Courtesy Reuters

Rift and Realignment in World Labor

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

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