Memorandum Appendix XIX . The Communist International on May 1 Appeals to the Toilers of the Whole World.
THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL ON MAY 1 APPEALS TO THE TOILERS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.
[Severnaya Kommuna, Apr. 25, I919.]
Proletarians of all countries unite! Long live May 1! Long live communism! Comrades!
Exactly 30 years ago, in 1889, at the International Socialist Congress, when the Second International was held, the workmen of all countries decided to celebrate May 1 as the day of the mobilization of proletarian forces, the day of strug-
gle, the day of international brotherhood, of the eight-hour working day, of the abolition of standing armies (against war). These were the slogans of the first May 1 holiday 30 years ago.
In 1890 the European bourgeoisie trembled as the 1st of May approached. In Vienna, Paris, and a whole series of other European countries the bourgeoisie organized whole regiments, expecting the immediate uprisings of workmen. Since that time the celebration of May 1 has been a symbol of proletarian solidarity.
But in the official Social-Democracy there developed from that time larger and larger groups that were hostile to the cause of the proletariat. When the imperialistic war started the socialist-traitors, both German and French, proposed to the working class to abandon the celebration of May 1 in 1915, and the May 1 celebration of the proletariat in 1915 was perverted to a May 1 celebration of the bourgeoisie.
Four years have passed since that time, during which the bourgeoisie has pitilessly shattered by fire and sword the flower of the working class and has ruined all countries. Now the war started by the bourgeoisie is coming to a close. Thirty millions killed and crippled, dozens of countries ruined, millions of starving people, millions of new war debts - these are the results of the imperialistic war.
The Second International died. It wrote its own death sentence on August 4, 1914, when the German and French socialist-patriots voted for war credits, that is, to support the imperialistic war.
The workmen of all countries, exhausted by the war and betrayed by their own leaders, are eagerly looking for an international bond to join them together. The robber-imperialists of Paris are trying to create their Black International, the so-called League of Nations. The conscious workmen of the whole world understand clearly that the so-called League of Nations is in fact a league to suppress the proletarian revolution. The socialist-traitors in Berne also tried to create their Yellow International.
It was impossible to bring back to life the corpse of the Second International. The revolutionary workmen of all countries refused to take part in this despicable comedy staged in Berne.
In 1919 was formed the Red International. Our Third International, of Communists, is an international association of the proletarians of all countries who set for themselves the aim of overthrowing the bourgeois governments and establishing the international republic.
Our Third Communist International has undertaken to organize the international celebration of May 1. Workmen, workwomen, soldiers, sailors, peasants, all toilers! The Communist International calls on you to take part in the great May 1 proletarian holiday.
If the bourgeois slave-owners will remain in power they will force on us a war, a new servitude, new taxes, amounting to billions, hunger and complete slavery. Over all Europe ruins are smoking and millions of proletarian children are dying of hunger. There is no grain anywhere, for during four years, instead of cultivating the fields people killed each other by order of a group of slave-owners. The cities are being depopulated. In some countries almost the entire mature male population has been killed. Europe has been covered with blood.
The communist revolution grows. The Soviet republics in Russia, Hungary, and Bavaria report what has been accomplished daily. Germany is shaking with civil war. A revolution is taking place in Turkey. In Austria and Czecho-Slovakia the workmen are gathering under the glorious flag of socialism. In France enormous demonstrations have started; in Italy the struggle boils and the workmen call for a dictatorship of the proletariat. In England strikes have taken on the character of an epidemic. In America the working class comes out on the streets; in Japan the workmen are agitated; in the neutral countries like Holland and Switzerland hundreds and thousands of workmen recently took part in a political strike. The workmen of all countries have understood that the decisive moment has come. "Soviets" - by this you will conquer.
The workmen know that only a dictatorship of the proletariat can save humanity from that bloody horror into which the bourgeoisie in all countries has plunged it. The workmen know that the proletarian dictatorship will lead to a triumph of socialism. There is no middle course. Either the bloody dictatorship of executioners-generals, who will kill hundreds of thousands of workmen and peasants in the name of the interests of a band of bankers, or the dictatorship of the working class, that is of the overwhelming majority of toilers which will disarm the bourgeoisie, create its own Red Army and free the whole world of slavery. Down with the autocracy of tsars and kings.
This last cry was raised in Russia in 1917 and its echo was heard over the whole of Europe. Crowns fell from the heads of Nicholas Romanov, William Hohenzollern, Karl of Austria and other executioners of larger and smaller calibre.
Down with the autocracy of capital! This cry is now raised when they rise a second time - when they get ready for the last fight.
The eight-hour labor day - that was the slogan of May 1 holiday in the past. Soviet republics have already carried out this demand.
Against bourgeois militarism this old May 1 demand remains in force even to-day. In the name of this demand we shall create our own Red Army, a class army, the People's Army, the army of labor, the army of the poor, the army of socialism.
The Red Army already exists in Russia, Hungary, Bavaria, and Austria. The Red Army soon will exist over all the world. The Red Army will triumph.
Long live civil war, the only just war, in which the oppressed class fights its oppressors.
Down with the French imperialists.
Down with the bourgeoisie of the Entente.
Down with the robbers who wish to send their troops to Russia in order to reestablish the authority of landlords, enthrone the monarch, and restore the bourgeoisie.
May 1, 1919, should become the day of attack, the day of the proletarian revolution in all Europe.
Let the workmen of all countries refuse to give up the rifles which the bourgeoisie forced them to take in 1914.
The arming of workmen and the disarming of the bourgeoisie - these are the slogans of the moment.
The conflicts which have taken place to date in various countries were simply the preliminary skirmishes between labor and capital. The decisive struggle is approaching.
Amidst storms, blood and tears, hunger and endless suffering a new world is being born, a bright world of communism, of the common brotherhood of the toilers.
In 1919 was born the great Communist International.
In 1920 will be born the great International Soviet Republic. Long live May 1!
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL:
G. ZINOVIEV, President.