G. Zinoviev

A Letter from the President of the E.C.C.I. to the
Central Committee of the Socialist Party of Italy

(26 July 1923

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 53 [31], 26 July 1923, p. 561.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, October 2021.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

It was not until the Enlarged Executive of the C.I. had replied to your letter, signed by Nobile, that we learnt of your threat of expelling front the party those comrades who are publishing the Pagine Rosse. In this we find evidence of fresh hostility towards the Comintern. We cannot comprehend how you can seek admittance into the Comintern, and at the same time threaten with expulsion those comrades who are carrying on propaganda in the interest of leading the Italian SP in the direction of the Comintern.

Of what have the comrades of the Pagine Rosse been guilty? They stand firmly in unity with the Party. Their periodical fully represents the spirit of the Party. How can you, who regard yourselves as adherents of inner party democracy, of autonomy, etc., deny almost half the Party the right to publish a propagandist periodical? You, who for years could share your camp with the schismatics, reformists, renegades of socialism, with Turati, d’Arragona, Colombino – now you want to expel excellent comrades, devoted to the cause, simply because they are faithful to the Communist International.

In view of the extraordinary situation in Italy, we met the Italian SP halfway. The reasons inducing us to do this are clearly stated in the resolutions of the Enlarged Executive, and in our letters and telegrams. It was our sincere desire, and is still, to establish connections with you and to fulfil your wishes. But your conduct with respect to the comrades of the Pagine Rosse is extremely dangerous. Your conduct arouses the fear that there is extreme tension within the party, so much so that serious work is prevented, and that the prerequisites which were present in your party at the time when we passed our resolution have changed. This involves the danger that the mistrust between you and the Communists may re-awaken and deepen, and that union in political and trade union spheres will be rendered extremely difficult. Every worker who is or wants to a member of the Comintern, and, it appears to us, every worker belonging to the SP of Italy, will undoubtedly mistrust your sincerity if you do not cease to hinder the propaganda of the Pagine Rosse by your preliminary censorship. There is not one worker, whether communist or socialist, who can find an honorable and convincing explanation for this action on your part.

A similar observation might be made on those measures undertaken by you against the socialist youth after the Milan congress. We are not however informed to what extent these resolutions of yours may be regarded as final.

We regard it as our duty to advise you not to carry out your threats, but to give the members of your party the opportunity of freely expressing their opinions, which are identical with the principles of the Communist International. We beg you to inform us what stage has been reached at the present time in the question of the socialist youth.

With regard to the time and manner of your direct connection with us, we are able to accept your proposition. We do not however desire to have the matter postponed indefinitely. We do not consider it superfluous to tell you that it will be very regrettable if you are not meanwhile successful in avoiding occurrences and situations, within the SP of Italy, which would oblige us to alter the standpoint which we occupied when our first resolutions were passed.

In expectation of your speedy reply, we send you our communist greetings./p>

The President of the E.C.C.I., Zinoviev

Last updated on 3 September 2022