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12 The ‘Third Period’, the Sixth Congress and the Elimination of Opposition, 1928–9

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Chapter Summary

The Comintern announced the 'Third Period' at the end of the 1920s. The Seventh Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) Plenum in late 1926 declared that a new period of revolution had begun, and over the next several years Communist parties began to adopt 'left' tactics, including denouncing social democrats as 'social fascists' and refusing to work with or vote for them under the slogan 'class against class'. The Communist International held its Sixth Congress in Moscow from 17 July to 1 September 1928, four years after the Fifth Congress. Stephen F. Cohen described the Congress as 'in reality the occasion of two congresses'. The most immediate fallout from the Congress was that Cannon, along with Spector, was won to the Left Opposition after reading a document by Trotsky. Trotsky and other expelled Left Oppositionists appealed their expulsions to the Congress, as was their right according to Comintern rules.

Keywords: Cannon; ECCI Plenum; Sixth Congress; Stephen F. Cohen; Third Period; Trotsky

10.1163/9789004268890_014
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