The Enlarged Executive: Eighth Day of Session

Concluding Speech

(20 June 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 23 No. 49, 12 July 1923, pp. 498.
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June 20, 1923

Is there a real change of front within the Amsterdam Organization? Our comrades Wieser and Mastcheriakov have warned us not fo exaggerate it. That is understood. Wieser referred to Ilk signing a Unity Resolution and then proceeding to expel revolutionary metal workers from his union in Switzerland. That is true, but this is a question of a change of front among the masses which instinctively feel the necessity for new tactics. As to what is going on in the minds of the leaders, it is an altogether different matter. The new tendencies may have a decisive influence if the Amsterdam left wing unites with the revolutionary elements of the International working class movement.

Urbani was right when he showed us that the opportunists might take advantage of the agreements arrived at by the Transport Workers’ Conference. It is not at all impossible that these agreements will lead to a certain amount of communist passivity. There is even a tendency in our movement not to consider the Trade Union problem. There is also a tendency which regards it better for trade union unity to join neither Moscow nor Amsterdam. We must fight against these errors, and must put more zest into our work, basing ourselves on the results of the Transport Workers’ Conference, for if we do not take advantage of it, our opponents will.

There are reformist leaders who deem it necessary to ally themselves with us, in order to save their organizations and their position. Thus, two different categories of people agree with us: those who are sincere believers in the efficiency of class action, and those who still want to deceive the workers by telling them: “We are with the revolutionaries, and therefore is not necessary for you to enter into closer contact with them.” In order to parry this manoeuvre, we must intensify our efforts after every International Conference, such as that of the Transport Workers.

In answer to Urbani, the speaker dealt with the question of Factory Committees. In France, there were three different plans for the establishment of committees in the mines. 1. Committees consisting only of miners belonging to the C.G.T.U. 2. Of miners belonging to all the organizations and. 3. Of miners of any description. We consider that all the workers must group themselves around the Factory Committees. It will be our business to get our candidates elected. If we do not succeed, it will only show that we do not work well.

The speaker dealt next with the National Question, and pointed out the danger of introducing the National Question in the Trade Union organizations, as this was done in Czechoslovakia. Zapotocky has said that the Berlin Bureau of the Profintern had approved the establishment in Czecho-Slovakia of another autonomous Trade Union. If our; Central European Bureau has done that, we must repudiate it, and we shall have to give it strict instructions for the future. But the Czechoslovakian Communist Party has not done anything on its part to correct these errors.

In Great Britain, certain members of our Party who constitute the Profintern Bureau have an erroneous conception of the role of the Parties and of the Trade Unions. Their conception is – that one must do the political work, and the other the economic, work.

In Great Britain the work in the Trade Unions must be energetically furthered, and this will strengthen the Party. It would be foolish to wait for the Party to become strong before making a beginning with this urgent task.

In America, where we have to contend with the reactionary traditions of Gompers and With the revolutionary traditions of the I.W.W., the struggle against dual-unionism, although excellent, must not be carried to an extreme. When parallel unions exist, one must adapt themselves to working within them.

Katayama wanted to know why the report on the Trade Union question has not dealt with the movement in the Eastern countries. The reason is that we have not presented a general report, but have only concentrated on pressing problems. We must admit that there is a Colonial Problem in the Trade Union movement. What are the French, Dutch and British Communist Parties doing for Trade Union work in the Colonies? Not enough by far. The British Labor Party is of course but a form of imperial influence over the Colonies. We must do more for the colonial movement. It is a vital question for the revolution.

Generally speaking, the Communist Parties are not working enough in the Trade Unions. Our Parties have not made the best of all their possibilities. The masses are recovering their will to action. A little more effort and more energy, and we shall defeat reformism, anarchism and confusionism. What we see in Spain and in France – the existence of working class individualism, of libertarian confusion and a devil may care attitude, show that the work of the Communist Party on the Trade Union field is far from satisfactory.

The speaker said that there are still in France small railwaymen’s unions of about 30 members. At a recent Congress of the Eastern system, mention was made of twelve Trade Unions comprising three hundred and sixty six members. Thus, the problem of the industrial unions, settled by the Congress of the Profintern in agreement with the C.G.T.U. has not yet been actually solved in France.

In conclusion, Lozovsky said that the Profintern, which was frequently judged according to its deserts, has become an important factor jn the revolutionary movement. Let us extend our activity, let this activity permeate the entire working class movement and let us strengthen our organization!

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