Degras-Communist International 1919-1943-Documents(all 3 volumes)(1971)
This is Jane Degras' monumental 3-volume book The Communist International 1919-1943 - Documents (1971) which is an unique compilation of the most important documents of the Communist international movement in the critical years between the two world wars. Mammoth in size, it includes all kinds of texts issued by this internationalist movement which some considered to be the embodiment of everything that has to come in the future, while others considered (and still do) them simply as a band of criminals willing to murder anyone in order to achieve their utopia. Although the text as a whole is probably pretty much boring for reading, it has among the pages all kinds of analysis of communist tactics and strategies that are plainly laid for reader to ponder on. Also important is the literally endless communist propaganda lingo that has become popular again as such "worker's" movements usually become when economic depression strikes upon the society. Perhaps reading these old texts will enable you to recognize the very same "commies" that were then operating from Soviet Union but are now spread all over the world still preaching and working for the very same utopia - but with other means. Together over 1600 pages. A must read for everyone.
Volume 1 (1919-1922):
The documents included fall roughly into four categories. There are first of all the programmatic and theoretical statements of the Communist International, enunciating its aims and objects and formulating general policy on particular questions, such as the Comintern Statutes and the theses on the national and colonial question. The selection here has been fairly wide; with the exception of theses on communist work among women and young people and in co-operative organizations, it includes all the important documents for the period covered. Secondly, there are statements on current events; here the selection represents a smaller proportion of those issued. On such questions as the Versailles treaty and the Washington conference, Comintern statements, reflecting and reinforcing the policies of the Soviet Government, were usually well-considered and instructive, and most of them are given here. It was also customary for the Comintern to make pronouncements, usually ill-informed and always repetitive, on events within the labour movement; only a small number of these are reproduced, since little further understanding of the Comintern's operations would have been gained by including more of them. Letters to and resolutions on the national communist parties form a third group. Obviously only a part of the correspondence has ever been made public, but even of that part it was impossible to include more than a few representative items, illustrating the attitude of the central body to its affiliated sections. Most of them concern the communist parties of Germany, Italy, and France, countries which seemed at the time to offer the most hopeful prospects for revolutionary work. The eastern countries, where the communist movement developed somewhat later than in Europe, will be represented in the second volume. Finally, there are documents referring to the internal organization of the Communist International. These are few in number but none of importance has been omitted. It was only towards the end of the period covered by this volume that the Comintern became a tightly organized body, with a large staff in Moscow operating its communications and maintaining the hierarchy of authority. This first volume ends in December 1922, that is, after the fourth world congress of the Communist International.
Volume 2 (1923-1928):
The period covered opens with the entry of French troops into the Ruhr in January 1923, an event which once again placed Germany in the forefront of Moscow's attention. The disputes which followed the fiasco of the attempted Communist uprising in Germany in the autumn of that year merged with the struggles within the Russian Communist Party and produced a series of crises followed by sweeping changes in the leading personnel of both parties, as well as of the Comintern. For the greater part of the time the Comintern and its sections pursued 'united front tactics', exemplified in Britain by the Anglo-Russian trade union unity committee, and in China by the alliance with the Kuomintang. Both came to grief in 1927, and in 1928 these tactics were dropped in favour of a 'class against class' policy, adopted in February 1928 and endorsed later in the year by the Sixth World Congress, at which the programme of the Communist International was at last adopted. These pivotal events are clearly reflected in the documents presented here, to which explanatory notes have been added, compiled from a wide range of sources including the Trotsky archives and other unpublished material. The programme is given in full. Other documents of interest concern Communist trade union policy, instructions for Communist fraction work in non-Communist organizations, and the origins of the Communist movement in such countries as India and Indonesia.
Volume 3 (1929-1943):
Third and last volume covers a period longer than the two previous volumes combined. Only one congress was held in the fifteen years after 1928, and the proceedings of the four plenary sessions of the Executive Committee were not published in full. Little of the correspondence between the Executive and the sections was made public. There was no public Comintern statement directly concerned with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the incorporation of Austria in Germany, the anti-Comintern pact, the Munich agreement, or the outbreak of war in 1939. In the first six of the years covered here, known in the Comintern jargon of the time as 'the third period', the national parties, operating the 'class against class' policy introduced in 1928, found themselves in sharp conflict with the organized labour movement and increasingly isolated within their own countries. They had for the most part adopted the new policy only reluctantly, and with the loss of many of their more moderate leaders who were unwilling to break completely with the socialist movement in which they had grown up. Although largely dictated by the struggles within the CPSU which accompanied the decision to proceed to forced industrialization and collectivization, the policy was also the outcome of disappointment at the failure of the united front policy which preceded it, just as the united front policy itself implied a recognition of the unsoundness of the assumptions on which Comintern policy in the first two years of its existence was based. It can indeed be argued that with the adoption of the united front policy the Comintern abandoned not only its original strategy but the very principles underlying its existence, formulated in the belief that other countries besides Russia were ripe for revolution. The miseries of the war, the disorientation following defeat and the collapse of empires, the hopes and illusions cherished by millions amidst the subsequent chaos and nourished by events in Russia, were reason enough for this belief. Nor was it only the bolsheviks who held it; the same miscalculation was made by many eminent statesmen of the time; the spectre of revolution haunted the Versailles peace conference.