International News Trades Union International
Maoriland Worker, Volume 12, Issue 214, 2 February 1921, Page 4
Trades Union International
- The Congress of the International Federation of Trades' Unions which was held in London in November was attended' by 100 delegates /represent' ing 24,000,000' organised' workers. The delegates came from Belgium,, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Englaiifh Hungary, Italy, Holland, Norway, Poland, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Luxemburg. Peru, and France, and Hungarian delegates arrived 'some time after Congress opened. 'After receiving the i*esignation of W. A. Appleloif; the President of the Federation, Jouhaux of the French Confederation of Labor welcomed the delegates in a speech in .which he said: "Our first hopes after the war met with disillusionment. "Reaction was soon alive in. all countries, and the diplomats, not understanding each other, or the Avish of their peoples, indulged in an orgy of secret diplomacy, in spite of the demands and protests of Avorkers in all countries; but noAv there is a new movement. "Capitalism has been unable to fulfil Its promises- It has been unable to solve the world problems that confront us, ahd iioav it has/failed every one should be allOAved to 'work out their destiny. "It is our duty to develop the principle of humanity, now trodden down in many lands, but this is only possible by the solidarity of workers in all lands, by the breaking down :-f the capitalist system, and by (he.socialisation of the means of production and distribution. "This is the only solution, and the way out of the present chaos. The old order has broken doAvn; a new sun is rising. International Fraternity was never more alive than it is to-day. Workers of ' the World, Unite!" Mr. J. H. Thomas of the British railwaymen was elected to the Presidency, and defended the aftinations against an attack made on them by the Moscow Trades' Union International. Said Thomas: "We are looked upon as Yellow Trades' Uniouisv.s. but we desire a world free, we Avantliberty and justice for our class, and we want to remove all the ills irom which our class suffer, not .by a bloody upheaval, but-by the scientific anplication of our minds to those problems. That is the only differonee between ourselves- and those who have attacked us." The first important resolution carried protested against all open and covert attempts of the dominant class throughout the world to suppress freedom of organ'sation ;.nd action by the Avorkers; it raised emphatic protest against, the military and commercial war still carried on against Russia; it voiced the opinion that militarism must be combated in every form, and declared that: "The trade union movement of all countries should resort to general withdrawal of labor and to international boycott _as a stern and effectual weapon, in th_e fight-against reaction and for progress." An urgent appeal was also maae for "co-operation "to impress on the working classes the necessity for international mass action in the assault on reaction in declaring war against Avar, and "'for the realisation of a new social system." Another resolution demanded the full recognition and enforcement of the eight-hour day and 48-hour week as recommended by the Washington conference held under the Labor Section of the "Peace" Treaty, aud it imposed on affiliated organisations the obligation "to frustrate by all available means the attempt to shelve the convention of Washington." Some opposition led by Norway to this motion was expre.SL.-jU on the ground that the I.F.T.U. should have no relations with the International Labor Office under the- Peace Treaty, but the resolution was carried. Norway, Italy-, France, Canada, and Luxemburg voting against. Belgium then nioved that one of the essential conditions of economic restoration was a just and. equitable distribution of the total world supply of raw materials, and this with an addition proposed by the German I delegation that the workers' organisations should use their influence to immediately control " and distribute all raw materials Avas carried. A resolution was passed recommending the mutual cancellation of International War Debts as one of the means of counter-acting the effects of the crisis m the exchange, and urging that the total amount of indemnities payable should be fixed uniformly, the payments to he made through the League of Nations. Nori-way, Italy and Canada voted against the first two again resenting any with the League of Nations. To this objection Thomas replied that the League of Nations would never be effective until, it included all nations. w& Fimmen (Holland) said that what was objected to was not so much the League as the | capitalist governments which now controlled it. A motion demanding the socialisaition of the land and other means of ■ v l?atf- p'cy t carried and.' %
' was agreed that a; stary should /he made minerals, all tmhsport industry, and all branches of production which the workers of the various, countries thought might be socialised immediately. The Bureau Of the interna tiSnal was instructed to open negotiations, with the Internationals of Miners. Seafarers, and Transport Workers with a. view to attaining this object. . ■ / / A strong protest against a manifesto issued by the Moscow Trades' Union International in ' which' . the I.F.T.U. Avas denounced as "yellow" was then made. The resolution declared that this manifesto did not emanate from the masses of the Russian Avorkers whom it absolved from any responsibility in the matter. "These calumnious criticisms," stated the resolution, "were proof of ignorance or evidence of bad faith arising out of the unwholesome desire to destroy the Avorkers organisations '-in I every country." The resolution asked Congress to declare that it would i not alioav itself to be ; divided or de: stroyed, and in conclusion, sent greetings to the Russian workers .•'and to all Avorkers who have been misled as to the aims of tho International Federation of Trades Unions," .-which it-invited them to join. Only Norway voted against this- resolution, but Italy abstained. - The voting was: For the resolution, '22,122.000; against, 150,000; neutral, 2,300,000. At the final sitting this last resolution was further amplified, Thomas moving a further motion declaring it to be '•irreconcilable and inadmissible that chiefs of Government even Communists, should at the same, time be leaders of the Workers' International movement." This was. carried, only Norway voting against, Avilh Czecho-Slovakia abstaining. " •* Jouhaux (France) then nioved: "This Congress declares that the organised workers are prepared to use all and every, means to oppose and to prevent, a dictatorship OA r er the Avorkers in the Ruhr district." In his speech he- urged that if the Ruhr were occupied by French military the German workers should refuse to produce and the French workers AA-ould help them in the fight. After a supporting speech by Carl Legien (German) the debate Avas concluded by Thomas, avlio, on behalf of the British delegation, said that he Avas ''in entire agreement with Legien that the greatest libel uttered .about the Avar Avas that it was to end militarism, but advised Germany to address that to France. "France," he said, ''seems determined to folloAv her Imperialist .ambitions. -We, appreciate that our German comrades are prepared to meet, their obligations, and A r e Avant to make it clear that a- peace made in a spirit of revenge can never he successful. Neither do Aye believe that any hard or harsh interpretation of the Peace Treaty can . ever tend to the reconciliation we all desire." Tho resolution Avas carried unanimously.