The 4th World Congress of the Communist International was an assembly of delegates to the Communist International held in Petrograd and Moscow, Soviet Russia, between November 5 and December 5, 1922. A total of 343 voting delegates from 58 countries were in attendance. The 4th World Congress is best remembered for having amplified the tactic of the United Front into a fundamental part of international Communist policy. The gathering also elected a new set of leaders to the Comintern's governing body, the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI).

History[edit | edit source]

Historical background[edit | edit source]

The 4th World Congress of the Comintern was convened on November 5, 1922 — just days after Benito Mussolini's March on Rome that effectively seized power for his National Fascist Party.[1] The revolutionary upsurge which had swept Europe during the years immediately following the termination of World War I was clearly in full retreat and the international Communist movement saw itself in need for accommodation to this changed political environment.

With the prospects for immediate revolution in the industrialized countries of Western Europe fading, the defense of the regime in Soviet Russia had rapidly come to be seen as the chief priority of the Communist movement.[2] Owing to the failure of revolution in Finland, Germany, Hungary, and elsewhere, the stature of the Communist Party of Russia was enhanced relative to other Communist Parties of the world, and tendencies towards centralization and Russian dominance were thereby accelerated.[2]

Convocation[edit | edit source]

The 4th World Congress was attended by 343 voting delegates from 58 different countries.[3] An additional 65 delegates were present with the right to speak but not to vote, and another 6 were admitted as guests.[4] The gathering was the last congress of the Comintern attended by Soviet leader V.I. Lenin, who was too ill to attend any regular sessions and only appeared to deliver a single speech.[5]

The Congress opened at 9 pm in the People's House in Petrograd, called to order by Clara Zetkin of Germany, who noted the fifth anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917.[6] An honorary 13 member Presidium of the Congress — chosen in advance by ECCI in consultation with important national parties — was unanimously elected as the first order of business.[7]

Factional turmoil[edit | edit source]

The World Congress, as the highest decision-making authority of the Communist International, was marked by the bitter factional battles of various member parties, with each group seeking final decision in favor of its policies and positions. Chief among these was the battle among the delegates of the Communist Party of America, split into two hostile factional groups.[8] The battle spilled into the nominations for the American seat on the governing Executive Committee of the Communist International, with American Otto Huiswoud protesting the nomination of C.E. Ruthenberg for this position, arguing that he had himself been selected for the spot by the American delegation.[8] Huiswoud's protest was to no avail as the new Executive was proposed as a single slate of pre-determined names, all amendments were rejected, and the list of candidates was approved en bloc.[8]

Policy of the United Front[edit | edit source]

While the tactic of the United Front was first adopted by ECCI in December 1921,[9] the 4th World Congress is remembered to history for having extended and further institutionalized the tactic.[10]

Presidium of the 4th World Congress[edit | edit source]

Members of the presidium were:[7]

Speakers at the 4th World Congress[edit | edit source]

Speakers at the 4th World Congress[11]
Name Country Sessions Notes
Isidoro Acevedo Spain 6
Sadrettin Celal Antel Turkey 17, 20 Used pseudonym "Orhan." Trade Unions; Eastern Question.
Izidoro Azzario Italy 1
Karl Becker Germany 4
Max Bedacht USA 7
Émile Béron France 1, 18, 19, 26
Amadeo Bordiga Italy 3, 4, 12, 18, 27, 30, 32 Report of ECCI; Italy.
Tahar Boudengha Tunisia 19 Eastern Question.
Nikolai Bukharin Soviet Russia 5, 6, 14, 18, 31 Program; Norway.
Sidney Bunting South Africa 20 Eastern Question.
Marcel Cachin France 17, 25, 29 Trade Unions; France.
Antonio Canellas Brazil 29 France.
John S. Clarke Great Britain 16 Trade Unions.
Roderic Connolly Ireland 26, 32
Henryk Domski Poland 6, 7
Pierre Dormoy France 7
Jean Duret France 4, 7
William Earsman Australia 20 Eastern Question.
Hugo Eberlein Germany 13, 26, 29
Alfred S. Edwards USA 7 Used the pseudonym "Sullivan."
Ferdinand Faure France 5
Franciszek Fiedler Poland 26 Used pseudonym "Keller."
Ruth Fischer Germany 3
Paul Friedländer Austria 7, 26
Jock Garden Australia 17 Trade Unions.
Egidio Gennari Italy 25
Antonio Graziadei Italy 4, 7, 30 Italy.
Anna Grün Austria 27, 32
Otto Huiswoud USA 22, 32 Used the pseudonym "Billings." Negro Question.
Fritz Heckert Germany 17 Trade Unions.
Arthur Henriet France 23 Cooperative Movement.
Edwin Hoernle Germany 13, 25, 32 Education.
Jules Humbert-Droz Switzerland 2, 5, 13, 29 Report of ECCI; France.
Mahmud Husni el-Arabi Egypt 20 Eastern Question.
Renaud Jean France 29 France.
Jack Johnstone USA 12 Used the pseudonym "Pullman."
William Joss Great Britain 21 Agrarian Question.
Khristo Kabakchiev Bulgaria 15 Program.
Varsenika Kasparova Soviet Russia 24 Women's Movement
Sen Katayama Japan 1, 6, 19, 22, 27 Eastern Question; Agrarian Question.
Ludwig Katterfeld USA 5 Used pseudonym "Carr."
L.M. Khinchuk Soviet Russia 23 Cooperative Movement.
Vasil Kolarov Bulgaria 1, 6, 19, 27, 32 Eastern Question.
Feliks Kon Poland 1, 27, 31
Wera Kostrzeva Poland 22 Agrarian Question.
Nadezhda Krupskaya Soviet Russia 25 Education.
Joseph E. Kucher USA 17 Trade Unions.
Béla Kun Hungary 9 Five Years of the Russian Revolution commemoration.
Otto Kuusinen Finland 29 France.
Jenö Landler Hungary 6
Henri Lauridan France 17, 23 Trade Unions; Cooperative Movement.
V.I. Lenin Soviet Russia 8 Five Years of the Russian Revolution commemoration.
Liu Renjing China 20 Eastern Qeustion.
A. Lozovsky Soviet Russia 16, 18 Trade Unions.
Julian Marchlewski Poland 27
Claude McKay USA 22 Negro Question.
V.N. Meshcheriakov Soviet Russia 23 Cooperative Movement.
Ernst Meyer Germany 3, 7
Haakon Meyer Norway 5, 32
J.T. Murphy Great Britain 5, 24, 26 Women's Movement; Versailles Treaty.
Willi Münzenberg Germany 18, 31 International Workers' Aid.
Alois Neurath Czechoslovakia 3
Karim Nikbin Iran 20 Eastern Question.
Kosta Novakovic Yugoslavia 31 Used the pseudonym "Stanic." Yugoslavia.
Ana Pauker Romania 21 Eastern Question.
Jan Pavlik Czechoslovakia 17 Trade Unions.
Gabriel Péri France 7
Karl Radek Soviet Russia 3, 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 30
Ljubomir Radovanovic Yugoslavia 13, 25, 31 Used the pseudonym "Radic." Versailles Treaty; Yugoslavia.
Mátyás Rákosi Hungary 6
Daniel Renoult France 29 France
Roger Rieu France 21 Agrarian Question.
Alfred Rosmer France 6, 13, 17 Trade Unions.
M.N. Roy India 19 Eastern Question.
G.I. Safarov Soviet Russia 20 Eastern Question.
Richard Schüller Austria 22, 29 Youth; France.
Mauro Scoccimarro Italy 7
Armin Seiden Czechoslovakia 6
Giacinto Serrati Italy 30 Italy.
Bohumír Šmeral Czechoslovakia 12, 25, 30 Czechoslovakia.
Sofia Smidovich Soviet Russia 24 Women's Movement.
Boris Souvarine France 7, 29 France; Czechoslovakia.
Rose Pastor Stokes USA 27 Used the pseudonym "Sasha."
Ciril Štukelj Slovenia 31 Used the pseudonym "Marynko."
Václav Šturc Czechoslovakia 30 Czechoslovakia.
Hertha Sturm Germany 17, 34 Trade Unions; Women's Movement.
Arne Swabeck USA 17 Trade Unions.
Ibrahim Datoek Tan Malaka Dutch East Indies 7
Angelo Tasca Italy 17 Trade Unions.
Ivan Teodorovich Soviet Russia 21 Agrarian Question.
August Thalheimer Germany 14 Program.
Oscar Torp Norway 32
Leon Trotsky Soviet Russia 10, 28, 29 Five Years of the Russian Revolution commemoration; France.
Hugo Urbahns Germany 12
Emanuel Vajtauer Czechoslovakia 3
Eugen Varga Hungary 3, 21, 22, 27 Agrarian Question.
Eduard van Overstraeten Belgium 19 Eastern Question.
Willem van Ravesteyn Netherlands 6, 13, 19 Eastern Question.
Julius Vercik Czechoslovakia 17 Trade Unions.
Voja Vujovic France 7
Adolf Warszawski Poland 5 Used the pseudonym "Michalkowski."
Harry Webb Great Britain 13, 20 Eastern Question.
Franz Welti Switzerland 13
Clara Zetkin Germany 1, 8, 9, 13, 24, 32 Keynote opening speech; 5 years of the Russian Revolution; Women's Movement
Grigory Zinoviev Soviet Russia 1, 2, 3, 7, 13, 18, 30, 32 President of the Comintern.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bertil Hessel, "Introduction" to Theses, Resolutions, and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of the Third International. London: Ink LInks, 1980, pp. xxxi-xxxii.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hessel, "Introduction," pg. xxxii.
  3. Duncan Hallas, The Comintern: A History of the Third International (1985). Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2008; pg. 71.
  4. Jane Degras (ed.), The Communist International, 1919-1943: Documents: Volume 1, 1919-1922. London: Oxford University Press, 1956; pg. 374.
  5. Hallas, The Cominern, pg. 70.
  6. John Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012; pg. 63.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front, pg. 64.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Degras, The Communist International, 1919-1943, vol. 1, pg. 375.
  9. John Riddell, "Editorial Introduction," to John Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012; pg. 12.
  10. Hallas, The Comintern, pg. 73.
  11. Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front, pp. vii-ix

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Alan Adler (ed.), Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of the Third International. Alix Holt and Barbara Holland, trans. London: Ink Links, 1980.

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