A. Losovsky

In the Camp of Our Enemies

Amsterdam’s Chicane and
the French Labor Movement

(10 February 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. II No. 11, 10 February 1922, p. 80.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2019). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The Red Trade Union International proposed to the Amsterdam lnternational to join forces in an attempt to prevent the threatened split within the French General Confederation of Labor (C.G.T.). This proposal was formulated as early as December, that is at a time when the R.T.U.I. was not aware of the forthcoming extraordinary unity congress. In a wireless sent to Amsterdam we left no doubt that we disapproved of the split, which has always been our attitude. We proposed to convoke a conference of representatives of the Amsterdam International, of the Red Trade Union International and of both the majority and the minority of the C.G.T. in order to save the unity of the French trade union movement.

What was the answer to our proposal? In a letter signed by Oudegeest, the Bureau of the Amsterdam International declared that the split was a result of the activities of the Communist International, that he, Oudegeest, felt great satisfaction at our realizing that our tactics are destructive, and explaining, furthermore, that the Amsterdam International would agree to call a joint conference provided we postponed the unity congress convoked by the Revolutionary Syndicalists.

This answer is downright hypocrisy. The Amsterdam leaders know very well who caused the split of the C.G.T. Was it the Communist International or rather the R.T.U.I. that expelled the majority of the railwaymen from the C.G.T.? Who ousted 20,000 workers of Tourcoing? Was it the Red Trade Union International that ousted the revolutionary unions from the Employees’ Union and from the Union of Hospital Workers? The Amsterdam leaders know very well that these expulsions were caused by their political friends. Why do they affirm the contrary? They endeavor to hide the intrigues of their colleagues and simultaneously to utilize them for their own ends.

Of a still greater interest is their proposal to postpone the forthcoming Congress of the Revolutionary Syndicalists. The latter are forced by their position to exercise a pressure upon their stubborn leaders. In accordance with the rather distinct wishes of the bourgeoisie and their spokesmen of the type of Mr. Charles Dulothin, the leaders of the C.G.T. started systematically to slander and expel the left wing of the trade-union movement. As a result of this campaign 19 Departmental Councils and 11 Federations formed a group with the object of appealing to all unions that stood for unity and of uniting them in order to make the leaders see the error of their ways.

The object of this Congress was to prevent the split and expulsions. Political friends of Jouhaux and Dumoulin participated in it. Even representatives of those unions took part in the Congress which in all problems agree with leaders of the C.G.T. but strictly opposed the fatal split of the single trade-union organization in France.

Can these activities be considered an attempt to split the C.G.T.? No. The unity congress tried its best to enforce the convocation of an extraordinary congress of the C.G.T. and to unite all Federations, thus showing to the working class the crime of a split of the trade-union movement in its full significance. Yet the C.G.T. rejected our proposals. They considered the affair from a formal point of view. They refused to negotiate with the 1,500 unions gathered in Paris and did their best to increase the danger of a split – the danger of the working class of France being left to the mercy of the bourgeoisie. Instead of bringing its first vice-president back to sanity and exercising the necessary pressure upon the leaders of the C.G.T., the Amsterdam International proposes to postpone the unity congress – in other words, they are trying to derail it.

We do not doubt that Mr. Jouhaux and Co. would have been glad to have this congress fail. But would the French proletariat be just as glad in this case? Thus we realise that the politicians of the Amsterdam International in common with those of the C.G.T. refuse to put the question of the unity of the French trade-union movement openly before the working class throughout the world.

After having refused our proposals and done everything in order to prevent the unity congress, they are bold enough to accuse the Communist International and the Red Trade Union International of attempting to split the trade-unions. We do not only stand against every attempt of splitting but stand for a united front of the proletariat. Our conception of the united proletarian front, however, is different from that of the Amsterdam International. We are aiming at the united front of labor, while they attempt to create a joint front of exploiters and exploited. We refuse a front such as this. We are ready to do all within our power in order to bring about unity between workers of all tendencies and parties, in order to act in common. We have not the least desire to imitate the reformist inactivity and indifference of the League of Nations and of the International Labor Bureau. We are striving for a united front, a militant front, and are ready to do our very best to create proletarian unity for this front.

Therefore we are not stirred by the accusation of desiring to split the proletarian movement. We shall answer to our opponents: “You yourselves do not believe what you say; how should your members, whom you lead, believe it?”

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