Leon Trotsky

The First Five Years of the Communist International

Volume 1

To the Spartacus League of Germany and
the Communist Party of German Austria

DEAR COMRADES! We are following your struggle and actions under the banner of revolutionary socialism with the greatest joy. It so happens that you are waging a struggle in unusually difficult conditions.

The barbaric intervention of Anglo-French-American imperialism which even despatches coloured armies against the blazing world revolution; the treacherous policy of the socialists in government who under the signboard of the socialist republic pursue a policy of safeguarding the capitalist “order” and the inviolability of sacred private property; the rapid mobilization of counter-revolutionary forces leaning directly on official social-democracy; the worth of the supposed “left” and “independent” groups who in effect hinder the releasing of the forces of the socialist revolution and who by their participation in the government give support to the criminals of yellow social-democracy – all this creates an extremely arduous situation for our common cause.

However we do not only believe but we know that the German and Austrian proletariat must throw off those trammels in which their bourgeoisie through its social-democratic agents holds them.

The German and the Austrian proletariat will soon see that the much-vaunted democratic republic and national assembly are in fact nothing but a dam to hold back the wave of revolution.

The German and Austrian proletariat will also have to understand that the only solution for them lies in their own power which will mercilessly suppress any resistance by the bourgeoisie, a power which will not be based on words but on the deed of the mighty lever of the socialist reconstruction of society.

The actual power both in Germany and in Austria lies now in the hands of the old functionaries of the monarchy. Messrs Eberts and Renners who throughout their lives have been fed with respectful awe towards the police as the representatives of the bourgeois state power, have left completely intact the entire old apparatus which over the ages had been assembled and built up as a weapon of struggle against the popular masses.

The actual power of the bourgeoisie preserved with the blessing of the “socialist” puppets must be replaced, as it will inevitably be replaced, by the actual power of the proletariat, by its steel-like revolutionary dictatorship notwithstanding and despite the social-traitors who at the first congress of the German Soviets handed power over to the bourgeoisie.

The Russian working class having undergone the period of compromise with the bourgeoisie, the onslaught of the counter-revolution and partial defeats, have become convinced by experience that in our day of the greatest social battles that world history has at any time known, only one of two things is possible: either the rabid and unbridled bloody barbarism of the dictatorship of the generals out to save the capitalist world or else the dictatorship of the workers building the new world on the ruins of the lands devastated by the war.

And the party of the proletariat, our party which at the start of the revolution was regarded as a “gang of lunatics” and which has now held on to state power with a firm hand for more than a year, sees with particular joy that both in Germany and in Austria there are growing up fraternal parties which are moving towards our common goal, socialism, along our common path, through the dictatorship of the working class.

The downfall of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are alike inevitable. Your victory is inevitable, comrades! We believe and we know that we are fighting along with you in order that we shall build on the ruins of capitalist robbery a new world of real human brotherhood and the solidarity of all peoples.

On the instructions of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)

Pravda, No.4, January 5, 1919

First 5 Years of the Comintern (Vol.1) Index

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Last updated on: 19.1.2007