Ernst Meyer

In the International

The Tasks Before the Special Session of the Executive Committee

(17 February 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. II No. 13, 17 February 1922, pp. 95–96.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2019). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The special meeting of the Executive Committee that was to be held in Moscow at the beginning of February was postponed on account of the railway strike, which prevented a large number of the delegates from leaving Germany. The members of the Executive Committee, detained in Germany by the strike, had an opportunity of studying the attempts to solve practically the problem of common proletarian action. The experiences during the railroad strike also gave the International as a whole new material on the necessity and difficulty of creating a united proletarian front – a question that will form the central theme of all debates during the special session of the Executive Committee.

The Third Congress of the Communist International demanded on the ground of a thorough analysis of the present world situation that all the Communist Parties of all countries to establish the closest relation with the masses in order to win their confidence in Communism and the Communist parties. The time elapsed since the meeting of the Moscow Congress last summer has given enough opportunity to test the correctness of the estimate and the practicability of the tactics. The experiences of the German Party (K.P.D.) entitle it to give the first answer to the question because this party, following the March action, made a great effort to carry out the decisions of the Moscow Congress. Indefatigably and tenaciously the German Party participated in every important action of German labor. The party refused to be deviated from its road either by the reproaches of being “opportunistic” or by the attacks of the KAG. (Communist Working Union), which demanded that the K.P.D. give up its revolutionary program. The attitude of the K.P.D. during the railroad strike shows how effective its policy was. The cry of the petty-bourgeois and Social Democratic parties about the “putsch” plans of the K.P.D. fell on deaf ears among the striking workers and officials. And yet the attitude of the K.P.D. differed very distinctly from the other workers’ parties. The call of the Central Committee and of the various district and local organizations of the K.P.D. to the other workers’ organizations to fight for the strikers and against the government was not a sign of the weakness of the K.P.D. The refusal to answer this call was also proof for the non- Communist workers and officials that the K.P.D. alone sincerely supports the demands – even the daily demands – of all workers and officials. The tactics of a united front unquestionably brought the K.P.D. a great moral political success.

In Czecho-Slovakia. during the miners’ strike the Party followed similar tactics. In Austria also, the Party issued an open appeal to the workers and their organizations for a common fight against distress, poverty and the exploiters. The special session of the Executive Committee in Moscow gives the representatives of these parties a chance to report in detail upon their experiences. We are certain that even the Communist parties of Italy and France who until now saw in every appeal to the Social Democratic parties a danger of an approach to the enemies of Communism – we are certain that even these Communist parties will at last be convinced that the tactics outlined by the Third Congress can only aid Communism.

The Executive Committee, as is well known, recommended in its theses on the united front so successfully tested in Germany that they be applied not only in separate countries but also on an international scale. The conference of the capitalist powers in Genoa is an attempt to strengthen their rule over labor at the latter’s expense. The workers of the entire world must agree upon the common action of their various organizations in order to prevent at least the dire misery which the workers suffer under capitalism from being increased by new capitalist aggressions. In the measure that an international conference of the three Internationals can serve the purpose of at least defending the proletariat against the danger threatening its most elementary needs – in the same measure such a conference should be called – and especially by the Communist International. Mere show conferences are of course, not to be supported by the Communist International. The Communist International demands not words and speeches but decisions that are immediately put into action. The special session of the Executive Committee will have to decide under what circumstances the Communist International can participate in such a conference of the three Internationals. Rump conferences such as the one held recently in Paris to which proletariat organizations of only five countries were invited, should be considered as an attempt to sabotage a real international conference.

The question of reparations is closely connected with that of an international conference. The German and French parties have accomplished much preliminary labor through their common appeal in which both parties pledged themselves to carry out certain decisions. The special session of the Executive Committee will examine these joint decisions of the German and French parties as well as answer in a Communist sense the entire question of reparations which also affect the proletariat of other lands.

Then the special session will have to decide whether the policy of Soviet Russia, unanimously supported by the Third Congress, finds in is its subsequent acts, the further approval of the Communist International. The retardation of the revolutionary tempo in Central and Western Europe forced Soviet Russia to a policy of concessions which found its last expression in the contemplated participation in the Conference of Genoa. The new acts of Soviet Russia and the new tactics of the International since the Moscow Congress stand in the closest relation; they are both the result of changes in the industrial and political international situation. It is false to consider the Communist International as a mere tool of Soviet Russia. On the contrary, the internal and external policy of Soviet Russia is controlled by the joint Communist International. There is not the slightest doubt that the policy of Soviet Russia whose character was determined by the retardation of the world revolution and the abstention of the proletariat of Central and Western Europe, will once again gain the approval of all Communist parties.

Finally the session of the Executive Committe will have to take up the question of the Red Trade Union International. The organization of Communists in the trade-unions created certain difficulties in some countries. The Amsterdamers utilized this amalgamation to remove all Communist influence were it even through a split of the unions. This transparent manoeuvre of the Amsterdam bureaucracy brought the danger of a split quite near realization in France, so that the Executive Committee of the Red Trade Union International proposed a joint meeting to prevent this spit in France. The anti-Communist trade unionists tried to throw the blame for all scission on the Communists, and over-zealous trade unionists such as the K.A.G. men even demanded the cessation of all Communist trade-union activity. Of this there can, naturally, be no question; our experiences during the railroad strike in Germany show how necessary it is to strengthen the political and organizational influence of the Communists in the unions.

The deliberations of the Executive Committee will prove once more that the Communist International is a truly living organization which understands how to turn to advantage the experiences of one organization for all the others. The Communist International broke intentionally with the autonomy of separate parties. This does not prejudice, however, the development of a rich organizational and political life in the separate sections; it only makes permanent the exchange of all experiences and the closest organization, renders fruitful the political activity of each party, and strengthens the fighting force of the Communist International.

Last updated on 3 May 2019