Can Putin Survive?
The Lessons of the Soviet Collapse
WHAT is the present situation in the international labor movement? What are its problems, its trends, its perspectives? What is labor's rôle in the struggle to attain and maintain peace? Why is the World Federation of Trade Unions disintegrating? What is the outlook for a new alignment in the ranks of international labor? Here are problems whose solution deeply concerns all mankind, for the task of labor in world reconstruction is decisive.
The World Federation of Trade Unions (W.F.T.U.) was an outgrowth of the coöperation of Great Britain and Soviet Russia against their common enemy -- Nazi Germany -- in the Second World War. In 1941, the British Trades Union Congress (T.U.C.) had agreed to set up an Anglo-Soviet Trade Union Committee, and in 1943 and 1944 the Russians urged that this Committee be enlarged. The British T.U.C. sought to draw in the American Federation of Labor, but the A.F. of L. had had experience with the political tactics of Communists in trade unions, and rejected these overtures. It proposed instead that steps be taken to reconvene the International Federation of Trade Unions (I.F.T.U.), the activities of which had been interrupted by Hitler in 1939. However, the Russians, who were not members, wanted an entirely new International into which they would come as founders and which they would control. By January 1945, the French Confederation of Labor was securely in the grip of the Communists, and proceeded to make a pact with the Soviet trade unions to "coördinate" the postwar program of organized labor in the two countries, not only against "Fascism," but against "imperialist capitalism." Thus, months before the war was over, the Russian attack on the western democracies was already being organized.
Against considerable opposition in the Executive Committee of the I.F.T.U. -- especially by the Dutch and Belgians -- and under the leadership of the British T.U.C. (supported by the C.I.O., which was interested in establishing its first international labor connections), the W.F.T.U. was launched in October 1945. At its very first convention signs of weakness were evident. For one thing, the new organization did not include America's dominant trade union movement, the A.F. of L. Another weakness was that, unlike its predecessor, which was an international economic organization of labor, it was steeped in politics.
No one can draw a too heavy line of distinction between a political international organization of labor and an economic international organization of labor. In an international political organization there are to be found national affiliates whose members include workers of various crafts and industrial callings, and even individuals who belong to other economic groups in society. Their bond is a common ideology, a basic set of guiding political principles. On the other hand, in an international economic organization there are to be found national trade union affiliates in whose ranks are workers of varied and even conflicting political ideologies. Here, the binding force of the workers of sundry political viewpoints is devotion to the protection and promotion of their common economic interests. Both types of international labor bodies may hold some common views, just as the Second (Socialist) International -- an example of a "political" labor organization -- and the International Federation of Trade Unions both considered Nazism, Communism, Fascism and Falangism totalitarian and anti-democratic. But though the experiences and the enemies of two such organizations may now and then be identical, their composition, aims, structure and functions are entirely different.
The camp of labor, like the community of nations, is today in the throes of a deep crisis. No doubt the discord in the United Nations has had its influence here. But it would be a mistake to say that the conflicts within world labor parallel those which are rending the United Nations. In the W.F.T.U., the French, Italian, and Chinese delegates are lined up against the British. Only the organization which is second in strength in the ranks of American labor is represented. Most of Latin American labor, recently organized into the Inter-American Confederation of Labor, is likewise outside the federation; only the Confederacion de Trabajadores, which shows a Communist tendency under the leadership of Lombardo Toledano, owes the W.F.T.U. allegiance.
Reporting for the Administrative Committee when the W.F.T.U. was founded, the late Mr. Sidney Hillman declared that "The working people of the world . . . have shown that they can submerge all national and ideological differences in the higher interest of the great common cause which unites us all." But Lord Citrine, the first president, was more realistic, declaring that in order to succeed the World Federation must: 1, devote itself to trade union problems and keep out of politics; 2, have sound finances and efficient administration; 3, reach an agreement with the various international trade secretariats -- like the International Transport, Metal, and Mine Workers Federations -- and obtain their affiliation.
In three years, not one of the prerequisites has been met. The W.F.T.U. has acted primarily as a political body. It has displayed very strong bias against the democratic countries, and has championed totalitarian Russia and its satellites with intense and consistent partisanship. It has shut its eyes to the destruction of the workers' rights and labor standards in Czechoslovakia and the Balkan countries. Because of Russian hostility to the Marshall Plan, it has refused to act even on the most vital of all economic issues facing the European workers -- the reconstruction of the Continent. In the United Nations Economic and Social Council, it has levelled sundry accusations against various non-Slavic countries. But it has adamantly refused to support the proposal of the A.F. of L. for a survey by the International Labor Organization of the extent of slave labor and the destruction of workers' rights in some lands -- a problem which goes to the heart of trade union interests. Its publications have been unceasingly vituperative toward the United States and Britain. In Greece, the Middle East, Korea and Japan, it has intervened to oppose Britain and the United States and to give fanatic support to Russian foreign policy. Last July, after the attempt on Togliatti's life, its General Secretary, Louis Saillant, telegraphed warmest support to the Communist leader in the name of the Executive Committee. This was, in effect, support of the strictly political general strike ordered by the Communist-controlled Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro. It was also in rank violation of the decision made by the Executive Committee at Rome in April 1948 to establish collective leadership in the W.F.T.U. in order to prevent precisely such lone-hand acts by the General Secretary in the name of the entire world body.
Paced by the International Transport Workers' Federation, practically all the trade secretariats have officially rejected every invitation to affiliate with the World Federation. Last September, the issue came to a head when such powerful bodies as the metal workers, coal miners, transport workers, and others in joint meeting at Paris turned down the W.F.T.U. proposal for affiliation and established an International Coördinating Council of their own. This is undoubtedly the most crushing defeat the World Federation has received. The trade secretariats are the bloodstream of a living international labor organization; without them no labor body can deserve the name international or function on a world scale. The British labor leader, Arthur Deakin, in addressing the Margate Conference of the British Trades Union Congress in September 1948, spoke in these terms:
The World Federation of Trade Unions is rapidly becoming nothing more than another platform and instrument for the furtherance of Soviet policy. Wherever we meet, you can see the alignment of the forces. The Communists are carefully looked after and segregated from the rest. They meet in a different place. The same merry game has been going on here this week . . . . We have tried to forge the instrument that our conference asked us to. I suggest to you that it is utterly impossible. . . .
The World Federation of Trade Unions was the successor of the International Federation of Trade Unions which was an immeasurably superior organization.
Mr. Deakin is the President of the W.F.T.U.! Could there be a more bitter condemnation?
Under these circumstances, and in line with the decision of the Margate Congress, the General Council of the T.U.C. decided on October 27, 1948, to call on the World Federation to dissolve. The resolution recognized the fundamental differences which existed on questions of policy and organization and the impossibility of preventing the intrusion of politics. The final word of the General Council was: "In the event of the World Federation of Trade Unions refusing to agree to the suspension of its activities, a withdrawal from the World Federation of Trade Unions must follow." This is the end. With the T.U.C. getting out, the C.I.O. should find it extremely difficult to stay in. The trade union movements of the Low Countries and Scandinavia could hardly continue affiliation after a departure by the British. The Communists still control the majority of the trade union organizations in France and Italy; but the upshot of the split in the W.F.T.U. is likely to be a strengthening of the independent, non-Communist trade unions like the Force Ouvrière. After his return from the April 1948 executive meeting in Rome, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Rosenblum of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, who is a vice-president of the W.F.T.U., said he was convinced that there was no Communist domination of the organization's affairs and that "at no time did the Russians impose their will on the Executive Bureau or the General Council." But that seems a lone opinion.
The experience with the W.F.T.U. confronts world labor with a number of vital questions involving fundamental policy, everyday practice and long-range perspective. The basic reason for A.F. of L. opposition to the creation of the World Federation was that the trade unions in the non-totalitarian countries were fundamentally different in nature and purpose from those under totalitarian régimes and, therefore, could not function together in one international labor body. This had been clear to members of the American Federation of Labor for some time. In democratic countries, trade unions are voluntary institutions. They are organs of large sections of the working people, grouped according to their jobs and skill, not according to political belief, and are dedicated primarily to the defense and promotion of the rights and interests of labor. In this capacity, the trade unions are free agencies which can and often do exercise considerable influence on governmental policies and legislation. Free trade unions are instruments for making democratic governments more responsive to the wishes and interests of great masses of the people.
In totalitarian countries, on the other hand, the process is completely reversed. Instead of the unions helping to determine the policies of the government, the governments determine the course of the unions. The trade unions are instruments of the government -- used by it to impose its will on the masses of the people. This was the unbridgeable difference between the Nazi Labor Front and the trade unions in the United States, Britain, Scandinavia and other democratic countries. This continues to be the unbridgeable chasm between the Communist unions and the labor unions in our country. In Russia, the difference is dramatized by the following facts. The All-Union Central Federation has not held a convention since April 1932. Its most important elected officers (Tomsky and others) have been imprisoned, driven to suicide or shot. There are reports that a national trade union convention is being planned for April 1949. Those now holding office were never elected by a national convention, but selected by the Communist Party and appointed by the government. Citrine, in his book entitled "I Search for Truth in Russia," characterized the Soviet trade unions as "state organizations" without "any separate existence." [i]
Article 126 of the Soviet Constitution provides for the existence of only one political party -- namely, the Communist Party. It declares that this party is "the leading core of all organizations of the working people, both public and state." Thus it is the Soviet Constitution itself which provides that all associations of any kind whatsoever are to be run and directed by Communist Party "cells." On March 14, 1947, Pravda, central organ of the Russian Communist Party, declared:
The trade unions enter a new period of their activities and in this important period, the party organization must give them the necessary help, incessantly watch the preparations for the conclusion of collective agreements and strengthen the entire organizing and educational work of the unions. . . . In this respect, the directing and leading rôle of the Party organization is particularly important.
Labor's disastrous experience with Communism, Fascism, Nazism and Falangism affords tragic proof aplenty that there is no room for genuine free trade unions in countries under totalitarian yokes. Free trade unions -- unions free from control by governments, employers or political parties -- are a specific feature of democracy. What is more, just as there can be no free trade unions without democracy, so can there be no democracy without free trade unions.
The history of American labor reveals that free trade unionism could flourish only if all forms of "company unions" -- unions promoted and dominated by employers or their agents -- were rejected. The primary and permanent service of the Wagner Act to organized labor in America lies above all in its legal support of this doctrine of free unionism. But modern totalitarianism has produced a new form of company unionism -- the union controlled by the totalitarian state and its monolithic party. The overriding objective of such "unions" is not the defense of the interests of the workers. The real aim is to mobilize the workers to further the political objectives and economic plans of the totalitarian state. The theory is that there cannot possibly be any conflict between the interests of the workers and the wishes of the state. In fact, these unions prevent the workers from organizing themselves to protect their rights which are ruthlessly invaded, and from offering any opposition to the consequences of dictatorial economic and political policies.
In Czechoslovakia, for instance, it is the Ustredni Rada Odboru -- the Central Council of Trade Unions -- which today has been the Government's main instrument for putting through the longer work week and the speed-up in labor. In Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany the government-controlled unions fulfilled similar purposes. Nor is it any different in Russia where the unions are supposed to have more than 27,000,000 members. These unions perform some praiseworthy social welfare work, but the control from above is absolute. The workers do not have the right to strike. Wages are fixed exclusively by the Government and its agencies. The factory manager has more power than the manager of any non-union plant in America. Semi-military discipline prevails. The only collective agreements which the Russian workers know are those offering total compliance with the Government's economic plans and the promotion of Stakhanovism.
While the Soviet "trade unions" act inside the U.S.S.R. as agents of the Government and its various departments charged with managing Russian economy, their rôle on the international scene is that of instruments of Soviet foreign policy and nationalistic expansion. That is why in the 1930's the A.F. of L. opposed every move to affiliate the Soviet unions to the International Federation of Trade Unions; it even threatened to withdraw if they were admitted. Significantly, the unions in Great Britain and other countries, which at one time favored an alliance with the Russian unions, were motivated by political rather than trade union objectives, stemming from the situation in foreign affairs prevailing at the moment, i.e. the need to form an alliance between the democratic countries of Europe and Russia against Nazi Germany. In 1945, the alignment with Russian unions and the creation of the W.F.T.U. were thought of as duplicating the pattern of coöperation of the Big Three at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam.
The American Federation of Labor has held that even in the realm of foreign affairs, military or diplomatic coöperation with the U.S.S.R. should not be permitted to becloud the diametrically opposite purposes and characters of trade unions in a democracy and those under totalitarianism -- whether the form of the absolute state be Fascist, Nazi, Communist or Falangist. In so far as the international labor movement is concerned, the A.F. of L. has always insisted that the preservation and promotion of basic civil liberties -- such as freedom of speech, press and assembly -- are prerequisite to the existence of a bona fide free trade union movement. It has always maintained that any attempt to obscure this vital truth jeopardizes the gains which labor took many decades to achieve.
The experience with the W.F.T.U. has brought into bold relief the folly of attempted coöperation by free trade union movements with the state-controlled company unions of Russia and her satellites. Such coöperation serves only as a convenient avenue for Communist infiltration and capture of free trade unions. In France, Italy, Latin America, Japan, Korea, Southeastern Asia and the Middle East, the World Federation has been of inestimable aid to Communist agents in penetrating the ranks of labor, seizing control of labor organizations, and poisoning the minds of the workers with pro-Soviet and anti-democratic propaganda. At the Rome meeting of the Executive Committee of the W.F.T.U., Communists such as Di Vittorio, Kuznetsov and Saillant succeeded in preserving the thin façade of so-called "international trade union unity." This saved the Communist control of the Italian C.G.I.L. There was a growing trend against the Communists in the ranks of Italian labor after the April 1948 elections, but this declaration of formal unity checked it.
Such coöperation has served only to prevent the trade unions in the democratic countries from playing their rightful rôle in world affairs. If the free trade unions have not yet been fully mobilized for the success of the European Recovery Program, it is because they have been hog-tied by their association in the W.F.T.U. with the Russian and satellite "unions" which have individually and collectively worked to sabotage the Marshall Plan. Communists outside the Iron Curtain have, of course, worked with them.
Incidentally, the bitter opposition of the Communists inside the World Federation to postwar reconstruction of the western democratic countries should surprise no one. This implacable hostility to the Marshall Plan is only a continuation of the attitude toward reconstruction of "capitalist" countries maintained by the Red International of Labor Unions (the old Profintern), the precursor of the W.F.T.U. Alexander Lozovsky, General Secretary of the Profintern, declared his opposition to reconstruction after World War I in language startlingly similar to the tirades of Kuznetsov, Saillant and Di Vittorio against E.R.P.:
But we consider this disturbance of the capitalist system, not as a temporary one, not as an accidental one which may be cured, but as a crisis which will bring present society to final catastrophe. On the one hand, therefore, we have an attempt to cure and in the future to attain the normal development of the capitalist organism, and on the other, an effort not to remedy it but to "cure it to death" if we may so express it. Not an attempt to revive it, but to destroy this society, which from our point of view is too slow in dying . . . . Our international . . . has for its aims the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is stated in our constitution and in the main resolutions of our Congresses.
Had it not been for the extensive educational activities of the Free Trade Union Committee of the A.F. of L. in Germany after the Second World War, and for its energetic intervention there in behalf of free trade unionism, the Communists acting through the machinery of the World Federation might by now have seized control of the reviving German trade unions. An attempt to assume full dictatorial power over the whole country would undoubtedly have followed, as in Czechoslovakia, and could have been thwarted only by the use of force by the American and British armies of occupation, possibly at the risk of war.
Not an instance can be cited where the association of democratic trade unions with state-controlled unions in the World Federation has been of any use in persuading the totalitarian workers' organizations to bring pressure to bear on their dictatorial governments for the improvement of labor standards, the extension of human rights in domestic affairs, or the pursuit of peaceful policies in international relations. Never has the W.F.T.U. assisted any struggling free democratic union in any country. On the contrary, this collaboration has greatly facilitated the work of the Communist Quislings as instruments of Russian imperialism. Moreover, so long as the British Trades Union Congress and the American C.I.O. remain in the World Federation they are in the very uncomfortable position of seeming to sponsor, in the international field, the very practices which they bitterly fight at home. Both organizations have hitherto denied this. But it is solely because of their association with the Communist unions in the World Federation that they have been lukewarm to the idea of an energetic international drive to smash the Communist campaign against the E.R.P. Arthur Deakin's proposal at the Margate Congress to dissolve the W.F.T.U. marks the beginning of the end of this unhappy collaboration.
It has been argued by some that if the A.F. of L. had affiliated with the World Federation, the democratic forces would have been strong enough to prevent it from becoming a tool of Russian foreign policy, and might even have given control to the free trade unions. I cannot claim such powers of miraculous healing for the A.F. of L., despite the encouraging expansion of its international activities in recent years. The Rome sessions of the Executive Committee of the World Federation proved again that in any organization in which the Russians participate, criticism by democratic organizations can, at best, result only in frustrating and dangerous compromises which leave all the trump cards in the hands of the Communists. It is not possible for a devout Communist to make a concession in good faith. In domestic affairs, no free trade union can or will accept the affiliation of a company union which takes its orders from the employers. The genuine union would delude itself if it expected that company outfit to submit to decisions which were arrived at democratically. It is a far more crass and costly illusion to suppose that democratic organizations can expect the "company unions" of totalitarian masters to act otherwise.
In the W.F.T.U., furthermore, the Russians are in a position to concoct for themselves an overwhelming majority whenever they find it necessary. In the trade union field, as in politics and government, Russian rulers do not actually count their members. All they have to do to get a majority in the World Federation is to report a mass influx of members into their own unions or those of the satellite states. The Russians and other Communists in control of the world labor organization would resist inspection of their membership records with as much vigor as their diplomats resist international inspection and control of atomic weapons. By now, the liberal and democratic forces should have learned that in joining "front" organizations they stand no chance of outplaying the unscrupulous and ruthless Communists. There is no way of defeating an opponent in parliamentary manœuvre if the rules of the game mean nothing to him.
But if it is apparent that collaboration with Communist unions is impossible, it is no less clear that international labor solidarity is desirable. "Labor" represents millions of human beings, in many countries. Genuine international labor coöperation among free organizations can be a powerful stimulus to world peace and can help guarantee it. With world economy growing more and more integrated, and the various national productive systems so largely dependent on each other, labor's interest in continued production and adequate living standards necessarily assumes a far more international character than ever before. In fact, the success of the E.R.P. in an economic and social sense can be assured only through the full international coöperation of the free trade unions in the countries concerned.
The seeds of such coöperation have already borne some fruit. Last March and last July, the free trade unionists of Europe and the representatives of the A.F. of L., the C.I.O., the United Mine Workers and the Railway Labor Unions gathered in London to work out ways of ensuring the collaboration and full mobilization of all the bona fide labor organizations in support of the E.R.P. At these conferences nationalistic viewpoints receded before a continental approach. A Trade Union Advisory Committee was established to function in close coöperation with the Office for European Economic Coöperation for the purpose of aiding the economic recovery of the Continent and protecting and promoting labor's rights, interests and standards in the consummation of this program. In short, a fundamental realignment in the ranks of world labor is in progress. The need for protecting the rights of the workers as human beings and as producers, the urgency of rescuing the world from hunger, the necessity for speeding postwar reconstruction, and the fight to win an enduring peace against the menace of totalitarian aggression provide a timely and realistic basis for international collaboration by the free trade unions of the world. Once the British T.U.C. frees itself completely from its paralyzing ties with the World Federation, the Trade Union Advisory Committee will be able to go forward. It has great potentialities. It represents all the non-Communist trade union bodies of Western Europe and the United States, and if it becomes really active in mobilizing labor for the European Recovery Program, it will gain constant strength and authority.
A new and genuine international federation of free trade unions is in the making, though we cannot yet set a date for its birth. The Russians and their satellite unions will, of course, resist such a realignment to the bitter end. They will continue to exploit the name "World Federation of Trade Unions" to the limit, even though its membership is narrowed to include only Russian-controlled unions. In counteracting these Communist attacks, the rôle of the British T.U.C. will be decisive in Europe, for continental labor is still divided and weak, especially in France and Italy. The reviving German trade union movement is, naturally, weakened by its very setting in a vanquished, partitioned and occupied country. And American labor is still divided, though one can hope that the increased unity of action abroad will stimulate organic unity between the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O. at home.
A new and most significant factor in the international labor movement is the vastly expanded participation by the A.F. of L. in world labor affairs. This is not a temporary manifestation of passing interest, but something which has been gaining momentum in the last three years and providing new hope and encouragement to democratic trade unionists everywhere. The refusal of the A.F. of L. in 1945 to join the W.F.T.U. was accompanied by activities in the sphere of international labor on an unprecedented scale. Had the A.F. of L. shown such interest and energy while it was affiliated to the International Federation of Trade Unions, the latter would probably never have been dissolved and the W.F.T.U. could never have been created.
The constructive approach of the A.F. of L. toward international labor coöperation has not been limited to counter-propaganda against Communism and other aspects of totalitarianism. The San Francisco Convention of 1947 adopted a resolution, presented by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which first put forward the idea of an international conference of free trade unions to mobilize labor for the Marshall Plan. It is the A.F. of L. which has been most consistent in emphasizing that the free trade unions must not be on the defensive, but must exercise vigorous initiative and coördinate their activities for democracy, reconstruction and peace on an international scale. The avowedly non-Socialist A.F. of L. has also insisted that aid to European countries must not interfere with the fundamental democratic right of the people of each country to decide freely the forms of economic organization and ownership of their basic industries and public utilities. This is the only way to meet and defeat internationally-directed assaults on human liberty. The recent crisis in French coal mining where the Communist strong-arm squads -- under Cominform orders -- seized mines and wrecked their machinery to cripple the part played by France in the E.R.P. shows the urgency of international democratic labor action.
The increasing representation accorded American and European labor in the administration of the E.R.P. is a valuable safeguard against damage to efforts for continental reconstruction -- both from the so-called Left, and from the predatory, selfish, nationalist interests on the Right. This special E.R.P. task should reinforce the appointment of labor attachés to all United States Embassies so that the State Department will have a better understanding of labor unions and labor problems in all the countries.
Whether the Communists call their world organization and central bureau Profintern or W.F.T.U., whether they call it Comintern or Cominform, they never lessen the activity of their armies of agents, propagandists, party members and fellow-travellers. Whether a Communist Party in any country calls itself by that name or some other name, whether a "front" organization calls itself the League Against War and Fascism one day, or the American Peace Mobilization the next, the essential characteristic of all these organizations as segments of an international movement for Bolshevik world domination does not change. The lesson must be reiterated: the attempt to work with Communists is futile folly. The lesson applies to trade unions, to other organizations and to individuals. When working with Communists for a good cause we hurt that cause, because it is sure to be used by them as an instrument for achieving their own different aims. This is confirmed by Stalin himself in his "Foundations of Leninism" when he says: "A revolutionist [Communist] may sponsor a reform because he sees in it a means for linking up constitutional action with unconstitutional action, because he feels he can make use of it as a screen behind which he can strengthen his clandestine work." Collaboration by trade unionists and liberals with Communists serves only to provide them with a means of deception and with prestige which they subsequently exploit for party purposes.
This has been our experience in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. As head of the C.I.O., John L. Lewis had considerable and costly experience of this sort. Philip Murray's experience as head of the C.I.O. bears out this truth. The leaders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers -- the late Sidney Hillman and his co-workers -- once believed they could work with the Communists in the American Labor Party. But though they have remained faithful to Mr. Hillman, these trade unionists have had to withdraw from the American Labor Party on the grounds that it is a Communist Party auxiliary. Henry Wallace, in the so-called Progressive Party, is today in the stage where Lewis and Hillman once were. The question arises: must trade unionists and liberals burn their fingers badly before learning this incontrovertible lesson ? Was it really necessary to go through this very expensive experience of collaborating with the Communists, first in the C.I.O. and then in the W.F.T.U.?
Precisely because Communists place the capture and control of the trade unions as the first prerequisite for foisting their dictatorship on any industrial country, it is imperative for the democratic trade unions of all countries to pool their resources and join their forces in the protection and promotion of their welfare and liberties.
Toward meeting this need, the A.F. of L. has been maintaining permanent representatives in Europe and in Germany. The Free Trade Union Committee of the A.F. of L. has been publishing monthly the International Free Trade Union News in English, French, German and Italian. Moral and material support is being rendered to democratic trade union forces in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Latin America. A paramount reason for the effectiveness of the A.F. of L's activities in the international labor field has been their entirely independent character. At times, we had to take sharp issue with our Government over the failure of the American military authorities to accord sufficient recognition and rights to the reviving free labor movement as a powerful buttress of democracy in Germany. We have had similar experiences in Japan.
The free trade union movement is a bulwark of democracy, indispensable to its defense and progress. No effective coöperation of the democratic countries is possible without world coöperation of free labor. Postwar economic reconstruction will stabilize democratic institutions and enhance their progress only if it is accompanied by improved living standards for the working people everywhere. The safeguarding and improvement of the living standards of the working people are the first task of the free trade unions. In the present world situation, this can be achieved only by international action. The international solidarity of democratic labor and the world-wide and lasting coöperation of the free trade unions are an indispensable practical goal.
[i] Sir Walter Citrine, "I Search for Truth in Russia." London: Routledge, 1938, p. 185.