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), pp. 1019-1021.
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. In the February meeting of the Expanded Executive, the Communist Party of Spain voted with France and Italy against the united front tactic. However it quickly realised its error. As early as May, when there was a great strike in the steel factories, they applied the united front tactic, not because of formal discipline but with understanding, conviction, and good judgment. This action showed the Spanish working class that the party stands ready to struggle for their immediate demands and is capable of taking its place in the front ranks, and thus drawing the working class into the struggle.
By holding firm on this course, spotting all possibilities for action, drawing all the workers’ organisations into the campaign, and leading the proletariat in the struggle, the Communist Party of Spain will win the trust of the masses and carry out its historical mission to unify their revolutionary forces.
2. The Fourth World Congress notes with pleasure that the crisis caused by indiscipline, which undermined the party at the beginning of the year, has been successfully resolved through a reinforcement of the party’s internal discipline. The congress calls on the party to hold firmly to this path, and calls on the youth in particular to contribute with all its strength to this reinforcement of internal discipline.
3. The Spanish workers’ movement is at present dominated by the decay of the syndicalist-anarchist ideology and movement. A few years ago, this movement was still able to rally and attract broad working masses. However, it betrayed their hopes and desires by applying the anarchist policy of individual action, terrorism, and federalism – which fragmented the struggle – instead of the Marxist and Communist policy of mass action and centralised organisation of the struggle.
Today the disappointed working masses are leaving this movement, leaving the leaders that led the masses astray in this manner, and are rapidly slipping over to reformism.
One of the main tasks of the Communist Party consists of winning and educating the betrayed working masses and in attracting the anarcho-syndicalist forces that – as the neo-reformism of the syndicalist leaders was exposed – have come to realise that their doctrine is wrong.
However, in these efforts to win the trust of anarcho-syndicalist forces, the Communist Party must avoid making concessions of principle or policy to their ideology, which has been refuted by the experience of the Spanish proletariat itself. The party must resist and condemn the tendencies within it that wish to lead the party in the direction of concessions, in the hope of winning the syndicalists more quickly. It is better that the assimilation of the syndicalist forces take place more slowly, but that they be truly won to the communist cause – rather than winning them more quickly at the price of a retreat by the party from communist principles, which would surely lead to new and damaging crises in the near future. In particular, the Spanish party must explain and make understandable the revolutionary policy on parliamentary activity, as it was defined by the Second World Congress. For the Communist Party, electoral action is a means of propaganda and of struggle for the working masses – not a refuge for reformist or petty-bourgeois careerists.
Through its repeated application, the united front tactic will elicit the trust of an increasing proportion of the masses who are influenced by anarcho-syndicalist ideology, showing these masses that the Communist Party is a political organisation for the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat.
4. Our party must devote more attention and exertion to the Spanish trade union movement. The Communist Party must initiate intensive and methodical propaganda in all trade unions for the unity of the union movement in Spain. To lead this campaign properly, it must be able to rely on a network of Communist cells in all unions belonging to the National Confederation and the General Union as well as in all independent unions. It must therefore resist and combat every tendency or current that preaches leaving the reformist unions. When unions or Communist groups are expelled from the reformist unions, the Communists must avoid fulfilling the wishes of the Amsterdam partisans of the split by walking out in solidarity. On the contrary, they must demonstrate their solidarity with the expelled by remaining in the General Union and struggling energetically there for the readmission of the expelled. If, despite such ongoing efforts, trade unions or groups remain expelled, the Communist Party must convince them to join the National Confederation. The Communists who belong to the National Confederation must form party cells there, in conjunction with the party’s trade union commission. They will doubtless have close relations with syndicalists who belong to the Red International of Labour Unions but do not belong to the party. However, they must maintain their own organisation and not retreat from their communist point of view. Where they disagree with syndicalists, they must debate these issues in a fraternal manner.
In order to conduct the struggle for trade union unity properly, the Communist Party must form a combined committee for the unity of the Spanish trade union movement, which will be a centre both of propaganda and of efforts to unite the unions of both confederations and the autonomous unions that take a stand for the principle of unity. The party assumes the task of enabling the working masses of Spain to grasp that it is only the personal ambitions and interests of the reformist and anarcho-reformist union leaders that obstruct unity. This unity is of the highest interest and of the greatest need for the working class, if it is to free itself fully from the yoke of capitalism.