PREAMBLE TO THE STATUTES
In London, in 1864, was established the first International Association
of Workers, later known as the First International. The Statutes of the
International Association of Workers read as follows:
«That the emancipation of the working class must be carried out by the working class itself.
«That the struggle for the emancipation of the working class does not imply a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and equal obligations and the abolition of all class domination.
«That the economic subjection of the workers to the monopolists of the means of production, the sources of life, is the cause of servitude in all its forms, the cause of all social misery, mental degradation and political dependence.
«That, consequently, the economic emancipation of the working class is the great aim to which every political movement must be subordinated.
«That all endeavours directed to this great aim have hitherto failed because of the lack of solidarity between the various branches of industry in each country and because of the absence of a fraternal bond of unity between the working classes of the different countries.
«That the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national problem, but one of a social character embracing every civilised country, and the solution of which depends on the theoretical and practical co-operation of the most progressive countries.
«That the present revival of the workers’ movement in the industrial countries of Europe, while awakening new hopes, contains a solemn warning against a relapse into old errors, and calls for an immediate union of the hitherto disconnected movement».
The Second International, which was established in Paris in 1889, undertook to continue the work of the First International. At the outbreak of the world slaughter in 1914 the Second International perished – undermined by opportunism and betrayed by its leaders who rallied to the side of the bourgeoisie.
The Third (Communist) International, established in March, 1919, in Moscow, the capital city of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, solemnly proclaims to the whole world that it takes upon itself the task of continuing and completing the great cause begun by the First International Association of Workers.
The Third (Communist) International was formed at a moment when the imperialist slaughter of 1914-1918, in which the imperialist bourgeoisie of the various countries sacrificed twenty million men, had come to an end.
Remember the imperialist war! This is the first appeal of the Communist International to every toiler wherever he may live and whatever language he may speak. Remember that owing to the existence of the capitalist system a small group of imperialists had the opportunity during four long years of compelling the workers of various countries to cut each other’s throats. Remember that this imperialist war had reduced Europe and the whole world to a state of extreme destitution and starvation. Remember that unless the capitalist system is overthrown a repetition of this criminal war is not only possible but is inevitable.
The Communist International sets itself the aim of fighting with all means, also with arms in hand, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international soviet republic as a transition to the complete abolition of the state. The Communist International considers the dictatorship of the proletariat an essential means for the liberation of humanity from the horrors of capitalism; and regards the Soviet form of government as the historically necessary form of this dictatorship.
The imperialist war linked the fate of the workers of each country particularly closely with the fate of the workers of every other country; it emphasised once again what was pointed out in the Statutes of the First International: that the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national problem, but one of a social and international character.
The Communist International breaks once and for all with the traditions of the Second International which, in reality, only recognised the white race. The task of the Communist International is to emancipate the workers of the whole world. In its ranks are fraternally united men of all colours – white, yellow and black – the toilers of the entire world.
The Communist International fully and unreservedly upholds the gains
of the great proletarian revolution in Russia, the first victorious socialist
revolution in the world’s history, and calls upon all workers to follow
the same road. The Communist International makes it its duty to support,
by all the power at its disposal, every Soviet Republic wherever it may
The Communist International is aware that for the purpose of the speedy achievement of victory, the international association of the workers which is struggling for the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of Communism, must possess a firm and centralised organisation.
To all intents and purposes the Communist International should represent a single universal Communist Party, of which the parties operating in the different countries form individual sections. The organisation of the Communist International is directed towards securing for the workers of every country the possibility, at any given moment, of obtaining the maximum of aid from the organised workers of the other countries.