Courtesy Reuters

Two Internationals Find a Common Foe

THE Seventh Congress of the Communist International held in Moscow last summer drew a sharp line under a period in the history of the international labor movement. In that period tactical errors and political intolerance towards all who refused to accept communist doctrine had crippled the aggressive force of labor and thereby contributed more than a little to the rise of fascism in Europe. Now the deliberations of the world conclave of communist leaders were devoted almost entirely to the problem of collecting the anti-fascist elements among the proletariat and the bourgeois groups and parties for a united offensive. The theoretical and tactical position of the Comintern alike in national and in international affairs was determined in every case by the necessities of this larger and more immediate aim.

This was more than a mere change in tactics. It involved a revision in the communist definition of fascism and indicated that the communists will fight the fascist menace not only with new weapons but with a new conception of ultimate aims. The reorientation was clearly outlined by the Bulgarian hero of the Reichstag Fire trial, Georgi Dimitrov, when he declared: "Fascism is not merely a change of government but the substitution of one form of bourgeois class rule for another, totally different in concept and aim. Fascism is the terrorism of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, most imperialistic elements of finance capital." With this statement of a choice between a lesser and a greater capitalist evil, communist theory undergoes a revision as portentous as that upheld by the Social Democrat Eduard Bernstein in 1889 when he struck his first blows against the traditional Marxist conceptions.

To make his meaning doubly clear, Dimitrov explained how this new concept would affect the tactics of labor. He said that the communists had made a mistake, particularly in Germany:

They did not see that conditions had changed when fascism first raised its head. They repeated the slogans that had been right a few years before. . . . Today

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