First Congress of the Communist International
Source: Theses Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congress of the Third International, translated by Alix Holt and Barbara Holland. Ink Links 1980;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.
The First Congress of the Third International, held in the Kremlin on 5 March 1919, conveys to the Russian revolutionary proletariat and its leading party, the Bolshevik Communist Party, a token of its admiration and gratitude.
The tremendous revolution which has been carried out in order to lead the socialist doctrine, for too long tainted by the opportunists, back to the sources of Marxism; the superhuman efforts which have been made for almost half a century now to replace the old bourgeois world by a new communist society – in the field of moral and intellectual culture as well as in those of collective or individual material life and political, economic or social fife; the help given at all times to the workers of all countries against their oppressive militarist governments – all that must meet with the universal and enthusiastic approval of the working classes of all countries.
Considerable success has already been achieved in the construction of a society built upon labour and equality: the whole of heavy industry has become a collective enterprise directed overall by the Supreme Council for the Economy and locally by the workers’ committees. Labour legislation has been adopted which effects a whole series of reforms going beyond the old minimum programme of the social-democratic parties. The courts, the universities, the hospitals, the palaces, in short, all the organs of public life have already passed in fact into the hands of the people. In many other fields, the liberation of the proletariat has not just begun, it has even been achieved.
The revolution is likewise extending its liberating and regulatory effects to the countryside; it is not enough to give the land to the peasants and to tear them from the material and intellectual yoke of the usurers and sharks. These reforms have, in fact, already been carried out, in November 1917 and March 1918. Now the cultivation of the liberated land and the organisation of agriculture on a Communist basis have already actively begun, both in the village communities and on the big national estates where the State is applying the latest discoveries in the field of agronomy; such activity constitutes a fruitful example of model cultivation. The immediate object of all these reforms is to increase the productivity of labour and thereby the welfare of the people. It is not, however, the fault of the Soviet regime and Bolshevism if these goals have not yet been achieved, or if the population of the Russian urban centres is suffering from hunger and the growing shortage of finished products. Quite the contrary: the Soviet regime and Bolshevism have put a radical end to the anarchic chaos brought about by Kerensky and bourgeois democracy; it is they alone who have made it possible for the country to maintain its economic life at the present level. The responsibility for the crisis rests solely on the internal and external enemies of Soviet Power, for it is they who, by their sabotage, conspiracies and military interventions, have compelled Russia to use a great part of its strength and its means to create a new army.
In spite of its deep longing for peace, this need has been understood and courageously accepted by the entire Russian people. The great successes obtained by the Soviet government in the accomplishment of this enormous task are well known. One may of course accuse Bolshevism, but the best way of finding out whether or not the fault lies with the Bolsheviks is for the Entente Powers to stop compelling the Soviet Power to defend itself militarily.
For that, they must not only cease sending armed troops to Russia and occupying its ports, but must also renounce all internal intervention and must stop supporting, with their money, their arms and their technicians, the counter-revolutionary bands, which would break up by themselves very quickly without the external backing of the Entente.
Then the soldiers of the Red Army could return to their homes and the country would immediately have at its disposal the best workers, the most devoted organisers. the most experienced engineers. Their activity in the field of peaceful production would very rapidly produce remarkable results.
But it should nevertheless not be forgotten that youthful Russian industry has never managed to function without foreign forces. The Entente is crippling economic reorganisation by forbidding foreign specialists, who in fact ran Russian industry, to return to Russia. It is hindering the installation and maintenance of factories, the movement of raw materials and energy supplies. It is ruining industry and reducing the people to unemployment by prohibiting the importation of all machines, trucks and engines into Russia. The lack of transport makes it impossible to supply the cities with food. The harvests themselves are in danger, for the peasant no longer receives the vital agricultural machinery which was all supplied from abroad.
The Soviet Republic has once again officially requested the help of foreign industry and foreign specialists; it has even declared its readiness to pay a higher price for services essential to the present development of Russian economic life. But, without even bothering to reply to these proposals, the Entente is carrying out a stringent blockade, using threats and acts of violence, against Russia and even against the Central Powers and the neutral countries.
The working masses of all countries must demand of their governments that they clearly renounce all direct or indirect intervention against Soviet Russia. So as to give form to these demands, the Congress of the Third International proposes to all peoples the following action programme: the honour, independence and elementary interest of the proletariat of all countries require that it should act immediately in order to achieve the following aims by all means at its disposal, if necessary, by revolutionary means.
1 The non-interference of the Entente in the internal affairs of Soviet Russia.
2 The immediate withdrawal of all European and Asian Allied troops which are in Russia at present.
3 The cessation of any policy of direct or indirect intervention, be it in the form of provocation or in the form of material or moral support to the Russian counter-revolutionaries or the neighbouring reactionary countries.
4 The abrogation of the treaties already signed, the aim of which is to justify the intervention of the Entente, of the Russian counter-revolutionaries or of the neighbours of the Russian State; the immediate withdrawal of the diplomatic and military missions delegated by the Entente governments to Northern and Southern Russia, Rumania, Poland, Finland and the Czech regions in order to stir up the struggle against the Soviet Republic.
5 The recognition of the Soviet Republic which, after eighteen months of existence, is stronger and more popular than ever.
6 The resumption of diplomatic relations, including the delegation of official Socialist representatives to Russia and the recognition of Russian representatives abroad.
7 The admission of delegates of the Soviet government as representatives, and sole representatives, of the Russian people at the Peace Conference. A European peace discussed and concluded without Russia would be a very unstable peace. It would be odious and ridiculous to admit the puppets of the various regional governments created artificially by the Allies, which exist only thanks to the support of the Entente and which represent only personal interests, as representatives of the whole of Russia or a part of Russia, without admitting the Bolsheviks, or even alongside the latter.
8 The cessation of the economic blockade, the continuation of which would rapidly plunge Russia into industrial chaos and famine.
9 The resumption of trading relations and the signing of an economic agreement.
10 The dispatch of a few hundred or, better still, a few thousand trained personnel and technicians to Russia: engineers, foremen and skilled workers, in particular metal-workers, who will be of decisive help to the young socialist republic in the industrial field, above all as far as the most important task – the restoration of rolling stock and the railways and the organisation of transport – is concerned.