Sen Katayama


The First Congress of
Communist and Revolutionary
Organizations of the Far East

(10 February 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 15, 24 February 1922, pp. 105–106.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive

Moscow, Feb. 10, 1922

For the first time the representatives of Communist and revolutionary organizations of the Far East met at Red Moscow and at Petrograd. They came there at the invitation of the Communist International and met, deliberated, and decided many important revolutionary matters under the auspices of the Communist International. It is strikingly significant that this congress was called and met as it did, because the capitalist countries of the world have just concluded a temporary agreement under the Four-Power Pact jointly to exploit the Far East. At present the toilers of the Far East are exploited by the capitalists and are compelled to fight against each other under the imperialist designs of Japan and other Western powers who are interested in the exploitation of the Far East.

At the First Congress of the Communist and Revolutionary Organizations of the Far East, China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Java were duly represented; and also India, France, Germany and America, fraternally. Russia, of course, assumed the role of host. Thus at the First Congress of the Far Eastern Toilers the workers and peasants of the East and West met under the same great banner of the Communist International. It is doubly significant that at this time the Far Eastern toilers’ representatives came together in the only workers’ and peasants’ republic. They have no liberty in their own country to have such a gathering even if they so wished, while their exploiters are always meeting and consulting as to how to exploit these poor toilers of the Far East as they have done in Washington recently.

What are some of the achievements of the Congress?

Until now the proletarians of the Far Eastern countries have been smoke-screened by the capitalist and imperialist interpretations of the Far Eastern situation, such as patriotism and nationalist mottoes, and made them fight each other in interests of the capitalists and imperialists of Japan and of the Western Powers. They were misled by the capitalists and imperialists of each and every country to look upon things from the standpoint of a narrow nationalism so that they could not realise that proletarians of all countries have no enmity against one another: the enemy of the proletariat of one country is not the proletariat of another country but the capitalists and imperialists of their own country.

All the reports to the Congress made by different countries show that Japanese imperialism is the greatest menace to the welfare of the Far Eastern countries. The blood-suckers of Japanese imperialism are devastating Korea, and enslaving the poor peasants in a veritable hell. China is a prey of world imperialism and the Chinese capitalist classes and Tu-Chuns [warlords] are cooperating with the foreign capitalists and imperialists to exploit the poor workers and peasants. Mongolia, which just recently liberated herself from feudalism and old religion, has been menaced by Japanese and Chinese capitalism and Japanese imperialism. The Japanese workers and peasants are in no better condition than those of Korea and China. They are politically and economically oppressed and have no liberty to organize nor to strike.

The toilers of the Far East had a supreme opportunity of understanding each other at this Congress and, indeed, they did understand each other as is well shown by the resolutions passed on the Theses, Tactics and Manifesto of the Congress without much discussion. The speech on The International Situation by Comrade Zinovieff gave the keynote to the whole Congress. His thoroughgoing review of the Far Eastern Question and the Washington Conference made the whole Congress clear as to where the toilers of thr Far East should seek for their help and how to organize themselves nationally and internationally.

The Washington Conference, by concluding the Four-Power Pact, abandoned Korea to the Japanese imperialists and at the same time it consciously or unconsciously demonstrated to the proletariat of the Far Fast that it does not concern itself with the welfare of China as some of the Chinese politicians thought it does. The imperialist powers want above all to exploit China and nothing else.

And yet many Oriental statesmen thought President Harding’s Washington Conference might turn out to be a beneficial one, so they made the pilgrimage to Washington with the expectation of receiving some alms from the Conference!

The Moscow Congress of the Far Eastern toilers exposed the aim and purpose of the Washington Conference and it is convinced that the hope in the proletariat of the Far East as of the whole world is not in Washington, London or Genoa but in Moscow.

When the proletariat of Japan met with that of Korea and China and studied the situation in the Far East, they all understood that they are all equally exploited and oppressed by the imperialist and capitalist class. The workers and peasants of Korea found out that their enemies are not the workers and peasants of Japan but the imperialist and capitalist class of Japan that compels them to murder and burn the poor Koreans. It is the same with the Chinese proletarians, who were misled by ill-advised nationalist leaders to hate the Japanese proletarians. It is Japanese imperialism and capitalism that the Chinese workers and peasants should hate and despise but not the Japanese proletarians. They are all exploited and oppressed equally and in reality are brothers and sisters and comrades.

Thus the toilers of the Far East assembled at Moscow and Petrograd could readily see the supreme necessity of combining different revolutionary forces into one great revolutionary army nationally and then internationally in order to fight successfully against the imperialist and capitalist powers in the Far East. The proletariat of China, Korea, Mongolia, Java and Japan realised it would be a big mistake to fight against one another in a capitalist or imperialist war. But they all combined to fight against the Japanese imperialism first of all, which is the greatest and most immediate menace to the entire Far East.

In this plan the Korean, Chinese, and Mongolian as well as the Japanese proletarians agreed. Until Japanese imperialism is destroyed neither Korean nor Chinese proletarians will get peace and their emancipation. This sentiment was again and again expressed on the floor of the Congress.

Although the same revolutionary movement has been going on in the Far East, yet the nature and aim of the movement vary according to the different countries. The revolutionary movement of the Koreans in and outside Korea has been so far nationalistic and its aim has been the independence of the country. The great uprisings of 1919, the subsequent invasion of the Korean soldiers from Siberia and their defeat after giving battle to the Japanese imperialists have given the Korean revolutionary leaders invaluable experiences and lessons as to their future movement. The Communist Party of Korea is yet weak and unable to lead the revolutionary movement of the entire Korea. This Congress pointed out clearly that in order to establish the independence of Korea it must first strike the hardest blow at the imperialist government of Japan and that the best way to do so is the cooperating of the Korean proletarians with those of Japan under the leadership of the Communist Parties not only of Korea and Japan but also of all the Far Eastern countries.

China as Korea is as yet an agricultural and largely feudal country. The population of China consists largely of poor peasantry with a countless number of coolies. China’s industrial revolution has just begun: consequently the proletariat of China is in a formative period. But China is still in a revolutionary period that had its inception in 1911–12. She has no stable government. The Pekin government is in a bankrupt condition and only sustained by the creditor nations. The Canton government of Sun Yat Sen is yet struggling against the Pekin government. It is possible that the Pekin government backed by the imperialist creditor countries may crush the Canton government. What China needs for her immediate future is a strong Communist Party and the combined forces of all the revolutionary elements in order to advance the revolutionary movement of the country. The toilers of China as was expressed in the Congress will readily unite to drive the foreign imperialist exploiters out of the country, as they have shown lately in boycotting Japan’s merchandise.

Every country represented in the Congress expressed its supreme interest in crushing capitalism and imperialism and is chief aim of the revolutionary movement in the Far East. And this task must begin with the fight against Japanese imperialism in Korea, China and Mongolia. All the countries and the Pacific islands are interested in driving imperialist capitalism from their own territory except Japan, which is oppressed by its own imperialism and capitalism.

The Congress of the Far Eastern Toilers was a success in every way. The imperialist robber nations at Washington made a temporary truce among themselves under the Four-Power Pact, but they clearly demonstrated that they could not agree on any fundamental questions. They are against each other. But they can not fight now being worn out on account of the late war. They want to prepare for the coming war by exploiting the Far East jointly among themselves. While the capitalist countries themselves exposed their weakness nationally and internationally the toilers of the Far Eastern countries got under the Red Banner of the Communist International for the interchanging of views and thought frankly and openly without the least hesitation and came to understand each other. They seriously discussed and formulated the program and tactics for the toilers of the Far East that will show how the world capitalist powers are fast crumbling to pieces under their own economic pressure. The proletarians of the Far East for the first time have united with the proletarians of the West under the single banner of the Comintern, while the imperialist powers of the world are becoming more and more antagonistic to one another.

The First Congress of the Communist and Revolutionary Organisation of the Far East which met at Moscow and closed at Revolutionary Red Petrograd is a great epoch-making event in the history of the revolutionary movement of the world. The toilers of the Far East have gone home with iron determination to fight against the imperialist powers in the Far East with the combined forces of all the revolutionary organizations. We, the workers of the East and West have only one enemy, capitalism, and we have only one banner, the Red Flag of the Communist International that unites the entire proletariat of the world!

Last updated on 6 May 2019