Minutes of the Second Congress of the Communist International: Theses
1. A characteristic feature of the present moment in the development of the international Communist movement is the fact that in all capitalist countries the best representatives of the revolutionary proletariat have completely understood the fundamental principles of the Communist International – namely, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the power of the Soviet – and with a loyal enthusiasm have placed themselves on the side of the Communist International. A still more important and still greater step forward is the completely clear and unlimited sympathy with these principles manifested by the wider masses, not only of the proletariat of the towns, but also by the advanced portion of the agrarian workers.
On the other hand two mistakes or weaknesses have shown them selves in the Communist movement, in spite of its extraordinary and rapid increase. One, very serious and a direct threat to the liberation of the proletariat, consists’ in the fact that a section of the old leaders and old parties of the Second International, partly unconsciously yielding to the wishes and pressure of the masses, partly consciously deceiving them, in order to preserve their former role of agents and supporters of the bourgeoisie inside the Labour movement, are declaring a conditional or even unconditional – affiliation to the Third International, while remaining, in reality, in the whole practice of their party and political work, on the level of the Second International. Such a state of things is absolutely inadmissible, because it demoralises the masses, hinders the development of a strong Communist Party, and lowers their respect for the Third International by threatening repetition of such betrayals as that of the Hungarian Social-Democrats, who so facilely assumed the disguise of Communists. The second, much less important mistake, which is for the most part a malady inherent to the growth of the movement, is the tendency to be ‘on the extreme Left,’ which leads to an erroneous evaluation of the role and duties of the party with respect to the class and to the mass, and a denial of the obligation of the revolutionary Communists to work in bourgeois parliaments and reactionary trades unions.
The duty of the Communists is not to gloss over any of the weaknesses of their movement, but to criticise them openly, in order to get rid of them promptly and radically. To this end it is necessary (1) to establish concretely, on the basis of the practical experience already acquired, the meaning of the terms: ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ and ‘Soviet System'; and (2) to point out in what could and should consist in all countries the immediate and systematic preparatory work for realising these slogans; and (3) to indicate the means of curing our movement of its defects.
2. The victory of Socialism over capitalism – as the first step to Communism – demands the accomplishment of the three following tasks by the proletariat, as the only really revolutionary class:
The first is to lay low the exploiters, and first of all the bourgeoisie as their chief economic. and political representative, to defeat them completely, to crush their resistance, to render impossible any attempts on their part to reimpose the yoke of capitalism and wage-slavery.
The second is to inspire, and lead in the footsteps of the revolutionary advance-guard of the proletariat (the Communist Party) not only the whole proletariat or its large majority, but the entire mass of workers and those exploited by capital; to enlighten, organise, instruct and discipline them during the course of the bold and merciless struggle against the exploiters; to wrench this enormous majority of the population in all the capitalist countries out of their state of dependence on the bourgeoisie; to instil in them, through practical experience, confidence in the leading role of the proletariat and its revolutionary advance guard.
The third is to neutralise or render harmless the inevitable fluctuations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, between bourgeois democracy and the Soviet system, on the part of that rather numerous class in all advanced countries – although constituting a minority of the population – the small owners and proprietors in agriculture, industry, commerce, and the corresponding strata of intellectuals, white-collar workers, and so on.
The first and second tasks are independent ones, demanding each its special methods of action in respect to the exploiters and to the exploited. The third task results from the two first, demanding only a skilful, timely, supple combination of the methods of the first and second depending on the concrete circumstances of each separate case of fluctuation.
3. Under the circumstances which have been created in the whole world, and most of all in the most advanced, powerful, enlightened and free capitalist countries by militarist imperialism, oppression of colonies and the weaker nations, by the universal imperialist slaughter, and the ‘peace’ of Versailles, to admit the idea of a voluntary submission of the capitalists to the will of the majority of the exploited – of a peaceful, reformist passage to Socialism – is not only to give proof of an extreme petty-bourgeois dullheadedness, but it is direct deception of the workers, a disguising of capitalist wage-slavery, a concealment of the truth. This truth consists in the fact that the bourgeoisie, the most enlightened and democratic bourgeoisie, is even now not hesitating at deceit and crime, at the slaughter of millions of workmen and peasants, for the retention of the right of private ownership over the means of production. Only a violent defeat of the bourgeoisie, the confiscation of its property, the annihilation of the entire bourgeois government apparatus, from top to bottom, parliamentary, judicial, military, bureaucratic, administrative, municipal, etc., up to the individual exile or internment of the most stubborn and dangerous exploiters, the establishment of a strict control over them for the repressing of all inevitable attempts at resistance and restoration of capitalist slavery – only such measures will be able to guarantee the complete submission of the whole class of exploiters.
It is the same camouflage of capitalism and bourgeois democracy, the same deception of the workers when the old parties and old leaders of the Second International suggest that the majority of the workers and exploited will be able to acquire a clear socialist consciousness, firm socialist convictions and character under the conditions of capitalist enslavement, under the yoke of the bourgeoisie, which assumes an endless variety of forms – the more refined, and at the same time the more cruel and pitiless in the more cultured capitalist nations. In reality it is only when the advanced guard of the proletariat, supported by the whole class, or a majority of it, has overthrown the exploiters, crushed them, freed all the exploited from their position of slaves, improved their conditions of life immediately at the expense of the expropriated capitalists – only after that, and during the very course of the acute class struggle, will it be possible to realise the enlightenment, education and organisation of the widest masses of workers and exploited, under the influence and direction of the communists, to cure them of their egotism, their non-solidarity, their vices and weaknesses engendered by private ownership, and to transform them into a free association of free workers.
4. In order to win victory over capitalism it is necessary to have the right mutual relations between the Communist Party as leader, the revolutionary class, the proletariat, on the one hand and the masses, that is all of the toilers and the exploited, on the other. Only the Communist party, if it is really the advanced guard of the revolutionary class, if it includes the best representatives of the class, if it consists of perfectly conscious and loyal Communists, enlightened and tempered by the experience gained in the stubborn revolutionary struggle – if this party is able to become bound indissolubly with the entire life of its class, and through the latter with the whole mass of the exploited, and to inspire full confidence in this class and this mass, only such a party is capable of leading the proletariat in the most pitiless decisive last struggle against all the forces of capitalism.
On the other hand, only under the leadership of such a party will the proletariat be able to employ all the force of its revolutionary onslaught which is immeasurably smaller than the proportion of proletarians in the population in capitalist society as a result of its economic structure, nullifying the inevitable apathy and partial resistance of the insignificant minority of the demoralised labour aristocracy, the old Trade Union leaders, etc. Only then will the proletariat be able to display its power, which is immeasurably greater than its share in the population, by reason of the economic organisation of capitalist society itself.
Lastly, only when in practice freed from the yoke of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois state apparatus, only after acquiring the possibility of organising into its own Soviets, free from all capitalist exploitation, will the mass – i.e., the whole of the workers and exploited – employ for the first time in history all the initiative and energy of tens of millions of people, formerly crushed by capitalism. Only when the Soviets become the only State apparatus will effectual participation m the administration be realised for the entire mass of the exploited, who even under the most cultured and free bourgeois democracy remained ninety per cent excluded from participation in the administration. Only in the Soviets does the mass really begin to study, not out of books, but out of its own practical experience, the work of Socialist construction, the creation of a new social discipline, a free union of free workers.
5. The present moment in the development of the International Communist movement is characterized by the fact that in a great majority of capitalist countries the preparation of the proletariat to the realisation of its dictatorship is incomplete. Very often it has not even been begun systematically. It does not follow that the proletarian revolution is not possible in the most immediate future; it is quite possible, because the economic and political situation is extraordinarily rich in inflammable material; sparks to light it. The other condition of a revolution, besides the preparedness of the proletariat, namely, the general state of crisis in all the ruling and all the bourgeois parties, is also at hand. But it follows from the above that the duty for the moment of the Communist Parties consists in accelerating the revolution, without provoking it artificially until sufficient preparation has been made. The preparedness of the proletariat for the revolution must be advanced by deeds. On the other hand, the above instance in the history of many Socialist parties, draws our attention to the fact that the ‘recognition’ of the dictatorship of the proletariat should not remain only verbal.
Therefore, the principal duty of the Communist parties, from the point of view of the international proletarian movement, is at the present moment the uniting of the dispersed Communist forces, the formation in each country of a single Communist Party (or the strengthening and renovation of the already existing one) in order to assist in the work of preparing the proletariat for the conquest of state power in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The socialist work usually done by groups and parties which recognise the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet by a long way been subjected to the radical strengthening and renewal which is essential if it is to be regarded as Communist work corresponding to the tasks on the eve of the proletarian dictatorship.
6. The conquest of political power by the proletariat does not Put a stop to its class struggle against the bourgeoisie; on the contrary, it makes the struggle particularly widespread, acute and pitiless. All the groups, parties, leaders of the labour movement, fully or partially on the side of reformism, the ‘Centre,’ and so on, turn inevitably, during the most acute moments of the struggle, either to the side of the bourgeoisie or to that of the waverers, or, most dangerous, add to the number of the unreliable friends of the victorious proletariat. Therefore, the preparation of the dictatorship of the proletariat demands not only an increased struggle against all reformist and ‘Centrist’ tendencies, but a modification of the nature of this struggle.
The struggle should not be limited by an explanation of the erroneousness of such tendencies, but it should stubbornly and mercilessly denounce any leader in the Labour movement who may be manifesting such tendencies, otherwise the proletariat will not know whom it must trust in the most decisive struggle against the bourgeoisie. This struggle is such that at any moment it may replace, and has replaced, as experience has proved, the weapon of criticism by the criticism of the weapon. The least inconsistency or weakness in the denunciation of those who show themselves to be reformists or ‘Centrists,’ means a direct increase of the danger of the power of the proletariat being over-thrown by the bourgeoisie, which will, tomorrow, utilise in favour of the counter-revolution everything which today appears to short-sighted people only as a ‘theoretical difference of opinion.'
7. In particular, one cannot stop at the usual abstract refutation of all ‘collaboration’ between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
The mere defence of ‘liberty and equality,’ under the condition of preserving the right of private ownership of the means of production, becomes transformed under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat – which will never be able to suppress completely all private ownership – into a ‘collaboration’ with the bourgeoisie, which undermines directly the power of the working class. The dictatorship of the proletariat means the strengthening and defence, by means of the ruling power of the State, of the ‘non-liberty’ of the exploiter to continue his work of oppression and exploitation, the ‘inequality’ of the proprietor (i.e., of the person who has taken for himself personally the means of production created by social labour) with the propertyless. That which, before the victory of the proletariat, seems but a theoretical difference of opinion on the question of ‘democracy,’ becomes inevitably on the morrow, after the victory, a question which can only be decided by force of arms. Consequently, without a radical modification of the whole nature of the struggle against the ‘centrists’ and ‘democrats,’ even a preliminary preparation of the mass for the realisation of a dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible.
8. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the most decisive form of class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Such a struggle can be successful only when the most revolutionary advance-guard of the proletariat leads the huge majority of it. The preparation of the dictatorship of the proletariat demands, therefore, not only the explanation of the bourgeois nature of all reformism and all defence of ‘democracy,’ which preserves the private ownership of the means of production; not only the denunciation of such tendencies, which in practice mean the defence of the bourgeoisie inside the Labour movement – but it demands also the replacing of the old leaders by Communists in all kinds of proletarian organisations, not only political, but industrial, co-operative, educational, etc. The more lasting, complete and solid the rule of the bourgeois democracy has been in any country, the more has it been possible for the bourgeoisie to appoint as labour leaders men who have been educated by it, imbued with its views and prejudices and very frequently, directly or indirectly, bribed by it. It is necessary to remove all these representatives of the labour aristocracy, or of the bourgeoisified workers, from their posts and replace them by even inexperienced workers, so long as these are in unity with the exploited masses, and enj oy the latter’s confidence in the struggle against the exploiters. The dictatorship of the proletariat will demand the appointment of such inexperienced workmen to the most responsible State functions, otherwise the workers’ government will be powerless and it will not have the support of the masses.
9. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the most complete realisation of a leadership of all workers and exploited, who have been oppressed, beaten down, crushed, intimidated, dispersed, deceived by the class of capitalists, by the only class prepared for such a leading role by the whole history of capitalism. Therefore, the preparation of the dictatorship of the proletariat must be begun immediately and in all places by means of the following methods, among others: –
In every organisation, union or association without exception beginning with the proletarian ones at first, and afterwards in all those of the non-proletarian workers and exploited masses (political, professional, military, co-operative, educational, sporting, etc.) must be formed groups or nuclei of Communists – mostly open ones, but also secret ones which become necessary in each case when the arrest or exile of their members or the dispersal of the organisation is threatened. These nuclei, in close contact with one another and with the Central Party, exchanging experiences, carrying on the work of propaganda, campaign, organisation, adapting themselves to an the branches of social life, to all the various forms and subdivisions of the working masses, must systematically train themselves, the party, the class and the masses by such many-sided work.
At the same time it is most important to work out practically the necessary methods on the one hand in respect to the ‘leaders’ or responsible representatives, who are very frequently hopelessly infected with petty bourgeois and imperialist prejudices – these ‘leaders’ must be mercilessly exposed and driven from the labour movement; on the other hand, with respect to the masses who, especially after the imperialist slaughter, are mostly inclined to listen to and accept the doctrine of the necessity of the rule of the proletariat as the only way out of capitalist enslavement. The masses must be approached with patience and caution, and with an understanding of the peculiarities, the special psychology of each layer or profession.
10. In particular one. of the groups or nuclei of the Communists deserves the exclusive attention and care of the party, namely, the parliamentary faction, i.e., the group of members of the party who are members of bourgeois representative institutions (first of all in state institutions, then local, municipal and others). On the one hand, such a tribune has a special importance in the eyes of the wider circles of the backward toiling masses or those permeated by petty-bourgeois prejudices; therefore, from this very tribune the Communists must carry on their work of propaganda, agitation, organisation, explaining to the masses why the dissolution of the bourgeois parliament, the Constituent Assembly, by the National Congress of Soviets was a legitimate proceeding at the time in Russia (as it will be in all countries in due time). On the other hand, the whole history of bourgeois democracy has made out of parliament, especially in the more advanced countries, the chief or one of the chief means of unbelievable financial and political swindles, and the possibility of making a career out of hypocrisy and the oppression of the workers. Therefore, the deep hatred against all parliaments among the best representatives of the revolutionary proletariat is perfectly justified. Therefore, the Communist Parties, and all parties adhering to the Third International, especially in cases when such parties have become formed not by means of a division in the old parties and after a lasting stubborn struggle against them, but by means of the old parties passing over (often only nominally) to a new position, must be very strict in their attitude towards their parliamentary faction, demanding their complete subordination to the control and the directions of the Central Committee of the party; to include in them mostly revolutionary workers; to carry out at party meetings and in the Party Press a most attentive analysis of the parliamentary speeches, from the point of view of their communist integrity; to detail the M.P.s for propaganda among the masses; to exclude from such factions all those who show a tendency towards the Second International, and so forth.
Not even preliminary preparation of the proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie is possible without an immediate, systematic, widely-organised and open struggle against the group which undoubtedly – as experience has already proved – will furnish plenty of men for the White Guards of the bourgeoisie after the victory of the proletariat. All the parties adhering to the Third International must at all costs put into practice the motto: ‘Deeper into the masses, in closer contact with the masses,’ understanding by the word ‘masses’ the entire mass of workers and those exploited by capitalism, especially the less organised and enlightened, the most oppressed and least accessible to organisation.
The proletariat becomes revolutionary only in so far as it is not enclosed within narrow craft limits, in so far as it participates in all the events and branches of public life, as a leader of the whole working and exploited mass; and it is completely impossible for it to realise its dictatorship unless it is ready for and capable of the greatest sacrifices for the victory over the bourgeoisie. The experience of Russia in this respect has a theoretical and practical importance. In Russia the proletariat could not have realised its dictatorship, nor ‘acquired’ the respect and confidence of the whole working mass, if it had not borne most of the sacrifices and had not suffered from hunger more than all the other groups in this mass, during the most difficult moments of the onslaught, war and blockade on the part of the world bourgeoisie.
In particular, it is necessary for the Communist party and the whole advanced proletariat to give the most absolute and self-denying support to all the masses in a broad, elemental strike movement, which is alone able, under the yoke of capitalism, to awaken properly, arouse, enlighten and organise the masses, and develop in them a full confidence in the leading role of the revolutionary proletariat. Without such a preparation no dictatorship of the proletariat will be possible, and those who are capable of preaching against strikes, like Kautsky in Germany and Turati in Italy, are not to be suffered in the ranks of parties adhering to the Third International. This concerns still more, naturally, those trade union and parliamentary leaders, who often betray the workmen by teaching them to make the strike an instrument of reformism and not of revolution (Jouhaux in France, Gompers in America, and Thomas in England).
12. For all countries, even for most free ‘legal’ and ‘peaceful’ ones in the sense of a lesser acuteness in the class struggle, the period has arrived when it has become absolutely necessary for every Communist party to combine systematically both legal and illegal work, legal and illegal organisation.
In the most enlightened and free countries, with a most ‘solid’ bourgeois-democratic regime, the governments are systematically recurring, in spite of their false and hypocritical assurances, to the method of keeping secret lists of Communists, to endless violations of their constitutions for the semi-secret and secret support of White Guards and the murder of Communists in all countries, to secret preparations for the arrest of Communists, the introduction of agents provocateurs among the Communists, etc. Only the most reactionary petty bourgeois, by whatever high-sounding ‘democratic’ or pacifist phrases he may disguise his ideas, can dispute this fact or the necessary conclusion – an immediate formation by all lawful Communist Parties of illegal organisations for systematic illegal work, for their complete preparation for the moment bourgeois persecution emerges. It is especially necessary to carry on illegal work in the army, navy and police, as after the imperialist slaughter all the governments in the world are becoming afraid of the national armies, open to all peasants and workmen, and they are setting up in secret all kinds of select military organisations recruited from the bourgeoisie and specially provided with improved technical equipment.
On the other hand, it is also necessary, and in all cases, without exception, not to limit oneself to illegal work, but to carry on also legal work, overcoming all difficulties. founding a legal press and legal organisations under the most diverse and, in case of need, frequently changing, names. This is now being done by the illegal Communist parties in Finland, Hungary, partly in Germany, Poland, Latvia, etc. It is thus that the IWW in America should act, as well as all the legal Communist Parties at present, in case the Public Prosecutor starts prosecutions on the basis of resolutions of the congresses of the Communist International, etc.
The absolute necessity of the principle of both illegal and legal work is determined not only by the total aggregate of all the peculiarities of the given moment, on the very eve of a proletarian dictatorship, but by the necessity of proving to the bourgeoisie that there is not, and cannot be, any branch of the work of which the Communists have not possessed themselves – and still more by the fact that everywhere there are still wide circles of the proletariat and greater ones of the non-proletarian workers and exploited masses, which still trust in bourgeois democracy, and which it is very important for us to convince of the opposite.
13. In particular, the situation of the labour press in the more advanced capitalist countries shows, especially clearly, both the falseness of liberty and equality under bourgeois democracy, and the necessity of a systematic blending of legal and illegal work. Both in vanquished Germany and in victorious America all the power of the governmental apparatus of the bourgeoisie, and all the tricks of its financial kings are being set in motion in order to deprive the workers of their press; prosecutions and arrests (or murder by means of hired murderers) of the editors, prohibition of sending by mail, depriving of paper, etc. Moreover, the information necessary for a daily paper is in the hands of bourgeois telegraph agencies, and the advertisements, without which a large paper cannot pay its way, are at the ‘free’ disposal of capitalists. On the whole, by means of deceit, the pressure of capital and the bourgeois government, the bourgeoisie deprives the revolutionary proletariat of its press.
For the struggle against this state of things the Communist Parties must create a new type of periodical press for extensive circulation among the workers:
(1) Lawful publications, in which the Communists, without calling themselves such, and without mentioning their connection with the Party, utilize the slightest possibility allowed by the laws, as the Bolsheviks did in the time of the Tsar, after 1905.
(2) Illegal sheets, although of the smallest dimensions and irregularly published, but reproduced in most of the printing offices by the workers (in secret, or if the movement has grown stronger, by means of a revolutionary seizure of the printing offices) and giving the proletariat undiluted revolutionary information and revolutionary slogans.
Without a revolutionary fight involving the masses for the freedom of the communist press preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible.
14. The degree of preparedness of the proletariat to carry out its dictatorship, in the countries most important from the view-point of world economics and world politics, is manifested most objectively and clearly by the fact that the most influential parties of the Second International, the French Socialist Party, the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Independent Labour Party of England, the American Socialist Party, have gone out of this yellow International and have decided conditionally to join the Third International. This proves that not only the advance-guard but the majority of the proletariat has begun to pass over to our side, convinced by the whole course of events. The chief thing now is to know how to complete this passage and solidly, organisationally strengthen what has been achieved, so as to be able to advance along the whole line without the slightest hesitation.
15. The whole activity of the above-mentioned parties (to which must be added the Swiss Socialist Party if the telegraphic reports regarding its resolution to join the Third International are correct) proves – and any given periodical paper of these parties confirms it – that they are not communist as yet, and frequently even are in direct opposition to the fundamental principles of the Third International – namely, the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and of the Soviet system instead of bourgeois democracy.
Therefore, the Second Congress of the Communist International should announce that it does not consider it possible to receive these parties immediately; that it confirms the answer of the Executive Committee of the Third International to the German Independents; that it confirms its readiness to carry on negotiations with any party leaving the Second International and desiring to join the Third; that it reserves the right of a consultative vote to the delegates of such parties at all its Congresses and Conferences, and that it proposes the following conditions for a complete union of these (and similar) parties with the Communist International:
1. The publishing of all the resolutions passed by all the Congresses of the Communist International and by the Executive Committee, in all the periodical publications of the Party.
2. Their discussion at the special meetings of all sections and local organisations of the Party.
3. The convocation, after such a discussion, of a special Congress of the Party to draw up a balance sheet. Such a Congress is to be called together as soon as possible within a period of four months at the most, following the Second Congress.
4. Purging from the Party of all elements who continue to act in the spirit of the Second International.
5. The transfer of all periodical papers of the Party into the hands of communist editors.
6. Those parties which now wish to join the Third International, but which have not yet radically changed their old tactics, must above all take care that two-thirds of their Central Committee and of their chief central institutions consist of such comrades as have publicly spoken out in favour of affiliation to the Third International before the Second Congress. Exceptions can be made only with the sanction of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. The EC also reserves the right of making exceptions with regard to the representatives of the ‘centrist’ tendency mentioned in paragraph 7.
7. Members of the Party who repudiate the conditions and theses adopted by the Communist International must be excluded from the Party. The same applies to delegates of special congresses.
The Second Congress of the Third International charges its Executive Committee to admit the above-named and similar parties into the Third International after a preliminary verification that all these conditions have been fulfilled, and that the nature of the activity of the party has become communist.
16. In regard to the question as to what must be the line of conduct of the Communists (at present constituting the minority) in the responsible posts of the above-named and similar parties, the Second Congress of the Third International has decided that, in view of the rapid development and the revolutionary spirit of the masses, it would be undesirable for the Communists to leave these parties so long as they are able to carry on their work within the parties in the spirit of recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the criticism of all opportunists and ‘centrists’ still remaining in these parties.
When the left wing of the centre party becomes sufficiently strong it can – provided it considers it beneficial for the development of Communism – leave the party in a body and inaugurate a Communist Party.
At the same time, the Second Congress of the Third International must declare itself in favour of the Communist Party, and the groups and organisations sympathising with Communism in England, joining the Labour Party, although this party is a member of the Second International. The reason for this is that so long as this party will allow all constituent organisations their present freedom of criticism and freedom of propaganda, and organisational activity in favour of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the power of Soviets, so long as this party preserves its character as an alliance of all the trade union organisations of the working class, the Communists ought to take all measures, and even consent to certain compromises, in order to be able to exercise an influence over the wider circles of workers and the masses, to denounce their opportunist leaders from a higher platform visible to the masses, to accelerate the transfer of political power from the direct representatives of the bourgeoisie to the ‘labour lieutenants of the capitalist class,’ so that the masses may be more rapidly cured of all illusions on this subject.
17. In regard to the Italian Socialist Party, the Second Congress of the Communist International recognises that the revision of the programme undertaken by this Party at its Congress at Bologna last year represents a very important stage in the transformation to Communism and that the proposals made to the National Council of the Party by the Turin Section and published in the magazine Ordine Nuovo of May 8, 1920 all correspond with the fundamental principles of Communism.
The Congress asks the Italian Socialist Party to examine at its next Congress, which will take place in accordance with its own statutes and the general conditions of entry into the Communist International, the proposals that have been made and all the decisions of the Second Congress of the Communist International, especially with regard to the parliamentary faction, the trades unions and the non-communist elements in the Party.
18. The Second Congress of the Third International considers as not correct the views regarding the relations of the Party to the class and to the masses, and the non-participation of the Communist Parties in bourgeois parliaments and reactionary unions (which have been emphatically repudiated in the special resolutions of the present Congress), which are defended in full by the KAPD and also partially by the ‘Communist Party of Switzerland’, by the organ of the East European secretariat of the Communist International Kommunismus in Vienna, and by several of our Dutch comrades; also by certain Communist organisations in England, as for instance the Workers’ Socialist Federation, and by the IWW in America, the Shop Stewards’ Committees in England, etc.
Nevertheless the Second Congress of the Third International considers possible and desirable the immediate affiliation of such of these organisations which have not already done so officially, because, in all these cases, especially in the cases of the IWW of America and Australia, and the Shop Stewards’ Committees of England, we have to deal with a genuine proletarian mass movement, which practically adheres to the principles of the Communist International. In such organisations any mistaken views on the question of participation in the bourgeois parliaments, are to be explained not so much by the presence of members of the bourgeoisie advocating their own petty bourgeois views, as the views of the anarchists frequently are, but by the political inexperience of proletarians who are, nevertheless, completely revolutionary and in contact with the masses.
The Second Congress of the Communist International requests therefore all the Communist organisations and groups in the Anglo-Saxon countries, even in case immediate union between the Third International and the Industrial Workers of the World and the Shop Stewards’ Committees does not take place, to carry on a policy of the most friendly attitude toward these organisations, and the masses sympathising with them, to explain to them in a friendly way, from the point of view of all revolutions and the three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century especially, the erroneousness of their above-stated views, and not to desist from repeated attempts to become united with these organisations so as to form one Communist Party.
19. In connection with this the Congress draws the attention of all comrades, especially in the Latin and Anglo-Saxon countries, to the fact that among the Anarchists since the war all over the world a deep theoretical division is taking place upon the question of their attitude towards the dictatorship of the proletariat and the power of the Soviets. And it is just among the proletarian elements, which were frequently led into anarchism by their perfectly justified hatred of the opportunism and reformism of the parties of the Second International, that there is to be noticed a perfectly correct understanding of these principles, especially among those who are more nearly acquainted with the experience of Russia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Germany.
The Congress considers it the duty of all comrades to support with all their strength all the masses of proletarian elements passing from anarchism to the Third International. The Congress points out that the success of the work of truly Communist Parties ought to be measured, among other things, by how far they have been able to attract to their party all the mass proletarian elements from anarchism to their side.