Source: Published in Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922 (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/897-to-the-masses), p. 1023.
Translation: Translations by John Riddell
HTML Markup: David Walters & Andy Blunden for the Marxists Internet Archive, 2018
Copyright: John Riddell, 2017. Republished here with permission.
1. The congress declares that the present Communist Party of Denmark, formed by a unification of the Communist ‘Unity Party’ and part of the so-called ‘old’ party, in accord with the instructions of the Communist International Executive, has also loyally carried out all the International’s decisions and is recognised as the only section of the Communist International in Denmark. Only its main publication Arbejderbladet [The Workers’ Paper] and other newspapers recognised by this party are to be regarded as Communist Party papers.
2. The congress calls on all Communist organisations that have remained outside this unified party to join it. Organisations and members of the so-called old party who decide in the next three months to join the unified Communist Party and declare their readiness to carry out loyally the decisions of this party and its leadership and of the Communist International will be automatically accepted into the party.
Published: in Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922 (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/472-toward-the-united-front), pp. 1062-1065.
Comrades Jílek, Bolen, and others were expelled as a result of their repeated breaches of discipline. Their representative, Comrade Jílek, and also Comrade Šmeral of the party Central Committee gave their agreement in Moscow to a resolution that established that there were no fundamental disagreements in the Czechoslovak Communist Party, but criticised a number of deficiencies in its activity. After the adoption of this resolution, every comrade who recognised that these inadequacies existed had the task of working to eliminate them.
Instead of that, the opposition demanded its right to a factional publication, Komunista, which is contrary to the Third Congress resolution forbidding the formation of factions. In its struggle for a faction publication, the opposition committed a gross breach of discipline, by sending out an appeal that contained very grave accusations against the Central Committee, a few days before convocation of the committee and of a party conference and despite warnings by the Central Committee. The opposition greatly provoked the party committee and the party conference by refusing to withdraw its accusations, thus unwisely provoking its expulsion.
Before the forum of the International, the opposition accused the majority of the Central Committee and Comrade Šmeral of working for a governmental coalition with left elements in the bourgeoisie. This accusation stands in contradiction to the known facts of the party’s activity and must be rejected as completely without foundation. The opposition’s programmatic demands, expressed in the draft by Vajtauer, contain syndicalist and anarchist concepts that are contrary to Marxism and communism. The fact that the opposition expresses support for these views shows that on basic issues they represent an anarchist-syndicalist deviation from the principles of the Communist International.
Nonetheless, the Fourth Congress believes that the expulsion of the opposition from the party was inadvisable, and it replaces this measure with a sharp reprimand and a suspension from party offices until the next convention of the Czechoslovak party. Its refusal to uphold the expulsions, considering them inadvisable, should not be regarded as indicating any agreement with the opposition’s programmatic line. Rather its decision was prompted by the following considerations:
The party’s Executive failed to make it clear to the opposition from the start that establishing a factional publication was not permitted, leading the opposition to believe it was in the right in fighting for the existence of this factional paper. A number of its previous breaches of discipline had gone unpunished, weakening the opposition’s awareness of the need for discipline and a sense of accountability.
The Fourth Congress allows the expelled comrades to remain in the party, while stressing the need to hold strictly to the commitment the opposition has made to submit unconditionally to the party’s discipline. This submission to party discipline obliges the opposition to refrain from all the assertions or charges that have been shown in the commission to be unfounded and untrue. It obliges them to follow all directives of the Central Committee. If any comrade is convinced that he has been unfairly treated, he can appeal to the next competent party body (expanded Executive Committee, national conference) and ultimately to the control commission of the Communist International. Pending the decision of the highest body, everyone must submit unconditionally to the decisions adopted by party bodies.
The party press must be led in unified fashion by the Central Committee. It is impermissible that the party’s official publication can presume not only to follow its own political line but to regard this separate line as its right. Even when the editorial board considers that the party’s responsible leaders have committed errors in some specific matter, it is their duty to accept the decision that has been made. The position of an editorial board does not have equal weight with that of a higher body. Rather the editorship, like all other aspects of the party, should be subordinated to the Central Committee. That does not deny the right of party editors to express a different view in signed discussion articles. Discussion over party matters should be conducted in the general party press. Such discussion should not, however, be carried out in a way that endangers party discipline. The Central Committee and all party organisations have the responsibility to prepare their campaigns through discussion in the party branches.
The Fourth Congress fully endorses the theses of the July meeting of the Expanded Executive, which assess the shortcomings of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and explain them as coming from their transition from a Social Democratic to a Communist party. The fact that these shortcomings are recognised by the Central Committee as well as by the opposition increases the responsibility of all comrades to work keenly to overcome them. The congress finds that the party has been very slow in eliminating these shortcomings. Thus the party has not done enough, for example, to ensure that the ideas of communism are spread in the Czech army, although this is made possible by the party’s legality and the fact that Czech soldiers have the right to vote.
The Fourth Congress instructs the Communist Party to increase its attention to the question of unemployment. Given the broad scope of unemployment in Czechoslovakia and the precarious conditions of the jobless, the party needs to do more than to rest content with a demonstration here or there. The party should carry out a systematic campaign of agitation and demonstrations among the unemployed throughout the country. It should intervene energetically in parliament and municipal councils in the interests of the jobless, uniting action in parliament with that of the trade unions and the masses.
The party’s actions in parliament must have a much sharper cutting edge. They must bring home forcefully to the masses the gulf that divides the Communist Party from the politics of the ruling class and rouse in them the will to seize state power.
Given the great economic struggles taking place in Czechoslovakia, which can at any moment turn into great political struggles, the Central Committee must be organised in a manner that enables it to take positions quickly and decisively on every question. Party branches and members have the duty to maintain the party’s discipline unwaveringly.
The party has handled correctly the general question of the united front and the workers’ government. Isolated errors, such as the view of Comrade Votava that the workers’ government is a matter simply of a parliamentary alliance, have been properly rejected by the party executive. The party must be aware that a workers’ government in Czechoslovakia will become possible only when it succeeds, through widespread agitation, in convincing substantial numbers of national socialist, Social Democratic, and apathetic workers of the necessity to break with the bourgeoisie. The party must convince sectors of the peasantry and urban petty-bourgeois layers who are suffering from inflation to break from the bourgeoisie, integrating them into the anti-capitalist alliance. To achieve this, the party must stand firm in all social conflicts, acting decisively and broadening the conflicts when conditions allow. It must convince the masses that the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia is the focus for all anti-capitalist forces in their united-front efforts, and that it is determined to change the relationship of forces in favour of working people in the mass struggles taking place in Czechoslovakia.
To enable the workers’ government to arise and hold power, the party must do its utmost to unite in strong trade unions the workers expelled from the Amsterdam unions. It must win at least a section of the proletarians and peasants in army uniform for the interests of the working class, and thus banish the danger of the rise of fascism and of the bourgeoisie suppressing the working class through armed force. Propaganda and struggle for workers’ government must therefore always be carried out together with similar efforts for mass proletarian councils (councils for defence, councils for workers’ control, factory councils). It is equally necessary to keep explaining to the masses the programme of the workers’ government (transfer of the burden of state expenditure to the propertied, control of production by councils of the working class, arming of the working class), in order to demonstrate the difference between a bourgeois-Social Democratic coalition and a workers’ government based on the workers’ organisations.
All party members must take part in this work. Not idle grumbling, not the spreading of false accusations, not the sowing of distrust against the party leadership, but objective criticism of its deficiencies, constructive daily work to overcome them – that is what will make the party into a battle-ready Communist party, equal to the great tasks posed by the course of events in Czechoslovakia.
1. A reference to public attacks on party policies by this current, including by distributing a leaflet calling for removal of the party leadership. The seven signatories of the leaflet were expelled at a national conference held 22 – 24 September 1922.
2. See Inprecorr, 2, 90 (20 October 1922), pp. 686 – 7.
3. The Third Congress resolution on organisational structure deplores ‘struggles for power or leadership within the Party’. However, no general ban on factions is found in the Third Congress resolutions. Elsewhere in the Fourth Congress, the existence of factions in many of the member parties is never referred to as inherently contrary to Comintern norms. Trotsky, for example, says: ‘I believe that there will always be a differentiation into tendencies, and that in the moment of decisive revolutionary action the overwhelming majority of members of all factions will meet together in a common framework’ However, the right to form a faction was not understood to include producing a public faction journal. This was implicitly barred by the Third Congress resolution on party organisation, which stated, ‘No paper can be recognised as a Communist organ unless it is subject to Party control’.
4. National socialist’ refers to the Czechoslovak Socialist Party, then led by Edvard Beneš, a left bourgeois nationalist party that advocated measures for nationalisation and social reform. The party led its own trade union movement.