The Rise and Fall of the Communist International

Original article, by Ted Grant (originally written June 1943), via Socialist Appeal (UK):

The Third International has been officially buried. In the most undignified and contemptible fashion it would be possible to conceive, it has passed off the stage of history. Hurriedly and without consultation with all the adhering parties, not to speak of the rank and file throughout the world, without any democratic discussion and decision, as the result of the pressure of American imperialism, Stalin has perfidiously abandoned the Comintern.

This article is quite interesting as a history piece, and well worth the read. For those of us who have not been brought up on socialist history, it’s revealing as far as how a major international organization can fall. More to the point, it shows how the forces of international capitalism can corrupt that which is directly opposed to it.

It is in this last point that a lesson might be learned for today’s political and economic situation. Above all else, the forces of capitalism are out for themselves. The failure of today’s casino capitalism due to the greed and lack of ethics of it’s practitioners is evidence of this. The voracious appetite of the capitalists for bailout funds (particularly those funds which have no oversight strings attached) is evidence of this. These actions have shown the flaw in ‘trickle down economics’ for all to see: No capitalist can be trusted to trickle down money to the masses as their goal is to vacuum up all money for themselves.

The lessons of the Third International’s fall also include that you can’t work with those who are beholden to international capitalism. Political inertia is a powerful weapon: Political inertia which is slowed by the gum of political donations by said international capitalism is almost difficult to defeat. This is what we face here in the US. Bailouts for the capitalists get voted out as if the tribute from the people is a right for those who have helped to collapse our system: A pittance aimed at supporting those people can’t find it’s way out of Congress without a protracted battle (if even then).

One of the points Grant makes in the article is that for a brief moment there seemed to be an opportunity for the working class to take over the governments of most of Europe. Now, you may not be looking forward to a socialist revolution. You may even find such an idea to be an anathema to whatever your political beliefs may be. So be it, but I think that it is clear that a break from our current political and economic systems (even if what we end up is some form of capitalism) seems to be needed. This break will not come from our ruling classes. They are beholden, to a great extent, to the money which comes from the very system they are (perhaps) trying to reform. It is up to the great masses who are being plundered to change said system.

The question is are WE willing to do so? And if we try, will we be willing to learn from failures of organizations such as the Third International? Our economic, and probably political, futures depend upon the answer.

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1 comment

  1. Arise, ye workers from your slumbers!

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