Clara Zetkin

The Enlarged Executive: Ninth Day of Session
Discussion on Report of Clara Zetkin on Fascism

Concluding Speech

(21 June 1923)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 23 No. 49, 12 July 1923, pp. 503–504.
Transcription & HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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June 21, 1923.

We may look back on this debate with satisfaction. Its level was much higher than that of the Hamburg Congress. There, the question was not dealt with theoretically at all, and practically it ended in a call to fight the communists. The mountain, labored and brought forth a mouse’s tail, a Bureau that is to collect material. Only the Hungarian, Kunfy, and Wels, one of the foremost assassins of the proletariat, took part in the debate. Their wisdom amounted to this: if there were no communists there would be no Fascism.

The debate has born out my statement that Fascism must be fought and conquered not only militarily but also politically and intellectually. The speakers supplemented my review of the situation. Smeral gave a particularly good analysis of the situation. Radek’s speech moved me greatly. Serra expressed the opinion that there was no contradiction between the former attitude of Fascism and its present conduct. This in itself is correct. But in the imagination of the masses, between what was represented to them by Fascism and what Fascism has actually accomplished, there exists a mighty contradiction, and that must be insisted upon. Serra is of the opinion that a boycott of Fascism would be valueless. This demand was put forward by the Frankfort Conference, and we must adhere to it however great the difficulties are. Italian industry is built up exclusively upon foreign coal and iron. If the boycott has the slightest success, the capitalists will feel the effects. Italy imports a considerable quantity of American cereals. The boycott will in itself not be of much significance. It will however rouse up the workers of the boycotting countries. It must moreover be remarked that this demand was advanced by a conference at which representatives of all parties and industries participated. This conference was the first success of our united front tactics, and we should therefore be very slow to neglect its demands. The boycott of Horthy’s Hungary also did not give the results desired, but it however served to arouse the workers. It appears that, apart from Germany, very little has yet been done practically in the fight against fascism. The best of theory is valueless if it is not accompanied by practice. The standing armies are the hotbeds of Fascism and our agitation must be carried into the armies. We must also win over to our side those elements who sympathise with Fascism in good faith. We, who are not marching into the void, but into a bright future, must reveal this future to the sincere elements amongst the Fascists. We must strive to bring the fight home to every single soul. If we do that, we can confidently cry: Though the world be full of devils, we shall overcome them all! (Enthusiastic applause)

Last updated on 3 September 2021