To the Yellow Trade Unions

(22 January 1921)

Source: Australian Communist, Vol 1, No 16, April 8, 1921.
No original source was provided but it is dated internally to January 22, 1921.
Transcribed by Duncan Hart.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, October 2021.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Moscow, January 22, 1921

To Messrs Fimmen and Oudeghest, in Amsterdam,

I have received your letter addressed to me, written in the Amsterdam International of Labor Unions. According to your desire, I have reported this letter to the Executive Committee of the Communist International. You declare that you speak not more or less than in the name of thirty millions of organized workers. Allow me, gentlemen, not to believe you. You have the same degree of right to say that you speak for thirty millions of organized workers as, for example, Millerand, the president of the Second Bourgeois Republic, who also counted himself, and, I believe, continues to count himself, as a Socialist, has the right to speak for the 40 millions of the population of France, or Ebert of the German population. No, gentlemen, you are not going to deceive anyone any longer. In fact, you do not speak in the name of 30 millions of workers; you represent only a small group of union bureaucracy supporting the bourgeoisie in all basial questions against the workers. Your letter demands that, in considering your position, we should still suppose that you have the best of intentions and a sincere desire life of the working class. Notwithstanding your wish, we are sorry to say that we cannot grant your demand. There may certainly exist leaders in your Yellow Amsterdam International who act disinterestedly and really suppose themselves to be serving the working class. But most of the men of the Amsterdam International are men like Albert Thomas, Jouhaux, the not long since deceased Legien, the English minister Henderson, Vandervelde, people like Renaudel, Noske, Sembart, and other person of the same order. It is impossible that all of you who have passed through the most difficult experiences have more than once been ministers of bourgeois governments at the time when the bourgeoisie was in special difficulties and absolute need of you, to spread the blood of the workers. It is impossible that you should not know what you are doing. Some of you have come from the ranks of the workers, but have long gone over heart and soul to their deadly enemies, to the bourgeoisie. This is becoming more and more evident to the broad circle of the workers, and this is the reason why union after union in France, Germany, England, and America is leaving your yellow camp and are going over to the International Soviet of Red Labor Unions, founded in Moscow. You have become restless and nervous, because you feel that the ground is giving way under your feet. In the same way as during the last two years, political parties have one by one left the camp of the Second International, so will the Labor Unions leave the camp of the Yellow International. That is as inevitable as the coming of morning after night; it is as inevitable as the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, so dear to your heart.

The first World Congress of the Red Labor Unions is appointed on May 1st, 1921, in Moscow, called by the International of the Labor Unions in conjunction with the Executive Committee of the Communist International. Everyone who truly desires to struggle against the bourgeoisie is invited to this Congress.

We do not make any demands, except one – that the Labor Unions desiring to attend our Congress should truly wish to struggle against the world imperialism, therefore also against it agents in the Amsterdam Yellow International. You will see, citizens, that this first World Congress of the Labour Union will be a triumph for the Third International, and will be a decisive blow to the treacherous International founded in Amsterdam. Every one of your actions, every malediction to hurl at us, every service you render to the world imperialism, and this has been your principle profession during the latter time – all this will only conduct the Third International to the success of the World Congress of the Red Labor Unions, appointed on May 1st. Your letter contains one practical proposition: you propose to give our organization a more detailed information of your work on a basis of mutual interest. You seem to wish to enter into a detailed discussion with us on the question of our and your principles. Allow me to inform you, gentlemen, of the following unanimous decision of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, and the International Soviet of the Labor Unions have unanimously decided on my proposition to accept a public debate with you. We know very well how weak your influence over the proletarian masses is, but, on the contrary, it is considerable in the ministerial circles of the bourgeois governments. We do not for a moment doubt that Mssr. Jouhaux would have any difficulty in convincing Mssr. Millerand of the fact that the arrival of the President of the Communist International to Paris for a public debate with Mssr. Jouhaux should be allowed for the good of the cause. It is quite possible that Henderson would be able to attain the same result in England and Mssr. Troelstra in Holland. The Executive Committee of the Communist International proposes to arrange, starting approximately from February 1st, of this year, public discussions before the workers of Paris, London, Amsterdam, and other European capitals, in order that the representatives of the Amsterdam Yellow International should be enabled to take part in equal terms. It will not be difficult for you, gentlemen, to attain an assent to our proposition with the help of the League of Nations, which is so friendly to you, and the International Labour Bureau, which is the connecting link between the Yellow Amsterdam International and the League of Nations. Deliberate at this as speedily as you can in your own circles (that is to say, the circle of the bureaucrats of the Amsterdam International and the ministers of the Interior and Foreign Affairs of the bourgeois republic) and gives us after that one answer or another. We shall await this answer impatiently. Rest assured, gentlemen, that we understand how difficult your situation is, and that we guess that your letter, to which we now send this answer, was not the result of pleasant circumstances. Accept our condolences on the fact that your ranks are melting so rapidly before the eyes of the whole world, and rest assured the foremost workers of the world know your value very well and have lately come to the conclusions that in order to overcome the power of capitalism they must also overcome the yellow traitor organization, called the Amsterdam “International” of the Labour Unions.


Yours very respectfully,

Last updated: 18 October 2019