ALLIANCE:   Number 36
JULY 2000

(Paper Sent to Alliance July 2000 ; by Comrade N. S.)

Many Marxist-Leninists have long been aware of the position of the Communist League (UK) and that of Alliance (North America) (ML) - that the Comintern was hijacked by revisionists by 1928 onwards. Accordingly the CL and Alliance have long advocated an original approach to the history of the Comintern, and the lessons this history teaches militants the world over. Comrades in many fraternal organisations - who work with us - have at first found these positions difficult to grasp. This is not surprising, as it has become a dogma in the Marxist-Leninist world that to reject Trotskyism is to embrace the Comintern. But we have previously shown that to adopt this mechanical position leads to the incorrect view, that Stalin was in agreement with the Comintern's disastrous policies, towards fascism - for isntance. In the past our combined work has been spread over several rather detailed documents. Therefore we were pleased to recieve the specific article here by Comrade NS. Comrade NS has brought together and amplified with new documentation, the analysis showing the variance of Stalin's views with those of the Comintern.

               The October Socialist Revolution in 1917, the establishment of two opposing systems, socialism and capitalism, together with the growing internationalization of proletarian struggles, highlighted once more the necessity for effective forms of mutual solidarity and co-ordination between the revolutionary vanguards operating in different countries.
                Hence, the setting up of the Third, Communist International, or Comintern, in Moscow in 1919 - a new proletarian international , free from the opportunist stands prevailing in the Second International, a new international that, according to Lenin: "Has began to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat."
V.I. Lenin, "The Third International and Its Place in History
(15-4-19)", in Collected Works, vol. 29, Moscow, 1965, p. 307. (Emphasis in the original).
                Its recognition and the struggle to secure it were basic conditions for membership. It was on Lenin's initiative that the Communist International initially elaborated its revolutionary strategy and tactics as well as its political and organizational principles, which soon became widespread beyond Europe.
By acquiring vital significance for all the communist parties, it could also exercise considerable social and political influence in the international arena. As socialism was being consolidated in the Soviet Union, the Comintern remained in existence until its dissolution in 1943.
            Seven congresses were held (the last taking place in 1935), and its highest organ between congresses was the Executive Committee (ECCI) which convened thirteen plenary sessions from 1922 to 1933. For some time, a relevant and leading role in Comintern affairs was also played by Stalin, elected in 1922 as secretary general of the RCP(B), later CPSU(B). His active involvement began at the Fifth Comintern Congress in 1924, when he was elected to the Executive Committee and its Presidium. But a striking feature of Stalin's relationship with the Comintern lies in the fact that, after a few years of intensive participation and engagement (his "Works" are filled with speeches on Comintern and international affairs during 1924-25-26-27), Stalin ceased to participate in it from the late twenties onwards. He remained absent during its congresses in 1928 and 1935, and his official "Works" contain no
contribution to Comintern affairs after 1928.
             Retrospectively - and also in the light of the fierce class struggle carried out in the USSR both openly and behind the scenes - there is ample evidence to prove that, from the late twenties until the early forties, Stalin and the Marxist-Leninists had been removed from active leadership in the Comintern by a dominating coalition of concealed revisionists who would later reveal themselves as outright opponents of socialism. This revisionist majority, with Stalin set aside, was therefore able to distort Marxism-Leninism - firstly, during the early thirties, along pseudo-left, sectarian lines, which were later revised along the path of right opportunism. This situation, of course, contrasts with the stereotyped picture of Stalin as a bloody tyrant, unchallenged and dominat over his own country and the Comintern. Even bourgeois historians have now began to dispute the notion that by the mid-thirties Stalin had imposed a totally monolithic control over the international communist movement.
            It is an historic fact that - prior to the establishment of Soviet revisionism at the 20th Congress of the CPSU(B) in 1956 - some revisionist, criminally wrong lines were implemented both within the Comintern and in the Soviet Union. As Marxist-Leninists, it is certainly vital to recognise the incorrectness of these policies and their failure. This is not for academic purposes. It is vital for communists, in order to draw the necessary lessons and incorporate them in today's revolutionary struggle for socialism.
            Just to highlight Stalin's initial difficulties in the Comintern (Lenin had withdrawn from active political life from December 1922), let us consider the composition of the Russian delegation to the Executive Committee, elected at the Fifth Congress in 1924. With the sole exception of Stalin, the other members - including Zinoviev, Bukharin, Trotsky - were all anti-socialist elements, whose factional activities emerged at a later stage and some of them were then convicted of treason.
                    The members of the Russian delegation to the ECCI elected by the Fifth Comintern Congress in 1924, were: Zinoviev (also the Comintern's president), Bukharin, Stalin, Kamenev, Rykov; candidates: Sokolnikov, Trotsky, Lozovsky, Piatnitsky. It was only in December 1926, that Zinoviev ceased to be the Comintern's president, this office being replaced by a political Secretariat.
                Having gained influential positions from which they could sabotage socialism, these revisionists could not - at first - openly oppose it. They would have agreed with the last Soviet revisionist leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who has candidly admitted: "My ambition was to liquidate communism, the dictatorship over all the people. . . . I knew that I could only do this if I was the leading functionary."
(Mikhail Gorbachev: In interview with Turkish radio; quoted in NorthStar Compass, organ of the Organising Committee for Friendship and Solidarity with Soviet People. Reproduced in Lalkar, March/April, 2000; p.19.)
                  Their presence in the Comintern during the twenties, however, did not at first prevent the successful elaboration of Marxist-Leninist policies, mainly with regard to united front tactics and the defence of socialism in the Soviet Union.

                As a matter of fact, the proletarian dictatorship in the Soviet Union was strengthened, despite the Trotskyist opposition had made damaging attempts to deny the possibility of socialism being built in a single country. According to Trotsky's infamous theory of the permanent revolution, only
the victory of the revolution on a world scale would save proletarian rule
in the Soviet Union from "degeneration and decay". In Trotsky's view the construction of
socialism in one country would give up the prospects of the international revolution and neglect proletarian internationalism.
                The most prominent role in defeating these perversions of Lenin's theory on the subject was played by Stalin himself who, together with the other delegations attending the Executive Committee Plenum in November/December 1926, recognised the fundamental necessity of the closest possible alliance and solidarity between the USSR, the international revolutionary process and the various liberation struggles. In no way did Stalin abandon the cause of the revolution outside the USSR in upholding the principle that socialism could be built in one country. Indeed, the victory of the October Revolution represented, in Stalin's words, "the beginning of and the precondition for the world revolution.":

                Accordingly, the Comintern characterised the Soviet Union as "the most important fortress of the world revolution." (See the Theses of the Seventh ECCI Plenum on the International Situation and the Tasks of the Communist International (13-12-26), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International: 1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2, London, 1971, p. 323).
                Also, during the twenties both Lenin and Stalin elaborated and supported the so-called united front tactics in order to achieve the amplest  revolutionary unity of action by the workers. These policies were adopted by the ECCI: "The ECCI is of the opinion that the slogan of the third world congress of the Communist International "To the Masses", and the interests of the communist movement generally, require the communist parties and the Communist International as a whole to support the slogan of the united front of the workers and to take the initiative in this matter. The tactics of each communist party must of course be worked out concretely in relation to the conditions in each country."
Extracts from the Directives on the United Front of the Workers and on the Attitude to Workers Belonging to the Second, Two-and-a-half, and Amsterdam Internationals, and to Those Who Support Anarcho-Syndacalist Organizations, Adopted by the ECCI (18-12-21), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 1, London, 1971, p. 311.
                The Communist parties were meant to draw together the most diverse sections of the working class around specific goals and on practical issues, such as "questions concerning wages, hours, housing conditions, insurance, taxation, unemployment, high cost of living, and so forth." :                 During the course of this united struggle, the proletariat was being educated in a revolutionary
spirit in preparation for its main task - the overthrow of the bourgeois order and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Emphasis was laid on building united fronts from below, by appealing to
all workers - whether communist, anarchist, social-democrat, Christian or non-party - over the heads of their leaders. For the very purpose of achieving such a comprehensive unity, at this stage the Comintern was in favour of entering into agreements with social-democratic, reformist parties as well as with reactionary mass trade unions. Following Lenin's and Stalin's indications, these agreements could be reached only on condition that the communist parties retained total political independence at all times, without contemplating any type of "fusion" or "merging" with social-democracy or any "fraternisation of party leaders."                 Accordingly, "the united front tactics . . . are tactics of revolution, not evolution . . . are not a democratic coalition, an alliance with social-democracy. They are only a method of revolutionary agitation and mobilisation:                 Likewise, Stalin characterised them "as a means for the revolutionary mobilisation and organisation of the masses." [Josef V. Stalin, Concerning the International Situation (20-9-24), in
Works, vol.6, Moscow, 1947, pp. 305].

                And in order: "to link the daily interests of the proletariat with the fundamental interests of the proletarian revolution," the communist parties must - always according to Stalin - "combine an uncompromising revolutionary spirit (not to be confused with revolutionary adventurism!) with the maximum of flexibility and manoeuvring ability (not to be confused with opportunism!)."

                This correct tactical line prevailed at the 1924 Comintern Congress which, according to Stalin, ""merely sealed the victory of the revolutionary wing in the principal sections of the Comintern."
[Josef V. Stalin, Concerning the International Situation (20-9-24), in Works, vol.6, Moscow, 1947, pp. 306.] Initially, in fact, the Communist international had rejected the sectarian "theory of the offensive", that is, those "leftist stupidities" - as Lenin called them - forcing the communist parties into adventurist, premature, unprepared and hopeless insurrections. At the Second Comintern Congress (1920) Lenin himself sharply criticised anarcho-syndacalist and "left" sectarian trends pursued by a number of communist organisations, just as he fought against opportunist, centrist parties which were attempting to penetrate the Comintern. Some other revisionist formulations had also emerged in connection with the so-called "workers' government (or workers' and peasants' government)," fostering the illusion of a parliamentary road to socialism through an alliance with social-democracy. On Stalin's initiative, these formulations were corrected in favour of mobilising workers for the revolutionary smashing of the capitalist state.
            The original revisionist formulation of a "workers' government" was
the following:                 This formulation was later corrected as follows:                 In 1926 Stalin categorically rejected the parliamentary road to socialism:                 The difficult economic restoration of the Soviet Union and its entering into the stage of socialist industrialisation and collectivisation in agriculture were accompanied by the emergence of an anti-socialist opposition around prominent figures such as Trotsky, Zinoviev (who was also the Comintern president), Kamenev, Sokolnikov, who were all Executive Committee members in the Comintern. They were joined in the Executive Committee by two other influential members, Bukharin and Rykov, who would later put forward a right opportunist platform in a common offensive with the Trotskyist opposition against the CPSU(B). Of course, this factional fighting sharpened the ideological and political struggle which was also being carried out both within the Comintern and within various communist parties.
                In June 1926, for example, Stalin regarded the Zinoviev group as more dangerous than Trotsky's because of the former's control of the Comintern in his capacity as president. (Stalin's letter, n. 21 (25-6-26) in Lih, Naumov, Klevniuk (Ed.), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936, 1995, p.115). Also in connection with the British General Strike in 1926 significant political and ideological divergences emerged within the Comintern, specifically, between correct united front policies supported by Stalin, on the one hand, and ultra-left proposals, emanating from Zinoviev, in favour of setting up Red "paper" Unions, on the other. In solidarity with the miners, a general strike was proclaimed in Britain on 3 May 1926 involving several millions of workers, before being called off a week later by the General Council of the Trade Unions. The miners, however, continued the struggle which was ultimately defeated in November because of the extreme repressive measures imposed by the then conservative government. Both the Comintern and the Communist Party of Britain, in line with Stalin, indicated the necessity to win over the workers within - not outside - the reformist trade unions, establish international solidarity under the slogan "the miners' cause is our cause", attack at the same time the reactionary trade unions bureaucrats, combine economic with political demands, convert the capitalist offensive into the revolutionary offensive of the working class:         The failure of the General Strike in 1926 did not imply the failure of united front tactics. It rather proved that capitalist stabilisation had not ended yet: according to Stalin, it was "a continuing
stabilisation, temporary, not enduring, but stabilisation nonetheless." [Stalin's letter, n. 16, in Lih, Naumov, Klevniuk, (Ed.), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936, 1995, p. 108]. From such an overall assessment, therefore, it was "time and unremitting energic work" that were needed in Britain in order to accelerate the revolutionary process.                 The situation in the East required a slightly different approach. In the colonial and dependent countries it was the slogan of a united anti-imperialist front that was put forward by the Communist International in accordance with the Leninist policy, whereby national liberation movements are part and parcel of the proletarian revolution. This programme supported the anti-imperialist national revolutionary movements in every possible way, thus turning the communist parties into their vanguards. Provided they maintained complete independence of action, it was for the communist parties "permissible and necessary" to enter into temporary agreements with the national bourgeoisie while consistently
striving towards a stable alliance with the peasant and semi-proletarian masses.                 Once the working class, in alliance with the peasantry, has gained the leadership and has begun to transform the national democratic revolution into a socialist revolution, the Marxist-Leninist strategy was - according to both the Comintern and Stalin during the twenties - to bring about the final victory of socialism by overthrowing the national bourgeoisie and establishing the dictatorship of the working class.

                As Stalin noted in 1925, in some colonial-type countries the native bourgeoisie "is splitting up in two parts, a revolutionary part (the national bourgeoisie - Ed.) . . . and a compromising part (the comprador bourgeoisie - Ed.), of which the first is continuing the revolutionary struggle, whereas the second is entering a bloc with imperialism." [Josef V. Stalin,The Political tasks of the University of the Peoples of the East: Speech Delivered at a Meeting of Students of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East (18-5-25), in Works, vol. 7, Moscow, 1948, p. 147].
                The Sixth Congress of the Communist International, in September 1928, agreed that the native bourgeoisie in colonial-type counties maintained a differentiated attitude towards imperialism:

                Hence, the requirement of two stages for the revolution in the East. With specific regard to China's liberation against Anglo-Japanese-American imperialism during the twenties, the united anti-imperialist front policies aimed to:                 The Chinese proletariat quickly rose to a position from which it could challenge the bourgeoisie, particularly in May 1925, in the Hongkong-Canton strike of 1925-26, in the Shangai uprising of 1927. But these events were also accompanied by a considerable degree of fragmentation, sectarianism, revolutionary impatience on the part of the Chinese Communist Party, which failed to successfully mobilise the peasantry and infiltrate the army during its alliance period with the Kuomintang.

                Ultimately, by 1927, the Kuomintamg betrayed the cause of the national anti-imperialist revolution, turning against the Communist Party which was driven underground, first by Chiang Kai-shek and then by the so-called left Kuomintang government located in Wuhan. Both the Comintern and Stalin displayed strong support for the Chinese revolution during this time. Recently declassified documents reveal how Stalin attributed its failure to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, which he characterised as "not a genuine Communist Party," failing to fulfil the Comintern's directives, having not "a clue (literally, not a clue) about [the] hegemony" of the proletariat.
(Stalin's letter, n. 36 in Lih, Naumov, Klevniuk, (Ed.), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936, 1995, p. 141).

                In most developed capitalist countries during the late twenties intense class antagonism was giving rise to what Stalin assessed as "the preconditions for a new revolutionary upsurge of the working-class movement":

                It was during this time that pseudo-left sectarian distortions of united front policies began to emerge after the Sixth Comintern Congress in 1928 through the so-called class-against-class tactics. The members of the Political Secretariat who were elected at the Sixth Comintern
Congress in 1928 were: Barbe, Bell, Bukharin, Kuusinen, Molotov, Piatnitsky, Remmele, Serra, Tsiu Vito, Smeral, Humbert-Droz; and the candidates were: Manuilsky, Lozovsky, Khitarov.
                This new sectarian line, dominating the Comintern during the early thirties, was based on the assumption of an equation between social-democracy and fascism. Hence the theory of "social-fascism", strongly opposed by Stalin who, avoiding a straight identification between the two, characterised them as "twins", with social-democracy being "objectively the moderate wing of fascism.":                 Contrary to Stalin's view, the Comintern now presented the social-democratic parties as "the main enemy" of the working class, against whom the main blow should be directed. And by regarding the left wing of social-democracy (that which supported united front tactics) "more dangerous" than its right wing (that which opposed united front tactics), united fronts became permissible - under the "class against-class" policies - only from below, that is, with the rank-and-file members of the social-democratic parties:                 Consequently, under Comintern instructions, a number of communist parties during this period put forward slogans such as that of a "Red United Front" (i.e., a front limited to conscious revolutionaries alone) and that of "revolutionary trade union opposition" (i.e., withdrawing communist activity from the reformist trade unions in order to form new, tiny, impotent "revolutionary" splinter unions).With the aim of spreading communist influence among trade unions, the red International of Labour Unions (RILU), or Profintern, had been established in 1921 at the Third Comintern Congress. RILU held five congresses between 1921 and 1930, but fell increasingly into decline in the thirties before announcing its demise in 1937. Disagreeing with this line, Stalin regarded "trade union unity" as "the surest means of winning over the vast working class masses."                 Indeed, this unity represented the indispensable precondition for disintegrating the influence of social-democracy in the trade unions, exposing its leaders and ultimately achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat. For such purposes - provided that communists retained their independence - Stalin indicated that "temporary agreements with mass reactionary trade unions [were] not only permissible but sometimes positively essential."                 In certain historical conditions, however, Stalin does not seem to rule out the necessity of creating parallel revolutionary trade unions:                 Due to its sectarian policies, the Comintern could not successfully challenge the attacks of capitalism and the growing threat of fascism and war. In the revolutionary situation of the early thirties, as masses of workers were deserting the social-democratic parties, Stalin could not agree with pseudo-left "revolutionary" agitation, but regarded the appropriate consolidation of communist activities as an essential precondition for the revolution. Accordingly, the communist parties had to "be capable of appraising the situation and making proper use of it" in order to "definitely fortify themselves on this road . . . and successfully prepare the proletariat for the coming class battles. Only if they do that can we count on a further increase in the influence and prestige of the Communist International":                 The victory of the revolution never comes of itself - Stalin also indicated - "only a strong proletarian revolutionary party can prepare for and win victory."                 By denying a qualitative difference between bourgeois democracy and fascism, the Comintern also rejected the concept that the working class had an interest in defending bourgeois democracy against the threat of fascism. For the sake of striking the main offensive against social-democracy, for example, the German communists rejected proposals for joint actions and demonstrations with social democratic parties against the Nazis. For some time after the 1933 Nazi coup in Germany the Comintern insisted that its "class-against-class" tactics - tactics which had paved the way to that coup - had been correct. The Executive Committee even maintained that the Nazi coup had been "accelerating the rate of Germany's advance towards the proletarian revolution." [Resolution of the ECCI Presidium on the Situation in Germany (1-4-33), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, 1971, p. 262].
                Hence, an effective resistance to the Nazi advent to power was in deeds sabotaged by dividing the German working class and avoiding the formation of a broad anti-fascist united front which, in the conditions pertaining to Germany at that time, would have been an integral component of the revolutionary struggle for socialism. The basic strategy of the West European imperialists now become one of appeasement of German imperialism, that is, encouraging in deeds Nazi Germany to expand eastwards towards the Soviet Union, while criticising this expansion in words. This became known as the "appeasement policy" pursued by the West European imperialists - particularly those of Britain and France. In order to meet the new demands of imperialism, the revisionists who dominated the Communist International obligingly revised their policies by criticising and rejecting the "left" sectarianism of the early thirties and by preparing the ground for a right opportunist deviation. This new platform - supporting the establishment of people's fronts, or popular fronts, in the struggle against fascism - was adopted at the Seventh Comintern Congress in 1935 under the new leadership of Georgi Dimitrov.

                As it has been highlighted by the Communist League in Britain for some time, Dimitrov's election to the leading post of the Communist International had been punctuated by some very odd features. At a time when more than 2,000 communists were slaughtered during the so-called national revolution in Germany and thousands more were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, Dimitrov was put on a public trial by a Nazi court, allowed to question Nazi leaders and make them look foolish, and  after a campaign of predominantly western inspiration, he was acquitted and permitted to fly to a hero's welcome in Moscow before being appointed at the head of the Comintern. After the war, his revisionist credentials became apparent when he supported Browder, openly embraced the thesis of the peaceful transition to socialism without revolution, and joined with Tito by putting forward - in a clear anti-Soviet  move - proposals for a "Balkan Federation."

                It must be also pointed out that the Comintern reorientation -  the switch from "left" to right - became possible at a time when the Marxist-Leninist elements around Stalin remained a minority within its leadership. The new Political Secretariat elected by the Congress in 1935, for instance, included a strong majority of hidden revisionists.
                Members of the Political Secretariat elected by the Seventh Comintern Congress were: Dimitrov (also General Secretary), Togliatti, Manuilsky, Pieck, Kuusinen, Marty, Gottwald; candidates: Moskvin, Florin, Wang Ming.
                Revisionism continued to develop underground, in the sense that these elements could not openly call for the restoration of the capitalist society yet, but had to conceal the revisionist character of their policies behind the theoretical defence of Marxism-Leninism or behind the provision - as Dimitrov did - that a socialist revolution would still be necessary. Most importantly, the fact that the new popular front policies were never endorsed by Stalin provides strong circumstantial evidence of his personal opposition to them. This opposition became almost evident at the 18th Congress of the CPSU(B) in
1939, when Stalin, in his long report, made no reference whatsoever to the Comintern policies. Besides, no attention at all to the people's fronts was paid by the official Short Course History of the CPSU(B), published in 1939.
                In the meantime, "the cult of the personality" around Stalin was also built within the Communist International - this cult being fostered by "wreckers", as Stalin called them, for the purpose of discrediting him at a later date. Against his opposition, therefore, the Executive Committee addressed Stalin as "infinitely beloved leader, . . . dear to the hearts of millions of working people . . . the brain and the will to victory," [ECCI to Stalin (1937), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International: 1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 460]:

                It was not a coincidence that in 1935, as soon as the Seventh Comintern Congress was over, steps were taken to decentralise the organisation by giving individual parties a significant degree of autonomy in managing their affairs. There would be no more congresses, no more Executive
Committee plenary sessions, which had been very frequent in the past and in 1941 the management of its work was placed in the hands of a triumvirate of three leading revisionists - Dimitrov, Manuilsky and Togliatti. This decentralisation was indeed contrary to Lenin's and Stalin's insistence that proletarian internationalism could only be effective provided that the Comintern retained a highly centralised apparatus. "The comintern is a militant organisation of the proletariat . . . - Stalin had indicated in 1925 - and cannot refrain from intervening in the affairs of individual parties, supporting the revolutionary elements. . . . To deduce . . . that the Comintern must be denied the right of leadership, and hence of intervention, means working on behalf of the enemies of communism." : Dimitrov retained the following definition of fascism, formulated at the Thirteen ECCI Plenum in 1933:                 The new political reorientation was officially formulated by Dimitrov in 1935. First of all, he put forward the correct thesis that, in order to defeat the growing threat of fascism, communist parties should strive to build broad people's fronts, or popular fronts, to include social-democratic and other bourgeois democratic parties on the basis of short or long term agreements. This united front, established - from above - between the communist party and the social democratic parties (which are representatives of the bourgeoisie), was supposed to represent the first step towards political unification of these parties. That is to say, a fusion into a single political party of the working class in order to avoid any dichotomy in its leadership - and on condition that both the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the establishment  of the dictatorship of the proletariat were recognised:                 Dimitrov's thesis of the fusion between the communist party and the social democratic parties was put into practice in 1948, as communist parties in various people's democracies, in Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, would unite and amalgamate with the respective social democratic parties of their countries. The following line was put forward with regard to trade union unity:                 Dimitrov demanded:                 But how on earth would sections of the capitalist class - no matter how democratic and anti-fascist they may be - willingly accept their own demise? By upholding that an elected popular front government can make revolutionary inroads into the political and economic power of the capitalist class, Dimitrov demands the impossible. Thus, the way is paved towards the peaceful, parliamentary transition to socialism, with the goal of the socialist revolution remaining only in theory. It follows therefore that a popular front government can exist in a country where the capitalist class holds political power, only provided that the participating communist party surrenders to opportunism by servicing the interests of the capitalist class, and not those of the workers. This was exemplified by the experience of the French and Spanish popular fronts during the thirties.
            The popular front government in France (1936-38) certainly brought about initial improvements in the conditions of the working people. But it also led France behind the appeasement policy of British imperialism when Daladier, representing the French popular government, joined with Chamberlain, Hitler and Mussolini in signing the 1938 Munich agreement which effectively handed over Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. It was also the French popular government which - besides being unprepared to liberalise its colonial policies in North Africa and Indochina - initiated the policy of "non-intervention" in Spain, a policy supported by the Soviet revisionists, which permitted the fascist powers to pour arms and soldiers into Spain in support of the fascist rebels led by Franco.
                It was Stalin personally who, in opposition to the whole revisionist policy of "non-intervention", ordered the supply of Soviet arms to the Spanish Republican government. But during the course of the Spanish civil war (1936-39) the Communist Party of Spain rejected the revolutionary path in favour of preserving "parliamentary democracy" under  instructions from the Comintern, which sent a delegation to Spain, headed by Togliatti and Tito,
to run the party for the duration of the war. "Let the example of the People's Front in Spain and France strengthen the will to unity among the workers all over the world," stated the 1937 May Day Manifesto of the Executive Committee. [Extracts from the May Day Manifesto of the ECCI (April 1937), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 408].
                Following the failure of the popular fronts in France and Spain, Dimitrov disavowed the very same line that he had been previously put forward. In 1939 he called for "a united front from below" through "a most resolute struggle against the social-democratic, 'democratic' and 'radical' flunkeys
of imperialism":                 This sudden "revolutionary" revival on the part of Dimitrov, however, could not prevent the dissolution of the Communist International in 1943, without convening a congress and as a result of the alleged "growth and political maturity" reached by its communist parties. [Resolution of the ECCI Presidium Recomending the Dissolution of the Communist International (15-5-43), in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, pp. 476-9].

And yet within a short time from its dissolution most of the communist parties embraced revisionism of one sort or another and found themselves in a state of mutual ideological conflict. By declaring that its dissolution had been "proper and timely", [Stalin's interview in Jane Degras, Ed., The Communist International:1919-1943: Documents, vol. 3, London, 1971, p. 476].

                Stalin must have reached the conclusion that, under its revisionist leadership, the Comintern had ceased to be of any use as an organ of the socialist revolution. That Stalin and the Marxists-Leninists did not agree that a real international was no longer necessary is shown by the fact that in 1947, on Stalin's personal initiative, a new Marxist-Leninist international, on a restricted basis, was set up in the shape of the Communist Information Bureau, or Cominform, under a new leadership which excluded Dimitrov and Manuilsky. It is significant that the first acts of the Cominform were to express strong criticism of the revisionist lines of such communist parties as those of France, Italy, Japan and, later, Yugoslavia.
                Such, in summary, is Stalin's relationship with the Third Communist International. After a period of militant involvement, Stalin was prevented from active leadership, and excluded from effective influence, since the late twenties. He cannot therefore be held accountable for the prevailing revisionist distortions related to sectarian ultra-left tactics and then unprincipled united fronts. Stalin's political "isolation" was equally reflected within the CPSU(B) after the war. Having confined him to "harmless" activities such as writing on linguistics and economics, concealed revisionists orchestrated his death before being able to betray the working class and fully restore capitalism in the Soviet Union.
                Breaking a long established tradition, at the 19th Party Congress in 1952 the CC report was presented to the congress not by its general secretary, Stalin, but by Georgi Malenkov. Not the slightest trace of proletarian internationalism appears in Malenkov's report. But in contrast, it was Stalin that, in a short speech to the Congress, highly praised the communist parties of the various countries and the newly created people's democracies by characterising them as the new "'shock brigades' of the world-wide revolutionary and workers' movement." [Stalin, Speech to the Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (14-10-52) in Franklin B. (Ed.), The Essential Stalin: Major Theoretical Writings 1905-52, London, 1973, p. 509].
                This was also Stalin's last public address, a revolutionary call from an outstanding leader who consistently fought for socialism and communism, and against revisionism, throughout his life and in the most difficult circumstances.