The purpose of this pamphlet is to develop the program of action adopted by the First Congress of the Red International of Labour Unions and the Third Congress of the Communist International. The program we are calling to the readers’ attention has been adopted by two international congresses. Each of the points of the program should be the object of in-depth discussion in the light of the experience of the workers’ movement in the different countries represented at these two congresses.
At the present time, what should be the practical work of revolutionary unions? This was the question asked at the two congresses and in particular the Congress of the RILU. The program of action is the concrete answer to this question. Our pamphlet is an attempt to develop the essential points of the program, an attempt to show the essential stages in the struggle of the working class in the present period and under prevailing conditions. This pamphlet is far from the last word on the subject, it merely sketches the general outlines. Its purpose is to explain briefly how the two congresses see practical work in the present situation. We are not concerned with abstract propaganda or abstract agitation, but with how, in the daily struggle, each revolutionary worker should understand all questions, in order to win over the mass of workers around concrete and practical slogans. Workers think in concrete terms, they have great difficulty in assimilating abstract formulations. But with their class instinct and flair, they grasp the forms and methods of struggle that follow from their social situation.
The struggle of the working class is becoming more and more difficult. The bourgeoisie’s demands on the workers are not at all abstract, they are very real. Within the working class itself there are diverse currents, various groups. The working class is splintered and heterogeneous and, as a result, weak. It is absolutely necessary to organize the mass of workers around practical actions, to explain to them, using the past experience of different countries, the various forms and methods of struggle, to focus the attention of the revolutionary labour unions on the essential questions of the present workers’ movement, and to relate our practical and concrete activity to our general class tasks.
The strategy of class struggle is no less complicated than modern military strategy. And if this pamphlet can clarify a few points or accurately answer some of the complex questions concerning the economic strategy of the working class, the author’s purpose will have been served.
Moscow, November 1, 1921.
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