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. 871-872.
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.
The Fourth World Congress of the Communist International approves the activity developed in Berlin by the International Communist Women’s Secretariat, an auxiliary body of the Executive. In all countries where there is a revolutionary movement, the International Communist Women’s Secretariat has worked to integrate Communist women into the sections of the Communist International and to school them and draw them into the party’s work and struggles. In addition, it has worked for the expansion of Communist agitation, propaganda, and organisational work to embrace the broadest masses of women, and to pull them into the struggle for the interests of the productive masses and communism.
The International Secretariat of Communist Women has set its sights on linking together the work of organised Communist women among women in each country, that is, with the work and struggle of the Communist parties and the Communist International. Working in accord with the Communist parties, it has succeeded in expanding and reinforcing the international connections among Communist women who belong to these parties. All of its activity has been carried out in continuous and close accord with and under the leadership of the Executive, in line with the principled and tactical guidelines and decisions of the world congresses of the Communist International and the Second International Communist Women’s Congress in Moscow.
The special structures set up on the basis of these guidelines and decisions (women’s secretariats, women’s divisions, etc.) and the special methods utilised for Communist party work among women have been shown to be not only useful but indispensable to enable Communist ideas and slogans to achieve influence in broad layers of working women.
In the countries still under bourgeois class rule, the first priority of systematic Communist work among women producers and proletarians has been the struggle to defend the bare essentials of life against capitalist exploitation, the struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish a proletarian dictatorship. In the Soviet states, by contrast, the main emphasis has been the effort to draw worker and peasant women into all arenas of the economy and social life for construction of the proletarian state, and their schooling to carry out the resulting tasks. The international significance of Soviet Russia as the first workers’ state created by the world revolution lends great importance to Communist work here among women producers. It stands as an example to all sections of the Communist International in countries in which the proletariat must conquer political power as a precondition for the Communist transformation of society. The necessity and value of special structures for Communist work among women is also shown by the activity of the women’s secretariat for the East, which has carried out useful and successful work under new and unusual conditions.
The Fourth World Congress of the Communist International must recognise that, unfortunately, some sections have failed partially or completely to carry out their duty to systematically promote Communist work among women. They have so far failed either to take measures to organise Communist women in the party, or they have failed to create the party structures that are indispensable for work among the masses of women and for close links with them.
The Fourth Congress emphatically instructs the sections in question to make up for these omissions as rapidly as possible. It also urges all sections of the Communist International to drive forward Communist work among women with all the vigour appropriate to its great importance. The proletarian united front can only be achieved through the conscious and energetic participation of women and their organisational integration. If the Communist parties achieve a correct and strong tie to women producers, the latter can under certain circumstances become pioneers of the proletarian united front and revolutionary mass movements.
The Communist International must unite and develop revolutionary consciousness among all forces of the proletariat and the productive masses, without exception, for the work of constructing communism and for the struggle to shatter bourgeois class rule.
1. Here and elsewhere, ‘producers’ translates the German word Schaffende, which means both ‘producers’ and ‘creators’. The term is often used by Zetkin, who defined it in a 1923 speech as referring to ‘all those whose labour, be it with hand or brain, increases the material and cultural heritage of humankind, without exploiting the labour of others’ – a definition that encompasses women working in the home.
2. The Second International Communist Women’s Congress, attended by 82 women delegates from 28 countries, took place in June 1921 in Moscow. For its resolutions, see Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale, 1, 5 – 6 (1921), pp. 203 – 12.