First Session: July 19, 1920

Zinoviev: Comrades, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Communist International I declare the Second World Congress of the Communist International open. [Stormy, continuous applause, cheers. The orchestra plays the ‘Internationale’.] Comrades, our first words, the words of the workers of the whole world who are gathered here, must be dedicated to the memory of our best friends and leaders who have given their lives in the cause of the Communist International. You know that in the course of the last year there has been no country in which the blood of Communist workers and of the best leaders of the working class has not flowed.

It is with these words that the 2nd Congress of the Third International was opened. This is perhaps a disproportionately grandiose opening to an insignificant blog, however, I would prefer to think that this blog could be a space in which some of the debates that raged at this congress could be further explored especially around questions of organization, trade unions, capitalist crisis and imperialism etc. Not out of some anachronistic romanticism but rather, due to the fact that many of those questions remain the burning question of our times; although many of the answers need to be altered and rethought to reflect our current situation, which is in itself constituted by the answers provided to the  questions raised at this conference. “The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living”. It is this very nightmare that haunts this blog. However, by confronting this nightmare head on I believe that we can awake to better understand a path forward from our current situation. The “Workers Dreadnought” much like its predecessor is a space in which different paths can be debated and the experiences that spring forth analyzed. We, collectively must decide the path forward, and become the storm that pushes the Angel of History’s wings open and drives it into the future. “Compare these Parisians, storming heaven, with the slave to heaven of the German-Prussian Holy Roman Empire, with it posthumous masquerades reeking of the barracks, the Church, cabbage-junkerdom and above all, of the philistine.” 

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