Communist Party of Great Britain
Source: Speeches & Documents of the Sixth (Manchester) Conference of the Communist Party of Great Britain, May 17-19, 1924
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
1. This Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain, welcomes the decision of the Communist International to produce its programme as a guide to the proletariat of the world in its fight for the conquest of capitalism and the establishment of Communism.
2. This Congress regards it of the utmost importance that this programme should consist of an explanation of the historic process which reveals Communism as the goal of social evolution, elaborate the character of the epoch in which we struggle, set forth the tasks which confront the workers, indicate the nature of the forces against which we must fight, the social allies the proletariat must win over, and the fundamental measures necessary in all countries to lead the workers to Communism.
3. This congress is of the opinion that the position of world capitalism to-day and the relation of the proletariat thereto enhances the importance of the issue of the programme by the Fifth Congress of the Comintern.
Since the first breach in capitalism was made by the 1917 proletarian revolution in Russia, the powers of resistance latent in capitalism and the slowness of the revolutionary development of the proletariat of the highly developed capitalist countries have proved greater than was at first thought. The period between one revolutionary wave and another has proved to be longer. But the fundamental character of the historic crisis of capitalism remains. Capitalism is proving more and more incapable of establishing a period of social stability or an equilibrium between the nations and rival forces of imperialism.
War or revolution is still the perpetual nightmare of capitalism. In place of six great imperialist rivals struggling for mastery, there are now America, Britain, France and Japan casting ambitious eyes on every quarter of the globe, jealously striving for advantages against each other and all angrily scared at the growth of the forces of social revolution in their midst which finds its most concrete expression in the rising power of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Driven partly by economic necessity to find a market for the goods produced by their enhanced productive capacity, partly by the determination to transfer their war costs out of the defeated countries and to stem the tide of revolution, the victorious Western Powers have been compelled to open trade relations with the Soviet Republics and to decide upon the rehabilitation of their rival-German capitalism.
These measures have given the means of an apparent trade revival fostering the illusion of a permanent revival and an era of peaceful development. But instead of peace prevailing, militarism, navalism, vast preparations for war by the most diabolical methods, are rampant everywhere, while the masses are more intensively exploited than ever before or cast on the scrap heap of misery and unemployment. Strikes, mass revolts, uprisings and social conflicts are everywhere outside the frontiers of the workers’ republic.
4. The condition of world capitalism is manifest within the British Empire, in relation to which our Party has special tasks. In Britain, the political and economic instability are expressed in the chaotic condition of the capitalist parties, the existence of a minority Labour Government by consent of capitalist parties, the colossal state debt and the beginning of the depreciation of its currency; the dislocated industries, decline in the agricultural production, vast unemployment and strike crises.
In order to find means for payment of debt and to check the rivalry of France in Europe, Britain has joined with America to make of Germany an economic and financial colony. To find work for her factories she has made trade with Soviet Russia.
American and Japanese rivalry has penetrated the colonies, whilst the colonies and dependencies have become her competitors in the world market. India, the greatest of all her imperial possessions, has entered the period of industrial expansion and threatens her important industries.
The vast millions of India awakened by the war and the new industrial revolution, are demanding freedom from British control.
Ireland, Egypt and South Africa and the “mandatory” nations, are constant sources of political and economic irritation.
Canada is economically and financially subservient to the U.S.A. The whole Empire is in ferment. Its economic foundations are shaking, and each of its sections are stung to act as independent entities, fighting for their own salvation from Imperial control.
5. These conditions of world capitalism and of British Imperialism form the material foundations for our conclusions as to the policy and programme demands embodied in the draft programme which the British Communist Party recommends to the Fifth Congress of the Comintern for endorsement.