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The Third Congress of the Communist International

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3rd Congress

The Organisational Structure of the Communist Parties, the Methods and Content of Their Work: Theses

https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/3rd-congress/party-theses.htm

1921

In the coming period the centrally important task for all Parties is the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the seizure of power.

Accordingly, all the organisational work of the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries must be directed towards establishing organisations which can guarantee the victory of the proletarian revolution over the ruling classes.

The division between the ‘bureaucracy’ and the ‘people’. Under the paralysing influence of the bourgeois environment a separation of functions occurred; formal democracy replaced the active participation of working people, and the organisation was divided into the active functionaries and the passive masses. Even the revolutionary workers’ movement has not entirely escaped the influence of the bourgeois environment and the evils of this formalism and division” -  not the bourgeois environment, but material culture at the level of industrialization

Both the legal and illegal Communist Parties often understand illegal Communist organisational work to be the creation and maintenance of a closely knit and exclusively military organisation, isolated from other aspects of Party work and organisation. This is undoubtedly a mistaken view. In the pre-revolutionary period our military organisations must be built primarily by general Communist Party work. The Party as a whole must become a military organisation fighting for revolution.

very precaution must be taken to prevent suspicious or unreliable persons joining the Party. The methods to be used will depend to a considerable degree on whether the Party is legal or illegal, whether it is in a period of growth or of stagnation. One method which has had favourable results in some places and in certain circumstances is the system of candidature, according to which persons wanting to join the Party are first accepted as candidates on the recommendation of one or two Party comrades, and are only adopted as full members if they carry out successfully the Party work assigned to them.” This worked in Algiers.

On Tactics

V. Single-Issue Struggles and Single-Issue Demands

revolutionary action should be organised around all the demands raised by the masses, and these separate actions will gradually merge into a powerful movement for social revolution

(Essentially, these are documents on the international situation, the relation of Soviet Russia and the Communist Party towards these events.

Hence, preparing for world revolution, according to Comintern, is:

1) analyzing the world situation, international relations.

Special attention to transitional states, such as Russia, China, and main imperialism, the      USA

2) understanding the attitude of various left parties, organizations towards these problems, the attitude to transitional states being “a cornerstone”.

Hence, getting to know the affairs in the various international parties, their past and present. Engaging in the polemic with those of them who are close. This is a part of organizing. Larger scale of organizing includes: own publication­­­­, working for a joint congresses, working for a common worldview. Party of world revolution essentially should be a military organization, with a military discipline, but with a wider scope than an army, for it is essentially a political organization.

3) On more theoretical level, as did Lenin in “State and Revolution”, analyzing previous revolutions, and what revolutionary authorities think of these.

4) Special attention should be placed on understanding modern productive forces, first of all knowledge, as the principal productive force. This is the essential area where modernity has gone behind Marxism of XIX century. 

The Main Lesson of the Third Congress

(Agasint) the false theory of an initiating minority which by its heroism shatters “the wall of universal passivity” of the proletariat. The false theory of uninterrupted offensives conducted by the proletarian vanguard, as a “new method” of struggle; the false theory of partial battles which are waged by applying the methods of armed insurrection. And so forth and so on. The clearest exponent of this tendency is the Vienna journal Communism. It is absolutely self-evident that tactical theories of this sort have nothing in common with Marxism. 

Undeniably these adventurist methods and theories arise as a reaction to the reformist and centrist tendencies within the labor movement, whose direct supplement they are. 

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