March 12, 2021

III. The Forces of Revolution

 Speech By D. Z. MANUILSKY 

Thirteenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist international - December, 1933

From the Pamphlet "Revolutionary Crisis, Fascism and War "

III. The Forces of Revolution

But what is the relative importance of the tendencies of the world revolutionary crisis in comparison with the tendency of fascism and war? 

This question can only be answered by reckoning up the forces of revolution which stand against the world forces of reaction. The forces of revolution arc, firstly, the Communist Parties of capitalist countries secondly, the national revolutionary movements in the colonies, thirdly, Soviet China, and fourthly, the Soviet Union as the decisive and all-important factor in the world proletarian revolution. 

The Communist Parties of capitalist countries are a very im­portant factor in the world proletarian revolution, but with the exception of certain individual section the Communist Parties do not yet have an organized ma basis--a fact which permits the elements of fascism and war to grow with extreme rapidity. Besides this the Communist Parties have a number of great shortcomings in their work. 

Firstly, all Communist Parties of capitalist countries without exception make insufficient use of the world economic crisis in order to strengthen themselves politically and organizationally. They have not always headed the movement of the working class for its partial demand ; they have not developed a huge mass movement of the unemployed in conformity with the dimensions of the present crisis; they have not always been able to mobilize the masses around clear, concrete slogans, conforming to the state of feeling among these masses, for the struggle against capitalism and bourgeois dic­tatorship. And the reason for the weak work of the Communist Party in this sphere lies in the opportunist passivity and sectarian habits which have not yet been outlived and which hinder both the organizational and the political growth of the sections of the Com­intern. And if the Communist Parties, especially the less numerous ones had overcome the e manifestation of opportunism they would have come to this Plenum today with other results than those which they actually have. 

Questions of mass politics and mass work must become the cornerstone of the whole activity of the Communist Parties, if the latter are seriously reckoning on blocking the way to fascism and imperialist war and on speeding up the maturing of the elements of world revolutionary crisis. 

Secondly, the Communist Parties have made insufficient use of the bankruptcy of bourgeois democracy in Germany and of the political and organizational crisis of German Social-Democracy in order to undermine the foundations of the influence of the whole Second International. There has not been a sufficiently resolute Bolshevik offensive against international Social-Democracy on the part of the sections of the Comintern. Opportunist waverings have begun, as reflected by Humbert-Droz in the Swiss Communist Party, by Gutmann in the Czechoslovakian Party, by Schueller in the Aus­trian Party-waverings which amount to a weakening of the struggle against Social-Democracy, to an open lapsing into Social­ Democratic positions, and which introduce a "spirit of wavering and opportunism, a spirit of hesitation and demoralization." (Stalin.) 

Comrade Ercoli asks us what is the explanation of the fact that Social-Democracy managed to execute this maneuver, to unfold a new series of theories and arguments in defense of the treachery of German Social-Democracy. We answer that it is just because the offensive of the sections of the Comintern against international So­cial-Democracy has not been strong enough. There have been people who began to doubt whether Social-Democracy, after the blow inflicted on it by the Hitler government, is the main social bul­wark. of the bourgeoisie. As though the question of the social func­tion of the Welses and Blums were decided by the form of bour­geois dictatorship! 

The main question determining the role of Social-Democracy in the system of bourgeois dictatorship is whether Social-Democracy after Hitler's coming to power continues to be an agent of capital within the working da, an agent which splits the ranks of the pro­letariat and thereby facilitates the victory of fascism, and con­sequently whether it helps to preserve capitalism. 

Has the position of Social-Democracy changed, since it was ex­pelled from the Reichstag, on the question of the attitude towards the Communist Party, towards the Soviet Union, towards proletarian revolution, towards the class struggle, towards the united front for repulsing fascism, etc.? 

No, comrades, and hence the conclusion is that Social-Democ­racy remains, a was correctly stated in the theses, the main social bulwark of the bourgeoisie. 

Thirdly, the Communist Parties, with the exception of the Japanese, the Chinese, and perhaps the French, have made insuffi­cient use of the menace of imperialist war for mobilizing the masse for a struggle against chauvinism and the war danger. And here the blame lies on a fatalist argument which has penetrated into our ranks; somewhere or other attempts are being made to interpret the these given by Lenin to the delegation to the Hague Conference as meaning that it is impossible to hinder the coming of imperialist war, that a real revolution will only begin as a result of a new im­perialist war. This is a mistake, comrades. 

The Comintern and its sections would present a pretty spectacle indeed if at the moment of an attack on the U.S.S.R. by the capital­ist world we began to wait for capitalism to bleed to death before commencing militant action upon it. 

Remember, comrades, that in the struggle against the prepara­tions for an out-and-out reactionary imperialist war of the capitalist world against the U.S.S.R., you in your countries will have to parry the full brunt of the class enemy's blow under conditions of frenzied terrorism and chauvinism. You should be ready for this, because there can be no faint-heartedness or retreat. Though the sections of the Comintern are not sufficiently strong organizationally, though the class enemy may seem strong to them with his threat of tanks, guns, all sorts of armaments on land, on sea and in the air---still our strength is not yet fully developed, it is as yet in a state of potentiality. 

One thing which distinguishes bourgeois from proletarian dic­tatorship is the fact that in bourgeois dictatorship there is a deep gulf between the aims and interests which it upholds and its multi farious mass basis. In proletarian dictatorship there is no such gulf. 

But it is just this gulf in bourgeois dictatorship, including fascist dictatorship, which forms its organic defect, leading inevitably to shiftings and "leakages" in its mass basis.

Ir must not be forgotten that those same people who went to war in August 1914 with patriotic songs, with bayonets decked with Rowers, by the end of the war were using these bayonets to stab tlteir officers. The forces of reaction least of all reveal social stab­ility; they are quagmires, they are subjected to subterranean shocks, to shakings of the ground under their feet. 

The processes by which the masses desert fascism are inevitable, and they are already beginning in Germany. It is just because of this that we cannot speak of an interruption in the development of the revolutionary process in Germany. The maturing of the crisis in Germany has not come to an end; it has only taken on other forms, it is developing by zig-zags instead of a direct upward line. 

There are some comrades who say that the setting up of a fascist dictatorship in Germany inflicts the severest defeat on the whole in­ternational working class. There can be no doubt that the victory of fascism in Germany is a severe blow not only for the German working class . But then the world working class has won tremen­dous victories during this year in China and in the Soviet Union. It is impossible to base one's estimate of the correlation of forces on one individual country alone. Today it is necessary to speak,'' as Com­rade Stalin said, "of proletarian world revolution, for the separate national fronts of capital have become links in a single chain called the world front of imperialism ... " The victories won in China and the U.S.S.R. have turned the scale of the correlation of class forces on the international arena in favor of the proletariat. And the processes of revolutionary fermentation in the colonies have had an effect in the same direction. They have not everywhere been mani­fested in forms of strife, but imperialism has not consolidated its position in the colonies. The differentiation of the national revolu­tionary movement has weakened the sweep of this movement, but it has strengthened the influence of the Communist Parties over the sections of the toiler who are deserting the national reformists. In Manchuria at the present time there are over 100,000 partisans as compared with the several hundred thousand there were previously but this movement is not under the leadership of General Ma or Su Ping-wen, but under the leadership of chiefs who have been pro­moted by the masses themselves. 

Furthermore, the past year has been characterized by an upsurge of the national revolutionary movement in Arabian countries (Syria, Palestine, Algeria, Tunis, etc.). But there can be no doubt that the greatest successes of all have been gained by the Chinese revolu­tion in the Soviet districts. The Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Soviets, the Chinese Red Army-this is not simply a move­ment but an organized workers' and peasants' state, a state better organized and more civilized than any capitalist state. In this state the headsman's axe is unknown, the fruits of human genius are not consigned to the bonfire; this state is recognized by the most rabid enemies of the Chinese revolution as the firmest and most stable government in China.

This state has already become a serious factor in international politics; it is carrying on negotiations with the governments of in­dividual provinces; the most powerful capitalist states have to reckon with its existence; the Chinese Soviets today are already threatening the flank of Japanese imperialism, constituting a factor which is holding up the latter's offensive against the Soviet Union, for the Japanese imperialists understand that in the event of an act of ag­gression against the U.S.S.R. 400,000,000 Chinese will be set in motion and that the Chinese Soviet may place themselves at the head of a movement for the national-revolutionary liberation of China from the yoke of the imperialists, for clearing Manchuria and Northern China from the army of occupation of the Japanese robbers. The successes of Soviet China do not only render the Chinese revolution invincible; they also strengthen the positions of the world working class in the struggle with the bourgeoisie and make Soviet China a most important element in the world revolutionary crisis which is maturing. 

And what is happening in the U.S.S.R.? Here it is not a case imply of the Magnitogorsk blast furnaces and the lights of Dniepro­stroy. The fact that the Donbas is now for the first time after several years fulfilling its extremely intensive program of coal pro­ duction, that the land of socialist construction is now approaching a figure of 26,000 ton of pig-iron per day-this is only one mall isolated illustration against the magnificent background of the pic­ture of the present day and the near future which is unfolding be fore us. This year we have gathered in a magnificent harvest, the autumn sowing campaign has been carried out in an efficient manner by the collective farms a mighty work ha been carried out by millions of collective farmers in the struggle against weeds. In our country there has never been such a high quality of sowing, such a careful tillage of the soil, as there has been this year. The land has been ploughed up in preparation for the spring sowing of industrial crops in a way that old Russia never knew. Our leader, our teacher, our tried and trusted battle-leader and great strategist of the world proletarian revolution, Comrade Stalin (loud applause) has told the Party and the country of the toilers that this year must be the last year of our difficulties, and the whole Party and the country are working with pertinacity with indomitable energy to carry this slo­gan into effect. At the present time we arc working at pig-breeding and putting into this task all our revolutionary ardor, Bolshevik vigor, all the flaming energy of former fighters on the front of the civil war. Next spring we will develop poultry-breeding on a mass scale, knowing that the world revolutionary crisis is hatching in the Soviet egg; during the next two years we will increase the quantity of cattle and we are convinced that the Soviet Yaroslavl cow will gore not only fa ci m but the whole of world capitalism. You un­derstand why it is that during the past year there has been an unexampled strengthening of the collective farm system in our country, based on a marked increase in the value of the workday in the collective farm. Last year a collective farm where a fanner obtained· 3-4 kilos for one workday was reckoned a good collective farm, whereas in the present year such collective farms are not much in favor with us. Thanks to the correct general line of our Pany, the present year has brought with it a strengthening of labor discipline on the collective farms, strengthening of the socialist at­titude to labor, and increased faith in the Party and the Soviet power among the collective farm masses. This is especially striking among the women collective farmers. I can assure you that the non-Party women of our collective farms have a stronger and sounder as­surance in regard to the perspective of the revolution than has, for example, the ex-member of the E.C.C.I., Remmele. The collect­ivization of agriculture, developed on the basis of the technical rev­olution which we have effected, has smashed to pieces the old division of labor under which the woman collective farmer only did house­work. She has now taken her place at the wheel of the tractor and the harvester combine; she has become the mechanic of a threshing machine, she has gone to plough the fields. The woman collective farmer, yesterday the slave of household chores, has come to feel herself a mistress of the new collective farm system enjoying equal rights with the men; her class consciousness has grown unbelievably, and the Soviet power is now winning over new millions of such women, awakened to political life by the collective farm revolution, as conscious builders of the socialist society. 

During this year the basis of the proletarian dictatorship has broadened in the countryside and in the town. A crushing blow has been inflicted on the kulak and his wrecking work-a blow from which he will never recover. The collective farms have become the unshakable foundation of our Soviet system. And all this helps to increase the defensive capacity of the Soviet Union. It is here not only a question of the technical arming of the Red Army but of the political arming of the Party and the Soviet power with the devotion of millions of toilers. The overcoming of our difficulties which we are about to effect is exercising and will exercise a tre­mendous revolutionizing influence over the toiling masses of capital­ist countries. And if by successfully fulfilling the first Five-Year Plan we have shown the whole world that only socialism can ensure a mighty development of the productive force, then by overcoming our difficulties at the beginning of the Second Five-Year Plan we are convincing all the toilers that only socialism can guarantee the highest standards of living among the masses and their material welfare. Do you feel, comrades what a mighty weapon you are receiving in your struggle against capitalism and Social-Democracy? To the German proletarians, our class and Party brothers, imprisoned in the fascist jails and concentration camps, this Plenum must say: we hear you, brothers, we are proud of your struggle, suffer for your afflictions. Thousands of hammers are beating in the Soviet land, smashing the shell of the old world, deepening the rifts in the capitalist system and bringing nearer the hour of deliverance to the whole world proletariat. 

Next

IV. The Tasks of the Communist Parties