Third International

communist third international 720The Third International was a vast school or parliament where ideas were thrashed out and a common position agreed.

The first four congresses were a milestone. After that, with the defeat of the German Revolution in 1923 and the death of Lenin in 1924, the Russian Revolution was left isolated. In conditions of economic backwardness, this led to the rise of Stalinism.

The adoption of the theory of ‘Socialism in One Country’ resulted in a reformist and nationalist degeneration of the Third International. From being the vanguard of the world revolution, the International was, under Stalin and his cronies, purged of its best elements and turned into a tool of Stalinist foreign policy.

This led to one disaster after another: in China, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere. Eventually in 1943, in a gesture to the Allies, Stalin formally dissolved the Communist International.

— From 100 years on: the founding of the Communist International

A century ago, on 2-6 March 1919, the first congress of the Third International took place in Moscow. This marked the birth of the Communist International, which became a vital school of revolutionary ideas and strategy. Rob Sewell (editor of Socialist Appeal, British journal of the IMT) looks back on this momentous event.

Tomorrow marks the 92nd anniversary of the Russian Revolution. For the first time the working class conquered state power and at least began the task of the socialist transfomation of society. Listen here to this meeting of the ULU Marxist Society where Fred Weston, editor of the website 'In Defence of Marxism' (marxist.com), speaks on the Russian Revolution and the founding of the Comintern.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International. Mick Brooks spoke at a recent Socialist Appeal Day School on the rise of the "world party of socialist revolution" under Lenin and Trotsky and its subsequent political and bureaucratic degeneration under Stalin.

Much has changed since this document was first produced, and we have continually refined and updated our perspectives and analysis in subsequent books and articles.  However, the historical value of this document, especially those parts concerning the history of the internationals, the rise of proletarian Bonapartism, and the post-WWII period retain their full force and value.

The official dissolution of the Communist International comes almost ten years after the proclamation by Leon Trotsky that the Third International was dead as the world instrument for the socialist revolution. It was on July 15, 1933 that Trotsky wrote his theses, reprinted here, in justification of this conclusion and the need of building the Fourth International.

"It is the aim of this pamphlet to indicate, at least in its general outline, the composition of the political world situation today, as it has resulted from the fundamental contradictions of decaying capitalism, complicated and sharpened by the severe commercial, industrial, and financial crisis."