INTERNATIONAL PRESS CORRESPONDENCE
Vol. 8 No. 81
21st November 1928
SIXTH WORLD CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST
Report of Commissions – Conclusion of Congress
Moscow, 21st August, 1928
Comrade Remmele Chairman: The next point on the agenda:
Concluding Remarks of Comrade Kuusinen
Comrades! By the co-reports of Comrade Ercoli, the Chinese Comrade Strakhov and the Indian Comrade Sikander, as well as by the discussion speeches, the draft theses and my very deficient report were many-sidedly supplemented. In general we can establish, that we had a fruitful discussion. Errors and deficiencies of a "fundamental" nature in the draft theses were found by only a few comrades, as far as I notices, only by Comrades Bennett, Rothstein, Heller and the other English comrades, partly also by Comrades-Lominadze and Losovsky.
The Leading Thought of the Theses: The Hegemony of the Proletariat in the Revolutionary Movement of the Colonies
In the discussion, emphasis was laid on the critical remark, which I myself pointed out already in the report, that is, the lack of a theoretical proof of the theses of Lenin on the possibility of the non-capitalistic development of the backward colonial countries. This theses is of course embodied in the draft theses, it was also, to some extent, further developed by it. There are elements of its theoretical proof on hand in the draft, but the proof itself has not yet been given. I request that this point (3) receive special attention, because I regard it as one of the basic ideas in our theses in general.
The remark of Comrade Neumann, that the most important is missing, because Lenin spoke not only about going round the capitalist stage, but besides this about the development of these countries to Socialism and Communism is not right either. I quote the respective part:
"This signifies the greatest possible shortening of the path of development of these People, the greatest possible acceleration of their development from the present backward and, with some of these People, altogether primitive stage, through the most necessary intermediary stage to the richest unfolding of their Powers in the Socialist and further in the Communist Social order..."
I must again emphasise, that in preparing the Draft Thesis; the underlying leading thought for me, was the independent role of the Proletariat in the revolutionary movement of the colonial countries, the attaining of the hegemony of the proletariat, including, as well, the leading role of the Communist Parties. This is for instance, the main criterion in the division of the countries into groups. The Chinese Revolution is being stressed specially because, it was the first great colonial revolution in which the Proletariat played an independent role. As the strategic central purpose of the whole bourgeois-democratic revolution, the Draft Thesis lays emphasis on the winning of the hegemony of the proletariat and the leading role of the Communist Party. At another part of the Draft Thesis it is said:
"Of decisive significance for the success of the direct mutation of the revolution from the first phase to the end of the first period (that is to the point where the proletariat and peasantry conquer Power) is 1) the degree of maturity of the proletarian-revolutionary leadership of the movement, that is that of the Communist Party of the respective country (its strength, independence, consciousness of purpose, fighting ability as well as its authority; connection with and influence in the trade union and peasant movements); 2) the degree of organisation (even, if this is not possible to the same degree) that of the peasantry."
I regard it as necessary to remind the comrades of these main ideas, because Comrade Losovsky in his criticism repeatedly asserted, that in the Draft Theses the proletariat, the hegemon of the revolution, totally "disappears", and established this as a big gap. Indeed, if it were true this would be an immense gap. The Draft, furthermore, describes, even if briefly, the peculiarity of the colonial proletariat, its fluctuating composition, the exceptionally great percentage of the women and children, the difficulties of organising the colonial worker, the difficulties of developing its class consciousness, etc.; in many places the workers are seasonal workers, and even the workers of the older industrial branches stand with one foot still in the village; this helps the alliance between the workers and the peasants, but makes the creation of a proletarian ideology difficult.
Another big remark of Comrade Losovsky is, that one should have described in the Draft Thesis the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. Well, comrades, the whole of the end of the 4th chapter describes only this matter. Whether bad or good, is another question, but it is described. I attempted it and this is not a "gap". It is true, nobody can give a fully concrete description what the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry is going to look like, but we can write about the general tasks, about the role of the Communist Parties, about the role of the proletariat during this period.
The Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution and the Process of its Mutation into the Socialistic Revolution
Comrade Fokin said, that the Central problem has not been raised in the thesis, i.e., the problem of the mutation of the Revolution from one period into the other. Now then, Comrades, the following is written about this in the draft:
"The second period is, the very period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution's mutation into the first period of the Socialist Revolution. This process of mutation can, to a certain extent, already begin during the first period, (embryonic genesis of the hegemony of the proletariat); it can, however, also be interrupted at various times. Only in the second period can the development of the country be steered under the dominating influence of the proletariat, whereby this development will receive a new non-capitalistic direction."
We, then copiously describe how this happens. Already, at the beginning of the description of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, this problem is being put and described; true, not in the shape of a scholastic question, but as a historical process and as a political task. What is more, the question on double rule and the questions on the Soviets etc., were put at the same time, all questions which comrade Fokin did not find in the draft. What can I do when critics come, who assert that that which I inserted in the draft as a matter of major importance is not there at all?
The bourgeois-democratic revolution is denoted in the Draft Theses as Soviet-revolution, as class-revolution of the workers and peasant etc. Why so many denotation? It has the purpose of popularisation, in order to avoid that anybody, and before all the comrades of the colonies should misunderstand it, – when we speak about the bourgeois-democratic revolution that anybody, perchance, should be of the opinion that we mean by it the simple bourgeois revolution, since our scientifically correct terminology is a bit hard to understand.
A comrade, despite this, misunderstood it. Naturally, one can say, that only the first period of the Socialist revolution can fully complete some of the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. But simply to say, the bourgeois-democratic revolution is identical with the common bourgeois revolution, this I can regard only as a simple mistake.
Comrade Neumann in the question of the mutation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, represented the point of view, that the struggle decides everything. These words are from Lenin, but the thought has not been correctly reflected, according to my opinion. As the VII. Plenum of the Executive said, the Chinese Revolution cannot destroy the capitalist yoke without growing beyond the limits of bourgeois-democracy, in this sense it is right. But growing beyond the limits of bourgeois democracy is one thing, and growing over the limits of bourgeois-democratic revolution is another. The bourgeois-democratic revolution is a period in which the prerequisites of the socialist revolution are being prepared, but in itself this period does not go beyond its own frame. Of course, it is right what comrade Neumann says, that the mutation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist revolution does not occur automatically nor without the active force of the working class; but neither can it take place without a minimum of the objective prerequisites, in the maturing of which the proletariat and the Communist Party can naturally effect a great deal, and before all, after they have succeeded in conquering the power. But just to say, that by this mutation the struggle decides everything, is not right. One has to add, struggle decides it all, when a minimum of the objective prerequisites exist. In the frame of these objective prerequisites the struggle decides. It is very important for a revolutionary to bear in mind the maxim of Napoleon, of which Lenin was so fond, that one should just throw oneself into the struggle and then one will see what is going to come out of it. However, Lenin never meant it in the sense that we need no theory and no analysis of the objective prerequisites, because only the struggle decides everything.
Against the Theory of De-Colonisation
The Attitude of the Draft Theses on the Question of the Industrial Development of the Colonies
I will now touch on our main question, namely, the theory of de-colonisation. The theme of our thesis is not the colonial problem in its entirely, but only the revolutionary movements in the colonies and semi-colonies. For the characterisation of the revolutionary movements, one must necessarily also characterise the forces against which the movement is directed. This is in the first place the imperialist colonial regime, and secondly it is the class of native exploiters. The second chapter of our draft analyses the substance, the main tendencies of the imperialist colonisation policy. These are pointed out in a manner that, out of the contradiction between the imperialist colonial regime and the counter-forces in the colonies, one should have a logical introduction to the general perspectives of the revolutionary crisis in the colonies. These counter-forces were not elaborately describes in the draft. Still less, does the draft claim to describe the totally of the economic development in the colonies. These are three different matters. You perhaps may tell me, it is a deficiency that the totality of the process has not been described. However, here we are dealing only with general thesis. Should we want to raise concretely the question of the revolutionary perspectives in each country for itself, then one could not do this without describing in its fully concrete entirely the actual totality of the process of economic development. If you so desire, we can add some things about the most important colonies, so that we put the revolutionary perspective concretely for them.
A number of comrades who criticised this chapter from the point of view of industrialisation or the de-colonisation theory, raised the question, where does the proletariat come from, where does the bourgeoisie come from? It has, substantially, so different origin in the colonial countries from that in the other countries. The development of native capitalism is not being denied in the thesis. Already in § I this is being distinctly stated as one of the important facts, which came to light after the II. Congress, the strengthening of the elements of capitalist, and in particular of industrial development in the colonies, the growth of the proletariat, the beginnings of its organisation etc. About India in particular it has been said that:
"...even through these petty concessions (on the part of British imperialism) the tendencies towards the independent economic development of India, where the native industry experienced its first thriving boom during the war and in the first period after the war, have received significant encouragement."
Whence originates this native capitalism, the native industry in the colonies – was asked – when the imperialist colonial policy tends to block the industrialisation of the countries? The answer is at least hinted briefly in the draft:
"On the other hand, the tendency of the imperialists to bring the colonies into a one-sided dependence on their countries, rises in ever sharper form against the economic and social counter-forces created by the imperialists themselves."
Besides, it is stated in the draft, that the imperialist policy conditions a certain furtherance of production-development in the colonies. It is, therefore, altogether superfluous, comrades, to bring quotations from Lenin and Marx against us, in which it is said, that capitalism in the colonies serves as an unconscious tool of historical development, as well as of historical relations, or that it occasions the first steps in the development of the industry etc. Obviously, imperialist exploitation in the colonies is not solely plunder, but capitalist exploitation as well, which cannot go on without a certain development of industry or at least a certain development of the productive forces. The material basis for the capitalistic development of production has to be created in the form of constructing means of transport, railways, ports etc. Only to get the raw materials out of the ground, mines, plantations have to be organised, cotton-growing introduced – all these spheres of production, which the theses designate as the main spheres colonial production. At the same time the native capitalistic development is partly an undesired by-product of the imperialist exploitation and it is partly a development of native capitalism, evoked by this exploitation, and which takes place in spite of the hampering tendencies on the part of Imperialism.
The De-Colonisation Point of View
What is the point of view of the Draft Theses? This has been opposed by many comrades, first of all, Comrades Bennett Rothstein and Heller. All these comrades say, quite naturally-and I believe, that after we put the question so sharply at this Congress, all the adherents of this false point of view will say as well – that they are not at all supporting the de-colonisation theory. This word, so to say, has been killed. It is, indeed, not true what comrade Bennett says, that our comrades spoke about de-colonisation only in quotation marks. Regrettable as it is, there have been written seriously not only articles but whole books, in this sense; even our periodical for Indian matters, which appears abroad, represented for a long time this theory. Therefore, the question is not at all a question in quotation marks. I would prefer that those comrades who represented the de-colonisation theory would say: it was a mistake, we represent it no more. Comrade Palme Dutt, it is true, has already partly revised his former point of view in his last article. This I admit. And, of course. I never was of the opinion, that our comrades speak in the sense about de-colonisation as do the imperialists or their lackeys. Of course, they do want to fight against imperialism, and do not want to embellish it. All this, however, does not excuse the objective incorrectness of this theory.
Let us take this theory in the form as it has been defined here at this Congress, for instance, by comrade Bennett. He said:
"We are not dealing with colonisation or de-colonisation. We are dealing with the industrialisation of India under the control of England."
He also spoke about "a new stage of imperialism colonial policy" and about the "participation of the imperialist powers in the industrialisation of the colonies" etc. Comrade Rothstein has spoken among other things about the tendencies of imperialism to:
"transform the colonial countries into territories for producing the means of production, and in this manner carry out that process of industrialisation, which will not adapt these colonies to the requirements of the imperialist mother-countries, but on the contrary – as we see this in a highly classical and clear manner in the example of England (!!) –, it will before all transform them into serious competitors...!"
Basically taken this is the very same theory, as has been formerly represented by Comrade Palme Dutt, also by Comrade Roy and Comrade Rathbone in their latest books.
Whether Marx' Point of View Agrees with the Theory of De-Colonisation?
Can it be mere chance that neither Marx nor Lenin ever asserted that the imperialist colonial policy promotes the industrialisation of the colonies? No. What they asserted is something quite different.
The basic question is: is it correct, that the main tendency of the imperialist colonial policy, in its substance, consists of in that it checks the independent economic development, first of all, the industrialisation of the colonies? Or is it right what these comrades say, that the imperialist colonial policy furthers the industrialisation of the colonies? This is the question which decides the line of the theses. Either the answer given in the draft theses is right, then the main line is also correct, or it is false and then you must reject the theses. You have to decide this question, comrades. Of late, in our literature, attention has sometimes been turned somewhat one sidedly only to the one function of the imperialist colonial-monopoly, namely to the function of exploiting the colonies. Little regard has been paid to the other functions, connected therewith, of the imperialist colonial-monopoly, namely, its function of preserving and further developing the conditions of its own existence. This is the function of subjugation, as it has been designated in the draft. We can see now – and this is useful – that it was high time that attention be turned to this aspect.
Marx, in "Capital" lays down the following general law of development:
"By constantly making a part of the hands 'super-numerary', modern industry, in all countries where it has taken root, gives a spur to emigration and to the colonisation of foreign lands, which are thereby converted into settlements for growing the raw material of the mother country; just as Australia, for example, was converted into a colony for growing wool. A new international division of labour, a division suited to the requirements of the chief centres of modern industry, springs up and converts one part of the globe into a mainly agricultural field of production, for supplying the other part which remains a mainly industrial field."
Now, says Comrade Bennett: This was the colonial policy of the 19th century, but in the theses the colonial policy of the 20th century must be described. In itself, the putting of the question in this manner, has of course, its justifications.
The epoch of finance-capital, of imperialism, does not as a rule abrogate the general laws of capitalism, but it may in one sense or another, modify the laws. We must investigate, if and how this law established by Marx has now been modified, a bone all by capital-export, upon which, in particular, has been based the criticism of the respective comrades against the draft theses (it was even asserted, that I totally forgot this important side of imperialism). No, this has not been forgotten.
The Role of Capital-Export
I have re-examined Hilferding, as to what he had established on the question of a possible modification of the Marxism Law; As you know, Lenin took no exceptions to this part of Hilferding’s "Finance capital". We have every reason to presume that if Lenin had not been in agreement with Hilferding on this point, he would have called our attention to it. What one finds in Hilferding in no way indicates a change of this Marxian law in the sense that capital export furthers the industrialisation of the colonies. On the contrary, he points to other spheres in the colonies, to where the exported capital is streaming:
"In particular, the creation of the modern transport system, that of railways and steamship lines absorbs enormous quantities of capital."
"Is the soil fertile, then it becomes possible for the native industry to deliver its raw materials such as, for instance, cotton, far cheaper than the old sources." – "Yet more important is the supplying of raw material to the metallurgical industry. The rapid development of the metallurgical industry has, despite all the technical advance, the tendency to raise the prices of metals, which is still further enhanced by capitalistic monopolisation. This makes it even more important to have sources of these raw materials in one's own economic sphere."
The centre of gravity, then, lies in the production of raw materials and the acquisition and monopolisation of the raw material resources. Further on writes Hilferding:
"As long as capital-export substantiality served the purpose of creating, firstly, transport systems in the backward country, secondly of developing the industries producing the means of consumption, so long it furthered the capitalistic development of this country. True, even this method had its disadvantages for the country in question. The greater portion of the profits flowed to foreign countries, to be spent here, partly as revenue, not at all employed to start the wheels of industry in the debtor country, or to be accumulated." (Here it does not deal with colonies only. – K.) "This accumulation need not, of course, by any means take place in the country from which the profit has been derived; by this capitalistic 'absenteeism', the accumulation, that is the further-development of capitalism in this country was extremely retarded".
Here, we can see in what direction, according to Hilferding, capital export in the epoch of finance capital modifies the Marxism Law. You will excuse me, for reading such long quotation from Hilferding; the main is a scoundrel, but on this point he formerly depicted matters correctly, as Lenin already acknowledged. Hilferding then goes on to speak about the assimilation of imported capital, which is more easily accomplished in the larger countries but meets difficulties in the smaller ones; he writes as follows:
"This emancipation became totally impossible as soon as the character of capital export has changed, when the capitalist classes of the large economic spheres strove less for the creation of industries producing the means of consumption in foreign countries, but set themselves much more the task of securing domination over the raw materials for their ever more rapidly developing industries producing the means of production. Thus, the mines of the countries of the Pyreneon peninsula came under the power of foreign capital, which was now exported, not as loan capital but was invested direct in these mines, in this manner also – against great resistance – the mineral wealth of Scandinavia, in particular Sweden came into the hands of foreign capital. At a time when perhaps, under different circumstances, these countries could have gone over to the creation of the most essential modern industries, their own iron industry, the raw material was withdrawn for the benefit of the English, German and French industries. Thus, their capitalistic development, and with it, also, the political and financial advance was hamstrung right at the beginning. Economic tributaries to foreign capital, they became also politically, States of the second order, left to the protection of the bigger."
Therefore, this can be said regarding even such countries as Sweden, Spain etc. Take, this analogy, then, for the colonies; to what a greater extent does the export of capital effect there the slowing up, the hampering of the inner capitalistic development. In India this is particularly clear. Just imagine the immense reserves that Indian Capitalism would possess if only it could develop its forces in full freedom. It is too simple to say: export of capital means industrialisation. No, the matter is not so simple. For instance, loan capital is being exported by England to Australia or Canada, or by America to Germany. This can promote industrialisation, and in fact it does. It may also to some extent advance the industrialisation, when, for the purpose of strengthening the British agency, England exports money, in the form of loan capital to be put at the disposal of the bourgeoisie of South Africa. Loan capital can, however, be also a means, a weapon of expansion, for example when American capital is being placed as a state-loan in the different South American countries. Here we see, as a rule, that when the government is in financial straits, and proves unable to meet the regular amortisation, the representatives of America capital come and take over the control of State finances, place their own finance-commissar in power as comptroller, etc. This is one of the ways by which imperialism nowadays establishes its colonial monopoly in an independent country.
But capital is being exported not only as loan-capital but as production-capital as well, many for the acquisition of the raw material resources and the high points of economic-command in the different new spheres of imperialist expansion. When in this form it goes, for instance, to the Latin American countries, where English and American imperialism are sharply competing, and where they are only now capturing the high economic-commanding points, naturally, this capital-import has to induce there a certain development of production, e.g. mines have to be opened and put into operation: but the substance of the matter, the actual question is the acquisition by imperialism of the raw material resources, not the industrialisation of the countries.
The State-loan of London to the Indian government means again something different. It means the squeezing out of tribute from the Indian people. As is clearly to be seen from the statistical material, British export capital serves for the greater part unproductive purposes, but even in cases where it is being used for plantations, for mines, etc, it does not mean the industrialisation of India.
A Close Analogy
You may remember yet another analogy in this connection. You will recall the discussion in the C.P.S.U. between Comrades Stalin and Sokolnikov on the question of "Dawesising" the Soviet Union. Here, too, capitalist export from the imperialist countries was spoken of. Now, as a matter of fact there is hardly any capital export to the Soviet Union, but there is no doubt that the Soviet Union could easily obtain capital from the foreign countries, if only the Russian proletariat would permit the foreign capitalists to colonise, not industrialise, a bit of the country. At that time Comrade Stalin among other things wrote the following against Comrade Sokolnikov:
"Our country has to be transformed from an agricultural country into an industrial one capable of producing the means of production by itself. This is the substance, the basis of our general line. We have to arrange matters so that the ideas and efforts of our economists are co-ordinated in this direction of transforming our country from a country importing the means of production, into a country which produces the means of production. Because this embodies the main guarantee for the economic independence of our country. Because this is the guarantee that our country will not be transformed into an appendage of the capitalist countries. Comrade Sokolnikov does not want to realise this simple and glaring fact. The creators of the Dawes Plan would like us to restrict ourselves, let us say, to the production with this, because we want to produce not only automobiles, but also the machines that are needed for the production of automobiles. They want to restrict us to the production of, would like us to restrict ourselves, let us say, to the production of automobiles; but we do not satisfy ourselves with this, because we want to produce not only automobiles, but also the machines that are needed for the production of automobiles. They want to restrict us to the production of, let us say, shoes; but we are not satisfied with this, because we want to produce not only shoes, but also the machines for the production of shoes, etc."
I believe this throws light on the question. India, too, wants to produce, not only shoes, but machines as well, British imperialism, however, does not want to permit this. Capitalist England itself wants to produce the machines; it wants to retain and exploit India as an agricultural appendage.
To be sure, in some of the semi-colonies and such independent countries where imperialism builds up its monopoly economic acquisition first (as for instance in Argentina and Brazil), this basic tendency of the imperialist colonial policy is not quite so obvious, particularly where a group of two or more imperialists play the game against each other.
In the draft I spoke of some deviations of the imperialist
colonial-policy from the general line. This has been interpreted there
as if I had said, capital export is not an exception, but there can be,
temporarily, such an unusual surplus of free capital in an imperialist
country, or, for instance, the machine-producing industries of the
metropolis may occasionally get to feel so sensitively the narrowness
of the export market, that out of this there may arise in certain
colonies a certain temporary deviation from the general
anti-industrialisation line of the respective metropolis. The
government of an imperialist country is not always able to regulate the
direction of the stream of capital export; as a matter of fact it is
never in a position freely to decide the direction; this may lead
especially in times of high prosperity, even to a transitory promotion
of industrialisation in one or another of the colonies. This, however,
is not the rule; the main tendency, the substance of the imperialist
colonial policy is a different one. What may be of much greater
significance in the industrial development of a colony is the export of
machines, not from the respective mother-country, but from the other
competing capitalist countries.
Comrade Lominadze has failed to differentiate between the important and unimportant.
Even Comrade Lominadze, unfortunately, slid off onto the wrong track in this question. In his speech he struggled like a prometheus against the chains of the decolonisation theory but always fell to his knees. He said:
"What is incorrect in Comrade Kuusinen's theses? The assertion that colonial countries are becoming more and more an appendage of capitalism, and also the assertion that raw material is exported only to the industrial mother countries. This was correct formerly, in the epoch of pre-monopolist capitalism, but it is not correct now.
The inherent law, the tendency of economic development in the colonies under imperialism does not consist in their gradual transformation into an agrarian appendage of the mother countries, but in their transformation from an agrarian appendage into a sphere where productive capital is functioning and to which the centre of gravity of the production of the mother countries is transferred."
Comrade Stalin, as we have seen, said that the imperialists wish to transform even the Soviet Union into an agricultural appendage. What is described in the draft theses as the main tendency of the imperialist colonial policy is, in the eyes of comrade Lominadze, altogether false. He brings quotations from Lenin, where it is said that imperialism creates a basis for the industrial development of the colonies. Of course, it creates a basis; this is asserted in the draft theses, too; this, however, is far from meaning their transformation from an agrarian appendage of the respective metropolis into industrial countries. Comrade Lominadze bases himself first of all on the well known passage by Lenin where he quotes the liberal Hobson, who depicts a future perspective for Europe, which may arise out of the further development of capitalism in the East and in the colonies in general (in Asia, Africa, etc.). Lenin quotes this assertion of Hobson concurringly, and Comrades Lominadze takes this as a proof that Lenin would have acknowledged that imperialism does not transform the colonies into appendages of its economy but industrialises them. But unfortunately for Comrade Lominadze, even in this quotation from Hobson it is mentioned that, even in this case the imperialist countries will retain a certain industrial role, and indeed, the role "of the industry engaged in the production of final and finished goods". Thus, even in the future perspective of the imperialist countries depicted by Hobson, there remains, at bottom, the same division of the world, as already established by MArx, into countries with a predominantly agricultural production, raw material production and half-finished goods production; and into more advanced countries, engaged predominantly in the production of finished goods. On the other hand, Comrade Lominadze says the following:
"Lenin asserts, that, the greater the industrial development in the colonies, the sharper becomes the struggle between the native industries and the imperialists."
Very good. Comrade Lenin is quite correct. But this does not at all speak for the theses of industrialisation of the colonies by imperialism. It is not very logical, when Comrade Lominadze recognises as correct precisely the point of the theses of Comrade Roy accepted at the II World Congress which is directed explicitly against the theory of industrialisation. It is quite clearly stated in this point:
"Foreign imperialism, imposed by force on the Eastern peoples, has beyond doubt stopped their social and economic development and deprived them of the possibility to reach that stage of development which has been attained in Europe and in America. Thanks to the imperialist policy, which aims at checking the industrial development in the colonies, the native proletariat came into existence really only recently."
This is the substance of the imperialist colonial regime. These theses have been looked over by Lenin. Do you think that this section would have remained in the theses if Lenin had not acknowledged them as correct? No. Lenin read theses more carefully than some other comrades are apt to nowadays.
The industrial development of India deepens its contradictions with British imperialism.
While trade capital is first developing in a colony, the counter-forces against the subjugating imperialism are still very weak. The tendency toward economic independence obtains a greater force only where native industry is developing. The effort toward independence grows parallel with the industrial development of the country. However, this process of industrialisation in these countries goes on against great difficulties, because the pressure of the imperialist colonial monopoly resists the tendencies toward industrialisation. In spite of this, in such great colonial countries as India, the industrial development forges ahead, even if it proceeds with very great difficulty, and at a very retarded pace. I am not at all asserting that British imperialism is in a position to stop this advance. No. On the contrary, I conclude from the fact that this development makes headway despite everything, the deepening of the revolutionary contradictions between imperialist England and India. This is the question put in the draft theses. As against this, the formulation of Comrade Bennett and others, "industrialisation of the colonies under the control of imperialism", is an impossibility. This is somewhat similar as if we would say "the growth of independence of the labour movement under the control of the bourgeoisie." These are two conceptions that cannot be brought into agreement. First of all, the development of the heavy industry and the machine industry in the colonies is being checked by imperialist monopoly. I requested a few comrades to draw up a list, on the basis of the official government reports, of all the legislative measures that have been taken in regard to India after the world war and which have any significance, so that we can see quite concretely how English imperialism hinders or promotes the industrialisation of India.
This list gives us the following picture:
A. Measures Favouring the Industrial Development of India1. The 3 per cent. assessment on the cotton consumption of the Indian textile mills was abolished (as a result of a textile workers' strike).
1. In the year of 1920: A law on the Imperial Bank by which the bank is forbidden to give credit to industrial undertakings.
2. In the year of 1922: Railway construction plans with a capital expenditure of 1,500 million rupees. The Indian bourgeoisie demands the orders for the Indian metallurgical Industries. The orders were given to an English concern, since the English offer was pretty near 50% cheaper.
3. In the year of 1923: Orders for 3,132 railway cars given to England.
4. In the years of 1926-27:
a) the export duty fixed at 12% in the year of 1919, on leather and
skins (for the purpose of creating a leather industry) has been reduced
to 3% (thus raw material will be exported).
b) The rupee exchanged has been set at 1.6, even though all the industries were against it and demanded an exchange at 1.4.
c) Instead of increasing the tariff duty on iron and steel, as demanded by the Indian bourgeoisie, preferential tariffs were fixed for British iron and steel goods.
d) The increase in the coal tariff demanded by the Indian bourgeoisie was rejected in order that the South African coal industry should be protected and promoted (South African imports to India).
e) Capital is being exported from India to Brazil and the Minister of Finance approves of it.
f) More orders given away to England.
g) Duties on automobiles tyres were lowered.
h) The Royal Commission on Agriculture carries on its work in a sense that Indian capital (and the wealth after mobilisation) be directed to agriculture.
Here we see two rather insignificant measures regarding of which one could say that by them the industrialisation of Indian has been promoted; all of the remaining measures aim directly at retarding the process of industrialisation. I have stated already in my report, what the temporary circumstances were that forced the English Government, during the war and in the first years following the war, to grant the respective concessions.
Comrade Losovsky took exception to the expression used in the draft theses which describes the colonies as the "agrarian hinterland" of imperialism, and instead proposed the expression of "raw material hinterland". I cannot see, in this, an important difference. We, of course, do not mean by the expression "agrarian", agriculture alone, but use it in its wider sense, as Marx also used it, by the inclusion of primary production.
Why must the theory of decolonisation be emphatically rejected?
Perhaps we have spoken too much about the decolonisation theory at our Congress. But a mistake in this question is no trifle. I emphatically repeat, that the theses do not contain a word regarding the mistaken theory put forward by our comrades. The theses speak only of the decolonisation lie of the imperialists and their reformist lackeys which is being spread by them as an apology for the imperialist colonial regime. This, of course, is quite another matter and we have every reason to call them by their real names and to unmask them. You should read the last article of the Austrian social imperialist, Renner. He is a dangerous enemy, one of the worst lackeys of world imperialism. I am not going to quote his article. You may read it yourselves, as a horrible example. It is not all untrue what the scoundrel writes. But he puts the perspective of capitalisation of the whole world; the whole world will be industrialised and the socialist world revolution will be postponed till the proletariat will become the great majority even in the colonies etc. He opens the imperialist perspectives for the whole colonial world. This is, of course, absolutely wrong. This is the socialist conception against which we must carry on a sharp struggle, and the falsity of which we must prove to every worker. But not all the facts put forth by these people are false. Only they substitute the unimportant for the important, and in this manner twist the reality, embellish the "progressive" role of imperialism.
By this juggling they create the appearance, as if the colonial world were to be decolonised and industrialised in a peaceful manner by imperialism itself. Comrades, it is one of our main tasks to expose this imperialist pretention, this imperialist lie. The main mistake of Comrade Bennett, Rothstein and Heller lies in their not sufficiently recognising this task. This is a great mistake, a Right mistake. It must be corrected. One should not act the way Comrade Bennett did in his last statement, in which he says: I only, said what Marx said ... No, the theory that imperialism industrialises the colonies, and in this way decolonises them, is a wrong theory, and this must be distinctly stated. A number of English comrades (perhaps with the aid of Comrade Bennett) went off on the wrong track on this question. I am, however, certain that after these English comrades convince themselves of the falsity of the view put forward by them here, they will frankly admit this.
I will once more repeat my opinion, that such amendments to the second chapter of the theses as will clarify the matter, are useful. Even, some parts of the proposals of the English comrades are acceptable, but one will have to be careful to see that the line that is now expressed in the second chapter of the draft thesis, is not changed.
On the Role of the National Bourgeoisie of the Colonies
The Differences of Opinion in the Decolonisation Theory Lead to Political Consequences as well.
When one starts out from the point of view of the decolonisation (industrialisation) theory, it is quite logical that the relation to the national bourgeoisie takes a totally different aspect from the description given in the draft theses. The picture drawn by Comrade Bennett is fairly consistent: imperialism plays a progressive role in the colonies, because it furthers industrialisation; the national bourgeoisie of the colonial countries, say for instance that of India, as far it benefits by industrialisation, belongs to the same camp as the imperialists; when certain conflicts between it and English imperialism arise, they centre around the question of dividing the loot (as was the case so many times formerly between trade capital and British imperialist); but in as much as the national bourgeoisie takes an oppositional position against imperialism it thereby struggles against the progressive role of imperialism and consequently, plays a reactionary role. This opposition however in the opinion of Comrade Bennett, will be easily liquidated by a lasting compromise. "There are", he says "plenty of possibilities of a – perhaps at present not yet existing – understanding between this oppositional bourgeoisie and British imperialism." But when the matter is put in a way, that "Great Britain does everything, and will continue to do everything, in order to restrict the industrialisation of India” (which, according to the opinion of Comrade Bennett, is absolutely false), then – says he, "under such circumstances there is no future for any development of sharp class struggles, there is no basis for the proletarianisation; the place of the proletarian masses will be taken by the pauperised masses."
A totally different picture will be had when we start out from the reality, which is that imperialism does in fact restrict the industrialisation of the colonies, prevent the full development of the productive forces. Under these circumstances the class interests of the colonial bourgeoisie demand the industrialisation of the country – I underline the word class interest as different from certain private and group interests – and in so far as the bourgeoisie represents its class interest in this respect, in as much as it stands for the economic independence of the country, for its liberation from the imperialist yoke, then it plays a certain progressive role, while imperialism plays a substantially reactionary role. The economic independence of India, or a similar colony is an aim which lies in the national interest, not only in the interest of the bourgeoisie, but also in the interest of the proletariat and the peasantry. Therefore, because the bourgeoisie displays this interest against imperialism one cannot condemn it. It should be condemned because it does not stand for this interest radically, nor decidedly, nor consistently, because it capitulates before imperialism and betrays the national struggle. The idea, which has been stated repeatedly in the theses, that the bourgeoisie of the colonial countries capitulates before the imperialist bourgeoisie, is unintelligible for those comrades who are of the opinion that the entire national bourgeoisie of the colonial countries, like India, Egypt, etc., simply take an anti-national, compradore position. It is self evident that the fact that there exists an objective and, even profound contradiction between the class interests of the national bourgeoisie and imperialism, and that this bourgeoisie has its own political main line which is not without special significance, does not at all mean – and this has not been emphasised in the theses – that it is capable of representing its objective class interest in a more consistent, more independent manner. The national bourgeoisie of the colonies is not able to do this. It is too national-reformistic to do this. This does not in any way, exclude certain understandings on its part with imperialism. On the contrary, the national bourgeoisie seeks such understandings. Before all, it seeks such understandings in the questions of the struggle against the revolutionary proletarian movement and against the agrarian revolution. It also seeks economic understandings. Comrade Lenin, in his speech at the II Congress, referred distinctly to the understandings of the first kind, and this has also been underlined in our draft theses.
As against this, in the conception of Comrade Bennett, the entire basis of the contradiction between the interests of national independence of the colonies and imperialism really disappears, and with it also every contradiction of any political significance between the class interests of the national bourgeoisie and the imperialist colonial regime. With him everything is so simple: there are only two camps, a camp of counter-revolutionaries and a revolutionary camp; and within the one, as well as the other, everything is quite clear and homogeneous, without differences of political importance. In reality, however, the matter is not so simple. Not even in China is this the case, even though the Chinese revolution compared, for example, with India is an entire long stage ahead of it. National reformist, represented by various petty bourgeois groups, may attain quite a large political influence among the toiling masses as has been recognised by Comrade Strakhov, if I have correctly understood him. That is still more the case in India.
Not even in the national-revolutionary camp is everything homogeneous. This camp will by no means be the same revolutionary camp in India as it will be, for instance, in Germany, or as it was there in the years of 1918-1919 or 1923. A camp of the national revolution in a colonial country will, in the first stages of the revolutionary movement, contain many very heterogeneous elements. It may, among others, contain such petty bourgeois elements which will play even a Fascist role at a later stage. It is not right to embellish this camp, to depict the entire camp as one of complete unity till the end of the revolution. This is not the case. Some elements that may be our enemies tomorrow are, today, national-revolutionary. We have to look at the matter form its dynamics.
THE INDIAN NATIONAL REFORMISTS
It is just as important to see clearly the national-reformist character of the camp of the national bourgeoisie. To comrade Bennett the entire national bourgeoisie is simply counter revolutionary and nothing else. For instance, the Swaraj Party of India is simply a "bourgeois counter-revolutionary Party", says he, literally. He does not bother to characterise it closer. But then, he presents things in away as if, according to my opinion, this party were a "wonderful revolutionary party", as he expressed himself. No, comrades, this is not a revolutionary party. Comrade Lozovsky even asserted that my thesis contain a call for the "support" of the Swarajists and then he made a long speech against support. No, comrades, in the thesis, on the contrary, the task is put that the Swarajists, as well as the national reformists in general shall be "ruthlessly unmasked" and in no way supported. But the Swaraj Party is not a common counter-revolutionary party – there are such parties in India. Does this party carry on an anti-British propaganda? Yes, this has to be admitted. Did it organise nationalist campaigns? It did. What is its programme? "Liberation of India without force" the last condition, too, belongs to its programme. Briefly lot of noise and little result, this is what this party makes. Much has been quoted from the statements of the deceased leader of this party, among which there are some quite ugly pieces. In my report I mentioned a quite counter-revolutionary article from the "Forward", the organ of the Swaraj Party and related how the leadership of the Indian National Congress betrayed the nationalist mass movement of Bardoli in 1922. This is all true but despite this, the Swarajists are not the common kind of counter-revolutionaries. They have for instance, organised and led the present boycott-action in Bardoli (refusal to pay taxes to the Government). The organ of the English imperialist bourgeoisie, the "Times", writes on the 8th of July the following about this action:
"In the territory of 100 villages of Bardoli, with a total population of over 80,000, the respect for the law and the authorities has seriously diminished and the district officials for the Government in the whole neighbourhood depend for their supply of food on Mr. Patel (he is a Swarajist, K.) and his 'generals'. Even if peace would be concluded tomorrow it would take years before the due respect for the lawful authorities could be re-established.
"According to the reports the discipline of the 200 Satyagraho volunteers is exemplary... When the Commissar visited Bardoli last month there was a complete 'Hartal'. Every house in the village that he visited was bolted and barred and the streets were perfectly deserted. When the tax collector, who personally is highly esteemed, shortly visited the place he was compelled to obtain a permit from the Satyagraho officer in order to be able to hire an automobile. But the actual struggle will take place at harvest time, because the people whose lands are under foreclosure will sow this land and strive to gather in the harvest. The Governor would need an immense force of police to prevent this." (Retranslated from the German. Tr.)
If we had a genuine Communist Party in India, then this Bardoli action would have afforded us the opportunity to utilise the mass movement: as it is, however, we could not at all take advantage of it. Naturally, this action in Bardoli was organised by the Swarajist-bourgeoisie as in a laboratory, on a limited territory where there were many more "kulak" elements than in other places and there is less danger of movement spreading directly among the wide masses of Indian peasants. This is just one of the "laboratory demonstration" so typical for the oppositional national-reformist bourgeoisie. But it is not a counterrevolutionary act. These "counter-revolutionary Swarajists" belong to the Anti-imperialist League which is sympathetic towards us. Comrades Bennett knows quite well that the whole Indian National Congress, in which the Swarajists comprise not the Right Wing, but the centre, is part of the Anti-Imperialist League. Has Comrade Bennett even raised a protest against this? The present General Secretary of the Indian National Congress is Nehru junior: a national revolutionary, the leader of the "Republican Party". As against this, his father, Nehru senior, is a typical Swarajist leaders; he participated here among other guest in the Tenth Year Anniversary Congress of the October Revolution. I mention this incident only because he was invited to come here with the participation of Comrade Bennett, who to the delegates of our Congress represents the Swarajists as being merely counter-revolutionaries.
What are the Swarajists? They are the representatives of the Indian national-bourgeoisie, they are typical national-reformists, they are typical bourgeois oppositional opportunists, nationalist chameleons. According to my opinion, it is the duty of the Communists within the Anti-Imperialist League to carry on a sharp struggle for the unmasking of these people. But very little will be done in India or in the League for their genuine unmasking by means of us merely yelling, they are counter-revolutionaries and nothing else.
Lenin on the Question of the Position of the Oppositional Bourgeoisie
We can compare the Indian Swarajists with the Cadets of Tsarist Russia. Comrade Lenin did not at that time(during Tsarism) simply relegate the cadets to the ranks of the counter-revolutionaries. Lenin has characterised them so well that I can best throw light on the question with his own words. Comrade Lenin wrote:
"Our liberal bourgeoisie took the road of counter-revolutionary... Should we, however, conclude from this that the bourgeoisie liberals are counter-revolutionary, that their conflicts with the reactionary Junkers or, in general, the rivalry and the struggle between the various factions of the bourgeois liberals are counter-revolutionary, that their importance for a new revolutionary upsurge, this would be, in fact, Menshevism turned upside down. The experiences of the Russian Revolution as well as the experiences of other countries are an undeniable proof that, when the objective conditions for a deep political crisis have developed, the smallest conflicts, which, seemingly, are the least related to the actual seat of revolution, may have the most serious significance as a starting point as a drop which fills the cup, as a beginning of a change in the sentiments, etc. We should not forget that the Zemstvo campaign and the petition of the liberals in the year 1904, were the forerunners... of 9th of January."
After some reference to the student movement of that time Lenin then continues:
"The radicalisation of the top strata is just a symptom which shows that the 'objective tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia remained unsolved'. But we say: If the bourgeoisie radicals itself, this means that: in the powder-magazine of the Russian Revolution new powder is gathering."
Especially about the Cadets Lenin wrote:
"This party wavers between the democratic petty-bourgeoisie and the counter-revolutionary elements of the big bourgeoisie. The social basis of this party is on the one hand the mass of the city population... on the other hand, the liberal landowners, who, with the aid of the liberalised officials, strive for a pact with absolutism... An extremely wide and innerly contradictory social basis of the party... Its programme is totally bourgeois... The political conscience and the political understanding of the 'opportunists' consists of the fact that they grovel before those who are at present stronger in order to place obstacles in the way of the militants and to disturb them now here, now there."
All this is a quite fitting characterisation of the Indian Swarajists too. One can likewise apply to them the following assertions of Lenin:
"The historical role of the Russian Cadets is a transitory, a one-day role. The Cadets will fall and prepare the ground either for the burial of the revolution for a long time to come, or for the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry."
"That the big bourgeoisie will commit betrayal is unquestionable, it already has two-thirds betrayed."
That is how Lenin put the question; he even figured the degree of the betrayal of national-bourgeoisie in thirds. This is something different from the 100% counter-revolutionary character that Comrade Bennett attributed to the oppositional Indian bourgeoisie. As Comrade Stalin stated, the Bolshevik Party of Russia, even at the time when the big bourgeoisie according to Lenin's words had already in two-thirds betrayed put the strategic question of the revolution in the manner that for the coming period of the revolution one has to attempt to neutralise this bourgeoisie. If such a putting of the strategical tasks was correct at that time in Russia, is it less possible at present in India? I don't think so. Trotsky, naturally, asserts that according to our conception the national bourgeoisie of the colonies is much better, more revolutionary, etc., than the Russian bourgeoisie was during the Revolution of 1905. But this is altogether wrong, and here Comrade Bennett, when repeated this assertion, also errs. The bourgeoisie of the colonial countries is not better, but there exists a difference and this is, firstly, the vacillations of the colonial bourgeoisie, both to the Left and to the Right, are much greater, they may even swing to the Blackest reaction; secondly, the objective contradiction between their class interests and the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie are deeper than were the contradictions between the Cadets and Tsarism.
When Lenin wrote about the colonies between the national bourgeoisie and Tsarism he gave the following important advice:
"The proletarian party is, before all, unconditionally bound to utilise all and every conflict, to unfold these conflicts, to widen their significance, to connect with them the agitation for the revolutionary slogans, to carry the knowledge of these conflicts to the wide masses, to rally them to an independent open action with their own demands, etc."
These suggestions of Lenin are embodied in our theses, but what Comrade Bennett proposes means that we make the thing just upside down, just contrary to what Lenin advised, and indeed not utilise, not unfold the conflicts of the national bourgeoisie with imperialism, not to broaden the significance of these conflicts, but to minimise them, not to connect our agitation for the revolutionary slogans with these conflicts, not to carry the message of these conflicts to the wide masses. This is not the tactic which was taught to us by Lenin, the greatest revolutionary strategist.
The Dangers of National Reformism
Will the national bourgeoisie of one or another colony, for instance, a part of the Indian bourgeoisie, join up, even if only temporary, with the national revolutionary camp? In the draft theses this answer has been given: in all probability not. I wish to emphasise this, since some comrades interpreted it quite differently; not only Comrades Bennett and Lozovsky, but Comrade Schuller too enlarged the sense of the theses in this respect to a great extent. It is said in the theses:
"If the national bourgeoisie (in an acute revolutionary situation) has to choose between the two camps, it will in all probability prefer the camp of the imperialists to that of the revolutionaries and join it (or approach to it)"
Could we, however, assert with certainty, in general theses of the C. I., that in all colonial countries the possibility is excluded that a part of the national bourgeoisie, even if for a very short period only, would join up with the national-revolutionary camp? No, we cannot do this. This was possible in China, in Syria, etc., and we cannot absolutely exclude this alternative. We can, however, say that it is very improbable. There is, for instance, the possibility to be regarded, that some other imperialist states will interfere, and particularly in such a case the role of the bourgeoisie of a colony may, temporarily, become objectively half-revolutionary. The draft theses refer to four conditions in this connection:
1. If the revolution does not rapidly expire; 2. if the immediate danger of an independent victorious class revolution is not yet clearly, not yet dangerously before the eyes of the bourgeoisie; 3. if the utilisation of the masses of the people in order to force concessions from the government does not seem to be hopeless and, finally, 4. if the national bourgeoisie feels a substantial support of another capitalist state backing it up, therefore, if and when these four conditions are on hand, then even an important part of the national bourgeoisie can – I emphasise – can go together with the national-revolutionary camp for a part of the road. If, however, these conditions do not exist we may expect that the whole of the national-bourgeoisie will keep aloof from the national-revolutionary camp. If it comes along it comes mainly to sabotage the revolutionary movement and to betray it at the first best opportunity. This is the point of view of the theses. Of course, we do not speak here about the national bourgeoisie or any part of it being revolutionary or better than the counter-revolutionary compradore-bourgeoisie. We speak about something more important, we point out to our comrades the real danger when arise at the moment when part of the national-bourgeoisie temporarily draws near to the national-revolutionary camp, so that we are not taken by surprise, so that our comrades may keep their eyes on the most dangerous probabilities, so that they may never forget that this bourgeoisie will in any event play a treacherous role, the role of the executioner, the same as the Chinese bourgeoisie has already played, but that the greatest danger is when this bourgeoisie tries, by revolutionary phrases, to bring the masses over to its side. It is this that our comrades in the colonies must always bear in mind.
The opposition to this point of view as expressed in the theses took a three-fold character in the discussion. Firstly, on the part of Comrades Bennett and Rothstein, secondly on the part of Comrades Lozovsky, Schuller, Fokin, as well as Lominadze and Heinz Neumann and thirdly, on the part of the Chinese and Indian comrades. Since this is an important question I must give some consideration to the objections raised by the Comrades so as to put them clearly.
On the Intervention of England in Afghanistan and in Turkey
About the point of view of Comrades Bennett and Rothstein I have already spoken a lot. I want briefly to point out here how characteristic it is that when one starts out from the point of view of the decolonisation or industrialisation theory, then ones sees not only the role of the national bourgeoisie and its national reformist role in a wrong light, but also to some extent even the role of imperialism. This was particularly expressed in a somewhat peculiar manner in the speech of Comrade Rothstein. What did he say about Afghanistan, Persia and Turkey? I quote literally:
"For example, we find here the statement that British imperialism first waged a war for the subjection of Afghanistan, but the Afghans, a small and undeveloped people, courageously defended their independence, and afterwards forced the British Government to recognise it." But what are the actual facts? – asks Comrade Rothstein. "The actual fact is that it was the Afghan king Amanulla who rose in revolt against the puppet of British imperialism in Afghanistan, as part of the general revolt of the colonial peoples against British imperialism after the war. It was not the British who declared war on him. He carried the war into India, he managed to rouse a certain ferment and a certain amount of trouble behind the British lines, with the result that the British were forced to give way."
Comrades, if Amanulla really created a "certain amount of trouble" behind the British lines, then the main acted cleverly; that is what we must do when we get into a similar situation. But that we should not say that the British at that time conducted a war against the Afghans, but that we must say that the Afghans revolted against England, this I cannot understand. Similarly strange is the request of Comrade Rothstein that we should not lay emphasis on the occupation of Constantinople by the British, but that we must say that it was a revolt of "Angora" against finance capital; and "the situation is similar as regards Persia", said Comrade Rothstein Comrades, if for instance, the British were to come to our Soviet fatherland, if they were to occupy Leningrad, well, we would have to say, according to the conception of Comrade Rothstein: Moscow is revolting against England. One is not permitted to say the British are conducting a war against the people of the Soviet Union. Was there a war in Afghanistan? Certainly there were battle lines, there were firing, etc. Now, when the British come to a foreign country and form their battle-lines, and when the "puppets" of the English Government are shooting – then, this is war. Certainly Comrade Rothstein is right when he says that the British did not declare war. But without declaration of war they also for a long time conducted war against the Soviet Union. It seems to me that Comrade Rothstein has read a bit too much of the English bourgeois papers and has not, with sufficient carefulness, borne in mind that these papers reflect the events of the world in a one-sided and crooked manner, particularly as far as events in the colonies and semi-colonies are concerned.
It is Necessary to Distinguish between the two Stages of the Revolutionary Movement in Order to Overcome the Tendency to Jump over the Immediate Difficulties.
As already said, the section of the draft theses dealing with tactical questions was opposed by Comrades Lozovsky, Schuller and Fokin, and also by Comrades Lominadze and Heinz Neumann. All these comrades excepting, Comrade Lominadze, reject the theory of decolonisation or industrialisation. Comrades Lozovsky and Neumann, in their speeches, distinctly dissociated themselves from this even though Comrade Lozovsky at the same time polemised against the "theory of the hinterland" contained in the theses. Comrade Schuller put such an analogy: we do not even say that the Social Democrats will ever lean to the side of the revolution; therefore, how can we put such a thing in the perspective for the national bourgeoisie of any colony? It seems to me that the national contradiction to imperialism disappears by this analogy. If we put such an analogy then the relations of the social forces in the colonies appear to be the very same as in the imperialist countries. But in reality this is not the case.
These comrades demand that we should not distinguished between the two stages of the revolutionary movement before the taking over of power by the proletariat and the peasantry in the bourgeois-democratic revolution. According to my opinion, we can see these two phases quite concretely in the present historical situation in India and China: the movement in India is at present in its first stage; the movement in China is in a more mature stage. The transition from the first to the end of the second stage can, as we already emphasised in the theses, take place in the course of a single revolutionary wave. But it is also possible that the transition process will be interrupted. These various possibilities must be borne in mind by our comrades in the colonies so that they shall not be taken by surprise. In characterising these possibilities the theses have particularly underlined the tasks confronting the Communists in this period of transition, in the development of the revolutionary wave:
"The task of the Communist Party as the vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat is, as far as possible to take the lead of this process. Should the revolution be now successful, then we have passed through a whole stage: the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry is established. If however, the counter-revolutionary is victorious, then the revolution suffers a defeat; with the climax of this revolutionary wave only the first stage of the revolution ends."
Therefore, it is not at all depicted as if in every case the transition from the first stage to the second will happen in the same manner as in China. But the differentiation between the two stages is necessary, in my opinion, because they exist in reality. A defeat in the course of the transition from one stage to the other is, however, not at all necessary. We cannot however, deny every possibility of a defeat. We must emphasise the task of the Communists in this connection. And I agree that it was a correct idea which Comrade Lomniadze expressed in his speech on the first point of the agenda that it was the task of the Chinese Communists to attempt to lead the revolutionary process as far as possible in this situation of transition. We must by no means, condemn the Chinese Communists on this account, but only for the real mistakes that they committed at that time. As against this the tendency to jump over the difficulties of the first stage, without genuine effort to overcome these difficulties, this tendency, according to my opinion, is false and it was against this tendency, that I wished to guard our Parties in the colonial countries when I emphasised the difference between the two stages. The special significance of the danger of bourgeois national-reformism consists in the fact that it has mass influence, and our weakness consists in that we have not yet succeeded in India, Egypt, etc., in undermining its mass influence. We should neither have nor spread any illusions about any kind of revolutionary role of the national bourgeoisie; rather we must spread the knowledge in our ranks and among the proletariat that the reformism of the national-bourgeoisie is the greatest obstacle in the way of acquiring mass influence. It would not be a good thing for our Party or the revolutionary movement in a colony if in certain circumstances the reformist bourgeoisie were to join the national-revolutionary front for a time. This would be a most dangerous situation and our comrades must be prepared for such a dangerous situation. The special task –said Lenin – of the Communists in these colonial and semi-colonial countries is the struggle against the bourgeois-democratic tendency (or, as we now call it, against national reformism) of the bourgeoisie of one's own nation. How they should and can fulfil their special tasks in the different stages of the revolutionary development, that is the question. How shall we struggle to win over the masses from the influence of the bourgeoisie? This question is not so simple that it suffices to tell our comrades, as Comrade Fokin has said: "Furious attack against the bourgeoisie" and that's all. Or as Comrade Neumann formulated this task for India:
"One has to tell it that the Communist Party must regard as the most important lesson, the national bourgeoisie will in any event betray the revolutionary movement right at the outset."
In the draft theses, it is also said that the bourgeoisie, so far as it goes with the nationalist movement at all, will betray this movement.
But one has not said that our comrades should only yell. Comrades, one yells mostly in panic or in pain. As a means of revolutionary struggle it is weak. One must know how, by right means and methods, to unmask before the toiling masses the real character of the national-reformist bourgeoisie. We have attempted in the theses to give a few directions to our Parties on the question, how to act so that this unmasking should be rally successful, should bring real results, and I hope, that these directions will prove useful in practice. The next basic task for us, is that of winning the masses away from the influence of the national bourgeoisie. I had expected that Comrade Neumann would relate some of the experiences from the time of the Canton uprising, that he would have told us how better to prepare an important revolutionary action, how better to organise it, how to win the masses previously and how to mobilise the wide masses for such an action. Our Parties, and mainly those in the other colonial and semi-colonial countries, could have learned something from this. We have by all possible ways and means, to communicate these Chinese lessons to our Parties as well as through such directives that should be contained in the theses. But Comrade Neumann did not make even an attempt in this direction. It should have been his task, firstly, to exercise self-criticism and secondly, to clarify the various important lessons of the Chinese revolution. And when he now presents the matter as if the Chinese bourgeoisie have won nothing at all, in the first stage of the revolution, and that the proletariat have won very much, then I have to say: one must estimate somewhat more soberly the positive as well as the negative results of the Chinese revolution.
As far as the opposition if the Chinese comrades to this part of the theses is concerned, I will say that it seems to me to a certain extent natural and innerly even a very sympathetic opposition, Comrades, when the Party, in a case where it has suffered a defeat in the revolutionary struggle, shows a little tendency "towards the Left", this is not a bad sign. It seems to me that the Party is really revolutionary. One cannot blame the Chinese comrades if they now estimate the objective role of the bourgeoisie in other colonial countries just as we have to judge it in the general theses of the Communist International. I remember when we established our Finnish Communist Party after the defeat of the revolution in Finland – this was just ten years ago – this our Party stood so much to the ultra-Left that I believe no Party in the world was ever so much ultra-Left. I myself, at the time of the foundation congress formulated such a theses as: "In the revolution one does not need reason, one needs only weapons". This was understandable in the then prevailing situation, even if it was not very reasonable.
The Various Tasks of the Communists in the Colonial Countries
I cannot say that I am in absolute agreement with all the other comrades who have spoken here. But it is not possible for me not to go into a discussion of the varying opinions. For instance, I cannot agree with the assertion of Comrade Sultan-Zade and another comrade, who spoke about Persia and Turkey. We must examine this arguments in the Commission. Such suggestions and partly critical remarks as for instance, Comrade Omura from Japan put forth were very fruitful; I believe that in the final formulation of the theses much of this can be put to use.
We must pay more sympathetic attention on the part of the Communist International to the Korean movement and secure for it a united leadership. We must necessarily arrive there at the liquidation of factional struggle. If we consider the Japanese capital-exports to Korea we find here another example that these by no means signify an industrialisation, but rather the subjugation of the country. An immense pauperisation is taking place there as a result of the colonial regime. The particular difficulty of our Party there consists in just the fact that the proletariat is so weak, that it develops so slowly and that it is so little class-conscious.
The comrades who spoke here on the Negro Question also mentioned many new and important things. I quite agree that on this point there is a gap in the theses which we must fill. The question of South Africa must be examined by us, especially in the Commission. I believe that we must tell the majority of the leadership of the South African Party that they must unconditionally correct their altitude, their opposition in the question of the slogan of the Native Republic must be given up. On Ireland, Comrade Carney as well as Comrade Schuller have correctly spoken I am agreed that the theses be supplemented in this direction.
What new and important things have we found in dealing with the colonial question to this Congress? Firstly, the Chinese experiences. Secondly, we have become more closely acquainted with the Indian revolutionary movement and it has come more into the foreground. Thirdly, the Latin American movement. It is the first time that we have had such a big delegation from these countries, and we have heard from the comrades much that is of importance on the revolutionary movement in their countries.
We have attempted now for the first time to grasp the colonial question in all its entirely. Naturally, we did this only in a deficient manner. I am sure that, owing to the lack of time we will not be successful even by our collective work in preparing quite good theses. But we can develop these questions further in the coming period through articles and directives of the Comintern, and first of all by our practical work in the various colonial countries. The Chinese revolution not only gave new and great revolutionary experiences to us and the Chinese proletariat; it also opened up a new period of great colonial revolutions in which the proletariat of the colonial countries will play an independent role, and which will have the greatest significance also for the revolutionary movement of Europe and America. This fact, comrades, places a very great responsibility on the Communist International. Comrades, we are responsible that the proletarian, the Communist leadership in these colonial revolutions shall prove capable of fulfilling its historic mission.
We emphasised in the draft theses two practical, and seemingly modest but very important tasks. Party and Trade Unions: the building up of the Party, the organising of independent trade unions. This I want to emphasise again. The third basic task is the winning of the masses away from the influence of the national-reformist bourgeoisie, the unmasking of this national-reformist bourgeoisie. And then, to the furious attack on imperialism and all its allies, beginning with the national bourgeoisie allied with it and ending with scoundrels of the Second International.
It is point of theoretical dispute comrades, whether the colonial
revolutions are only an auxiliary force of the socialist world
revolution, or whether they are part of it. The only important thing is
comrades, that they will be our allies, allies in the struggle against
imperialism and against capitalism. The European and American
proletariat, hand in hand with the proletariat and the peasant masses
of the colonial countries with the colonial slaves of Africa, must
rally to the struggle and to victory!
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