History of the Communist International
The statement set out hereunder was submitted to all Communist Parties by the Executive Committee on May 15, 1943. Upon receiving endorsement by these parties, the Communist International was dissolved forthwith.
The historical role of the Communist International, organised in 1919 as a result of the political collapse of the overwhelming majority of the old pre-war workers’ parties, consisted in that it preserved the teachings of Marxism from vulgarisation and distortion by opportunist elements of the labor movement. In a number of countries it helped to unite the vanguard of the advanced workers into genuine workers’ parties, helped them to mobilise the mass of the toilers in defence of their economic and political interests for the struggle against fascism and the war which it been prepared for support of the Soviet Union as the main bulwark against fascism. The Communist International tirelessly exposed the base undermining activity of the Hitlerites in foreign states, who masked these activities with outcries about the alleged interference of the Communist International in the internal affairs of these states.
But long before the war it became increasingly clear that, to the extent that the internal as well as the international situation of individual countries became more complicated, the solution of the problems of the labor movement of each individual country through the medium of some international centre would meet with insuperable obstacles.
The deep differences in the historical roads of development of each country of the world, the diverse character and even the contradiction in their social orders, the difference in the level and rate of their social and political development and finally the difference in the degree of consciousness and organisation of the workers’ conditioned also the various problems which face the working class of each individual country.
The entire course of events for the past quarter of a century, as well as the accumulated experiences of the Communist International, have convincingly proved that the organisational form for uniting the workers as chosen by the First Congress of the Communist International, which corresponded to the needs of the initial period of rebirth of the labor movement, more and more outlived itself in proportion to the growth of this movement and the increasing complexity of problems in each country, and that this form even became a hindrance to the further strengthening of the national workers’ parties.
The world war unleashed by the Hitlerites still further sharpened the differences in the conditions in the various countries, drawing a deep line of demarcation between the countries which became bearers of the Hitlerite tyranny and the freedom-loving peoples united in the mighty anti-Hitler coalition. Whereas in the countries of the Hitlerite bloc the basic task of the workers, toilers and all honest people is to contribute in every conceivable way towards the defeat of this bloc by undermining the Hitlerite war machine from within, by helping to overthrow the Governments responsible for the war, in the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition the sacred duty of the broadest masses of the people, and first and foremost of progressive workers, is to support in every way the war efforts of the Governments of those countries for the sake of the speediest destruction of the Hitlerite bloc and to secure friendly collaboration between the nations on the basis of their equal rights. At the same time it must not be overlooked that individual countries which adhere to the anti-Hitler coalition also have their specific tasks.
Thus, for instance, in countries occupied by the Hitlerites and which have lost their State independence, the basic task of the progressive workers and broad masses of the people is to develop the armed struggle which is growing into a war of national liberation against Hitlerite Germany.
At the same time the war of liberation of freedom-loving peoples against the Hitlerite coalition, irrespective of party or religion, has made it still more evident that the national upsurge and mobilisation for the speediest victory over the enemy can best and most fruitfully be realised by the vanguard of the labor movement of each country within the framework of its state.
The Seventh Congress of the Communist International held in 1935, taking into consideration the changes which had come to pass in the international situation as well as in the labor movement, changes which demanded greater flexibility and independence for its sections in solving the problems facing them, already then emphasised the need for the E.C.C.I., when deciding upon all problems of the labor movement, “to proceed from the concrete situation and specific conditions obtaining in each particular country and as a rule avoid direct intervention in internal organisational matters of the Communist Parties.”
The E.C.C.I. was guided by these same considerations when it took note of and approved the decision of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. in November, 1940, to leave the ranks of the Communist International.
Communists guided by the teachings of the founders of Marxism-Leninism never advocated the preservation of organisational forms which have become obsolete; they always subordinated the organisational forms of the labor movement and its methods of work to the basis political interests of the labor movement as a whole, to the peculiarities of given historical conditions and to those problems which arise directly from these conditions.
They remember the example of the great Marx who united the progressive workers into the ranks of the International Workingmen’s Association and after the First International fulfilled its historical task, having laid the basis for the development of workers’ parties in the countries of Europe and America, Marx, as a result of the growing need to create national workers’ mass parties, brought abut the dissolution of the First International inasmuch as this form of organisation no longer corresponded to this need.
Proceeding from the above-stated considerations, and taking into account the growth and political maturity of the Communist Parties and their leading cadres in individual countries, and also in view of the fact that during the present war a number of sections have raised the question of dissolution of the Communist International, the Presidium of the E.C.C.I., unable owing to the conditions of the world war to convene the Congress of the Communist International, permits itself to submit for approval by sections of the Communist International the following proposal:
To dissolve the Communist International as a guiding centre of the international labor movement, releasing sections of the Communist International from the obligations ensuing from the constitution and decisions of the Congresses of the Communist International.
The Presidium of the E.C.C.I. calls upon all adherents of the Communist International to concentrate their forces on all-round support for, and active participation in, the Liberation War of the peoples and States of the anti-Hitler coalition in order to hasten the destruction of the mortal enemy of the working people – fascism and its allies and vassals.
Signed by members of the Presidium of the E.C.C.I.: Gottwald, Dimitrov, Zhdanov, Kolarov, Koplonig, Kuusinen, Manuilssky, Mary, Pieck, Thorez, Florin, Ercoli, and immediately endorsed by the representatives of the following Communist Parties, who were living in exile in Moscow: Bianco (Italy), Dolores Ibarruri (Spain), Lehtinen (Finland), Pauker (Rumania), Rakosi (Hungary),