A. Lozovsky

The Labor Movement

International Review of the
Revolutionary Trade Union Movement

(5 July 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 23 No. 48 [28], 5 July 1923, p. 484.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2022). 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 period of weariness and even of bewilderment, in the European labor movement, has now come to an end. In the most important countries, and in the most important branches of industry, a new wave of revolution is rising. The growth of a fresh fighting spirit among the masses is best revealed by the formation of a left wing within the Amsterdam International.

In this situation the 3rd session of the Central Council of the R.I.L.U. is of special significance.

The task set the session consists in solving a number of practical questions arising out of the growth of the revolutionary movement in every country. The struggle against war danger and fascism is among the first and most urgent task imposed on the R.I.L.U. Growing reaction cannot be conquered by agitation and propaganda alone; this work requires a comprehensive organizatory activity for the gathering together and concentration of the masses, for the formation of organization centres at the most important strategic fighting points. The committees of action, control committees, dock bureaus, etc. called into existence by the Frankfort conference and the International Conference of the Transport Workers, must be further developed.

The further struggle for the united front logically follows from the whole situation of the working class. Organizatary forms must be created, the organs for the united front. As the struggle for the united front forms the preparation for the new unified trade union movement, the struggle against the split in the trade unions and against the expulsions must be carried on with even great[er] energy and activity than heretofore. In the interest of work among the masses, the functions of the international propaganda committees representing the various branches of production, and their relations to the secretariats affiliated to the Amsterdam International, must be more clearly defined.

A large number of organizatory questions await solution. The revolutionary trade union movement is, in most countries, still being run on the old reformist principles. The re-organization of the trade unions is the present practical task of the international trade union movement. Besides this, highly important problems of our strike strategy have to be dealt with. The question of national conflicts within the trade union movement must be solved. We must decide on our future relations to the Amsterdam International, and to that Lilliputian edition, the anarcho-syndicalist international. The Central Council will discuss the question of combatting the penetration of Fascisti into the trade unions. The revolutionary trade unions must further devote their attention to the question of emigration among the workers, to the working conditions obtaining in the countries coming in question for the emigrants and to all the practical complications entailed. In addition to all this, there is also on the agenda, the discussion of the work being done by the followers of the R.I.L.U. in England and in Czecho-Slovakia.

The commissions will have to deal with the questions of the harbour bureaus, of the working conditions among seamen, of work among women and youth, of the trade union press and literature, of the system of information and connections, of the activity of the followers of the R.I.L.U. in America, of the work in Spain, of the work in the Near and Far East, etc. The activity of the various centres of the R.I.L.U. (Central European Bureau, Latin Bureau, etc.) will be submitted to special examination.

All this practical work will be further supplemented by a special report on the organizatory form of trade union opposition.

When one considers the number of questions to be solved by the Central Council it appears evident that the Red International of Labor Unions has already developed from that organ for agitation and propaganda which it represented during the first months of its existence, into an international organization which the logic of the struggle confronts with ever new tasks. The decay of the Amsterdam International enhances the relative importance of the R.I.L.U., and thus the impending class conflicts will impose greater responsibility on it.

During this period of growing influence of the R.I.L.U., a pitiable impression is made by the attempts of muddle-headed anarcho-syndicalists to form an independent international. This International is completely independent of everybody and everything, especially of sound common sense. We may cite one fact as an example of the vague dreams cherished by the anarcho-syndicalists:

“The Anarchist Federation of France” made a declaration in the French Committee of Action against War Danger and Fascism, on the occasion of the Russo-English conflict. This declaration proposed that no support be lent to any of the states participating in the conflict. It demanded that no organization be admitted to participation in the Committee of Action, which “accepts the standpoint of co-operation of the classes, and recognizes national defence. From this we see that the anarchists wish to persuade the revolutionary workers of France to remain passive during the struggle between the Russian revolution and English militarism. The desire felt by the French communists and revolutionary syndicalists to join hands with Soviet Russia, is called co-operation of classes by these confused thinkers; and they even manage to confound the struggle for existence on the part of the Russian revolution with the so-called national defence of the imperialist states. When the French Committee of Action against War Danger and Fascism rejected this counter-revolutionary viewpoint, the anarchists withdrew from this fighting organization with demonstrations of protest. This example proves to us that there are counter-revolutionary elements among the anarchist leaders, with whom no common action is possible, fortunately, there is a growing inclination to form a united front with the communists observable among workers belonging to anarchist, – and especially to anarcho-syndicalist, organizations.

The growth of the revolutionary trade union movement is partly the result of objective facts, partly the result of the conscious activity of the Comintern, the R.I.L.U, and the organizations affiliated to them. The power of the R.I.L.U. lies in the fact that it always works hand in hand with the Comintern. A real fighting community has come about between these two international organizations, in spite of all the confused phraseology spread abroad by the anarchists. This fighting community can only become more closely knit and stronger during the forthcoming struggles. Reformism is dying, and communism is marching with firm steps to take its place!

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