Alois Neurath

The Labor Movement

The Offensive of the Czech Exploiters

(28 March 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 24, 28 March 1922, pp. 182–183.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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After the defeat of the miners, the other employer groups are not permitting the favorable occasion to slip by, and are also beginning to attack. The exploiters of the glass industry have made the beginning. For several weeks the employers and the glass workers have been at loggerheads. In the glass industry, “home work ” is still very extensive and the exploitation of the wage earners is therefore greater than in any other branch of industry A few weeks ago the workers asked for a small increase in wages. As a result of the “glorious” conclusion of the miners’ strike, the employers answered with an announcement that they intended to decrease wages to the extent of 20, 30 and more per cent. The trade-union leaders and the Social Democratic papers announced a relentless struggle against the employers m regard to the reduction of wages, We draw attention to the fact that the trade-union bureaucracy had the opportunity of convincing themselves during the last struggle that the capitalists are not frightened by talk, and that the exploiters ignored all the recommendations of the government. The workers – not alone those organized as Communists – know very well (and the trade-union bureaucracy also know it), that in no serious affair has the government been able to restrain the capitalists. The government dances as the employers whistle, and the capitalists know how to whistle.

The representatives of the workers demand the intervention of the government. For tactical reasons nothing can be said against this. No harm is done if this simple and valuable truth is continually demonstrated anew to all of the workers that the government not only does not [do] anything that is against the interests of the capitalists, but that when a serious occasion arrives it is to be found with all of the powers at the disposal of the state on the side of the exploiters. Till recently the employers have for tactical reasons played the game and permitted the mediation of the government.

In the struggle between the employers and the workers in the glass industry the capitalists are not acting as wisely as their colleagues, the mine-owners. They feel their strength and evidently expect that there is a big difference between the words of the trade-union leaders and their actions. The Ministry for Social Welfare invited the representatives of the workers and the employers to a mutual conference on Wednesday, March 8th. The capitalists declared that they have no use for any mediation, that they do not need any discussions and demanded that before a conference take place the workers accept the demands of the employers. The conference, however, took place and a representative of the employers also took part who added to the forwardness of the employers his own contempt and declared that he had merely come to enjoy himself personally. This “lack of manners" was even too much for the representative of the Ministry. The latter could not permit it to be so openly revealed that the employers are sure of the support of the government. Therefore the representative of the Ministry tried to call the representative of the employers to order. Hereupon the man rose and contemptuously left the conference.

Thus the employers intend not only to reject the demands of the workers (this the employers no longer mention), but to cut wages considerably. The trade-union bureaucracy still has time to act in order to prevent the employers from treating the workers as entirely helpless slaves. But so much is certain, that the capitalists must be made to feel that the representatives of the workers are not only going to take up the struggle, but are also going to carry it through together with the aid of the workers of outer industrial groups. Even if a comparatively small group of worker is concerned, its defeat can only be prevented if all the labor parties and above all the representatives of the Trade-Union Federation convoke a general conference to discuss the measures that will have to be taken by larger sections of the proletariat than are now involved in the struggle. It remains to be seen whether the trade-union leaders are able to draw the correct consequences from the recent struggle of the miners.

Last updated on 2 September 2019