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Party Organization in Lenin’s Comintern

November 8, 2020

Part 1: Defining Democratic Centralism

See also Part 2: Applying Democratic Centralism

Lenin at Third World Congress, where organizational theses on party organization were adopted.

By John Riddell: Many socialist groups today seek to shape their organizational principles in the spirit of “democratic centralism” identified with V.I. Lenin. Yet as historian Lars Lih has demonstrated (“Fortunes of a Formula” and “Further Fortunes of a Formula”), Lenin himself used the term only occasionally, and then with widely varying emphasis. The formula’s meaning for socialists today is in fact derived mainly from its application by the Communist International (Comintern) in Lenin’s lifetime and under his guidance (1919–23).

This article will examine how this principle was expressed in the internal functioning of the Comintern’s national parties and also in their relationship to the Comintern’s leadership, the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI).

The Shape of Democratic Centralism

The basic concept underlying “democratic centralism,” far from unfamiliar or complex, is in fact common to most voluntary organizations of working people. Its essence is simple: all group participants are engaged, either directly or through elected leaderships, in making collective decisions, and all are then obliged to help carry them out. This principle applies to workers organizing a sporting or social club as much as it does to a revolutionary socialist party. But internal democracy and discipline had a unique meaning in the Comintern that flowed from the nature of the International’s goal.

The parties of the Comintern aimed to educate, rally, and organize working people in a social revolution to overturn capitalist power and institute workers’ rule. The Russian revolution of 1917 was taken as a model of what might be achieved in the near future. This revolutionary task had to be carried out in the teeth of fierce opposition by the present ruling elite, which defended its power using every available means – from police repression to murderous military assault. A breakdown in membership discipline – that is, a failure to carry out agreed decisions – could be catastrophic for both the party as a whole and for its individual members. Disciplined functioning by members was essential not only to success but to survival.

A revolutionary party’s course of action is not predetermined; it must be deduced from the social and political context and the lessons of experience. Policy flows not from leadership decisions alone but from perceptions of the party ranks. The authority of leadership bodies flow from a democratic election process based on membership discussion of the party’s course of action.

Most revolutionary socialist groups and parties embrace these concepts, viewing them as the lesson of experience in the epoch of the Russian revolution a century ago. They often view it as an inheritance from the Bolshevik party of Russia and its central leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

The Bolshevik Experience

Two articles by historian Lars Lih survey the use of term “democratic centralism” in writings of Lenin and other leading Bolsheviks from 1905, when the term was first used, until 1923.

As Lih points out, Russian socialists attempted to apply a concept exemplified by the pre-1914 Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In Russia, it was applied by both the Menshevik and Bolshevik factions of Russian Social Democracy, but only during the limited time period of 1905-08 when socialists enjoyed a measure of democratic freedom. Apart from that interlude, severe tsarist oppression made it impossible for socialists to carry out democratic elections of party leaderships and very difficult for them to operate in a centralized fashion.

The Bolsheviks first invoked “democratic centralism” in a conference resolution, adopted late in the revolutionary year of 1905, that strongly emphasized the “democratic” nature of this policy:

Recognizing as indisputable the principle of democratic centralism, the Conference considers the broad implementation of the elective principle necessary; and, while granting elected centres full powers in matters of ideological and practical leadership, they are at the same time subject to recall, their actions are to be given broad publicity [glasnost], and they are to be strictly accountable for these activities (quoted in Lih, “Fortunes of a Formula”).

Thereafter, except for one letter to U.S. socialists in 1915, Lenin did not discuss the term democratic centralism until 1920-21, when circumstances had vastly changed. During the later period, Lih states, Lenin’s use of the term strongly emphasized the centralist imperative:

Lenin used the term in various discussions and debates that arose in response to the new and unforeseen challenges of acting as a ruling party. Didn’t the party have to defend a single line when intervening in “non-party” venues such as trade unions?  Didn’t the party have a duty to ensure that uniform policies were enforced throughout the length and breadth of the land? And so on. (“Fortunes of a Formula”)

There is barely any connection, Lih concludes, between the meaning of the term as used by Lenin in 1906-7 and in 1920-1. Democratic centralism “is in essence a homonym: two distinct formulas that use the same words.”

But Lenin’s mentions of the term are too limited to have given rise, on their own, to the “democratic centralism” concept that is embraced by many socialist groups today. The concept was certainly part of the Bolshevik vocabulary, but socialists’ understanding of this term today is chiefly an inheritance from the Communist International.

The Comintern Embraces Centralism

Gregorii Zinoviev, First
President of Comintern

The Communist International (Comintern) was founded in 1919 in a spirit of rebellion against the hypocrisy of the Second International, whose leadership had betrayed its program and congress decisions at the outbreak of world war in 1914. Forces attracted to the task of building a new, revolutionary International demanded that it be something quite different and new. The new global movement must do what it said it would do, with no gap between word and deed. The term used by Its members to describe this consistency was “centralism.”

At the Comintern’s brief and preliminary March 1919 founding congress in Moscow, no attempt was made to codify this principle. Aside from selection of a provisional Executive Committee, all organizational issues were referred to the subsequent world congress.[1]

The Second Congress took place in Moscow fifteen months later, in July–August 1920.[2] The three-week event brought together 218 delegates from 37 countries to lay down the International’s basic programmatic and organizational principles. The need for centralism was often cited in the congress, usually with reference to the International as a whole. Many delegates stressed their desire that the Comintern function as a single, centralized party, directed by a general staff based – at least initially – in Moscow. But some of the forces seeking to join the Comintern were unfamiliar with or resistant to concepts of organizational discipline.

Lenin set the tone for the congress on this issue through a short passage in his pamphlet, “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder. Written for the congress, the pamphlet was provided to the delegates in translation when they arrived in Moscow. Lenin called on Communist forces to build:

a rigorously centralised party with iron discipline, [with] the ability to become masters of every sphere, every branch, and every variety of political and cultural work.[3]

Following an opening session on the world situation, the Second Congress addressed the nature of its affiliated parties as its first item of business. Its theses on this point, adopted in the third session, stress the urgency of centralism.

14. The Communist Party must be organized on the basis of democratic centralism. The most important principle of democratic centralism is election of the higher party organs by the lowest, the fact that all instructions by a superior body are unconditionally and necessarily binding on the lower ones, and the existence of a strong central party leadership whose authority over all leading party comrades in the period between one party congress and the next is universally accepted.”[4]

This passage – balanced and flexible in its wording – is likely the most influential definition of democratic centralism expressed by the early Comintern. The Second Congress reiterated this principle in another resolution, whose main purpose was to exclude opportunist forces seeking to enter the International, namely the Twenty-One Conditions for Admission to the Comintern. Condition #12 reads:

Otto Kuusinen, chief author of
Comintern Organizational Theses

12. Parties belonging to the Communist International must be organized on the basis of the principle of democratic centralism. In the present epoch of intensified civil war, the Communist Party will be able to fulfill its duty only if it is organized in the most centralized way possible and governed by iron discipline, and if its central leadership, sustained by the confidence of the party membership, is strong, authoritative, and endowed with the fullest powers (emphasis in original).[5]

The reference to a  Communist party functioning in an “epoch of intensified civil war” evoked the experience of the Bolshevik Party of Russia, which faced counterrevolutionary revolts and invasions that were still under way when the Second Congress convened. The Bolsheviks had responded to this peril through a combination of firm discipline and vigorous internal debate on major issues before the revolution. On occasion, members joined in temporary internal tendencies or factions. Party members’ confidence in the democratic resolution of differences, through open discussion and elected conventions, was indispensable to maintenance of party unity under emergency conditions.

12. Parties belonging to the Communist International must be organized on the basis of the principle of democratic centralism. In the present epoch of intensified civil war, the Communist Party will be able to fulfill its duty only if it is organized in the most centralized way possible and governed by iron discipline, and if its central leadership, sustained by the confidence of the party membership, is strong, authoritative, and endowed with the fullest powers (emphasis in original).[5]

Condition #16 extended the principle of democratic centralism to the International as a whole, while setting limits to its application:

All decisions by congresses of the Communist International as well as by its Executive Committee are binding on all parties that belong to the Communist International…. At the same time, of course, in all their activity, the Communist International and its Executive Committee must take into account the diverse conditions under which each party has to struggle and work, adopting universally binding decisions only on questions to which such decisions are possible.

The last two of these early Comintern descriptions are unbalanced in the same way as the later statements of Lenin cited by Lih: centralism is stressed much more than the principle of democratic leadership selection, while the norms of collective policy discussion are omitted entirely.

The somewhat imbalanced presentation of democratic centralism in these two Second Congress resolutions responded to a challenge posed in absorbing the mass workers’ parties seeking admission, especially those in France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Many members of these parties, while sincere in their revolutionary aspirations, were hostile to the bureaucratic “centralism” that they associated with Social Democratic leaders that had allied with capitalist governments during the war. These parties seeking admission included some leaders, like Marcel Cachin and Jean Longuet in France, Bohumir Šmeral in Germany, and Wilhelm Dittmann in Germany, who bore a share of responsibility for this historic betrayal.

Socialists coming to the Comintern from these parties – the French SFIO, the German USPD, the Czech SPD – were imbued with the democratic traditions that predominated in the pre-1914 Second International and that had inspired internationalist currents during the war. By and large, they had a strong grasp of internal democracy but were less convinced of centralism. The congress decisions quoted here sought to address this imbalance.

The 1921 Theses on Organization

Following the Second World Congress, mass socialist parties or factions joined the Comintern in Germany, France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. The process of integrating these forces was marked by major problems and setbacks, discussion of which dominated the Third World Congress convened in June 1921. (See “The Comintern’s Great Turn of 1920-21”) The congress addressed the question of party organization through a major text, “Theses on the Organizational Structure of the Communist Parties,” drafted by Otto Kuusinen under the supervision of and with major input from Lenin.[6]

Historian Paul Le Blanc provides us with a collection of key passages in this resolution that illustrate the resolution’s respect for self-acting national leaderships and encouragement of flexible engagement in workers’ struggles. (Quotations are excerpted from Paul Le Blanc, “Democratic Centralism in the Communist International.”) Le Blanc’s selection of illustrative passages from the document is worth reproducing:

Far from being a dogmatic effort to impose ‘the Russian model’ on all Communist parties, there is an insistence on relative national autonomy:

There is no immutable, absolutely correct structure for Communist parties. The conditions of proletarian class struggle are variable and subject to a process of constant change. In line with these changes, the organization of the proletarian vanguard must also constantly seek appropriate forms. Similarly, the organization of each party must conform to the historically determined features of its country. (Thesis 2)

And then there is this insistence on leadership authority being rooted in flexibility and in close contact with the actual working class and its struggles:

To lead the revolutionary class struggle, the Communist Party and its leading bodies must combine great striking power with great capacity to adjust to the changing conditions of struggle. Successful leadership also requires close ties with the proletarian masses. Without such ties, the leaders will not lead them but at best only follow along after. (Thesis 5)

This insistence on engagement with the real, everyday struggles of the working class is a major point stressed in the document:

Communists make an enormous mistake by pointing to the Communist program or the armed struggle as excuses for passivity, scorn, or even hostility to workers’ current struggles for small improvements in their working conditions. No matter how small and modest the demands may be that the workers now pose for struggle against the capitalists, this is never cause for the Communists to stand aloof from the struggle. Of course, our agitation should not give the impression that we Communists blindly instigate unwise strikes or other rash actions. However, among the workers in struggle, the Communists should always earn the reputation of being the most competent comrades-in-arms. (Thesis 24)

One of the most important aspects of the document is its warning against the very type of centralism that has all-too-often been put forward as ‘Leninism’:

Democratic centralism in a Communist Party should be a true synthesis and fusion of centralism and proletarian democracy. This fusion can be achieved only on the foundation of constant and common activity and struggle by the entire party. (Thesis 6)

In a Communist Party, centralization should not be formal or mechanical. It should relate to Communist activity, that is, to the formation of a strong, agile, and also flexible leadership.

A formal or mechanical centralization would concentrate ‘power’ in the hands of a party bureaucracy, lording it over the other members and the revolutionary proletarian masses which are outside the party…. (Thesis 6)

The resolution criticizes the lack of genuine (as opposed to ‘formal’) democracy, a deficiency common in the parties of the Second International. It tells us:

In the organizations of the old, non-revolutionary workers’ movement, a pervasive dualism developed, similar to that of the bourgeois state, between ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘people’. Under the paralyzing influence of the bourgeois environment, functionaries became estranged from members, a vibrant collaboration was replaced by the mere forms of democracy, and the organizations became split between active functionaries and passive masses. Even the revolutionary workers’ movement cannot avoid being influenced to some degree by the formalism and dualism of the bourgeois environment. (Thesis 6)

Warnings against the wrong kind of centralism are repeated more than once:

Optimal centralization of party activity is not aided by dividing up the party leadership schematically into a hierarchy with many different levels arrayed one above the other.’ (Thesis 44)

Instead, democratically-elected committees in working-class districts and regions should guide the work of the organisation in those localities, suggesting a high degree of relative autonomy within the organisation. This is projected as a way of providing political leadership in a manner which ensures that close contact is maintained between it and the broad masses of Party members in the various locales. 

The central proposal of the Theses on how to attain such a “synthesis and fusion of centralism and proletarian democracy” is “the duty of Communists to be active so as to achieve the unity of the entire organization in collective thought and action.” The bulk of the document. beginning  with Thesis 8, presents structural guidelines for the implementation of this concept.

Inner-Party  Democracy

Theses 47 to 51 present principles for democratic functioning within the party, including the following points.

Thesis 47:

  • [Answerability] The central leadership of the party … is responsible to the party’s convention and to the leadership of the Communist International….  
  • [Inclusivity] [W]hen electing the central leadership, minority points of view on significant political issues should not be excluded. On the contrary, they should be encompassed in the leadership as a whole through their best representatives.
  • [Working majority] Whenever possible, however, the small [day-to-day] leadership should be homogeneous in outlook. In addition, in order to lead firmly and confidently, it should not have to rely only on its own authority but rather be backed by a numerically clear majority in the leadership as a whole….

Thesis 49:

  • [Right to be heard] … Every party unit and committee and every single member has the right to express their wishes and make proposals, comments, and complaints at any time directly to the party central leadership or the International.

Thesis 51:

  • [Internal debate] Party members are obligated always to conduct themselves, in all their public activity, as disciplined members of a combat organisation. When disagreements arise over a course of action, these should, if possible, be settled within the party before acting.
  • [Breadth of discussion] In order to ensure that every party decision will be carried out energetically by all party units and members, the broadest possible range of members should be involved in considering and deciding every question.
  • [Public debate] The party and its leading bodies have the responsibility of deciding whether and to what extent questions raised by individual comrades should be discussed publicly (newspapers, lectures, pamphlets).
  • [Maintaining unity] Even when some members consider a decision of the party or its leadership to be wrong, they must bear in mind in their public activity that the worst breach of discipline and the worst mistake in struggle is to disrupt the unity of the common front.
  • [Loyalty] The highest duty of every member is to defend the Communist Party and, above all, the Communist International, against all enemies of communism. Anyone who forgets this and publicly attacks the party or the Communist International must be treated as an enemy of the party.

In line with these principles, organizational splits among Communists during its early years were quite rare, and when they took place, the world movement sought to bring its moral authority to bear in an attempt to heal the breach.

For a discussion of the application of such principles today, see Party Democracy in Lenin’s Comintern– and Now.

A Campaign Party

The 1921 theses are rooted in the concept, originally developed by the SPD and other parties of the pre-1914 Second International, that the socialist party’s activity should be organized around a succession of political campaigns, each one limited in duration but engaging the entire spectrum of party resources. The Comintern resolution stressed that the entire membership should be engaged in these campaigns, proposing this involvement in part as a barrier to the bureaucratization that infected the mass parties of the Second International.

Thesis 6, as noted, calls for “a true synthesis and fusion of centralism and proletarian democracy,” which “can be achieved only on the foundation of constant and common activity and struggle of the entire party.”

Section 3 of the theses therefore proclaims “Communists’ obligation to be active.” A Communist party “should ask of everyone in its ranks to commit their energy and time to the party, to the extent possible under given circumstances” (Thesis 10). Each member should “belong to a small working group, be it a committee, collective, fraction, or cell” and “take part in general meetings of the local organisation.” (Thesis 11).

Membership energies are to be utilized, Thesis 31 explains, in “organizing political struggles” – that is, mobilization of all party resources around a specific goal:

Even if the party is still weak, it can still take advantage of major political events or strikes that shake the entire economy in order to carry out well-prepared radical propaganda initiatives. When the party decides on such an initiative, it must commit all the energy of its branches and sectors to this campaign.

All the connections that the party has acquired through the work of its cells and working groups should be used to hold meetings in the main centres where political organising or a strike movement is under way. (Thesis 31)

The first great campaigns of this type, organized to halt capitalist military intervention against the Soviet government and to bring material assistance to the impoverished Soviet republic, were strikingly successful. Such campaigns heightened the movement’s striking power and facilitated working alliances with non-Communist forces. In addition, campaigns broadened the party’s capacity to draw rank and file members into active party work.

See also Part 2: Applying Democratic Centralism 

Other Posts on Comintern Organization

Notes

[1]. See the brief report by Platten, in John Riddell, ed. Founding the Communist International, New York: Pathfinder, 1987, p. 256.

[2]. Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite! (2WC), New York, Pathfinder, 1991.

[3]. Lenin, “’Left-Wing’ Communism, an Infantile Disorder,” Appendix, in Collected Works, vol. 31, pp. 17-118.

[4]. Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite! (2WC), “Theses on the Role of the Proletarian Party,” New York, Pathfinder, 1991, p. 198.

[5]. 2WC, Theses on the Conditions for Admission,” 2:769.

[6]. Riddell, ed, To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International (3WC), Chicago: Haymarket, 2015,pp. 1–53, 978–1006.

5 Comments
  1. Geoff Mirelowitz permalink

    The Education for Socialists bulletin (available from Pathfinder Press) titled, “Background to ‘The Struggle for a Proletarian Party'” includes a brief transcript of a discussion with Leon Trotsky (and someone identified only as “M,”) dated October 6, 1937. Trotsky is speaking about the challenges facing a new party being formed in the U.S. following a period of entry in the Socialist Party but I think the ideas he raises are relevant to John’s essay here. I will cite two paragraphs:

    “…it is important to observe very strictly the statutes of the organization — regular meetings of the rank and file, discussions before conventions, regular conventions and the right of the minority to express its opinion (there should be a comradely attitude and no threats of expulsion.) You know that was never, *never* done in the old [Russian] party. Expulsion of a comrade was a tragic event, and was done only for moral reasons and not because of a critical attitude.

    “We had some comrades in opposition after the revolution. We had comrades who became specialists in criticism, not in principled matters but in minor ones. There was Stukhov, an intelligent man and a courageous one, as well as witty, and at every party meeting he found something to say, prefacing with a joke, and he had applause. Imagine during the civil war — there were many things to object to the leadership, and he took advantage of it. But nobody proposed to expel him, but from time to time we explained to the members and he began to lose his audience, and after a while Stukhov became a ridiculous figure.”

    Trotsky goes on to explain how criticism he terms “opposition only for the sake of opposition,” can become more of a problem when the social composition of the organization is not “a workers organization”. The entire discussion is worth reading in full.

    As is the entire bulletin which has bearing on the issue of the application of the concept of democratic centralism — not in an abstract sense, but in the framework of the actual situation that existed in the U.S. movement at the time.

    Also of interest is the introduction written by Fred Feldman and based on a class he presented to a Socialist Workers Party branch in 1978. It includes this useful and in my view important point:

    “The fact is that while a combat party like the SWP operates on the basis of firm centralism, it is primarily teamwork and collaboration that counts in making day-to-day decisions. Political leadership authority comes from the ability to contribute to and guide this process.”

  2. Roy Hunter Jones permalink

    These posts are awesome!
    Keep up the good work!
    Until the final victory!

  3. Alexander Rugin permalink

    I found the lengthy Introduction and Note on translation in the Prometheus Research Library edition of the “Org Theses” (cited below) to be extremely informative.

    Did the translation team for the 2015 volume on the Third Congress which you cite consider this translation in its own work on this document?

    Would you have a view on the merit of that older version? Thanks for any insight.

    PRS Series No. 1: Guidelines on the organizational structure of communist parties, on the methods and content of their work : resolution of the third congress of the Communist International 12 July 1921 : new translation of the final German text including reports and discussion from the congress

    https://archive.org/details/guidelinesonorga00newy

    • Thanks, Alexander, for the pointer to the Prometheus Reseach Library translation of the Comintern organizational theses.
      The Comintern Publishing Project has always had a policy of doing new translations of Comintern documents, making comparisons where possible with different language versions. We’re interested in learning of significant discrepancies in the existing translations of various resolutions. Sometimes the differences are crucial — such as regarding the workers’ government demand.
      See https://johnriddell.com/2011/08/14/the-comintern%E2%80%99s-unknown-decision-on-workers%E2%80%99-governments/.
      The PRS is among the many research institutes that have helped this project at various times and whose assistance has been acknowledged in our volumes.

      • John Riddell:
        “Many socialist groups today seek to shape their organizational principles in the spirit of ‘democratic centralism’ identified with V.I. Lenin.”

        Bjorn-Olav Kvidal;
        Which groups? State-capitalist nationalist leftist groups, especially groups striving to establish party state and party dictatorship. Their ideology is based upon an elitist leadership, a general staff, to lead the masses considered by the same groups unfit to lead themselves. This ideology is born in the upper classes. That is why there is a close link between centralism and discipline – from discipline to an authoritarian method demolishes the little democratic rights which may exist before the elitist machinery is established.

        John Riddell:
        “The basic concept underlying “democratic centralism,” far from unfamiliar or complex, is in fact common to most voluntary organizations of working people. Its essence is simple: all group participants are engaged, either directly or through elected leaderships, in making collective decisions, and all are then obliged to help carry them out. This principle applies to workers organizing a sporting or social club as much as it does to a revolutionary socialist party. But internal democracy and discipline had a unique meaning in the Comintern that flowed from the nature of the International’s goal.”

        Bjorn-Olav Kvidal:
        This is common in organisations where the leadership is giving orders and that the members or participants are suppose to obey. This is not a proletarian way of organisation but a bourgeois method seen in the capitalist factories and its military units. The method is based upon elitism and unconditional discipline to alienate the masses, forcing them to be spectators to their own revolution.

        Internal democracy did not exist in Comintern which can be seen in Lenin’s 21 thesis. His goal was to establish a single party state ruling the whole planet. Comintern was to be ruled from Moscow and the majority of its leadership to live in the same city, easy to control and manipulate by the existing party dictatorship. That is why many progressive parties and organisation where blocked from membership despite the fact they had a majority of the workers behind them. Class struggle would of course put strain on a wide, non-Leninist, organisation, but that is the only way forward unless the aim is to reduce revolutionary groups to sects. This was the outcome of the Leninist project despite his attack on left-wing revolutionaries.

        John Riddell:
        “The parties of the Comintern aimed to educate, rally, and organize working people in a social revolution to overturn capitalist power and institute workers’ rule. The Russian revolution of 1917 was taken as a model of what might be achieved in the near future. This revolutionary task had to be carried out in the teeth of fierce opposition by the present ruling elite, which defended its power using every available means – from police repression to murderous military assault. A breakdown in membership discipline – that is, a failure to carry out agreed decisions – could be catastrophic for both the party as a whole and for its individual members. Disciplined functioning by members was essential not only to success but to survival.”

        Bjorn-Olav Kvidal;
        A social revolution is not a military task but an action of the masses themselves. There are no place for a General Secretary or a Commandante to rule from the top. Elitist parties are always separated from the masses despite their empty slogans to know the interests of the masses better than the masses themselves. Lenin himself was very keen that intellectual and revolutionary workers should leave their ordinary jobs and working in the party apparatus. What a naive idea that a party can be communist if it is filled and controlled by people who are not ordinary working class people.

        John Riddell:
        “A revolutionary party’s course of action is not predetermined; it must be deduced from the social and political context and the lessons of experience. Policy flows not from leadership decisions alone but from perceptions of the party ranks. The authority of leadership bodies flow from a democratic election process based on membership discussion of the party’s course of action.

        Most revolutionary socialist groups and parties embrace these concepts, viewing them as the lesson of experience in the epoch of the Russian revolution a century ago. They often view it as an inheritance from the Bolshevik party of Russia and its central leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.”

        Bjorn-Olav Kvidal:
        What a bloody lie! The Bolshevik party actually abolished elections to the soviets and in the end established a party dictatorship. The factories were ruled with iron discipline and all power to the technical managers while the employees were denied a majority rule in the board of the factories. Read Maurice Brinton’s article at libcom in the section of 1918. At the Comintern congress in 1922 were the military mobilised in Moscow to create siege around the areas of the congress so the foreign delegates were prevented to get in touch with the masses.

        John Riddell:
        “The Second Congress took place in Moscow fifteen months later, in July–August 1920.[2] The three-week event brought together 218 delegates from 37 countries to lay down the International’s basic programmatic and organizational principles. The need for centralism was often cited in the congress, usually with reference to the International as a whole. Many delegates stressed their desire that the Comintern function as a single, centralized party, directed by a general staff based – at least initially – in Moscow. But some of the forces seeking to join the Comintern were unfamiliar with or resistant to concepts of organizational discipline.”

        Bjorn-Olav Kvidal;
        Lenin and the Bolshevik party did not accept any opposition in the party and it was the same in Comintern. Parties which did not submit to the 21 thesis where fought and their leaders exposed to slanders. This control was necessary for the new state-capitalist class which had full power of the means of production and its surplus had already in March 1921 used military forces to massacre workers and sailors at the Kronstadt city and its naval base. In Rapallo April 1922 had the Bolshevik regime signed a treaty to rearm Germany. Reichswehr and Luftwaffe were accepted to train its military officers in Bolshevik Russia. The German military was given access to develop its military aeroplanes, tanks and poison gas with gruesome payback 22 June 1941. This Bolshevik act of betrayal against proletarian internationalism manifested the regime’s entrance to the imperialist world market.

        John Riddell:
        “Lenin set the tone for the congress on this issue through a short passage in his pamphlet, “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder. Written for the congress, the pamphlet was provided to the delegates in translation when they arrived in Moscow. Lenin called on Communist forces to build:

        a rigorously centralised party with iron discipline, [with] the ability to become masters of every sphere, every branch, and every variety of political and cultural work.[3]”

        Björn-Olav Kvidal:
        This is the ideology of state-fascism where all democratic rights the masses had won in 1917 were abolished and destroyed. The first decree the Sovnarkom, the government, tried to implement 8th of November 1917 was to forbid all newspapers which did not accept the October revolution. Later all opposition newspapers were forbidden under stern and strict supervision of a state machinery where some 90% of all top positions were people recruited from the Tsarist state apparatus and elites from the former capitalist factories – invited into the Bolshevik party state through the back door.

        The non-Russian parties had an obligation to complete submission to all decisions by Comintern. Their right to engaged in any internal opposition was not tolerated and those who tried were of course ousted. However, Comintern embraced a good relationship with Tyrkia under Ataturk while Trotsky claimed support to the proletarian masses had to be abolished not to be any burden to the foreign policy of Bolshevik Russia. As Deutschland’s military was given assistance to rearm was also the bourgeois Guonmandang under Chang Kai-shek in China supported and armed which ended in a massacre on workers and students in Shanghai 1927.

        A new International will be build based upon workers and popular democracy with no fatherland. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin raised the slogan in defence of “the socialist fatherland” but the working class masses has no fatherland at all – only an international world to win.

        Bjorn-Olav Kvidal,
        Stockholm

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