OCR Interpretation

The toiler. (Cleveland, Ohio) 1919-1922, August 27, 1920, Image 4

Image and text provided by Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88078683/1920-08-27/ed-1/seq-4/

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of the Internationa Trade Union. Should it be London,
Paris, Berlin, Brussels, or Geneva! The Franch aceussed tlv?
Germans of wishing to usurp power and establish their
hegemony over the entire world; the Germans reproached
the French with lacking the spirit of organization; the
English Trade Unionists shocked the susceptibilities of
their colleagues by their aristocratic attitude and their
lack of sociability.
National Suspicion and Rivalry.
The effect of the rivalry among the groups for in
dividual preponderance, which in many points resembled the
rivalry between the capitalist groups of the various coun
tries for economic priority in the markets of the world,
was to modify the resolutions adopted by the First Inter
national until they lost all their force; so that when the
capitalist organizations of the rival countries, also vacillat
ing between internationalism the instrument of hegemony,
found themselves finaly plunged into the world war, they
met with the opposition of only a fictitious labor organiza
tion, and found the organised Trade Unionists disposed to
second their interests.
The facility with which, from the first days of the
Moody war, Leghien, .Touhaux, Gompers, Henderson etc.,
renounced their international obligations, is explained by
the fact that this renunciation had been preparing long be
fore the declaration of war through the hostility developed
between the Trade Unions of the different countries as a
result of the imperialist policy of the priipal Capitalist
During the war the same dissensions in the labour move
ment continued to manifest themselves, with this difference,
that the state of war aggravated the aeutcnoss of the con
flicts and rendered a declaration of precise formula neces
sary. From that moment the Trade Unions, which remain
ed "red" as long as they were in conflict with capitalism,
became more end more "yellow," although they still re
mained under the pressure of the capitalist system. Towards
the end of the war, and during the armed truce, the Trade
Unions becanio althogether "yellow." The result was that
in more proletarian quarters, notably among the class-conscious
workers of Germany and Hungary, the Trade move
ment came to bo regnrded as an antiquated form of the
working-lass struggle, which henceforward could only be
harmful to the interests of labour.
A Basis of New Principels.
Arising out of this attitude a revision in the principles
of Trade Union organisation took place, facilitated by tho
clear insight which large sections of the proletariat received
during tho "armistice" into the true aims and con
sequences of the imperialist war.
Victorious and vanquished, not to speak of neutral,
countries are alike faced with ruin. Everywhere triumphant
and arrogant capitalism proved itself the irreconcilable
enemy of the working class. Everywhere it has rendered the
advantage conquered by the workers null and void. A simplo
stroke of the pen abolished the right of strike, of meeting,
and the liberty of speech. Capitalism has established ab
solutism and its dictatorship with such insolence aud
cynism that the working masses have found no other course
open to them but to return to the First International, and,
guided by its principles, to attempt to reconstruct the
Trade Union edifice.
the proletariat of all countries to decide, not to renounce
This revision is progressing rapidly. Tt has already led
Trade Union action, but to give it a new direction and to
make it a powerful weapon against capitalism in the great
universal struggle. New principles arc being elaborated;
the movement is becoming "red" again and is denouncing
its old "yellow" leaders and their assistants. The rupture
between labour and capital has again manifested itself
in all capitalist countries.
In England the old Trade Unions are losing their author
ity over the masses, and the great strikes of the last few
months have taken place without them. The direction has in
many cases passed into the hands of factory and workshop
committees, which are assuming duties hitherto ignored by
the Trade Union movement.
The same phenomenon may be observed in America,
where the creation of the One Big Union relegates the lead
rs of the type of Gompers to the background and reduces
their functions to a minimum.
No less remarkable is the -ro-birth of the Trade Union
movement in Germany, where experience of the Russian or
ganizations is being utilised. The factory and workshop com
mittees are mercilessly sweeping away the old forms of
authority of the "yellow" leaders who unexpectedly find
themselves on the wrong side of tho bnrricade. New pro
blems are boldly tackled, the control of production is dc
manded, as is also the nationalization of tho large in
dustries; the lng, antiquated notion of the neutrality of
the Trade Union movement is disappearing, and the tend
dency is to engage whole-henrtedly in the political struggle
with the rest of the proletariat.
The Trade Unions of a whole scries of industries hnvc
already passed into the hands of the reds. This is the case
with certain powerful, organisations, such as, for example,
the Metal workers' Union.
The revolutionary Challenge.
The revolutionary development of the Trade Union
movement throws down the challenge to imperialist capital

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