Lenin (front) at Comintern’s First Congress

Comintern review: Not a school of strategy

Mike Macnair reviews: John Riddell (ed), 'Toward the united front: proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International 1922'. Brill, 2012, pp1310, €200 (paperback also available from Haymarket Books, £39.99)

Last September John Riddell, on his blog, discussing the question of government as it (apparently) faced Syriza in Greece, characterised the Communist International as a “school of socialist strategy”.1 This would be a pretty good reason for socialists shelling out for the Haymarket edition of Toward the united front and ploughing through its 1,300 pages. The book is an excellent one and study of it is valuable. But the idea that the early Comintern is a “school of socialist strategy” is a mistake.

We have to start by recognising that the left needs to understand its own history in order to orient itself for the future. Comrade Riddell’s book is highly valuable to Anglophone readers for this purpose. But what is involved is not, contrary to Trotsky’s view in The Third International after Lenin and later, a matter of simply picking up the threads where they were dropped after the Fourth Congress of the Comintern (or after Lenin’s death) and carrying on. The situation facing Comintern in the early 1920s was not what the participants - Trotsky included - thought it was; and some of the remedies they adopted were apt to aggravate rather than to cure the problems they faced.

The story of the first four congresses of Comintern is partly a story of achievements, and of efforts to tackle problems which still face the left. But it is also a story of fragments of debates which had begun in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Second International before 1914, and in which the ‘great divide’ of 1917-19 led, in the ‘Comintern fragment’ of the debates, to lack of reference to earlier stages of the debate and as a result to some seriously misleading appearances.

And in some respects most importantly, it is also a story of wrong decisions which help to explain the mess the left is in today.

Live issues

This is most clearly a live issue in relation to the present crisis of the Socialist Workers Party. It appears in the efforts of Alex Callinicos to portray the SWP leadership as defenders of ‘Leninism’,2 in the false idea of some critics that this ‘Leninism’ can all be blamed on Grigory Zinoviev,3 and in the equally false idea of other critics that the problems addressed by ‘Leninism’ are merely out of date - when their own ideas about the organisation problem are largely reworkings of Eduard Bernstein from before 1914 (‘broad parties’) or of Mikhail Bakunin from around 1870 (‘networks’).4 The process of ‘Bolshevisation’ certainly began in the period of the second to fourth congresses of Comintern, and the phenomenon (and some of its causes) can be better understood through reading comrade Riddell’s book, his similar Workers of the world and oppressed peoples, unite! - proceedings and documents of the second congress, 1920 (1991), and other communist writings of the period.

This is not the only presently live issue involved. Comintern’s policy on the ‘eastern question’ or ‘national and colonial question’, adopted at the second congress and restated at the fourth, is certainly morally superior to what Richard Seymour has called The liberal defence of murder (2008). But it has proved disastrous for the workers’ movement in many subordinated countries now over 90 years, and in the light of the course of events since 2001, can also now be seen to be a real obstacle to building a long-term serious movement to oppose imperialist war in the imperialist countries.

The slogan of the “workers’ government”, or “workers’ and farmers’ government” adopted at the Fourth Congress was ill-thought-through. Subsequent lefts have been unable to make sense of it under the conditions for which it was intended - of serious crisis of capitalist states. What was missing was a minimum programme which would provide the basis for defining conditions under which communists would be prepared to participate in, or support, governments. Government participation wrecked Rifondazione Comunista in Italy in 2006. The Danish Enhedslisten seems to be on the road to discrediting itself by support for the austerity budget of a ‘social-liberal’ government.5 The question (in the event, illusory) of a Syriza-led coalition government in 2012 has been debated within the SWP and among others, for example in comrade Riddell’s blog post cited above.

The idea of ‘transitional demands’, though it originated with the Germans,6 was at the Fourth Congress a fudge to deal with Bukharin and his co-thinkers’ opposition to the need for Comintern to adopt a minimum programme.7 It has since licensed among Trotskyists, the only communist trend to adopt it, both a regression to the ‘left economism’ of Ryazanov and (independently) Trotsky in 1904,8 and a variety of sub-minimum programmes severely politically weaker than the old 1891 Erfurt programme of the SPD.

United front

Comrade Riddell is right to title the volume Toward the united front, because this policy turn - begun between the Third and Fourth Congresses - was in a sense the major positive contribution of the Fourth Congress to socialist strategy. But the interpretation of the united front policy in post-war Trotskyism, as well as ‘official communism’ and Maoism, has been that of Georgi Dimitrov at the Seventh Congress of Comintern,9 in which the united front involves diplomatic unity with a partial or complete suspension of sharp criticism of coalition partners.10

This issue relates back to ‘Bolshevisation’: if communist party unity involves the absence of public criticism, it becomes impossible to justify to socialist or Labourite workers why united-front unity is possible in the presence of sharp criticisms of their leaders.

If, in the face of this problem, the right to criticise and therefore to split is prioritised, the result is ‘third period’ sectarianism; if unity is prioritised over the right to criticise, the result is to make the communists merely bag-carriers for the ‘official lefts’ or whoever else is the target of the unity policy.

In the Respect episode, the SWP displayed both sides of this false choice. A period of public toadying to George Galloway and to ‘radicalising Muslims’ was followed by an abrupt sectarian organisational split, whose public political motivation was obviously complete fiction.

It might be imagined that going back to the early Comintern debates would enable at least the Trotskyists to break with the Dimitrov line. But it was already clear long ago that the Dimitrov/Pierre Frank-Ernest Mandel/Tony Cliff version of the united front was a break from the tactic as envisaged by the early Comintern, from Trotsky’s First five years of the Communist International and Third International after Lenin, as well as from the Theses, resolutions and manifestos of the first four congresses of the Communist International (1980), which are now available on the Marxists Internet Archive.11 So it is unlikely that a new and more detailed dose of the same medicine provided by comrade Riddell will cure this particular sickness.


Reviewing editions of primary historical sources is always difficult: a bit like trying to do a book review of a dictionary or encyclopaedia. Toward the united front is particularly problematic, because almost ‘all human life is here’. The major discussions included the executive committee report; five years of the Russian Revolution; the capitalist offensive; fascism; the idea of a Comintern programme; trade unions; the ‘eastern question’ and the agrarian question. Among subject discussions, less time was given to youth; blacks; the cooperative movement; women; educational work; the Versailles treaty; workers’ aid; and the reorganisation of the executive. Countries and individual communist parties formally on the agenda included Austria, Yugoslavia, Egypt, France, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Norway; speeches in the subject debates added a good deal about Germany, and shorter reference sto many other countries. Where to begin a review? What to cover and what not?

Comrade Riddell has made available to Anglophone readers an important source for the history of our movement. In addition to the translation, he has provided a useful introduction (pp1-59), valuable explanatory footnotes, a brief chronology, a glossary, biographical notes on participants and individuals referred to in the debates (some of them pretty obscure) and a full bibliography - as well as a highly detailed index of names and subjects. The only possible technical criticism is that, given that the footnotes reference the bibliography Harvard-style (by author and date alone), the fact that the bibliography is subdivided into categories (other editions; related Comintern documents; and so on), rather than simply listed by author and date, sometimes makes it troublesome to chase down the source in the footnote.

Reference libraries should be pressed to buy the Brill hardback. Historians of the workers’ movement should certainly have the Haymarket paperback on their bookshelves as a reference source. That said, a good sense of the politics of the early Comintern for the level of understanding of the history that activists generally need can be obtained from the materials available on MIA. The added details available in Toward the united front alter nuances. The nuances and details may be worth pursuing, as comrade Riddell has done in articles on the origins of the united front12 and on the workers’ government discussion.13 But they do not overthrow anything fundamental from the understanding of the early Comintern which can be obtained from the more limited materials on MIA.

One gain which undoubtedly can be obtained for activists either from reading through the book from beginning to end, or simply from dipping into individual debates, is the clarity that the Comintern’s congresses were not, at this date, tame, stage-managed affairs, but featured lively and fractious debates. This was, of course, already clear from comrade Riddell’s earlier set of proceedings of the Second Congress.

At some level, we could already have known this from Trotsky’s attacks on the process of bureaucratisation of the Russian party and Comintern. But one might hope that it would come as a bit of a shock to readers used to the highly controlled proceedings of a ‘normal’ SWP conference (or a conference of many other left groups) to read what debate in the early Comintern was actually like. For many SWP cadres, however, I would guess that the response would be the superiority of their normal bureaucratically controlled methods to those of the early Comintern. There is a slight hint of this in Ian Birchall’s slightly evasive warning in his review in International Socialism that “I remain sceptical as to whether detailed formulations from 1922 can be applied to the world of the 21st century”14: at one level correct, at another level it slides around the need to make judgments one way or another about the divergences between modern practice and that of the Comintern.

Everything that I have said at the beginning of this article is a body of reasons for reading the book. But not for reading it either on the basis that the Comintern is a guide to socialist strategy, or on the basis that it is merely interesting past experience, albeit at a high level (à la comrade Birchall) but for reading it critically as part of understanding our history, including aspects where we have gone wrong and still go wrong by clinging onto Comintern decisions.

Even to discuss all the live issues I have raised above (which themselves are no more than examples) critically would take more space and time than I have for this article. I select one: the problem of ‘Bolshevisation’ and its relation to the problem of class unity.

Class-political unity

Comrade Riddell’s article on the origins of the united front policy could not begin with the December 1921 Comintern executive committee Theses on the united front,15 but started - in fact - with the First International. But to attach Comintern’s limited united front tactic to the First International is to silently misinterpret both the evolution of Marxist policy on unity before 1914, and the united front tactic itself.

We have to begin in the same place, or rather even earlier: with the famous statement in section 1 of the Communist manifesto:

In what relation do the communists stand to the proletarians as a whole? The communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working class parties [meaning by ‘other working class parties’, as is clarified in section 4, only the Chartists in Britain and their sister organisation, the National Reformers in the US] ... The immediate aim of the communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.

The meaning of “formation of the proletariat into a class” is given, as an objective process, towards the end of section 1: “organisation of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently, into a political party”.16

In other words, the immediate aim of the communists in the Communist manifesto - shared with the [left] Chartists and the National Reformers - is the formation of a single political party of the proletariat with the aim of the proletariat taking political power.

This aim of a single political organisation of the proletariat - more than just unity in action, but unity in forming political policy - was shared by the 1864 Inaugural address written by Marx for the First International:

To conquer political power has, therefore, become the great duty of the working classes. They seem to have comprehended this, for in England, Germany, Italy and France there have taken place simultaneous revivals, and simultaneous efforts are being made at the political organisation of the workingmen’s party.

One element of success they possess - numbers; but numbers weigh in the balance only if united by combination and led by knowledge. Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different countries, and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture of their incoherent efforts. This thought prompted the workingmen of different countries assembled on September 28 1864, in public meeting at St Martin’s Hall, to found the International Association.

Another conviction swayed that meeting:

If the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfil that great mission with a foreign policy in pursuit of criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and squandering in piratical wars the people’s blood and treasure? It was not the wisdom of the ruling classes, but the heroic resistance to their criminal folly by the working classes of England, that saved the west of Europe from plunging headlong into an infamous crusade for the perpetuation and propagation of slavery on the other side of the Atlantic ...17

The First International, of course, ended in failure. The Paris Commune and the general council’s response drafted by Marx, The civil war in France, gave rise to a witch-hunt across Europe; with the Communards, the French component of the International was crushed by repression. The British trade unionists pulled back in response both to this witch-hunt, and to the Reform Act 1867 extending the franchise and the Trade Union Act 1871, which showed that the bourgeois parliamentary parties could offer at least some reforms.

The remaining International was split between the ‘Marxists’ who moved in 1871-72 to advocate independent working class electoral action, and the Bakuninist advocates of direct action to - in Mao’s much later phrase - be the “spark that lights the prairie fire” for a revolution leading to immediate abolition of the state. The direct action initiatives were to be coordinated by a secret network, in Bakunin’s phrase the “invisible dictatorship”. The ‘Marxists’ transferred the seat of the general council to New York in the (failed) hope of catching an upswing of the workers’ movement in the US. The Bakuninists took the name of the International for their European organisation, but proved to be as unable to maintain it as the ‘Marxists’.


Meanwhile in Germany, the General German Workers’ Association (ADAV) was launched in May 1863, with Ferdinand Lassalle as its first president. Its single immediate aim was universal male suffrage, with the ulterior aim of winning state-supported worker cooperatives: the ADAV initially counterposed this policy to support for trade unions.18 It was, nonetheless, an independent political party of the working class, and Marx and Engels celebrated it as such in spite of their criticisms of Lassalle and his politics.

Lassalle was a ‘labour monarchist’ in two senses. The first was that he thought the working class could cooperate with the conservative statist, Bismarck, against the liberals, as opposed to the line of the Communist League in 1848-50 of cooperating, partially, with the liberals against the monarchical regimes in Germany.

The second was that the constitution of the ADAV provided for ‘democratic centralism’, in the sense that its congress elected (democratic) a single president, who had full dictatorial powers between congresses (centralism). This constitutional form was inherited after Lassalle’s death in 1864 by his successors as president, including Johann Baptiste von Schweitzer. When the ADAV under Schweitzer began in 1868 to organise trade unions, it replicated this structure in union constitutions: Schweitzer was the general president of the ADAV unions.

Wilhelm Liebknecht supported 1848-style cooperation with the liberals. Nonetheless he joined the ADAV in October 1863, and fought against its Bismarckian orientation with some success until, in June 1865, Bismarck had him deported from Prussia. He moved to Leipzig and was active in workers’ organisations founded by liberals together with August Bebel. The result was the Social Democratic Workers Party (SDAP) founded at Eisenach in 1869. In 1870 Liebknecht’s and Bebel’s refusal to vote for war credits in the Franco-Prussian war gave the SDAP added credibility as uncompromising opponents of the regime: the ADAV backed the war.

In 1875 the SDAP and ADAV fused at Gotha to form the Socialist Workers Party of Germany (SAP). The Gotha unification is today primarily remembered on the left for Marx’s Critique of the Gotha programme. But its immediate impact was very different. It fused two small organisations - 15,322 mandates from the ADAV and 9,121 from the SDAP - on a compromise political platform, but on the SDAP’s conceptions of party organisation and relations with the trade unions: not a single central dictator, but an elaborate scheme of sovereign annual conference, central executive with limited powers, and wide local autonomy; not party-controlled, but organisationally independent trade unions. The unification produced ‘take-off’, with SAP membership and press circulation doubling in a year and continuing to grow afterwards, and votes growing even under illegality between 1878 and 1890. The SAP was on the road to the mass workers’ party that the SPD became.

The SPD and Second International down to 1914 were built on these two lessons of Gotha. The first: that unification, even on an imperfect and imperfectly agreed programme, could produce take-off into a mass party; that ‘unity is strength’ for socialist political parties as well as for trade unions. The second: that unification and take-off was possible by abandoning the centralist organisational conceptions of Lassalle and Schweitzer, and thereby permitting lively and free-ranging debate both within the party and in its public press.

This ‘Gotha’ model persisted after the publication of the Critique of the Gotha programme in 1891 and after the SPD programme was made more ‘Marxist’ at Erfurt in the same year. It profoundly influenced unifications of the socialists elsewhere in Europe. The slightly modified ‘Erfurt’ version was the actual model on which the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (RSDWP) and its majorityite (Bolshevik) faction operated down to and beyond October 1917.

It is for this reason that the RSDWP was not a general workers’ party with no political preconditions, a Labour Party - which the ‘liquidators’ sought to create in 1908 and after. Like the SPD, it was founded on a short general political programme. But equally, like the SPD, it was characterised by promoting independent trade unions, by wide practical autonomy of the local organisations, and by public internal debate.


The split in the international workers’ movement which resulted from World War I need not, in pure logic, have led to the abandonment of the ‘SPD model’ of workers’ class party unity and party democracy. But in practice it unavoidably did, for a series of reasons.

First, the German party and trade union right broke with the model. The ‘revisionists’ had in a sense already abandoned the idea of an independent workers’ party, shared by the Eisenachers and Lassalleans, in favour of that of broader ‘left’ coalitions. The collapse of the majority of the party left and centre in Germany left them in control. From the beginning of the war they collaborated with the state to enforce the Burgfrieden or anti-strike policy, resulting in increasing controls on local organisations. By late 1916 they were unwilling to tolerate growing internal opposition and in January 1917 expelled the group which formed the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD).

Second, Lenin and Zinoviev from the outbreak of the war argued for a full split with the right - though the Bolsheviks were not won over to the idea until after autumn 1917. Their conception was clearly not originally of a break-up of the united workers’ parties, but rather of clearing out a small group of scabs who had obtained control of the party apparatuses, leaving the ‘real’ socialists in control of mass parties and the scabs as marginal groups; but it tended towards the idea of a smaller, but purer, party.19

Third, while the Bolsheviks continued to operate with the old model of party unity and democracy down to the civil war, Russian conditions in the civil war and after tended to undermine it. The rigging of Soviet elections in order to get the Brest-Litovsk peace through, and effective if incomplete suppression of opposition parties from autumn 1918, meant that the Bolsheviks were ruling as a minority. The 1918 ‘Tsaritsyn affair’ and the ‘military opposition’ in 1919 showed serious practical problems with the traditional local autonomy under war conditions. Economic localism and sectionalism had equally disastrous potential. The debate on Trotsky’s proposals for the militarisation of labour in 1920-21 threatened to split the party.

Alongside major economic concessions to the peasantry, petty bourgeoisie and small capital in the New Economic Policy, the 10th party congress in March 1921 banned factions and adopted the policy of purging party membership, in theory with a view to preventing the politics of the petty bourgeoisie finding expression in the party.

Both decisions were carried across to the Comintern in the theses on The organisational structure of the communist parties adopted at the Third Congress of Comintern in July 1921.20 It is pretty clear that at this stage what was in question was primarily Russian experience (Lenin commented at the Fourth Congress that the Third Congress text was “too Russian” - p304). For Germany, in spite of the expulsion of Paul Levi for his public attack on the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and its 1921 ‘March action’ attempt to trigger an insurrection, which the Comintern leadership characterised as scabbing, the leadership was attempting to win back both Levi and his supporters through submission to discipline, and similarly to win back the leftist Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD).

Western problems

Fourthly, the problems of the European communist parties drove towards the abandonment of the old model and toward ‘Bolshevisation’. It is this fourth element which is most on view in Toward the united front - appearing in passing in a whole series of references to individual parties rather than in a concentrated form, so that I shall not list all or even many of the relevant page references, though the French case was particularly problematic (pp963-1,017). It is also the element which is commonly ignored by critics of the SWP leadership and which is a live problem in today’s workers’ movement.

In much of Europe, the new communist parties faced existing capitalist states with parliamentary regimes, whether great powers, small clients or dependencies - unlike the old tsarist state and the only ‘half-modernised’ German Reich and Austro-Hungarian empire, or the new and unstable capitalist states which had been created from the overthrow of the last two. Neither pre-1914 Marxist writing on the state nor State and revolution equipped them to deal with such regimes.

The capitalist class rules in parliamentary regimes with broad suffrage through a number of mechanisms. Particularly important in day-to-day politics are the duopoly of parties of corrupt ‘professional politicians’, who can pose radical while out of office but govern in the interests of capital when elected, and the corrupt character of the advertising-funded press and other media.

In the pre-war period, the deputies (MPs), officials and journalists of labour and socialist parties which had been able to obtain significant mass support and electoral representation had already begun to be drawn into this world of corruption; especially the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), which at first adhered to Comintern (down to the split in January 1921) and in France the Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière (SFIO), the majority of which voted to join Comintern at the Tours congress in December 1920.

The consequence was that Comintern started out with adherent parties which included significant numbers of people who were either (a) opposed to the split and to the revolutionary perspective, but had remained in the party; or (b) ‘celebrity’ politicians or journalists or both, entangled in the capitalist class’s mechanisms of political corruption, who expected to use their practical autonomy from the party to continue their relations with various capitals. The Twenty-one conditions of affiliation to Comintern adopted at the Second Congress in 1920 were intended to clear out the first category. They did not do so entirely, and they certainly did not clear out the second category.

‘Bolshevisation’, as it came to be called later, was an attempt to deal with this problem: an effort to create parties in which the elected representatives, officials and journalists were clearly subordinated to the workers rather than to parliamentary or capitalist cronies. It can already be seen in development in the Fourth Congress discussions of various parties in Toward the united front, with precisely this aim. The issue was plainly an urgent one: while the Italian communists could be criticised for sectarianism in relation to the anti-fascist struggle, it is quite clear that the primary responsibility for Mussolini’s victory rests on the refusal of the ‘maximalist’ leadership of the PSI, due to its parliamentarism, even to offer to fight in the one-sided civil war the fascists started.

‘Bolshevisation’ failed to achieve its aim, just as the ban on factions and membership purges spectacularly failed to deal with the problems of petty bourgeois influence, patronage and corruption (blat) in the Russian communist party. The bureaucracy which had to enforce these measures turned out to be, if anything, more prone to corruption and patronage than the majority of those purged; and the ban on factions worked against accountability of these bureaucrats and of the elected representatives. In effect, it constituted a return to the labour monarchism of Lassalle: expressed in the personality cults of party leaders.

Modern problems

It should be plain that, of the four reasons I have given for the abandonment of party democracy, only two - the idea of the purifying split, and the conditions of the Russian civil war - are irrelevant to the modern far left. The other two - the commitment of the right wing of the workers’ movement to bureaucratic control, and the problems of capitalist corruption and freelancing by MPs, journalists and officials - are even greater problems today than they were in 1922.

However, on these problems it is clear from the subsequent history that Comintern simply got the answer wrong. It does not help to attempt to cast the mantle of 1917 over this mistake, as Alex Callinicos does; or to blame Grigory Zinoviev for wrong decisions to which Lenin and Trotsky were parties, as several authors do; or to suggest that we start again on a Bakuninist (‘network’) or Bernsteinist (‘broad party’) basis. Bakuninism has failed over the last 140 years as repeatedly as ‘Leninism’; the ‘broad party’ idea rests on the illusion that the official labour bureaucrats who (for example) purged Socialist Party militants in Unison, are somehow more democratic than the leaders of far-left sects. Our starting point - necessarily, not our finishing point - has to be the partyism which Bolshevism, before ‘Bolshevisation’ and ‘Leninism’, inherited from the SPD.



1. http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/the-comintern-as-a-school-of-socialist-strategy.

2. A Callinicos, ‘Is Leninism finished?’ Socialist Review January 2013.

3. http://internationalsocialismuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/is-zinovievism-finished-reply-to-alex.html.

4. Rehashed Bernsteinism: see Owen Jones in The Independent January 20, criticised by Stan Keable in Weekly Worker February 7. Rehashed Bakuninism: eg, Pham Binh, ‘“Leninism” meets the 21st century’, www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4691.

5. M Voss, ‘A major mistake by the Red-Green Alliance’: www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2820.

6. For Thalheimer’s contributions in the programme debate see p511ff.

7. In Toward the united front, see introduction pp33-36; debate at 479-527; statement of the Russian delegation and resolution at pp631-32; Lenin’s draft, CW Vol 42, pp427-28.

8. Ryazanov: discussed in R Larsson Theories of revolution (1970). Trotsky: Our political tasks (1904): www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1904/tasks/ch03.htm.

9. www.marxists.org/reference/archive/dimitrov/works/1935/08_02.htm#s7.

10. Or, put another way, that of Raymond Molinier, Pierre Frank and others, who opposed Trotsky on this issue in the 1930s.

11. L Trotsky First five years of the Communist International: www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/ffyci-1/index.htm; A Adler (ed) Theses, resolutions ... London 1980, available in this or other texts at www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/index.htm. Cf also Lenin’s speech at the 2nd Congress on affiliation to the Labour Party: www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/jul/x03.htm#fw6.

12. J Riddell, ‘The origins of the united front policy’ Socialist Review April 2011.

13. http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/the-comintern%E2%80%99s-unknown-decision-on-workers%E2%80%99-governments/; http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/a-workers-government-as-a-step-toward-socialism.

14. I Birchall, ‘Grappling with the united front’ Socialist Review June 2012.

15. Toward the united front, pp1164-1173.

16. Section references are to www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm.

17. www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1864/10/27.htm.

18. What follows uses mainly - in a very simplified form - RH Dominick III Wilhelm Liebknecht and the founding of the German Social Democratic Party Chapel Hill 1982.

19. M Macnair Revolutionary strategy London 2008, chapter 6.

20. www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/3rd-congress/organisation/index.htm.