V. I. Lenin

Message Of Greetings To

The First International Congress Of Revolutionary Trade And Industrial Unions[1]

Written: 18 July, 1921
First Published: 1921; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, page 501
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

July 18

Comrade Rykov,

Please be so kind as to convey to the delegates of the International Congress of Trade Unions the following:

I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the invitation to the Congress sent through you. I deeply regret that I am unable to accept it because of ill-health, for on doctor’s orders I have had to leave Moscow for a month’s holiday.

Please convey to the delegates my greetings and heartfelt wishes for the success o the Congress. It is hard to find words to express the full irnpoytance of the International Congress of Trade Unions. The winning of trade unionists to the ideas of communism is making irresistible headway everywhere, in all countries, throughout the world. The process is sporadic, overcoming a thousand obstccles, but it is making irresistible progress. The International Congress of Trade Unions will quicken this movement. Communism will triumph in the trade unions. No power on earth can avert the collapse of capitalism and the victory of the working class over the bourgeoisie.

Warm greetings and confidence in the inevitable victory of communism.

N. Lenin


[1] The Congress took place in Moscow from July 3 to 19, 1921, and was attended by 380 delegates from 41 countries of Europe, America and Asia, among them Russia, Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland, Finland, Korea, China and South Africa. The items on the agenda were: 1) Report of the Provisional International Council of Trade Unions, which was set up in July ’1920; 2) The world economic crisis and trade union tasks and tactics; 3) Trade unions and parties. The Red International of Trade Unions and the Communist International; 4) Trade unions, factory committees and shop stewards; 5) Trade unions and workers’ control over production; 6) Unemployment; 7) International trade and industrial unions; 8) Organisational question; 9) Women in production and trade unions.

It was the Inaugural Congress of the Red Trade Union International, which existed till late 1937 and had a great influence on the world trade union movement.

The Congress adopted the Rules of the Red Trade Union International, and elected its Central Council. It also adopted resolutions on other questions.

The Trade Union International fought for unity in the trade union movement on the basis of the revolutionary struggle for working-class demands; against the offensive of capital and fascism, and the danger of an imperialist war. It worked for unity with the working class of Soviet Russia.

Lenin’s message of greetings, sent in reply to an invitation from several delegations to attend, was read at the seventeenth sitting on July 19.