Dora B. Montefiore

Implications of Genoa

A Further Reply

Source: The Communist, April 29, 1922, p. 16 (509 words)
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

DEAR COMRADE, — I am glad Comrade Ellen Wilkinson’s article was published in THE COMMUNIST because much of it is a point of view I hear rather frequently brought forward, and which I believe requires meeting and opposing.

The position of the Russian Soviet delegation at Genoa towards the capitalist representatives of other countries does, as I see it, no more compromise the Third International than does a class-conscious Trade Union Delegation compromise the principle of the class struggle when bargaining with an Employers’ Committee. The Trade Union leaders should use every tactic to gain their end, because the need of the men and women they represent is so overwhelmingly great, but they should always, when the opportunity arises, force forward their interpretation of the situation from the standpoint of the class struggle, and let the employers understand that they take at the moment what they can get, but will return as soon as possible with fuller and wider demands.

Surely Comrade Ellen Wilkinson does not seriously believe that Russia, by sending delegates to Genoa, “has taken any kind of place in the Capitalist comity of nations,” and will therefore “cease to voice and work for the Communist ideal?” On the contrary, Soviet Russia will now have for the first time the opportunity to speak of her ideal to the whole world, and those of us who know the record and have measured the intelligence of Russia’s Commissars, and of Russia’s delegates to Genoa, realise that they understand to the full the wisdom of the gesture reculer pour mieux sauter.

Comrade Ellen Wilkinson appears also to postulate that “there is no immediate likelihood of the World Revolution happening.” On what data, I would ask, does she base that opinion? Reaction and Individualism undoubtedly reign supreme in our small island; but the mighty and mysterious East on the further frontier of Russia responds to the Communist ideal in a way which the exploited slaves of Western “civilisation” cannot realise. The black and coloured men of South Africa, torn by modern capitalism from their primitive communism in order to make profits for white men, understand when the propaganda of solidarity in face of oppression from wage slavery is preached to them, and are ready to rise whenever the white workers shall have learnt their lesson of solidarity. New and oppressive laws are being in the United States and in New Zealand to keep out Communist propaganda, because the governing class knows that “The Day” is not far off. Ireland, Egypt and India, they are all ready when the hour strikes. What does it matter making some economic adjustments, or granting a few trading concessions at Genoa or elsewhere, if, at the moment the gesture is made British Imperialism can receive a staggering blow?

World Revolutions are not made from one day to another, but I firmly believe that the astuteness of the Russian delegates at Genoa will set up one of the signposts that mark the way World Revolution is travelling.

Yours fraternally,