front and the Epoch of Social Revolution


The growing intensification of the class war, which became apparent during the war itself, led to a breach being made through the imperialist front at its most sensitive spot, – Russia.

a) The November Revolution of the Russian Proletariat as the First Link in the Chain of International Revolution.

The November Revolution of the Russian proletariat, which was able to overthrow the bourgeois regime thanks to specially favorable fighting conditions, started a new era of international revolution, and became the first link in the chain.

b) Other Revolutions.

The proletarian uprisings which followed the Russian Revolution, and which ended in the defeat of the proletariat after a brief victory (Finland, Hungary, Bavaria), or which remained standing halfway, due to the treachery of the Social-Democrats, who were actively engaged against revolutionary Communism (Austria, Germany), formed stages of the general development of international revolution – stages in which the bourgeois illusions are being punctured and the forces of communist revolution are being mobilized and consolidated.

c) The Significance of Soviet Russia.

It is just for the above reasons that the mere fact of the existence of Soviet Russia is of such significance as an organizing centre of the proletarian world movement. By the mere fact of its existence Soviet Russia drives a wedge into the capitalist system, for it comprises one sixth of the globe, and its structure is in principle opposed to the capitalist regime. Besides this, it represents the most powerful vanguard of the proletarian movement, for here the working class has all the means and auxiliaries of state power at its disposal.

d) The Counter-revolutionary Forces (Social Democracy).

In the course of development of international revolution, the Social Democracy and the trade unions under its leadership became an extraordinarily powerful counter-revolutionary force. Not only did these abandon the interests of the workers during the war, in that they supported their "own" imperialist governments, but they also supported the rapacious treaties of peace (Brest-Litovsk, Versailles); they stood by the side of the generals (Noske), as an active force, when proletarian uprisings were being drowned in blood: they led an armed resistance against the first proletarian republic (Russia); they treacherously betrayed a proletariat almost in possession of power (Hungary); they became members of the rapacious League of Nations (Thomas); they openly took sides with the employers against the colonial slaves (the English “Labor” Party). International Social Democracy thus forms the last reserve and strongest support of bourgeois society.

e) The Communist Party and the Comintern.

The abandonment of imperialist illusions within the working class has freed the proletariat from the influence of the Social Democracy, and forms the soil for the development of the Communist parties, which are uniting in the course of the struggle to form a mighty revolutionary association of revolutionary workers: The Communist International. From out of the chaos and the misery, out of the falling debris of shattered capitalism, out of the mad and monstrous new wars in which the bourgeoisie may destroy the last remnants of its own culture – out of all this, the Communist International will lead humanity on a new path, and only those who do not follow this path will fall victims to death and decay.

II. The Emancipation of the Workers
and the Communist Order


The final aim pursued by the Communist International is the substitution of the capitalist order by the Communist order of Society. The Communist order of society, prepared by the whole course of evolution, is the sole means of escape for humanity, for it alone is able to remove the fundamental defects of the capitalist system leading to inevitable and unavoidable ruin.

a) The Abolition of Private Property, of Anarchy in Production, of Competition, and of War.

By means of abolishing the private ownership of the means of production, and the passing of these means into common property, the Communist society replaces the unregulated force of competition and the blind course of production by a rational organization and an appropriate plan. The abolition of anarchy in production and of competition implies the simultaneous disappearance of war. The colossal waste of productive energy, and the spasmodic development of society will here be substituted by a systematic utilization of all sources of help, and by a harmonious, painless, economic evolution.

b) The Abolition of Social Anarchy of Classes, and of Class War.

The Communist order of society also does away with the division of society into classes, that is, besides exterminating anarchy in production it exterminates social anarchy. The opposing classes are replaced by members of one great equal working community. The gigantic unproductive expenditure caused by human beings combatting one another, in a society composed of classes, now disappears, and the energy thus released is employed in the struggle with nature, and for the progress and development ot the power and dominance of Mankind.

c) Abolition of Exploitation, of the State, of Rule, and of Compulsion.

The abolition of private property does away with the exploitation of one human being by other human beings. The work done is no longer done lor others. Every difference between poverty and wealth disappears. At the same time the organs of class rule vanish also, above all – state power. State power, which is the embodiment of class rule, vanishes in proportion to the vanishing of the classes. All standards of compulsion die off gradually in proportion.

d) Generality of Education and of Qualification for Education.

The abolition of classes will be accompanied by the abolition of all monopoly of education. All education, including the very highest, becomes general. Such a state of affairs in the first place renders a dominance of any group of persons over another group impossible, and in the second place, offers a wide held of selection and sifting of talent and genius in every branch of culture.

e) The Growth of Productive Forces.

Here there are no barriers of a social nature placed in the way of productive forces. In the Communist society there is no private property, no patent rights, profit making for personal benefit, artificially maintained ignorance among the masses, or gigantic unproductive expenditures.

f) Organization of Economics and Science.

The uniting of technics and science, the scientific organization of production, statistic-social book-keeping, the utilization of every economic possibility (correct apportionment of districts, concentration, the best possible utilization of natural forces) secure the greaiest possible productivity of labor, and set human energy free for the mighty task of developing science.

g) The Betterment of General Well-being and of Culture.

The development of productive forces enables the general well-being of the collective mass of humanity in the new society to be improved, enabling a degree of culture to be attained hitherto unexampled in history.

h) The Character of Communist Culture and United Humanity.

The new culture of a humanity united for the first time, and having now abolished all limits set by intermediate state forms, will be founded on clear and transparent reciprocal relations among human beings. It will thus bury all mysticism, religion, and superstition for all time, and give a mighty forward impetus to the development of all-conquering Human Mind.

III. The Fall of the Bourgeoisie and the Fight for Communism

A. General Characteristics off the Transition Period


Between the Capitalist and Communist systems there lies a long period of proletarian struggle, of its victories and defeats, a period of continuous decay of capitalist relations. of national wars, of colonial uprisings, of armed and "peaceful” warfare of capitalist states against the Socialist states coming into being, – a period which comprises temporary agreements between social-economic systems contradictory to one another, and life and death struggles between such systems. Finally, the complete victory of the proletariat, and the firm establishment of the power which it has gained through so much suffering and privation, will be followed by an epoch of accelerated development. The multiplicity of the conditions of the revolutionary process, the variety of types of the new relations being formed, – this will be the main feature of the tedious transition period of development. Not until this epoch has fulfilled its historical task will society begin to become a communist society.

B. The Dictatorship off the Proletariat as the Unavoidable Premise of the Struggle for Communism

a) Necessity of the Proletarian Dictatorship.

An unavoidable premise for the transition from Capitalism to Communism, – the starting point without which the further evolution of mankind is entirely impossible, is thus the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeois State and the seizure of power by the working class, which has to set itself the first and most important task of suppressing the enemy and firmly establishing the new regime. Dictatorship of the proletariat – that is the most elementary premise for social evolution.

b) Destruction of the Bourgeois State by the Organs of Proletarian Class War.

The seizure of power by the proletariat is nothing else than the destruction of the bourgeois state apparatus oy the fighting organs of the proletarian class struggle, and the organization of a new proletarian class power by these organs.

c) The Soviets -- a Form of State Power.

The form of proletarian state power generally best adapted to its purpose is that of the type of the Soviet State. This has been demonstrated by the experiences of the Russian and Hungarian Revolution, which greatly widened the experience gained by the Paris Commune of 1871. It is precisely this type, arising immediately out of the broadest world movement which assures the greatest activity of the masses, and consequently the best prospects of ultimate victory.

b) Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship.

The Soviet type of state is flatly opposed to bourgeois democracy, which is invariably a veiled form of bourgeois dictatorship. The mass organizations of the workers, which are at best merely tolerated under bourgeois dictatorship, form in the Proletarian Democracy the main supports and organs of the proletarian state every where.

The Soviet State differs from Bourgeois Democracy in that it openly reveals its class character, and openly sets itself the task of suppressing the exploiters in the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.

While the Bourgeois Democracy does not touch the monopoly of the capitalist class with respect to the means of production, and to all material values of decisive importance, and thus reduces the formal rights of the workers to mere fiction, the Soviet State first creates the premises for these rights by actually securing the liberty of the workers' press, by rendering the functions of the workers’ organizations possible, etc.

For the first time in history the Proletarian Democracy realizes the equality of all citizens without difference of sex, race, religion, and nationality, – an equality which has never been realized in a capitalist state.

The Proletarian Democracy and its organs which realize the broadest democracy amongst the workers, are in incomparably closer relations with the masses, and enable them to take part in the administrative process. The right to elect new delegates, the right to recall them, the combination of executive and legislative power, the arrangement of electoral districts not according to territorial, but according to economic principles, (according to factories, undertakings, etc.) – all this draws an abrupt line between the Bourgeois Parliamentary Republic and the Soviet Dictatorship of the proletariat.

The proletariat, as leader and vanguard of all other workers, and above all of the masses of the peasantry, secures its leading role by legal privileges, which are unavoidable in the first stages of development. These privileges must gradually die out in proportion to the progress of the education received by the rest of the working masses, and later by the rest of the citizens of the state, on the basis of the new relations.

e) Destruction of the Bourgeois Monopoly of Arms and the Concentration of these in the Hands of the Proletariat

An essential part of the seizure of power by the working class is formed by the destruction of the bourgeois monopoly of arms, and by the concentration of arms in the hands of the proletariat. During the course of the struggle the main object in view must be the disarmament of the bourgeoisie and the arming of the proletariat.

f) Organization of the Armed Forces.

The further organization of the armed forces, based on strict revolutionary discipline, must be carried out on precisely the same fundamental class principle; it must correspond to the structure of the proletarian dictatorship, and to the principles assuring leadership to the industrial proletariat

C. Expropriatlon of the Expropriators and Abolition of the Bourgeois Monopoly of the Means of Production


The victorious proletariat utilizes the power which it has seized, first, to break the resistance of the enemy and to guard the continued rule of the working class against the attacks of the bourgeoisie, and secondly, it utilizes this concentrated power for the expropriation of the expropriators, that is, for the revolutionary transformation of the economic, and consequently of all other social relations. As a rule this expropriation will assume the form of confiscation, that is, by the expropriation of the means of production without compensation, and the delivery of these means into the hands of the Proletarian State.

In this regard the CI. proposes the following fundamental measures:

  1. The expropriation of the large industrial undertakings, of the means of transport and traffic (telegraph, telephone), electric works, etc.
  2. The proletarian nationalization of large landed estates, which are to be given over to the administration of the organs of the proletarian dictatorship; one part of the landed estates, especially that part being worked by the peasantry under lease, to be handed over to the peasantry. The extent of the ground area to be delivered up to the peasantry is determined by economic expediency, and by the necessity of neutralizing the peasantry, that is, by the social-political importance of the peasantry.
  3. Proletarian neutralization of the banks. Delivery of all gold reserves, securities, etc., into the hands of the Proletarian State. Security of the interests of small depositors, centralization of the banks, subordination of all large banking concerns to the Central Stale Bank of the republic.
  4. Nationalization and municipalization (communalization) of wholesale trade.
  5. Annulment (cancelation) of state debts.
  6. Monopoly of foreign trade.
  7. Monopolization of the most important printing establishments and newspapers.
  8. In the execution of these measures, the following principles are to be observed:

    Nationalization should as a rule not be extended to small and medium properties. The first reason for this is that the proletariat which has seized power has not the required number of organizing forces at its disposal, especially during the first days of the dictatorship, to enable it not only to destroy the old order, but to bring about a union of the small and medium units of production. The second reason is that the proletariat should not provoke the intermediate groups against it. The victorious proletariat must find the right course of action to be adopted towards those spheres of production which can be subjected to centralized and systematic management, and those which would only be cumbersome ballast.
    The latter must be left to private initiative.

    The transition from Capitalism to Socialism cannot be carried out at one stroke. For this reason externally capitalistic forms and methods of administration and organization, as individual stimulation to work, piece work, bonus systems, calculation in money, capitalist forms of accounting and book-keeping, etc., are thus not only permissible during the preliminary period, but unavoidably necessary. The proletariat must devote particularly careful attention and the utmost precaution with regard to reciprocal relations between city and country, and set up no barriers to the individualistic working motives of the peasantry.

D. The Proletarian Dictatorship and the Classes


The struggle for the expropriation of the expropriators, requires a most thorough study of all elements of this struggle.

a) The Bourgeoisie and the Landowners.

The big bourgeoisie and the the landowner, as well as that part of the officers’ and army staff subject to them, are the most consistent enemies of the working class, and a bitter struggle against them is absolutely inevitable.

b) Greatest Possible Utilization of their Organizatory Forces.

As a rule it is only possible to utilize the organized powers of these circles after the dictatorship has been established, and all conspiracies of exploitation and uprisings have been determinedly suppressed.

c) The Technical Brain Workers

The question of the technical brain workers plays a most important role for the proletarian revolution. Every counter-revolutionary action originating in the ranks of the technical brain workers must be rigorously suppressed, but at the same time the proletariat must take into consideration the absolute need for these skilled workers, and carefully avoid any action which could injure them economically, especially those groups which have already suffered through the war.

d) Neutralization of the Peasantry.

With regard to the Peasantry, the Communist Party is confronted with the task of winning over a great part of the peasantry for the party. The victorious proletariat must differentiate strictly between the various groupings within the peasantry itself, estimate their specific importance, and aid the landless, semi-proletarian elements of the peasantry by every possible means, give them a part of the large landowners’ ground, ease their struggles against usurious capital, etc. The proletariat must neutralize the intermediate elements by leaving their land and their possessions untouched, and by combatting every attack made by the rich peasantry in combination with the rich landowners.

e) Organization of the Poor Peasantry.

In this struggle the proletariat should lean upon the organizations of the poorer population of the country, which are under the leadership of the country proletariat in all countries where the system of agricultural wage labor is developed.

f) The Petty Bourgeoisie of the Towns.

and sympathy for the proletariat, is also to be neutralized as far as possible. Their neutrality is assured if their property is not touched, if they are allowed liberty of economic intercourse, aided in their struggles against usurious forms of credit, etc.The petty bourgeoisie of the cities, which has always stood between extreme reaction

g) The Proletarian Organizations and the Proletarian State.

In order to fulfil all these tasks the most varying organizations of the proletariat (cooperatives, trade unions, and other associations, finally the Party as well) must be actual organs of the proletarian power. It is only when these organizations lend unlimited support to the proletarian power, only when the class will is perfectly united, and when the Party has the leadership, that the proletariat can successfully carry out its part as organizer of the whole of society in the most critical period of human history.

E. Abolition off the Bourgeois Monopoly of Education

a) Breach in the Bourgeois Monopoly of Education.

The proletariat, when abolishing the monopoly of the capitalist class over the means of production, must simultaneously do away with the monopoly of education possessed by the bourgeoisie, that is, it must take over all schools, including those for higher education.

b) The Training of Skilled Proletarian Forces

One of the most important tasks of the proletariat is to train skilled technicians from the ranks of the working class, not only in the sphere of production (engineer, mechanics, organizers, book-keepers, etc.), but for scientific and military work, etc. This is the only way possible of enabling fresh groups of qualified workers to be continually added to the proletarian power, so that this may in reality become a power leading the development of society.

c) Raising of the Cultural level of the Proletariat

To this task must be added the further task of raising the general cultural level of the proletarian masses, the task of their political enlightenment, the raising of the level of their knowledge and technical qualifications, their practical introduction into social work, and further, the combatting of vestiges of bourgeois and petty bourgeois prejudices, etc.

d) The fight against religion.

Under the heading of combatting bourgeois prejudices and superstitions, the first place is taken by the fight against reigion, a fight which must be carried on with all requisite tact and all caution, especially among those sections of workers in whose daily life religion has hitherto been deeply rooted.

F. The Removal of Imperialist Pressure and the Organization of Voluntary State Associations of the Proletariat


The main support of the gigantic imperialist state were and are the artificially created relations between the colonies and half-colonies, and imperialist mother countries. The colonial and national questions thus play an exceedingly important role, not only from the viewpoint of the decay of capitalist relations, but also from the viewpoint of capitalist structure.

In this regard the program of the CI makes the following demands, in complete opposition to the policy of the bourgeoisie and of Social Democracy:

a) Right of Self-determination of the Peoples.

1. The right of self-determination of the peoples, under which is also to be under stood the right of complete separation from the state. This principle is binding as a requirement to be demanded of the bourgeois state, where it serves as a weapon against imperialism, and is equally binding under the regime of proletarian dictatorship, where it serves as a means of overcoming the national distrust nurtured through centuries of bourgeois government.

b) Liberation of the Colonies.

2. The liberation of the colonies, and the support of all colonial movements against imperialism. In the case of a proletarian state embracing former colonies, the latter are accorded the right of separation.

c) Federated Soviet Republics.

3. Unions of Soviet Republics, at first in the form of federations.

d) The Fight against Religion.
Parties and the Possibility of Compromises.

In view of the fact that the power cannot be seized by the proletariat simultaneously in all, or even in the most important countries, and that single proletarian states come into being, – compromises on the field of foreign diplomacy by the proletarian states (commercial connections abroad, loans, policy of concessions, participation in general conferences, and other forms of agreements, including military agreements) are possible, permissible, and at times even obligatory.

e) Pacifism and the so-called Red Militarism.

This policy, dictated in each case by the necessity of attaining some purpose, has however nothing in common with pacifism as a principle. On the contrary, the Communist International recognizes in the fullest degree the right of the proletarian republics to intervene in the interests of the oppressed and exploited.

f) The Question of Defense of Native Country.

The question of defending a native country can no longer be put in so general a form as at the beginning of the war, before a proletarian state was established? In the first place the proletariat of all countries must aid the defense of this proletarian state, and even aid in its extension as the extension of the base of international revolution.

The question of the attitude to be adopted towards war is further complicated by the perfect admissibility, on principle, of the formation of blocs between proletarian states and many bourgeois states against other bourgeois states, in accordance with the particular war in question. The question must be solved with regard to concrete expediency of purpose, and the strategy of the general struggle is to be worked out by the CI.

IV. The Road to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

The Party and its Role.

A successful fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat assumes the existence of a Communist Party which is firmly united, determined to fight, disciplined, and centralized. The first step on the way to the dictatorship of the proletariat is the firm consolidation of the Communist Parties. These parties must play the leading role in every sphere of the proletarian mass struggle, must utilize every opportunity of gaining influence over the broad masses of the workers and of extending this influence to the working masses of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie of the towns.

a) Winning over the Trade Unions, and the Fight for Influence over the Youth and the Women Workers.

The most important problem towards winning over the masses is to win over the trade unions, and to free these from the ideological and organizatorial influence of the Social Democracy. Unless the majority in the trade unions is won over, the realization of the proletarian dictatorship is unthinkable. In precisely the same manner, special attention is to be devoted to the working youth and women, for the attitude adopted by these during the first phase of the dictatorship, will largely determine the course of events.

b) The fight against Militarism and imperialism.

The process of uniting the masses under the Communist flag must be developed in all actual questions of daily life. Above all the fight against imperialism and militarism, the fight against the danger of fresh imperialist wars, etc.

c) The Fight against the Economic Results of the post-war Crisis.

Other questions coming under this heading are those connected with the struggle against the economic results of the war and post-war crisis. (Fight against increased prices, against unemployment, against longer working hours, against higher taxation, etc.)

d) Aid to Soviet Russia.

The support of Soviet Russia, as a means towards strengthening it and towards mobilizing the masses about this anti-capitalist centre point, constitutes the most powerful organizing instrument in the hands of the international working class.

e) The International Discipline of Communism and the CI.

For the co-ordination of actions, and for the purposeful leadership of the same the international proletariat requires an international class discipline, which must above all be strictly adhered to in the ranks of the Communist Parties. This international Communist discipline must be expressed by the subordination of all partial and local interests of the movement to its general and permanent interests, and by the unqualified execution of all resolutions passed by the leading organs of the Communist International.


This is followed by:

“On the basis of the above, and in adaptation to the conditions obtaining in its own country, the ... Section of the Communist International presents the following comäplementary demands and program theses ... etc.”

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Last updated on 2 January 2021