Contribution to the 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers‘ Parties, “100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist International: The fight for peace and socialism continues!”, Izmir, 18-20 October 2019
Party of Labour of Austria / Partei der Arbeit Österreichs (PdA)
Internationalism, Leninism, Socialism
On behalf of the Party of Labour Austria, I would like to thank the Communist Party of Turkey and the Communist Party of Greece for hosting and organising this year’s International Meeting. Both parties are encouraging examples for the international communist movement.
When 100 years ago, in March 1919, the Communist International was created in Moscow, the then Communist Party of Austria was present with two delegates. To this day, the Austrian communists are proud that their representatives – together with the delegations from Sweden, Hungary and the Balkan Federation and with Lenin's assistance – formulated and submitted the proposal that eventually led to the immediate establishment of the Comintern.
In Austria we also know very well how valuable the historical activity of the Comintern was: when in the mid-1920s the CP of Austria became incapable of action due to “pluralism” and factionism, the Comintern sent Georgi Dimitroff to Vienna to reorganise the party. Dimitroff and the new chairman Johann Koplenig succeeded in Bolshevising the party and in establishing it on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. Thus just in time the Austrian communists became capable of fighting to become the main pillar and most important force in 1933-1945 in illegality and in resistance against Austrian and Hitler fascism as well as against German foreign rule.
Without the activities of the Comintern in the 1920s and 1930s, the successful construction of communist, Marxist-Leninist workers’ parties on all inhabited continents would not have been possible. The Comintern forged the unity of the socialist state power of the USSR and CPSU with the communist parties in the capitalist countries. It combined the struggle for proletarian revolution with the anti-colonial struggle of the oppressed peoples. It laid the internationalist basis for the successful anti-fascist resistance struggle in many European countries, for the victory of the Red Army and the peoples of the Soviet Union over Hitler Germany, for the construction of a socialist world system after the Second World War.
100 years later – in 2019 – the communist world movement is still suffering from the mistakes of the second half of the 20th century and the consequences of defeat and counter-revolution in the USSR and Eastern Europe in 1989-1991. Revisionism in its various forms, capitulation and betrayal, misorientation and sometimes social democratisation have done and continue to do considerable damage.
If the revolutionary struggle for socialism is to continue successfully on a global scale or if it is to be taken up seriously again in some places, this will only be possible on the basis of ideological, theoretical and strategic, but also organisational and political clarity. Revisionist and pseudo-“radical” aberrations, ideological arbitrariness, collaboration with the class enemy and imperialist powers, ingratiation with social democracy and unprincipled alliances, “leftist” administration of capitalism, nationalism or cosmopolitanism, reformism and opportunism lead nowhere, as history has sufficiently shown. A communist movement that wants to work for peace, freedom and self-determination, for revolution and socialism must stand on the firm foundation of Marxism-Leninism. It commits itself in words and deeds to the revolutionary enlightenment and organisation of the workers, the exploited social classes and oppressed nations, to unconditional anti-imperialism and internationalism, to ideological, political and economic class struggle, to organisational discipline and working methods in the sense of democratic centralism. And finally: to the revolutionary assumption of power and to the organised rule of the working class in the oppression of the bourgeoisie and counter-revolutionary subjects, to the construction of socialism – with socialist characteristics – as well as to the classless society of communism.
Because that and nothing else is our task, our historical mission: a society, a world without oppression, exploitation and war. Those who do not take note of this and act accordingly have put themselves on the sidelines; they stand on the other side barricades and in the way of socialism.
It is high time to clear the way – through clarity of positions and principles, through sincerity, tenacity and devotion, through international, mutually supportive cooperation, reliability and commitment, through the use of our sharpest weapon, Marxism-Leninism. With the creation of the European Communist Initiative, we have taken a certain structural step in this direction – unfortunately at present limited to this continent. But the struggle must be continued globally in a united front – and the history of the Communist International, which is not accidentally defamed and distorted by our enemies through lying anti-communist campaigns, contains some lessons to be taken up again. With the knowledge of the past, we create a militant present and a socialist future. The truth will prevail and socialism will triumph on a world scale.
Tibor Zenker, vice-chairman of the Party of Labour of Austria