Arthur MacManus

International Trade Union Unity

Source: Workers’ Weekly, April 17, 1925
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Profreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). 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 importance of the question of international trade union unity and the extent to which it is engaging the attention of the leading trade unions of the world renders the little pamphlet entitled International Trade Union Unity (which is published at 1d. by the Communist Party) both timely and appropriate. This pamphlet ranks as one of the best that the Party has issued for simplicity in presentation. The extent to which it is humanly possible in a twelve-page pamphlet to examine such an important problem as the question of international trade union unity has most certainly been achieved.

Starting from the point where capitalism repeatedly uses the international division of the workers to pit the workers of one country against another, the pamphlet goes on to reveal the absolute necessity of international trade union amity if the workers’ struggle against capitalism is to be developed. It applies itself to the splits and divisions which exist in the international movement, and exposes the root cause of the trouble. The repeatedly reiterated accusation that the Communists in the various countries are “splitters” is exposed in a very lucid way indeed, and in a way which is quite convincing. The real basis of the split which developed in the various countries is the refusal of the Social-Democrats and opportunists to carry on the working-class struggle, and their treachery against the working-class when any real struggle was on. It is they who refuse to fight when the working class are engaged in struggles, and who are most eloquent in denunciations of unity.

“All these opponents of unity were men who, during the war, sold out the workers’ cause to their respective governments. They become recruiting sergeants for capitalism. They extolled the virtues of “national unity” and counselled a truce between the exploiters and exploited. They are marked with the mark of the beast of class collaboration. They are tarnished with the stains of treachery. And they are unrelenting in their detestation of those Socialists who stood arm amidst the carnage, and denounced them for their cowardice. And the Russian revolution is for them a living condemnation of all they stood for. It is the living condemnation of all their pet theories of class truce.”

The truth of this quotation is amply borne out by a casual survey of the friends and enemies of unity in our own country.

The character of the unity required; the steps to be taken to secure this unity; and the object for which the internationally united trade union movement will be used, is equally clearly summed up, and the Party is to be congratulated on a timely little pamphlet of real merit.

A. MacManus