Workers Vanguard No. 896

3 August 2007


Trotskyism and the Heritage of the Early Comintern

(Quote of the Week)

In a document adopted at the Second World Congress of the Third (Communist) International in August 1920, Leon Trotsky stressed the need to forge an international revolutionary party in political combat against all misleaders of the working class. Standing on the revolutionary program embodied in the decisions of the first four congresses of the Communist International (1919-1922), Trotsky and his co-thinkers fought against the Comintern’s subsequent Stalinist degeneration and founded the Fourth International in 1938. In continuity with this heritage, the International Communist League fights to reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution.

To the disintegration and chaos of the capitalist world, whose death agony threatens to destroy all human culture, the Communist International counterposes the united struggle of the world proletariat for the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and for the reconstruction of national and world economy on the basis of a single economic plan, instituted and realized in life by a society of producers, a society of solidarity….

The Communist International is the party of the revolutionary education of the world proletariat. It rejects all those organizations and groups which openly or covertly stupefy, demoralize and weaken the proletariat, exhorting it to kneel before the fetishes which are a facade for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie: legalism, democracy, national defense, etc.

Neither can the Communist International admit into its ranks those organizations which, after inscribing the dictatorship of the proletariat in their program, continue to conduct a policy which obviously relies upon a peaceful solution of the historical crisis. Mere recognition of the Soviet system settles nothing. The Soviet form of organization does not possess any miraculous powers. Revolutionary power lies within the proletariat itself. It is necessary for the proletariat to rise for the conquest of power—then and only then does the Soviet organization reveal its qualities as the irreplaceable instrument in the hands of the proletariat….

In all his work whether as leader of a revolutionary strike, or as organizer of underground groups, or as secretary of a trade union, or as agitator at mass meetings, whether as deputy, cooperative worker or barricade fighter, the Communist always remains true to himself as a disciplined member of the Communist Party, a zealous fighter, a mortal enemy of capitalist society, its economic foundation, its state forms, its democratic lies, its religion and its morality. He is a self-sacrificing soldier of the proletarian revolution and an indefatigable herald of the new society.

Working men and women! On this earth there is only one banner which is worth fighting and dying for. It is the banner of the Communist International!

—Leon Trotsky, “Manifesto of the Second World Congress” (1920),
printed in The First Five Years of the Communist International,
Volume 1, Monad Press (1977)