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Armed Insurrection and Dual Power
The years 1928–35 are famous in Comintern history as the ‘Third Period’, the period of class against class, of ‘social-fascism’, and of the all-out struggle of Communist Parties in Europe and the usa to overthrow democratic and fascist bourgeois states in complete isolation from any other political forces—a struggle which proved disastrously unsuccessful everywhere. When the line shifted to that of the Popular Front at the Seventh World Congress, all the Parties of Europe seem to have murmured ‘Never again’. Since 1935, the slogans and strategies within which the Communist movement has conducted the struggle against capitalism have been defensive: the Popular Front, the Anti-Fascist Alliance, Advanced Democracy, the Struggle for Peace and Socialism, Peaceful Co-existence, etc. Whether the ‘Peaceful Road to Socialism’ was explicitly advocated or not, the logic of the policy always postponed any violent seizure of the bourgeois State to an indefinite future, the immediate struggle being an economic one between the socialist world and the capitalist world; the role of the masses in the capitalist countries was essentially that of preventing those countries from cutting short this competition by war on the socialist states. Violence was externalized on to the underdeveloped and colonial countries; in the advanced countries it became an attribute of the bourgeoisie and its fascist allies. Any proletarian resort to violence could only be defensive. However disastrous the Third Period, and however necessary defensive positions were in the late 30’s these policies have ultimately given rise, at best to an indefinite postponement of the proletarian seizure of power, at worst to a complete etiolation of the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the erosion of all distinctions between Communism and Social-Democracy. Two generations of Communist militants have no knowledge or experience of an aggressive revolutionary class struggle, and the hegemony of the Communist movement over the rest of the revolutionary left has meant that non-Communists have not escaped the mark of this mentality. 
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