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Profintern

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Subject: Solomon Lozovsky, Profintern, Grigori Tsiperovich, Joaquín Maurín, Robert Williams (trade union leader)
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Profintern

An early logo of RILU, used at the time of the organization's establishment in 1921.

The Red International of Labor Unions (RILU) (Russian: Красный интернационал профсоюзов — Krasnyi internatsional profsoyuzov), commonly known as the Profintern, was an international body established by the Popular Front.

Contents

  • Organizational history 1
    • Preliminary organization 1.1
    • The foundation congress of 1921 1.2
    • The 2nd World Congress of 1922 1.3
    • The 3rd World Congress of 1924 1.4
    • RILU in the East 1.5
    • Personnel and branches 1.6
    • Dissolution 1.7
  • Conventions 2
  • Publications 3
  • Footnotes 4
  • Further reading 5
  • See also 6
  • External links 7

Organizational history

Preliminary organization

Solomon Lozovsky, head of the Red International of Labor Unions.

In July 1920, at the behest of [1]

  • "Profintern Internet Archive," Marxists Internet Archive, www.marxists.org/ Retrieved August 17, 2011. —Links to multiple articles on RILU.

External links

See also

  • G.M. Adibekov, Krasnyi internatsional profsoiuzov: Ocherki istorii Profinterna. (The Red International of Trade Unions: Studies in the History of the Profintern.) Moscow: Profizdat, 1971. —Translated into German as Die Rote Gewerkschaftsinternationale, Berlin, 1973.
  • Birchall, Ian. "Profintern: Die Rote Gewerkschaftsinternationale 1920–1937," Historical Materialism, 2009, Vol. 17 Issue 4, pp 164–176, review (in English) of a German language study by Reiner Tosstorff* Josephine Fowler, "From East to West and West to East: Ties of Solidarity in the Pan-Pacific Revolutionary Trade Union Movement, 1923–1934." International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 66 (2004), pp. 99–117.
  • Earl R. Browder, "The Red Trade Union International: The First World Congress of Revolutionary Unions," The Toiler (New York), v. 4, whole no. 192 (Oct. 15, 1921), pp. 9–10.
  • B.A. Karpachev, Krasnyi Internatsional profsoiuzov: Istoriia vozniknoveniia i pervye gody deiatel'nosti Profinterna, 1920-1924 gg. (The Red International of Trade Unions: History of the Origins and First Activities of the Profintern, 1920–1924). Saratov: Izdatel'stvo Saratovskogo universiteta, 1976.
    • Krasnyi internatsional profsouzov v bor'be za osushchestvlenie leninskoi taktiki edinogo fronta 1921-1923. (The Red International of Trade Unions and the Struggle for Implementation of the Leninist Tactic of the United Front, 1921–1923). Saratov: Izdatel'stvo Saratovskogo universiteta, 1976.
  • Kevin McDermott, The Czech Red Unions, 1918-1929: A Study in Their Relation with the Communist Party and the Moscow Internationals. Boulder, CO: East European Monographs/Columbia University Press, 1988.
  • Albert Resis, The RILU: Origins to 1923. PhD dissertation. Columbia University, 1964.
  • Arthur Rosenberg, "Communism and the Communist Trade Unions" (1932), Mike Jones, trans., What Next. www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/ —First published as "Kommunismus und kommunistische Gewerkschaften" in Internationales Handworterbuch des Gewerkschaftswesen, Berlin, 1932, pp. 979–984.
  • Geoffrey Swain, "Was the RILU Really Necessary?," European History Quarterly, No. 1 (1987), pp. 57–77.
  • Reiner Tosstorff, "Moscow or Amsterdam? The Red International of Labour Unions, 1920/21-1937." Communist History Network Newsletter, issue 8, July 2000.
  • Reiner Tosstorff, Profintern: Die Rote Gewerkschaftsinternationale 1920–1937 (2004)
  • Evan E. Young, "Brief Report on the 1st World Congress of RILU: Moscow, July 3-19, 1921." DoJ/BoI Investigative Files, NARA collection M-1085, reel 936, file 202600-1350-2. Corvallis, OR: 1000 Flowers Publishing, 2007.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c d e E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923: Volume 3. London: Macmillan, 1953; pg. 207.
  2. ^ a b c Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 208.
  3. ^ a b c d e Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 398.
  4. ^ a b c d Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 399.
  5. ^ First Report on the Activities of the International Federation of Trade Unions (July 1919-December 1921). Amsterdam: n.d.; pg. 73. Cited in E.H. Carr, Socialism in One Country, 1924-1926: Volume 3, Part 1. London: Macmillan, 1964; pg. 526.
  6. ^ a b Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pp. 399-400.
  7. ^ Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 400.
  8. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 527.
  9. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 528.
  10. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 531.
  11. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 531-532.
  12. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 532.
  13. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 533.
  14. ^ a b Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 459.
  15. ^ Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pp. 459-460.
  16. ^ Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 460.
  17. ^ a b E.H. Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 171-172.
  18. ^ E.H. Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 170.
  19. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 536.
  20. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 538.
  21. ^ a b Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 462.
  22. ^ a b c E.H. Carr, The Interregnum, 1923-1924. London: Macmillan, 1954; pg. 161.
  23. ^ a b Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 461.
  24. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 70.
  25. ^ Desiat' let Profinterna v rezoliutsiakh (Ten Years of the Profintern in Resolutions). Moscow: 1930; pg. 144. Cited in Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 84n.
  26. ^ a b c Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 564.
  27. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 564-565.
  28. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 565.
  29. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 570.
  30. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 569-570.
  31. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 572.
  32. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 573.
  33. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 576.
  34. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 577.
  35. ^ a b Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 1, pg. 592.
  36. ^ Ruth McVey, The Rise of Indonesian Communism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1965; pg. 214.
  37. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pp. 719-720.
  38. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pg. 720.
  39. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pp. 698-699.
  40. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pg. 702.
  41. ^ a b c d Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pg. 719.
  42. ^ Carr, Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pg. 628.
  43. ^ J.V. Stalin, Works: Volume 7, 1925. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954; pg. 235. E.H. Carr cites this passage in Socialism in One Country, vol. 3, pt. 2, pg. 628, providing his own translation from the Russian edition of Stalin's Sochineniia. He does not make adequately clear that the exact words used by Stalin repeat those of his interlocutor and that Stalin is merely concurring with the sentiment expressed.
  44. ^ a b William Z. Foster, History of the Three Internationals: The World Socialist and Communist Movements from 1848 to the Present. New York: International Publishers, 1955; pg. 326.

Footnotes

  • G. Zinoviev, The Communist Internationale to the IWW: An Appeal of the Executive Committee of the Third Internationale at Moscow. Foreword by Tom Glynn. Melbourne: Proletarian Publishing Association, October 1920.
  • Constitution of the Red International of Labour Unions: Adopted at the First World Congress Held in Moscow, July 1921. London: British Bureau, Red International of Labour Unions, 1921.
  • J.T. Murphy, The 'Reds' in Congress: Preliminary Report of the First World Congress of the Red International of Trade and Industrial Unions. London: British Bureau, Red International of Labour Unions, 1921.
  • Tom Mann, Russia in 1921. British Bureau, Red International of Labour Unions, 1921.
  • Resolutions and Decisions of the First International Congress of Revolutionary Trade and Industrial Unions. n.c. [Chicago]: Voice of Labor, 1921.
  • "Constitution of the Red International of Labor Unions, as of 2nd World Congress — Nov. 1922." Labor Herald Library no. 6. Chicago: Trade Union Educational League, 1923.
  • Resolutions and Decisions of the Second World Congress of the Red International of Labor Unions: Moscow — November 1922. Chicago: Trade Union Educational League, 1923.
  • Resolutions and Decisions, RILU, 1923: Resolution on the Report of the Executive Bureau. n.c.: Red International of Labor Unions. Executive Bureau, n.d. [1923?].
  • M. Tomsky, The Trade Unions, the Party and the State: Extracts of Speeches by Comrade Tomsky at the III Session of the Profintern on June 29, 1923, and... Moscow: Commission for Foreign Relations of the Central Council of Trade Unions of the USSR, 1927.
  • A. Lozovsky, What is the Red International of Labor Unions? Red International of Labor Unions, 1927.
  • Problems of Strike Strategy: Decisions of the International Conference on Strike Strategy, held in Strassburg, Germany, January 1929 New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1929.

Publications

Gathering Location Date Notes
1st World Congress Moscow July 3–19, 1921 Establishes RILU. Attended by 380 delegates, 336 with voting rights.
2nd World Congress Moscow Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 1922 Formally adopts "united front" policy for the trade union movement.
3rd World Congress Moscow July 8-XX, 1924 Adopts weak and non-binding call for unity congress with Amsterdam International.
4th Session of the Central Council Moscow March 9–15, 1926 Lozovsky identifies Britain and the East as main areas for Profintern success.
4th World Congress Moscow March 17 - April 3, 1928
International Conference on Strike Strategy Strasbourg, France January 1929

Conventions

The Profintern was dissolved in 1937 as Stalin's foreign policy shifted towards the Popular Front.

Dissolution

RILU established national sections around the world. In Britain, the Bureau worked closely with the National Minority Movement. The Communist Party of Canada established a national section called the Workers' Unity League. The American section began in 1922 as the Trade Union Educational League, succeeded in 1929 by a more radical variant which attempted to establish dual unions, the Trade Union Unity League.

In 1928, RILU launched the Confederación Sindical Latino-Americana (CSLA) as the Latin American branch of RILU — the first general labor movement in Latin America.[44] This group was the forerunner of the Confederación de los Trabajadores de América Latina (CTAL), established in 1936.[44]

In May 1927, the Pan Pacific Trade Union Secretariat was established in Shanghai as RILU's coordinating center for Asia and the Pacific.

In addition to its Moscow headquarters, RILU soon established four overseas offices — Berlin ("Central European Bureau"), Paris ("Latin Bureau"), Bulgaria ("Balkan Bureau") and London ("British Bureau").

The full-time secretariat of RILU consisted of the Spaniard, Andrés Nin, the Russian trade unionist Mikhail Tomsky and General Secretary Solomon Lozovsky.

Personnel and branches

The rapid growth of the May 30 Movement fueled the Comintern's interest in the revolutionary ferment in China.[42] This new perspective was emphasized by Joseph Stalin, beginning to emerge over the Comintern's Grigory Zinoviev as top leader of the USSR, who in early July 1925 agreed with a reporter for the Tokyo newspaper Nichi Nichi Shimbun that the revolutionary movement in China, India, Persia, Egypt and "other Eastern countries" were growing and that "the time is drawing near when the Western powers will have to bury themselves in the grave they have dug for themselves in the East."[43]

On May 30, 1925, a strike in Shanghai of radical students protesting the arrest of some of their fellows who had been supporting a strike at a cotton mill was fired on by police, killing 12 protestors.[41] A general strike was declared in the city in response and a "May 30 Movement" erupted throughout the region.[41] On June 19 a general strike was called in Canton, followed four days later by another incident in which troops fired upon demonstrators in the streets, resulting in a new spate of casualties.[41]

The working alliance forged between KMT leader Sun and Mikhail Borodin, chief representative of the Comintern in China was lost following Sun's death in Beijing on March 12, 1925. After the leader's death, jockeying began between left and right factions in the KMT; tension between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party began to build without Sun's calming influence.[41]

[40].Vasily Blyukher, aided by 3 million rubles in Soviet aid for the purpose as well as Soviet instructors, headed by Whampoa In June 1924 Sun's KMT government in Canton established its own military academy at [39] (KMT) were said to be communists and the disciplined and centralized party established at that time clearly drew upon the Soviet Communist model.Kuomintang — an estimated 40 of the 200 delegates at the January 20, 1924 founding convention of the Communist Party of China pursued anti-imperialist objectives in conjunction with the Sun Yat-sen led by Canton In the South, a breakaway government based in [38] Best of all, from the perspective of the Profintern, was the situation in China, with a young and radical worker's movement beginning to spring to life. Soviet prestige and influence had grown in China throughout the early 1920s, particularly from 1924, when diplomatic recognition by the

But now, even as European prospects dimmed, the situation looked brighter in Asia and the Pacific. [36] The 4th Session of the Central Council, held in Moscow from March 9–15, 1926, began just as the

As was the case with the Communist International, formal World Congresses of RILU happened with decreasing frequency over the life of the organization. This stands to reason, since RILU World Congresses were scheduled in conjunction with the World Congresses of the Comintern itself, generally launching upon conclusion of the Comintern event. And just as the Comintern began making use of shorter, smaller, and less formal international conventions called "Enlarged Plenums of the Executive Committee" to handle international policy-making, similar gatherings were adopted for RILU, called "Sessions of the Central Council."

RILU in the East

Tomsky, although diplomatic in his reply, rejected the British suggestion out of hand as an abject surrender to the Amsterdam International akin to the 1918 forced surrender of Soviet Russia to Imperial Germany at Brest-Litovsk.[34] Still, with the New Economic Policy in full swing in Soviet Russia, with its associated liberalization of culture and trade, the position of the Soviet trade union movement with relationship to social democratic unions in the West was secure and orderly, despite the failure of efforts to parlay with top leaders of the Amsterdam International.

"The British leaders had little interest in Profintern, which they secretly regarded, from the experience of the British movement, either as a nuisance or as a sham, and wished, by reconciling the Soviet trade unions with the existing [Amsterdam] International. to strengthen it and give it a turn to the Left. The British delegates probably shocked their Soviet colleagues by coming out openly in favour of the affiliation of the Russian unions to IFTU."[34]

If Tomsky had the ulterior motive of seeking to win British unionists to the ranks of the Profintern, he was met with a surprising reversal, as E.H. Carr noted in 1964:

While the groundwork for ties between the Soviet and western trade union movement began to be successfully laid, the situation between the international organizations based in Amsterdam and Moscow festered. The Second International and the IFTC held a joint meeting in National Minority Movement.[32] A similar presence in the American Federation of Labor in the form of the Trade Union Educational League went without comment owing to the AFL's ongoing refusal to affiliate with the Amsterdam International. These objections by the IFTU failed to stymie continued development of bilateral Soviet-British ties, however, as in April 1925 Tomsky returned to London as part of an effort to establish a joint committee for trade union unity between the two countries.[33]

With relations between the Profintern and the IFTU at the point of insoluble stalemate, Soviet trade union authorities began to concentrate on bilateral relationships with social democratic union movements.[29] Particular attention was placed on the unions of Great Britain, with Russian union chief Mikhail Tomsky traveling to the UK in 1924, followed by a reciprocal visit in November of that year of a high-level delegation headed by A.A. Purcell of the Trades Union Congress.[30] From the Soviet standpoint the British unionists were positively affected by their visit, publishing an extensive and generally favorable report of the Soviet situation upon their return to the UK.[31] This month-long visit of the British trade union delegation would be the prototype for a series of similar visits of the Soviet Union by western union leaders.[31]

A proposal was made by Gaston Monmousseau of France calling for a World Unity Congress of the Red and Amsterdam Internationals, and a committee of 35 delegates was selected to debate the proposal and to flesh out the practical details.[27] Following two days of debate, the commission reported back to the assembled Congress, bringing with it a unity proposal that had been accepted in the preliminary hearings with one sole dissenting vote.[28] The final proposal for a unity congress proved little more than a platitude, however, with the resolution declaring that such a gathering "might, after suitable preparation of the masses" prove appropriate. There was no firm directive instructing the Profintern Executive Board to action.[28]

The most contentious issue debated by the Congress related to the strategy and tactics of seeking unity with the Amsterdam International, thereby bringing an end to the disruption suffered by the labor movement as a result of the split into two internationals.[26] With forcing the IFTU to capitulate untenable and independent entry of the Russian trade unions into their the industrial federations affiliated with the IFTU, the sole option remaining, in Solomon Lozovsky's view, was to attempt to achieve some sort of fusion of the two Internationals through an international conference.[26] Lozovsky contended that unity was not to be achieved through the sacrifice of the Profintern's program or tactics and the blind acceptance of reformism, but rather was to be accompanied by the penetration of communist ideas into the minds of the rank-and-file trade unionists of the European unions.[26]

The 1924 Congress formally marked a hardening of the Communist attitude towards the Social Democratic labor movement, declaring that "fascism and democracy are two forms of the bourgeois dictatorship."[25]

The 3rd World Congress of the Profintern opened on July 8, 1924, having been scheduled to begin in Moscow immediately following the 5th World Congress of the Comintern (June 17 to July 8, 1924). Seventy delegates from the Profintern were made "consultative" (non-voting) delegates to the Comintern gathering, assuring a very close connection between the two gatherings.[24]

Soviet trade union chief Mikhail Tomsky was the key figure in a Soviet effort to establish close bilateral relations with the British union movement during the middle 1920s.

The 3rd World Congress of 1924

Lozovsky reported on RILU's progress to the 12th Congress of the Russian Communist Party in April 1923, at which he claimed that the Profintern represented 13 million unionists against 14 or 15 million for the rival Amsterdam International.[23] This figure is regarded by at least one serious historian of the matter as "probably exaggerated."[23]

This failure was followed up in January 1923 by a joint appeal of the Comintern and Profintern for the creation of an "action committee against fascism," followed in March with the establishment of a formal Action Committee Against Fascism in Berlin, headed by Clara Zetkin.[22] An international conference of this group was called to be held later that same month in Frankfurt, Germany with invitations extended to the parties of the Second International and the unions of the Amsterdam International, but only a few Social Democrats attended, the overwhelming majority of the gathering being Communists.[22] Delegates from Germany, Soviet Russia, France, and Britain united to denounce the Versailles Peace Treaty and the related Occupation of the Ruhr by France to enforce the onerous reparations levied against Germany.[22] The die had been cast, however, and no joint activities between the political or union leaders of the Social Democratic and Communist Internationals would be result from the initiative.

The professed desire of the Profintern for a united front came to fruition of sorts in December 1922, when the organization met at a peace conference in The Hague with representatives of the Amsterdam International, presided over by British union leader J.H. Thomas.[21] As was the case with the meeting of the three political Internationals earlier in the year, the session ended in failure, with accusations flying in both directions and Lozovsky's plea for a united front arbitrarily dismissed as a transparent tactical ploy.[21]

In Bulgaria the All-Bulgarian Federation of unions chose to affiliate with the Profintern outright, but even that movement was split when opponents established a rival organization called the Free Federation of Trade Unions.[19] Spain, too, saw its national labor movement formally divided.[20] The climate was acrimonious as bitter charges and counter-charges levying responsibility for the shattering the trade union movement flew in all directions.

[18] It is worthy of mention that the [17] In October 1922 the Czech Red unions held a congress of their own, formalizing the split with the Social Democratic unions.[17] following a campaign of expulsions of Communist individuals and unions by the Social Democratic leadership.[16] Additional headway was made in Czechoslovakia, where a majority of trade union members similarly affiliated with RILU,

In retrospect, 1922 marked the high-water mark for the Profintern's size and influence in Europe, with a sizable new contingent joining the organization's ranks in France when the [15]

As might be expected, the 1922 RILU Congress spent much of its time shaping the application of the Comintern's recently adopted united front policy to the trade union movement.[14] With the prospects for imminent world revolution on the wane, RILU head Solomon Lozovsky proposed an international conference bringing together leaderships of RILU, the Amsterdam International, and various unaffiliated unions — a gathering which was to echo the April 1922 meeting between the Second International, the Two-and-a-Half International, and the Comintern in Berlin "to work out parallel forms and methods of struggle against the offensive of capitalism."[14]

The 2nd World Congress of RILU was held in Moscow in November 1922, in conjunction with the 4th World Congress of the Comintern.

Veteran activist Clara Zetkin (left) was the face of the "united front" efforts of the Comintern and Profintern following the 2nd World Congress of RILU in 1922.

The 2nd World Congress of 1922

The Profintern's International Propaganda Committees proved ineffectual in changing the opinions of union memberships.[13] Unions began to expel their radical dissidents and international unions began to expel those national sections which participated in the activities of the Profintern, exemplified by the October 1921 expulsion of the Dutch Transport Workers' Federation from its international trade organization.[13]

As part of its strategy for winning over the existing unions, the Profintern decided to establish a network of what it called "International Propaganda Committees" (IPCs), international associations of radical unions and organized fractional minorities in unions that were established on the basis of their specific industry.[10] These groups were intended to conduct conferences and publish and distribute pamphlets and periodicals in order to propagandize for the idea of revolution and for the establishment the dictatorship of the proletariat.[11] The IPCs were to attempt to raise funds to help sustain their efforts, with the governing Executive Bureau of Profintern subsidizing their publications.[12] By August 1921 a total of 14 IPCs had been established.[12]

Still, the Profintern insisted upon a real split of the labor movement, establishing conditions for admission which included "a break with the yellow Amsterdam International."[9] The organization effectively advocated that radicalized workers engage in "boring from within" the existing unions in order to disassociate the full organizations from Amsterdam and for Moscow. Such tactics insured bitter internal division as non-Communist members of the rank-and-file and their elected union leaderships sought to maintain existing affiliations.

Despite the initiative of starting a new trade union international in direct competition with the previously existing Amsterdam international, the Profintern in its initial phase continued to insist that its strategy was not to "snatch out of the unions the best and most conscious workers," but rather to remain in the existing unions in order to "revolutionize" them.[8] The founding Congress's official resolution on organization declared that the withdrawal from the existing mass unions and abandonment of their memberships to their often conservative leaderships "plays into the hands of the counter-revolutionary trade union bureaucracy and therefore should be sharply and categorically rejected."[8]

Among those expressing such a desire for the organizational independence of RILU from the Comintern was Communist parties at the national level.[7]

[4] The gathering was neither homogeneous nor harmonious, as it quickly became clear that a number of delegates held a [4] The Founding Congress of the Red International of Trade Unions was convened in Moscow on July 3, 1921. The gathering was attended by 380 delegates from around the world, including 336 with voting rights, claiming to represent 17 million of the 40 million trade union members worldwide.

The short-lived official organ of RILU, published in Moscow, was The Red Labor Union International. This journal was soon supplanted by a variety of publications produced by RILU's member sections.

The foundation congress of 1921

For their own part, the Social Democratic trade union movement emerged from [5] The great civil war within the world trade union movement had begun.

Grandiose claims were made about the new organization, with Lozovsky declaring in a speech in May 1921 that already unions representing 14 million workers had proclaimed their allegiance to the forthcoming Red International.[4] Zinoviev ferociously declared the Amsterdam International to be "the last barricade of the international bourgeoisie" — fighting words to social democratic trade unionists.[4]

[3] — travel to and from Soviet Russia being a difficult and dangerous process in these years.3rd World Congress of the Comintern This conclave was ultimately postponed until July, however, so that it could be synchronized with the scheduled [3] On January 9, 1921, ECCI decided that the launch of a new Red International of Trade Unions would take place at a conference to be convened on

As the plan for a new labor international moved forward, Mezhsovprof established propaganda bureaus in different countries in an attempt to win the existing unions affiliated to the rival "Amsterdam International," as the International Federation of Trade Unions was commonly known, over to the forthcoming "Red International."[3] These bureaus attracted the most rebellious and dissident trade unionists to their banner while at the same time alienating sometimes conservative union leaderships, already raising charges that what was actually being proffered was dual unionism and a destructive split of the existing unions.[3]

"It was a step taken in a moment of hot-headed enthusiasm and the firm conviction of the imminence of the European revolution; and a device designed to bridge a short transition and prepare the way for the great consummation had unexpected and fatal consequences when the interim period dragged on into months and years."[2]

Historian E.H. Carr argues that the decision to launch a Red International of Labor Unions at all was a byproduct of the era of heady revolutionary fervor that world revolution was around the corner, declaring:

This decision was to mark a split of the international trade union movement that followed the recently achieved split of the international socialist political movement into revolutionary Communist and electorally-oriented Socialist camps.[1] This desire for a new exclusive international of explicitly "Red" union represented a fundamental contradiction with the Comintern's firm insistence that Communists should work within the structure of existing trade unions — an important detail noted at the time by delegate Jack Tanner of the British Shop Stewards Movement.[2] Tanner's objection was brushed aside as Grigory Zinoviev denied him the floor, referring his complaints to committee.[2]

[1]

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