November 15, 2017

Comintern - Second Congress of the Communist International

Minutes of the Second Congress of the Communist International
Petrograd, July 19 – August 7 1920

The Summoning of the Second World Congress of the Communist International

To all Communist Parties and groups, to all red trades unions, to all Communist women’s organisations, to all Communist youth leagues, to all workers’ organisations standing on the basis of communism, to all honest toilers!

Comrades!

The Executive Committee of the Communist International has decided to call the Second Congress of the Communist International for July 15, 1920 in Moscow.

The Executive Committee of the Communist International has proposed the following provisional draft agenda for the Second Congress.

1. Report of the Executive Committee of the Communist International.

2. Reports of the representatives of the various countries. The reports should be presented in writing.

3. The present international situation and the tasks of the Communist International.

4. The question of parliamentarism.

5. The trades unions and the factory councils.

6. The role and structure of the Communist Party before and after the conquest of power by the proletariat.

7. The national question and the colonial question.

8. The agrarian question.

9. Attitude towards the new ‘centrist’ currents that only pay lip service to the communist programme, and on the conditions for entry to the Communist International.

10. The statutes of the Communist International.

11. The question of organisation (legal and illegal organisations, women’s organisations, etc.).

12. Youth movement.

13. Elections.

14. Any Other Business.

All Communist Parties, groups and trades unions that have officially joined the Communist International and are recognised by its Executive Committee are invited to participate in the Congress with full voting rights.

Those groups and organisations that stand on the basis of the Communist International but are in opposition to the officially affiliated Communist Parties are also called upon to take part in the Congress, which will itself decide what voting rights they are to have.

All groups of revolutionary syndicalists, the branches of the IWW and other organisations with whom the Executive Committee of the Communist International has entered into relations are also called upon to take part in the Congress.

[The Industrial Workers of the World or ‘Wobblies’, the militant American industrial union founded in 1905 in the face of the AFL’s opposition to organising unskilled workers. Opposed the 1914 war and supported the Russian Revolution, and was persecuted for this, many members being arrested. Dominated by anarcho-syndicalism, it was subsequently racked by disputes over its position in relation to the American Communist movement.]

The youth leagues should not only be represented by the Executive Committee of the Youth International but also by the Communist organisations of all the individual countries.

The calling of an international conference of Communist women and an international conference of Communist youth leagues are also planned in conjunction with the impending Congress.

If it is at all possible, the first international conference of the red trades unions is also to be held in conjunction with the Congress.

All parties and organisations are called upon to send the greatest possible number of delegates to the Congress. (The question of the number of valid votes in the Congress will naturally be decided independently from the number of delegates.)

The Executive Committee of the Communist International firmly insists that all Communist Parties represented at the Congress absolutely must nominate one of their delegates as the permanent representative to the Executive Committee of the Communist International. This comrade must be able to stay for a lengthy period in Russia.

It can be seen from the draft agenda that the Congress will discuss the most important questions with which the communists of the whole world are engaged. The rapid growth of the ideas of communism throughout the whole world forces us to speed up the calling of the Congress. The Congress will give the proletarians of all countries an exact and clear answer to all the questions which are on the agenda and await an answer.

The First Congress of the Communist International raised the banner of communism. Today millions of class conscious workers throughout the world are already standing beneath this banner. Now it is no longer a matter of propaganda for communist ideas. Now the epoch dawns of the organisation of the communist proletariat and the immediate struggle for the communist revolution.

The Second International has collapsed like a house of cards. The attempts of a few ‘socialist’ diplomats to found a new bastard International that is to stand between the Second and the Communist International are simply ridiculous and find no support on the part of the workers. Separated by the military censorship, the state of siege and the slander campaign of the yellow Social Democrats and the bourgeois press, the workers of each country nevertheless stretched out to each other a fraternal hand. During the one year of its existence the Communist International has won a decisive moral victory in the working masses throughout the world. Millions and millions of workers throng to the honest international association of workers that calls itself the Communist International.

Let these ordinary workers make their parties and organisations choose once and for all; let them put an end to the unworthy game that some of the old diplomats, the ‘leaders’ are playing, in trying to hold their parties back from joining the Communist International.

Let the trade union members especially, who formally still belong to the white-guard International organised in Amsterdam by those agents of capital Legien, Albert Thomas and others,’ strive to make their workers’ organisations break with the betrayers of the Workers’ cause and send their delegates to the Congress of the Communist International.

[This refers to the reformist or ‘yellow’ International Federation of Trades Unions re-established in 1919 at Amsterdam. It comprised trade union federations of European countries for the most part dominated by reformist and centrist socialist parties and also the British Trade Union Congress. Trades unions controlled by or sympathetic to parties affiliated to the Communist International formed the Red International of Labour Unions.]

The Second Congress of the Communist International that meets on July 15 should in reality become an international congress of the working class and at the same time a congress of really convinced comrades, true followers of a really communist programme and of revolutionary communist tactics.

Let every workers’ organisation, every circle of workers, discuss the agenda proposed by the Executive Committee of the Communist International. Let the workers themselves bring in their drafts for the resolutions on the questions raised and let the whole Communist press in the coming weeks dedicate its columns to the discussion of the important problems confronting us. The preparatory work must be carried out with energy and zeal. Only if that happens will our Congress be able to draw the balance-sheet of the experience of class-conscious workers from all over the world and express the real will of communist workers of all countries.

The Executive Committee of the Communist International sends fraternal greetings to the class-conscious proletarians all over the world and summons them into the common fraternal ranks.

Long live the international Communist association of workers!

Long live the Communist International!

Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Communist International
G. Zinoviev

Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International

K. Radek.