Anti-socialist historians generally attribute this fact to 'a loss of interest' in Comintern affairs on the part of Stalin. The historical truth is that in Stalin was removed from active leadership of the Comintern by a dominating coalition of concealed revisionists.
Collected Works by Lenin, Used
Revisionists are defined by Marxists-Leninists, as: "Elements posing as Marxist Leninists, but in fact distorting Marxism-Leninism in such a way as to serve the interests of capital. However, since the Marxist-Leninists in the Soviet Union retained control of Soviet security, it was unsafe for the revisionists in the leadership of the Comintern to pursue openly counter-revolutionary policies.
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They were, however, able to distort Marxism-Leninism along revisionist lines, i. Bukharin was ousted from the presidency of the Comintern. No new president was nominated". Franz Borkenau : op. This strategy was achieved by securing the adoption by the Communist International of a pseudo-left deviation from Marxism-Leninism in the tactics of the united front. In September , Stalin defined social-democracy as 'objectively' the 'twin' of fascism, as 'the moderate wing' of fascism: "Social-democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism.
These organisations Social-Democracy and fascism -- Ed. Josef V. Social-fascism openly shows itself up as fascism". Indeed, the very term 'social-fascism' implies: "A straight identification of social-democracy with fascism". Nicos Poulantzas: op. On this incorrect assumption -- that all social-democrats were in reality fascists - were developed the pseudo-left tactics known as ' class-against-class' : "A new tactic was gradually evolved in the Comintern, which subsequently became known officially as the 'class-against-class' tactic.
The tactic of class-against-class' was based on the assumption that the reformist organisations as a whole had already gone over completely to the side of the bourgeois class. No proper distinction was drawn between the Right-wing leaders and the rank-and-file Social-Democrats. The period of the 'class-against-class' tactics became known in the Comintern as ' the third period' : "The switch from united front' to 'class against class' tactics inaugurated what came to be known.
Bibliography in: Trotsky’s Challenge
Or, more correctly, as: "The third period of the general crisis of capitalism". The social-democrats were now presented as ' the main bulwark of the capitalist class ' and so as ' the main enemy ' of the working class, against whom the main blow should be directed.
The main blow. Even at the 13th Plenum in December , after the Nazis had seized power, Wilhelm Pieck was still insisting that: "Social-Democracy is fulfilling its task today as the main bulwark of the bourgeoisie". Indeed, the 'class-against-class' deviation expressed the view that the left-wing of Social-democracy that which supported united front tactics was "m ore dangerous" than the right-wing that which opposed united front tactics.
For example, at the 10th Plenum in July "The communist parties were set the task of decisively intensifying the struggle against Social-Democracy and especially against its 'Left ' wing. Equating Social-Democracy. Under the 'class-against-class' tactics, a united front was therefore permissible only from below , that is, with the rank-and-file of the social-democratic party: "An important question. Jane Degras Ed. The new tactic implied the abandonment of the Marxist-Leninist tactic of the united front : "The new left policy summarised in the 'class against class' slogan implied the abandonment of united front tactics.
This tactic, instead of exposing the social-democratic leaders as saboteurs of the united front against fascism, helped these leaders to conceal their role in this capacity. This in effect implied that the united front could unite only workers who consciously supported the Communists, leaving the workers who followed the lead of the reformists beyond the pale of the united front.
During this period, too, the Communist International rejected the concept that there was a qualitative difference between bourgeois democracy and fascism, so rejecting the concept that the working class had an interest in defending bourgeois democracy against the threat of fascism. And a resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany in May stated: "Any attempt to draw a contrast, in liberal fashion, between fascisrn and bourgeois democracy.
In consequence of this incorrect formulation, some existing right-wing bourgeois governments were wrongly labelled as ' fascist ', so that the danger of genuine fascism was underestimated and 'defence against fascism' was held to be no longer necessary: "The identification of bourgeois-democratic methods of rule with those of fascism led to a certain underestimation of fascism, to various bourgeois parliamentary regimes being defined as fascist regimes.
This obscured the real dimensions of the danger which the actual fascist forces represented". The mistaken concept that the Social-Democrats and not the Nazis were the principal enemy of the working class even led to a degree of collaboration between the Communist Party of Germany and the Nazi Party against the Social-Democratic Party -- as in the case of the referendum for the dissolution of the Prussian government in "The Nazis and nationalists, in , launched a referendum for the removal of the Prussian state government -- a coalition of social-democrats, liberals and catholics".
Franz Borkenau ij: op. Edward H. Carr ' ; p. The central committee of the CPG bowed to the will of Moscow". Carr : op. The central committee had at first decided to oppose the Nazi move, but were persuaded by the ECCI to reverse their position". Some party newspapers had published articles against participation. Prior to , the Second International was committed to oppose imperialist war by every means, including the general strike. The Second International was formed in as a federation of mainly European social-democratic parties, in general subscribing to Marxism.
It was built during a period of imperialist expansion and generally stable growth in the developed capitalist countries. This had a decisive effect on its character.
Important struggles were fought under the banner of the International. Major concessions were won — democratic rights, better wages, better working conditions. Out of this layer, increasingly, the leadership was drawn, together with intellectuals who decided to build their careers in the labour movement. Inevitably their ideas became affected by their surroundings. This meant that the struggle to overthrow the capitalist state could quietly be pushed into the background. The reformist tendency assumed more and more monstrous proportions. Inevitably, it led to increasing collaboration with the capitalist class.
Labour leaders became more and more involved with various organs of the state. Public positions gave them new privileges.
Lenin Collected Works: Volume 33 August 1921-March 1923
Through all these pressures a nationalist outlook was cultivated. The outlook of the social-democratic leaders was narrowed more and more to the institutions of national and local government. Their links with the international movement were reduced to mere sentiment and phrases. The catastrophic consequences of this gradual process of political degeneration broke to the surface in August , when the reformists almost unanimously came out on the side of the capitalist state.
A historic letter was sent out early in to the organizations of the revolutionary workers in different countries. It invited the organizations to a congress to be held in Moscow, and explained the purpose as follows:.
A Note from the Authors
Ferment in the colonies, ferment in the former dependent small nations, insurrections of the proletariat, victorious proletarian revolutions in some countries, dissolution of the imperialist armies…— this is the state of affairs throughout the world today…. It must destroy the rule of capital, make war impossible, abolish State frontiers, change the entire world into one cooperative community….
The inspiring advances by the working-class in , however, marked only the beginning of a drawn-out period of revolution and counter-revolution. In the ebb and flow of class battles flaring up across Europe, the workers were unable to hold on to their early gains. In Germany, large sections of workers still had illusions in the reformist SPD leadership. In November the reformists, headed by Noske and Scheidemann, were pushed into government as conscious agents of counter-revolution. But the German capitalists remained weak, and the workers movement was far from crushed.
Many more battles would have to be fought before the question of power would be settled for any length of time. Fifty-one national sections, with a total membership of 2. In Hungary, it was the ultra-left mistakes of the Communist leadership that led to the defeat of the Soviet republic. When counter-revolution struck in the form of an invasion by Romanian and Czechoslovak armies, the peasants were unwilling to fight for a government which refused their most basic demand. A massive wave of factory occupations in created a revolutionary situation, with soviets controlling the factories and Red Guards defending them.
The capitalist state was paralyzed. The task was to mobilize and arm the workers for the conquest of power. The initiative was allowed to pass to the reformists, who in turn handed power back to the capitalists — as usual, in return for some temporary concessions.