Leon Trotsky

Report on the Communist International

(December 1922)

Delivered: December 28, 1922.
First Published: In Russian, official anniversary volume issue in 1926 by the Bureau of Party History.
Source: Fourth International New York, Vol.4 No.8 (Whole No. 36), August 1943, pp. 245–250.
Translated: John G. Wright.
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following speech by Trotsky was delivered in Moscow December 28, 1922, to a session of the Communist fraction of the Tenth All-Union Congress of the Soviets, with non-party delegates participating. The Fourth World Congress of the Communist International had just taken place from November to December 3 – the last of the congresses led by Lenin and Trotsky.

As Trotsky obliquely indicates in his opening remarks, there was already to be noticed in the Soviet press a turning away from the international scene – one of the first signs of the reaction on which Stalin rode to power. This reaction, in turn, was primarily the result of the failure of the revolution in Western Europe, the causes of which Trotsky deals with in this speech.

During the next year – 1923 – came a new revolutionary opportunity in Germany; but it was missed precisely because of the immaturity of the Communist Party of Germany with which Trotsky deals here. This failure, in turn, deepened the reaction in the Soviet Union, enabling Stalin to seize control of the Comintern and pervert it into an agency of Kremlin foreign policy.

This is the first publication of this speech in English. Translation by John G. Wright.


You have invited me to make a report on the recent Congress of the Communist International. I take this to mean that what you want is not a factual review of the work of the last Congress, since if that were the case it would be much more expedient to turn to the minutes of the proceedings, already available in printed bulletins, rather than listen to a report.

My task, as I understand it, is to try to give you an evaluation of the general situation of the revolutionary movement and its perspectives in the light of those facts and questions that faced us at the Fourth World Congress.

Naturally this presupposes a greater or lesser degree of acquaintance with the condition of the international revolutionary movement. Let me remark parenthetically that our press, unfortunately, does far from everything it should in order to acquaint us as intimately with facts of the world labor movement, especially the Communist movement, as it does, say, with facts relating to our economic life, to our Soviet construction. But to us these are manifestations of equal importance. For my part, I have resorted more than once (contrary to my custom) to partisan actions in order to get our press to utilize the exceptional opportunities at our disposal and to provide our party with a complete, concrete and precise picture of what is taking place in the sphere of revolutionary struggle, doing this from day to day without commentaries, directives or generalizations (for we need generalizations only from time to time), but simply supplying facts and material from the internal life of the communist parties.

I think that on this point the pressure of the party public opinion ought to be brought to bear on the press, whose editorial boards read the foreign press, proferring on the basis of this press generalizations from time to time, but almost no factual material. But inasmuch as gathered here is the fraction of the Soviet Congress and, consequently, highly qualified party elements, I shall assume for the purpose of my report a general acquaintance with the actual condition of the communist parties and the other parties which still wield influence in the workers’ movement. My task is to submit to verification our general criteria, our views on the conditions for and the tempos of the development of the proletarian revolution from the standpoint of new facts, and in particular those facts which were supplied us by the Fourth Congress of the Comintern.

Comrades, I wish to say at the very outset that if we aim not to become confused and not to lose our perspective, then in evaluating the labor movement and its revolutionary possibilities we ought to bear in mind that there are three major spheres which, although inter-connected, differ profoundly from one another. First, there is Europe; second America; and third the colonial countries, that is, primarily Asia and Africa. The need of analyzing the world labor movement in terms of these three spheres flows from the essence of our revolutionary criteria.

The Pre-requisites for Revolution

Marxism teaches us that in order for the proletarian revolution to become possible there must be given, schematically speaking, three premises or conditions. In the first place the conditions of production. The technology of production must have attained such heights as to provide economic gains from the replacement of capitalism by socialism. Secondly, there must be a class interested in effecting this change and sufficiently strong to achieve it, that is, a class numerically large enough and playing a sufficiently important role in economy to introduce this change. The reference here, is of course, to the working class. And thirdly, this class must be prepared to carry through the revolution. It must have the will to carry it out, and must be sufficiently organized and conscious to be capable of carrying it out. We pass here into the field of the so-called subjective conditions and pre-requisites for the proletarian revolution. If with these three criteria – productive-technological, social-class and subjective-political – we approach the three spheres indicated by me, then the difference between them becomes strikingly apparent. True enough, we used to view the question of mankind’s readiness for socialism from the productive-technological standpoint much more abstractly than we do now. If you consult our old books, even those not yet outdated, you will find in them an absolutely correct estimate that capitalism had already outlived itself 15, 20, 25 and 30 Years ago.

In what sense was this intended? In the sense that 25 years ago, and more, the replacement of the capitalist method of production by socialist methods would have already represented objective economic gains, that is, mankind would have produced more under socialism than under capitalism. But 25-30 years ago this still did not signify that productive forces were no longer capable of development under capitalism. We know that throughout the whole world, including Europe and especially in Europe which has until comparatively recent times played the leading economic and financial role in the world, the productive forces still continued to develop. And we are now able to point out the year up to which they continued to develop in Europe: the year 1913. This means that up to that year capitalism represented not an absolute but a relative obstacle to the development of the productive forces. In the technological sense, Europe developed with unprecedented speed and power from 1894 to 1913, that is to say, Europe became economically enriched during the 20 years which preceded the imperialist war. Beginning with 1913 – and we can say this with complete certainty – the development of capitalism, of its productive forces, came to a halt one year before the outbreak of the war because the productive forces ran up against the limits fixed for them by capitalist property and the capitalist form of appropriation. The market was divided, competition was brought to its intensest pitch, and henceforth capitalist countries could seek to remove one another from the market only by mechanical means.

It is not the war that put a stop to the development of productive forces in Europe, but rather the war itself arose from the impossibility of the productive forces to develop further in Europe under the conditions of capitalist economy. The year 1913 marks the great turning point in the evolution of European economy. The war acted only to deepen and sharpen this crisis which flowed from the fact that further economic development within the conditions of capitalism was absolutely impossible. This applies to Europe as a whole. Consequently, if before 1913 we were conditionally correct in saying that socialism is more advantageous than capitalism, then since 1913 capitalism already signifies a condition of absolute stagnation and disintegration for Europe, while socialism pro. vides the only economic salvation. This renders more precise our views with respect to the first pre-requisite for the proletarian revolution.

The second pre-requisite: the working class. It must be. come sufficiently powerful in the economic sense in order to gain power and rebuild society. Does this fact obtain today? After the experience of our Russian revolution it is no longer possible to raise this issue, inasmuch as the October revolution became possible in our backward country. But we have learned in recent years to evaluate the social power of the proletariat on the world scale in a somewhat new way and much more precisely and concretely. Those naive, pseudo-Marxist views which demanded that the proletariat comprise 75 or 90 per cent of the population before taking power – these views now appear as absolutely infantile. Even in countries where the peasantry comprises the majority of the population the proletariat can and must find a road to the peasantry in order to achieve the conquest of power. Absolutely alien to us is any sort of reformist opportunism in relation to the peasantry. But at the same time, no less alien to us is dogmatism. The working class in all countries plays a sufficiently great social and economic role in order to be able to find a road to the peasant masses and to the oppressed nationalities and the colonial peoples, and in this way assures itself of the majority. After the experience of the Russian revolution this is not a presumption, nor a hypothesis, nor a conclusion, but an incontestable fact.

And, finally, the third pre-requisite: the working class must be ready for the overturn and capable of achieving it. The working class not only must be sufficiently powerful for it, but must be conscious of its power and must be able to apply this power. Today we can and must analyze and render more precise this subjective factor: We have witnessed in the political life of Europe, during the post war years, that the working class is ready for the overturn, ready in the sense of subjectively striving for it, ready in terms of will, mood, self-sacrifice but still lacking the necessary organizational leadership. Consequently, the mood of the class and its organizational consciousness do not always coincide. Our revolution, thanks to an exceptional combination of historical factors, gave our backward country the possibility of bringing about the transfer of power into the hands of the working class, in a direct alliance with the peasant masses. The role of the party is only too clear to us and, fortunately, it is today already clear to the Western European communist parties. Not to take the role of the party into account is to fall into pseudo-Marxist objectivism which presupposes some sort of purely objective and automatic preparation of the revolution, and thereby postpones the latter to an indefinite future. This automatism is alien to us. This is a Menshevik, a social-democratic world outlook. We know, we have learned in practice, and we are teaching others to under. stand the enormous role of the subjective, conscious factor that the revolutionary party of the working class represents.

Without our part the 1917 overturn would not, of course, have taken place and the entire fate of the country would have been different. It would have been thrown back to vegetate as a colonial country; it would have been plundered by and divided among the imperialist countries of the world. That this did not happen was guaranteed historically by the arming of the working class with the incomparable sword, our communist party. This did not obtain in post-war Europe.

Two of the three necessary pre-requisites were given: long before the war the relative advantages of socialism, and since 1913 and all the more so after the war, the absolute necessity of socialism. Europe is decaying and disintegrating economically without it. This is a fact. The working class in Europe no longer continues to grow. Its destiny, its class destiny, corresponds and runs parallel to the development of economy. To the extent that European economy, with inevitable fluctuations, suffers stagnation and even disintegration, to that extent the working class, as a class, fails to grow socially, ceases to increase numerically but suffers from unemployment, the terrible oscillations of the reserve army of labor, etc., et. The war roused the working class to its feet in the revolutionary sense. Was it capable of carrying out the revolution before the war? What did it lack? It lacked the consciousness of its own power. Its power grew in Europe automatically, almost imperceptibly, with the growth of industry. The war shook up the working class. Because of this terrible bloody upheaval, the entire working class in Europe was imbued with the revolutionary mood on the very next day after the war. Consequently, one of the subjective factors-the striving to change this world-was on hand. What was lacking? The party was lacking, the party capable of leading the working class to victory.

The Revolutionary Wave, 1917-1921

This is how the events of the revolution unfolded within our country and abroad. In 1917, the February-March revolution; within nine months – October: the revolutionary party guarantees victory to the working class and peasant poor. In 1918 revolution in Germany, accompanied by changes at the top; the working class tries to forge ahead but is smashed time and again. The proletarian revolution in Germany does not lead to victory. In 1919, the eruption of the Hungarian proletarian revolution: the base is too narrow and the party too weak. The revolution is crushed in a few months in 1919. By 1920, the situation has already changed and it continues to change more and more sharply.

There is a historical date in France – May 1, 1920 – when a sharp turn took place in the relation of forces between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The mood of the French proletariat was on the whole revolutionary but it took too light a view of victory: it was lulled by that party and those organizations which had grown up in the preceding period of peaceful and organic development of capitalism. On May 1, 1920 the French proletariat declared a general strike. This should have been the first major clash with the French bourgeoisie.

The entire bourgeois France trembled. The proletariat which had just emerged from the trenches struck terror into its heart. But the old Socialist Party, the old Social-democrats who dared not oppose the revolutionary working class and who declared the general strike simultaneously did everything in their power to blow it up; while the revolutionary elements, the Communists, were too weak, too dispersed and too lacking in experience. The May 1st strike failed. And if you consult the French newspapers for 1920 you will see in the editorials and news stories already a swift and decisive growth of the strength of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie at once sensed its own stability, gathered the state apparatus into its hands and began to take less and less into account the demands of the proletariat and the threats of revolution.

In that same year, in August 1920, we experienced an event closer to home which likewise brought about a change in the relation of forces, not in favor of the revolution. This was our defeat below Warsaw, a defeat which from the international standpoint is most intimately bound up with the fact that in Germany and in Poland at that moment the revolutionary movement was unable to gain victory because there was lacking a strong revolutionary party having the confidence of the majority of the working class.

A month later, in September 1920, we live through the great movement in Italy. Precisely at that moment in the autumn of 1920 the Italian proletariat reaches its highest point of ferment after the war. Mills, plants, railways, mines are seized. The state is disorganized, the bourgeoisie is almost prostrate with its spine broken. It seems that only another step forward is needed and the Italian working class will conquer power. But at this moment, its party, that same Socialist party which had emerged from the previous epoch, although formally adhering to the Third International but with its spirit and roots still in the previous epoch, i.e., in the Second International – this party springs back in terror from the seizure of power, from the civil war, leaving the proletariat exposed. An attack is launched upon the proletariat by the most resolute wing of the bourgeoisie in the shape of Fascism, in the shape of whatever still remains strong in the police and the army. The proletariat was smashed.

After the defeat of the proletariat in September, we observe in Italy a still more radical shift in the relationship of forces. The bourgeoisie said to itself: “So that’s the kind of people you are. You urge the proletariat forward but you lack the spirit to take power.” And it pushed the fascist detachments to the fore.

Within a few months, by March 1921, we witness the most important recent event in the life of Germany, the famous March events. Here we have the lack of correspondence between the class and the party developing from an opposite direction.

In Italy, in September, the working class was driving battle. The party shied back in terror. In Germany the working class was driving to battle: it fought in 1918, in the course of 1919 and in the course of 1920, but its efforts and sacrifices were not crowned by victory because it did not have at its head a sufficiently strong, experienced and cohesive party; instead there was another party at the head which saved the bourgeoisie for the second time, after saving it during the war. And now in 1921 the Communist Party of Germany, seeing how the bourgeoisie was strengthening its positions, wanted to make a heroic attempt to cut off the bourgeoisie’s road by an offensive, by a blow, and it rushed ahead. But the working class did not support it. Why? Because it had not yet learned to have confidence in the party. It did not yet fully know this party while its own experience in the civil war had brought it only defeats in the course of 1919-1920.

The Immaturity of Our Parties

And so in March 1921 the fact occurred which impelled the Communist International to say: The relations between the parties and the classes, between the communist parties and the working classes in all countries of Europe are still not mature for an immediate offensive, for an immediate battle for the conquest of power. It is necessary to proceed with a painstaking preparation of the communist ranks in a two-fold sense: First, in the sense of fusing them together and tempering them; and second, in the sense of their conquering the confidence of the overwhelming majority of the working class. Such was the slogan advanced by the Third International when the March events in Germany were still fresh.

And then, Comrades, after the month of March, throughout the year 1921 and during 1922 we observed the process, at any rate externally, of the strengthening of the bourgeois governments in Europe; we observed the strengthening of the extreme right wing. In France the national bloc headed by Poincaré still remains in power. But Poincaré is considered in France, that is within the national bloc, as a leftist and looming on the horizon is a new and more reactionary, more imperialist ministry of Tardieu. In England, the government of Lloyd George, this imperialist with pacifist preachments and labels, has been supplanted by the purely conservative, openly imperialist ministry of Bonar Law. In Germany, the coalition ministry, i.e., one with an admixture of social democrats, has been replaced by an openly bourgeois ministry of Cuno; and finally in Italy we see the coming to power of Mussolini, the open rule of the counter-revolutionary fist. In the economic field, capitalism is on the offensive against the proletariat. In all the countries of Europe the workers have to defend, and not always successfully, the scale of wages they had yesterday and the eight-hour working day in those countries where it had been gained legally during the last period of the war or after the war. Such is the general situation. It is clear that the revolutionary development, that is, the struggle of the proletariat for power beginning with the year 1917, does not represent a uniform and steadily rising curve.

There has been a break in the curve. Comrades, in order to picture more clearly the situation which the working class is now living through it might not be un-useful to resort to an analogy. Analogy-historical comparison and juxtapositions a dangerous method because time and again people try to extract more from an analogy than it can give. But within certain limits, when used for the purpose of illustration, an analogy is useful. We began our revolution in 1905, after the Russo-Japanese War. Already at that time we were drawn toward power by the logic of things. 1905 and 1906 brought stagnation, and the two Dumas; 1907 brought the 3rd of June and the government coup, the first victories of reaction which met almost no resistance and then the revolution rolled back. 1908 and 1909 were already the black years of reaction; and then only gradually beginning with 1910-1911 was there an upswing, intersected by the war. In March, 1917, came the victory of bourgeois democracy; in October-the victory of workers and peasants. We have therefore two main points: 1905 and 1917, separated by an interval of 12 years. These twelve years represent in a revolutionary sense a broken curve, first dropping and then rising.

In an international sense, first and foremost in relation to Europe we now have something similar. Victory was possible in 1917 and in 1918 but we did not gain it-the last condition was lacking, the powerful communist parties. The bourgeoisie succeeded in re-establishing many of its political and military. police positions but not the economic ones, while the proletariat began building the communist parties brick by brick. In the initial stages this communist party tried to make up for the lost opportunity by a single audacious leap forward, in March 1921 in Germany. It burned its fingers. The International issued a warning: "You must conquer the confidence of the majority of the working class before you dare summon the latter to an open revolutionary attack." This was the lesson of the Third Congress. A year and a half later the Fourth World Congress convened.

In making the most general appraisal it is necessary to say that at the time the Fourth Congress convened, a turning point had not yet been reached in the sense that the International could say: "The hour of open attack has already been sounded." The Fourth Congress developed, deepened, verified and rendered more precise the work of the Third Congress, and was convinced that this was basically correct.

An Analogy with 1905-1917

I have said that in 1908-09 we lived through in Russia, on a much narrower basis at the time, the moment of the lowest decline of the revolutionary wave in the sense of the prevailing moods among the working class as well as in the sense of the then triumphant Stolypinism and Rasputinism, as well as in the sense of the disintegration of the advanced ranks of the working class. What remained as illegal nuclei were frightfully small in comparison to the working class as a whole. The best elements were in jails, in hard-labor penitentiaries, in exile. 1908-09this was the lowest point of the revolutionary movement. Then came a gradual upswing. For the past two years and, in part, right now we have been living through a period undoubtedly analogous to 1908 and 1909, i.e., the lowest point in the direct and open revolutionary struggle.

There is still another point of similarity. On June 3, 1907 the counter-revolution gained a victory (Stolypin’s coup) on the parliamentary arena almost without meeting any resistance in the country. And toward the end of 1907 another terrible blow descended – the industrial crisis. What influence did this have on the working class? Did it impel it to struggle? No. In 1905, in 1906 and the first half of 1907 the working class had already given its energy and its best elements to the open struggle. It suffered defeat, and on the heels of defeat came the commercial-industrial crisis which weakened the productive and economic role of the proletariat, rendering its position even less stable. This crisis weakened it both in the revolutionary and political sense. Only the commercial and industrial upswing which began in 1909-1910 and which re-assembled the workers in factories and plants again imbued the workers with assurance, provided a major basis of support for our party and gave the revolution an impulsion forward

Here too, I say, we have a certain analogy. In the Spring of 1921 a terrible commercial crisis broke out in America and in Japan after the proletariat had suffered a defeat: in France on May 1, 1920; in Italy, in September, 1920; in Germany, throughout 1919 and 1920 and especially in the March days of 1921. But precisely at this moment in the Spring of 1921 there ensues the crisis in Japan and in America and in the latter part of 1921 it passes over to Europe. Unemployment grows to unprecedented proportions, especially, as you know, in England. The stability of the proletariat’s position drops still lower, after the losses and disillusionments already suffered. And this does not strengthen, but on the contrary in the given conditions of crisis weakens it. During the current year and since the end of last year there have been signs of a certain industrial awakening. In America it reaches the proportions of a real upswing while in Europe it remains a small, uneven ripple. Thus here, too, the first impulse for the revival of an open mass movement came, especially in France, from a certain improvement in the economic conjecture.

The New Situation in Europe

But here, Comrades, the analogy ceases. The industrial upswing of 1909 and 1910 in our country and in the entire pre-war world was a full-blooded, powerful upswing which lasted until 1913 and came at a time when the productive forces had not yet run up against the limits of capitalism, giving rise to the greatest imperialist slaughter.

The industrial improvement which began at the end of last year denotes only a change in the temperature of the tubercular organism of European economy. European economy is not growing but disintegrating; it remains on the same levels only in a few countries. The richest of European countries, insular England, has a national income at least one-third or one-quarter smaller than before the war. They engaged in war, as you know, in order to conquer markets. They ended by becoming poorer at least by one-fourth or one-third. The improvements this year have been minimal. The decline in the influence of the social democracy and the growth of the communist parties at the expense of the former is a sure symptom of this. As is well known, social reformism grew thanks to the fact that the bourgeoisie had the possibility of improving the position of the most highly skilled layers of the working class. In the nature of things, Scheidemann and everything else connected with him would have been impossible without this, for after all it is not simply an ideological tendency but one growing out of economic and social premises. This is a labor aristocracy which profits from the fact that capitalism is full-blooded and powerful and has the possibility of improving the condition at least of the upper layers of the working class. That is precisely why we witness in the years preceding the war, from 1909 to 1913, the most powerful growth of the bureaucracy in the trade unions and in the social democracy, and the strongest entrenchment of reformism and nationalism among the summits of the working class which resulted in the terrible catastrophe of the Second International at the outbreak of the war.

And now, Comrades, the gist of the situation in Europe is characterized by the fact that the bourgeoisie has no longer the possibility of fattening up the summits of the working class because it hasn’t the possibility of feeding the entire working class normally, in the capitalist sense of ‘normal.’ The lowering of the living standards of the working class is today the same kind of law as the decline of the European economy. This process began in 1913, the war introduced superficial changes into it; after the war it has become revealed with especial cruelty. The superficial fluctuations of the conjuncture do not alter this fact. This is the first and basic difference between our epoch and the pre-war one.

But there is a second difference and this is: the existence of Soviet Russia as a revolutionary factor. There is a third difference and this is: the existence of a centralized international communist party.

And we observe, Comrades, that at the very time when the bourgeoisie is scoring one superficial victory after another over the proletariat, the growth, strengthening and planful development of the communist party is not being checked but advances forward. And in this is the most important and fundamental difference between our epoch and the one from 1905 to 1917.

A Different Tempo in the US

What I have said touches, as you see, primarily Europe. It would be incorrect to apply this wholly to America. In America, too, socialism is more advantageous than capitalism and it would be even more correct to say that especially in America socialism would be more advantageous than capitalism. In other words, were the present American productive forces organized along the principles of collectivism a fabulous flowering of economy would ensue.

But in relation to America it would be incorrect to say, as we say in relation to Europe, that capitalism represents already today the cessation of economic development. Europe is rotting, America is thriving. In the initial years or more correctly in the initial months, in the first twenty months after the war it might have seemed that America would be immediately undermined by the economic collapse of Europe inasmuch as America made use of and exploited the European market in general and the war market in particular. This market has shriveled and dried up, and having been deprived of one of its props, the monstrous Babylonian tower of American industry threatened to lean over and to fall down altogether. But America, while having lost the European market of the previous scope (in addition to exploiting its own rich internal market with a population of 100 million), is seizing and has seized all the more surely the markets of certain European countries – Germany and to a considerable measure, England. And we see, in 19211922, American economy passing through a genuine commercial and industrial upswing at a time when Europe is experiencing only a distant and feeble reflection of this upswing.

Consequently, the productive forces in America are still developing under capitalism, much more slowly, of course, than they would develop under socialism but developing nevertheless. How long they will continue to do so is another question. The American working class in its economic and social power has, of course, fully matured for the conquest of state power, but in its political and organizational traditions it is incomparably further removed from the conquest of power than the European working class. Our power – the power of the Communist International – is still very weak in America. And if one were to ask (naturally this is only a hypothetical posing of the question) which will take place first: the victorious proletarian revolution in Europe or the creation of a powerful communist party in America, then on the basis of all the facts now available (naturally all sorts of new facts are possible such as, say, a war between America and Japan; and war, Comrades, is a great locomotive of history) – if one were to take the present situation in its further logical development, then I would venture to say that there are infinitely more chances that the proletariat will conquer in Europe before a powerful communist party rises and develops in America. In other words, just as the victory of the revolutionary working class in October 1917 was the pre-condition for the creation of the Communist International and for the growth of the communist parties in Europe, so, in all probability, the victory of the proletariat in the most important countries of Europe will be the pre-condition for the swift revolutionary development in America. The difference between these two spheres lies in this, that in Europe the economy decays and declines with the proletariat no longer growing productively (because there is no room for growth) but awaiting the development of the communist party; while in America the economic advancement is still proceeding.

The Colonial Revolution

The third sphere is constituted by the colonies. It is self-understood that the colonies – Asia, Africa (I speak of them as a whole), despite the fact that they, like Europe, contain the greatest gradations – the colonies, if taken independently and isolatedly, are absolutely not ready for the proletarian revolution. If they are taken isolately, then capitalism still has a long possibility of economic development in them. But the colonies belong to the metropolitan centers and their fate is intimately bound up with the fate of their European metropolitan centers.

In the colonies we observe the growing national revolutionary movement. Communists represent there only small nuclei imbedded in the peasantry. So that in the colonies we have primarily petty-bourgeois and bourgeois national movements. If you were to ask concerning the prospects of the socialist and communist development of the colonies then I would say that this question cannot be posed in an isolated manner. Of course, after the victory of the proletariat in Europe, these colonies will become the arena for the cultural, economic and every other kind of influence exercised by Europe, but for this they must first of all play their revolutionary role parallel with the role of the European proletariat. In this connection the European proletariat and in particular that of France and especially that of England are doing far too little. The growth of the influence of the ideas of socialism and communism, the emancipation of the toiling masses of the colonies, the weakening of the influence of the nationalist parties can be assured not only by and not so much by the role of the native communist nuclei as by the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat of the metropolitan centers for the emancipation of the colonies. Only by this will the proletariat of the metropolitan centers demonstrate to the colonies that there are two European nations, one the oppressor, the other the friend; only by this will it provide a further impulse to the colonies which will topple down the structure of imperialism and thereby perform a revolutionary service for the cause of the proletariat.

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