Third (Communist) International
1. Evaluation of the Situation
Fascism, in the full extent of its development, represents an attempt to unify the political action of the different sections of the privileged classes (industrial, financial, and commercial capital, large landed property) in order to preserve the bourgeois regime and combat revolutionary forces.
In its first stage, whilst taking advantage of the success of the counter-revolutionary manoeuvres of the left-wing bourgeois governments, fascism had the character of a mobilization of the middle classes – supported by the state and the bourgeoisie – and a militaristic organization of the forces of these classes for the sake of committing violent and terrorist actions against the proletariat and its organizations.
After the defeat of the working class due to the combined maneuvers of democracy and fascism on one hand and the impotence of the old Socialist Party on the other, fascism, having developed a vast political organization but lacking any program of social renewal, installed itself into power by means of a compromise with the traditional ruling class while brutally getting rid of most of the traditional personalities and political cliques.
The conquest of power and its exercise by fascism was achieved through the crushing and dispersion of the proletariat, the overwhelming majority of which, however, continued to despise fascism. During the first stage, the middle classes and arguably a section of the peasantry preserved the illusion that the fascist movement was the realization of their common interests, but the actions of the fascist government gradually drove these classes to disappointment, discontent, and opposition.
The Matteotti affair suddenly revealed, due to the intervention of sentimental reflexes, the scale of the discontent reached among the middle classes and pushed the proletarian masses towards courageous resumption of open class struggle. The fascist government has come out weakened, and the decline of fascism appears markedly accelerated.
It is possible that Fascism, which preserves its political and military organization in an almost intact state, may allow itself to be dragged into violent reaction, but it’s much more likely that it will be led to use leftist political methods, by a large part of bourgeois public opinion. Thus we should expect a new development in Mussolini’s policy towards a bourgeois coalition government, which will end up including the reformist party. The middle classes will remain in an uncertain position between their seeming satisfaction and the small concessions that they’ll be able to get from such a government. The proletariat, which, in the event of a new reactionary wave, will see its offensive return postponed but not definitively prevented, will probably from now on succeed in imposing its freedom of organization and action to an ever-increasing extent. Everything suggests that the possibilities for action of the Communist Party of Italy will be considerably enlarged.
2. Attitude of the Communist Party of Italy towards Fascism
The Communist Party of Italy will sustain its propaganda, its polemics and its agitation against the currently ruling fascist government, based on an in-depth Marxist critique.
The Party will never disguise its intent to overthrow the bourgeois dictatorship using revolutionary violence, whether that government is organized in a fascist form or hiding behind the democratic facade. This refers not only to theoretical criticism but also to every political demonstration and slogan by and from the Party. [Eight lines are omitted "for obvious reasons", most likely due to references to illegal or military action].
3. Attitude Towards the Opposition Parties
We divide these parties into three groups:
a) The bourgeois opposition (democratic liberals, e.g. Nitti, Amendola, Albertini, Agnelli, Meda, etc.) which must be attacked and unmasked as a force for bourgeois preservation, wanting to repeat the counter-revolutionary measures of classical Giolittism;
b) The parties and groups of the middle classes and peasants (left and center-left of the Italian People’s Party, the Peasants’ Party of Italy, the movement of D’Annunzio, of the Free Italy, of the "Liberal Revolution", the right of the Italian Republican Party, etc.), of the leadership of which, virtually with no exception, we must affirm the total helplessness and cowardice as concerns the struggle against fascism, and in the defense of the interests they are supposed to defend. It is therefore necessary to expose – especially with the oldest movements – their record of collaboration with the policies of bourgeois governments, during and after the war. Through direct and open critique we must highlight the causes of disappointment of social strata rallying around these movements, and denounce their impotence because they do not dare bring their opposition to fascism outside the realm of legality and social pacifism. Struggling against this fatal illusion and the danger that it may infect the proletariat, the need will become increasingly evident for the revolutionary, anti-fascist struggle to be led by the proletariat and for this struggle to be subordinated to the vision of its class dictatorship. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the only alternative that can be opposed to the fascist, bourgeois dictatorship – which also suffocates the less fortunate elements of the middle classes;
c) Those parties which are related to the working class despite lacking a revolutionary program and revolutionary tradition (left-wing Republicans, Unitarian Socialists, Maximalists, and even Anarchic-Syndicalists). Even towards these parties, the Communist critique and polemic will prove that they can never lead the proletariat to victory and that the whole history of social struggles in Italy amounts to a condemnation and liquidation of their bourgeois and petite-bourgeois tradition, no less than the tradition of democracy (to which they are more or less connected). Our polemic towards these groups must be relentless and highly energetic. We must take advantage of all of our opportunities and experiences to oppose tendencies that push for a false unity consisting of advocating for the formation of a big workers’ party which brings together the different political schools, or even a block of these parties constituted with the aim of creating a proletarian General Staff.
Any political "cartel" with the parties of these three groups is absolutely unacceptable, whether they be central and national decision-making bodies or local organizations. The Communist Party will adopt, taking advantage of all opportunities, the tactics of the united front by appealing to the unity of proletarian and semi-proletarian forces on the grounds of organizations of all kinds, existing or emerging, inside of which the struggle of the political parties is brought. This activity, together with our direct appeals to militant workers and proletarians sympathetic to other parties, will apply in the immediate future to the masses following the parties of the third group and (after some preparation) also to he left of the People’s Party and the Peasants’ Party. In the face of the rapid development of the situation towards the instability of the regime, a tactic of this kind will also have to take into consideration the social strata that are currently gathered behind the parties of the second group. This tactic tends towards the unity of the workers and peasants and even petty-bourgeois masses under the control of the Party, and its success is related to the progressive liquidation and demolition of the opportunist and semi-bourgeois parties in question.
4. Particular Issues Regarding Relations with the Maximalist Party
Among the opportunist groups, the Maximalist Party is the most dangerous – especially during a period of uncertainty – because it is based on a combination of demagogy and idleness. This party must be openly denounced as an enemy of the proletarian cause. The reputation of its name and its newspaper must be pushed towards a definitive liquidation. With this in mind, it will not be accepted to the International as a sympathetic party and the International will not form the dangerous illusion that a left-wing fraction resides in its bosom; neither shall the International officially nor unofficially endorse such a misconception.
5. Work Inside the Trade Unions
To solidly and rapidly extend its influence over the masses, the Communist Party must conduct intense agitation for the reorganization of the workers’ movement, and to reconstitute its network of trade union functions, through the communist shop group (made up by comrades and workers that aren’t in the party and that aren’t members of other parties), up to the National Communist Trade Union Committee, that must not be just a party office, but the center for a communist fraction of the workers’ movement. For the elections in the workshops, the party will form a bloc with the parties of the third group (in the sense that it will support shared lists of red organizations) until the struggle inside the trade unions finds the possibility for freer development. The Party will seize a favorable moment to propose both national red union unity and an alliance of unions on the basis of common demands. Whether or not it will be necessary to apply the tactics of the "trade-union left-wings" in order to overthrow the reformist leaders of the Confederation of Labor will be shown by the situation and by how much influence the Confederation will hold over it. If the possibilities of trade union work are less than what is presumed in the earlier proposition, the Party will have to concentrate its activity and work on its systematic link with the workshops in order to form not only an internal apparatus but also a network for maneuvering the great masses.
6. Work Among the Peasantry
Since the organization, propaganda, press and electoral and political influence of the Party already extend to urban centers as well as to the countryside, it is a question of intensifying our agitation for the communist agrarian program with the means we already have at our disposal by demanding that this work be carried out by every organ and member of the Party. In order to extend this activity in a convenient way, it is necessary to count on the reorganization of the agricultural workers’ unions and the leagues of sharecroppers and small tenants. As far as small owners are concerned, the question of the Peasants’ Party must be placed on the agenda. In no way should the formation of an autonomous political party of small owners be encouraged, but rather the organization of an association – elective in form – to defend the economic interests of the peasants should be created, and we will penetrate this association to push for the united front.
7. Organizational Questions
Illegal and legal party work will continue in accord with the already-acquired experience of the party. An internal connection system that allows at least one consultative representation of the peripheral party organizations, alongside the central executive apparatus, will be studied. The agrarian section of the party will be reorganized. It will be necessary to organize the press and to guarantee greater resonance in the politics and agitation of the party among the masses. The funding of the press and propaganda – an excellent means of connection with the masses, even when chances of acting are extremely limited – will be better organized. Greater attention will be paid to aiding the politically persecuted.
The Thirdinternationalists (Terzini) will immediately enter local organizations. A general review of Party members will take place immediately and will be conducted with particular attention to the newcomers, nevertheless with the latters’ participation. The Terzini will not occupy any place in the central organs. They will only participate in elective bodies and will only be nominated as officials to fill posts that are not of an individual character.
L’Unità, December 30th, 1925