Source: The Communist International, No. 15 (New Series), 1925, pp. 3-31 (11,550 Words)
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). 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.
At the end of August and the beginning of September there was a succession of trade union congresses, which mark an important stage in the struggle for the unity of the world Trade Union Movement. Between August 26th and 31st the Unity and reformist French Confederations of Labour held their congresses in Paris. At the end of August the German trade unions had their congress in Breslau. This congress synchronised with the Norwegian Trade Union Congress and the Congress of the British Minority Movement, whilst the beginning of September signalised the opening of the British Trades Union Congress in Scarborough. These congresses deserve serious attention and careful study, for they voiced all the ideological divergencies of opinion and all the tendencies which exist in the world Trade Union Movement.
The most characteristic feature of all these congresses was the prominence given to the unity problem, not only where the leaders are very much opposed to the establishment of national and international trade union unity. These congresses reflected the stage of development of the Labour Movement in the said countries. The two fundamental and mutually destructive world conceptions—the revolutionary and the reformist—came into collision on every question, both appertaining to general policy and also to present immediate tasks. Whatever the question under discussion at any of these congresses, the speakers inevitably steered for the fundamental question agitating the masses, the question of the establishment of unity in the national and world Trade Union Movements.
To be able to render account to ourselves on the work of all these congresses, to demonstrate the ideological tendencies which were contending there and the correlation of forces between the revolutionary and reformist wings and also the prospects of the struggle for unity—we must deal in full detail with all these congresses.
The Amsterdam International and the R.I.L.U. alike set definite hopes on all these congresses. When we have investigated their work we shall see which of the two Internationals has come out victorious from the series of congresses and which was vanquished. Let us begin our review with France.
France is to-day the classical country of splits. There are in France two Confederations of Labour of approximately the same strength and, therefore, the problem of unity has here its own peculiarities and difficulties. Without going fully into the history of the split we will merely point out that each of these Confederations of Labour is in close contact ideologically and politically with a political party. The Unity Confederation—with the Communist; the reformist—with the Socialist Parties. The anarchists made an attempt to create a basis in the federation of autonomous French unions, but nothing came of this attempt. This federation fell through. In France only two trade union organisations come into consideration. But the split has been the cause of a number of trade unions, especially the civil servants’ unions, remaining outside both Confederations; they are amalgamated in the Federation of Civil Servants which is also playing a certain role.
This was the position which became more firmly established in the middle of 1925. The campaign for the re-union of both confederations is of long standing in France. It became very acute especially after the Fifth Congress of the Comintern and the Third Congress of the R.I.L.U., the leaders of the reformist Confederation of Labour offering determined, nay, fierce opposition to the establishment of unity. All their “arguments” resolved themselves into not wanting to come under the influence of Moscow (!), of being opposed to Communist nuclei in trade unions and against factory and workshop committees; they do not want Communist domination, but want to be independent and to work on the lines laid down in the Charter of Amiens.
Despite the existing split the desire for unity is very strong among the workers. This desire gained in magnitude when the financial-economic position became worse and when military operations were initiated in Morocco. The Unity Confederation of Labour endeavoured to establish a united front but the reformsits would not have anything to do with it. When, in the beginning of 1924, the reformists convened their congress for the end of September in Paris, the followers of the R.I.L.U. decided to transfer their congress also to Paris and to hold it simultaneously in order to be able to establish contact between the two congresses. As soon as the reformists got wind of this decision of the Unity Confederation of Labour they decided to hold their congress a month sooner in order to avoid a compromising neighbour, but the Unity Confederation of Labour, which was bent on placing the problem of unity before the reformist congress, also decided to hold its congress one month sooner; thus both congresses opened on the same day in Paris and by this very fact made the problem of unity loom big in the eyes of the workers.
In order to make a bigger impression on the forthcoming congresses, the Socialist Party and the reformist Confederation of Labour brought pressure to bear on civil servant elements under their influence to induce the latter to affiliate to the reformist Confederation of Labour. Several weeks before the opening of the congresses, the National Union of Teachers, which has about 70,000 members, affiliated to the reformist Confederation of Labour and added thereby to its specific gravity.
As soon as the congress of the Unity Trade Unions opened, a decision was adopted to propose to the reformist congress to discuss jointly the question of unity at a joint session or a parity commission. At the reformist congress unity was not a separate item on the agenda, but the discussion thereon nevertheless occupied several days. At the Unity Congress this question did not meet with any divergence of opinion. The proposal of a joint congress with the reformist unions was adopted unanimously, whilst at the reformist congress this point was the main cause of the divergencies of opinion. The struggle centred around the question of unity and opposition. Owing to the fact of the protracted duration of the split, all the revolutionary elements had grouped themselves in the Unity Confederation of Labour; a certain number of workers remained under the full and sole control of the reformist leaders. Only during the past 12 months an opposition has begun to take shape within the reformist unions. This opposition actually took definite shape and form only after the agreement between the British and Soviet unions, which played an important role in moulding the opposition, not only in France, but also in other countries. Why did the leaders of the reformist Confederation of Labour refuse to have anything to do with unity? To hear their chief leaders, their arguments against unity consist of:
1. The Unity unions are subject to the Communist Party and cannot carry on an independent policy of their own, whilst reformist unions do not depend on any Party and adopt independent lines on all questions.
2. The reformist Confederation of Labour is an old establishment, an old trade union organisation and all who have left it will be welcomed back.
3. Unity must not come from above, but from below, namely the Unity unions must enter the corresponding reformist unions and thereby a united trade union movement will be established.
4. No Communist nuclei, no ukase from Moscow, no domination by political parties, but full independence without any reservations whatever.
5. International unity can be established in the same way. There is no occasion whatever for an International Unity Congress. The Russian unions must enter the Amsterdam International on a common basis. All that is asked of them is submission to the statutes and renouncement of any privileges whatever.
Such are the official arguments which the leaders of the reformist Confederation of Labour brought forward at this congress against unity.
We are not going to waste any time here discussing the hypocrisy of Citizen Jouhaux who shouts about independence whilst himself a delegate of the French Government in the League of Nations. It is a well-established fact that the more these gentlemen shout about independence, the greater is their dependence on bourgeois governments. The speakers at the reformist congress, especially Jouhaux, spoke at great length on the subject that their reformist Confederation is the ideological and political heir of the pre-war Confederation of Labour. It would be difficult to imagine a greater distortion of facts and a greater caricature of commonsense. The pre-war Confederation of Labour, notwithstanding its shortcomings, was founded on the principle of the class struggle. It carried on anti-militarist work, it was anti-parliamentarian in tendency, it dealt with the problem of the destruction of the State, it fought against war, laying stress on the predatory character of so-called defensive war. In a word it carried on a real revolutionary class struggle. Not a vestige of all this is to be found in the reformist Confederation of Labour. The term itself “class struggle” has long ago disappeared from the vocabulary of reformist orators and from the pages of their papers. Class co-operation and the class truce are the official symbols of the creed of the reformist Confederation of Labour—and to parade after this in the role of the ideological-political heir to the pre-war Confederation of Labour requires courage bordering on impudence.
The main reason for the reformist Confederation of Labour being the most dangerous and determined opponent of unity was known to everyone, but it was not mooted. This reason is the intimate connection between the leading reformist stratum and the Left bloc. The Left bloc in France finds support in the Socialist Party and on the reformist Confederation of Labour. Of what use is trade union unity to Messrs. Herriot, Briand, Caillaux and the other Left creatures of the French moneybags? Jouhaux merely carries out the instructions of his masters and that is all. Of course, such things are not spoken of; they are merely done under cover of the Charter of Amiens and the desire for too per cent. independence.
The intimate connection between the Left bloc and the reformist Confederation of Labour has prejudiced the question of unity.
All the attempts of the Unity Confederation to bring about a joint session of both congresses, or to form a parity commission for the discussion of the unity question, met with strong and categorical resistance on the part of the reformists at which the entire bourgeois press was jubilant. In view of such a governmental bias it was self-evident that the reformist Congress would reject the invitation of the All-Russian Central Trade Union Council to send a delegation to the U.S.S.R. “Is it worth while,” asked Jouhaux, “to send a delegation to extract from there (from the U.S.S.R.), an impression of impotence to confirm that free existence for organisations is more difficult there than under a bourgeois order? I understand and excuse (!) the Russian Revolution and its development and difficulties with which it has to cope, but what I do not accept (!) is the interference of the Russian Government in the affairs of other peoples and in those of our workers.” It is a good thing that Jouhaux after all “excuses,” the October Revolution, for I do not know what we should do if he did not, but a thing which he cannot digest is interference in the affairs of other peoples. When the French bourgeoisie lays down the law in Morocco, Syria and in Germany, going to the length of occupying the Ruhr, he was not very aggrieved, but when the Soviet Government gives support to all the oppressed peoples, this arouses the wrath of Citizen Jouhaux and he cannot excuse it! This would be terrible if it were not so ridiculous.
But this fierce opposition to unity could not but evoke protests within the reformist Confederation of Labour itself. Although it was a packed congress, and although the delegates had been carefully primed, there were 118 trade unions which voted against the official resolution and for unity. At the congress 10 per cent. of the votes were for unity, but this does not mean that only 10 per cent. of the membership of the reformist unions hold this view. The workers’ congresses held throughout France attracted a considerable number of workers belonging to reformist unions. The opposition at the congress was badly organised and not sufficiently shaped ideologically; nevertheless it caused many heartburnings among the reformist bosses of the congress. The most prominent representatives of the Right-wing of the Amsterdam International had been invited to the congress with a view to exercising the maximum pressure on the delegates and stressing the correctness of the reformist policy. Here the flower of everything that is most reactionary in the Amsterdam International assembled and the peroration of all the representatives was, of course, in the spirit of those of Jouhaux and Co. That this was a manifestation of the Right Amsterdam tendency was shown by the absence from this Congress of representatives from Great Britain. One must be very naive to imagine that it was only by chance that the General Council of the British Trade Unions did not send a representative to the Congress of the reformist Confederation of Labour. No, this was a political demonstration, directed against the Right-wing of the Amsterdam International of which Jouhaux is the most prominent representative. The Right-wing of the Amsterdam International was very fully represented at the reformist congress and the reason for this was certainly not only the desire to welcome the congress, but mainly the desire to discuss jointly ways and means for coping with the growing demand for unity which is undermining the very foundations of the reformist organisations.
The two congresses could not, of course, ignore the colonial wars in Syria and Morocco; but whilst the Unity Confederation of Labour expressed itself strongly and categorically against war, issuing the slogan for the immediate evacuation of Morocco, at the reformist congress all the speeches resolved themselves into attacks not on the government for the Moroccan adventure, but on the Communists and the Unity Confederation of Labour for their “demagogic” slogans. The demagogy of the Communist Party and the Unity Confederation of Labour consists in demanding the immediate evacuation of Morocco. One of the speakers proved to the satisfaction of the entire reformist congress that the evacuation of Morocco would be a signal for the assassination of all Europeans. From this it was not very difficult to make a deduction of the “demagogy” of the Communists and the Unity Confederation of Labour…. The reformist congress adopted the viewpoint that in this war France is defending herself (poor France which was attacked by the Riffis!), and that, therefore, the working class cannot and must not protest actively against the war.
This viewpoint of the reformist Confederation of Labour concerning the war, in other words, the Confederation’s support of the Moroccan war, had a rather peculiar influence on the Amsterdam International. It is a well-known fact that the latter has not yet found time to express an opinion of the war in Morocco. Why? This question was asked by the Social-Democratic “Berne Tagewacht” in an article entitled: “Why is Amsterdam Silent?”
The “Berne Tagewacht” writes: “The working class has a right to know if this silence is connected with the personal views of the second President of the Amsterdam International (Jouhaux), or if other reasons have compelled the Amsterdam International to remain passive. It would be intolerable to think that for the action or inaction of the Amsterdam International the opinion of one of its Presidents carries greater weight than the interests of the working class and the resolutions of International Trade Union Congresses.”
If a Social-Democratic paper puts the question thus it is evident that the conduct of the leaders of the General Confederation of Labour is fairly clear. We should like to remind you that on the eve of the Congress, Jouhaux wrote as follows in an article entitled: “Moroccan Affairs.” “The Government was faced by an accomplished fact and there could be no doubt whatever that the position was dangerous. Let us trust the government. In the Moroccan war ambitious aims and influences must not exceed that which is necessary in the interests of the nation.”
Let us trust the Government—such is the “independent” philosophy of this “independent” agent of the bourgeoisie.
With such close contact with the bourgeois government it was evident that the reformist congress would turn out to be against unity. But this must not be taken as a sign that the workers in the reformist unions have no desire for unity. This is certainly not the case. The desire for unity in France is at present stronger than ever. This is shown particularly clearly by the series of Workers’ and Peasants’ Congresses at which hundreds of thousands of workers from all the districts of France are represented. These congresses, to which workers of all tendencies are invited, are also attended by a considerable number of members of Socialist Parties and by local leaders of reformist trade unions. Together with the Communists and leaders of the Unity unions, they discuss and elaborate measures for struggle against war.
The categorical rejection of the reformist congress by a. considerable majority of votes resulted in the failure to convene the inter-confederal congress proposed by the Unity Confederation of Labour. But nevertheless 56 unions attended this Unity Congress including 19 affiliated to the reformist Confederation of Labour. The others were autonomous unions which expressed the wish to discuss the question of unity jointly with the representatives of the Unity trade unions. The Unity Congress elected 50 delegates, who, together with the representatives of the reformist and autonomous unions, discussed ways and means for the further struggle for trade union unity in France. At this conference the anarchists made an attempt to bring forward the Charter of Amiens as a platform, but they met with such determined opposition that they withdrew their proposal. The Conference carried unanimously a resolution proclaiming the necessity of struggle for the fusion of all parallel organisations, local, district, national and international. This Conference was attended by several powerful autonomous, unions of Civil Servants who desire unity only on the basis of the class struggle. This Unity Conference showed that there is in France within the reformist Confederation of Labour an earnest tendency intent on putting an end to the, split, in spite of machinations and manoeuvres on the part of supporters of the French Government of the type of Jouhaux.
If one compares both these congresses which have taken place, the extent to which reformism is weakening the Labour Movement becomes patent. Complimentary reports on the reformist congress appeared in the entire reactionary press which emphasised the good intentions, the common sense, the statesmenlike mind and other virtues of the leaders of the reformist Confederation of Labour. In quite another strain were the reports of the Congress of the Unity. Trade Unions
The divergence of opinion between the two congresses was not only with respect to questions of unity and war. Even with respect to the practical questions now confronting the Labour Movement in France there was a gulf between the reformist and the revolutionary Confederations. The Unity Unions brought forward the idea of the payment of wages in gold francs. This demand met not only with the fierce resistance of the bourgeoisie, but also with a strictly negative attitude on the part of the reformist congress. And yet it would seem that the wages question is a question on which it should be possible to come to an agreement. The Unity Congress discussed the question of strike strategy. The discussion concentrated on the strategy of the struggle, with mass actions, whilst the reformist congress spent its time in elaborating resolutions which the advanced elements of the people were called upon to execute. No mention was made about the struggle at the reformist congress. The centre of all discussion was the system of negotiations, the personal pleasure of those in power, hopes in the League of Nations, etc. It was no mere chance that the bourgeoisie and the Black Hundred press, who scent any signs of decay immediately, sang the praises of Citizen Jouhaux, for he well deserved all the nice things which were said by his self-denying, if not disinterested advocacy of trifles and Real Politik.
These two congresses threw a vivid light on the main tendencies, not only in the French, but in the world Labour Movement. On the one hand reformism has reached the logical limit—support for colonial wars, whilst on the other hand Communism has unfolded its programme not only concerning general, but also practical questions of everyday life. In spite of the refusal of the reformist Confederation of Labour to amalgamate, the French Labour Movement has nevertheless made a stride forward. The unity question is now before the masses. It is discussed among workers in the factories and workshops, and the more it circulates amongst the masses, the more sympathy it evokes, for the consistent and determined adherents of unity—the Communist Party and the Unity Confederation of Labour.
If the reactionaries of French trade unionism found it necessary to carry on their class-truce policy under cover of revolutionary phraseology, the German Amsterdamers did not consider it necessary to make use of fig-leaves. It may be truly said that the Breslau Congress was the most reactionary of all congresses ever held on German territory. Almost seven years have passed since the German Revolution, when power was in the hand of Social-Democracy and of the trade unions. During these seven years the German Social-Democrats and trade union bureaucrats have manoeuvred so skilfully that the German Republic is as indistinguishable from a monarchy as two peas from one another and the German proletariat has become the European coolie. I remember the conversation which I had in 1920 with Legien in capacity of delegate of the All-Russian Central Trade Union Council. Legien said: “The trade unions could assume power at any moment, but we don’t want it.” In answer to my question “Why?” he replied that the proletariat must make use of everything that is healthy and progressive in the present social order. He said: “The German proletariat is not yet capable of controlling the economy of the country—therefore, we are not assuming power but are compelling the State to serve the working class.” These tactics have produced brilliant results in the last few years. What has become of all the talk about Socialisation which filled the pages of the Social-Democratic and Trade Union press during the first years of the revolution? What has become of the boasting statements with respect to the organisation of the economy of the country? And finally what has become of the eight-hour day which seemed to be the inalienable possession of the German proletariat? All this has vanished and on the surface there has remained the most prosaic Hindenburg rule to which the German Social-Democrats and trade union bureaucrats are adapting themselves exceedingly well.
The congress was held under the slogan of Real Politik and the abandonment of all utopia and senseless hopes and dreams. With an outspokenness, for which we can only be grateful, one of the leaders of the German Trade Union Movement, Herman Mueller, declared:
“We trade unionists always recognise our responsibility to society. It is we who erected the dam against the Bolshevik flood. It is we who saved Germany from Bolshevism.”
Has the German proletariat profited by this? This is what Herman Mueller and his colleagues forgot to tell the congress. On the whole the German trade union bureaucrats, together with their Party, are all the time saving the Fatherland, but their manner of salvation plunges the workers of Germany and Germany herself deeper and deeper into the abyss.
We will only take four examples from the brilliant, wise and patriotic activity of these loyal subjects of their Kaiser and their Hindenburg.
1. The German Social-Democracy and trade unions came out strong for the war in 1914. Owing to this policy the war was protracted for several years. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of killed and millions of invalids for the German people. Even from the viewpoint of national interests, opposition to the war by the German Social-Democrats would have been more advantageous for their fatherland. This would have saved Germany from the famous Versailles Treaty.
2. During the Brest-Litovsk negotiations, the German Social-Democrats and trade union bureaucrats supported their Kaiser. If these leaders of the Labour Movement had even twopenny-worth of political acumen they would have vigorously opposed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty; they would have insisted on the conclusion of a democratic peace with the Russian Revolution. This would have led to the disintegration of the Allied front and would have thereby made the Versailles Treaty impossible.
3. After the Versailles Treaty the German Social-Democrats and trade union bureaucrats became the most obedient and faithful servants of the Entente. Instead of putting their hopes on the international proletariat and doing everything towards bringing about, with their help, the abrogation of the Versailles Peace and of the burden of reparations connected with it, they become the most ardent supporters of reparations and of the Dawes Plan, sabotaging thereby the struggle of the international proletariat against the enslavement of the German workers. The action of the British proletariat against the Dawes Plan is neutralised by the fact that the German trade unions have given their blessing to this Plan, considering it the last word in political wisdom.
4. It would seem that in the position in which Germany and the German proletariat find themselves, it would be only natural for the German trade unions to do their utmost towards establishing a united front with the working class of the U.S.S.R. and Great Britain, for it is only the proletariat of these countries which will be able to break, in the further process of the struggle, the shackles of the German masses imposed by the Versailles Treaty and the system of reparations. But instead of promoting closer contact between the trade unions of both countries, the policy of the trade union bureaucracy of Germany consists of bringing discord into the mutual relations between the German workers and the workers of Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. There are no fiercer enemies of unity than the German trade unions. And yet from the viewpoint of the most elementary everyday interests of the working class of Germany, agreement between the German, the British and Soviet unions could be of gigantic importance. If the leaders of the German trade union movement had the least notion of these simple elementary things, they would perforce follow a different path. In the meantime we see that the German trade unions offer categorical resistance to the least attempt to arrive at au agreement with the Soviet unions on the question of unity. They carry proudly their yellow patriotic banner. One can truly say that there are no greater enemies of the Fatherland than the so-called patriots. This also applies to the Social-Democrats.
Much was said in Breslau about Real Politik, economic democracy and immediate achievements. But the German Social-Democrats and trade union bureaucrats show that there was nothing real in all the talk about Real Politik. We have already seen whence “Real” Politik of the German Social-Democrats has led the working class of Germany. Just one more example. It is well-known that Germany is at present a republic. But the ex-Emperor Wilhelm demands that the German State should return all “his” property (castles, land, valuables, etc.). After several years of legal proceedings the Supreme Court of the German Republic has irrevocably decided to return to Wilhelm II. all that “belonged” to him., And do you know at what this property is estimated? At 800 million gold marks. Thus the ex-Kaiser will receive for his services to the Fatherland, 800 million gold marks. Such are the results of the Real Politik of the German Social-Democrats and of the trade unions under their control with respect to saving Germany from Bolshevism. But the trade union bureaucrats could not rest content with Real Politik alone. One had after all to say something about the future, about ideals. With this object in view the item “economic democracy” was placed on the agenda of the Congress. But no one gave a clear explanation of what this really means.
Economic democracy was presented to the Congress in order to provide the disillusioned workers with an ideal, as stated by Tarnov, one of the most reactionary leaders of the German Trade Union Movement. But what is in fact this economic democracy? The meaning of the resolutions adopted with respect to it is that the congress demands, or rather aspires to, the establishment locally in the districts and in the centre of economic councils on which employers and workers are to be equally represented. This reformist utopia is for some reason or other called Real Politik. This has been already a long time the dream of the German Trade Union Congresses, but up to the present nothing has come of it.
Already at the Congress of German trade unions in Nuremberg in 1919 an attempt was made to define this famous economic democracy. At that time it was a question of workers’ participation in the administration of the economic life of the country on a parity basis, with the retention of the entire capitalist system with its banks, trusts, etc. The whole matter resolved itself into the system of so-called business, namely the class truce. These Real Politicians indulged in utopian plans as shown by the further trend of events in Germany. In circles where Socialism only exists in name one is prone to speak pompously of the equality of rights in industry, of economic democracy, etc. Such pompous advocates of economic democracy can also be found in Belgium, France, Great Britain and other countries. But nothing has come of these pompous declarations for the simple reason that the problem of administering industry is not solved by legislative, parliamentary means or by voluntary agreement of both sides. The problem of administering industry is solved by means of struggle; it is only as a result of victory over the bourgeoisie that the proletariat will get an opportunity to administer industry and only after that will one be able to speak about economic democracy.
The Breslau Congress, which was attended by the majority of the most reactionary trade unionists, could not but take up a hostile attitude towards unity. The General Federation of German Trade Unions constituted last year the extreme Right of the Amsterdam trade unions. The congress endorsed this policy and the reactionary bureaucracy issued from this congress stronger than before. It is a well-known fact that the German General Federation of Trade Unions is the ideological leader of the entire Right-wing of the Amsterdam International. Supported by millions of members, the German trade union bureaucrats were continually bringing pressure to bear on Amsterdam so that the latter should not swerve from its anti-Communist policy. The problem of unity with all its complications was not even raised in Breslau. A few commonplace declarations by Leipart to the effect that Amsterdam has always been and is now for unity, that the R.I.L.U. and the Russian trade unions do not want unity and that the Communists are responsible for the split, etc., and that was all. This is an old story which we already heard at the French Congress and it is not of any particular interest. It is significant that these self-satisfied and narrow bureaucrats never troubled about the question how to unite the trade union movement of all parts of the world and how a truly united international is to be created. This is beyond their ken and beyond the limits of their narrow trade union German interests.
To show how low was the level of the Congress one need only say that no one attempted to explain why the trade unions have lost their former influence. And yet it is obvious that the trade unions are playing a much less important role than before. Only a few years ago the bourgeoisie courted the General Federation of Trade Unions and took into consideration its declarations and demands, whilst now in 1925 the ruling classes do not even think it necessary to observe the most ordinary decorum towards it. The stupid leaders of the General Federation of German Trade Unions. have not yet grasped that the bourgeoisie appreciated them only while they were the big stick against Bolshevism and enabled the bourgeoisie to occupy again its former positions. Now that the Moor has done his duty, the bourgeoisie hopes to be able to fight successfully against Communism without the help of the trade union bureaucrats—the Moor can go. Hence the decline of the influence of the trade unions. No one thought of analysing this phenomenon, just as not one of the bureaucrats attempted to explain why the German proletariat has lost everything which it achieved in the first years of the revolution and why it has become the European coolie. Nothing was said about this because this would have implied stating the truth about the actual situation, which naturally is not in the interests of Leipart and Co.
But the management, or rather mismanagement, of these gentlemen did not only lower the level of existence of the German proletariat, but robbed also the latter of its elementary achievements and brought about the catastrophic deterioration of the German trade unions; of the eight million trade union members in 1922 only four million are left. What has become of the others? They left because they had given up all hope of getting anything through the unions. I do not mean to say that the best elements left. Certainly not. There are passive elements among those who left, but also active workers who got tired of being in an organisation which does not justify its existence. The majority of those who left the unions are rank and file workers who have not enough stamina, courage, energy and class-consciousness to put up a fight for the transformation of the unions from organs of reaction into organs of social-revolution. An incentive to this wholesale desertion of the unions was also provided by the fact that tens of thousands of Communists left the trade unions, making room for Social-Democrats. At the Congress in Leipzig the Communist fraction had 88 delegates whereas at this Congress only two. This does not mean that there has been a corresponding diminution of Communist influence on the masses. But nevertheless our influence has dwindled considerably. The reason for this is that until quite recently the Party did not consider work in the trade unions its foremost task; it considered this a secondary question and distributed its forces and means accordingly. The second reason is that the Party showed itself incapable of breaking down the wall separating the Social-Democratic and Communist workers. There was much talk in Germany about Bolshevisation, but it remained talk. In the disputes in the German Communist Party with respect to the trade unions’ loss of influence. the following argument is used: as the trade unions have become weaker, so the influence of the Communists within them has also become weaker. This argument is futile. If the Communists had remained in the trade unions and had carried on their policy energetically, the fact that the membership dwindled to one-half of its former numbers should have increased our influence considerably. This did not happen because the German Communist Party did not carry out systematically and energetically enough the policy laid down by the Fifth Congress of the Comintern and the Third Congress of the R.I.L.U. The Comintern Executive could no longer tolerate such a state of affairs. Therefore, it expressed itself openly on this question and pointed out the mistakes of the German Communist Party with respect to-trade union tactics.
In view of the negligible opposition, the Breslau blockheads felt themselves free to act as they liked. The congress accordingly was of a trite and colourless character. All the great questions of politics and economics were beyond the limits of this congress. The “Real” Politicians of the German Social-Democracy destroyed the soul of the trade unions and converted the Congress into a kind of dance macabre in the reformist graveyard, from which a putrid odour of corpses is exhaled.
But we would be mistaken if we assumed that this graveyard character of the Breslau Congress is a testimony that German reformists have lost influence over the masses. This is not the case. There are still millions of German workers who are under their influence and we must reckon with this. Although German Social-Democracy has suffered numerical losses during the last year, it has nevertheless still 844,000 members and this is a gigantic army which with good organisation can work wonders.
From the national and international viewpoint alike, the Congress of the General Federation of German Trade Unions is a serious retrograde step. The congress was not willing to send a delegation to the U.S.S.R., but it decided on the other hand to send a delegation to the U.S.A., the trade union movement of that country having become the ideal of the German trade union bureaucrats. The. German trade unions, whose position was all the time in the extreme Right-wing, have confirmed this position by the decision of the congress and there is every reason to believe that they will carry on with the utmost energy the struggle against our unity tactics, for these gentry stand only to lose by unity. Thus the trade union movement of Germany in its backward development has travelled from Bebel to Gompers.
The British Trades Union Congress in Scarborough is another step to the Left of the entire British Labour Movement. This congress was anxiously looked forward to, both by the friends and enemies of the Labour Movement. The Right-wing of the Amsterdam International placed great hopes on this congress. Among the Amsterdamers there was the widespread opinion that last year’s policy of the General Trades Union Council was purely the result of chance. The idea was that while the most prominent leaders were in the MacDonald Government, their places had been taken by young and inexperienced people who initiated a new policy. The congress had only to meet and the old traditional order would be re-established.
These were the hopes from which the reformists of all countries gained solace. They expected the access to power at this congress of worthy supporters of the class truce, such as Thomas, Clynes, etc. International reformism was setting its hopes on a retrograde movement, because the Right elements within the British Trade Union Movement had been carrying on feverish organisational work during the last few months. To people like Thomas, who had repeatedly stated that he did not know to what class he belonged and that he is against the damnable class struggle, the veering to the Left is something monstrous and irrational. As the veering to the Left is a menace to their policy of class truce, they energetically took in hand the organisation of the Right-wing, the ideological amalgamation of all the elements dissatisfied with the policy of the General Council, etc. The Scarborough Congress was to put into power these aspirants to leadership and then the British General Council would, of course, revoke everything decided upon previously and would become a worthy member of the Amsterdam International. But in spite of the hopes of the Right-wing, the congress acted quite differently. This finds its explanation first and foremost in the fact that the economic situation in Great Britain has become worse during this year and that very energetic work is carried on in Great Britain by the National Minority Movement, which ideologically adheres to the R.I.L.U.
The Conference of the Minority Movement, held on the eve of the Scarborough Congress and attended by over 600 delegates, representing about 750,000 people, came to a decision on all the most important questions agitating the British Trade Union Movement. This conference, ignoring traditions, spoke without reservation and called a spade a spade, thus causing a storm of indignation in the entire bourgeois press. This press began to talk about Communism as a national disaster and yet only a couple of years ago prominent politicians had asserted that Communism could not possibly grow on British soil.
The Scarborough Congress could not help reckoning with decisions which had met with much sympathy among the British workers. The Minority Conference was the inevitable prelude to the Trades Union Congress, as it formulated in an unequivocal manner the aspirations and hopes of the most advanced section of the British Trade Union Movement. Thus, the extreme Left-wing came to the congress well-armed ideologically and politically.
The Right-wing also came to the congress well organised. What was the task of the Right-wing? To set back as far as possible the British trade unions, to prevent the congress making any decisions dangerous to the bourgeoisie and to do its utmost to render futile all decisions which were directed against the class truce. The retrograde tactics of the Right-wing had some results. Whenever there was the least opportunity, this reactionary wing endeavoured to restrain the congress, fearing it might go too far.
On four important questions the Right-wing suffered defeat. The congress veered mightily to the Left with respect to a very delicate question in the Labour Movement—the Colonial question. It is a well-known fact that for a long time the British proletariat was not only the actual but also the ideological participant in the exploitation of the Colonies. To the average British trade union leader the existence of the Colonies was a matter of course and at the congresses of the British trade unions and of the Labour Party, decisions were based on the assumption that the existence of the British Empire and the enslavement of the Colonies are an unchangeable fact. There had not been a single decision in the history of the British trade union movement touching upon the question of the independence of Colonial countries. It was necessary for the British Labour Movement to experience the war, the Versailles Peace, the Dawes Plan, permanent unemployment and the beginning of the disintegration of the British Empire, to come to the recognition of the right of the enslaved Colonies to separation. The leader of the reactionary Right-wing of the British Trade Union Movement, Thomas, dared not unfold his Colonial philosophy at this Congress. What he used to say in his capacity of Colonial Secretary he was afraid to say from the platform of a workers’ congress. It is one thing to give an interview in the capacity of Cabinet Minister, to speak at bourgeois banquets and to sing the praises of the great British Empire, promising to protect the goods grabbed by the British bourgeoisie, and another thing to come to a workers’ congress and to prove that the enslavement of hundreds of millions of Colonial workers is profitable to British workers.
The decision of the Scarborough Congress to support the Colonial peoples in their struggle, even for separation from the Empire, represents a turning point in the British Labour Movement. It means that considerable sections of the British proletariat begin to understand that the freedom of the workers of the mother country cannot be built up on the enslavement of Colonial workers. If one compares the decision of this congress with the decisions of the Amsterdam International on this question, one will realise how much to the Left of the official policy of the Amsterdam is the British Trade Union Movement.
The second important question on which the Congress disappointed the leading nucleus of Amsterdam is the question of unity. As I have already stated there were great hopes among the leaders of the Amsterdam International that it would be possible to abrogate in Scarborough the decision of the Hull Congress and to shelve the agreement of the General Council and the All-Russian Central Trade Union Council on the formation of an Anglo-Russian Unity Committee. The congress sorely disappointed the Right Amsterdamers. It not only endorsed the agreement between the British and Soviet trade unions, but also adopted a decision which is certainly a step forward compared with Hull.
A year ago most of the British trade union leaders thought international trade union unity possible only through Amsterdam. They held the view that the Russian trade unions must enter Amsterdam and that this would solve the problem of unity. But as they fathomed more and more this very complicated problem, as they became familiar with the world Trade Union Movement and watched the awakening of the Labour Movement in the East and the work of the R.I.L.U., they became more and more convinced that unity cannot be achieved within the framework of Amsterdam and that the slogan of the entry of the Russian unions into the latter is not by any means a solution of the task before the Labour Movement. Hence the decision of the Scarborough Congress.
This decision proclaims the necessity of establishing an all-embracing world federation of trade unions, but says nothing concerning Amsterdam. Cramp, the representative of the Right-wing raised at once the question of the interpretation of this decision. He wanted to know if this decision does not imply agreement between Amsterdam and the R.I.L.U. and received the answer: “The General Council will explain the meaning of this decision.” Cramp’s apprehensions are well-founded. In fact, what does the establishment of an all-embracing world federation of trade unions mean? How is this to be achieved? Can it be achieved without a world unity congress? Evidently not. The speakers at the congress, in dissecting the resolution, emphasised that this involved the convocation of a congress at which trade unions adhering to Amsterdam and to the R.I.L.U. and also unions outside these two Internationals would be represented. We are convinced that, when the General Council begins to interpret the decision adopted, it will be compelled to follow these lines—otherwise no all-embracing world federation of trade unions can be established.
On one more question the Scarborough Congress took up a fighting attitude, namely on the question of factory and workshop committees. It is a well-known fact that the reactionary trade union bureaucrats fear these committees more than anything else, as they do not want direct organisation of the lower strata. To have to deal with organised factories and works is a much more difficult affair than to have to do with individual delegates. That is why the Right-wing of the Amsterdam International is so against factory and workshop committees, considering this a Communist slogan. The Scarborough Congress declared itself in favour of the organisation of factory and workshop committees. This means an enormous step forward on the road to the establishment of a truly revolutionary and strongly welded-together trade union movement. This decision caused consternation among the reactionary leaders. Factory and workshop committees are the things they want least of all. They know the revolutionary nature of factory and workshop committees and their role in times of acute social crisis. They will, of course, do their utmost to counteract the decision which was adopted and to bring it to nought if not throughout the country, at least in their own industries. Will the Right-wing succeed in sabotaging this decision? To judge by the mood of rank and file trade unionists, the Right leaders will meet with stubborn resistance from below. Did not the railwaymen’s delegation at the Scarborough Congress compel Thomas not to speak against factory and workshop committees? Thomas had to keep silent if he did not want to cut himself irretrievably adrift from his own union.
Finally, a very significant fact was the hostile attitude of the Scarborough Congress to the Dawes Plan. It is well-known that the Dawes Plan is the child of MacDonald, the same MacDonald who came into power with the support of the British trade unions. Did not MacDonald work for the Dawes Plan under cover of the interests of the working class of Great Britain? And lo and behold the first congress after the introduction of this Plan takes up a decidedly negative attitude to this child of Labour treachery. This decision is of great political importance. First of all it throws a vivid light on the differences between the interests of the working class of Great Britain and the policy of the so-called Labour Government. A bigger smack in the face MacDonald could not have received. It is true MacDonald’s name is not mentioned in the resolution, but everyone knows very well what is the matter. It was certainly not mere chance that MacDonald did not meet at the Congress with the reception which was always vouchsafed him on such occasions. Usually, when MacDonald put in an appearance at Trades Union Congresses, he was asked to speak. This time only one section of the Congress met him with applause, the majority of the Congress remained silent; he did not receive an invitation to speak and left disconcerted. The decision against the Dawes Plan must be looked upon as a serious rift in the Labour Party, which is built up on the trade unions.
Apart from its significance at home, this decision will also find an echo abroad. Everyone knows that the Amsterdam International and the Second International have given their blessing to reparations and the Dawes Plan. The Executive Committee of the Amsterdam International officially defended the Dawes Plan as the “only way out.” Suddenly, the strongest organisation of the Amsterdam International opposes this plan, which brings forcibly into collision the various tendencies within the Amsterdam International. The French and Belgian reformists, who carried on an Entente policy in the Amsterdam International, will be the first to feel the blow. The leading nucleus of the Amsterdam International finds it increasingly difficult to agree with the conduct of the British Trade Union Movement. This decision brings the British and the German trade unions into a particularly acute collision. Do not German trade unionists in all consciousness defend the Dawes Plan? And all of a sudden the British express themselves, in spite of their German colleagues, against the enslavement of the German proletariat by means of the Dawes Plan. Thus it has come to pass that the Germans support the enslavement of the German proletariat whilst the British protest against this. A more piquant situation for the Germans it would be difficult to find. But, not the least abashed, the latter continue to dance attendance and grovel in submission. The relations between the German and British trade unions are bound to become more strained and they are strained enough already. To what extent they are strained became evident by the attitude taken up by the leader of the British miners, Cook, in Berlin and Essen. Cook said quite openly to the German workers what the British think of the Dawes Plan, of class truce, of the tactics of the General Federation of German Trade Unions, of the conduct of the German miners’ union, etc. The official organ of the German Miners’ Union “Bergarbeiterzeitung” said that “Cook’s shameless speech was a conglomeration of platitudes, stupidities and impudence. We trust that Cook, who abused in a downright low manner his position in the trade unions when he said that he is speaking on behalf of the British Miners’ Federation, has set foot on German territory for the last time.” If we bear in mind that these compliments were addressed to a colleague in the Amsterdam International and in the Miners’ International, we will be able to gauge the degree of mutual animosity.
If with respect to these four fundamental questions the congress has made an important stride forward it did not budge on a number of other questions because of the traditions and conservatism which are still very strong in the leading circles of the British Trade Union Movement. This was particularly noticeable on the question of industrial unions, of the competence of the General Council and of the attitude to the seamen’s strike which was then proceeding, etc.
We are witnessing an extremely curious phenomenon. The British Trade Union Movement is veering more and more to the Left whilst its ideology is lagging behind its practice. In practice, the British Trade Union Movement has already entered the class struggle—in theory this has not yet been sufficiently substantiated and crystallised in the resolutions and decisions of the congress. The clash of class interests is particularly visible now in Great Britain. The working class feels that bourgeois society, welded together and armed to the teeth, is against it. In view of restricted markets and the determination of the bourgeoisie to reduce the standard of living of the working class at all costs, the internal differences are becoming more acute and compel the disjointed British Trade Union Movement to weld itself together to offer resistance to the enemy’s offensive. This necessity of collecting all the forces under one control is felt much more strongly below than above, for the upper stratum of the Trade Union Movement, especially as represented by the Right-wing, hopes that by means of negotiations and persuasion to succeed in avoiding serious struggle, whilst the rank and file and the more sensitive leaders feel the coining of a social collision and are, therefore, endeavouring to establish as strong and united a front as possible.
The attempts of the miners to form a quadruple alliance of metal workers, transport workers, railwaymen and miners, did not lead to any practical results in spite of the formal consent of the Executives of all these organisations. The agreement exists only on paper, whilst in reality it has been sabotaged, thanks to Thomas and Co., who cannot imagine any possibility of action when interests are at stake which are not those of their union. Such an attitude is quite natural for people like Thomas. They are against action when the interests of those sections of Labour are at stake at the head of which they are; why then should they act in defence of the workers of other branches of industry?
The Scarborough Congress did not go any further than what actually exists and it did not do so because many big trade unions were categorically against the adoption of new tactics called forth by the growing acuteness of the class struggle. They were particularly afraid to extend the powers of the General Council, for under existing conditions this would mean centralised leadership of the coming struggle. In the case of many trade unionists the interests of their union predominate over class interests; there is a lurking hope in their minds—“Perhaps the coming storm will not affect my union.”
In spite of this the Scarborough Congress is an important landmark in the development of the British Labour Movement. In spite of the relics of the old, the progress noticeable within the masses of the British proletariat found an echo in it. It reflected the solemn dissatisfaction, the ferment and the indecision of the masses in search of new methods and forms of struggle. No matter how vague and indistinct some of the formulae may be—this determines the state of affairs. Life itself will introduce the necessary alteration into the vague formulae, practical struggle will do what has been left undone by the congress. To understand the trend of development of the British Labour Movement one must first of all turn to the real struggle of the British proletariat and then only after that to the resolutions of its congresses. The situation in Great Britain is perfectly clear: the veering to the Left is proceeding steadily.
We have seen that the British Trade Union Movement has made one step forward, the German two steps backwards and the French, owing to the balance of power between the Unity and reformist trade unions, only half a step forward, as far as unity is concerned.
To gauge correctly the mood which exists at present in the Trade Union Movement attention should be directed to the congress of the Norwegian trade unions, which was held at the end of last August. The Norwegian Trade, Union Movement, just as the entire Scandinavian Trade Union Movement, has its peculiarities. It did not have to go through a war and post-war crisis and had the benefit of several years in which to develop normally. From among the unions in the Amsterdam International, the Norwegian Trade Union Movement was the first to take up a Left attitude by participating in the foundation of the R.I.L.U. The Norwegian trade unions always kept up a connection with the R.I.L.U. although they were affiliated to the Amsterdam International. In 1923, the Norwegian Trade Union Federation decided to leave the Amsterdam International, but stopped half-way, postponing the question of affiliation to the R.I.L.U. for an indefinite period. And thus it remains up till now floating, so to speak, between Amsterdam and Moscow. In 1924, at the Scandinavian Conference in Copenhagen, an attempt was made to draw the Norwegian Federation into the Amsterdam International, but this met with stubborn resistance on the part of the Norwegian trade union members.
Although the correlation of forces within the Norwegian Trade Union Movement is not in our favour (Communists are in the minority), nevertheless, in spite of the fact that the Right-wing manoeuvred all the time towards Amsterdam, the congress of Norwegian trade unions adopted a decision deserving of serious consideration.
The congress decided to give energetic support to the Anglo-Russian Committee and to all its measures directed towards unity by the establishment of an organisational connection with this Committee. The congress expressed itself in favour of an international unity congress and of the establishment of an all-embracing world federation of trade unions and resolved not to affiliate either to the Amsterdam International or to the R.I.L.U. before the establishment of a united International.
This policy of the Norwegian Trade Union Congress is very characteristic. It deserves attention because it reflects the present frame of mind of a considerable number of trade union organisations. A number of trade unions not affiliated at present either to Amsterdam or to Moscow have adopted a. waiting attitude, refusing to affiliate to either of the Internationals in the hope of compelling thereby the establishment of one united International. As the struggle for unity gains in strength and as more and more sections of workers favour the establishment of a united International, the fusion of organisations maintaining a waiting attitude will go on. One should bear in mind that such a situation is frequently called forth by the endeavour to preserve national unity. Frequently our supporters have been advised not to affiliate to the R.I.L.U. if this should be instrumental in causing a split, but to work for the fusion of the R.I.L.U. and the Amsterdam International into one united International.
What is our attitude to this kind of decision? We consider that the Norwegian Trade Union Congress, which up to quite recently occupied an indefinite position, is promoting the cause of unity by a decision of this kind. The Anglo-Russian Committee cannot but pay attention to organisations which, while outside both the Internationals, are offering it support and help. It must get into close contact with them and as the connection between the Anglo-Russian Committee and all the organisations in sympathy with the cause of unity gains in strength, the cause will progress in spite of the Right-wing of the Amsterdam International.
What are the conclusions that may be drawn from this brief review of the various congresses which have just concluded? First of all the British and German congresses demand comparison. The German congress embodied the theory and practice of the Amsterdam International in its adulterated form. The British congress deserted the old positions of Amsterdam and in doing so came in opposition to the Amsterdam International.
What is peculiar in this situation is the fact that the German Trade Union Movement is now the most important mouthpiece of Amsterdam, whereas the British, the traditional British Trade Union Movement, in destroying its own traditions, is also destroying the conservatism and reactionary policy of Amsterdam.
The British Trade Union Movement is moving to the Left, not only thanks to objective conditions, but also owing to the schematic and systematic work of the British Communist Party and Minority Movement. In Great Britain an unwavering growth in the influence of the Communist Party and the revolutionary minority within the British Trade Union Movement is in progress. The swing to the Left is acquiring an ever clearer character clue to the steadily increasing efforts on the part of the Communist elements in the Trade Union Movement.
In Germany there is quite a different picture. There the influence of the Communist Party has considerably weakened during the last year and a half. The Communist Party in the Trade Union Movement has been developing backwards.
The influence which it wielded in 1923 is on the wane. The last congress in Breslau was the apotheosis of reactionary blockheads with an almost complete absence of any opposition. We are thus faced with two types, two methods of Communist work in the trade unions. A comparison of these two methods with the example of Great Britain shows us at a glance how work should be carried on in line with the decisions of the Comintern.
The British and German trade unions include approximately 73 per cent. of the Amsterdam international (their forces are now numerically equal). The German trade unions, just as in pre-war days, are now commencing to play an important role in the International, but this role is of a different nature. Before the war they forged ahead of other trade unions and in fact the British trade unions lagged very far behind. Now things have changed to a considerable extent. The German trade unions are at the tail-end of the European Trade Union Movement, while the British trade unions occupy a position which provoked savage attacks on the part of all the conservative and reactionary elements in the world Labour Movement. If we compare the Congresses in Breslau and Scarborough and the trade union and Socialist press of Germany and of Great Britain, we see that the British Trade Union Movement is emerging from the narrow framework of economism, is tearing asunder the old conservative trade union traditions and is setting itself general class tasks. On the other hand we see that the German Social-Democratic Trade Union Movement is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of the class truce and is donning the old cast-off trade union garments. Whereas the Britishers are deciding questions as to factory and workshop committees and are seeking forms and methods for increasing the fighting power of the trade unions, are organising themselves for the coming struggle and are discussing in the Socialist press the problem as to whether the workers should arm for the struggle against reaction—the German trade unions are busy with workers’ banks, are idolising Building Guilds, jabbering about economic democracy, are bowing lower and lower before the bourgeoisie and are persistently persuading it to adopt the united front with the trade unions. The British Trade Union Movement has faced round towards the U.S.S.R. and taken up a firm anti-militarist position, while the German Trade Union Movement is further consolidating its anti-Soviet and anti-Communist positions.
What is the position of Amsterdam after all these congresses? Can it count on the British trade unions any longer? The most optimistic leader of the Amsterdam International was compelled to say no. The conflict between the British trade unions and the Right-wing of the Amsterdam International after Scarborough is growing to considerable dimensions. Morally speaking, the British trade unions are no longer within the Amsterdam International, although they still remain there organisationally. This does not prevent Oudegeest and the rest beating the drum and shouting about unheard of successes of the Amsterdam International and its would-be numerous legions. Scarborough signifies an ideological estrangement from the Amsterdam International and an ideological rapprochement with the revolutionary Trade Union Movement. And this is of exclusive importance for the world Labour Movement.
An analysis of the work of these congresses bears witness to the fact that revolutionary ideas have penetrated so far into the Amsterdam International that entire national organisations are becoming “infected,” These congresses have brilliantly confirmed the correctness of the Comintern and R.I.L.U. tactics and the question of International Trade Union Unity. There is no more popular idea and slogan than unity. That is why even the bitterest enemies of unity have been compelled to struggle against us, not with open visors, but by means of all kinds of underhand backbiting. But this does not worry us in the least. The united front has passed from the propaganda and agitational stage and entered the organisational stage. The ratification of the Anglo-Soviet Unity Committee by the Scarborough Congress, the commencement of work of this committee signify the practical realisation of the united front. The fact of an agreement between the British and Soviet trade unions refutes everything the Second and Amsterdam Internationals have written and spoken concerning the united front and unity. The United Front and unity have been realised—such is the conclusion that millions of workers will arrive at after Scarborough. If there were the slightest doubt as to this, the declaration of the Joint Advisory Council should disperse these doubts. Indeed what did the Anglo-Russian Committee say? Here is the essense of their findings:
“The industrial and economic situation, aggravated by the Dawes Plan in most of the countries, has become worse since the beginning of this year.
“Unemployment is world-wide in its effects and is steadily increasing. The attacks of the employing class on the workers’ hours and wages become more and more definite and deliberate.
“Parallel with the growth of economic reaction, the political situation had become more and more reactionary and obstructive to working class interests. In the various parts of Europe reactionary groups of capitalists are obtaining more and more power and leadership in the policy of the State. The danger of war is becoming nearer and more evident….
“War is being waged upon the Riffi in Morocco and upon the Arabs in Syria, while the Chinese workers and peasants, revolting against exploitation and usurpation, are held down by armed force. This is making clear to all workers of the world the insincerity of the lofty professions of peace made by capitalist statesmen.
“The Guarantee Pact places upon Germany the duty of using sanctions (military and economic penalties) against the States unwilling to submit to the League of Nations. The object of this is to include Germany in a military alliance directed against the U.S.S.R. (Soviet Russia)
“This would make Germany a constant menace to Soviet Russia and at the same time would create in Germany a strategical base for any projected attack upon the Soviet Republics.
“The establishment of an all-inclusive world-wide Trade Union International has, therefore, become more necessary than ever.
“The Joint Advisory Council … appeals to the workers of every country, to their organisations and leaders, to join their efforts with the British and Russian Trade Union Movements in order to secure the removal of all obstacles and difficulties in the way of national and international working class unity, and to help them to bring into existence one all-inclusive world-wide federation of trade unions.”
Is it possible to dispute these findings if they arise from the interests of the working class? Can one say that the Joint Advisory Council has laid on the colours too thick or over-estimated the danger of growing reaction? It would be difficult to find a single worker who could assert this. Every honest proletarian must acknowledge that without unity there is no salvation. The Scarborough Congress and the declaration of the Anglo-Russian Committee bring the Amsterdam International face to face with the question of unity. Now their Jesuits, formula, lawyers and chicanery are of no use. A clear and definite answer must be given for or against Scarborough, for or against the Russian Committee for or against unity; we on our part answer clearly and without any prevarication—for Scarborough, for the declaration of the Anglo Russian Committee.
Thus the cause of unity has entered on a new phase, but this does not mean that we are already on the eve of the solution of this complicated problem. By no means. Now, the results of the ratification of the Anglo-Russian Agreement are beginning to sprout throughout the entire world Labour Movement. In the reformist unions the question will arise as to whether to follow the Britishers or the Germans, i.e., for or against unity. The German trade union bureaucrats have placed themselves in such a position whereby they have become the centre of ideological reaction in the world Trade Union Movement. It was their desire and now they will receive their deserts.