MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Events



Genoa Conference—1922

The Economic and Financial Conference was held in Genoa from April 10 to May 11, 1922. It was attended by all European countries with the aim of regularizing economic and political relations between Europe and Soviet Russia and working out a plan for international economic reconstruction. It had little practical result since the attempts by France with other capitalist powers to penetrate the Soviet economy and obtain repayment of debts incurred under Tsarism were unsuccessful.

Georgian Affair-1921

In February 1921, with the outbreak of popular uprisings against the Menshevik government there, the Red Army invaded to assist. The extent and popularity of the uprising, however, had been exaggerated and it took the Red Army ten days of heavy fighting to enter Tiflis, the Georgian capital.

Trotsky, head of the Red Army, had not ordered nor even been informed of the invasion of Georgia, which was mainly instigated and carried out by Stalin (General Secretary) and Ordzhonikidze (Chief commissar of the Revolutionary War Council of the Caucasus). Trotsky had disagreed with the invasion explaining that the population would be able to carry the revolution. Lenin, agreed to the invasion, however urged extreme caution in its implementation in order to ensure that the "Russian bully" would help and not dominate, the Georgian revolution.

Lenin later wrote in one of his last letters to the Congress of Soviets, that maintaining the right to autonomy and equality for the national minorities of Russia was absolutely essential. In the Georgian Incident, he recalled, Russian chauvinism and the practices of Stalin violated the most primary base of proletarian class solidarity, by exerting the interests of a big nation over a smaller one. (See: On the Question of Nationalities).


German Insurrection-1921
Also: “The March Action”

The call of the German Communist Party in March, 1921, for an armed insurrection to seize power, in connection with the struggles in Central Germany, was a direct manifestation of the so-called “theory of the offensive,” whose principal inspirers and theorizers in the Comintern were Bukharin and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Zinoviev. The party leadership not only plunged its membership into what was obviously doomed in advance as a futile military action by a small minority of the working class, but after the collapse of the March Action, it declared that it would repeat the action at the first opportunity. These actions, it was stated by the ultra-Leftists, would electrify or galvanize the working class and cause them, each time, to mobilize into an ever greater force which would eventually overthrow capitalist rule. “If it is asked what was actually new about the March Action, it must be answered: precisely that which our opponents reprove, namely, that the party went into struggle without concerning itself about who would follow it.” (A. Maslow, Die Internationale, Berlin, 1921, p. 254.) “The March Action as an isolated action of the party would be—our opponents are right to this extent—a crime against the proletariat. The March Action as the introduction to a series of constantly rising actions, a redeeming act.” (A. Thalheimer, Taletile und Organisation der revolutiondre Offensive, Berlin, 1921, p. 6.) “The slogan of the party can, therefore, be nothing but: offensive, offensive at any cost, with all means, in every situation that offers serious possibilities of success.” (Heyder, Ibid., p. 22.) The Third Congress of the Comintern, confronted with this problem, was almost on the verge of a split. The Bukharin wing was supported by the majority of the delegates and leaders, including Pepper (Pogany) and Rakosi, who had really directed the March Action, Bela Kun, Munzenberg, Thalheimer, FrK lich, most of the Italians, etc. Lenin, who placed himself demonstratively in the “Right wing of the Congress,” threatened it with a split if the supporters of Bukharin and the “offensive” carried the day. Supported by Trotsky, and through the medium of Radek, who played the role of a conciliator, Zinoviev and Bukharin were outvoted in the Russian delegation, with the final result that Lenin’s views triumphed. The theses of the Third Congress and the slogan “To the masses!” which introduced the broad policy of the united front adopted shortly afterward, was a definite blow at the Leftists and put an effective end for a long period of time to putschist moods in the International.


German revolution - 1923

Revolutionary situation that erupted in 1923 in which the German CP proved unequal to its task and the revolution was defeated. The problem was confounded by the contradictory advice given to the German CP by the Comintern leadership. Stalin's position was essentially the same he had held in Russia in March 1917, when he favored a policy of conciliation toward the reformist-bourgeois Provisional Government, and he intervened in the Comintern to that effect. In August 1923 he wrote a letter to Zinoviev and Bukharin, saying: "Should the Communists at the present stage try to seize power without the Social Democrats? Are they sufficiently ripe for that? That, in my opinion, is the question. . . Should the government in Germany topple over now, in a manner of speaking, and the Communists were to seize hold of it, they would end up in a crash. That is the 'best' case. While at the worst, they will be smashed to smithereens and thrown away back".


German Social-Democratic Congress in Halle

See: Halle Party Congress