STALIN AND THE COMINTERN
A Paper delivered by N. Steinmayr to
The Stalin Society,
London, September 2000.
The October Socialist Revolution in 1917, the establishment of two opposing systems, socialism and capitalism, together with the growing internationalisation of proletarian struggles, highlighted once more the necessity for effective forms of mutual solidarity and co-ordination between the revolutionary vanguards operating in different countries. Hence, the setting up of the Third, Communist International, or Comintern, in Moscow in 1919 - a new proletarian international, free from the opportunist stands prevailing in the Second International, a new international that, according to Lenin, "has began to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat."1 The recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the struggle to secure it, represented, in fact, preliminary conditions for membership.
It was on Lenin's initiative that the Communist International initially elaborated its revolutionary strategy and tactics as well as its political and organisational principles. They soon became widespread beyond Europe. And by acquiring vital significance for all the communist parties, the Third International also exercised considerable social and political influence in the international arena. As socialism was being consolidated in the Soviet Union, the Comintern remained in existence until its dissolution in 1943. Seven congresses were held (the last taking place in 1935). Between congresses its highest organ was the Executive Committee (ECCI), which convened thirteen plenary sessions from 1922 to 1933.
For some time, a relevant and leading role in Comintern affairs was also played by Joseph Stalin, elected in 1922 as secretary general of the RCP (B), later CPSU (B). His active involvement began at the Fifth Comintern Congress in 1924, when he was elected to the Executive Committee and its Presidium. But a striking feature of Stalin's relationship with the Comintern lies in the fact that, after a few years of intensive participation and engagement (his "Works" are filled with speeches on Comintern and international affairs during 1924-25-26-27-28), Stalin ceased to participate in it from the late twenties onwards. He remained absent during its last two congresses in 1928 and 1935, and his official "Works" contain no contribution to Comintern affairs after 1928.
Retrospectively - and also in the light of the fierce class struggle carried out in the USSR both openly and behind the scenes - there is ample evidence to prove that, from the late twenties until the early forties, Stalin and the Marxist-Leninists had been removed from active leadership in the Comintern by a dominating coalition of concealed revisionists who would later reveal themselves as outright opponents of socialism. This revisionist majority, with Stalin set aside, was therefore able to distort Marxism-Leninism - firstly, during the early thirties, along pseudo-left, sectarian lines, which were later revised along the path of right opportunism. This situation, of course, contrasts with the stereotyped picture of Stalin as a bloody tyrant, unchallangedly dominating over the Comintern and his own country until his death. Even bourgeois historians have now began to dispute the notion that by the mid-thirties Stalin had imposed a totally monolithic control over the international communist movement.
It is an historic fact that - prior to the establishment of Soviet revisionism at the 20th Congress of the CPSU (B) in 1956 - some revisionist, criminally wrong lines had been implemented both within the Comintern and in the Soviet Union. As Marxist-Leninists, it is certainly vital to recognise the incorrectness of these policies and their failure. This is not for academic purposes. But it must be done in order to draw the necessary lessons and incorporate them in today's revolutionary struggle for socialism.
Just to highlight Stalin's initial difficulties in the Comintern (Lenin had withdrawn from active political life from December 1922), let us consider the composition of the Russian delegation to the Executive Committee, elected at the Fifth Congress in 1924. With the sole exception of Stalin, the other members - including Zinoviev, Bukharin, Trotsky - were all anti-socialist elements, whose factional activities emerged at a later stage. And some of them were then convicted of treason.2 Having gained influential positions from which they could sabotage socialism, these revisionists could not - at first - openly oppose it. They were mentors of the last Soviet revisionist leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who has candidly admitted: "My ambition was to liquidate communism, the dictatorship over all the people . . . I knew that I could only do this if I was the leading functionary."3 The presence of concealed anti-socialist elements in the Comintern during the twenties, however, did not prevent the successful elaboration of Marxist-Leninist policies, mainly with regard to united front tactics and the defence of socialism in the Soviet Union.
As a matter of fact, the proletarian dictatorship in the Soviet Union was strengthened, despite the Trotskyist opposition had made damaging attempts to deny the possibility of socialism being built in a single country. According to Trotsky's infamous theory of the permanent revolution, only the victory of the revolution on a world scale would save proletarian rule in the Soviet Union from "degeneration and decay." The construction of socialism in one country would - according to Trotsky - give up the prospects of the international revolution and neglect proletarian internationalism. A prominent role in defeating these perversions of Lenin's theory on the subject was played by Stalin himself. Together with the other delegations attending the Executive Committee Plenum in November/December 1926, Stalin recognised the fundamental necessity of the closest possible alliance and solidarity between the USSR, the international revolutionary process and the various liberation struggles. In no way did Stalin abandon the cause of the revolution outside the USSR in upholding the principle that socialism could be built in one country. Indeed, the victory of the October Revolution represented, in Stalin's words, "the beginning of and the precondition for the world revolution."4 Accordingly, the Comintern characterised the Soviet Union as "the most important fortress of the world revolution."5
During the twenties both Lenin and Stalin elaborated and supported the so-called united front tactics in order to achieve the amplest revolutionary unity of action by the workers.6 The Communist parties were meant to draw together the most diverse sections of the working class around specific goals and on practical issues, such as "questions concerning wages, hours, housing conditions, insurance, taxation, unemployment, high cost of living, and so forth."7 During the course of this united struggle, the proletariat was being educated in a revolutionary spirit in preparation for its main task - the overthrow of the bourgeois order and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Emphasis was laid on building united fronts from below, by appealing to all workers - whether communist, anarchist, social-democrat, Christian or non-party - over the heads of their leaders. For the very purpose of achieving such a comprehensive unity, at this stage the Comintern could not rule out agreements with social-democratic, reformist parties as well as with reactionary mass trade unions. Following Lenin's and Stalin's indications, these agreements could be reached only on condition that the communist parties retained total political independence at all times, without contemplating any type of "fusion" or "merging" with social-democracy or any "fraternisation of party leaders."8
Accordingly, "the united front tactics . . . are tactics of revolution, not evolution . . . are not a democratic coalition, an alliance with social-democracy. They are only a method of revolutionary agitation and mobilisation."9 Likewise, Stalin characterised these tactics "as a means for the revolutionary mobilisation and organisation of the masses."10 And in order "to link the daily interests of the proletariat with the fundamental interests of the proletarian revolution," the communist parties must - always according to Stalin - "combine an uncompromising revolutionary spirit (not to be confused with revolutionary adventurism!) with the maximum of flexibility and manoeuvring ability (not to be confused with opportunism!)."11 This correct tactical line prevailed at the Fifth Congress in 1924. As Stalin pointed out, this congress "merely sealed the victory of the revolutionary wing in the principal sections of the Comintern."12
Initially, in fact, the Communist International had rejected the sectarian "theory of the offensive", that is, those "leftist stupidities" - as Lenin called them - forcing the communist parties into adventurist, premature, unprepared and hopeless insurrections. At the Second Comintern Congress (1920) Lenin himself sharply criticised anarcho-syndicalist and "left" sectarian trends pursued by a number of communist organisations, just as he fought against opportunist, centrist parties which were attempting to penetrate the Comintern. Some other revisionist formulations had also emerged in connection with the so-called "workers' government (or workers' and peasants' government)," fostering the illusion of a parliamentary road to socialism through an alliance with social-democracy. On Stalin's initiative, these formulations were corrected in favour of mobilising workers for the revolutionary smashing of the capitalist state.13
The difficult economic restoration of the Soviet Union which was entering the stage of socialist industrialisation and collectivisation in agriculture were accompanied by the emergence of an anti-socialist political opposition around prominent figures such as Trotsky, Zinoviev (who was also the Comintern president), Kamenev, Sokolnikov, who were all Executive Committee members in the Comintern. They were joined in the Executive Committee by two other influential members, Bukharin and Rykov, who would later put forward a right opportunist platform in a common offensive against the CPSU(B). Of course, this factional fighting in the USSR also sharpened the struggle within both the Comintern and the various communist parties. In June 1926, for example, Stalin regarded the Zinoviev group as more dangerous than Trotsky's because of the former's control of the Comintern in his capacity as president.14
Significant divergences, in fact, emerged within the Comintern in connection with the British General Strike in 1926, specifically, between correct united front policies supported by Stalin, on the one hand, and ultra-left proposals, emanating from Zinoviev, in favour of setting up Red "paper" Unions, on the other. In solidarity with the miners, a general strike was proclaimed in Britain on 3 May 1926 involving several millions of workers, before being called off a week later by the General Council of the Trade Unions. The miners, however, continued the struggle, which was ultimately defeated in November because of the extreme repressive measures imposed by the then conservative government. Both the Comintern and the Communist Party of Britain, in line with Stalin, indicated the necessity to win over the workers within - not outside - the reformist trade unions, establish international solidarity under the slogan "the miners' cause is our cause", attack at the same time the reactionary trade unions bureaucrats, combine economic with political demands, finally converting the capitalist offensive into the revolutionary offensive of the working class.15 But the failure of the General Strike in 1926 did not imply the failure of united front tactics. It rather proved that capitalist stabilisation had not ended yet: according to Stalin, it was "a continuing stabilisation, temporary, not enduring, but stabilisation nonetheless."16 Therefore, it was "time and unremitting energetic work" that were needed in Britain in order to accelerate the revolutionary process.17
The situation in the East required a slightly different approach. In the colonial and dependent countries it was the slogan of a united anti-imperialist front that was put forward by the Communist International. This was in accordance with the Leninist policy, whereby national liberation movements are part and parcel of the proletarian revolution. Anti-imperialist national revolutionary movements had to be supported in every possible way, thus turning the communist parties into their vanguards. It was for the communist parties "permissible and necessary" - provided they maintained complete independence of action - to enter into temporary agreements with the national bourgeoisie while establishing a stable alliance with the peasant and semi-proletarian masses.18 Once the working class, in alliance with the peasantry, has gained the leadership and has begun to transform the national democratic revolution into a socialist revolution, the Marxist-Leninist strategy was to bring about the final victory of socialism by overthrowing the national bourgeoisie and establishing the dictatorship of the working class.19 Hence, the requirement of two stages for the revolution in the East.
With specific regard to China's liberation against Anglo-Japanese-American imperialism during the twenties, the united anti-imperialist front policies, put forward by the Communist International, aimed to:
- consolidate the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist forces within the communist ranks;
- secure the working class' alliance with the peasantry;
- bring the Communist Party into the national revolutionary movement, which was represented by the Kuomintang, thus striving to attain the hegemonic role of the proletariat in the revolution.
The Chinese proletariat quickly rose to a position from which it could challenge the bourgeoisie, particularly in May 1925, in the Hong Kong-Canton strike of 1925-26, in the Shanghai uprising of 1927. But these events were also accompanied by a considerable degree of fragmentation, sectarianism, revolutionary impatience on the part of the Chinese Communist Party, which failed to successfully mobilise the peasantry and infiltrate the army during its alliance period with the Kuomintang. Ultimately, by 1927, the Kuomintang betrayed the cause of the national anti-imperialist revolution, turning against the Communist Party which was driven underground, firstly by Chiang Kai-Shek and then by the so-called left Kuomintang government located in Wuhan. Both the Comintern and Stalin displayed strong support for the Chinese revolution during this time. Recent documents, however, reveal how Stalin attributed its failure to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, which he characterised as "not a genuine Communist Party," failing to fulfil the Comintern's directives, having not "a clue (literally, not a clue) about [the] hegemony" of the proletariat.20
In most capitalist countries during the late twenties intense class antagonism was giving rise to what Stalin assessed as "the preconditions for a new revolutionary upsurge of the working-class movement."21 And it was during this time that pseudo-left sectarian distortions of united front policies began to emerge after the Sixth Comintern Congress in 1928 through the so-called class-against-class tactics.22 This new sectarian line, dominating the Comintern during the early thirties, was based on the assumption of an equation between social-democracy and fascism. Hence the theory of "social-fascism", strongly opposed by Stalin who, avoiding a straight identification between the two, characterised them as "twins", with social-democracy being "objectively the moderate wing of fascism."23 Contrary to Stalin's view, the Comintern now presented the social-democratic parties as "the main enemy" of the working class, against whom the main blow should be directed. And by regarding the left wing of social-democracy (that which supported united front tactics) "more dangerous" than its right wing (that which opposed united front tactics), united fronts became permissible - under the "class against-class" policies - only from below.24 Consequently, under Comintern instructions, a number of communist parties during this period put forward slogans such as that of a "Red United Front" (i.e., a front limited to conscious revolutionaries alone) and that of "revolutionary trade union opposition" (i.e., withdrawing communist activity from the reformist trade unions in order to form new, tiny, impotent "revolutionary" splinter unions).25
Stalin, on the contrary, regarded "trade union unity" as "the surest means of winning over the vast working class masses."26 Indeed, this unity represented the indispensable precondition for disintegrating the influence of social-democracy in the trade unions, exposing its leaders and ultimately achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat. For such purposes - provided that communists retained their independence - Stalin indicated that "temporary agreements with mass reactionary trade unions [were] not only permissible but sometimes positively essential."27
Due to its sectarian policies of the early thirties, the Comintern could not successfully challenge the attacks of capitalism and the growing threat of fascism and war. As masses of workers were deserting the social-democratic parties, Stalin could not agree with pseudo-left "revolutionary" agitation, but he regarded the appropriate consolidation of communist activities as an essential precondition for the revolution. Accordingly, the communist parties had to "be capable of appraising the situation and making proper use of it" in order to "definitely fortify themselves on this road . . . and successfully prepare the proletariat for the coming class battles. Only if they do that can we count on a further increase in the influence and prestige of the Communist International."28 "The victory of the revolution never comes of itself - Stalin also indicated - . . . only a strong proletarian revolutionary party can prepare for and win victory."29
By denying a qualitative difference between bourgeois democracy and fascism, the Comintern also rejected the concept that the working class had an interest in defending bourgeois democracy against the threat of fascism. For the sake of striking the main offensive against social-democracy, for example, the German communists - under the Comintern's directives - rejected proposals for joint actions and demonstrations with social democratic parties against the Nazis. For some time, after the 1933 Nazi coup in Germany, the Comintern insisted that its "class-against-class" tactics - tactics which had paved the way to that coup - had been correct. The Executive Committee even maintained that the Nazi coup had been "accelerating the rate of Germany's advance towards the proletarian revolution."30 Hence, an effective resistance to the Nazi advent to power was in deeds sabotaged by dividing the German working class and avoiding the formation of a broad anti-fascist united front which, in the conditions pertaining to Germany at that time, would have been an integral component of the revolutionary struggle for socialism.
The basic strategy of the West European imperialists now become one of appeasement of German imperialism, that is, encouraging in deeds Nazi Germany to expand eastwards towards the Soviet Union, while criticising this expansion in words. This became known as the "appeasement policy" pursued by the West European imperialists - particularly those of Britain and France. In order to meet the new demands of imperialism, the revisionists who dominated the Communist International obligingly revised their policies by criticising and rejecting the "left" sectarianism of the early thirties and by preparing the ground for a right opportunist deviation. This new platform - supporting the establishment of people's fronts, or popular fronts, in the struggle against fascism - was adopted at the Seventh Comintern Congress in 1935 under the new leadership of Georgi Dimitrov.
As it has been highlighted by the Communist League in Britain for some time, Dimitrov's election to the leading post of the Communist International had been punctuated by some very odd features. At a time when more than 2,000 communists were slaughtered during the so-called national revolution in Germany and thousands more were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, Dimitrov was put on a public trial by a Nazi court, allowed to question Nazi leaders and make them look foolish. After a campaign of predominantly Western inspiration, he was acquitted and permitted to fly to a hero's welcome in Moscow before being appointed at the head of the Comintern. After the war, his revisionist credentials became apparent when he supported Browder, openly embraced the thesis of the peaceful transition to socialism without revolution, and joined with Tito by putting forward - in a clear anti-Soviet move - proposals for a "Balkan Federation."
Of course, it must be pointed out that the Comintern reorientation - the switch from "left" to right - became possible at a time when the Marxist-Leninist elements around Stalin remained a minority within its leadership. The new Political Secretariat elected by the Congress in 1935, for instance, included a strong majority of hidden revisionists.31 Revisionism continued to develop underground, in the sense that anti-socialist elements could not openly call for the restoration of the capitalist society yet. Instead, they had to conceal the revisionist character of their policies behind the theoretical defence of Marxism-Leninism or behind the provision - as Dimitrov did - that a socialist revolution would still be necessary. Most importantly, the fact that the new popular front policies were never endorsed by Stalin provides strong circumstantial evidence of his personal opposition to them. This opposition became almost evident at the 18th Congress of the CPSU(B) in 1939, when Stalin, in his long report, made no reference whatsoever to the Comintern policies. Besides, no attention at all to the people's fronts was paid by the official Short Course : History of the CPSU(B), published in 1939.
In the meantime, "the cult of the personality" around Stalin was also built within the Communist International - this cult being fostered by "wreckers", as Stalin called them, for the purpose of discrediting him at a later date. Against his opposition, therefore, the Executive Committee addressed Stalin as "infinitely beloved leader, . . . dear to the hearts of millions of working people . . . the brain and the will to victory,"32 "sagacious teacher, supremely beloved friend . . . dauntless revolutionary, great theoretician, leader of the socialist revolution, splendid example for the proletarian revolutionaries of all countries. . . . "33
It was not a coincidence that in 1935, as soon as the Seventh Comintern Congress was over, steps were taken to decentralise the organisation by giving individual parties a significant degree of autonomy in managing their affairs. From this time onwards, there would be no more congresses, no more Executive Committee plenary sessions, which had been very frequent in the past. In 1941 the management of its work was placed in the hands of a triumvirate of three leading revisionists - Dimitrov, Manuilsky and Togliatti. This decentralisation was indeed contrary to Lenin's and Stalin's insistence that proletarian internationalism could only be effective provided that the Comintern retained a highly centralised apparatus. "The Comintern is a militant organisation of the proletariat . . . - Stalin had indicated in 1925 - and cannot refrain from intervening in the affairs of individual parties, supporting the revolutionary elements. . . . To deduce . . . that the Comintern must be denied the right of leadership, and hence of intervention, means working on behalf of the enemies of communism."34
The new political reorientation was officially formulated by Dimitrov in 1935. First of all, he put forward the correct thesis that, in order to defeat the growing threat of fascism,35 communist parties should strive to build broad people's fronts, or popular fronts, to include social-democratic and other bourgeois democratic parties on the basis of short or long term agreements. This united front, established - from above - between the communist party and the social democratic parties (representatives of the bourgeoisie), was supposed to represent the first step towards political unification of these parties. That is to say, a fusion into a single political party of the working class in order to avoid any dichotomy in its leadership - and on condition that the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat were both recognised.36 Dimitrov demanded "the formation of a wide, popular anti-fascist front on the basis of the proletarian united front." Such a popular front government, inclusive of the representatives of the bourgeoisie, "should carry out definite and fundamental revolutionary demands . . . For instance, control of production, control of the banks, disbanding of the police and its replacement by an armed workers' militia, etc."37 But how on earth would sections of the capitalist class - no matter how democratic and anti-fascist they may be - willingly accept their own demise?
By upholding that an elected popular front government can make revolutionary inroads into the political and economic power of the capitalist class, Dimitrov demands the impossible. Thus, the way is paved towards the peaceful, parliamentary transition to socialism, with the goal of the socialist revolution remaining only in theory. It follows therefore that a popular front government can exist in a country where the capitalist class holds political power, only provided that the participating communist party surrenders to opportunism by servicing the interests of the capitalist class, and not those of the workers. This was exemplified by the experience of the French and Spanish popular fronts during the thirties.
The popular front government in France (1936-38) certainly brought about initial improvements in the conditions of the working people. But it also led France behind the appeasement policy of British imperialism when Daladier, representing the French popular government, joined with Chamberlain, Hitler and Mussolini in signing the 1938 Munich agreement which effectively handed over Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. It was also the French popular government which - besides being unprepared to liberalise its colonial policies in North Africa and Indochina - initiated the policy of "non-intervention" in Spain, a policy supported by the Soviet revisionists, which permitted the fascist powers to pour arms and soldiers into Spain in support of the fascist rebels led by Franco. It was Stalin personally who, in opposition to the whole revisionist policy of "non-intervention", ordered the supply of Soviet arms to the Spanish Republican government. But during the course of the Spanish civil war (1936-39) the Communist Party of Spain rejected the revolutionary path in favour of preserving "parliamentary democracy." This defeatist line was implemented under instructions from the Comintern, which sent a delegation to Spain, headed by Togliatti and Tito, to run the party for the duration of the war.
Following the failure of the popular fronts in France and Spain, Dimitrov disavowed the very same line that he had been previously put forward. In 1939 he called for "a united front from below" through "a most resolute struggle against the social-democratic, 'democratic' and 'radical' flunkies of imperialism."38 Such a sudden "revolutionary" revival on the part of Dimitrov, however, could not prevent the dissolution of the Communist International in 1943. This took place without convening a congress and, allegedly, as a result of the "growth and political maturity" reached by its communist parties.39 But clearly, this could not be the case, since within a short time from its dissolution most of the communist parties embraced revisionism of one sort or another and found themselves in a state of mutual ideological conflict. By declaring that its dissolution had been "proper and timely",40 Stalin must have reached the conclusion that, under its revisionist leadership, the Comintern had ceased to be of any use as an organ of the socialist revolution. That Stalin and the Marxists-Leninists did not agree that a real international was no longer necessary is shown by the fact that in 1947, on Stalin's personal initiative, a new Marxist-Leninist international, on a restricted basis, was set up in the shape of the Communist Information Bureau, or Cominform, under a new leadership which excluded Dimitrov and Manuilsky. Significantly, the first acts of the Cominform were to express strong criticism of the revisionist lines of such communist parties as those of France, Italy, Japan and, later, Yugoslavia.
Such, in summary, is Stalin's relationship with the Third Communist International. After a period of militant involvement, Stalin was prevented from active leadership, and excluded from effective influence, since the late twenties. He cannot therefore be held accountable for the prevailing revisionist distortions related to sectarian ultra-left tactics and then unprincipled united fronts. Such a political "isolation" around Stalin as a "prisoner" in the Kremlin was equally reflected within the CPSU(B) after the war. Having confined him to "harmless" activities such as writing on linguistics and economics, concealed revisionists orchestrated his death before being able to betray the working class and fully restore capitalism in the Soviet Union. Breaking a long established tradition, at the 19th Party Congress in 1952 the CC report was not presented by its general secretary, Stalin, but by Georgi Malenkov. Not the slightest trace of proletarian internationalism appears in Malenkov's report. But in contrast, it was Stalin that, in a short speech to the Congress, highly praised the communist parties of the various countries and the newly created people's democracies by characterising them as the new "'shock brigades' of the world-wide revolutionary and workers' movement."41 This was also Stalin's last public address, a revolutionary call from an outstanding leader who consistently fought for socialism and communism, and against revisionism, throughout his life and in the most difficult circumstances.
1. V. I. Lenin, The Third International and Its Place in History (15-4-19), in Collected Works, vol. 29, Moscow, 1965, p. 307. Emphasis in the original.
2. Members of the Russian delegation to the ECCI elected by the Fifth Comintern Congress in 1924: Zinoviev (also Comintern's president), Bukharin, Stalin, Kamenev, Rykov; candidates: Sokolnikov, Trotsky, Lozovsky, Piatnitsky. In December 1926 Zinoviev ceased to be the Comintern's president, this office being replaced by a political secretariat.
3. Mikhail Gorbachev: In interview with Turkish radio; quoted in North Star Compass, organ of the Organising Committee for Friendship and Solidarity with Soviet People. Reproduced in Lalkar, March/April, 2000; p.19.
4. "There can be no doubt that the universal theory of a simultaneous victory of the revolution in the principal countries of Europe, the theory that the victory of socialism in one country is impossible, has proved to be an artificial and untenable theory. . . . the victory of the revolution in one country, in the present case Russia, is not only the product of the uneven development and progressive decay of imperialism; it is at the same time the beginning of and the pre-condition for the world revolution. . . . the unfolding of the world revolution will be the more rapid and thorough, the more effective the assistance rendered by the first socialist country to the workers and labouring masses of all other countries. . . . not only does the October Revolution need support from the revolution in other countries, but the revolution in those countries needs the support of the October Revolution in order to accelerate and advance the cause of overthrowing world imperialism." [Josef V. Stalin, The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (17-12-24), in Works, vol. 6, Moscow, 1947, pp. 414-5, 418, 420]
5. Extracts from the Theses of the Seventh ECCI Plenum on the International Situation and the Tasks of the Communist International (13-12-26), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 323.
6. "The ECCI is of the opinion that the slogan of the third world congress of the Communist International "To the Masses", and the interests of the communist movement generally, require the communist parties and the Communist International as a whole to support the slogan of the united front of the workers and to take the initiative in this matter. The tactics of each communist party must of course be worked out concretely in relation to the conditions in each country." [Extracts from the Directives on the United Front of the Workers and on the Attitude to Workers Belonging to the Second, Two-and-a-half, and Amsterdam Internationals, and to Those Who Support Anarcho-Syndacalist Organisations, Adopted by the ECCI (18-12-21), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 1, London, 1971, p. 311]
7. "The Social-Democrats must be pilloried not on the basis of planetary questions, but on the basis of day-to-day struggle of the working class for improving its material and political conditions; in this, questions concerning wages, hours, housing conditions, insurance, taxation, unemployment, high cost of living, and so forth, must play a most important if not the decisive role. To hit the Social-Democrats day after day on the basis of these questions, exposing their treachery - such is the task." [Josef V. Stalin, The Prospects of the Communist party of Germany and the Question of Bolshevisation (3-2-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1947, p. 37]
8. "The principal conditions which are equally categorical for communist parties in all countries are, in the view of the ECCI . . . the absolute independence of every communist party which enters into an agreement with the parties of the Second and the Two-and-a-half Internationals, its complete freedom to put forward its own views and to criticise the opponents of communism. While accepting a basis for action, communists must retain the unconditional right and the possibility of expressing their opinion of the policy of all working class organisations without exception, not only before and after action has been taken but also, if necessary, during its course." [Extracts from the Directives on the United Front of the Workers and on the Attitude to Workers Belonging to the Second, Two-and-a-half, and Amsterdam Internationals, and to Those Who Support Anarcho-Syndacalist Organisations, Adopted by the ECCI (18-12-21), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 1, London, 1971, p. 313. Emphasis in the original.]
"The united front is not and should not be merely a fraternisation of party leaders. The united front will not be created by agreements with those 'socialists' who until recently were members of bourgeois governments. The united front means the association of all workers, whether communist, anarchist, social-democrat, independent or non-party or even Christian workers, against the bourgeoisie. With the leaders, if they want it so, without the leaders if they remain indifferently aside, and in defiance of the leaders and against the leaders if they sabotage the workers' united front. . . .
In every factory, in every mine, in every district, in every town, the communist workers should arm together with the socialist and non-party workers for the common fight against the bourgeoisie." [Extracts from the ECCI Statement on the Results of the Berlin Conference (April 1922), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 1, London, 1971, p. 341-2]
"The attempts of the Second International to represent the united front as the organisational fusion of all 'workers' parties' must of course be decisively rebutted. . . . The most important thing in the united front tactic is and remains the agitational and organisational rallying of the working masses. Its true realisation can come only 'from below', from the depths of the working masses themselves. Communists however must not refuse in certain circumstances to negotiate with the leaders of the hostile workers' parties, but the masses must be kept fully and constantly informed of the course of these negotiations. Nor must the communist parties' freedom to agitate be circumscribed in any way during these negotiations with the leaders.
It is obvious that the united front tactic is to be applied in different ways in different countries, according to the actual conditions prevailing there. . . ." [Extracts from the Theses on Tactics Adopted by the Fourth Comintern Congress (5-12-22), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 1, 1971, p. 424-6]
"1. The tactics of the united front from below are necessary always and everywhere . . .
2. Unity from below and at the same time negotiations with [social-democratic, Ed.] leaders. This method must frequently be employed in countries where social-democracy is still a significant force. . . .
It is understood that in such cases the communist parties maintain their complete and absolute independence, and retain their communist character at every stage of the negotiations and in all circumstances. . . .
3. United front only from above. This method is categorically rejected by the Communist International.
The tactics of the united front from below are the most important, that is, a united front under communist party leadership covering communist, social-democratic, and non-party workers in factory, factory council, trade union, and extending to an entire industrial centre or area or industry. . . ." [Extracts from the Theses on Tactics Adopted by the Fifth Comintern Congress (July 1924), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 151-2. Emphasis in the original.]
"Of course there can be no question of merging the communist parties with the social-democratic parties. This would be open treachery to the cause of the proletarian revolution, it would be the abandonment of the leading role in history which the proletariat is called on to play. Recognition of the necessity for the existence of an independent communist party is part of the ABC of Marxism-Leninism." [Extracts from the Theses on the Current Questions of the International Communist Movement passed by the Sixth ECCI Plenum (March 1926), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 252]
9. "The united front tactics . . . are tactics of revolution, not evolution . . . are not a democratic coalition, an alliance with social-democracy. They are only a method of revolutionary agitation and mobilisation. We reject all other interpretations as opportunist.
We must keep firmly in mind that united front tactics have a meaning for the CI only if they promote the object of winning the bulk of the proletariat for the revolutionary struggle for power." [Extracts from an ECCI Statement on the Events in Germany in October 1923 (19-1-24), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 72]
10. Josef V. Stalin, Concerning the International Situation (20-9-24), in Works, vol.6, Moscow, 1947, pp. 305.
11. "In its work the Party must be able to combine an uncompromising revolutionary spirit (not to be confused with revolutionary adventurism!) with the maximum of flexibility and manoeuvring ability (not to be confused with opportunism!); without this, the Party will be unable to master all the forms of struggle and organisation, will be unable to link the daily interests of the proletariat with the fundamental interests of the proletarian revolution." [Josef V. Stalin, The Prospects of the Communist party of Germany and the Question of Bolshevisation (3-2-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1947, p. 39]
"It should not be forgotten that Rights and "ultra-Lefts" are actually twins, that consequently both take an opportunist stand, the difference between them being that whereas the Rights do not always conceal their opportunism, the Lefts invariably camouflage their opportunism with "revolutionary" phrases." [Josef V. Stalin, The Fight against Right an "Ultra-Left" Deviations (22-1-26), in Works, vol. 8, Moscow, 1948, p. 9]
12. Josef V. Stalin, Concerning the International Situation (20-9-24), in Works, vol.6, Moscow, 1947, pp. 306.
13. The original revisionist formulation of a "workers' government" was the following:
"The overriding tasks of the workers' government must be to arm the proletariat, to disarm bourgeois, counter-revolutionary organisations, to introduce the control of production, to transfer the main burden of taxation to the rich, and to break the resistance of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. . . .
In certain circumstances communists must declare themselves ready to form a workers' government with non-communist workers' parties and workers' organisations. But they can do so only if there are guarantees that the workers' government will really conduct a struggle against the bourgeoisie in the sense mentioned above." [Extracts from the Theses on Tactics Adopted by the Fourth Comintern Congress (5-12-22), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 1, London, 1971, p. 424-6]
This formulation was later corrected as follows:
"Opportunists elements in the Comintern tried to distort this slogan [of a workers' government, Ed.] too by interpreting it as a 'government within the bourgeois-democratic framework' and as a political alliance with social-democracy. The fifth world congress emphatically rejects this interpretation. For the Comintern the slogan of a workers' and peasants' government is the slogan of the proletarian dictatorship translated into popular language, into the language of revolution. . . .
For communists the slogan of a workers' and peasants' government never means the tactics of parliamentary agreements and coalitions with social-democracy." [Extracts from the Theses on Tactics Adopted by the Fifth Comintern Congress (July 1924), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 151-2. Emphasis in the original.]
In 1926 Stalin categorically rejected the parliamentary road to socialism:
"Can such a radical transformation of the old bourgeois order [the proletarian revolution, Ed.] be achieved without a violent revolution, without the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Obviously not." [Josef V. Stalin, Concerning Questions of Leninism (25-1-26), in Works, vol. 8, Moscow, 1948, p. 25]
14. Stalin's letter, n. 21 (25-6-26) in Lih, Naumov, Klevniuk (Ed.), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936, 1995, p.115.
15. "The Task of the Communist parties is, while continuing the organisation of the united working-class front, to bend all their efforts to convert the attacks of the capitalists into a counter-attack of the working class, into a revolutionary offensive of the working class, into a struggle of the working class for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and for the abolition of capitalism." [Josef V. Stalin, The British Strike and the Events in Poland (8-6-26), in Works, vol. 8, Moscow, 1948, p. 177.]
16. Stalin's letter, n. 16, in Lih, Naumov, Klevniuk, (Ed.), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936, 1995, p. 108.
17. "Was the policy of the British Communist Party correct during the general strike in Britain? Yes, it was. Why, the, did it not win the following of the millions of workers on strike? Because those masses were not yet convinced of the correctness of the Communist Party's policy. And it is not possible to convince the masses of the correctness of the Part's policy in a short time. Still less is it possible with the help of "revolutionary" gestures. It requires time and unremitting energetic work in exposing the reactionary leaders, in politically educating the backward masses of the working class, in promoting new cadres from the working class to leading posts.
From this it is easy to understand why the power of the reactionary leaders of the working class cannot be destroyed at once, why this requires time and unremitting work in educating the vast masses of the working class. . . . The exposure of reactionary leaders and the political education of the masses must be done by you yourselves, the Communists, and by other political Left-wing leaders, through unremitting work for the political enlightenment of the masses. Only in that way can the work of revolutionising the broad masses of the workers be accelerated." [Josef V. Stalin, The Anglo-Russian Committee (7-8-26), in Works, vol. 8, Moscow, 1948, p. 212-3.]
18. "The question of Lenin's line on the leadership of colonial revolutions. Lenin took as his starting-point the difference between imperialist countries and oppressed countries, between communist policy in imperialist countries and communist policy in colonial countries. Taking this difference as his starting-point, he said, already during the war, that the idea of defending the fatherland, which is unacceptable and counter-revolutionary for communism in imperialist countries, is quite acceptable and legitimate in oppressed countries that are waging a war of liberation against imperialism.
That is why Lenin conceded the possibility, at a certain stage and for a certain period, of a bloc and even of an alliance with the national bourgeoisie in colonial countries, if this bourgeoisie is waging war against imperialism, and if it is not hindering the Communists from training the workers and poor peasants in the spirit of communism." [Josef V. Stalin, The Fifteen Congress of the C.P.S.U. (B.): Political Report of the Central Committee (3-12-27), in Works, vol. 10, Moscow, 1949, p. 353. Emphasis in the original.]
19. As Stalin noted in 1925, in some colonial-type countries the native bourgeoisie "is splitting up in two parts, a revolutionary part (the national bourgeoisie - Ed.) . . . and a compromising part (the comprador bourgeoisie - Ed.), of which the first is continuing the revolutionary struggle, whereas the second is entering a bloc with imperialism." [Josef V. Stalin, The Political tasks of the University of the Peoples of the East: Speech Delivered at a Meeting of Students of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East (18-5-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1948, p. 147]
The Sixth Congress of the Communist International, in September 1928, agreed that the native bourgeoisie in colonial-type counties maintained a differentiated attitude towards imperialism:
"One part, more especially the commercial bourgeoisie, directly serves the interests of imperial capital (the so-called comprador bourgeoisie). In general, they maintain, more or less consistently, an anti-national, imperialist point of view, directed against the whole nationalist movement, as do the feudal allies of imperialism and the more highly paid native officials. The other parts of the native bourgeoisie, especially those representing the interests of native industry, support the national movement." [Extracts from the Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in Colonial and Semicolonial Countries Adopted by the Sixth Comintern Congress (1-9-28), in J. Degras (Ed.), The Communist International: 1919-1943: Documents, Vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 538]
During the first national-democratic stage, the Marxist-Leninist party aims at allying itself with the national bourgeoisie, to the extent that this class remains genuinely revolutionary. Subsequently,
"The proletariat pushes aside the national bourgeoisie, consolidates its hegemony and assumes the lead of the vast masses of the working people in town and country, in order to overcome the resistance of the national bourgeoisie, secure the complete victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, and then gradually convert it into a socialist revolution." [Josef V. Stalin, Questions of the Chinese Revolution (April 1927), in Works, vol. 9, Moscow, 1948, p. 225]
"The bourgeois-democratic revolution, consistently pursued, will be transformed into the proletarian revolution in those colonies and semi-colonies where the proletariat acts as a leader and exercises hegemony over the movement . . . In these (colonial-type - Ed.) countries the main task is to organise the workers and peasants independently in the Communist Party of the proletariat . . . and emancipate them from the influence of the national bourgeoisie." [Programme of the Communist International Adopted at its Sixth Congress (1-9-28), in J. Degras (Ed.), The Communist International: 1919-1943: Documents, Vol. 2, London, 1971, pp. 507,522]
20. Stalin's letter, n. 36 (9-7-27), in Lih, Naumov, Klevniuk, (Ed.), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936, 1995, p. 141.
21. "The Comintern holds that the present capitalist stabilisation is a temporary, insecure, shaky and decaying stabilisation which will become more and more shaken as the capitalist crisis develops. . . . Deep within the capitalist countries the pre-conditions for a new revolutionary upsurge of the working-class movement are ripening." [Josef V. Stalin, The Right Danger in the German Communist Party (19-12-28), in Works, vol. 11, Moscow, 1949, p. 308,312]
22. Members of the Political Secretariat elected at the Sixth Comintern Congress in 1928: Barbe, Bell, Bukharin, Kuusinen, Molotov, Piatnitsky, Remmele, Serra, Tsiu Vito, Smeral, Humbert-Droz; candidates: Manuilsky, Lozovsky, Khitarov.
23. "Fascism is the bourgeoisie's fighting organisation that relies on the active support of Social-Democracy. Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism. There is no ground for assuming that the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of Social-Democracy. . . . These organisations do not negate, but supplement each other. They are not antipodes, they are twins. Fascism . . . is intended for combating the proletarian revolution." [Josef V. Stalin, Concerning the International Situation (20-9-24), in Works, vol.6, Moscow, 1947, pp. 294-5]
"In the capitalist countries, where the proletariat is not yet in power, Social-Democracy is either an opposition party in relation to capitalist rule, or a semi-government party in alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie against the most reactionary forces of capitalism and also against the revolutionary working-class movement, or else an out-and-out government party directly and openly defending capitalism and bourgeois "democracy" against the revolutionary proletarian movement.
It becomes out-and-out counter-revolutionary, and its counter-revolutionary activities are directed against the proletarian regime, only when the latter has become a reality." [Josef V. Stalin, Interview with Foreign Workers' Delegations (5-11-27), in Works, vol. 10, Moscow, 1949, p. 215]
24. "The [sixth, Ed.] congress . . . fully approves the tactics laid down by the ninth ECCI plenum. . . .
These tactics, while changing the form of the united front, do not change its essential content. To sharpen the struggle against social-democracy shifts the emphasis decisively to the united front from below." [Extracts from the Theses of the Sixth Comintern Congress on the International Situation and the Tasks of the Communist International (29-8-28), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 461]
"In this situation of growing imperialist contradictions and sharpening of the class struggle, fascism becomes more and more the dominant method of bourgeois rule. In countries where there are strong social-democratic parties, fascism assumes the particular form of social-fascism . . .
International social-democracy . . . is the chief support of capitalism . . .
the plenum of the ECCI instructs all sections of the CI to pay special attention to an energetic struggle against the "left" wing of social-democracy which retards the process of the disintegration of social-democracy by creating the illusion that it - the "left' wing - represent an opposition to the policy of the leading social-democratic bodies, whereas as a matter of fact, it whole-heartedly supports the policy of social-fascism." [Extracts from the Theses of the Tenth ECCI Plenum on the International Situation and the Tasks of the communist international (1-7-29), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London,1971, pp. 44, 47]
"It does not matter with which fraction of the bourgeoisie - with the 'left', the moderates, or the right - the socialists unite in a bloc against the proletariat. What matters is that these are only different stages of the development of social-democracy into fascism. . .
Take note, proletarians, that international social-democracy prefers a united front with fascism to defend and save capitalism to a united front with the working class to overthrow fascism by the proletarian revolution." [Extracts from an ECCI May Day Manifesto (April 1933), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 267]
25. With the aim of spreading communist influence among trade unions, the Red International of Labour Unions (RILU), or Profintern, had been established in 1921 at the Third Comintern Congress. RILU held five congresses between 1921 and 1930, but fell increasingly into decline in the thirties before announcing its demise in 1937.
26. ". . . the tasks of the Communist parties: . . . 3. to promote the fight for trade-union unity and to carry it to a successful conclusion, bearing in mind that this is the surest means of winning over the vast working-class masses; for it is impossible to win over the vast proletarian masses unless the trade unions are won over; and it is impossible to win over the trade unions unless work is conducted in them and unless the confidence of the masses of the workers is won in the trade unions month by month and year by year. Failing this, it is out of the question even to think of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat." [Josef V. Stalin, The International Situation and the Tasks of the Communist Parties (22-3-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1947, p. 57]
". . . the main task of the Communist Parties in the West at the present time is to develop and bring to a successful conclusion the campaign for trade-union unity, to see that all Communists without exception join the trade unions, to work in them systematically and patiently for uniting the working class against capital, and in this way to enable the communist Parties to have the backing of the trade unions." [Josef V. Stalin, The Results of the Work of the Fourteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) (9-5-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1947, p. 106-7]
"The Party cannot develop further, especially in the conditions existing in the West, the Party cannot grow stronger, if it does not have a very important bulwark in the shape of the trade unions and their leaders. Only a party that knows how to maintain extensive connections with the trade unions and their leaders, and which knows how to establish genuine proletarian contact with them - only such a party can win over the majority of the working class in the West. You know yourselves that without winning over the majority of the working class, it is impossible to count on victory." [Josef V. Stalin, Speech Delivered in the French Commission of the Sixth Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I. (6-3-26), in Works, vol. 8, Moscow, 1948, p. 112]
27. "Is it permissible at all for Communists to work in reactionary trade unions? . . .
Is it at all permissible to conclude temporary agreements with reactionary trade unions, agreements on trade union matters, or on political matters?
It is not only permissible, but sometimes it is positively essential to do so. . . . Care must be taken, however, that such agreements do not restrict, do not limit the freedom of Communists to conduct revolutionary agitation and propaganda, that such agreements help to disintegrate the ranks of the reformists and to revolutionise the masses of the workers who still follow the reactionary leaders. On these conditions, temporary agreements with mass reactionary trade unions are not only permissible but sometimes positively essential." [Josef V. Stalin, The International Situation and the Defence of the U.S.S.R. (1-8-27), in Works, vol. 10, Moscow, 1949, p. 40-1]
In certain historical conditions, however, Stalin does not seem to rule out the necessity of creating parallel revolutionary trade unions:
"From the fact that we must work within the reformist trade unions - provided only that they are mass organisations - it does not at all follow that we must confine our mass work to work within the reformist trade unions. . . . Can it be affirmed that the struggle of the working class, led by the Communist party, can avoid breaking to some extent the existing reformist framework of the trade unions? Obviously, this cannot be affirmed without landing into opportunism. Therefore, a situation is quite conceivable in which it may be necessary to create parallel mass associations of the working class, against the will of the trade union bosses who have sold themselves to the capitalists." [Josef V. Stalin, The Right Danger in the German Communist Party (19-12-28), in Works, vol. 11, Moscow, 1949, p. 314-5. Emphasis in the original.]
28. "The desertion of the masses of the workers from the Social-Democrats, however, signifies a turn on their part towards communism. That is what is actually taking place. . . . It is the guarantee that our fraternal Communist Parties will become big mass parties of the working class. All that is necessary is that the Communists should be capable of appraising the situation and making proper use of it. . . . The Communist Parties . . . must definitely fortify themselves on this road; for only if they do that can they count on winning over the majority of the working class and successfully prepare the proletariat for the coming class battles. Only if they do that can we count on a further increase in the influence and prestige of the Communist International." [Josef V. Stalin, Political Report of the Central Committee of the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (27-6-30), in Works, vol. 12, Moscow, 1949, p. 260-1]
29. "The victory of the revolution never comes of itself. It must be prepared for and won. And only a strong proletarian revolutionary party can prepare for and win victory. Moments occur when the situation is revolutionary, when the rule of the bourgeoisie is shaken to its very foundations, and yet the victory of the revolution does not come, because there is no revolutionary party of the proletariat with sufficient strength and prestige to lead the masses and to take power. It would be unwise to believe that such "cases" cannot occur." [Josef V. Stalin, Report to the Seventeenth Party Congress on the Work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (26-1-34), in Works, vol. 13, Moscow, 1949, p. 304-5.]
30. Resolution of the ECCI Presidium on the Situation in Germany (1-4-33), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, 1971, p. 262.
31. Members of the Political Secretariat elected by the Seventh Comintern Congress: Dimitrov (also General Secretary), Togliatti, Manuilsky, Pieck, Kuusinen, Marty, Gottwald; candidates: Moskvin, Florin, Wang Ming.
32. ECCI to Stalin (1937), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 460.
33. Extracts from a Message of Greetings from the ECCI to Stalin on his 60th Birthday (1939), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, 1971, p. 460-1.
34. "As regards the rights of the Comintern and its intervention in the affairs of the national parties, I emphatically disagree with those comrades who spoke in favour of curtailing those rights. They want the Comintern to be transformed into an organisation situated beyond the stars, gazing dispassionately at what is going on in the individual parties and patiently recording events. No, comrades, the Comintern cannot become an organisation beyond the stars. The Comintern is a militant organisation of the proletariat, it is linked with the working class movement by all the roots of its existence and cannot refrain from intervening in the affairs of individual parties, supporting the revolutionary elements and combating their opponents. Of course, the parties possess internal autonomy, the party congresses must be unfettered, and the Central Committees must be elected by the congresses. But to deduce from this that the Comintern must be denied the right of leadership, and hence of intervention, means working on behalf of the enemies of communism." [Josef V. Stalin, The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (27-3-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1947, p. 67]
35. Dimitrov retained the following definition of fascism, formulated at the Thirteen ECCI Plenum in 1933:
"Fascism is the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinist and most imperialist elements of finance capital. Fascism tries to secure a mass basis for monopolist capital among the petty bourgeoisie, appealing to the peasantry, artisans, office employees and civil servants who have been thrown out of their normal course of life, and particularly to the declassed elements in the big cities, also trying to penetrate into the working class. . . . .
The possibility of averting it [the fascist dictatorship, Ed.] depends upon the forces of the fighting proletariat, which are paralysed by the corrupting [disintegrating] influence of social-democracy more than anything else." [Extracts from the Theses of the Thirteenth ECCI Plenum on Fascism, the War Danger, and the Tasks of the Communist Parties (December 1933), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, pp. 296-7]
36. "Holding that the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat and the success of the proletarian revolution make it imperative that a single mass political party of the working class exist in each country, the Congress sets the communist parties the task of taking the initiative in bringing about this unity, relying on the growing desire of the workers to unite the social-democratic parties or individual organisations with the communist parties. At the same time it must be explained to the workers without fail that such unity is possible only on certain conditions; on condition of complete independence from the bourgeoisie and the complete severance of the bloc between social-democracy and the bourgeoisie, on the condition that unity of action be first brought about, that the necessity of the revolutionary overthrow of the rule of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of the Soviets be recognised, that support of one's own bourgeoisie in imperialist war be rejected." [Extracts from the resolution of the Seventh Comintern Congress on Fascism, Working-Class Unity, and the Tasks of the Comintern (20-8-35), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 368-9. My emphases.]
(With regard to the fusion between the communist party and the social democratic parties, Dimitrov's thesis was put into practice in 1948, as communist parties in various people's democracies, in Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, would unite and amalgamate with the respective social democratic parties of their countries.)
The following line was put forward with regard to trade union unity:
"The communists are decidedly for the re-establishment of trade union unity in each country and on an international scale . . .
In countries where small Red trade unions exist, efforts must be made to secure their admission into the big reformist trade unions, with demands put forward for the right to defend their views and the reinstatement of expelled members. In countries where big red and reformist trade unions exist side by side, efforts must be made to secure their amalgamation on an equal footing." [Extracts from the resolution of the Seventh Comintern Congress on Fascism, Working-Class Unity, and the Tasks of the Comintern (20-8-35), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 365-6.]
37. G. Dimitrov, The United Front: The Struggle against Fascism and War, S. Francisco, 1975, pp. 39, 75.
38. "The tactics of the united people's front presupposed joint action by the communist parties and the social-democratic and petty-bourgeois 'democratic' and 'radical' parties against reaction and war. . . .
In the preceding period the communists strove to secure the establishment of a united popular front by agreement with the social-democratic and other petty-bourgeois 'democratic' and 'radical' parties in the person of their leading bodies on the basis of a common platform of struggle against fascism and war. But to the extent that the principal leaders of these parties have crossed over wholly and completely into the camp of the imperialists, while certain of them, such as the French radicals, are directly in charge of the conduct of the war, there can be no question of such agreements.
Now the mustering of the working class, of the peasantry, of the urban working folk and of the progressive intelligentsia can and must be brought about apart from and against the leadership of these parties, on the basis of the struggle against the imperialist war and reaction in a united front from below.
Such a united fighting front of the masses cannot be brought about without a most resolute struggle against the social-democratic, 'democratic', and 'radical' flunkies of imperialism, for the elimination of the influence of these agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement and for their isolation from the masses of the working people." [Extracts from an Article by Dimitrov on the Tasks of the working Class in the War t (November 1939), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, pp. 455,457]
39. Resolution of the ECCI Presidium Recommending the Dissolution of the Communist International (15-5-43), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, pp. 476-9.
40. Stalin's interview in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 476.
41. Stalin, Speech to the Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (14-10-52) in Franklin B. (Ed.), The Essential Stalin: Major Theoretical Writings 1905-52, London, 1973, p. 509.