Letter to Members of the Politbureau of the CC, RCP(b) with Remarks to The Draft Resolution for the First Extended Plenary Meeting of the Comintern Executive on Participation in a Conference of the Three Internationals

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The first extended plenary meeting of the Comintern Executive was held in Moscow from February 21 to March 4, 1922. It was attended by 105 delegates from 36 countries. The highlight of the meeting was the question of the tactics of the united front. In addition, the meeting heard a report on the situation within the various sections of the Comintern, and other questions. The meeting adopted the theses on the struggle against war and the war menace, the theses on the New Economic Policy, a decision on the tactics of the united front, a resolution on the participation of the Comintern in the proposed conference of the three Inter nationals, and a number of other documents.

Lenin did not sit in at the meeting owing to ill-health, but he took an active part in preparing the meeting and elaborated the tactics for the Comintern delegation to the conference of the three Internationals (see pp. 393–94, 406, etc. of this volume).

Lenin’s proposed amendments to the draft resolution on participation in the conference of the three Internationals were adopted by the Politbureau of the CC on February 23, 1922.

A resolution on this point was adopted by the first plenary meeting of the Comintern Executive on March 4, 1922.

To Comrade Molotov (for members of the Politbureau)

I move the following amendments to the draft resolution sent in by Zinoviev concerning the Comintern’s participation in the planned conference of all the workers’ parties of the world. After the words: “unity of action among the working class masses which could be achieved immediately, despite fundamental political, differences,” the phrases following this should be deleted up to the words: “that the working-class masses demand unity of action”. The phrase beginning with these last words should be recast as follows: “the class-conscious workers, who are perfectly well aware of these political differences, nevertheless, together with the vast majority of the workers, desire and demand unity of action on practical issues most urgent and close to the interests of the workers. There can be no doubt about this now in the mind of any conscientious person” and so on.

My second amendment is that the phrase beginning with the words: “all controversial issues to be avoided and questions that are not open to argument to be brought into focus” should be amended as follows: “and while postponing for a time the more controversial questions and bringing into focus the less controversial, both sides, or rather all three international organisations taking part in the conference, will naturally count on the ultimate victory of their points of view.”

My chief amendment is aimed at deleting the passage which calls the leaders of the II and II 1/2 Internationals accomplices of the world bourgeoisie. You might as well call a man a “jackass”. It is absolutely unreasonable to risk wrecking an affair of tremendous practical importance for the sake of giving oneself the extra pleasure of scolding scoundrels, whom we shall be scolding a thousand times at another place and time. If there are still people at the enlarged meeting of the Executive who have not grasped the fact that the tactic of the united front will help us to overthrow the leaders of the II and II 1/2 Internationals, these people should have an extra number of popular lectures and talks read to them. It may be necessary to have a specially popular pamphlet written for them and published in French, say, if the Frenchmen have not yet grasped Marxist tactics. Finally, it were better to adopt this resolution, not unanimously, but by a majority (those who voted against we would afterwards put through a special, thorough and popular course of enlightenment) than run the risk of spoiling a practical affair for the sake of a few political youngsters who tomorrow will be cured of their infantile disorder.