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An International Conference of Communist Cooperate
BY ALGO. Since the 111. World Congress In July, 1921 the Communist Interna tional has taken up Co-operative work as a component part of political work. As is known, the 11. International at its congress in Copenhagen in 1910 dealt with the Co-operative question from the point of view of the class struggle, and for its work within the Co-operative movement drew up the ses of an ambiguous character with the result that in certain countries very radical phrases could be made use of, while in other countries, on the ground of the same theses, the most blatant opportunism was pos sible. Now after three years there exists in the 111. International a clearer plan which accords with the Co-operative resolution which comrade Lenin sub mitted as member of the Co-operative Commission of the 11. International in 1910. In order to meet before hand the reformist danger of the individual party members acting as they wish in this important section of party work, the Communist co-operative theses lay it down as - the absolute duty of every Communist to be a member of • a co-operative society and at the same time to form nuclei in the numerous co-operative scoieties In order that a systematic work by party discipline is assured. Already In November 1922 there took place in Moscow the first Inter national Conference of Communist co operators, whose task it was to lay down a theoretically based attitude for the class conscjous proletariat with regard to the co-operative ques tion and at the same time to approve the tactics by means of which the co operatives under reformist leadership could be got into the hands of the class conscious proletariat. This task which the conference undertook, was completely accomplished and was embodied in the co-operative theses of the IV. World Congress. The En larged Executive at its sitting in June 1923 extended the co-operative theses in a comprehensive manner and ex pressly called the attention of the sections of the Comintern to co-op erative work. From the 11th to 17th of July there took place in Moscow the second in ternational conference of Communist Co-operators, in order on the one hand to sum up the results of the co-op erative work accomplished in thd various countries and on the other hand to state in concrete terms the practical work lying ahead. The con ference was attended by 43 delegates from 17 countries and 10 institutions. To the presidium were elected Com rades Chintchuk, Algo and Marran. The conference dealt with a very ex tensive agenda which included the re port of the section and the reports from the various countries. The first two speakers dealt with “the role of the co-operatives in the present period of proletarian revolution,” while comrade Algo dealt with the role and the task before the capture of politi cal power by the proletariat. The co-operatives can not only serve as tribunes for revolutionary propa ganda among the masses of proletar ian housewives and the politically in different among the broad strata of the petty bourgeoisie, but they also have the possibility to render moral and material support to all trade-un ion and proletarian campaigns and to act themselves as class organs by setting up strike funds and acting as suppliers ot provisions for the fight ing working class* As regards illegal work there are many possibilities of fered within the co-operative organ izations, whilst co-operative work is admirably suited for the important task of the proletarian united front from below, for the revolutionizing and neutralizing of the masses. Comrade Chintchuk dealt with the highly important role of the co-op eratives during and after the prole tarian revolution. Comrade Mcsch tcheryakov spoke on the international task of the co-operativea, comrade | Marran dealt with the question of the trade-unions and the co-operatives, while comrades Stromer and Ostrov skaya spoke upon the women and the co-operative movement. Under the item Tmiscellaneous,” comrade Tisho mirov gave an interesting report on the housing co-operative societies in Soviet Russia. All the reports were followed by detailed and thorough dis cussions. In the resolution of the section re port, it was pointed out that the old decisions of the congress must be car ried out with all energy, that a co operative section must be set up in the party central of every country and that in the general political cam paigns, as well as in the press the co-operative must form an es sential part. Resolutions were adopted to the effect that there must be a better mutual exchange of in formation, that an international co operative journal, “the co-oeratives in the class struggle,” must appear regularly, that visits must be arranged to the various countries and a na tional Communist co-operative con ference take place, that co-operative courses must be arranged in the vari ous countries for the education of trained Marxist functionaries, etc. The first three reports are embodied mt ■ Young Communist Croups in Turkestan in theses, which lay special stress upon the importance of co-operative work as regards the political educa tion of the backward working masses and of -the housewives, and further emphasize the necessity of collabora tion with the trade unions, of the fight against fascism and MacDonaldism and the necessity of intensive partici pation in anti-war propaganda. Finally, a manifesto to all members of co-operatives was issued, the full Text of which is given below. The Conference has shown that almost everywhere there are com rades possessing the energetic will to link up the co-operative work within the frame of Communist party work. It was repeatedly stated that there was no country where sufflcfent work has been carried on among that great reservoir of masses of proletarian housewives and petty bourgeois ele ments, who are organized in the co operatives. There is scarcely any other organization which is so highly adapted for the realization of the slo gan “Into the masses” as the co-op eratives. Manifesto. To all Co-operators. To all Workers and Peasants. To all proletarian Housewives in the world. The International Cooperative Alli ance (London) appealed to all co-op erative societies to conduct a cam paign on the sth of July to attract the masses of the workers into the co-op eratives. We wish to take advantage of these days when the eyes of the masses are directed towards the co operatives to issue the following manifesto to all members of the work ing class conscious of their interests. What are the co-operatives? The co-operatives form an enormous organization covering the whole [world; its members are recruited from all strata of the oppressed and! exploited by capital; it is formed of thousands of separate organizations, tens of thousands of stores and indus trial enterprises. What could this organization be come, what power could it exert? What does it represent in reality? In what manner did the co-operatives demonstrate theic, power when the hideous nightmare of the imperialist war hovered over Europe? When grasping capitalists drove house-wives to despair? What did the co-operat ives do to ameloriate the unheard-of distress of the working class? When and where did the co-operatives really try to place the control of industry into the hands of the workers? The practical help that the co-oper ative gave the masses of workers is insignificant. All members of co-op • erative societies know this and are loudly expressing their dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs. The ' co-operatives cannot lag behind in the development of the capitalist produc tion. THfe advance of capital in many ■ countries has seriously affected the i co-operatives and thrown them back ■ several years in their development. The illusions of the reformist lead ers of the co-optrative movement who thought that they could reconstruct society thru “peaceful" development, are scattered. All conscious members of the co operatives are beginning to under stand, that it is impossible to improve the conditions of the exploited work ers under the capitalist system. The only way is the victory of the social revolution. The slogan of the work ing class is: “Proletarians! prepare to seize political power.” The class conscious members of the class co operatives are also convinced that this is the right way. What have the co-operatives done and what could they do to help the emancipation of the working class? This question is most important for every co-operator. It is high time to reconsider the old theses formulated by the Rochdale pioneers in 1844. It is high time to adapt and develop the theses to suit the epoch we live in. Every co-operator must understand that the idea of political neutrality at a time when fascism Is attacking the workers’ organizations and ruthlessly destroying the co-operatives, Is wrong and may even be disastrous. In Italy the co-operative stores have been plundered and closed, the co-operative leaders have been killed, thrown into prison and kidnapped. Both Commun ist and reformist leaders have suf fered. The strongest workers’ co-op erative society in Bulgaria, the "Osv objdehie” ((Emancipation) has been destroyed, and the peasants co-operat ives have suffered considerably. Is it possible to talk of neutrality toward the present sate of affairs? Class Conscious Workers, Women Proletarians! We call upon you to help us to force the co-operatives to take an ac tive part in the fight of the working class for its emancipation. The value of the co-operative societies consists not only in that they supply products 3 cheaper and pay a dividend, but that they can be of help in the class strug gle to free the workers completely from the yoke of the capitalist dic- You must put yourselves the ques tion: What have our co-operatives done till now? Have they established funds to help the workers during strikes? Have they supported the workers in all their demonstrations, political and trade union, that form the preparatory fights for the seizure of power? Have they formed close connections with the revolutionary trade unions and proletarian parties? Have the town co-offeratives closely co-ordinated their activities with those of the country co-operatives and other organizations? What have they done to create and support close economic relations with Soviet Rus sia? Relations that are so essential to improve the industrial life of the world and thus ease unemployment? What have the co-operatives done to fight the constant danger of war and fascism? The answer to these questions will show how far the co-operatives have realized the task that confront us in the great fight of the working class. It will show whether they have re mained passive to the important in ternational events and whether they have become converted into a use less, commercial, compromising or ganization in the hands of the reform ists. The co-operatives will only fulfil the historical tasks they are called upon the perform when they become a component part of the proletarian movement and take an active part in the fight of the working class and in this manner help establish a united front between the revolutionary workers and peasants. We delegates to the Second Inter national Conference are astounded at the successes of the Russian co operatives and now understand that those achievements were only pos sible after the proletariat had seized power. We participants in this conference, delegates from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Germany, France, England, Italy, Bulgaria, Jugoslavia, Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Esthonia, U. S. A., Canada, Brazil, Argentine, Spain, turn to you with the following call: Working men and women, join the co-operatives and make them a weapon of the class war! Follow the path marked out by our great leader Lenin! Follow the slogans of the Com munist International and the Red Trade Union International in the fight to overthrow capitalism! Workers of the World, Unite! Moscow, 17th of June, 1924. The Second International Con ference of Communist Co operators. South Side Branch - Wants Help to Put Across Race Play To the DAILY WORKER:—A group of ns of the South Side Branch, Work ers Party, are promoting a Commun ist play, and we ask the co-operation of friends, party members and others who can afford a little time for this effective means of propaganda, com bined with entertainment We have selected a play dealing with Communism and the race situa tion. Our next step is the selection of the cast. We want to include some others in our group, and at the Press Picnic we want to meet any who might become interested. I will be near the entrance to the picnic ground between six and six thirty p. m., and would like to have those interested make themselves known to me. Ask for me at the gate. After introductions a reading of the play will take place. COME IN CROWDS. Fraternally your, Andrew Shelly, 826 North Clark St., Chicago. i Send in that Subscription Today.