Alois Neurath

Report of the Balkan, Swiss
and Austrian Commissions

The Enlarged Executive: Eleventh Day of Session

(23 June 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 52, 23 July 1923, pp. 547–548.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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June 23, 1923

Neurath presented a report of the Balkan, Swiss and Austrian Commissions.

He proposed that the settlement of the Balkan Question, particularly as regards Jugoslavia, should be handed over to the Presidium. The resolutions on the Swiss Question were adopted unanimously by the Commission. The Austrian Commission, also, came to differences in principle between the two fractions, the majority and the minority. The Commission adopted a decision to the effect that the Executive of the Austrian Communist Party should be obliged to invite representatives of the minority to all Party work, including political work. We expect that the Austrian Party Executive will carry out this decision loyally. The Austrian Party is not so strong as to permit itself the luxury of excluding a section from collaboration in political work. We hope that on this basis the differences of a personal nature that still remain will be completely liquidated.

The Resolutions on the Swiss and Austrian Questions were adopted unanimously.


Swiss Question

Propagandist Activity

The Swiss Communist Party has a relatively small membership, for it numbers from 4,500 to 4,800 paid-up members, as against 30,000 members of the Social-democratic Party. Moreover, taking into consideration that the Swiss Trade Unions have an approximate membership of a quarter of a million workers, it is no exaggeration to say that the numerical strength of the Party is not in proportion to the strength of the Labor movement as a whole, which naturally includes the trade unions, it appears that the Swiss Party Executive was concerned about the maintenance of a so-called “Pure Communist Party”. In this connection we draw their attention to the following: the Russian Communist Party, which has been victorious in the social revolution and which now possesses the means of Power in the Russian State, is the target for the world reaction as a whole. It finds itself in the position of a defensive army in a beleaguered fortress. This Party must be careful to restrict its ranks to proven Communists. Those sections of the Communist International which have yet to organise and to wage the fight against the governing classes of their respective countries, who have yet to gain the sympathies of the large (passes of the population, if not a direct majority, cannot afford the luxury of creating a so-called “Pure Party”, which should embrace only an infinitesimal minority of the class conscious proletariat. The Swiss Party has to develop an intense campaign for membership, so as to gain many new members. The Communist Party must seek not only immediate influence over the masses of the workers, but also indirect influence over the greatest possible portion of the working class, if it wants to fulfill its revolutionary tasks.

The Party’s Enterprises

We repeat once again that the Swiss Party Executive is not only entitled, but it is also its duty to see to it that all the enterprises of the Party should be under the control of the Executive. The Party Executive is responsible to the Party and to the Communist International not only for its general policies, but also for all the economic and other matters appertaining to the Party. This responsibility can be borne by the Party provided it has also the right of decisive influence, i.e. control, over all the enterprises of the Party.

The Enlarged Executive of the Communist International confirms the decisions of the Presidium of the 15th March, 1923, with regard to the tactical methods within the Swiss Communist Party. The Enlarged Executive refers once again to the important questions which already occupied the attention of the Presidium.

On the Trade Union Question

Only in as much as the Party takes care of the so-called everyday cares of the working class, in as much as it endeavours to influence the conduct of Trade Union struggles, to that extent the Party will be able to gain the increasing confidence of the organised workers of the Trade Unions. Our representatives in the Trade Union Movement must be guided in their activities by the Fourth World Congress of the Communist International, and above all by those of the R.I.LU. Congress. The activity of our comrades in the Trade Unions must be deliberately supported and promoted by the Party Press. Hence it follows the Party Press must give its most thorough attention to the problems of the economic struggle of the proletariat

The thesis advocated by the Trade Union leaders, Wys and Kopp, to the effect that the Party should give the least possible attention to Trade Union organization matters, is certainly absolutely wrong. It is true the direct influencing of the Trade Union movement by the Communist Party should not be emphasised at all times and at every opportunity. The main thing is that the Communist Party, or its representatives, should be actually in a position to influence the trade Union struggles in the spirit of the decisions of our World Congresses, and to compel the present nominal leaders of the trade unions, to act in the interest of the large masses of the working class, and thus to put the trade unions at the service of the class struggle.


Austrian Question

The following are the main characteristics of the present situation in Austria: a) the complete dependence of Austria upon the Entente, whose representative is the unrestricted lord of the country; b) the extreme reactionary policy of Seipel, winch is directed exclusively against the Austrian working class; c) the strength of Fascism, the organizations of which are already making the first attempts to smash the Workers’ organizations and to crush the workers in blood; d) the strengthening of the monarchist organizations which hope foi the restoration; e) an extremely acute economic situation, rise in the cost of living, tremendous unemployment; f) the situation of the working class becoming steadily more acute, owing to the attempts of the capitalists to reduce the wages of the workers which are already far behind the increased cost of living, and to the growth of unemployment and the worsening of the conditions of labour.

Owing to the above economic and political reasons, the class war in Austria is becoming more critical and armed collisions have already occurred.

The Austrian Social-Democratic Party, which was once the strong-hold of the former 2½ International, is pursuing its policy of betraying the interests of the Austrian working class, of impotence in face of the capitalist offensive, and of supporting the bourgeoisie. The working class masses, and even certain Social-Democratic organizations, are becoming steadily disillusioned by this policy and are setting themselves in opposition to the leaders, as tn the case of certain strikes which were initiated in spite of the decision of the central organs of the Social-Democratic Party, and of other actions undertaken by the working class.

These circumstances should induce the Austrian Communist Party to pursue its political policy with especial energy and perspicuity and to devote its attention to attracting working masses into the struggle against the capitalist offensive and against Fascism and also to the slogans connected with the following important tasks of the Party:

Workers’ and Peasants’ Government

It is the duty of the Austrian Communist Party as of every other Section of the Communist International, to conduct a clear propaganda in the sense ol the decisions of the Fourth World Congress and of the Enlarged Executive with regard to a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government. The fight against the Seipel Government or against a coalition government with the Social-Democrats cannot be conducted successfully, nor taken up seriously by the revolutionary workers of Austria, if the Austrian Communist Party is not in a position to bring forward a definite aim for the struggle. A Workers’ and Peasants’ Government 16 consequently not merely a propaganda slogan, but a slogan of action. The agitation of the Austrian Communist Party, as far as concerns a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, will be without effect and will remain incomprehensible to the broad masses, if the Party does not succeed in creating a practical, i.e. organisational and agitational, close contact with the agricultural population. It is in this very sense that the Austrian Communist Party has not proved itself equal to its task.

Electoral Policy

The Austrian Communist Party must participate independently in the elections. It can adopt a common electoral platform only with the opposition trade union bloc In its electoral program the Party must make clear its communist point of view. The Austrian Party must conduct the election campaign mainly on the questions of the fight against Fascism, the Christian-Socialist Government, against the Coalition Government, and for a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government. If the Party conducts its work well on this basis, if it fulfils its duties in the sphere of trade union activity and in agitation and propaganda, not only among the proletarian sections of the people, but also among the petty bourgeoisie and semi-proletarian masses, and above all among the agricultural proletariat, it will be in a position to obtain the votes not only of the conscious revolutionary class fighters, but also a part of the votes of the honest opponents of capitalism. It goes without saying that the Communist Party of Austria must expose the treacherous attitude towards the workers on the part of the Social-Democratic Party.

The Trade Union Question

The Trade Union tactics of the Communist Party of Austria, in the main express the decisions of the Fourth Congress of the Profintern. In this sphere of its tactics the Communist Party of Austria has already certain successes to record. Recently, however, the responsible bodies of the Party have permitted certain serious errors to be committed in the sphere of trade unionism. It appears from the reports submitted by Comrades Koritschoner and Frey that responsible trade union officials of the Communist Party of Austria, during negotiations over wages, are not always acted according to the principles formulated by the Red International of Labor Unions. In every wages campaign, the attitude of our officials must be well considered, well prepared, and above all, unitedly and compactly represented. The Party must combat the reformists, not only by its criticism but also by positive proposals. At every meeting of wages committees, factory councils conferences, etc., the representatives of the revolutionary bloc must always represent the principles of the Red International of Labor Unions. This must be done even at the risk of our comrades being expelled front these bodies by the reformists. Under no circumstances should communist officials strive to secure the right to participate in any campaign for wages negotiations at the price of sacrificing our principles.

At the conclusions of wages movements, which have ended unsuccessfully as a consequence of the tactics of the reformists, a thorough estimation of the movement must be made in the press and particularly in the factories giving a definite outline of our position.

The Youth Organisation

Without going into the details of the differences between the Communist Party of Austria and the Young Communist League of Austria, it must be generally stated here that the Party must bring about good relations with the Youth Organisation. The Party must strive always to maintain good relations with the Youth Organisation. On the basis of the decisions laid down by the CI (YCI), politically and tactically the Youth Organisation is subordinate to the Party. Nevertheless, in accordance with international decisions, the organisational independence of the Youth’s Organisation is not hereby limited. In the Youth’s Organisation, as well as in the Party, all factionalism must cease.

The Party Newspaper

It has been established that the editorial staff of the Rote Fahne has not always understood how to be politically realistic. We refer here to the assassination of Comrade Vorovsky, to the Unity Congress of the Second and 2½ International, and last but not least to the propaganda for the Labor Government. The editorial staff of Rote Fahne has given but little attention to these questions in every respect. The Party press must, more than hitherto, give prominence to news and facts and deal with the events of the day in their social connection and at the same time advocate the slogans of the Comintern.


The representatives of both factions undertake to put an end to all personal and factional conflicts and ruthlessly oppose any attempt to renew them.

Last updated on 3 September 2022