Willy Münzenberg et al.

Relief for Russia

To the Workers of the World!

(17 February 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. II No. 13, 17 February 1922, p. 96.
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 struggle against the famine in Soviet Russia has entered upon a new phase. The inevitable sequence in the relations between Capital and Labor, the historic necessity of the class struggle is becoming evident. It is the great battle for the liberation of labor, which is simultaneously going on throughout the world in its various phases of development and under the last and strongest pressure of which Soviet Russia is now suffering from the growing famine catastrophe. You must realize that this struggle against the famine does not concern only the Russian workers and peasants Also your fate will be decided on this battle-front. The Russian proletariat is fighting for the reconstruction of its own production, for the citadel, which must be held by the vanguard of the international proletariat, and which you, workers of the world, will then be able to employ the international attack of labor against capitalism.

An appeal to humanity does not move the capitalist class. The worker who has been hardened by the struggles and sufferings of his own class is touched more by the misery of the Russian proletariat, though he does not know how to help. The famine cannot be fought by charity alone. Some hundred thousands of people may be saved, while millions are perishing and the catastrophe is growing every day.

Comrades, laboring masses of the world! The cry for bread, the struggle for bare existence is being drowned in the cry for production, for working capacity, for labor! Support our reconstruction! Assist us in providing bread! Your means are small compared with those of world capital. Yet, you have something which capital lacks, your class-consciousness, your solidarity for productive assistance, if you, the working class, undertake to assist Russia in its reconstruction.

Do not be deterred by the gigantic dimensions of the task before you. Precisely the enormity and extent of this task proves the necessity of maintaining Soviet Russia’s productive forces, so that it may be able to overcome the famine disaster.

With the food that you have collected, we are commencing to organise and enliven the work in the famine-stricken districts. Home industry is being reorganised, collective farms are being formed, in factories the workers of which have fled or died of starvation work is being started again. The farms are being prepared for work in the spring, we are not only lacking the food for those who are working there, but still more the means of production with which bread can be produced. The working class should finish what it has set about to do. We are now creating centres of production and in the midst of a tired and exhausted population establishing nuclei of production which will be the centres of fresh initiative and relief for the starving workers and peasants of the famine-stricken districts. The working class alone can assist us in this work. Otherwise the capitalists will coin the famine into profits and turn it into a new weapon against the working class.

Workingmen and working women throughout the world! Do not forget that your future will be decided on the front of the famine in Russia! We need tools, material and tractors for industrial and agricultural enterprises, the reconstruction of which we have undertaken. Send us above all means of transport, one ton motor trucks. We are also in need of fodder for the horses and grain and vegetable seed for the spring sowing. But not only this. We are also in need of your labor power. Send us specialists, industrial and agricultural organisers! Fit out groups of workers with tools and food and send them to our assistance. A labor army of the International Workers’ Relief Committee is now being organised. You ought to delegate groups of workers from amongst you, who will form a living and active bond of solidarity and will be based upon you, upon the workers of their shop, upon the workers of their industrial centre and lastly upon the workers of the entire country. It is a gigantic task which the working class has to accomplish. Yet you will be strengthened by fulfilling it. It will inspire you with class consciousness. Forget all party quarrels? You are being confronted with the first practical task of the united front of labor on an international scale. It will inevitably weld the working class together.

We are commencing by means of nuclei. Assist us in carrying on our work successfully! Support us in building up centres of production out of the nuclei! Ensure the future source of raw materials for the workers of all countries for the time when capitalism will be overthrown throughout the world!

There is no time to be lost. In spring the problem will be decided Shall we then be able to work? Will the the masses of workers and peasants in the famine-stricken districts then still be able to work? It depends upon your assistance.

Do not lose your head! More courage and more confidence in Soviet Russia! And that just because the struggle is so hard! Despite everything!


For the Foreign Committee for the Organization of Workers’ Relief
Willy Münzenberg, Secretary

For the Russian Section of the Foreign Committee in Moscow
Plenipotentiary of the Soviet Government: Alexander Eiduck
Plenipotentiary of the Foreign Committee: Franz Jung
Plenipotentiary of the “Friends of Soviet Russia”: James A. Marshall

Last updated on 27 December 2019