A. Kollontay

The Women’s Movement

The Activity of the International Secretariat of Communist Women

(15 November 1921)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. I No. 8, 15 November 1921, p. 67.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2019). 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.

The task of the International Secretariat of Communist Women consists of awakening the working woman from her age-long passivity, of giving her confidence in herself, of drawing her into the revolutionary movement and of obtaining her entrance into the Communist International.

The International Secretariat is at present composed of the following comrades: Klara Zetkin, Hertha Sturm (Germany), Lucie Colliard (France) and three Russian secretaries attached to the Executive of the Communist International, comrades Lilina, Kasparowa and Kollontay. The latter is a member of the Executive as well. One of the secretaries has charge of liaison with the Red Trade-Union International.

At the present time the International Secretariat is devoting itself to two campaigns: Firstly, relief for Russia, and as most important, aid for mothers and children; and secondly a protest against the aggressive policy of the bourgeois states against Soviet Russia. In August the International Secretariat through its Berlin representatives addressed an appeal to the working women of the world for the famine-stricken in Russia – an appeal which found an immediate response in several countries The Women’s Section of the Swedish Communist Party has taken over the maintenance of a children’s home in the famished provinces. Collections and conferences have taken place in Germany.

Besides the measures demanded by the Executive for relief to the famine-stricken, the International Secretariat has drawn the attention of women in all countries to the necessity of rescuing the children victims of the famine.

The International Secretariat has decided against the sending of starving children from the famished regions to foreign countries for political and economic as well as purely practical reasons. It invites on the other hand, the Women Communist Sections of various countries to assume the care and maintenance of all the children of a province, of a region or of a children’s’ asylum, according to their resources. When the French or English working women know that the lives and well-being of all the children in a given locality depend upon their activity, it is not to be doubted that the intensity of their work will be increased ten fold.

Such acts will have an undeniably beneficial influence upon international solidarity. But in order that they assume tangible shape the foreign sections must send their representatives into Russia and the International Secretariat must establish a permanent connection between those supported and foreign countries. The second measure under consideration in the struggle against the famine is the international relief of children by children. The initiative of proletarian children ought to be able to show itself in such acts of solidarity which will strengthen the bonds of international brotherhood in the coming generation. In this respect the simplest gestures of assistance, such as gifts of school notebooks, pencils and slates for the suffering children, are of material as well as moral aid.

The International Secretariat is also occupied with the organization of Communist Saturdays for the benefit of the famishing. They can be devoted to the salvaging of old clothes in the making of children’s clothing, etc. The Secretariat is also devoting its attention to the question of unemployment of women. Its organ is the Working Women’s International. published in German at Berlin, started last April. The International Secretariat has sent an organizer into the Far East, and is making preparations for the first conference of the women of the Near East.

In general, we may derive the greatest satisfaction from the progress made by the International Secretariat of Communist Women. It may be said that it has, in one year of activity, succeeded in establishing itself on a solid foundation in the feminine proletariat and that it is to-day able to effectively collaborate in the work of the Communist International.

Top of the page

Last updated on 1 February 2023