The Comintern in 1922

The Periphery Pushes Back

in Historical Materialism
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The Fourth Congress of the Communist International, held in November–December 1922, shows evidence of member parties outside Soviet Russia taking initiatives and exerting significant influence on central political questions before world communism. On at least three issues, all related to united-front policy, non-Russian delegates’ pressure substantially altered Comintern Executive Committee proposals to the Congress. A central role in this process was played by leaders of the German Communist Party. The record of the Congress, newly available in English, also contains many calls for increasing the authority of the Comintern Executive. Still, the influence of non-Russian delegations, in a context of frequent division among leading Bolsheviks, suggests that influence of front-line parties was significant and possibly growing in 1922, little more than a year before the Comintern took a sharp turn toward Russian-dominated bureaucratisation.

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1

See Riddell (ed.) 2011, hereafter tuf (Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International). Major portions of this paper originated as part of the Introduction to tuf.

2

Rojahn 1996, p. 38; McDermott and Agnew 1997, pp. 14–15.

3

Lih 2005.

4

Drachkovitch and Lazitch 1966, p. 175; Gruber (ed.) 1967, pp. 177–8; Braunthal 1967, p. 255; Borkenau 1962, pp. 230–1; Angress 1963, p. 228; Carr 1966, pp. 440–5.

5

Claudín 1975, p. 106; Cliff 1979, pp. 54–7; Hallas 1985, pp. 70–1.

7

Agosti 2009, p. 18. Firsov 2007.

8

Croucher 2003; LaPorte 2000; LaPorte 2003, pp. 19–38; Bois and Wilde 2010.

11

McDermott and Agnew 1997, pp. 24–6.

12

Cortesi 2010, p. 466.

13

Vatlin 1993a and 1993b.

14

Wolikow 2010, p. 22. See also Wolikow 2000.

15

Agosti 2009, pp. 23, 21.

16

Rees and Thorpe (eds.) 1998, p. 10; McDermott 1998, p. 32.

20

Kun 1920, pp. 349, 441.

21

Broué 2005, pp. 468–72; Reisberg 1971, pp. 50–62.

28

Firsov 1980, pp. 145, 147; tuf, pp. 1158–9 (Theses on Tactics).

39

Lenin 1960–71d, p. 522; Behan 2003, p. 106.

40

Comintern 1922c, p. 394. The letter, apparently written by Bukharin, was not published until 1924. For excerpts, see Spriano 1967, pp. 150–1; Behan 2003, pp. 107–8.

42

Spriano 1967, pp. 223–7.

50

Rothschild 1959, pp. 103–6; Ponomarev 1984, pp. 649–51; Broué 1997, pp. 333–5.

53

Kunina 1980, p. 368; Puschnerat 2003, pp. 283–4; Comintern 1923b, pp. 204–32, 293–8. For Zetkin’s role, see Riddell 2009.

55

Broué 2005, pp. 361–71.

57

Broué 2005, pp. 385–90.

58

Lenin 1960–71c, p. 109.

59

Reisberg 1971, pp. 259–61; Broué 1997, pp. 261–2.

60

Comintern 1922a, p. 123.

70

Trotsky 1972b, p. 325.

71

Comintern 1994, 491/1/278–81/1483–91 (first and second drafts); tuf, pp. 1096–1100 (late amendments); pp. 1159–62 (adopted text).

74

Riddell (ed.) 1987, pp. 227–8; Riddell (ed.) 1991a, p. 286; Riddell (ed.) 1991b, p. 768; Riddell (ed.) 1993 (Baku congress); Comintern 1970 (Far-East Congress).

80

Comintern 1970, pp. 193–4; Pantsov 2000, p. 57; Carr 1966, p. 527 (entry into kmt); and tuf, pp. 711–12 (Liu on kmt), 722 (Safarov), 733 (Radek).

85

Luxemburg 2004, pp. 364–5. An English translation of the Erfurt programme is available at: <www.marxists.org>.

86

Riddell (ed.) 1987, pp. 149–59, 241–8; Lenin 1960–71b, pp. 457–74.

87

Trotsky 1973, p. 75; Comintern 1921a, pp. 475–6; Comintern 1921b, p. 47. See also Adler (ed.) 1980, p. 286.

88

Broué 2005, pp. 648–50.

94

See also Lenin 1960–71e, pp. 418–32; Trotsky 1972b, pp. 185–216. Trotsky also wrote summary theses based on his speech (Trotsky 1972b, pp. 264–74), which – although included in the Adler (ed.) 1980 collection of congress documents – were not adopted by the Congress. Zetkin sent an outline of her speech to Lenin, who responded with encouragement: see Stoljarowa and Schmalfuss (eds.) 1990, pp. 303–7.

100

Riddell (ed.) 1987, pp. 247–8 (Comintern Platform); Riddell (ed.) 1991b, pp. 696, 698 (Statutes), 770 (Conditions).

101

Lenin 1960–71d, pp. 515–16. On Pogány’s role see Draper 1960, passim.; Cannon 1973, pp. 74–84; Palmer 2007, pp. 175–95. Cannon, then a central leader of the us party, explains that Pogány’s authority as an ecci representative ‘was never completely clear’; in Moscow, Cannon heard that it was limited to working with the us party’s Hungarian federation.

106

See Riddell (ed.) 1991a, p. 417; Humbert-Droz 1971, pp. 119–20; and Trotsky’s comments, tuf, pp. 994–8.

110

See Geyer 1976, pp. 234–5; Brandt and Lowenthal 1957, pp. 191–2.

114

Fayet 2004, p. 352.

115

Stoljarowa and Schmalfuss (eds.) 1990, p. 215.

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