Draft Resolution for the Fourth Congress of the Comintern on the Question of the Programme of the Communist International

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The agenda of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, which was held from November 5 to December 5, 1922, contained the question of the programme of the Communist International. The congress had before it the programme drafted by Bukharin and tabled in his own name, and also the draft programmes of the Communist Parties of Bulgaria and Germany and the “Programme of Action of the Italian Communist Party”. On November 13, in his report “Five Years of the Russian Revolution and the Prospects of the World Revolution” Lenin suggested holding simply a general discussion on all the programmes, “to make the first reading, so to speak” and to get them printed in order to study and prepare the programme more profoundly and thoroughly (see p resent edition, Vol. 33, pp. 418–32): During the discussion of these drafts, lively debates revolved around the question of transition and limited demands, as a means of preparing the masses for the socialist revolution, for the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Bukharin was opposed to the more general transition and limited demands being theoretically substantiated in the programme of the Comintern, and even accused of opportunism those who urged the inclusion of these propositions. Bukharin’s point of view was criticised by the congress delegates. The delegation of the RCP asked the platform committee of the congress to be allowed to discuss the question of the programme within the delegation before the congress passed any decision on it; this request was granted by the congress (see Bulletin of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International No. 14–15, p. 31).

A meeting of the RCP(b) delegation Bureau was held on November 20, 1922, at which the proposals printed in this book were drawn up as a draft resolution for the congress. According to available information, the very important points 4 and 5 were dictated by Lenin almost word for word.

Proposals adopted at a meeting of the CC Five

(Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek, Bukharin)

November 20, 1922

1. All the programmes are handed to the Executive of the Comintern or to a committee appointed by it for detailed working up and study.

The Executive of the Comintern is obliged within the shortest possible time to publish all the draft programmes forwarded to it.

2. The congress confirms that all the national parties which do not yet have their own national programmes must immediately start drafting them so that they may be submitted to the Executive not later than within three months of the next congress, which shall endorse them.

3. The necessity of fighting for transition demands subject to appropriate reservations making these demands dependent on concrete conditions of place and time should be stated explicitly and categorically in the national programmes.

4. The theoretical basis for all such transition or limited demands should be definitely stated in the general programme, the Fourth Congress declaring that the Comintern emphatically condemns both the attempts to represent the inclusion of limited demands in the programme as opportunism, and all and any attempts to use limited demands to obscure and side-track the basic revolutionary task.

5. The general programme should clearly state the basic historical types of transition demands of the national parties depending on cardinal differences of economic structure, as for example, Britain and India, and such-like.[1]

  1. The Bureau of the RCP delegation, at its meeting on November 20, 1922, also drew up the following “Statement of the Russian Delegation”: “In view of the fact that the dispute on how the transition demands should be worded and in what part of the programme they should be treated created the wrong impression that the divergence of opinion was on a matter of principle, the Russian delegation lays down unanimously that the inclusion of the transition demands into the programmes of the national sections, their general wording and theoretical substantiation in the general part of the programme cannot be considered as opportunism.” This statement was read at the congress meeting on November 21, after which the presiding committee of the congress submitted to the delegates for consideration the proposals drafted by the Bureau of the RCP delegation, to which slight editorial changes had been made. The congress adopted the proposals as a resolution of the congress (see Bulletin of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International No. 18, pp. 7–8). p. 428