RESOLUTION OF THE THIRD ECCI PLENUM ON THE TRADE UNION QUESTION
[ EXTRACTS ]
23 June 1923 Inprekorr, iii, 113, p. 971, 5 July 1923
In the last few months a great change has been taking place within the retormist wing of the labour movement, as shown by the formation within the Amsterdam International of a left wing anxious to form a united front with the Russian unions, and through them with the RILU and the organizations attached to it. . . .
The reasons for this change are:
1. The failure of the Amsterdam International's policy of class conciliation;
2. The growing tendency of the working masses to move to a revolu-tionary position as a result of our tactics of the united front and winning the unions..
The new situation confronts all communist parties with the question of the further operation of the tactics laid down by the congresses of the Communist International.
Mere propaganda for the united front is no longer enough; every worker must be made to understand the reasons for the united front, the forms it should take, and the methods of struggle. . . .
The united front must be given an organizational basis by the creation of joint committees adapted to local special circumstances.
The most important task for the immediate future is to work out a concrete programme of action according to industry and area.
Our struggle to re-establish the unity of the trade union movement must have its starting-point in the factories where the workers feel the need for that unity most clearly. It has become clear that the factory committees are the most suitable bodies for the united front, and therefore communists in those countries where there are no factory committees must fight among the broad masses for their establishment, and in the countries where they do exist must seek to revolutionize them and fight for an extension of their rights.
The transference of emphasis to work in the factories and the fight to establish factory committees do not by any means imply that the committees are to replace the unions organizationally. That would weaken the workers' movement and must be decisively rejected. It would make our struggle to win the unions and turn them into industrial unions more difficult, and surrender the unions to the present reformist leaders.
In countries where the workers are of various nationalities and races, communists must fight to get the workers of whatever nationality and race into the same union.
But in this struggle to overcome national prejudices the communist party, which embraces the workers of the predominating nationalities, must fight vigorously against those elements in the labour movement who seek, behind an international banner, to hamper the free development of the oppressed nations. . . .
Vigorous resistance must be offered to the continuing splitting policy of the reformist unions. If groups of workers or unions are expelled, those expelled should be kept together and every effort made to get them re-accepted. In no case should opposition elements who sympathize with the expelled be withdrawn from the old unions.
In those countries where two parallel trade union movements exist, reformist and one revolutionary, the unions expelled by the reformist federation should join the revolutionary federation. But even in those countries individuals and groups who are expelled should fight for re-admission to the reformist unions so long as this seems to be in the interests of the revolutionary movement.
The session of the enlarged CI Executive asks the entire party press to follow more attentively the life and struggles of the unions, to explain in detail the activities of the revolutionary unions and of the minority oppositions and fractions. ...
All communist parties must send regular reports on the activities of their trade union fractions to the Executive Committee, so that the experience of one country may be made the common property of the entire international movement.
Every member of the CI is obliged to join his appropriate trade union organization and to work actively in the communist fraction in that union or in the revolutionary opposition movement. Communist activities in the unions must be in accordance with the principles and decisions of the Red International of Labour Unions. The sections of the Communist International must make every effort to unite the trade unionists throughout the world under the banner of the RILU.