From New International, Vol.2 No.5, August 1935, Inside front cover.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
WE GO to press too early to be able to give detailed treatment to the Seventh Congress of the Third International which has opened its sessions in Moscow after an interim of seven years. The initial press reports, however, suffice to confirm the conclusion we arrived at after the dreadful collapse of the Comintern when Fascism took power in Germany: The Third International is dead as a revolutionary organisation. There is hardly a notable principle upon which it was founded by the great leaders of the Russian revolution, which is not being brutally and cynically trampled under foot by the bureaucratic usurpers who hounded the Marxists out of the International in the course of the last decade, and with them, all the principles of Marxism itself. The International which rose out of the war like a tongue of flame to burn out of the labor movement the awful treachery of the social patriots who served as recruiting sergeants for imperialism, is now being turned into a catch-pole for the “good” imperialist powers against the “bad” ones. The International which excoriated the social democratic footmen of the ruling class for their policy of entering into bourgeois coalition governments, now has its new leadership proclaim from the tribune that the essence of present-day Bolshevism consists in entering ... “democratic”, “anti-Fascist” coalition governments with the bourgeoisie. The red which once gleamed from Moscow to inspire and encourage a working class world, has been turned into a guttering yellow.
The convocation of the congress was undertaken not only in an attempt to mobilize the international proletariat behind the banner of chauvinism which the foreign political requirements of the Soviet bureaucracy has forced into the hands of the International, but as a preventive measure against the rising movement for the Fourth International. More than anything else the Soviet bureaucracy fears the growth of a revolutionary internationalist movement independent of its fatal control. But neither its fears nor its desperate actions can stem the tide which is swelling in scope and in power.
Simultaneous with the opening of the congress of the neo-social patriots, the vanguard internationalist organizations of the world took another step forward which will be recorded in labor history as a landmark in its progress. In a vivid, stirring appeal, five revolutionary organizations have joined hands in the issuance of an Open Letter to the World Proletariat, summoning all revolutionary proletarian parties, groups and individuals to rally to the Fourth International. The signatories of the Open Letter have united to form a Provisional Contact Committee, which can be addressed by writing to P.J. Schmidt or H. Sneevliet. Paramaribostraat 10 huis. Amsterdam, W. Holland. The full English text of the Open Letter, which is to be issued in leaflet form immediately, may be found in the August 3, 1935 issue of the New Militant.
The Letter is a concise presentation of the revolutionary views of the Marxian internationalists on the essential and burning questions of our epoch. It bases itself upon the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin on the fundamental problems of the two social orders in conflict in our time – capitalism and socialism – and, applying the scalpel of Marxism to the significant events in the working class movement during the last decade, it lays bare the lessons of the decay and disintegration of the two official movements – the Second and Third Internationals. The principles of the Fourth International, to which it summons the proletariat of the world, are given in clear and unambiguous outline as the fundamental principles of Marxism which the social democrats and Stalinists have honored only in the breach.
The original signatories to the Letter include: The Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party of Holland; the Workers Party of the United States; the International Secretariat of the International Communist League (Bolshevik-Leninists) ; the Bolshevik-Leninist group in the Socialist Party of France; the Workers Party of Canada. It is expected that the Provisional Contact Committee, which plans to issue a regular information bulletin, will soon have new affiliation in various parts of the world to announce.
The highly important step we record here has all the historical significance of the early days of the movement to build the Third International on the smoking ruins of the Second. Not for a moment are there grounds for discouragement in the disintegration of the Third International. Its existence was not in vain for the revolution. It raised the world proletariat to new heights. From these heights, the Fourth International will lead the working class to its final triumph, to the liberation of the masses from slavery, to the emancipation of all mankind.
The Third International is dead – Long live the Fourth International!
Last updated on 31.7.2006