Third (Communist) International
1st Enlarged Executive - June 1922
REPORT OF THE C.P. OF ITALY ON PARTY TACTICS AND THE QUESTION OF THE UNITED FRONT
1. HISTORY OF PARTY TACTICS TO THE PRESENT DAY
The PCd’I, which came into being at a very difficult time, had to devote most of its attention to the work of internal organization. During this period, while working and spreading propaganda in all fields, it carried out a tactic of independent action to conquer its own party positions against all other parties.
From the beginning, however, the party’s tactical conceptions had nothing to do with the completely fictional voluntarist and putschist tendencies that have sometimes been attributed to it. Conscious of being a minority party, the PCd’I never believed that it could, together with the forces directly under its umbrella, prepare a coup d’état for the revolutionary conquest of power. It is not because of this illusion, but because of the very necessity of the Party’s existence and its penetration among the masses that the PCd’I has formed a military corps and has conducted and continues to conduct guerrilla action against the bourgeois forces.
The tactics of the PCd’I. have been completely Marxist, and their development is completely in accordance with the resolutions of the 3rd Congress, which are not a rectification of the tactics of the PCd’I. but represent the true experience of proletarian struggles possessed by the Marxist communist movement both in Italy and abroad, and which is quite distinct from the romantic revolutionism of certain other radical groups. Proof of this is the contrast between our party and the Italian syndicalists and anarchists.
Our party immediately understood that a condition for the realization of its revolutionary program was the "conquest of the great masses." By constituting in Livorno the "true" communist party, and organizing it on solid bases, only one of the revolutionary conditions was assured: it was necessary to realize the other, to structure around this party the great mass of the proletariat, around its most combative strata.
By the way: if we reject the formula of the "majority" of the proletariat to be conquered, and if we are concerned that the reactive role of the organized minority vanguard should not be devalued, we do not believe that with this we clarify, without denying its spirit, the scope of the Marxist tactics decided by the III Congress.
The proof of this proper tactical orientation of the Party lies in the fact that from the very first moment it has undertaken very intense trade union work, in which the constant intervention in all questions, even contingent ones, which interest the workers is accompanied by clear revolutionary directives which inspires all the work. The entire party, far from having "K.A.P.D. type" tendencies toward splits in the trade union movement, has made its own the slogan the unity of the entire Italian proletariat in one single trade union united front of action.
But the problem of reaching the masses still controlled by the Socialists and Anarchists with our propaganda presented itself to us at once, and was practically solved even before we possessed the data of the 3rd Congress and the Congress of the Red Unions. The study of the Italian situation dictated to us our tactical plan: but far from following it unconsciously as Comrade Zinoviev wrongly assumes in one of his writings, it was we who drew it up and launched it upon the masses, naturally taking into account their dispositions and tendencies.
The formal proposal, given in August 1921, of the communist TRADE UNION COMMITTEE to the big trade union organizations for a general action against the bosses’ offensive, conceived as a national strike of all categories led by a coalition of all the trade unions. The story of the reception of our proposal can be summed up in a few words: relentless obstructionism on the part of the trade union leaders, increasing sympathy for our position on the behalf of the masses.
With this proposal we became the initiators of the united proletarian front, and at the same time we did not interrupt but intensified our work to get members out of the socialists and anarchists and into our own ranks.
Another basic aspect of the campaign was this: sometimes we are defeated at the voting at trade union meetings and congresses where the officials themselves are delegates, without consulting the masses. But our proposal almost always triumphs when it is at large workers’ rallies, and especially at meetings that are called during partial agitations.
The essence of the communist proposal has been fully understood by the masses; they are now convinced that there is no hope of success against the bourgeois offensive through partial actions on the behalf of separate groups, and that it’s necessary to unite all the struggles that the bourgeois offensive, with its multiple forms, forces the proletariat to fight, into a single struggle of all groups in the interest of all, because if the proletarian defeats continue, no one will be spared. However, this conviction is built precisely through partial struggles: communists have always participated in them to take a direct part in the struggle and, at the same time, to lead the masses to force the leaders into general action. Thus, even when partial struggles, as has almost always been the case, have not led to success, our influence has increased. These partial struggles, on the other hand, which have been going on for six or seven months, are raising the morale of the proletariat simply because of the very existence of a real class movement. The workers are responding to the call to strike and also to fight in guerrilla warfare against the bourgeois forces, and they understand that if these efforts fail, it’s because of the tactics used by the defeatist leaders.
Examples of this general situation were seen in general strikes in cities and regions (Trieste, Genoa, Rome, Turin, Naples, etc.) and in national strikes by category (printers, dock workers, etc.). The great masses that are active in struggle have made our general word of action their own.
The development of this campaign led to the formation of the Alliance of Labor, composed of the major national unions. The initiative for this was taken in February by the Railway Workers’ Union, which before calling on the unions wanted to call the parties for the sole purpose of informing them of the proposed union alliance. We refused to go to this meeting. The reason is simple and solid: our intervention would have led to an irremediable contrast of opinions without concessions of principle of any substance on our part, and the Alliance of Labor would not have come into being, thus losing the platform we sought for the best contact with the broad masses. In fact, we could not have signed the equivocal and pacifist communiqué that came out of the meeting of the parties. We limited ourselves to sending the railway workers a letter saying that we were the initiators of the union alliance and that it could count on the discipline of the Communists.
The initiative of the railway workers coincided with the ministerial crisis between the Bonomi and Facta cabinets. It was clear that the Socialists then wanted to form a proletarian bloc in order to use it to push for a "leftist" ministry.
The independent position of the party was intended to allow us to fight against this plan, also attacking the Alliance of Labor if it deviated from its goals, without however breaking its structure and discipline as a coalition of mass organizations. The plan for the "better government" of Italy is carried out as nothing but defeatist propaganda among the masses, because it’s presented as a means of eliminating fascism and reaction, inviting the proletariat to give up its active resistance in favor of leaving it to parliament. Therefore, even if we consider it useful that this step is really taken, above all to dissolve the last illusions of the proletariat about parliamentary means and thus liquidate the influence of the social-democrats, the tactic that is needed is that of our independence of action and constant opposition to this plan.
On the other hand, the constitution of the Alliance of Labor was a concession made by the rightists to the spirit of unity of action that had won the broad masses, a concession that had been made by the right-wing precisely to lessen the pressure exerted by the masses and delay the moment where the latter would impose action. We had to fight the danger of the Alliance putting the masses to sleep through inaction. Therefore, in the united front, we didn’t need a position of mutual compromise linking our action to a common formula, but rather absolute freedom of action and propaganda WITHOUT BEING THREATENED WITH A SPLIT EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Having forced the socialists and anarchists to take the irrevocable step for the Trade Union Alliance, which is expressed in calls for committees and mass rallies, we established propaganda directives in a systematic way, tending to stir up the real content of action which, according to the Communists, must be given to the Alliance. In a March manifesto, we summarized its foundations. For its GOALS, we presented a series of concrete demands against the economic and political manifestations of the bosses’ offensive, including right in the first paragraph what the socialists didn’t accept: rejection of wage reductions – for the MEANS, we called for a national general strike – for the ORGANIZATION of the Alliance we demanded that it be enlarged on the basis of direct representation of the masses, with broad local committees in which all unions are represented, and with the convening of a national Congress of the Alliance of Labor. In the present National Committee we then demanded, also directly, through the Communist Trade Union Committee, that the delegations to each national trade union body should not be composed only of Central officials, but should be appointed on a basis proportional to the fractions into which each trade union is divided. If the proposal were accepted, the Communist minority of the Confederal, the Communist minority of the Railway Workers’ Union, the pro-Moscow syndicalist minority of the Trade Union would enter the said committee: the consequence would be that there could be a majority against the Socialists in the Alliance of Labor, composed of Communists, Syndicalists and Anarchists.
The rejection of this proposal allowed us to campaign against the sectarianism of others and their work, which has a ruinous effect on the unity of the proletariat. A position such as the one we demanded would, however, leave complete freedom of action to the political center of the party, while allowing it to direct closely and with absolute certainty of execution the work of the small Communist group in the Alliance Committee. The same result is being achieved in the local committees, which have been accepted, and will be achieved more and more as the Alliance base is extended to the broad masses.
The Social Democrats were rejected in this position: recognizing the impotence of the mere isolated action of isolated unions. But since the masses irresistibly demand a real solution, they respond that the way out lies in political struggle: through political action they openly say that parliamentary collaboration of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie must be understood: this is not a vague expression, but a concrete solution, and it is conceived in no other way besides as a government supported through parliament by socialists, populists and bourgeois leftist democrats (Nitti, De Nicola).
To use the political strength of the proletariat in a ministerial crisis: this is the aim of the reformists. They oppose the discipline of the majority of the Socialist party, which is Maximalist; but the latter is at an impasse, being unable to counter the formula of the reformists with even a single word of independent action, contradicting everything that’s heard in all their propaganda appealing to the direct struggle of the masses against reaction, and is thus only capable only of a sterile and negative intransigence.
The reformists put forward the collaborationist solution mainly because they would lose the popularity of the masses if they did not propose a solution, and they desperately avoid that of general proletarian action.
They do not want to lose contact with the masses, and would even follow them up to the point of the national general strike in order to prepare, as always, for its failure and to lead the weakened proletariat back into the collaborationist methods. In this game, which has tragic precedents in Italy, the reformists make use of the complicity of the revolutionary demagogy of the Maximalists, and also cleverly speculate on the naive revolutionism of the syndicalists, anarchists, and many other colorful subversive elements in Italian politics.
Thus, the formula of the reformists is: passage to political action. A political coalition of proletarian forces would be useful to them, if it were formed without first clearly establishing its limits and objectives. From this coalition would emerge a movement of the Italian masses as a whole, which would be driven towards two outcomes: either the ministerial solution we have mentioned, or the collapse of the coalition when its action becomes unstoppable, breaking apart the proletarian coalition, leading to the skillful reversal of responsibility, blaming it on the extremist elements through sleight of hand.
Recently this game was revealed in the proposal for a (secret) party conference made by the Alliance of Labor, after the ultra-reformist representatives of the C.G.L. agreed with the others on the inevitability of the general strike: they said, however, that such a strike "can only be insurrectionary and tend towards a political crisis of the regime." Hence the intervention of the political parties.
This could lead either to a coalition controlled by the reformists or to the failure of the agreement because of the refusal of the Communists, in which case they would have good reason to counteract our general action campaign by saying that we had made it impossible.
How we have behaved in this phase of the struggle is evident from the documents attached here. We intervened in the meeting. We stated that we could reach a political coalition, but under precise conditions. These conditions are such that accepting them would amount to, for the socialists and the C.G.L., to see the failure of their whole plan to divert the movement, and if they reject it they gives us a good opportunity to demonstrate to the masses the correctness of the conditions we have laid down, which are equivalent to protecting the proletariat from betrayals and terrible disappointments like those which are still very vivid in their memory.
This attitude of ours has been purely tactical: in reality we are in favor of the trade union general strike, from which the political struggle develops, which is in fact an episode of it, but with a much longer process, and in which our work of replacing with our influence that of the socialists and anarchists must be inserted if success is to be possible.
We are against any chance of a coalition of parties leading insurrectionary action and the revolutionary movement of the masses, of which the others speak only in either bad faith or thoughtlessly and with a general terrible lack of preparation. However, our tactics have put the others in a very awkward position: so far they have neither accepted nor rejected our proposals; they cannot accept them and are afraid to compromise by rejecting them, since they use, against the impulse to fight, the demagogic argument that that can only mean "the revolution."
Given the situation, we cannot think of an intermediate solution between the open bourgeois collaboration that the reformists are preparing, and our proposal for direct action by the masses. The fact alone that the equivocal elements of the workers’ movement are talking about the overthrow of the regime shows that there is nothing left to talk about.
Recognizing that it is still absurd to think of throwing out the cry: for the
conquest of the dictatorship with the C.P. leading from the masses, there is no
other platform for agitation and action than our proposal for general action led
by the unions. The rightists have no arguments to counter it before the masses,
and its acceptance would mark a sure step on the road to the Communist Party’s
conquest of the masses.
It must be kept in mind that in this campaign we are constantly accompanied by other forces: the pro-Moscow (Vecchi fraction) syndicalists of the U.S.I. and the socialists of the Lazzari, Maffi and Riboldi fraction. Since we have no political commitment to them as a party, collaboration with them is useful to us because we are the ones who consistently control them. With the other elements, the dangers are very obvious: we would let them be valued as friends of the unity of the front and the proletarian struggle, and then that very thing would be destroyed by them, and the defeat would be resolved by shifting the responsibility onto the Communists, claiming that their content had been too extreme and radical for a coalition.
This is how the situation stands in the present moment.
2. DEVELOPMENTS AND PROSPECTS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF ITALY’S TACTICS
We aren’t here to develop the arguments used by the PCd’I to criticize the tactics of the united front in the way in which it was approved by the Enlarged E.C. of the International, and to develop the general and international question. We will limit ourselves to a few considerations that explain and defend the action carried out by the PCd’I and respond to the practical objections that have been made to them.
The spirit of the tactics of the united front is the conquest of the masses carried out by using the circumstances produced by the bourgeois offensive, and by putting ourselves in contact with the part of the proletariat which follows other political parties.
It’s a matter of creating a platform of agitation that extends further than anything done through the simple propaganda of our program and political principles. It’s also a matter of, undoubtedly, influencing the real developments of the situation even in the phases which will have to precede the final struggle for the conquest of power by the proletariat, without in any way renouncing the preparation of the conditions for the success of this final struggle, in which the C.P. will have to be the protagonist. The essential basis for the conquest of the great masses is the understanding that propaganda and revolutionary preparation can only be carried out on the terrain of the struggles that the proletariat wages for its immediate interests, from which it draws the necessary experience for its further task. That this is perfectly understood by our party is shown by its extremely intense activity in the trade unions and in the economic struggles of the Italian proletariat. That it poses in a concrete way the question of the passage from individual economic struggles to their union in a common action of the whole proletarian mass without distinction of category or locality, which is the Marxist process through which every economic struggle reveals its political content, is shown by the campaign for the proposal of general proletarian action, based on the immediate interests of the masses, and used for the diffusion and extension of the circle of influence of our party. This campaign has allowed us to get in touch with that very part of the proletariat which is controlled by other political parties, and to gain against said parties a series of positions, showing to the eyes of every single proletarian that they are enemies not only of the communist revolution, but also of the struggle for the concrete and obvious interests of the masses.
In order to achieve this result – which today has taken shape in the ALLIANCE OF LABOR, a body whose task is to gather the great working masses and put them in motion, as many local actions and the May Day demonstration have shown – our party has not made any renunciation, it has not had to soften its criticism and its polemics towards the others, it has not made any commitment whatsoever nor signed any common declaration containing an intermediate and ambiguous line between our principles and those of other parties. In the meetings of the Alliance we bring our principles, which do not contain the theoretical theses of the communist doctrine or the political program of the party, but have been prepared by us without any consideration that could attenuate them; many, many times these resolutions, accepted by the broad masses, especially during their agitations, are verbatim reproduced in the press of the other parties, because they are official resolutions of the ALLIANCE.
At the same time, not only have we not given up our work of conquering the trade unions, but we support it daily through our campaign for the united proletarian front, the social-democrats being obliged to abandon their positions in the trade-unions when, before the masses, their opposition to our proposals for common action remains in the minority. Thus our network of union infiltration and framing is extended, on which the influence of our party rests, and which increasingly adheres to all branches of the union movement and also to other forms of workers’ organization (cooperatives, etc.). On the day when the central branch of the trade union alliance, in the course of a movement, was about to betray the proletarian cause, and the party judged it possible to push the struggle to the extreme, it could have taken over the leadership by means of a coup d’état on the trade union central branches through its trade union organization, closely disciplined by the Party. If, on the other hand, decisive action directed by the Communist Party alone is not possible, and the movement will be stopped by its leaders while it could still develop, or will be sabotaged and betrayed, the C.P. will be able to place all its responsibility on them, turning this fact into a point of support for the extension of its influence and the preparation of other struggles.
The experience of the circumstances in which the Italian proletariat has been betrayed and sabotaged in its movements, which were conducted on a unitary basis, shows how necessary it is for the true revolutionaries to appear before the masses in a constant position of independence from the politics of the opportunists. For up to now, as the communists were united with the socialist party, and the syndicalist and anarchists are so willing to accept responsibility for common movements with the Socialist Party and the reformist Confederation, the work of these right-wing elements has led the movement to failure through compromises with the bourgeoisie, and afterward the great demoralized proletarian mass turned away from the left-wing elements, believing them to be responsible for the defeat. What we are saying about the anarchists serves to show that to avoid such a trap it is not enough to have the independence of the party’s organization, but it is also necessary to have its independence from common responsibilities in leading the struggle. On one hand, it is necessary to take part in this struggle, and to be in the front line along those who stir it up and promote the deployment of all proletarian forces; this practical problem seems to us to be solved by our tactics in the best possible way given the Italian situation. On the other hand, before the masses, the party will not say coldly that it cannot share the responsibility of directing an action together with the socialists, because such an argument is not understandable to the masses who follow the socialists; but it will set such conditions for common action that the working masses themselves will consider them just, turning against the social-democrats as they do not have a political platform and an organization capable of accepting them, i.e., capable of putting themselves in the terrain of struggle in defense of the working class.
As far as the concrete situation and the development of social relations and of the political regime in Italy are concerned, we have already mentioned that two proposals are being put forward to the masses today: that of the reformists, who propose collaboration with the left of the bourgeoisie as a means to ease up the fascist and reactionary offensive, and that of the communists, who propose general action for direct struggle, understanding this as a platform to stop the arrogance of the bourgeois offensive and intensify further revolutionary preparation towards struggles in which the CP will have a more prominent part.
The Italian Communists stand clearly on this ground: that it is useful for the policy of the collaborationist socialists to be fully carried out. The proletariat will thus be able to see that this solution is illusory, and will abandon the social-democratic and social-reformist illusions much more rapidly than anything that our propaganda alone could cause.
But is it not advisable, in order to obtain this result and to make the reformist socialists take responsibility for their failures, to set a watchword concerning the form of government, which is intermediate between that of bourgeois collaboration and that of proletarian power on the basis of dictatorship? We do not make here any consideration of principle. We will only note that the game of reformist betrayal in Italy is only possible thanks to the complicity of the Maximalist pseudo-revolutionism of the Serratians and to the naivety of the petit-bourgeois revolutionism of the anarchists and of many other dubious movements, each of which has ready-made formulas for the change of the political regime. Speculating on all this, the reformists let the hypnotization of the masses unfold with all this revolutionary phraseology, behind which they weave their plot of pure and simple dedication to bourgeois rule. We must not forget that the reformists themselves have proposed, are proposing and will propose watchwords for a change of political regime (in 1919 the union constituent assembly and the Modigliani republic, today we have the steps towards D’Annunzio and the proposal we have talked about of the insurrectional strike voted by the Alliance of Labor, etc.). In this situation the task of the C.P. is to work for the union of all the proletarian forces, but at the same time for the destruction of political confusion. If we were to propose a formula of workers’ government, apart from the fact that it is difficult to understand what these two words even mean, the left-wing socialists and anarchists would suffocate us under their demagogy for Revolution without adjectives and Ultra-revolution.
In order to react to the defeatism of this demagogy there is only the formulation of programs of struggle which to the masses appear completely concrete and realizable in the actual present situation. The proposal of the reformists is how it is because it’s possible in parliamentary practice, given the present composition of the Chamber. That of the communists is just as practical and concrete. Since the Serratian maximalists do not and cannot have a positive formula, being very intransigent in word and being pacifists and enemies of the struggle in deeds, it is necessary to get out of the above dilemma in order to crush all misunderstandings and to polarize the attention of the proletariat on the clear terms of the question.
Then there is the problem of the struggle against fascism. The reformists’ proposal for collaboration is based entirely on propaganda among the masses against the principle of direct and armed resistance, in order to give them the illusion that there are peaceful and legal means of eradicating fascism. Now the left-wing socialists are not for collaboration, in words, but they are effective collaborators with their submission, as that they too make propaganda for passivity, non-resistance and the temperation of pacifism. Only by advocating the necessity of the armed action of the proletariat against fascism and reaction can one stand against the collaborationist campaign. This word is intensely popular, since proletarian indignation against the fascists grows every day: it’s just a matter of organizing it. A word of order which gives the masses a glimpse of the possibility of power owned by any other means besides by arms would only favor the shared game of the reformists and the maximalists, and in a certain sense the negative work of the anarchists, who propagandize against an organization of the proletarian armed forces intended to constitute a class-based political power, against "red militarism".
The word of workers’ government is therefore ruled out of the situation due to a variety of concrete reasons, which show that not only would it not serve to polarize around us wider masses, but it would compromise the results obtained so far and the position that the C.P. has already obtained, which appears as the first supporter of that united direct action which is deeply desired by the masses, while it is made difficult by the influence of all sorts of opportunists.
We would now like to argue against the many objections raised, not always with knowledge of the facts, against our party and its tactics. But what we have set forth is a sufficient answer, and it is worthwhile to take down two strange and contradictory criticisms: the first, that our party is a party devoted to theoretical speculation and not to practical action; the second, that it is concerned with union work and not with political work. The union struggles and problems in Italy today are above all extremely political, and when we propose formulas for organization and unity in the union field, it is not in order to put aside our own political goals, but in order to approach them with the spirit of the tactic of the united front, that is, by making our policy come to life against that of the other parties and groups, after having led them to place their forces on a common ground with ours. Against this series of concrete reasons, which coincide with the theoretical development of our tactical theses, which now isn’t the time to discuss, there’s really only a sort of a priori reasoning that sees a formal contradiction between the two practices of the "united trade union front" and the "united political front." Would it be a contradiction for the Italian party, and for all the others, to not have made a split in the trade unions just as they had in the political field, to be for the organizational unity of the trade unions yet against political organizational unity? These arguments deserve no more than a few lines to be properly cleared away from the field of discussion.
We believe that communists make political action not by valuing "the parties", but by valuing their party, which came into being precisely because only its directives can provide the basis for a class-based policy. Displacing the forces of the other parties and trying to influence their game is a tactical task of the C.P. and its policy, but no one can conclude from this that it is political action to make a compromise with the socialists, for example, and apolitical action to attack them on a daily basis and put them before a proposal for united trade union action in order to extend our political influence over the unions by crushing theirs.
It is also clear from what we have said that we have no sentimental scruples about approaching the socialists or other political leaders and sitting down with them at the same table, something we have done and will do again when the need arises, and not only when they represent the unions, but also sometimes when they represent the party. We pose the problem on quite different ground than is given by these trivialities, as can be seen from the foregoing. In its difficult tasks the P.C.d’I. has gone through and goes through far more difficult situations, and our comrades are at work even in Catholic and Fascist organizations. We believe that the objections that have been circulated about our tactics depend exclusively on ignorance of the question, something for which we do not accuse comrades in other countries and for which to a certain extent we ourselves are responsible. Discussions and direct exchanges of ideas can only clarify the situation and rectify the evaluation of the directives followed by our party, all in accordance with the animating spirit of our common doctrine and organization.
3. THE CONGRESS AND THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PCd’I AND THE COMINTERN
The theses prepared for the national congress of our party were approved with the consensus of all comrades. If the discussion was dispassionate, it is because the PCd’I is dedicated to work and action and not to speculation and internal polemics. The strict discipline that prevails in it has accustomed the mass of comrades to trust in the tactical leadership of the leaders.
The Central did nothing to restrict neither the discussion nor the knowledge on the part of the party of all the material relating to the position taken by the International in the question of the united front.
When the decisions of the Enlarged E.C. were known to us, taken against the vote of our delegation, and against the resolution put forward by it and inspired by our tactical theses, the party organizations had all already voted for the C.C.’s theses.
A certain opposition was formed at the congress. This opposition arose not because the ideas of the C.I. on the united front persuaded some comrades who came to learn about them, but only because these comrades – with all due honorable exceptions – found in this situation the courage to engage in a polemic against the dictatorial executive.
The opposition came to meet with the dubious campaign of disruption of the party carried out by the notorious Ambrosini, who, thanks to the conscience of the comrades and the energy of the Central, did not suffer any repercussions. In the opposition there were some who, not having yet the preparation necessary to C.P. militancy and having preserved the old spirit of politicantism of the PSI., wanted to vent their desire to have more authority and influence in the party.
This opposition did not know how to build its own respectable platform for discussion, apart from the sensible statements of comrades Tasca and Graziadei, and the attempts of Presutti, who were nonetheless inadequate. The opposition began to work in the corridors, spreading equivocal and defeatist rumors and misusing the name of the International with inaccuracies and lies. The prevalence of these methods would have prepared the degeneration of our party, and we judged it necessary to crush the opponents in an open and total discussion. There were therefore also didactic and party-training motives in our conduct.
As for the disciplinary question, we considered it satisfactorily resolved by the formula of the motion passed before discussing the theses, accepted by the delegates of the E.C., and not contradicting any official request of the International of which we had knowledge. Any misunderstandings that may have arisen in this regard are clarified in a letter from Radek and in a letter from Terracini to the Presidium.
The opposition, after the unanimous vote on the motion, instead of polemicizing the merits of our theses, tried again to "circumvent" them by re-proposing the disciplinary and procedural issue that had been overcome in a preliminary way, and speculating on the already given opinion of the International – with the sole purpose of moving votes and creating uncertainties among the delegates. We have already said that in the face of these manifestations of vulgar parliamentarianism it was necessary to proceed vigorously, and it was necessary for us to be intransigent and demand the vote on the tactical theses without reservations, but not out of intransigence towards the International, its opinion and the discipline that we must maintain, but rather to break the snares of the opposition without debasing ourselves to the level of fishing for the votes of the undecided by softening our position, as is done by the sort of tactical opportunism that we consider harmful within the party.
After the vote, the most authoritative comrades in the majority agreed on the composition of the new Central. They did not want to make a central tendency, but they wanted to exclude elements that had proven to be either incapable or disloyal.
The fact that the majority did not want to make a question out of tendencies or circles is demonstrated by the criteria actually adopted: a comrade who in Livorno was on the right-wing of the party remained in the C.C.; some comrades of the left who had given or could give little activity, while being among the most sympathetic towards the point of view of the E.C. were excluded. Of the new members, serious men of proven faith were chosen, and among them some who clearly sympathized with the thesis of the International were included. They did not follow a political criterion, but we would say a "moral" criterion: the real word is a technical criterion. We looked for the most suitable ones, excluding those who, due to a lack of seriousness and/or conscience, still conceive the party as a pedestal for personal proclamation, or as a breeding ground for gossip and conspiracies in the parliamentary corridor, and also those who, despite having useful talents, shy away from positions of responsibility. We chose the most able and willing men for our work, for whom the communist militia is not a sport or an aesthetic position, and who are not afraid of the risks.
4. CONCRETE PROPOSALS MADE BY THE E.C. OF THE PCd’I TO THE COMINTERN
1. The PCd’I will not take the initiative for meeting with other political parties.
2. The PCd’I will continue to carry out within the bosom of the Alliance of Labor its present program, with the prospect that it may find consensus among syndicalists and anarchists, putting the socialists in the minority in the AoL.
3. The PCd’I, apart from its opinions on the world workers’ congress, will officially propose that the Italian Alliance of Labor participate in the campaign for its convocation. In this campaign, the PCd’I has the right to present the world congress as a contingent meeting for an agreement on action, but not as the basis of a single world proletarian organization, nor as the necessary premise for the emergence in all countries of a coalition of proletarian parties.
4. Upon receiving invitations from the PSI and other proletarian organs to conferences in which other political parties participate, the PCd’I will participate. The PCd’I will set as a condition for an agreement a series of points such as to exclude from the others the possibility of propaganda and action which would divert the proletariat from direct and armed action and from the outlet of its struggles, in case of victory, into proletarian power. See the conditions presented at the Rome conference. The conditions are prejudicial to the agreement, and are not to be modified in order to make the agreement itself possible. In the event of a breakup, the PCd’I will always declare itself, without conditions, in favor of a national general strike led by the Alliance of Labor, and will continue its campaign to that end.
5. Any coalition or agreement with the PSI in the electoral, parliamentary or governmental field is absolutely excluded.