The Tasks of the Trade Unions
Trade Union Library No. 3, February, 1920
Source:Dimitrov, Georgi, Selected Works
Vol. 1, Sofia 1972
1. The Trade Unions in the Past
2. The Trade Unions during the War
3. Results of the Trade Union Struggle
4. The New Conditions of Trade Union Struggle
5. The Struggle for political Power
6. Trade Union Neutrality
7. The New Tasks of the Trade Unions
1. THE TRADE UNIONS IN THE PAST
The trade unions sprang up during the early stage of capitalism as an
organization aimed at improving the economic conditions of the workers
within the framework of the existing capitalist system. At first
they considered it as their task to fight only the individual capitalists
in defence of the immediate professional workers' interests, without
affecting the foundations of capitalist exploitation and without going
beyond the pale of the capitalist industrial social organization.
The abolition of competition among workers of a given trade, the
restricted access of new workers to it and the resorting in extreme cases
to strikes - those were the usual methods used by the old trade unions in
order to obtain higher wages, shorter working hours and better working
Failing to see the direct tie-up which exists between the condition of
the workers in production and the political and state organization of
capitalist society, those trade unions, a classical example of which we
find in the former British trade unions, shut themselves up in their
narrow professional shell, assiduously avoiding all participation in
political battles and in the nation's politics in general, and confining
themselves to questions pertaining to their trade. This, of course
subsequently did not prevent them from being quite frequently used,
directly or indirect for the political ends of the bourgeoisie.
In spite of this innocuous character of the first trade unions the
bourgeoisie and its state opposed them vehemently and tried by violence,
repression and legalized bans to destroy them, sensing instinctively that
they might develop into dangerous class organizations, into organs of the
class struggle of the proletariat for the abolition of the capitalist
The rabid acts of violence, repressions and bans against the trade
unions, however, far from failed to produce the result expected by the
bourgeoisie. A product of the very development of capitalism, having
emerged in the struggle between capital and labour and having become a
vital necessity for the workers in their defence against capitalist
exploitation, the trade unions could not possibly be eradicated. The
persecutions against them only intensified the existing class
contradictions in capitalist society and revealed them more clearly to the
masses of workers. Without the intervention of the trade unions, the
strikes were more frequent, spontaneous and turbulent, inflicting
immeasurable damage on production, threatening often even the personal
safety and property of individual capitalists.
It was precisely this that finally compelled the bourgeoisie to get
reconciled to the existence of trade unions, while attempting to
tame them and to turn them into organizations which would
regulate relations between workers and capitalists and maintain a lasting
peace in industry.
The British bourgeoisie, which for long was complete master on the
international market and owned the largest and richest colonies in the
world, had ample possibilities, for the attainment of this goal, to mete
out certain material benefits to the trade unions which comprised mainly
skilled workers, the so-called labour aristocracy.
This marked the beginning of the era of collective contracts, concluded
between the trade unions and the capitalist organizations and by fixing by
mutual consent the conditions and rates of wages and working time, thereby
removing for a long time the danger of strikes at the
enterprises and in the branches of industry affected by these collective
contracts. The well-known wage scales were established,
according to which wage rates were determined in accordance with the
average price of prime necessities over a given period, the calculation,
however, being usually so made as to keep wages at the lowest possible
level. And in order to involve the workers and their trade unions more
deeply in capitalist production, to harness them to it and make them eager
collaborators of the capitalists in expending and stabilizing it so as to
increase capitalist profit to the utmost, many enterprises resorted to
profit-sharing schemes in the form of certain percentages and bonuses
granted to the workers. Thus, the capitalists secured a maximum labour
efficiency on the part of the workers, safeguarded themselves against
their strikes, pocketed fat profits, while all that the workers got was
the illusion of participating in the profits of the enterprises and, if
what they cot was inadequate, of attributing it not to capitalist
exploitation, not to the greed of the capitalists, not to the capitalist
system of production itself and the way the goods produced were
distributed, but to their own inadequacy in work, to their failure to put
in the necessary efforts for the success of production.
Adopting this industrial policy towards the workers, the capitalists
strove to make them believe that an improvement of their condition could
be achieved not through strikes, not through a struggle against capitalist
exploitation, but solely through an increase of capital, through
an expansion of production, through constantly growing capitalist profits.
And the majority of trade unions in Great Britain and in several other
countries, from bodies for the defence of the workers' interests and for
fighting capitalism, were turned into Vehicles for the establishment of
equilibrium and peace in capitalist production and into an instrument of
the nation's capitalists whereby to keep the workers' masses in a state of
subordination and bondage, to divert them from the road of the class
proletarian struggle and ever to oppose them to the emancipatory workers'
And when in the middle of the last century, after the founding of the
First Socialist International 1)
and the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and
Engels, the proletariat began rapidly to organize itself as a class
of its own and the trade union movement increasingly adopted Marx's
view to the effect that trade unions should not confine themselves to a
partisan war against individual capitalists and to the Sisyphean task of
lopping off the branches without touching the trunk of
capitalist exploitation but should become schools of socialism
and strive to abolish capitalism itself by playing a prime role
in the civil war for its downfall, the bourgeoisie adopted a
long-term and systematic policy of bribing and corrupting the trade union
leaders and the numerous trade union bureaucracy, in order to keep the
trade union movement under its influence.
In its press it flattered the trade union leaders as being intelligent
and talented workers' representatives, enticed them to come to its
sumptuous banquets, courted them in various ways, granted them all sorts
of benefits, helped them to enter parliament and kept them firmly in its
It must be admitted that in this way the bourgeoisie quite often
succeeded in attaining its goal and in keeping many of the trade unions
under its direct or indirect control, of which circumstance it made the
widest possible use, in particular during the World War.
2. THE TRADE UNIONS DURING THE WAR
Standing on the positions of their nation's capitalists, the majority of
British trade unions, the oldest and strong-est trade union organizations,
saw in the war the only means whereby industry in Great Britain
would be able to pre-serve its dominant position on the world market now
threat-ened by rising and aggressive German capitalism, and to maintain
its sway over India and the other rich colonies, which supplied it with
raw materials and vast markets for its products.
And the British trade unions placed themselves at the complete service
of the imperialist and bellicose policy of their own bourgeoisie. They
attempted to stop all strikes, prolonged the expiring terms of all
collective contracts and strove to ensure the widest possible development
of the war industry. They gave a great number of volunteers from among
their midst and opened special offices for the recruitment of volunteers
for the British Army and, when compulsory military service was introduced
in Great Britain where it had never existed in the past, they not only did
not oppose it, but even enthusiastically applauded this initiative of
Lloyd George's as a 'fine' means of forever crushing 'Prussian
The German trade unions, on their part, headed by the notorious
social-traitor Legien and by the numerous staff of the corrupt workers'
bureaucracy, announced that the war of German imperialism against
'perfidious Albion' (England) was at the same time a war for the existence
of the working class in Germany, that if the latter were defeated in this
war, even the few colonies which she possessed corn pared with Great
Britain would be taken away from her, that German industry would be
deprived of the raw materials which it needed, its roads to the
international markets would be blocked and it would be brought to complete
disaster and, together with it, the working class would be reduced to
utter misery and unprecedented pauperism and Germany - as Lenin liked to
put it - 'instead of exporting goods, would be exporting live men
The General Trade Union Committee 2)
addressed an ardent appeal to the workers in industry and in the Army,
urging them to give their all-round support to 'the sacred defensive war'
of Kaiser Wilhelm 3)
and the German imperialists, and demanding of the trade unions to make the
workers refrain from all strikes, especially in the field of mining and
the war industries.
That is how 'civil peace' between the working class and the imperialist
bourgeoisie was solemnly proclaimed. At the very moment when the German
capitalists and their joint-stock companies were pocketing billions of
profits, when the gold rain of the war was pouring into their safes, the
German proletarians were shedding their blood on the battlefields or
working day and night in industry for the 'defence of the fatherland',
while their trade unions invested their millions in cash
(collected over decades in workers' pennies for fighting capitalist
exploitation) in state loans to finance the perfidious war.
Accompanying the singing of the rabid hymn of the German imperialists
and militarists 'Deutschland, Deutschland fiber alles', 4)
the big trade union leaders published a special book, containing articles
by the secretaries of the various unions who, with figures relating to
their production branches, endeavoured to prove the necessity of Germany's
holding Out to the end in the war and of her ernerging as complete victor,
proudly declaring that this would inevitably he achieved, because the war
on the part of Germany was a war which the working class was waging
for its existence and its future happiness. They enthusiastically-
painted the bright prospects of a military victory for the German workers
who would be able freely to travel around the whole world, receiving high
wages and enjoying the greatest prosperity!...
At the same time Gompers's AFL 5)
was carrying on a very intensive propaganda for America's intervention in
the war and, when this intervention became a fact, mobilized all its
forces in the service of the American millionaires and corporations.
Even the French trade unions which, under the influence of
were considered extreme and irreconcilable enemies of capitalism, in their
bulk committed themselves, for similar reasons, to the service of French
financial capital in the war, furled their banners and wholeheartedly
embraced the policy of 'civil peace'.
Without dwelling on the betrayal of the trade unions in the other
belligerent nations, except for those in Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia
and Rumania which remained completely loyal to the working class and to
international proletarian solidarity, we can boldly assert today that if
the capitalists in the two warring blocs were able to kindle the holocaust
of the world war and drive their peoples into it, if they succeeded in
manifesting such titanic forces during its four-year duration, this was
due primarily to the fact that they, managed in good time to win over the
trade unions which had a membership of many millions to their imperialist
cause, and place them at the service of their military policy of conquest.
The old opportunism and auto-syndicalism in the trade union movement;
the policy of confining their activity to reforms within the capitalist
system; the professional narrow-mindedness, short-sightedness and
corruption of the trade union bureaucracy; the education of the workers'
masses in the trade unions in a spirit of petty, momentary gains along the
road of mutual understanding with the capitalists - all this developed and
was brilliantly manifested during the war in the form of a labour
imperialism which rent asunder the international solidarity of the
proletariat and turned the workers in the different countries into deadly
enemies who killed each other for the cause of their common enemy - world
This, however, proves the complete bankruptcy of the dominant
opportunist policy in the trade union movement in most countries, laying
bare before the world proletariat and its workers' organizations with
absolute clarity the only salutary road - the road of intransigent
class struggle, along which, we are glad to say, our own trade unions
have been undeviatingly marching from the day of their foundation until
3. RESULTS OF THE TRADE UNIONS STRUGGLE
With the trade methods of struggle, the unions in the different
countries did, indeed, achieve quite a few results. The despotic
arbitrariness of the boss towards the workers at the enterprises was restricted.
The workers won the right to intervene, through their trade unions, in the
settlement of relations between labour and capital. A rise in the average
wage level was also obtained as compared with the worker's former
exceedingly miserable conditions, as well as shorter working hours, which
in the past the capitalists could freely prolong to the physically utmost
Moreover, the sums spent by the trade unions during periods of
unemployment not only alleviate the heavy lot of the unemployed, but also
help to avoid intense competition between unemployed and employed, thus
preventing a lowering of wages and the former unrestricted deterioration
of general working conditions.
Of course, the benefits derived from the struggle of the trade unions
usually go to the skilled and semi-skilled workers, who are those
precisely in a position to establish strong trade unions, while the mass
of unskilled, general workers enjoy, these benefits but little.
How insignificant, in general however, are the results obtained by trade
unions over many years of effort and struggle can be clearly seen from the
fact that even in the most highly developed capitalist countries, such as
Great Britain, Germany and America, the wage rates prior to the war always
ranged about the minimum necessary for the workers' elementary
sustenance, while the working day in most branches of industry was ten,
and only here and there eight hours.
The gains of the trade union struggle are, moreover, not only insufficient
from the viewpoint of the material, cultural and spiritual needs of the
working class; they are also precarious.
The capitalists have at their disposal various means of counteracting
the efforts of the trade unions, aimed at improving labour conditions, as
well as at divesting them of the fruits of their struggle. The
general policy of the state, as well as of the conditions in which
capitalist production is developing, facilitates their task in this
Thus, they take advantage, above all, of the possibilities offered them
by technical progress, introducing and extending the use of women and
children in production. These, owing to their smaller power of resistance
and lower susceptibility to organization, usually compete with the adult
workers and tend to depress working conditions.
For the same purpose the capitalists use the workers from the backward
regions and countries whose culture is lower, as well as the helpless arid
ruined urban and rural petty bourgeois who, owing to their restricted
means, are ready to work on terms inferior to those which the trade unions
Compelled to reduce the working day, the capitalists now manage to draw
from the workers, even during the shorter working hours, as much of their
vital force as before, through piece work and the different special
systems of utilizing every movement of the worker's body while
he is at work. A case in point is the well-known American system, known as
the Taylor system, which, however, inevitably leads to the rapid physical
degeneration of workers and to a shortening of their capacity for work.
Finally, what the trade unions manage to gain through their professional
struggle in the way of higher wages, is by and large taken away from them
the next moment as a consequence of the general capitalist policy and, in
particular, the introduction and increase of indirect taxes, of import
duties and a number of similar means which tend to raise the cost of
All these special conditions of trade union struggle have long ago
suggested to the more advanced and farsighted elements among the working
class that this struggle should net be waged in an isolated way,
that it should be co-ordinated with the general political
struggle of the proletariat, that a strike in production should
be combined with the ballot and the struggle in parliament, as
well as with all forms of mass workers' action, that in a word, the trade
union struggle become a component of the entire class struggle of the
And indeed, wherever this has been applied in practice, the trade union
struggle has been more successful and surer. BLit, to be true to
historical truth, it must be admitted that, even when the struggle of the
trade unions is thus combined, it's limits and chances of
success do not change substantially. Even then, its results, though
substantially greater and surer, still remain insufficient and
precarious. They do not create for the working class in
capitalist society the possibility of living well and like cultured men,
nor do they even substantially decrease the material and social misery in
which it lives.
All improvements obtained through strikes, on the one hand,
and through labour protection laws, on the other, as long as
political power is in the hands of the bourgeoisie, cannot exceed the
limits of a given amount of capitalist profit, as otherwise the very
existence of capitalist industry ,would be impossible.
Surveying today the whole history of the struggle of the trade unions,
we can see that its only essential and lasting result consists
in that the workers have succeeded in resisting the utter exhaustion
of their vital forces and in safeguarding themselves against utter
physical and moral degeneration to which capitalism is irresistibly
pushing them. The trade unions, however, are not in a position to
impose sufficient and lasting improvement which would enable the
workers' masses to lead a more cultural and happier life for a long
4. THE NEW CONDITIONS OF TRADE UNION STRUGGLE
The World War created conditions which further impede the struggle of
the trade unions and substantially lower even the chances of obtaining
practical results which it had prior to the war.
First of all, it nullified most of the previous gains in the working
conditions of all the belligerent, and even of neutral nations. Everywhere
wages far from correspond to the colossal rise in the cost of living.
There is a precipice between the nominal and the real
wage, i. c. its actual purchasing power. There is an unprecedented rise in
the price of the necessities of life and a shortage of them, an acute
housing crisis and unprecedented misery for the working masses in the
defeated as well as in the victorious countries.
Moreover, the war radically upset all economic life. For four years,
almost 45 million people, instead of producing goods, were engaged in a
terrible holocaust of destruction. More than 20 million producers of goods
left their lives on the battlefields or were disabled, i.e. deprived of
their former capacity for work. Flourishing regions in the world were
devastated. All reserves of raw materials and foods were swallowed up by
the greedy war monster. Vast spaces of land remained uncultivated.
Three-quarters of the farm animals were killed. The workers who returned
from the battlefields are physically exhausted and morally upset Trade has
been completely disorganized. The former relations between the different
economic and industrial regions for the exchange of raw materials and
finished goods have been discontinued. The means of communication
(railroad, shipping and other communications) have been worn out, etc.
As a result of this disorganization of economic life, many branches of
industry today are. at a standstill, and others have altogether ceased to
function. Mass unemploy-ment is assuming unprecedented proportions in all
countries ofthe world.
Today, in the period of liquidation of the World War, which in effect is
no liquidation at all but merely a passing over of the war into another
stage - into the stage of all imperialist war against the rising
international proletarian revolution, capitalism has proved incapable
of securing peace among nations, of restoring production and securing the
elementary survival of the masses. Crushed by the weight of its insoluble
internal contradictions, its only concern now is to save itself
from the revolution, resorting for this purpose to civil war and thereby
fanning still further the chaos in production and economic fife and
infinitely increasing the sufferings of its own people.
On the other hand, the World War irretrievably ushered in the epoch of
the international proletarian revolution. We see its beginning flow in
Soviet Russia. The revolutionary movements which have already started in
Germany, Austria and Hungary, as well as the intensified undercurrents in
Italy, France and Great Britain, whose echo reaches our ears from time to
time, testify to its early spread to other countries as well.
Anarchy in economic life, disorganization in production accompanied by
mass unemployment and misery are still further heightened by the civil
war, whereby the bourgeoisie is trying in vain. to retain its shaken
There are no longer any prospects for a return to prewar conditions. The
war itself accelerated and revealed the complete bankruptcy of
the capitalist system of production and trade, of social organization and
History now confronts working mankind with the dilemma: either to
pass over to new forms of production and social organization or to perish
under the regime of imperialist barbarity. The restoration of
economic life today is possible only along socialist lines, i.e.
without the capitalists and against them.
But precisely under these new conditions, the efforts of the trade
unions to improve the conditions of the workers even back to the pre-war
level have become quite hopeless and helpless. Within
the framework of the capitalist system this is excluded.
For its attainment, the first condition to break and go
beyond this framework.
And indeed, how will the trade unions be able to obtain the improvements
needed by the workers when economic life today is so upset, when there is
such mass unemployment and when the strong and extremely obdurate
financial capitalists, whom the war even in our small backward country,
raised to the position of absolute rulers and lords in economic life, are
inclined to see in every movement for higher wages and shorter working
hours a revolutionary action, aimed directly at the overthrow of
capitalist rule? What labour laws of a nature to expand and consolidate
the gains of the trade union struggle could be enacted by the present-day
bourgeois state, which is writhing under billions of war debts and is
It is, precisely these peculiar conditions in the trade union struggle
at the present-day imperialist stage of capitalism which confront the
proletariat and, in particular, its trade unions with the immediate task
of doing away with the capitalist system and the ensuing exploitation
The moment is setting in when instead of endeavouring through the trade
union struggle slowly and gradually to improve the workers'
condition within the limits of capitalist production, production itself
has to pass into the hands of the proletariat so as to be organized not
for capitalist profit and in favour of a minority, as it is today, but to
meet the needs of the working majority and for the general prosperity, of
those who work.
5. THE STRUGGLE FOR POLITICAL POWER
But it is precisely, for this reason that at the present historical
moment the struggle for political power by the proletariat comes to
the fore and all other efforts and tasks of the workers'
organizations, including the trade unions, must be co-ordinated with this
struggle and be completely subordinated to it. For the replacement of one
social and production system by another is possible only by means of
political power. The abolition of capitalist exploitation, which is today
the immediate task of the trade unions, can be achieved only if the
proletariat wrests power from the hands of the ruling bourgeoisie and
establishes a proletarian dictatorship exercised by the workers' councils.
But if the strike is the strongest weapon of the trade unions
for gaining improvements in production, now, when it is a question of
seizing political power and proceeding to a radical reconstruction of
production and society, not the strike, even in the form of a
mass political strike, will settle the issue, but the proletarian
Instead of a struggle with hands crossed by different groups
and the masses of workers, we have to have a struggle waged by the whole
proletariat, which it will terminate with arms in hand!
To rally the masses, to educate arid prepare them for this struggle,
while they themselves take a most active part in it under the leadership
of the Communist Party, is today the foremost task of the trade
unions, if they wish to remain true to the interests of the proletariat
and to their own role of class proletarian organizations.
6. TRADE UNION NEUTRALITY
In this factual and historical state of affairs, is it necessary to
prove in detail that there is no room today for any so-called political
neutrality - the neutrality of the trade unions with regard to political
parties and political struggles?
Trade union neutrality has always been a purely bourgeois idea. Under
the guise of political neutrality, the bourgeoisie and its agents in the
workers' movement (the right-wing socialists and the various 'workers'
friends' arid social-reformers) have attempted to detach the trade unions
from the class struggle of the proletariat and turn them into tools for
the maintenance of capitalist rule.
In fact, never and in no country have the trade
unions been neutral. The whole history of the workers' movement bears this
out. The trade unions have always either remained true to the proletarian
cause and have resolutely fought against capitalism, taking part in some
way or other in the political struggles in favour of the proletariat, or
have directly or indirectly, in one form or another, been at the service
of the bourgeoisie, letting the bourgeois parties use them in their
internecine struggles for the plums derived from power, and often even in
their fight against the emancipatory movement of the proletariat itself
What in fact the neutrality of the trade unions amounts to was best seen
during the World War, when the 'neutral' and 'free' trade unions in
Germany, France, Great Britain and America committed their treason towards
the cause of proletarian liberation, by taking part with might and main in
the bellicose imperialist policy of their own Capitalist classes.
And indeed, call the trade unions be neutral in the struggle
between labour and capital, in which by their very nature they are
Still less is it possible today, when class contradictions have reached
their peak, when the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are pitted against
each other as class against class, when the period of the
international proletarian revolution has been ushered in, to speak about
trade union neutrality.
For the trade unions to be neutral today towards the political
class party of the proletariat means for them to be dependent on
the bourgeoisie and to be serving some of bourgeois parties.
For the trade unions to be neutral to the workers' revolution
which is being implemented means that they will be helping the
Either with labour - against capital; or with capital
against labour! Either on the side of the revolution,
or in tile camp of the counter-revolution!
There is no middle road!
And in this connexion the form in which this takes place is of
absolutely no significance; what counts is the essence of the matter The
fact that certain trade unions are formally considered as neutral
and independent means absolutely nothing in fact they cannot be
such, and will inevitably go either to the one or to the other
side, to the one or to the other of the two fighting
The historical development of the proletarian class struggle has not
only refuted all bourgeois fallacies about trade union neutrality and
independence towards the political organization and struggle of the
proletariat, but also imposes today a still closer unity between
the trade unions and the Communist Party, a complete organic unity
between the professional and political struggles of the proletariat for
the overthrow of capitalism, the setting up of a proletarian
dictatorship and the achievement of communism.
7. THE NEW TASKS OF THE TRADE UNIONS
The example set to us by Soviet Russia where the proletariat has now
been exercising its dictatorship for a year and a half and is implementing
the country's socialist reconstruction, has shown clearly that the trade
unions do not end their historical role and do not cease to exist even
when the proletariat has succeeded, through its revolution in seizing
political power. On the contrary, precisely during this transitional
period of proletarian dictatorship - from the overthrow of the bourgeoisie
to the achievement of communism - the trade unions are called upon to play
no less important role. Of course, their role now is profoundly different
from what they were doing in the period of capitalist production and under
bourgeois rule. Here they cease to be organizations of the proletariat
against capitalist exploitation, because the capitalists have been removed
from production or have been rendered absolutely harmless under the regime
of proletarian dictatorship.
True, during this transitional period the trade unions will again
continue to defend the workers, but no longer through strikes
but through the organized influence of Soviet power. Together
with the proletariat, the trade unions themselves, as it were,
have come to power i.e. become part of the government,
organs of Soviet government.
The trade unions will further have to organize the control and
distribution of the work force in the different branches of production,
under the general plan worked out by the Soviet Government for the whole
In agreement with the Soviet economic bodies, tile trade unions will be
settling questions referring to the wages and conditions of workers in the
different enterprises, will maintain labour discipline in them and work
for a maximum increase in labour productivity.
The elaboration of the laws, the fixing of working hours wages, hygienic
working conditions, against employment accidents, sickness, old age, etc.,
as well as the application of these laws will be another important
function of the trade unions.
Theirs will also he the task of taking care of general and professional
education, necessary for the training of a numerous workers' technical
intelligentsia, without which neither the complete regulation of
production, nor its nationalization and subsequent organization along
socialist lines is conceivable.
And, most important of all, the trade unions will be charged with the
task of organizing the workers' control over production which
will exist until complete socialization is achieved, and of taking into
their own hands, as organs of Soviet rule, in conjunction with the other
economic bodies, tile organization and management of production and the
country's entire economic life.
After the conquest of political power by the proletariat, the trade
unions will transfer the centre of their activity to the sphere of the
organization of economic life. They will have to prepare the proletariat
for the role of organizer of production in the transition from private
capitalist monopoly to state monopoly, and from the latter to the
socialist organization of economic life and to complete communism.
It will be no exaggeration if we say that without the accomplishment of
these exceedingly important tasks oil the part of trade unions, neither
a complete nor lasting triumph of the workers' revolution is possible, nor
the achievement of communism.
The functions of the trade unions prior to the revolution, during the
revolution, as well as afterwards during the period of proletarian
dictatorship - so important and so complex - imperatively demand that the
Bulgarian trade unions become genuine mass organizations in
composition and in their ties with the broad workers' masses, restoring
the complete trade union unity, and that these masses
being firmly welded together, deeply imbued with the ideas and spirit of
communism, be fully prepared for the communist revolution and the
organized construction of life in the new society.
Our road is indeed not a smooth one. We are still faced with many hard
The great cause to the service of which we have voluntarily dedicated
ourselves, however, deserves the utmost efforts and sacrifices on our
Let us, therefore, make them without any hesitation, profoundly
convinced of the inevitable triumph of the international proletarian
revolution and of the fact that all mankind will one day be basking in the
sun of communism, which is already shining in the East, quite
close to Lis, over vast Russia peopled with many millions of men, with its
wonderful purple rays calling to a new life!
International, or International Workers' Association,
headed by Karl Marx, was founded in 1864.In the declaration of its
principles, which became known under the name of Constitutive Manifesto,
Marx developed the ideas which had already been exposed in the Communist
Manifesto: the International was to be a class organization of the
proletariat, fighting for the victory of socialism by wrestling political
power from the ruling classes.
General Trade Union Congress was called in Halberstadt om March 14-18,
1892 after the repeat of the exceptional laws against the German
socialists. There a general trade union committee under the presidency of
Karl Legien was elected, which became the centre of the German trade union
movement, as well as a focus of opportunism. The German trade unions
pursued a policy of so-called neutrality and were called 'free' trade
Wilhelm II (1859-1941) - the last German Emperor and Prussian
King, a medicore and narrow-minded politician, known for his pompous and
megalomaniacal speeches reflecting the aggressive foreign policy of German
imperialism. Compelled to abdicate and flee to Holland (November 9, 1918)
after the November Revolution in Germany, Wilhelm II later expressed his
solidarity with the nazis and in 1940 hailed the invasion of Holland by
Germany, Germany above all
The American Federation of Labour (AFL), founded in 1881,
compromising mainly the workers' aristocracy under a mercenary clique of
revolutionary leaders, such as Gompers up to 1925 (whom Lenin compared to
Zubatov), Green and Carey, adopted a hostile attitude to the Russian
Revolution. Refusing to join the World Trade Union Federation, it is
actively working to split the world trade union movement.
Anarcho-syndicalism or self-syndicalism - an anarchistic current
sprung up in the 80's, which considered trade unions as the only real
class organizations, believed solely in the strike weapon as the natural
form of class struggle, and was opposed to the political struggle of the
proletariat and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Flourishing at the
turn of the century, especially in France, Italy and Spain, this current
began to decline after the Russian Revolution.