the third period of comintern

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mikail firtinaci
the third period of comintern
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what do you think about the so-called third period of comintern?

Do you think it is appropriate to argue that main difference btw the comintern line and the left communists at the time was that LCs believed the period was not revolutionary anymore wheras comintern argued it was?

In terms of russian politics, do you think this was a policy directed mainly towards weimer republic? Do you think the aim of the USSR between 1928 and 1933-34 was to attack social democrats and take Germany to a pro-Russia line?

Still, do you think that the unintentional result of this line could be considered as a radicalization of the CP rank-and-file cadres towards a militant but vain struggle in countries like US or Britain?

between left Stalinism and left Social-Democracy

Probably the only text on libcom which positively cites Kaganovich, but relevant to become acquainted with the Left Stalinist turn is the following; Critical introduction to Rosa Luxemburg's economic works by Wolf Motylev, especially the final VIIth section, which deals with Sternberg (who apparently traveled to Moscow to participate in economists' debate in the late 20s. BTW mikail, there's a scathing review in French online of his later work Le Conflit du siècle : capitalisme et socialisme à l'épreuve de l'Histoire).

I think the left Social Democrats (mostly Austrian) are a challenge that needs to be criticised and since left communist and Trotskyists were busy with opposition to Stalinism, they must be careful to not unintentionally side with Social Democrats (even of the "critical" kind).

Ruth Fisher's History of

Ruth Fisher's History of German Communism gives some very interesting insights into this period, from someone caught up in it all. 

I think the key to the 'ultra left turn' has to be found in Russian foreign policy. In russia after 1928,  it was also a period of 'left turns' on the economic level. Many Trotskyists were taken in by this but it actually marked the defeat of the left (and then the right around Bukharin) and the rapid industrialisation which was needed to build up a war economy. I would think that Stalin was at one level continuing the policy of the earlier thirties - alliance between Russia and radical german nationalism against the 'democratic' west which was seen as the main threat. As i understand it the attacks on social democrats (which were often physical) did actually correspond to a kind of truce with the Nazis.

Certainly many CP militants would have seen this as a welcome return to the policy of 'class against class', but its content was entirely bourgeois -  as was of course the shift to the Popular Front soon after Hitler came to power in Germany. 

mikail firtinaci
thanks for the comments&suggestions


Thanks for the article. I think this is article looks rather like an attack on the "left-turn" rather than social democrats. It is funny how the author lumps together sternberg, grossman. luxemburg, parvus and trotsky. The main aim seems to me though is the old CP leadership but most of all the comintern leadership. I think the author found a conjunctural chance to attack to the theorists who argued the capitalist stability is over and perhaps saw the emergence of a more bukharinist line. It seems to me the attack on the social democrats are mostly rethorical. 


I agree that ultra left turn is mostly directed towards germany, to attempt to establish an anti-west bloc with the nationalists. Still I somehow started to see the discourse (class against class, breakdown of capitalism, etc.) and the aim of the russian state (allignment with germany) parallel but not the same. Many cadres in the comintern included even in early 30ies foreign CP members who were later on persecuted for being agents. 

The question that is troubling me most is to what degree the LCs and Comintern people said the same things? Why exactly? What were common between them and what divided them at this conjuncture?  For instance Pannekoek wrote his criticism of collapse theory in 1934 in a struggle (probably) to detach himself and the LC line from the schematic view of the comintern. However, it came to reject decadance itself which makes his point very weak. Bordiga is absent at the time and Gorter is dead. 

Still, the remaining militants of the Italian Left were organising themselves as "the left fraction of the communist international." (1928) I tend to think that till 1933 the Italian Left was not sure if the Comintern policy was centrist or counter-revolutionary, whether if it is totally gone over to the counter-revolution or in between. Am I right? I think this is not something to be blamed of in itself. As I said the discourse was pretty radical and in countries like France -where fascism was not seriously and persistently a thread for a long time-, it may have seemed that what the comintern was moving towards was the left-communist line. 


left turn

I don't think the Italian left was suckered by the 'left turn', although I am not acquainted with the discussions they may ahve had about it at the time. They formed the Fractin in 1928 and they were already talking about the counter-revolutionary role of the USSR and the Stalinist leadership in the CPs, even if they did not yet consider either to be bourgeois and still held out hope in the possibility of regenerating the CPs and the CI until 1933. But it's a subject for further research