*This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Marxist and a
long time fighter for real socialism, Ted Grant.*
*As part of the run up to this I will be posting many articles written by
him that many could still learn from even today.*
*Such as this one which talks about the Communist International and the
need for proletarian internationalism.*
*Many parties in the States gave up on this idea long ago, even some who
came out of the the SWP/USA and who have now degenerated from the ABC's of
Marxism on the National Question, Proletarian internationalism and what
anti-imperialism is, to supporting petty BOURGEOIS nationalists , capitalist
forces and the most reactionary elements of some religious groupings and
tail ending after Stalinist foreign policy.*
*I do this on my own, so others may learn from history because some still
repeat the errors of the past.*
Ted GrantThe Rise and Fall of the Communist International
Written: June 1943
Source: *The Unbroken Thread*
First published: Workers' International News, Vol. 5 No.
Transcription/Markup: Emil 1998
Proofread: Emil 1998
The Third International has been officially buried. In the most undignified
and contemptible fashion it would be possible to conceive, it has passed
off the stage of history. Hurriedly and without consultation with all the
adhering parties, not to speak of the rank and file throughout the world,
without any democratic discussion and decision, as the result of the
pressure of American imperialism, Stalin has perfidiously abandoned the
To understand how it is that this organisation which aroused the terror and
hatred of the whole capitalist world has come to such an inglorious end at
the bidding of capitalism, it is necessary to review briefly the stormy
rise and even stormier decline of the International. The decree for its
dissolution was merely an acknowledgement of what has long been known to
all informed people; that the Comintern as a factor making for world
socialism was dead and had departed forever from its original aims and
purposes. Its demise was predicted and foreseen long in advance.
The Third International grew out of the collapse of capitalism in the last
war. The Russian revolution sent a wave of revolutionary fervour through
the ranks of the working class throughout the world. To the war-weary,
disillusioned and embittered masses, it came as a message of hope, of
inspiration and courage, it showed the way out of the bloody chaos into
which capitalism had plunged society. It was born as a direct consequence
of the betrayal and breakdown of the Second International which supported
the ruling classes in the last war.
The breakdown of imperialism and capitalism was signalled by the
revolutions in Germany, Austria, Hungary, revolutionary situations in
Italy, France and even Britain. The spectre of socialist revolution hung
all over Europe. The memoirs and writings of nearly all the bourgeois
politicians of that time bear witness to the despair, the lack of
confidence of the bourgeoisie in the face of the fact that they had lost
control of the situation. Social democracy saved capitalism.
The powerful trade-union and socialist bureaucracies placed themselves at
the head of the upsurge of the masses and diverted it into harmless
channels. In Germany, Noske
Scheidemann conspired with the junkers and capitalists to destroy the
revolution. The soviets of workers, soldiers, sailors, peasants and even
students, which had issued from the November revolution of 1918, held power
in their hands. The social democrats handed the power back to the
Gradually, slowly, peacefully, as their theoretical conceptions explained
it, they would transform capitalism into socialism. In Italy, by 1920 the
workers had seized the factories. Instead of leading the workers to the
conquest of power, the Socialist Party bade them cease 'unconstitutional'
procedure. So it was throughout Europe. The results of this programme are
evident today. The worst tyranny and the bloodiest war in the history of
capitalism. But precisely because of the breakdown of international
socialism in the Second International, which had betrayed Marxism, the
Third International was formed.
As early as the beginning of the last war (First World War) Lenin had
courageously issued the call for the Third International. The Third
International was formally inaugurated in March 1919. Its declared aims and
objects were the overthrow of world capitalism and the construction of a
world chain of united soviet socialist republics to join up with the USSR,
which itself was not conceived as an independent entity but merely as the
base for the world revolution. Its fate would be determined and was bound
up with the fate of the world revolution.
The formation of the Third International swiftly led to the creation of
mighty communist parties throughout the most important countries in the
world. In Germany, France, Czechoslovakia and other countries, communist
parties with a mass membership were created. In Britain a small communist
party was formed which wielded considerable influence. The success of the
world revolution in the next period seemed assured by the development of
events. The communist parties in Europe were steadily increasing in numbers
and influence at the expense of the social democracy.
The last war had not succeeded in solving any of the problems of world
capitalism. In fact it had aggravated them. Capitalism had broken down at
its 'weakest link' as Lenin expressed it. The attempts to destroy the young
Soviet Republic by the wars of intervention had completely failed. German
capitalism, the mightiest in Europe, found itself stripped of its
resources, part of its territory, burdened with staggering reparation
payments, and generally placed in an impossible position. British and
French imperialists, the 'victors' in the last world war, were in a
position fundamentally not much better.
Encouraged by the Russian revolution, the colonial and semi-colonial masses
were stirring and preparing to revolt. The masses at home were restless and
uneasy and the economic position of Anglo-French imperialism had worsened
considerably in comparison with that of Japanese and American capitalism.
It was on this international background that the crisis broke out in
Germany in 1923. Germany with her high productive capacity was crippled by
the restrictions imposed by
had now become the weakest link in the chain of world capitalism.
The failure of Germany to pay the instalments on the reparations resulted
in the French capitalists marching into the Ruhr. This helped to complete
the collapse of the German economy, and the German bourgeoisie endeavoured
to unload the burdens onto the shoulders of the working and middle classes.
The mark fell in value from 20 to 40 to the pound in January, to 5 million
in July and 47 million at the end of August. The indignant German masses
turned towards communism.
As Brandler, the then leader of the Communist Party, stated at the meeting
of the Executive Committee of the Comintern: "There were signs of a rising
revolutionary movement: We had temporarily the majority of the workers
behind us, and in this situation believed that under favourable
circumstances we would proceed immediately to the attack..." But
unfortunately the leadership of the International failed to stand up to the
test and take advantage of the opportunity. Success in Germany would
inevitably have led to victory throughout Europe. But as in Russia of 1917,
so in Germany of 1923, sections of the leadership vacillated.
Stalin, with his organic opportunism, urged that the German party be
'curbed' from taking any action. The result was that the favourable
opportunity to take power in Germany was missed and the communists in
Germany suffered defeat. For similar reasons the revolution in Bulgaria
also suffered shipwreck. But the defeats of the revolution in Europe caused
by the failure of the leadership inevitably led to serious consequences. As
Lenin had written, urging the necessity to prepare for the insurrection, in
Russia in 1917: "The success of the Russian and world revolution depends
upon two or three days'
The failure of the world revolution and the isolation of the Soviet Union,
taken in conjunction with its backwardness, the weariness and apathy of the
Soviet masses who had gone through years of war, terrible privations and
suffering during the course of the civil war and the intervention, their
disillusionment and despair at the failure of their hopes of aid from the
workers of Europe: all this led inevitably to reaction within the USSR.
Reflecting at the time, perhaps unconsciously, the interests of the
reactionary and conservative bureaucracy which was just beginning to raise
itself above the Soviet masses, Stalin for the first time in 1924 came
forward with the utopian and anti-Leninist theory of 'socialism in one
country'. This 'theory' sprang directly from the defeat which the
revolution had suffered in Germany. It indicated a turning away from the
principles of revolutionary internationalism on which the Russian
revolution had been based and on which the Communist International was
Stalin, at the funeral of Lenin in January 1924, from force of habit
following in the tradition of the Russian revolution declared: "In leaving
us Comrade Lenin enjoined on us fidelity to the Communist International. We
swear to thee, Comrade Lenin, to devote our lives to the enlargement and
strengthening of the union of workers of the whole world, the Communist
International."[Quoted in Trotsky's *Stalin*, chapter 12, part 2] At that
time he had not the slightest notion of whither the theory of socialism in
one country would lead the Soviet Union and the Comintern.
The history of the Comintern since those days has been largely bound up
with the fluctuating policies of the bureaucracy of the USSR. Lenin had
insistently linked the fate of the Soviet Union with that of the world
working class, and principally of its vanguard the Comintern. Even the oath
of the Red Army pledged the red soldiers to loyalty to the international
working class. Indeed the Red Army was not regarded as an independent
'national' force, but as one of the instruments of the world revolution.
Of course, all this has long since been altered by Stalin. Trotsky, in
conjunction with Lenin who, in his last years, viewed the developing
situation with alarm, had already begun the struggle against the
bureaucratisation of the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet State in 1923.
Lenin was warning of the dangers of degeneration which threatened the
On the background of the growing reaction, nationally and internationally,
the struggle between the internationalists and the
into an acute stage. Trotsky, in alliance with Lenin, had demanded the
restoration of complete democracy within the Bolshevik Party and the
soviets. Lenin, in pursuit of this objective, had demanded the removal of
Stalin from the post of General Secretary of the party because he had
become the focal point around which the bureaucracy was crystallising.
After Lenin's death, Zinoviev,
Stalin, 'the troika' secured a decision disregarding Lenin's advice by the
Central Committee and commenced a campaign against Lenin's ideas which were
being put forward by Trotsky, with the spurious invention and legend of
'Trotskyism'. The fate of the Comintern was linked with the fate of the
Bolshevik Party of the Soviet union which, through its prestige and
experience, was naturally the dominant force in the International.
The transition from the policy of world revolution to that of socialism in
one country expressed a sharp turn to the right in the Comintern. In
Russia, Zinoviev and Kamenev were forced into opposition by the
anti-Marxian policy now being developed by Stalin. They were thrust into an
alliance with Trotsky and his supporters. Stalin, together with Bukharin,
opposed the policy of industrialising Russia through a series of five year
plans suggested by the Left Opposition led by Trotsky and came out with his
famous aphorism at the plenary meeting of the Central Committee in April
1927 that 'to attempt to build the Dnieperstroy hydro-electric station
would be the same thing for us as for a
buy a gramophone instead of a cow'. [Quoted in Trotsky's *The Revolution
Betrayed*, chapter 2
As late as the end of 1927, during the preparations for the Fifteenth Party
Congress, whose task was to expel the Left Opposition, Molotov said
repeatedly: "We must not slip down into poor peasant illusions about the
collectivisation of the broad masses. In the present circumstances it is no
longer possible."[Quoted in Trotsky's *The Revolution Betrayed*, chapter 2
Russia the policy was to allow the kulaks (rich peasants) and the Nepmen
(capitalists in the towns - so-called after the New Economic Policy of
1921), full scope for economic development. This policy was perfectly
typified by the slogan coined by Bukharin with the full support of Stalin,
given out to the peasantry: 'Enrich yourselves!'
The policy of the Comintern was now pushed far to the right with the
preoccupation of Stalin to find allies to 'defend the Soviet Union from
attack'. The Comintern was already being reduced to the role of a border
guard. The disagreements within the Bolshevik Party and the International
flared up over the question of the Chinese revolution and the situation in
Britain. In China during 1925-7 the revolution was stirring up the millions
of Asia into action. The Comintern, instead of relying on the workers and
peasants to carry through the revolution, as was the Leninist policy in
Russia, preferred to rely on the Chinese capitalists and generals.
The Left Opposition warned of the consequences of this policy. The Chinese
Communist Party was the sole workers' party in China and had a dominating
influence over the working class; the peasantry were looking towards the
example in Russia to show them the way out of their centuries-long
suffering at the bands of the landlords, through the seizure of the land.
But the Comintern stubbornly refused to take the road of working-class
independence which Lenin had insisted on as the prerequisite for communist
policy in relation to the bourgeois-democratic and anti-imperialist
revolutions in the East.
Meanwhile a similar policy was pursued in Britain where the masses were
undergoing a process of intense radicalisation. As a means of struggling
against intervention against the Soviet Union the Russian trade unions made
an agreement with the General Council of the TUC. The tendency towards
revolutionary developments in Britain is seen in the fact that a million
members, a quarter of the trade-union membership, were organised in the
Trotsky, analysing the situation in Britain, had predicted the outbreak of
a general strike.
The task of the Communist Party and the Communist International should have
been to prepare the workers for the inevitability of a betrayal on the part
of the trade-union leadership. Instead, they sowed illusions in the minds
of the workers, especially as the trade-union bureaucrats had covered
themselves with the agreement with the Russian trade unions, whose prestige
they utilised as a cloak. After the betrayal of the 1926 general strike by
the trade-union bureaucracy, Trotsky demanded that the Russian trade unions
should break off relations with the TUC. This Stalin and the Comintern
refused to do.
After using the Anglo-Russian Committee for as long as they needed, more
than a year after the General Strike, the British trade-union leadership
broke off relations. The Comintern let out a howl that they had been
betrayed. But meanwhile the young Communist Party of Great Britain which
should have increased its membership by leaps and bounds as a result of
these great events, was paralysed and disorientated by the policy of the
International, was completely discredited and dwindled in influence among
the masses. These further defeats of the International, due directly to the
policy of Stalin and the bureaucracy, at first sight paradoxically,
increased the power of the bureaucracy within the Soviet Union.
The Soviet masses were further disheartened and disillusioned by these new
defeats of the international proletariat and suffered a further decline in
spirits. The defeats which had been a direct consequence of the policy of
Stalin and the bureaucracy further strengthened its hold on the Soviet
Union. The Left Opposition led by Trotsky which had correctly analysed and
forecast these developments was now expelled from the Bolshevik Party and
from the International.
The internal results of Stalin's policy now began to bear fruit in the
alarming growth of the strength and influence of the kulaks and of the
Nepmen. The Soviet Union stood on the brink of disaster. In panic and
terror Stalin and the bureaucracy were compelled to adopt a caricature of
the very policy for which Trotsky and his co-thinkers had been expelled. In
Russia the Five Year Plans against which Stalin had so strenuously fought
It is on the basis of this planned production that the Soviet Union
achieved its greatest successes and on which the present day USSR bases
itself in war. Meanwhile the panic turn to the left internally was
reflected in a panic turn to the left internationally. Stalin had burned
his fingers badly in his attempts to lean on capitalist elements in China
and to conciliate social democracy. Now he veered the International sharply
in the opposite direction. In violation of its statutes the International
did not hold a conference for four years. A new conference was called which
introduced officially the programme of the Communist International. It also
proclaimed the end of capitalist stability and the beginning of what was
termed the 'Third Period'. This was supposed to usher in the period of the
final collapse of world capitalism. At the same time the social democracy,
according to the once-famous (but now buried) theory of Stalin, was
supposed to have transformed itself into 'social fascism'. No agreements
were now possible with 'social fascists' who constituted the main danger
confronting the working class and must be destroyed.
It was just at this period that the unprecedented slump of 1929-33 affected
the world. In particular it hit Germany. The German workers were thrust
into a position of degradation and misery and the middle classes were
ruined. Germany's unemployment figure rose steadily till at the peak it
reached 8,000,000. The middle class, having failed to receive anything from
the revolution of 1918, and disappointed with the failure of the communists
in 1923 to take power, now in anguish and despair began to look for a
solution to their problems in a different direction.
Subsidised and financed by the capitalists, the fascists began to secure a
mass basis in Germany. In the elections of September 1930, they secured
nearly six and a half million votes. Despite their expulsion from the
Communist International, Trotsky and his followers still considered
themselves as part of it and insistently demanded that they be allowed to
return to the ranks. At the same time they subjected the suicidal theory,
which had now been adopted by the Comintern, to a sharp criticism. In place
of it they demanded a return to the realistic Leninist policy of the united
a means of winning the masses in action and through their own experience,
With the victory of Hitler at the polls Trotsky sounded the alarm. In a
pamphlet entitled *The Turn in the Communist International - the Situation
in Germany *he issued a signal for a campaign, which was carried on for
three years by the International Left Opposition of the Comintern, as the
Trotskyists looked on themselves. In Germany, France, USA, Britain, in far
away South Africa, and in all countries where they had groups, the
Trotskyists conducted a campaign demanding that the German Communist Party
set into motion a campaign for a united front with the Social Democrats to
prevent Hitler from coming to power.
At the direct instructions and bidding from Stalin and the Comintern, the
German Communist Party denounced this policy as a counter-revolutionary
'social fascist' one. They insistently fought against social democracy as
the 'main enemy' of the working class and argued that there was no
difference between democracy and fascism. In September 1930, the *Rote Fahne
*, organ of the German CP proclaimed: "Last night was Herr Hitler's
greatest day, but the so-called election victory of the nazis is the
beginning of the end." [September 15, 1930]
Right throughout these years the Comintern continued its fatal course. When
Hitler organised a referendum in 1931 to oust the Social Democratic
government in Prussia, at the direct insistence of Stalin and the Comintern
the German communists voted with the nazis against the social democrats. As
late as May 1932, the British *Daily Worker *could proudly indict the
Trotskyists for their policy in Germany thus: "It is significant that
Trotsky has come out in defence of a united front between communist and
social democratic parties against fascism. No more disruptive and
counter-revolutionary class lead could possibly have been given at the time
like the present."
Meanwhile Trotsky had written four pamphlets and dozens of articles and
manifestos; everywhere the international Trotskyists explored every avenue
to exert pressure on the Comintern to change its policy. In vain. In
January 1933 Hitler was enabled to take power without any organised
opposition whatsoever in a country with the most highly organised working
class and with the strongest Communist Party outside of Russia.
For the first time in history reaction was enabled to conquer power without
any resistance on the part of the working class. The German CP numbered
6,000,000 supporters, the Social Democracy numbered 8,000,000 - together
they were the mightiest force in Germany. By this betrayal, the German CP
was doomed forever.
But the Comintern was far from recognising the nature of the catastrophe.
Instead, it solemnly endorsed the policy of the German CP and of the
International as having been perfectly correct. An organisation which
cannot learn from the lessons of history is doomed. As a force for world
socialism, the Communist International was dead. The International Left
Opposition broke away and proclaimed the necessity of a new international.
But what was apparent to the vanguard who had abandoned the attempt to
reform the Comintern, could not be apparent to the broad masses. Only great
events could teach them.
The Communist International continued to carry on this false policy right
up to 1934. When the fascists in France, encouraged by the successes of
fascism in Austria and Germany, conducted armed demonstrations for the
overthrow of the Liberal government and parliament, the CP issued orders to
demonstrate with them. But now the full danger which Hitler represented to
the Soviet Union was apparent to everyone. Stalin and the bureaucracy
became panic-stricken. Contemptuous and cynical of the capacity of the
Comintern as an instrument of world revolution, Stalin more openly
converted it into an instrument of Russian foreign policy.
An organisation in class society which ceases to represent the working
class inevitably falls under the pressure and influence of the bourgeoisie.
Stalin, in his search for allies, now turned to the bourgeoisie of Britain
and France. The 'Popular Front' policy was initiated and endorsed at the
last Congress of the International held in 1935. This policy of coalition
with the Liberal capitalists is one against which Lenin had struggled all
his life. It represented a new stage in the degeneration of the Comintern
and the first workers' state.
With the rise of Hitler, again due to the policies of Stalin, the
stranglehold of the bureaucracy within the Soviet Union was further
increased. Higher over the Soviet masses has the bureaucratic caste raised
itself and increased its power. But this progressive degeneration has had
qualitative changes. From merely being incapable of insuring anything but
defeats for the world working class, Stalinism has become opposed to the
workers' revolution in other countries. The Moscow trials, the murder of
the old Bolsheviks, the purges, the murder and exile of tens of thousands
of the flower of the Russian communist workers, completed the Stalinist
counter-revolution within the Soviet Union.
Events in France and
fresh in every revolutionary's mind. The Comintern played the main role in
destroying the revolution which could have been accomplished. Indeed, it
revealed itself as the fighting vanguard of the counter-revolution. The
defeats of the world working class inevitably led to the new world war.
Ironically, the war was ushered in by a pact between Hitler and Stalin.
Thus Stalin dealt new blows to the world working class and the Comintern.
It now executed a somersault and conducted a campaign for peace in the
interests of Hitler, with a skilful counterfeit of a 'revolutionary' policy.
As Trotsky forecast in his prediction of the Stalin-Hitler agreement in an
article written in March 1933:
"The fundamental trait of Stalin's international policy in recent years has
been this: that he trades in the working-class movements just as he trades
in oil, manganese and other goods. In this statement there is not an iota
of exaggeration. Stalin looks upon the sections of the Comintern in various
countries and upon the liberating struggle of the oppressed nations as so
much small change in deals with imperialist powers. When he requires the
aid of France, he subjects the French proletariat to the radical
bourgeoisie. When he has to support China against Japan, he subjects the
Chinese proletariat to the Kuomintang. What would he do in the event of an
agreement with Hitler? Hitler, to be sure, does not particularly require
Stalin's assistance to strangle the German Communist Party. The
insignificant state in which the latter finds itself has moreover been
assured by its entire preceding policy. But it is very likely that Stalin
would agree to cut off all subsidies for illegal work in Germany. This is
one of the most minor concessions that he would have to make and he would
be quite willing to make it. One should also assume that the noisy,
hysterical and hollow campaign against fascism which the Comintern has been
conducting for the last few years will be slyly squelched."
This policy of Stalin and the 'stinking corpse' of the Comintern suffered
irretrievable ruin when the nazis invaded the Soviet Union. The Comintern
had to execute a right about turn and convert itself once again into a
doormat for Roosevelt and British imperialism. But with the increased
dependence of Stalin on American and British imperialism, has come the
increased pressure on the part of capitalist 'allies'. American imperialism
especially has demanded the ending of the Comintern as a final guarantee
against the danger of social revolution in Europe after the downfall of
The long drawn-out pretence is over. Stalin has dissolved the degenerate
Comintern. In doing so he openly announces his stepping over to the side of
the capitalist counter-revolution as far as the rest of the world is
concerned. But the imperialists, in forcing Stalin to make this trade in
return for concessions and bargains on their part, have not understood the
consequences this will have. It cannot and will not prevent the coming of
new revolutions throughout the world. In the less than two decades since
the beginning of its degeneration, the Comintern has ruined many favourable
situations in many countries.
The coming decades will witness many revolutions with the breakdown and
collapse of capitalism. Even the violently disturbed epoch of the period
between the wars will seem comparatively tranquil compared to the period
which lies ahead. On this background of storms and upheavals a real
instrument of world revolution will be created. What the workers lacked in
the last decades, outside Russia, was a workers' Bolshevik Party and a
Bolshevik leadership. The great days of the Comintern of 1917-23 will live
again. The growth in support for the ideas of Marxism internationally,
based on the traditions of Bolshevism, the rich experience of the past, and
learning the lessons of defeats of the working class, can once again lead
the oppressed to the overthrow of capitalism and to the world socialist
wing SPD leaders. Gustav Noske, as minister of war, organised suppression
of the January 1919 uprising of the German workers and sanctioned the
murder of Luxemburg and Liebknecht. Philipp Scheidemann became Chancellor
in 1919. The Junkers were reactionary Prussian aristocrats who dominated
the military and civil service until the 1930s. See: *Germany - From
Revolution to Counter-Revolution *by Rob Sewell (Fortress).
Treaty of Versailles signed in 1919 imposed harsh terms on Germany at the
end of the First World War.
Thermidor: a term used to describe political reaction without a social
counter-revolution. Derived from analogy with the shift of power in the
French revolution in the month of Thermidor (July) 1794 when the radical
Jacobins led by Robespierre were overthrown by a right wing coup, whilst
leaving the fundamental gains of the (capitalist) social revolution intact.
Thus Thermidorians: supporters of political reaction in Russia.
Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev were Old Bolsheviks. The former was the first
president of the Communist International, the later was one-time deputy to
Lenin. Both were opposed at the time to the Soviet seizure of power in
October 1917. Later, together with Stalin, they blocked the implementation
and denied the existence of Lenin's Testament, which called for Stalin's
removal as General Secretary. Both were executed in the 1936 purge trials.
Russian term for peasants.
organisation that brought together the left in the British trade unions in
the 1920's. It was initiated and largely led by the Communist Party.
united front was conceived as a temporary agreement between mass workers'
organisations, for action on specific issues, while retaining independence
front governments were elected in Spain in February 1936 and in France in
June 1936. As in Spain, the French workers immediately moved into action,
occupying factories, establishing workers' committees. In both countries
the popular front government acted as a strike breaking force, in Spain
opening the way for Franco's fascist uprising in July 1936.
Ted GrantStalin scraps �Internationale�
Written: January 1944
Source: *Socialist Appeal*, vol. 5 no. 25 (January 1944)
Transcription: Lisi 2004
Markup/Proofread:: Emil 2006
The announcement of the decision to abolish the *Internationale* as the
anthem of the Soviet Union marks a step of profound and symbolic
importance. The step has been hailed with discreet and enthusiastic
approval by the capitalist press of Britain, America and other countries.
The formerly openly pro-fascist and anti-Soviet press has revealed its
jubilation, the *Daily Mail* in its leader column pointing out its meaning
as the formal end of the �Trotskyist� idea of world revolution.
The scrapping of the *Internationale* and its substitution by a reactionary
national anthem is of course a logical development following the open
abandonment by Stalin and the bureaucracy in Russia of the hollow pretence
of standing for world Socialism by the abolition of the
It marks the consolidation, however uneasy, of the power of the Nationalist
military cliques in Russia, who are attempting to find a common language
and a common basis with the imperialists of the West. It is a further
guarantee and reassurance to the capitalist class in Britain and America
that so far as the rest of Europe and the world are concerned, Russia now
has purely �national� aims and stands on the same side of �law and order�,
i.e. capitalist property, as they do. This trend has been well understood
by the representatives of the capitalist class not only in the Governments
but the well-informed business men, journalists etc. In the *New York Times* of
October 31st, C. L. Sulzberger writes:
�Many Russians [i.e. Russian Stalinist bureaucrats in the Embassy etc. -
EG] with whom the writer has talked frankly discussed the dangers of a
communised Germany. They take the view that this would eventually turn in
the direction of Trotskyism and might conceivably begin once again,
therefore, to foment dangers for the Soviet Union�a possibility which will
at all costs have to be avoided.�
But the betrayal of the policy for which Marx and Lenin fought all their
lives is reflected not only in the abandonment of the struggle for
International Socialism but in the speeding up of the bureaucratic
degeneration of the Soviet Union. The *Observer* of December 26th, 1943
soberly assessing the significance of the new move remarks:
�The abolition of the *Internationale* as the national anthem of the Soviet
Union and its replacement, by a national and patriotic song comes at the
end of a year which has seen more fundamental changes in Russia that any
since the great revolution. The restoration of an officer corps; the
abolition of the political commissars in the army; the adoption by Stalin
of the title of Marshall; the dissolution of the Comintern; the restoration
of the Russian Church�all this together, now symbolised in the change of
the national anthem amounts to little less than a new revolution from
above, peaceful and orderly, but profound.�
Aside from the reference to a �peaceful� and �orderly� change, which is
merely introduced to indicate approval of the change, the comment is fairly
shrewd and accurate. All these steps are in a counter-revolutionary
direction and favourable to the interests of world imperialism, which is
anxiously watching the development of events in the Soviet Union.
Stalinism, which represented the interests of the officialdom in Russia,
having usurped power from the masses, is now moving at an accelerated pace
away from the ideals of the October Revolution. Power has passed from the
civil to the military bureaucracy.
The �Communist� Party faced with this new contemptuous slap in the face to
the ideals of Socialism, has, as was inevitable, attempted to justify this
new betrayal. On the first day following the news the *Daily Worker* printed
the announcement without comment. They were waiting for the �Party line�.
Then they issued a statement which claimed that nothing had been changed.
Russia had made its revolution and achieved �Socialism� and therefore the *
Internationale* no longer applied, they have argued. Apart from the fact
that the idea in making the *Internationale* the anthem of the Soviet Union
was conceived as linking the workers of Russia, and the Soviet Union
itself, to the world working class, as part of the struggle for liberation
of the world working class like all the other conceptions of Bolshevism
under Lenin�s leadership. The oath of the Red Army (long since changed)
pledged the Red Army to serve faithfully the interests of the world working
class; and the Red Army was described by Lenin as one of the arms of the
Communist International. In any case the flimsy character of the lie is
exposed when it is remembered that the Stalinists more than a decade ago
falsely announced the lie that Socialism had been established. If the *
Internationale* is not necessary now, why was it necessary then?
This declaration constitutes a new stab in the back for the Red Army and
the world working class. It will prepare the way for new blows on the part
of the Stalinist bureaucracy. Nevertheless, it should be welcomed by the
advanced worker; as helping to clear the minds of the world working class
of any illusion that Stalinism still remains a revolutionary force striving
for Socialism. It is clear that the banner of Socialism, the banner of the *
Internationale*, is now carried by the Fourth International alone.
Officially dropped by the traitor Stalinist bureaucrats, it now belongs to
us who proudly adopt the song of the Paris Commune and of the October
Revolution, the song of Marx and Engels, the song of Lenin and Trotsky, as
Comintern had been dissolved by Stalin in May 1943.
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