Karl Radek

The Results of the Session of
the Enlarged Executive Committee

(9 June 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 46, 9 June 1922, pp. 359–360.
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 sessions of the Enlarged Executive Committee which we have introduced of late have proven to be an institution which is in many ways more important than the World Congress. The Congresses can only decide upon general questions. They can only control in general the practical execution of these decisions. The Sessions of the Enlarged Executive Committee which take place at shorter intervals and in which a sufficiently large number of party representatives just arrived from their respective countries, take part, are able to create an uninterrupted living bond between the Executive Committee and the Communist Parties. They enable the Executive Committee continually to observe the development of all the affiliated parties and in this way to correct mistakes made by various parties much more quickly. The joint labors of the party representatives and the joint discussion of the political and organizational difficulties create a living understanding of all the problems of the Communist International without which the International cannot exist. The first International attempted to centralize the leadership of the international labor movement in the same way and to create an international executive board. This failed simply because there were practically no Socialist proletarian parties anywhere. The leadership of the First International was an attempt to create an international labor movement from above rather than to unite and centralize an existent labor movement. The First International therefore could only sow the seed of a future international labor movement. The Second International was from the very beginning a federated institution. The parliamentary reformist epoch divided the movement into a number of labor parties, each of which lived an entirely isolated life in its daily work. The uniting tasks were lacking as well as the unifying spirit. The Communist International can approach this problem of central leadership, not because – as our enemies say – Moscow commands, but because the epoch brings forward common problems which can only be solved by the Communist Parties in common.

The last Session of the Enlarged Executive Committee was the best proof of this. It had to deal with the result of the fust attempt to establish a general proletarian united front through agreement with the leaders of the Second and 2½ Internationals. But not only this problem, which was from the very beginning an international one, could and had to be solved on an international scale; no less international were the differences in the Norwegian and French Communist Party on the one hand and the Italian and Czecho-Slovakian Party on the other. However different conditions in the four countries may be, and however different therefore the problems and the difficulties are with which these parties have to struggle, the question upon which the Executive had to decide could be handled as a whole only by the Executive. What sort of questions were they? As for France and Norway, the question at issue was how a Communist Party in a land which has not yet experienced any revolutionary disturbances is to frame its policy in order to produce the maximum of Communist consciousness and Communist fighting ability in its ranks. It is very difficult to form a Communist Party by means of the propaganda of Communist ideas. The foundation of Communism appear then as deductions, as corollaries of theory.

The clarity with which various members of the Party understand Communist theory is different and very often it does not appear specially important whether they express the conceptions of Communism more or less clearly. Clarity of thought in the Party often appears of minor importance when compared to so-called practical necessity, when compared to the hesitation to repulse this or that group of leaders. The process of the growth of a Communist Party in a land with a comparatively unrevolutionary situation brings with it a number of organizational questions. Since the masses are not in a condition of revolutionary flux, the problem of the manoeuvres which are to bring to us those groups of workers now standing aside is of the highest importance. By examining the tone of the French Party press, the nature of its editorial policy and the contents of its agitation the Executive Committee attempted io make it clear to the French Comrades that the more petty bourgeois the environment in which a Communist Party has to operate, the clearer must its intellectual visage be. The same problem exists in Norway where the central organ of the Party today is still called Socialdemokrat, which in itself shows to what degree the Party pays inadmissible attention to ideological traditions. The same problem comes to light in an organizational form in the question of the trade union tactics of our French comrades who up to the present have not drawn any clear, intellectual line of division between them and the Anarcho-Syndicalists with whom we are in practice allied against the reformist trade union leaders. The question of the attitude of the French Party to the united front and of the Norwegian Party to the Liberal Government are two sides of the same feeling of weakness. The young Communist Party of France fears the united front just because it is too little penetrated by clear Communist spirit and has too little assurance that it would obtain more strength from a practical bloc for the immediate struggle with the French Socialists.

Instead of this intransigence due to weakness, in Norway we find an objectionable pliability due to intellectual and political weakness. The Communist Party supports the Liberal Government (which is also supported by the Socialist Party) and calls that the united front, without understanding that we want to unite with the non-Communist workers for the battle against the bourgeoisie and not for the support of the bourgeoisie which can only weaken the working masses in the last analysis, even when it temporarily offers some advantage or other.

The problems of the Italian Party are of an altogether different nature. Here we have a young Communist Party which forged its Communist spirit in its battle with Serrati and through this struggle permitted itself to be forced into a situation where it too little understands that the establishing of connections with the working masses is just as important an element of Communist policy as the clear elaboration of the Communist idea. The theses of the Italian Party Congress on tactics prove that it has not yet overcome its “Left Communist” errors which were rejected by the Third Congress. Its attitude in the question of the united front, where it applies the united front in the trade union field but is not able to estimate it at its true value in the political field, demonstrates the political dangers which follow from theoretical mistakes. In the Italian Party the old bitter struggle against Serrati was the source of the theoretical and practical mistakes.

In the leadership of the Czecho-Slovakian Party there have recently developed certain differences between the Muna-Smeral-Kreibich group on the one hand and the Jilek-Hauser group on the other which arose from the fact that in practice the spirit which last year led to bitter struggles between Smeral and the Left has not yet been overcome.

The simple fact that Muna and Kreibich today on the whole agree with Comrade Smeral prove that Comrade Smeral when he last year delayed with the formation of an open Communist Party did so not because he was a bad Communist but on account of temporary tactical considerations. Smeral is no doubt the most sober, far-sighted leader of Czecho-Slovakian Communism but his sobriety and carefulness, which led him last year to hesitate very much with the formation of a Communist Party in order that he could get the large masses of Social Democratic workers to follow him, is accompanied by a lack of élan which is seen in a laxity of organization of Communist nuclei in the trade unions and in the steadfast exploitation of all legal possibilities for revolutionary purposes. This produced a certain lack of confidence in the Party leadership among certain Left comrades. They were unable to oppose another policy to Smeral’s policy which was on the whole correct. And thus the lack of confidence gave birth to a spirit which contained the germ of anti-parliamentarian Communism, the tendency towards splitting the trade unions and towards a certain illegal romanticism. The Executive had to crystallize the healthy proletarian revolutionary element out of the Jilek-Hauser group in order to employ it to stiffen and energize Smeral’s correct policy.

As at the Third Congress, in the discussions on the problems of various of our Parties the question at stake was the unequivocal execution of the Communist (and at the same time) mass policy of the Communist International; it was a question of concretely connecting the chief slogan of the World Congress, “To the Masses!”, with clear Communist policy. The line of the Third Congress is now being expressed in the fight for the proletarian united front. The Enlarged Executive Committee not only had to examine the actions of its delegates to the Berlin Conference and in the Commission of Nine – and it investigated and approved them – but also had to create the most important prerequisite for the further fight for the united front. This prerequisite is the uniform policy of the Communist International itself. The Executive Committee could not ignore for a moment the fact that the Communist International had not acted uniformly during the recent campaign; on the contrary, it established this lack of unity and it took steps to ensure that in the future when an action is decided upon it will not be thwarted by any misgivings of individual parties. The presence of prominent French comrades during the debates, the exhaustive discussion and the concluding statements of Comrade Frossard convinced all the members of the Executive Committee that the French Party will do its share to prevent our opponents from utilizing its mistakes to their advantage.

The Enlarged Executive Committee decided to convoke the Fourth Congress of the Communist International for the fifth anniversary of the Russian Revolution in Moscow. This Congress will in the main consider the programs of the Communist Parties, a question which is of the greatest importance and which we desire to treat in the near future.

Last updated on 27 December 2019