The Third International

Errico Malatesta

Umanità Nova, 24 April 1920[1]

We are asked what is or what will be our attitude towards the “Third International” which is founded or going to be founded, [however] we do not really know.

The issue will certainly be posed at the next Congress of the Italian Anarchist Communist Union, as it will be to the other anarchist groups that exist, and we believe that a common decision will be reached.

In the meantime, we will give our own opinion.

What is this Third International, mythical in our opinion, whose prestige is due to the fact that it was announced by a Russia in revolution but which is still shrouded in the mists of legend?

Does it already have an established programme that everyone who wants to join should accept?

Or should its programme be proposed, discussed and formulated at its first Congress?

And, if so, according to what criteria will the Congress be convened? Will delegates from all workers’ organisations and all subversive parties be able to intervene with equal rights? In short, will anarchists be invited and admitted?

If by “Third International” they mean a socialist organisation whose goal is the conquest of power to establish the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat and succeed in establishing an authoritarian communist State, we would obviously have nothing to do with it. It would be the Socialist International or another Socialist International… because there are, amongst socialists, different opposing tendencies which could hardly coexist all together without provoking the paralysis and death of the body that would unite them in one and the same framework.  This International would correspond to the Anarchist International, but both would be party organisations – aiming to realise their own particular programme – and not the Workers’ International.

A true Workers’ International should unite all workers who are aware of their class interests, all workers who know that they are exploited and who no longer want to be, all workers who intend to fight against capitalism, whatever be their preferred means of doing so.

In a Workers’ International like this, we could all unite, anarchists, socialists, syndicalists, without anyone renouncing their own ends and means. Everyone would find in it a field of action to make their own propaganda; all of us would find in it a powerful lever to draw the masses to the final struggle.

For now, let’s wait.

End Notes

[1] “La Troisième Internationale”, Anarchistes, Socialistes et Communistes (Annecy: Group 1er Mai, 1982).