Communist Party of Great Britain
Date: October 12, 1923
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Proofreader: David Tate
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The working man or woman who tries to find a way clear through the maze and hardships of present-day conditions is faced with a hard task.
On every side is distress and confusion. Rising prices, falling wages, the uncertainty of a job, or the deepening misery of months and even years of unemployment; wars and ever new threats of war; news of violent struggle and disturbances abroad—all these are the daily conditions of life now.
In all these ills there is no guidance or help from the old sources of direction or leadership to which the workers used to look. The trade unions have nothing to say. They are engaged only in a desperate endeavour to keep their sinking funds and membership from disappearing in the flood. The Labour leaders have nothing to say. They are ready to make all kinds of promises for a beautiful future time when they shall be the Government. But for the workers in their present troubles they have no help or guidance what to do.
Where can the workers look for guidance? The greatest need of to-day is clear leadership and understanding of the present conditions and positive marking out of the path to travel. Where can it be found?
Through all the distress and disturbance of the present times at home and abroad there is only one force that is clear and unhesitating, that has marked the way at every stage, that has pierced the confusion of shams and lies and stood firmly by the struggle of the working class. That force is the Communist International.
Right back before the war, when the present leaders of the Labour Party and the capitalist politicians were prattling of peaceful progress and reform and improving conditions, the Communists declared that capitalism was reaching its decay and would collapse in war and revolution.
The war came. All the organs of opinion, from the capitalist press to the Labour leaders, shouted out that it was a holy war, a war for freedom, for national honour, for democracy, for civilisation. The Labour leaders ran to their governments, and from the safe security of government seats called on the workers to slaughter one another in the holy cause. A few, horrified at the bloody massacre, tried to join hands with rich pacifists in the vain hope of diminishing the fury of dying capitalism and put their trust in Liberal phrase-mongering politicians, who deceived them. Alone the Communists declared that the war was an imperialists’ war, that the peace would be an imperialists’ plunder peace, and that the only way out and outcome for the workers was the workers’ revolution.
The revolution came—in one country only, because the mass of the workers in the other countries were not yet ready and were still misled. But the triumph of the workers’ revolution in one country rallied the workers of the world.
Out of the blood and ruin of the war and the revolution arose the Communist International—the union of the struggling workers in every country to end the reign of exploitation and want and bring in the rule of the workers and peaceful production organised for all to share.
After the war there have been many false lights and deepening confusion. All the organs of opinion, from the capitalist politicians to the Labour leaders, proclaimed a new world and called on the workers for increased production which would lead to a new heaven and a new earth. New cults and idols were held out before the workers—cults of Wilsonism and capitalist leagues, socialization shams and industrial conferences—all shams to conceal from the workers their growing enslavement and hide from them the issue of Revolution. Alone the Communist International proclaimed that capitalism could not recover, that its continuance would only mean growing misery and chaos, and that the only path for the workers was the path of the workers’ revolution.
The workers were beaten down, because they were divided and uncertain, of their path, because they were misled by shams and their leaders entered into coalition with the capitalists. The capitalist offensive bore down upon the workers and swept all before it, leaving a trail of want and misery and the smashing of working-class organisation.
Alone the Communist International to-day calls on the workers to unite and stand, to form the United Front and beat back the capitalist offensive, and enter on the forward struggle for power and victory.
To-day all the shams of capitalism are exposed. Parliamentarism and democracy are flung on the scrap heap. Production is idle. Millions are thrown on the streets in unemployment. Capitalism can only maintain itself by driving down the workers, by harder and harder exploitation. Longer hours, lower wages, misery and white terror and war—these are the offerings of capitalism in the present epoch. The struggle to be faced is here. In Germany it is already on the eve of beginning. It is the same struggle of all the workers all over the world.
We in this country are still only a small section of the great Communist International—a young and struggling section in the midst of an old and corrupt movement. But the age fights on our side. Every event that happens, every new blow that falls on the workers, points to the clear path of the Communist International.
If the workers in this country do not awaken in time to the issue before them a terrible fate awaits all here. In the existing movement there is no clearness or leadership, no authority or direction, no preparedness or unity. Every leader has his own policy: and all are blind to the great overshadowing issues of the revolution. This will not mean escape from the common fate of the workers of the world, from the ever heavier blows of dying capitalism, from the challenge of struggle or subjection. But it will, mean a blind and helpless struggle, anarchic violence and destruction, wild outbursts of anger and suppression, and the smashing up in general confusion of all possibility of recovery.
The greatest need of the workers in this country is a powerful Communist Party. The strength of the Communist International is not based on any chance assistance; it is built out of the workers themselves, out of its clear understanding of the age and clear response to the immediate needs and feelings of the workers. The same conditions and the same needs exist here. The instinct of the workers is ready to respond to the call of the struggle: only the leadership is lacking. Let every conscious worker stream into the Communist Party to make it the real Party of the Workers.
DOWN WITH THE NEW ATTACKS OF THE CAPITALISTS! DOWN WITH THE BLOODY RULE OF CAPITALIST CHAOS!
UP WITH THE UNITED FRONT OF THE WORKERS! UP WITH THE REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE OF THE WORKING CLASS!
LONG LIVE THE COMMUNIST PARTY! LONG LIVE THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL!
The Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain