Manifesto of the Second Congress of the Third International
Publisher: Communist International (Comintern), Moscow
Year Published: 1920
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX7210
Adopted in Moscow, August 1920, at the Second World Congress of the Communist International.
Capitalism has proletarianised immense masses of mankind.
Imperialism has thrown these masses out of balance and started them on the revolutionary road. The very concept of the term "masses" has undergone a change in recent years. Those elements which used to be regarded as the masses in the era of parliamentarianism and trade unionism have now become converted into a labour aristocracy. Millions and tens of millions of those who formerly lived beyond the pale of political life are being transformed today into the revolutionary masses. The war has roused everybody. It has awakened the political interest of the most backward layers; it aroused in them illusions and hopes and it has deceived them. The craft division of labour with its caste spirit, the relative stability of the living standards among the upper proletarian strata, the dumb and apathetic hopelessness among the thickest lower layers, in short, the social foundations of the old forms of the labour movement have receded beyond recall into the past. New millions have been drawn into the struggle.
Women who have lost their husbands and fathers and have been compelled to take their places in labour's ranks are streaming into the movement. The working youth, which has grown up amid the thunder and lightning of the World War, hails the revolution as its native element.
In different countries the struggle is passing through different stages. But it is the final struggle. Not infrequently the waves of the movement flow into obsolete organisational forms, lending them temporary vitality. Here and there on the surface of the flood old labels and half-obliterated slogans float. Human minds are still filled with much confusion, many shadows, prejudices and illusions. But the movement as a whole is of a profoundly revolutionary character. It is all-embracing and irresistible. It spreads, strengthens and purifies itself; and it is eliminating all the old rubbish. It will not halt before it brings about the rule of the world proletariat.
The basic form of this movement is the strike. Its simplest and most potent cause lies in the rising prices of primary necessities. Not infrequently the strike arises out of isolated local conflicts. It arises as an expression of the masses' impatience with the parliamentary Socialist mish-mash.
It originates in the feeling of solidarity with the oppressed of all countries, including one's own. It combines economic and political slogans. In it are not infrequently combined fragments of reformism with slogans of the programme of social revolution. It dies down, ceases, only in order again to resurrect itself, shaking the foundations of production, keeping the state apparatus under constant strain, and driving the bourgeoisie into all the greater frenzy because it utilises every pretext to send its greetings to Soviet Russia. The premonitions of the exploiters are not unfounded, for this chaotic strike is in reality the social-revolutionary roll call and the mobilisation of the international proletariat.