OPEN LETTER

FROM THE COMINTERN AND PROFINTERN
TO THE SECOND AND VIENNA INTERNATIONALS, AND THE
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS

ON THE
OCCUPATION OF THE RUHR

 


16 January 1923

Inprekorr, iii, 12, p. 83, 16 January 1923

[ EXTRACTS ]

 


On the 13th of this month the ECCI addressed an inquiry to you about the steps you intended to take to carry out the decision of the Hague congress on organizing a general strike in the event of the danger of war....
The Russian trade union delegation at the Hague strongly urged that an international protest strike should be organized on 2 January to demonstrate to the international bourgeoisie the determination of the proletariat to fight against the war danger. The Russian trade union delegation at the Hague conference predicted the occupation of the Ruhr in January. The majority of the delegates at the Hague ignored our warnings; they were content with platonic protests, convinced that
bourgeois diplomacy would manage to find a way out. Capitalist diplomacy did not find a way out, just as it has been unable for four years to establish conditions for peaceful world development. The occupation of the Ruhr confronts the world with an acute danger of war.
The French Government's plan in seizing the German iron and coal industry of the Ruhr is to force the German capitalists to pay. But this presupposes that the French occupation authorities will be able to administer the Ruhr, to keep its
industry going, and to exert pressure on German industry by releasing or withholding coal. This plan has been frustrated by the removal of the coal syndicate from Essen to Hamburg. The French occupation authorities are faced with the impossibility of keeping Ruhr industry going. The difficulty of paying the miners' wages will increase from day to day. It follows that they will strike out beyond the Ruhr, to turn the screw on the German people more tightly. Reports are already coming in of preparations for mobilization in Poland. France will set its vassals on the move against Germany. But even if that were not contemplated, there might at any moment be clashes between French troops and the closely packed population of
the Ruhr which would drive nationalist feeling in Germany up to boiling-point. If the military elements in France exploit Poincare's difficulties in the Ruhr to push him farther in his Rhineland policy, the policy of dismembering Germany, forces in
Germany may easily be set in motion which will drive on to war in order to make use of nationalist fever to win power by a counter-revolution. The Governments on both sides of the Rhine do not know today what they will do tomorrow. The situation will become more acute on 31 January, for Germany will not be able to make the payment due on that date. The unilateral action of the French Government may then turn into general action by the Entente.
And the German people may be called on to decide between complete subjugation and enslavement, or struggle.
The Hague conference resolved that the proletariat should use all means to ward off the danger of war; that should the danger arise, a general strike was to be organized. Now the danger is here. Only the blind can go on denying its existence. It is not only a danger of war between France and Germany. Such a war would set the entire east and south-east of Europe on the move. The Lithuanian attack on Memel and the events on the Rumanian-Hungarian frontier show how unstable is the balance of the last few years, how forces are already beginning to be set in motion whose development would turn any conflict in central Europe into a European conflict.
We do not doubt for a moment that the leaders of the Amsterdam Trade Union International, like those of the Vienna and London Internationals, regard the situation in the same light. We therefore call on them to give practical effect to the
solemn declarations made at the Hague only a month ago and to prepare the rapid organization of a mass strike. We call on them to meet us immediately to determine the necessary measures. The parties of the Communist International and the
working masses who support the RILU will do their duty, as our French comrades have already shown. We propose 31 January as the date for the beginning of the mass protest strike. The duration of the strike will have to be determined by the
conference of representatives of the three political and the two trade union Internationals, which we suggest shall be called in Berlin for 21 January.

 

Comintern

III. International