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The Militant, 25 May 1946

C. Ermatte

Death and Burial of the Comintern

(4 May 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 21, 25 May 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


(Translated from the May 4 La Lutte Ouvriere, organ of the the Parti Communiste Internationaliste, Belgian Section of the Fourth International.)


The “official” dissolution of the Third International took place, as is known, in 1943. We stated then that the Third International long before ceased to be what it had set out to become at its foundation: a revolutionary general staff of the world proletariat. The dissolution itself was proclaimed primarily by Stalin’s desire to demonstrate to his imperialist “allies” that he had broken completely and definitively with any idea of “propagating the World revolution” – a fact admitted by every serious observer for many years.

But it now appears that the “dissolution” of the Third International corresponded not only to the diplomatic needs of the Kremlin, but reflected the growing state of affairs produced by the war and the great wave of chauvinism which swept the Stalinist parties in different countries.

Every vanguard worker will recall that at the time of the First World War, the utter bankruptcy of the Second International was concretely manifested in the rupture of international political solidarity. When the war broke out, most of the “Socialist” parties ranged themselves on the side of “their” country, breaking the ties which united them to their sister parties of the “enemy” countries, and, even graver, trying to employ their influence in the “Socialist” parties of certain temporarily neutral countries in order to drag them into the war on the side of “their” bourgeoisie.

Lashed by Lenin

Lenin lashed this betrayal in the most violent manner, characterizing these facts as the death of the reformist International, and launching from that moment a call for the creation of a new Communist International.

At present we are witnessing the death of the Third International, already officially “dissolved” three years ago. In fact, for the first time the Stalinist parties of different countries have begun systematically to set themselves against each other, declaring themselves in “solidarity” with the interests of “their” bourgeoisie. This attitude is nothing more than the logical result of the displacement of proletarian internationalism by an infernal mixture of ultrachauvinism and neo-Jacobin “patriotism.”

Thus a few weeks ago the press review of the INR published extracts from Pravda violently criticizing the politics of the Swiss Stalinist Party, the so-called “Labor Party.” The organ of the Russian Stalinist Party accused the Swiss Stalinist Party of having permitted the infiltration into its ranks of “bankers” of “reactionaries” and “agents-provocateurs,” and of following a political line which is not in conformity with that determined by the interests of assembling together the democratic forces.

Back Capitalists

Shortly before this, the German Stalinist Party took a stand against the Polish and French Stalinist parties on the question of the Ruhr. While these two parties, supporting the position of the “victor” imperialists, backed the demands of their capitalist rulers for the detachment of the Ruhr from Germany, the German Stalinist Party declared, through the mouth of its vice-president, Ulbricht, that “the Ruhr is and will remain German, ‘ours,’ that ‘we’ cannot live without the Ruhr,” etc.

The latest instance is a letter from the Secretariat of the Italian Stalinist Party addressed to the Central Committee of the French Stalinist Party on the subject of the question of Trieste. This letter, made public in the French press of April 23–24. demonstrales clearly that the Italian Stalinist Party now takes a position opposed to that of the Yugoslav and French Stalinist Parties. The later support the demand for the annexation of Trieste to Yugoslavia. The Italian Stalinist Party, which until recently defended the position that “Italy must now pay fol fascism,” has in its turn been caught up in the petty-bourgeois nationalist current and now writes to the French Stalinists as follows:

“In view of the authority of the French Communists, the Secretariat of the Italian Communist Party believes it would be useful for the former to reestablish the contacts which would permit it to understand the motives for which the Italian democrats, unanimous in their struggle against any rebirth of Italian nationalism, are nevertheless equally unanimous in their desire to find a solution to the question of Trieste different from that proposed by the French Communists.”

4th International and Its Program

In the face of this miserable bankruptcy of the Third International, the success of the recent international conference of the Fourth International is of extraordinary importance. Despite the long isolation of certain sections, despite the immense material difficulties, despite numerical weakness and extreme poverty, despite uninterrupted persecution of most of its leaders, the Fourth International succeeded in a short time not only in reestablishing “contact” with all the member parties of the globe, but also and more important, in verifying with pride the spontaneous uniformity of its politics on the five continents.

Expressing the interests of the world proletariat, who are one and indivisible throughout the entire world, free from any ties with any government or capitalist camp, the Fourth International rapidly formulated a common political line, even on the most current and immediate tactical questions. This line was inspired by one leading thought:

The defense of the interests of the oppressed and exploited throughout the world, unrelenting struggle against world imperialism which is dragging humanity toward atomic destruction, the preparation of the world Communist revolution and the establishment of the Socialist United States of Europe and of the world.

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