‘Communist parties too must learn to utilize these methods’

by , under Blog

The following quotes are from the Comintern’s Fourth Congress (1922), the proceedings of which Comrade John Riddell translated into English. The quotes were made available to me by Comrade Jesse McLaren in January of this year:

1) In the discussion of trade union work, the Bolshevik Lozovsky (general secretary of the Red International of Labour Unions) said this about the paper: “Without winning the trade unions, the social revolution is impossible. And, to win the trade unions, we must devote special attention in the coming period to our trade-union press. It must be developed and given a much more practical focus. The agitation and propaganda of our press must be expanded. Our press must take up not only overall political and international questions (although these are extremely important and must absolutely be examined) but also questions of specific, practical struggle, questions of tariffs, of organizational development activity, of social insurance, and so on.
In a word, all issues that interest and arouse the working masses must always find a place in the columns of our trade-union press. Our party press as a whole must be aware that without conquering this fortress of the reformists, we will not be able to move a single step forward.”

2) in the discussion of educational work, the German comrade Hoernle said this about new media: “The Communist parties must therefore set great store on ensuring that their propaganda and agitation utilize new methods, methods that stimulate, that make it possible to seize the attention of the indifferent masses and awaken their interest.
Observe how skilled the bourgeoisie is in dominating the masses through means such as films, slide shows, and the pomp of religious ceremony. Communist parties too must learn to utilize these methods–slide shows, films, artistically designed celebrations, theater performances, political propaganda plays, and so on–a field that has so far been very neglected in Western Europe and that must be systematically developed.”