Preface to the Norwegian edition of Georgi Dimitrov’s report to the 7th Congress of the Communist International (1935)

The book “A people’s front against crisis, war and fascism” was published by Revolusjon in 2013. Apart from Dimitrov’s report, it includes a preface and an introduction dealing with the problems of how the policy of the united front should be understood and put into practice under the current historical and political conditions in our country.

The policy of the united front is a core element of the tactical line of the communists. Nevertheless, it has given rise to considerable uncertainty and confusion.

Georgi Dimitrov, Secretary General of the Communist International (Comintern), used the Seventh World Congress held in 1935 to elaborate and explain the united front and the popular front policy and the necessity of cooperation in struggle against the capitalist attacks, against fascism and imperialist war.

We find it appropriate to re-publish this document, because the issues on the agenda at that time, have once again become crucial. The world capitalist system, especially in Europe, is undergoing the most serious economic crisis and recession since the world crisis that followed after the crash of 1929. Unemployment is enormous and increasing, the labour movement is to a certain extent paralyzed by decades of social-democratic class collaborationist politics, and today the democratic and social rights are under constant attack from the forces of capital.

Fascism is once again a real threat: In some European countries, such as Hungary and Greece, it is about to gain mass support. And as in the 1930s, the danger of new imperialist wars is imminent.

In his main report to the Seventh Congress, Dimitrov says:

“The imperialist circles are trying to shift the whole burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working people. That is why they need fascism.

“They are trying to solve the problem of markets by enslaving the weak nations, by intensifying colonial oppression and repartitioning the world anew by means of war. That is why they need fascism. “

Finance capital demands cuts in wages and welfare while the capitalists themselves plunder public funds from state budgets.

The imperialist powers, especially the United States and the NATO countries, have embarked on an increasingly aggressive war policy where they even disregard the United Nations – a world system that came into being after the defeat of fascism in the wake of World War II. The peoples and governments are threatened, attacked and occupied through bloody wars. At present (summer 2013 – translator’s note),Syria is designated as the target of a new imperialist war of aggression.

The peoples are paying with their very lives and their natural resources are being plundered, while the workers in the imperialist countries have to pay for the extreme and growing military spending. To justify their war policy, the great powers appeal to chauvinism and racism, and thus give fascism an opening in their own countries.

In this way finance capital shifts the burdens of the crisis onto the working class and the peoples. It creates greater social inequalities, death and misery – but at the same time it spurs popular struggle and resistance. The crisis might lead to revolution, provided that there exists a political force with mass influence and tactical ability to develop movements that could overthrow the bourgeoisie and the pro-imperialist governments. However, if this force is not strong enough, we know that the crisis may also lead to fascism.

The most important difference between the period leading up to World War II and the situation today is that at that time there was a mighty socialist workers’ state, the Soviet Union, and a strong international communist world movement. Today, the working class has no such fortress to shelter and defend its interests.

<> The Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations are – with some exceptions – small and with little or limited influence within the working class in their respective countries. The contrast to the period when Dimitrov delivered his famous report to the Congress of the Comintern is immense.

The reason for this negative situation for the world proletariat is the capitalist and revisionist counter-revolution in what once was the socialist camp. Here we will not embark on analysing what led to this counter-revolution and why it came about; this is a big and serious issue that has been and is being elaborated in other contexts.

The question we put forward at this moment is this: Does the fact that the working class is in a worse position now than it was in 1935, imply that the question of the united front and the popular front is more or less important today?

Our answer is that the policy of the united front and the popular front is even more important today than it was in 1935, precisely because of the weakened position of the working class and the communists.

Once again we are faced with the task of building a popular front against crisis, war and fascism. This is the practical response of the communists to the imperialist policy of making workers pay for the capitalist crisis. In this respect, the lessons and instructions given by Dimitrov are highly relevant.

Dimitrov illustrates how to combine firmness of principle with agility. He reminds us that we communists always have to think and analyse matters independently, that they must learn to master Marxist-Leninist theory as a guide, that they must rid themselves of sectarianism and rigid propaganda that is more or less incomprehensible to the working people. He also warns against the danger of right opportunism, which will occur if the communists allow themselves to “drown” in the front and forget their revolutionary goals and the leading role of the Party.

In the introductory chapter (not included in this translation – translator’s note),we study some aspects of the united front tactics and the tasks and specific challenges of promoting a Marxist-Leninist policy in contemporary Norway.

Revolution Publishing House

Oslo 2013

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