Source: Published in To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921 (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/897-to-the-masses), pp. 583–595.
Translation: John Riddell.
HTML Markup: David Walters & Andy Blunden for the Marxists Internet Archive, 2018.
Copyright: © John Riddell, 2017. Republished here with permission.
We have had two days of discussion in which, repeatedly, we have had speeches that were in fact summaries. (Laughter) So permit me, comrades, to present a summary on behalf of the Executive recommending adoption of the theses we have presented. I will do this in light of all the evidence presented in this debate and the outcome of a discussion that was not just an exchange of personal opinions but was fruitful in bringing a great many facts to light. First, comrades, permit me to summarise what has been said by representatives of a number of different delegations.
Comrade Lazzari was the first to take a position on the theses, even before the theses had been fully motivated here. He was in complete agreement with the theses, except for what was said there about Italy. The comrades of Czechoslovakia then stated that they were in complete agreement with the theses, except for the passages referring to Czechoslovakia. The British comrades then declared their full love and affection for the theses, except for the fact that with regard to Britain they were quite wrong. (Laughter) These statements remind me of a Polish poet, who said, ‘You are confessing to the sins of other people.’
When the sins of the Czech comrades were openly attacked, Lazzari said, ‘You are too gentle: to the gallows with them!’ The Czechs were not so harsh in calling for the Serrati people to go to the gallows, but they gave their approval. (Laughter)
This shows that our assessment of the state of the International must start with the fact that we have not yet overcome the opportunist danger in the workers’ movement. We face the Amsterdam trade-union International, and we face strong opportunist parties in every country. In the Communist International too, the danger of opportunism has not been overcome, and it will become even greater if the movement proceeds at a slower tempo. I see it as a dangerous symptom of opportunism that representatives of parties are taking the floor here to say that everything in their party is just fine. Comrades, we have certainly spoken of the situation of our youngest child, our Czech sister party, in quite different terms than we intended to at the beginning of the congress. We have spoken in a most gentle fashion because we have been convinced that although its development is quite slow, it is nonetheless developing to the left. But consider: in my report I made clear that the December strike took the party fully by surprise, the party did not lead it either organisationally or politically, and after the struggle the party did not in any way impress upon the workers the lessons of the strike. Then Comrade Burian gets up here and says, ‘Our party is in excellent shape, and if its leadership calls it to struggle, the party will respond.’ We can only answer: ‘That is the way things are done in the Second but not in the Communist International.’
Of course we would be very happy to be able to say that each of our parties was carrying out its tasks to perfection. But we know that the road to revolution is difficult, and a thousand errors are made along its course. And when we hear assurances that ‘everything in our party is just fine’ coming from a country in which only a year ago the Communists belonged to a common party with Nemec and Soukup, we are more uneasy than when the worst Turkestaner sends his worst warnings to the Executive. For this shows us that a spirit of criticism is lacking in the Czech party. We therefore have to say to the Czech comrades, ‘You will not build a sound and supple party if you persist in praising everything it has done in the past rather than trying to learn from your errors.’
Consider the case of the British comrades. I stated that it was impossible to learn anything from the party press about the real activity of the party during the miners’ strike. I had to ask the comrades what they had done. They gave me quite a sad picture. Yet the first representative of the British delegation to take the floor protested against this. I have here an issue of the British party paper of 11 June. Besides the pictures, the front page contains a political analysis, the second an economic analysis, the third a call for liberation of the prisoners, and then the next three pages have pictures again. I have nothing against using pictures for agitation, but a party can find ways to report on actions other than speaking through symbols as one would to the deaf and dumb. It is very bad for a new party, which has played a minimal role, to come here and say that everything is just fine; the Liberal Party is also quite small. My dear comrades, if you achieve power, we will see if you can do it with a party as small as that of Lloyd George. Meanwhile, the fact is that the Liberals and Conservatives are in power. You have a weekly paper, with three-quarters of its pages devoted to illustrations, and a small membership. And when we say, ‘To the masses’, you reply, ‘Lloyd George also has a small party.’ That is not the way to respond when we say we need to go to the masses.
Comrades, we have said almost nothing of the other parties – the French party, for example. We made only a few comments about it. I must say that the participation of the French party in the congress has not given us a sufficient basis to form a clear picture of its politics. But if the French comrades believe that our relationship in the future can consist of us not bothering them and them not bothering us, we disagree. The Executive’s approach toward the French party has been to allow the situation to mature somewhat. However, we believe that in the future we will have to give close attention to whether the French party, which has not spoken against the theses, actually carries them out.
Comrades, it was the German party that has been most discussed here, and that has been most harshly taken to task for its errors by both us and you. The German party has given us a large number of presentations that have provided factual material on which to judge the situation and our policies. And I am convinced, comrades, that this lively exchange on the German question will have immense importance not only for the German party’s own development but for the Communist International. Through great struggles and unprecedented suffering, the German proletarians have constantly provided us during the last three years with lessons that go beyond those of the Russian Revolution. It is the fate of the German working class to be the bearer of the first great revolutionary movement outside of our half-agrarian Russia and in an industrial country. This fact makes the German working class a pacesetter for the international proletariat, a role previously played only by the Russian workers. The experiences of the Russian Revolution have given the international proletariat the slogan of the dictatorship and the slogan of soviets. But the road that led us to victory in Russia could well be shorter than the road the proletariat will travel in all the capitalist countries. And the German proletariat’s suffering, the slow pace of events, the struggles and the defeats, provide the outstanding source of our new experiences, which we wish to make accessible for the international proletariat. True, we have argued a great deal with the VKPD, on the one hand, and the KAPD on the other, but we have done this not because they have made errors while other parties are exemplary, but because the Communist movement of Germany, through its errors, defeats, and victories, allows us to shield other parties from such errors.
Comrades, I grouped three examples together: the Italian party during the occupation of the factories, the Czechoslovak party during the December strike, and the VKPD during the March struggles. I did this not accidentally or for chronological reasons, but because a comparison of these three movements enables us to evaluate the potential of these actions, the requirements and duties of the party, and the dangers that threaten it. The Czechoslovak and Italian movements provide us with an example of how parties faced with broad, spontaneous movements were incapable of leading them, because they were insufficiently Communist and still carried the poison of opportunism in their veins. The German movement showed how a new Communist organisation, eager for action and battle, did not allow the situation to mature sufficiently and, in addition, made a number of errors in directing the struggle that threatened to loosen its ties to the broad proletarian masses.
Comrades, I simply cannot grasp why no one during the debate went into the Czechoslovak and Italian examples, and that interest was focused instead on the errors of the German March Action. The errors committed in Italy and Czechoslovakia signify the party’s complete breakdown, its nonexistence, a deadly sin against communism. Some half-centrist forces respond to our discussion on the March Action by exclaiming, nostra vittoria! [We have triumphed] We consider it our duty to point out that we struggle against the errors of the Left because these errors can reinforce opportunism, which is our deadly enemy and is the overriding target of our struggle. If the fact that we have struggled hard here against the Left in the German or Italian parties and alerted them to their errors leads the opportunists to believe nostra vittoria, then we must tell them, ‘You are rejoicing prematurely!’ We are convinced that these discussions, drawing on everything achieved in the struggle, will assist good Communist parties in carrying their struggles through to victory. And then these Communist parties will destroy opportunism, not with the weapons of criticism but in the struggle itself.
Comrade Lenin said here that the First Congress took up the struggle against opportunism, and the Second Congress did likewise. That does not mean that we give the opportunists carte blanche for the Fourth Congress. Rather it is a challenge to the Communist parties to learn, through carrying out mass politics, to pull the rug out from opportunism in the proletariat. It is not through words but through its entire activity that the party will heighten the masses’ trust in its strength and future victory. In this manner, it will pull the rug out from under opportunism. Now that economic forces have demolished the labour aristocracy, the only breeding ground left for opportunism is the proletariat’s lack of trust in its own strength.
Now let us take up the balance sheet of the German discussion. What did it show us? First, that the party acted correctly, when the German Communist government assaulted the strongest contingent of the German Communist proletariat, by rushing to assist this proletariat. The party was quite right to do this. It was no putsch carried out on orders from above, but a revolutionary action by hundreds of thousands of proletarians. In addition, the debate has shown that the party leadership made a series of errors in carrying through this mass action. Later, a portion of the comrades, convinced that new actions would soon take place, created the false theory that under present conditions the party is obliged to take the offensive.
I have already said in my report that we cannot triumph without an offensive, without an assault on capitalism’s Bastille. A party must carry in its breast the spirit of offensive. It must be capable of arousing in every proletarian an awareness that liberation can come only from direct toe-to-toe combat, in which it can prevail only by straining all of its strength. A party that cannot do this is not worthy of the name Communist. And you have heard from the lips of our unquestionably most level-headed leader, Comrade Lenin, that anyone who rejects in principle taking the offensive does not belong in the Communist International.
In addition, comrades, we have established here that this theory was false because, in the given situation, conditions were not sufficiently acute, were not assessed with enough cold calculation. The party ran out ahead of the pace of events and was not capable of gathering around it the broad proletarian masses outside its ranks. But at the same time, comrades, our resolution, our theses, our proposal on the March Action said that the German party was itself beginning to recognise these errors. Why did we say this? Merely in order to make it easier for the German party to make the transition? No, there were material reasons to do this. Specifically, one need only compare the resolution of 7 May with that of 7 April – the resolution on the March Action and the theses adopted by the party Central Committee for the international congress, to see how the party began to understand its most important error, namely the danger of a loosening of its contact with the masses. This is shown also by Brandler’s pamphlets and the letters written us by Stoecker, vice-chair of the party.1
There has been mention here of the theses presented by two comrades, Comrade Kun and a comrade from Germany [Thalheimer], which we rejected. As one of those who talked with them, I’d like to point out that after the very first discussion the comrades said, ‘We exaggerated the issue because we feared you would be so intimated by our defeat that you would put too much stress on the other side of the question.’ In further discussions with the German comrades, it became clear that they were not advancing anything counterposed, in principle, to what we were proposing. This gives us the right to assume that when the German comrades return home, having worked out the Communist International’s tactics and strategy together with us, they will carry out these commonly achieved policies as something arrived at together with us through common intellectual endeavour.
Comrades, the delegate from Hamburg, Comrade Thälmann, spoke here quite bitterly about the need to make certain changes. Anyone familiar with the situation in Germany and the history of the party’s evolution will fully understand Comrade Thälmann’s fervour. Thälmann came to us, along with many other comrades, from the USPD. Some organisers, editors, and trade-union officials came to us because they did not want to be in a minority in their organisations. Such comrades like communism best when it is advancing slowly and does not require such strenuous efforts. But hundreds of thousands of proletarians also came over, and they had perceived how one struggle after another was defeated or betrayed by the USPD and SPD leaderships. Proletarians came to us whose will to struggle had been heightened. Having disposed of the Hilferdings, these proletarians were eager for struggle.
When the proletariat in Halle rose up and, without the Zentrale’s knowledge, decided on a mass strike, because Comrade Stern had been fired, this was not a policy of the offensive. What happened in Flensburg?2 Events there demonstrate that the will to struggle was growing among the advanced layers of the proletariat. This was the main factor that impelled the party into the struggle, so that it engaged in struggle in March quicker and with less preparation than was perhaps necessary and advisable. Now we are saying to these proletarians: bind up your wounds, you have fought valiantly, and prepare better next time. These proletarians, who have listened to much revolutionary talk and have often seen their leaders give way, are disquieted. Comrades wonder what the workers will say if we talk in this manner. Our response is: ‘You will tell them that given the enemy’s strength, it is necessary to prepare for struggle. Our task is not to demonstrate our courage; our task is to defeat the enemy.’
I am convinced that Thälmann and other comrades will not merely carry out our policies because they have a sense of international discipline. Rather they draw on their experience of struggle. They will understand that the revolutionary energy of this segment of the workers must be engaged in confident, calm, calculated proletarian struggle, and, when it is necessary and possible, also in all-out attack. That is why we stand here in support of the March struggle, despite its errors. It has been said that we do not go into struggle in order to learn from our errors. Well, I must respond, ‘If we must engage in struggle, we must then examine our errors, so that when the next struggle comes – and we will likely not choose the time or circumstances – we will come out victorious.’
For we are not dealing with a Red Army here, but with masses, who get organised while assembling and in the struggle, and whose enemy often dictates the terms of the struggle. And there is something else. We Russian Communists suffered a defeat a year ago, although we commanded armies and were more capable of estimating the contending forces than when the armies only take shape in the course of the struggle itself.3 We made errors, and our relationship to these errors is not one of people who believe that errors arise from erroneous philosophy. We regard this erroneous philosophy of the offensive as the result of an extremely complex conditions of defeat. In addition, we regard struggle itself as the means to overcome these errors.
Our Russian comrades are the most vehement in criticising these errors because they perceive these errors as elements in the ideology that in Russia inspired the adventurous policies of the Social Revolutionaries. However, we must not forget that there is no objective basis in Germany for a party like the Social Revolutionaries. This party was based on the petty-bourgeois intellectuals and the peasantry, and it only struck root in the working class to a very limited extent. We see no reason to think that such conditions exist in Germany. There is no basis in Germany for policies like those of the Russian Social Revolutionaries. We are opposed to the erroneous theory of the offensive and will struggle against it, but these theoretical errors must not blind us to the great struggles of the masses.
Comrades, the situation is somewhat different in Italy and France, two countries where petty-bourgeois traditions are very influential. And we see how the French comrades adopted a position akin to Hervéism,4 when we examine how the trade unions fell into the hands of syndicalists who sail without any Marxist compass. Here the dangers may well be even more acute. That is why Comrades Lenin and Zinoviev were so sharp in their criticisms of our friend Terracini.
If I may return to the German situation, for us the errors committed there are not the main issue. The main issue is the struggle itself. And in drawing a balance sheet we must not disregard the fact that a portion of the leadership flatly sabotaged the struggle. I will name only Levi, who betrayed the struggling masses right into the hands of the bourgeoisie. I must also note that a considerable number of worthy comrades, whom we wish to have in the party, stated their agreement with Levi. These comrades now regard Levi’s expulsion as an accomplished fact, but they have not yet said anything that significantly dissociates themselves from him.
Taking this fact into account, we say to the German party: You have fought and you have made mistakes in this fight. The struggle you waged proved that you are a good Communist Party. And we say to the other German comrades: You have not only established that the leadership made mistakes. You have solidarised with a man who, at a moment when seven thousand proletarians had been jailed – and I stress that this is the decisive factor for me – this man presented the struggle as a surprise coup by a few party leaders and denounced the Executive. So we tell these comrades: We need you for the movement and we want to have you in the movement. But one thing you must know: if you do such things again, the Communist International will not forgive you.
And we have something else to tell these comrades: In the amendments proposed by Comrades Zetkin, Malzahn, Neumann, and Franken, there is a passage at the end about freedom of criticism. The comrades are proposing this amendment to replace the portion of our resolution that speaks of breaking with Levi, discipline in the party, and stimulation through criticism in the party press and in its structures. There is not a word about the break with Levi in their resolution. Not a word about Levi’s expulsion or the ban on collaboration with Levi’s publication. Instead of that, they demand unlimited freedom of criticism. We tell you frankly and openly: After Levi’s expulsion, you wrote articles for Levi’s journal, Sowjet. We leaned on the German party Zentrale, urging it to hold off taking action on this in order to enable all these questions to be discussed with you here at the congress, so that you could clarify your stand on the harsh March struggles.
We well know that in the heat of battle, the actions of many comrades were judged unfairly. I admit that I was misled regarding Malzahn’s role in 1918 by an article of Barth. However, what has been proposed here regarding freedom of criticism is absolutely unacceptable. Of course Thälmann is wrong to assert that no criticism should be permitted in the party’s press because the enemy could learn something from it. No, we believe that criticism of our actions is necessary. We leave it to the good sense of every comrade to decide whether public criticism is called for in the given conditions.
Situations may well arise where the party leadership must say that such criticism is not possible for the moment. When we suffered defeat in the Polish campaign, there were quite strenuous disagreements among us, and even so none of us wrote any articles about that. And the comrades in leadership positions who were critical of the campaign – I was among them – considered after the defeat that it was not at all so important to establish for history’s sake that I was right and the other comrades wrong.5 We could dispense with public criticism because all of us understood the reasons for the error and were able to take them into account.
But by and large, every member of a party, although expected and obliged to abide by discipline, has the right to take part in the working out of the party’s line. This right encompasses expressing differences of opinion in the press, because only a segment of the comrades take part in the party’s meetings, and the others do not learn what takes place within the confines of the meeting room. Comrade Zetkin asks, ‘What should I say when Crispien asks me what is my position on the March Action?’ She should answer, ‘I do not discuss with people who helped strike down the Mansfeld movement.’ (Loud applause) and cheers) Here is where we draw the line, and here is where concessions stop.
Comrades, we are in favour of the German party thinking now of the future, not the past. It should do justice to the lessons of the past but now orient to the new struggles that will come, whether we want them or not. To that end it is necessary to bring into play all the forces at the party’s disposal. In order to achieve that goal, we demand the dissolution of every separate group or separate faction within the party. And if Däumig tries to violate this, then we respond that simply on the basis of his letter to the Zentrale Däumig deserved to be expelled.(Applause) If Däumig tries anything like that again, we will not lean on the Zentrale. We are telling the comrades who make up the immense majority in the party that the struggle was necessary, and the party’s involvement in it was it was to its credit. Errors were made, and many comrades went much too far, but now we call a halt to personal recriminations and put the past behind us. We must be vigilant. What happened cannot be erased from the party’s consciousness. But now all forces that belong together must come together in the common work. In this way, after the transitional difficulties in Germany, we will have a large, strong, active, and revolutionary party.
Comrades, I now come to the question of the KAPD. As I said earlier, the KAPD is a small party that has pretentions to being the nucleus of a new International. Based on its actual strength, there is no reason why we should do it any favours. But it represents a current, and that is why we have concerned ourselves with it. Sachs says here that according to Lenin a small party can lead millions in a country where the masses are still amorphous. In response, we must say that this can happen when the masses are not organised in broad historical formations. In order to destroy these formations, you must yourselves construct large organisations. And how can you construct them? How can a small party win the confidence of the masses? Only if it conducts struggles for their immediate vital interests. If you say that it is opportunism for the party to fight for the necessities of life, you will certainly remain a small party and will never win the trust of the broader masses.
Comrades, don’t get carried away by ideas of good proletarians who cannot see real life because of their mistrust of parliament and the trade unions. If you get set on such ideas, we will part company and you will chase, cursing, after the working class’s wagon. You have already set out on this path. Every time a struggle arises, you will stand in its path, in sectarian fashion. We call on you, for the sake of all that unites us, to go into the party. It may not be an ideal party, but it showed in the March Action that it is willing and able to struggle.
Comrades, I do not want to impose too much on your time. We will have ample opportunity in the commission to refine our theses, and if there are still principled differences, we will come back to you and you will make the decisions.
Now let me take up the proposed amendments. It is quite wrong to conclude from what Lenin said that Roma locuta est, causa finite6 – that the Russian delegation has presented its view and the matter is settled. That is not our intention. The theses are the outcome of lengthy deliberations. There was talk here of a compromise, and it was said that the theses reflect concessions to the Left. As a rule, any compromise has two sides. If anyone feels that the theses reflect concessions to the Left, there are others who believe they contain concessions to the Right. Surely you noticed that before the congress we were waging the struggle mainly against the Right. But it reflects no opportunism for me to say now that I have seen indications that there is a danger on the left and the struggle must be waged against the Left. The first draft of the theses took up factually all the errors but did not contain a passage on the March Action. I do not regard it as a compromise to have voted for this passage; in fact, I wrote it. Based on discussions with the German delegation, I became convinced that it was necessary to speak openly of our mistakes. Nothing was changed as to the content.
Certainly, if the German comrades had not committed their errors, and nonetheless an opposition to the March Action took shape, this opposition would be ripe for expulsion. The errors made it necessary to show more tolerance to this opposition, because it is not clear whether they are all opportunists or whether they are delivering a warning. That required concessions to the Right.
We will examine in the commission whether these amendments are really matters of formulation or whether they affect the basic line. The Russian delegation will not agree to a modification of the basic line. That does not mean you cannot change it; you can vote us down.
A struggle against opportunism; a struggle against the Right and warning against errors on the left: that is our line, and we are not willing to change it. As for questions of wording, we will try in the commission to find the appropriate formulations, and we will find them.
Comrades, the discussions at this congress do not give a complete picture of what the Communist International represents. A number of delegations have had very little to say on these matters. I personally have the impression, which is shared by some other comrades in the Executive, that the speeches of some comrades have been understood in a different way than they were intended. When people who have personally experienced major revolutionary struggles get up here and warn us about ill-considered actions and mistakes on the left, we must all understand that this is said by soldiers who bear the scars of battle and have a right to deliver warnings. And if opportunists conclude that these are warnings against struggle, then we must tell them, ‘You resemble the spirit you can understand, not me.’7
The Russian Communist Party is aware of the great responsibility it carries as a party that has traversed the longest revolutionary path. When it delivers a warning, this is not because things are going so well in Russia that it can wait another twenty years before your gradual triumph. None of you think that way. We had every reason to sound a different note here, because no proletariat can long remain isolated in struggle. When the Executive warns you of your errors, it does this with feelings of responsibility, feelings that we are at the first stage of the world revolution, and the world revolution is not advanced unless a passionate heart is paired with a chilly head. Warnings were delivered here out of a feeling of responsibility to the workers’ movement in every country. But Comrade Bukharin was a thousand times right to tell you, ‘Anyone who thinks that these words of warning mean you can let situations that demand struggle pass you by will perhaps hear us speak with a different voice8’
When we warn you, we do this as an advanced post of the world revolution, aware that if we had gone into the decisive struggle in July 1917, we would have been defeated,9 but had we not taken the decision in October 1917 to launch the struggle for power, the peasants would have left the front, bourgeois Russia would have signed a separate peace, and the historical situation in which the proletariat could make a bid for power would perhaps have passed us by for many years. Based on our experiences, we call on you to strengthen the party’s actions, we call on you to direct all the impulses of the working class toward the struggle. But at the same time we call on you to bear in mind that the enemy is clever, organised, and determined to defeat us by taking advantage of our inexperience.
That is the meaning of the Executive’s warning. It does not mean that the parties should call things off for a long period, during which we will read and explain not the Communist Manifesto but the pamphlets of Lenin and Trotsky. It does not mean founding libraries for the study of the revolution so that our grandchildren can carry out the revolution. Our line is oriented to battles that may well come sooner than most of us think. But it also tells us that the enemy is strong, and the Communist International must be firmly organised and must calculate with care so that the impending great struggles can be carried through to a victorious conclusion.
In this sense, comrades, our struggle against opportunism is a precondition of victory. Every one of our errors benefits the foe. The errors that we made in March will help us to win more surely tomorrow, but right now they are helping the Scheidemanns and the Crispiens. This is why we say we must struggle against opportunism, while at the same time ensuring that our struggle is conducted in the best way to draw the masses under our banner. We still have a lot to do in this regard. I repeat: our line is to win the masses for the Communist International, to lead the masses into the revolutionary struggle, to prepare the masses for this struggle, and to utilise every situation that makes it possible to take a step forward. At the same time, we must take care to avoid every sacrifice that can be avoided, by counterposing our battle plan to that of the bourgeoisie. (Loud applause)
1. The VKPD Zentrale’s resolution adopted on 7 April, was titled ‘Leitsätze über die Märzaktion’ (Theses on the March Action). The VKPD 7 May resolution was titled ‘Leitsätze zur Taktik der Kommunistischen Internationale während der Revolution.’ (Theses on the tactics of the Communist International during the revolution) and was printed in Die Internationale, 3, 7. The pamphlet by Brandler consisted of court transcripts from his treason trial in June 1921.
2. The Flensburg events began on 29 December 1920, when KAPD member Paul Hoffmann was arrested by police and then shot ‘attempting to escape’. Fifteen thousand working people attended Hoffman’s funeral on 4 January 1921. The protest was attacked by police, with ten killed.
3. A reference to the Soviet defeat in its advance on Warsaw in 1920.
4. Gustave Hervé was a French Socialist Party member known before 1914 for ultraleftism. He then adopted a patriotic, pro-war stance, and by 1921 he had swung over to a pro-fascist position.
5 . One biography of Radek cites a pamphlet by him on the Polish-Soviet war, presumably written before the Red Army advance into Poland: Voina polskikh belogvardeitsev protiv Rossii (Moscow, 1920). Gutjahar 2012, p. 429. See Gutjahr, Wolf-Dietrich, Revolution muss sein: Karl Radek – Die Biographie, Cologne: Böhlau Verlag., (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2012), p. 429.
6. ‘Rome has spoken; case closed.’ From sermon 131.10 by St. Augustine.
7. The quote is from Goethe’s Faust. The idea is that Faust’s imagination cannot rise higher than his own limitations.
8 . The stenographic transcript of Bukharin’s speech in session 12 does not include a statement along these lines.
9. A reference to the July Days of 1917 in Petrograd, where many revolutionary-minded workers and soldiers sought to have the soviets seize power from the Provisional Government. Given the unfavourable relation of forces within Russia as a whole, the Bolshevik leadership tried to prevent the movement from becoming a decisive conflict and to turn it into an armed but peaceful demonstration.
Updated on February 14, 2019