O. W. Kuusinen

Under the Leadership of Russia

Source: The Communist International, 1924, No. 1 (New Series), pp. 132-146
Translator: M. L. Kortchmar
Transcription/HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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 World Army of the Proletarian Revolution

TEN years ago Capital was the autocratic ruler of the world. Russia was the gendarme of Europe, the dreaded foe of every revolutionary national movement, the support of the domination of the possessing classes throughout the world.

Now the world is divided between the powers of capital and those of labour. One-sixth of the earth’s surface is in the hands of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, which constitutes an effective counter-force to the capitalist world and a strong foundation for the proletarian world-revolution.

Besides, the proletarian world revolution has its active army within every capitalist country, the sections of the Communist International and the trade unions, and other mass-organisations which are already under the direct influence of the Communist parties. The effective forces at the disposal of the capitalist world are still larger than those of the Communist International; but the reserve forces of the proletarian world-revolution are incomparably greater. Not only the great majority of the working class in all the capitalist countries, but also many proletarianised elements of the petty-bourgeoisie of the towns, many semi-proletarian and small-peasant elements in the country, may be considered as a potential, if to some extent latent, power for the world-revolution. Furthermore, the national liberation movements among the oppressed peoples of Asia and Africa furnish a direct auxiliary force for the revolutionary movement of the European proletariat.

This division of the forces, and the direction of their further development, is the fundamental feature of the present period in world-history which was inaugurated ten years ago by the imperialist world-war and found its continuation in the Russian revolution and in the revolutionary upheavals in Finland, Germany, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary, Italy and a number of other countries, in the war and intervention against Soviet Russia, in the Turko-Greek war, in the Irish war for liberty, in the fights of the Ruhr, in numerous revolutionary liberation movements among the Asiatic peoples and so on. It is a period of wars and revolutions which take place on the grounds of the increasing economic, social and political dissolution of the capitalist system. It is the fourth and the last period of the capitalist epoch, which follows after the preceding periods of mercantilism, liberalism and imperialism, and whose concrete forms are not yet plainly discernible; but there can be no doubt whatever as to the possible result of the struggles of this period; the establishment of proletarian dictatorship on a world-wide scale.

And this is the most important slogan of the Communist International.

Foreseen by the genius of Marx, the proletarian dictatorship was made by Lenin the victorious battle-cry of the Russian Bolsheviks, and under his leadership it was adopted by the masses of the fighting proletariat in Russia and carried to realization. At the time of the birth of the Communist International the proletarian dictatorship in Russia was already realised in the shape of the Soviet Government. Thus, the Communist International got its principal slogan not from theoretical prophecy, but from the accomplished fact of the Russian proletariat. By this fact, as by the whole nature of the new period, the revolutionary idea of the conquest of power and of the realisation of Socialism obtained quite a different meaning in the Communist International from what it had been in the international movement of the past. In the First and in the Second International it merely served as means of propaganda, and in the Second International it was used exclusively for purposes of parliamentary campaigns and electioneering. To the Communist International the idea of the proletarian dictatorship was no longer mere propaganda, but the most important practical task which has already been solved by one section in whose country this dictatorship is steadily progressing towards the realisation of Socialism, while in other countries the achievement of this task is being prepared by the daily struggles of the Communist parties.

The Communist International was thus from the very beginning a revolutionary militant organisation, a party of the class-war, of the destruction of the bourgeois machinery of the state, of the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship and of the realisation of Socialism and Communism.

The Russian Founders of the International

Just as the Russian proletariat was ahead of all the other countries in the historic battles of the present period, being the first to establish the victorious rule of Socialist workers, so the Russian Communist Party took a leading part in the Communist International from the moment of its inception.

This leading part of the R.C.P., which no one in our ranks would ever think of disputing, is based not only upon the authority of the Russian revolution, but also upon the authority of the R.C.P. itself, and upon the capacities of the leaders of the R.C.P. for leadership of the international movement. With regard to the revolutionary past, to extensive experience and large heroic sacrifices by the members, to Marxian insight and correct judgment on the part of the leaders, no party will stand comparison with the Russian section of the Communist International.

Of course, much of this was achieved by the able leadership of Lenin. Not only by his direct contributions to the Russian and international movement, and part of which is our inheritance in his published works, but also by the leaders which he trained for the Russian as well as for the international movement. The leading Russian comrades who had the good fortune to work side by side with Lenin in the years of victory as well as in the preceding years of underground work, and in emigration, having passed through the only school of experience imaginable, are to-day almost unequalled in art of political leadership.

Thus the Communist International possesses in the Russian leadership, in the person of its chairman and of the members of the Russian delegation as well as of the Central Committee of the R.C.P., an accumulated stock of far-reaching revolutionary experience, of Marxian leadership and of proven ability, which are requisite to the historic tasks of the Communist International. We can only repeat here the words contained in the manifesto of the foreign comrades of our Executive on the 25th anniversary of the R.C.P., in which it was said: “The leadership of the Russian comrades in the Communist International is our pride.”

Renegades and enemies repeatedly accused the Communist International of aiding the foreign policy of Soviet Russia. If this were true, we could only claim credit for it. To us as Communists it would be a matter of joy to be able to render efficient aid to the Socialist power of the Soviets. Unfortunately, we cannot claim anything of the kind.

How many times indeed did Soviet Russia experience the need for aid by the workers of other countries, but the latter were not in a position to render any effective aid. Our foreign sections were altogether too weak for that. What could the English, French or American comrades do to defeat the criminal interventions by the governments of their respective countries? Almost nothing. What could the Polish comrades do against the murderous attack of the Polish troops upon Soviet Russia in 1920 and during the war which followed? Almost nothing. The Polish proletariat was at that time so powerless that it could neither help itself nor Soviet Russia. With her own fists Soviet Russia has overcome the numerous enemies. Only in one respect were the foreign sections of the C.I. so far able to render a little aid, namely in the work of famine-relief in 1922.

Of course, far be it from us to forget the self-sacrificing fights on behalf of Soviet Russia on the part of Communists in Germany, Poland, France, Italy and the Balkans. Neither do we forget the heroic revolt of the French sailors at Odessa. We do not forget that the work of the Communists has aroused the sympathies for Soviet Russia among the working masses in Czecho-Slovakia, in France, in England and in America, and this contributed materially to the failure of the criminal intervention undertaken by the Entente. To me, personally, it is a matter of particular pride to recall the fact that during the debauches of the Finnish white bands in the districts of Olonetz and Karelia, our Finnish cadets were able to render material services in beating back the attack, and that in Finland the workers, in spite of the white terror, expressed openly in defence of Soviet Russia (many of our comrades are still in prison in that country for their attitude in those days). I must certainly admit that the task of the Finnish comrades on that occasion was naturally much easier than that of the Polish comrades in 1920. Many other instances could be quoted of effective aid rendered by foreign Communists, e.g., by Latvian and Esthonian comrades.

All this has to be admitted, while at the same time we must declare that during the first two years the Communist parties in the capitalist countries were altogether too weak to render any truly effective aid for the rescue of the Russian revolution.

At the time that the Communist International was founded, the leading Russian comrades were fully aware of the fact that instead of any aid from the young international organisations, the R.C.P. would have to lend its aid to the foreign sections for many years to come. These things notwithstanding, they insisted on founding the International. Above all, Comrade Lenin. He cherished that idea for a long time already. Two years previously, immediately after the February revolution, he asked for a union of the revolutionary workers’ organisations of the different countries in a new International. But what could at that time be started? The conscious revolutionary forces in the other countries were altogether small and scattered. One had to wait and to cultivate the seed for the new International. The first year of Soviet rule was actually the cause which led to the formation of many small Communist parties and to the remodelling of some parties after the example of the Russian Bolsheviks. But the tremendous pressure of daily work did not allow the leaders of the R.C.P, during that year to think even of calling an international congress. It was only at the end of that year, after the victory of the red army over the Czecho-Slovak legions and after the collapse of German imperialism, which allowed the Soviet Republic its first brief respite, that Lenin was able to start again upon the realisation of his cherished dream: the founding of an organisation which would carry out the proletarian world-revolution!

The existence of the Soviet authority, in Russia was in those days by no means assured. One could be sure only of the imminence of big battles, but not of their results. Yet this did not prevent the Russian comrades from going on with the work of forming the International. On the contrary, it spurred them to work speedily in this direction. The new International was to be founded at all events! Come what may; it was intended as the rock which was to resist all storms and calamities. It was to be the rock on which the human race was to build its everlasting kingdom of labour unchained, with no classes and no exploitation.

I know not whether the comrades pictured to themselves the matter in such poetical fashion. Probably they did not. For all of them are advocates of materialism par excellence. One thing is certain, that no greater example was ever known of such rock-like faith in a revolutionary idea. An excellent idea, a well-founded and even scientific idea, but a mere idea at that. The Russian revolution was reality, the great, painful and joyful, hopeful and uncertain reality. But the proletarian world-revolution was as yet a star on the horizon. Nevertheless the leaders of the Russian revolution, who always build their politics upon firm realities, relied more upon the great idea of the future than upon most concrete reality. I leave it to the diligent minds of young theoreticians to find a logical harmony between this fact of highest revolutionary idealism and the doctrine of historic materialism, which is certainly an absolutely correct theory.

By the bye, this was not the only occasion nor the last occasion on which the international interest has won the day in Russia. I shall merely mention the great test in the autumn of 1923, in connection with the development of the revolutionary crisis in Germany. I believe that the Russian comrades understand international solidarity in quite their own way. It is in their blood. And when wise owls come along and talk about the alleged subordination of the international interests to the momentary interests of the Foreign Commissariat, these creatures should simply be laughed out of court.

Through the First Stages

That the Russian comrades were not building castles in the air in March, 1919, was soon demonstrated by the splendid growth of the Communist International. Resembling rather an idea than an international organisation at the time of its founding it grew in the course of two years into a world-organisation with live and active sections in all the capitalist countries and in all parts of the world.

The first two years of the organising work of the Comintern constituted an international stage of great revolutionary mass struggles. In the year 1921 this first revolutionary wave began to recede in the various countries, capitalism got a respite and started upon a counter-offensive. The two stages together served to the Communist International as a systematic and thorough course of political education, not in studies or laboratories, but on the field of political fights in all countries.

The most important lesson learned by the Communist International during these educational years, under the leadership of the Russian Party (with more or less success) was the role and nature of the Communist Party in guiding the destinies of the proletarian revolution. This difficult course of study is by no means at an end, even the most developed of our sections have still a great many things to learn in this respect, but the solid groundwork has already been achieved. The principles of “Bolshevism” on this point have been endorsed by all the sections. Much discussion still goes on about the correct application of these principles; but this kind of discussion can hardly be fully disposed of in a capitalist environment. At all events, the principles themselves are no longer questioned. It means: firstly, the achievement of actual leadership by the Communist Party in the trade union movement, in the factory council movement, and in all the special ramifications of the revolutionary labour movement, as well as of the unorganised masses of the toilers, in the entire process of the proletarian revolution; secondly, the establishment of a centralised and strong leadership within the Party, which must be organically united with the membership at large, on the basis of constant and united activity with the organisations and the individual members.

The course of the second stage is distinguished by a rather significant departure from the first stage, and quite for obvious reasons. In both cases the course was indicated by the historical nature of the stage in question, and by the actual strategical chief aim of the Comintern.

During the first stage the chief aim was the attainment of political and organisational independence for the Communist movement. To this end it was necessary, in the first place, to draw a clear line of demarcation from the Right, from the reformist and opportunist wings of Socialism. The principles of the latter, the formula of “pure” democracy, were sharply analysed and exposed as the basis of the capitalist state, and consequently as the basis of co-operation with the capitalist counter-revolution. The Second International and the leaders of the Amsterdam International were branded as a bunch of traitors in the service of the counter-revolution, and the opportunist leaders of the 2½ International were unmercifully divested of all the fig-leaves of sham revolutionism. In our own ranks particular stress was laid on the lucidity of principles, on strong centralism and on iron discipline in the Party.

During the second stage the chief aim was to win the majority of the working class and to put it under the leadership of the Communist Parties. This necessitated, firstly, a more precise demarcation against sectarian and anarchist tendencies, and pronounced emphasis upon the danger of isolation from the masses. Secondly, it called for the development of the tactics of the united front as the most important method to gain the confidence of the working masses, and to combat the influence of the reformist and opportunist (including syndicalist and anarchist) labour leaders. Stress was laid on the necessity to venture to negotiate with the leading organs of the labour organisations of the opposite camp, while reserving the right to criticise freely and to expose the opposite party before the working masses. In our own ranks attention was called to the futility of revolutionary dogmatism, to the necessity of applying proper methods and of increasing the general activity of the Party on the basis of slogans and partial demands which arise directly from the actual needs of the working masses.

These were two distinct but interdependent courses. They are to be taken together, and not separately, in order to understand them properly. They differed by reason of the particular momentary circumstances, and they were united by the unity of the underlying principles.

What are the net results so far obtained? Firstly, our sections have acquired the necessary training, and the Communist movement has been strengthened in the various countries. Secondly, the revolutionary seed has been sown, which is now sprouting among the widest masses and will eventually bear fruit. The inward growth of our sections is recorded everywhere without exception. The external growth during the second stage (since 1921) was not equally pronounced in all the sections, and in some there has been even a temporary set-back, notably in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Norway. In Norway, properly speaking, there has been no retrogression, but rather a strengthening of the Communist ranks; the apparent set-back consists chiefly of the fact that the Communist International used to have a larger section there, the majority of which could not be considered at all as a Communist Party, and that the birth of the Norwegian Communist Party has but recently taken place, out of the womb of the old party. In the other three countries, the temporary decrease of membership is due to official suppression which has driven these parties into illegality. Temporary illegality and temporary defeats are rather the rule than the exception for revolutionary labour parties before the conquest of power. These we have discounted beforehand, and they determine in no way the outcome of the class struggle. The deciding factor is the steady revolutionisation of the majority of the proletariat.

The results so far obtained by way of revolutionising the proletariat are, of course, different in the various countries, and it could not be otherwise. For instance, in Scandinavia the present stage of this process cannot be the same as in Germany or in Poland. The minds of the great mass of the workers are not independent from the economic and political circumstances of the capitalist environment. The working masses are tied up with this environment by a thousand invisible threads, which in the course of generations have spun veritable cobwebs of bourgeois illusions and prejudices in their heads, which hinder the dawn of proletarian class-consciousness and which will not be removed until the whole edifice of the capitalist system will collapse and shatter the old cobwebs in its fall. These illusions on private property, on money, free trade, the state and the law, on democracy, on religion and the nation, are still prevalent among the workers of America and Scandinavia, as well as of England and France, to a considerable extent. On the other hand, in such countries as Germany and Poland these threads have largely been torn, so that it is only a question of time when these loosened cobwebs will be removed from the minds of the workers by the dawn of class consciousness.

It should be borne in mind that in no capitalist country the present-day ideology of the working class is the same as it was ten years ago. A tremendous process of revolutionary education has been going on everywhere, and in this respect the seed sown by the Communist International is bearing fruit. With perfect confidence we anticipate the coming harvest, but not everywhere in the course of next summer. In the tremendous cultivating process of the proletarian world-revolution, the harvest is not reaped in the same year as the seed was sown.

It is another question whether we have been skilful in scattering the seed everywhere in quite the proper way. I do not believe that our methods of agitation and propaganda, not to speak of the leadership of the mass fights were carried out everywhere with uniform expediency. For instance, the Russian exponents of practical Marxism have busied themselves in recent years with the problem of the “podkhod,” i.e., of the proper method of “approaching” in the conduct of agitation and propaganda. I wonder if our comrades in the other countries have studied this important problem with sufficient thoroughness; whether, for instance, in their work, among the trade unions, they have not relied solely upon intuition, in which case we have no guarantee that our agitation has been uniformly effective among the masses.

Of quite particular importance is the question of “approaching” the peasants. In this case the Communist who does not understand the psychology of the peasant, and his circumstances, and who fails to “approach” him in the proper manner, may achieve the opposite result to what was anticipated. On the whole the question of the revolutionary attitude of the poorer peasants towards the alliance with the working class, while retaining the hegemony of the proletariat, one of the most important problems for the Russian Party and for the Communist International, has not yet been thoroughly thrashed out by all our sections. The task is by no means an easy one, because the peasants are peasants and the workers in many cases have not yet been entirely emancipated from the craft traditions of the old labour movement.

The case is partly similar in regard to the question of nationality. Many of our sections have not yet worked out the courageous revolutionary attitude, which is practised by the Russian Communist Party, in favour of the unconditional right of self-determination for the subject races of the imperialist powers, in the hope that the national prejudices of these races will quickly be done away with in the course of their progress to complete liberty from any foreign yoke. Many of our sections (England, Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Roumania, etc.), have much to gain, as regards influence and power, by tactful and courageous activity in the question of nationality. At the same time proper attention should be given to the question of exercising tactful and courageous influence upon the nationalist prejudices of the petty-bourgeois (and partly also proletarian) masses of the dominant nations, which the fascisti are trying to exploit for the furtherance of the counter-revolution. In this respect the German Communist Party has set an example of the manner in which the influence of the fascist demagogues can be successfully paralysed.

A new period in the international movement of the class-struggle was inaugurated last summer and autumn by the events in Germany, Poland and Bulgaria. A similar turn of events was doubtlessly ushered in by the advent of the Labour Government in Great Britain. In most of the other countries this turn has not yet fully set in, or at least the outlines of the new period are not yet plainly visible.

The first rumblings of this period in Germany and in Bulgaria have given us no victories, but costly experiences. Nevertheless they were but the prelude, and the last word has not yet been spoken.

The chief tasks of the Communist parties during this period, of course, will continue to differ for the various countries. In some countries, notably in Germany, it is already a question of the fight for power; in other countries the majority of the working class has yet to be won over, (e.g., in France, Italy, Czecho-Slovakia, Norway), and in other countries the Communist parties have first to be brought up to the level of real Communist mass-parties (England, America, Sweden, Austria, etc.). Furthermore, there are countries in which the elementary Communist propaganda and agitation, the spade work of the movement has yet to be done. With all this, it seems certain that the new period will be marked by greater uniformity and decisiveness than the preceding period, in regard to the aspect of militancy. In this connection the general policy of the Comintern may experience some modification. In regard to Germany this was already the case in the resolutions adopted by the E.C.C.I. in September, 1923, and in January, 1924 (“Fight for power,” “Unity from the Bottom.”)

At all events, we find that the army of the Communist International enters into the third period with quite different strength and preparedness than it did into the second. It has indeed become an army of the proletarian worldrevolution.

Some Systematic Work

I have said that all the sections of the International have experienced internal growth. That is quite so. But it is more important to us to joint out the things which are yet to be attained, than the things that have already been achieved.

In connection with the influence of the Russian Communist Party upon our International, I would like to say a word of two about the importance of introducing more “system” in the leading work of our sections.

As far as I know, Comrade Lenin worked very systematically. The leaders of the Russian Party work systemically, too. All the other Communist parties have surely a great deal to learn from this system of Leninism. Without dwelling on its formal aspects, I would like to point out the following leading features of this system:

1. Proper information and analysis of the situation.

2. Clear strategical aims.

3. Adoption of method and of measures for the attainment of the goal.

4. Proper organisation and control.

I would ask the esteemed comrades not to be scared by glancing at the scheme that I have just outlined. I advocate no schemes, but systematic work. All the points that I have outlined, of course, occur in the daily work of our Party, but in a more or less conscious and systematic form.

Solid information is the first essential for proper decision and for competent leadership. Everyone recollects with what care, patience and perseverance Comrade Lenin would gather all the possible and reliable information about the question on which he had to decide. He could question and cross-question as no one else. In his writings he repeatedly urges the necessity of systematic information.

In the Secretariat of the Executive we feel constantly that so far we have failed in organising a solid system of information to the Executive by the various sections. We feel quite poignantly this defect, which must be obviated by strenuous efforts on either side. At all events, the individual parties should improve their system of information, to start with.

Here is not the place to dwell on the subject of the Marxian analysis of the situation, which is a science in itself. At all events, this work should certainly be carried out in a systematic way.

The line of conduct, as mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3, must be worked out on the basis of an analysis of the situation. The standard of Marxian insight has certainly grown in our ranks, since everywhere in our movement this “line” is spoken of and sought after. The Social-Democratic parties used to boast of their Marxism before the war, and still they lack a great deal in this respect even to-day.

Nevertheless, the political “line” is not a simple function but a combination of functions, and there ought to be systematic distribution of these functions. Quite frequently the “line” is merely drawn by determining the next task (or tasks), without in any way drawing a distinction between the measures and the aims to which the measures are directed (besides, the method for the achievement of the aim is either casually mentioned or is not mentioned at all). At the same time the substance of the programmatic demands is very frequently confused with the strategic aim. For instance, demands and proposals are made which are in the nature of a programme of action (e.g., the eight-hour day, tax exemption for workers and toiling peasants, State subsidies for the unemployed, workers’ control over production, election of army and navy officers by the rank and file, and so on). What is the real purpose of the Party in raising these demands? To carry out the programme? Of course, no. Its purpose is to fight for this programme in order to attain other aims (than the demands that are raised), e.g., in order to bring under our influence a part of the Social-Democratic members of the trade unions, to win the peasants over to the proletarian front, to get the leadership of the unemployed movement into the hands of our party, to accelerate the revolutionisation of the most active part of the industrial workers, to cause a state of unrest in the army and navy, and so on. These and similar aims can only serve us as strategical aims. Perhaps, as a result of the action, some of these demands may really be attained; but it is not of decisive importance whether they are attained or not. Of decisive importance is the question whether the definite strategical aim is achieved or not. A programmatic demand can be all right even if none of it is attained (and this is frequently foreseen), providing that the raising of this demand and the fight for it will ensure success in the prosecution of this strategical aim agreed upon. On the other hand, even if achieved, the demand is not of the slightest use if it cannot further the strategical aim.

Choosing a “line” without a deliberate strategical aim is, of course, tantamount to groping in the dark, as it gives no guarantee that the proper line was found from the Marxian standpoint. The most essential considerations for revolutionary Marxists might then be overlooked. Yet we must always be clearly aware of the aim to which our forthcoming actions are to be directed. For this distinguishes us from all the blind politicians in the world, that we do not act on the spur of the moment, but on the ground of Marxian, i.e., scientific analysis of the situation, and in the deliberate interests of the revolution in so far as we expect them to be served by the action that we undertake. The measures to be adopted for the achievement of this aim are quite a different matter, of course. Another matter again are the slogans which we are to launch into the masses in order to influence them or to create a movement which should facilitate the achievement of the aim.

To my mind it would be useful to deal with this question at somewhat greater length (also to distinguish between the leading aim and the side issues), and to illustrate the fore-going theoretical hints by examples from the activity of the E.C.C.I.; but I must content myself with the abstract argument for the development of a systematic “line.” It is to be hoped that before long the deliberate strategical aiming in the Marxian sense will become the common property and habit in the ranks of the Communist International, and that it will be accompanied by regular and precise demarcation against “Right” and “Left.”

The task of organising for the attainment of the decisions in a proper way is nothing new to our parties. This is the direction in which all the parties have been working for a long time. No one will dispute the complete vindication of the last advice by Lenin which he gave at the Fourth World Congress to the Communist parties of the capitalist ,countries: “You must assimilate a good bit of the Russian experiences.”

What Lenin considered of particular importance is to make all the party members active and to set to every individual member his daily task in the work of the party. The lack of this activity he described as the “greatest shortcoming in the Communist parties of the capitalist countries.” The forming of Communist nuclei at all the factories, the widest possible participation by all the members in the distribution of party literature and in the development of the Communist press, the attraction of the proletarian women and youth to regular revolutionary activity, all these organisational demands of Lenin have only partly been fulfilled. And in all these tasks it is imperative and necessary to assimilate a bit of the Russian experiences, not to copy, but to adapt it to the peculiar circumstances of every individual country.

Besides the daily regular activity of the Party, it is necessary to learn from the Russian Party how to concentrate the forces on the carrying out of urgent tasks and on taking the lead in mass-action. Even the ripest of our sections, the German Communist Party, has recently shown itself badly deficient in this respect. It will certainly be wiser next time.

One word, in conclusion, on systematic control in the carrying out of the Party tasks, which was also a very substantial feature in the “system” of Lenin.

All this applies, of course, not only to the central committees of the parties, but also to the leading organs and even to the committees of the smallest nuclei, and to some extent even to all the individual members of the Party.

Towards Victory!

“The most important thing for this period is to study,” said Comrade Lenin in the autumn of 1922, addressing himself to the foreign as well as to the Russian comrades. The whole International has still a lot to learn. Is it a sign of weakness that we frequently have to admit this openly? I believe it is a sign of strength. Just ask our deadly enemies whether they find this reassuring. Ten years ago, they felt themselves so secure that in no country they thought necessary to organise fascist groups against us. Now the most aristocratic rascals and the wealthiest robbers are compelled to arm themselves to their teeth. The gentlemen are afraid of us, and the more we learn how to lead the revolution the more reason they will have to fear us.

The capitalist world is incapable of solving its critical problems. It tried to solve them by the greatest crime on record, by the imperialist world-war, with the result that the foundations of the capitalist system are now on the edge of the precipice. France, who ten years ago was the wealthiest banker of Europe, is now no longer able to pay her debts and has to shudder at the sight, on beholding the golden francs being transformed into worthless scraps of paper. England, the proudest ruler of the world, must now allow herself to be governed by a comical company known as the Labour Government, which has proved its bankruptcy in the international labour movement and is now to undergo a second bankruptcy at the head of the British Empire. The former German Empire is now a desperate beggar, Austria a pauper, and Hungary an apache. Capitalist Europe bears the brand of doom on its brow.

The Second International of social-traitors has been compelled in nearly all the countries to change the deception of capitalist democracy for open servitude to the capitalist dictatorship. Also the 2½ International has gone to the devil for it is no longer to be seen on earth. The privileged aristocracy of labour is vanishing rapidly. The time is nigh when bankrupt capitalism will no longer be able to feed its slaves, let alone to bribe them.

The greatest hindrance to the proletarian revolution in the minds of the workers was the cowardly prejudice: “We cannot win, it is impossible!” The Russian proletariat has shown it to be possible, and how it is possible.

By this deed the Russian proletariat has won the hegemony of the international labour movement. And this it will retain until the full accomplishment of its great historical tasks in the process of the proletarian world-revolution. Its greatest task is due to the position of Russia as a bridge between West and East: it has linked up the proletarian revolution of the West with the national liberation movement of the peoples of the East.

Under the leadership of the Russian Communist Party, the Communist International will learn the art of victory. It is not yet the world-party that has won the victory. But this is what it will be!