A. Lozovsky et al.

To the Workers of the World!

(4 April 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 27, 15 April 1922, p. 202.
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.

May 1st, 1922 is a date of special importance in the history of the labor movement in all countries. The past year has been marked by a vigorous and uninterrupted offensive of Capital. In May 1921. the struggle of the English miners with their exploiters was in full progress. The present First of May is also marked by great lockouts. Hundreds of thousands of metal and shipbuilding workers, as well as workers in the building trades have been thrown out of work in the very same England. At the same time hundreds of thousands of American miners have been forced to fight for their most elementary rights. Millions of workers in Germany, France, Italy, Denmark and other countries are battling for their existence.

There is not a single country in the world where Capital is not trampling the most elementary demands of the working class underfoot. The eight-hour day is threatened and wages are being cut two and threefold. From London to New York, from Yokohama to Johannesburg, from Copenhagen to Melbourne. the social struggle is raging everywhere. Everywhere the employers are in unbroken front attacking the disorganized and divided proletariat. The capitalist governments, the employers’ organizations, the capitalist press, the church, science and art all are being utilized in the fight against the working class. Dying capitalism sticks like a leech to its privileges. After the first years of danger, it has strengthened itself with the aid of the trade-union leaders and now is retracting all that it had conceded under the pressure of the enraged masses.

The more the crisis is intensified, the smaller the international market grows and more unemployment increase, the more brutal do the attacks of the bourgeoisie upon the working class become. The bourgeoisie is attempting to make the workers pay for the costs of the war and the crisis of the post-war period. It wants to compel Labor to pay for all the damage caused to society by the years of battle and mass murder. It is showing its true visage. Its publicists and statesmen are coolly and cynically attacking the working class. The pressure of taxation upon the backs of the workers is uninterruptedly increasing. Oppression is continually growing and the working class must defend the positions it has gained at all costs and beat back this attack, if it does not desire to be destroyed.

The offensive of capital has crossed the national frontiers and is being fought on an international scale. The Washington Conference proved itself, as was to be expected, to be nothing more than the bluff of deceived deceivers. The bourgeoisie will never voluntarily disarm. It does not itself believe in the possibility of disarmament. It leaves that to the ingenuous belief of the reformists in its good will and peaceful intentions.

The Conference of Genoa, where representatives of the whole capitalist world are supposedly attempting to reestablish the economic equilibrium, will present a Shylock’s bill to workers and peasants of Russia and the working classes of the defeated countries. The bourgeoisie of the victorious countries will come to an understanding with the vanquished bourgeoisie at the expense of the working class of the whole world. The British and French bourgeoisie are at the head of these bold and cynical industrial and financial magnates. Lloyd George, the unprincipled demagogue, and Raymond Poincaré, insolent lawyer of French finance capital, or the heroes of the modern capitalist world who want to reconstruct and insure capitalist exploitation on the bones of the workers of their own countries and at the expense of the workers and peasants of Soviet Russia.

What are the old-school trade union leaders doing against the offensive of capital, when the workers in every country are beginning to feel its direct consequences?

They are voluntarily retreating, do not at all attempt to organize resistance but instead ally themselves with the employers against the workers. They are not trying to unite the workers into a compact army. They fear the rousing of the working masses. They are trying to avoid great social conflict at any price and to obstruct the struggle against the bourgeoisie taking shelter under old reformist tactics which lose for the workers all their gains and plunge them into the deepest misery.

The 1st of May, 1922 must serve to awake the world proletariat. The 1st of May, 1922 must be marked by the organisation of resistance to attacking capital. We must repel the attack and reply to the blow with a counter-blow, to the offensive with a counter-offensive.

For this purpose the working class must first of all unite into a fighting body.

The offensive of the bourgeoisie forces the entire working class to retreat; not only the revolutionaries, but the reformists and non-party workers as well. Therefore the working class must as one man realize its homogeneity and internal bond of unity and must rise against this monstrous attack of the bourgeoisie.

The Red Trade Union International knows that the working class is not united, that it has a number of groupings but today there is not a single worker, to whatever wing he may belong, who does not feel the necessity of a joint reply to the continuing offensive of the bourgeoisie. But this organized and methodical attack cannot be brought to a stop with resolutions. Nor can the Gordian knot be untied by placing hope in the liberal opinions and elevated feelings of the employers. The knot must be cut by the sword of proletarian mass-action.

We call upon the workers of the world to down tools as one man on May 1st, 1922.

All factories and shops must stand still. Railways and steamers must stop. Telephone and telegraph must remain silent.

In all countries, in all cities and villages where proletarian hearts beat, the workers must arise and throw down the gauntlet of the twenty-four hour paralysis of the world’s industrial, financial and commercial life to the attacking bourgeoisie

A. Lozovsky, General Secretary of the R.T.U.I.

Tom Mann – England

G. Molnitchenski – Russia

H. Brandler – Germany

A. Nin – Spain

L. Repossi – Italy

Moscow, April 4th, 1922

Top of the page

Last updated on 2 January 2020