Leon Trotsky

The First Five Years of the Communist International

Volume 2

Speech in Honour of the
Communist International

November 7, 1922

Comrade delegates to the World Congress, working men and working women of Moscow. Red Army soldiers, Red sailors, commander and commissars!

Once again within the walls of Red Moscow we greet our dear guests, the elected and chosen representatives of the world working class. It is five years since the gates of Moscow have been opened wide for the delegates of the world proletarian revolution. Five years of struggle. Five years of suffering and sacrifice. Five years of struggle for our right to exist as a workers’ and peasants’ government. Five years of assaults, blows and treachery by the enemy; five years, of fraternal support by our friends. And even today, on the fifth soviet anniversary we have normal relations with only one major power – defeated Germany. We remain unrecognized to this very day. But we have received recognition from history. We have been adopted and accepted with enthusiasm into the family of the world working class. Today this class sends us its exalted greetings, sealed by the bonds of complete solidarity.

Surveying your ranks, we can with calm assurance say to the journalists, the politicians and all representatives of the other camp: Cast your experienced eyes over Red Moscow today. Examine whether there is so much as a crack between the Soviet power, the Red Army and the toiling people – that crack which our enemies would like to magnify into a gulf and an abyss

Never were the Soviet government and the working class so much in harmony as they are today, after five years of struggle and suffering. Messrs. Politicians of the other camp, it your governments entertain doubts concerning the strength of the soviet régime – cast your eyes attentively over the ranks of Red warriors, workers and peasants marching today across this Square.

If Messrs Capitalists hope that capitalism will be reborn again in our country, they will be disappointed. For the resurrection of capitalism in our country, they would have to wait until the second coming of Christ.

We shall today address the delegates who have come to us from fifty countries in all parts of the world, the representatives of the toilers of all Europe, of America, of the peoples of the East, of Africa and Australia, all of whom are represented at the congress and whose eyes, Red Army, are fixed upon you. And we shall tell them and show them by our today’s celebration that we are not only patiently and confidently awaiting the termination of the struggle for the emancipation of the toilers, but that we have not been sitting with our hands folded. We have improved our organization both in military and civilian pursuits; we have tirelessly sought the path to the hearts of the working class, not only the advanced workers but also the ignorant, feebly class-conscious and downtrodden workers. We shall say to our brothers and guests: We know how hard it is to struggle against capitalist Europe armed to its teeth; we know what your conditions are in this struggle and we are ready to stand by under our Red Banner, guarding the fortress of the soviet republic, knowing full well that your policy is correct and will lead to victory.

There are still many difficult hours in store for the working class of soviet Russia; there are many tasks still unsolved by the Soviet power; but in struggle we have conquered peace for ourselves for a long time to come, and all of us to the last man are ready to put aside the implements of war in order to engage in peaceful labours – to heal the heavy wounds on the body of the soviet republic’s economy. We wanted peace and we hope that during this same month there will convene in Moscow a conference of those states that have warred against us to discuss disarmament. Wherever collaboration is needed in order to secure peace, there the Soviet power will be the first to raise its hands.

If we receive a sincere and honest response from those whom we are inviting to make peace, all of us to the last man would with gladness in our hearts reduce our Army to one-half, one-third, and even one-tenth of its present size. And meanwhile we wait, without renouncing hopes that peace will be attained. We wait without letting the rifles slip out of the hands of the workers and peasants.

We have watched a procession of many governments and many Ministers who from their lofty thrones regarded the Soviet power as something ephemeral, something injected into history on the crest of an accidental wave. Not so long ago, in Genoa, when our delegates proposed the establishment of peaceful relations and a reduction of armaments, Lloyd George, the representative of capitalist England, replied haughtily: “Let us first take a look at what sort of passengers you are and then perhaps we shall take you aboard ship.” He kept looking at us so long that he stubbed his toe and fell overboard himself.

This is why I say: Many difficult hours are still ahead; more than once will the clouds gather over the heads of the working class, but we know that when the time comes, these clouds will scatter. Two days before this celebration, the fogs had coloured all of Moscow white, but the Soviet calendar reads true. We now see red banners flying here beneath a clear blue sky. Even the sun has put in its appearance on the holiday of the fifth anniversary of the October revolution. We know that soon will come the dawn of the bright unquenchable sun of human brotherhood, of peaceful labour and superior culture. Foreseeing this we gather new inspiration. We will not surrender our banners and the soviet republic will grow mighty.

In its name and in the name of all the participants in today’s demonstration I propose that we greet our guests with unanimous and fraternal cheer. Hurray!

(At the conclusion of Comrade Trotsky’s speech, thunderous cheers kept rolling over the Red Square, cheers in which the voices of all the military detachments and the endless columns of demonstrators joined.)

First 5 Years of the Comintern (Vol.2) Index

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Last updated on: 17.1.2007