ANOTHER MOSCOW PLOT AGAINST THE WORKERS.
THE intrigue by which the Bolsheviks of Moscow tried to collar the Daily Herald and turn it into a subsidized organ of their own is already familiar history. It is true that we have not yet seen the end of the episode as we do not know what Mr. Lansbury's future relations will be with the Bolsheviks. The more he is justified in saying that he knew nothing of what was going on and that nobody was more astonished than he when it was discovered that the Bolsheviks had put up £75,000 as a subsidy and regarded the Daily Herald as already completely brought to heel, the more abominable from his point of view do the dealings of the Bolsheviks appear. If Mr. Lansbury has any self-respect left he will of course say that he will have nothing more to do with men who deceived him; plotted against him and made a fool of him. We are bound to say that during the last few days Mr. Lansbury has been going very easy in the columns of the Daily Herald on the subject of Russian Soviet Rule. The daily paean in praise of the Dictatorship of the Pro- letariat has been switched off. This is very discreet on the part of Mr. Lansbury, or it may be that what we attribute to discretion is really due to the fact that Mr. Lansbury does not know what to say or do next. But now there seems to be fairly good evidence that contem- poraneously with the plot against the Daily Herald there was—and still is—another plot to turn British Trade Unions into something quite different from what they have always been. It is a plot not against a newspaper but against the mass of British workmen, and we think that British workmen ought to know about it and to make np their minds what they think of it.
At the recent Trade Union Congress at Portsmouth, Messrs. Cramp, Bromley and Robert Williams made a tremendous attack upon Mr._ W. A. Appleton, who is the very able Secretary of the General Federation of the Trades Unions and the President of the International Federation of Trade. Unions. They spoke of Mr. Appleton as a sort of social pariah with whom decent manual workers could not associate. Mr. Cramp said that Mr. Appleton's activities were abhorrent, and declared that he would never sit under him or in association with him—an ini version of R. L. Stevenson's ironic lines about the Scottish Minister who preached the fire and brimstone of everlasting damnation :— " I owned wi' gratitude and wonder He was a pleasure to it under."
Shortly after this attack, which had all the appearance of premeditation, the Yorkshire Post stated that a vendetta against Mr. Appleton, Mr. Gompers of America, and other well-known leaders of Labour had as a matter of fact been recently declared by the Bolsheviks of Moscow. The Yorkshire Post therefore asked the interesting question whether there was any relation between the Portsmouth affair and the declaration of that vendetta. It had some reason for asking as it was able to point out that Mr. Robert Williams was in Russia about the time when the Moscow Bolsheviks decided that Mr. Appleton, Mr. Gom- pers and the others must be wiped out. The coincidence is indeed remarkable. Whether the inspiration from Moscow was direct or indirect, it was at all events real enough. You cannot ignore the fact that Mr. Appleton was named as an arch-enemy of proletarian ideas when Mr. Robert Williams was in Russia, and that when Mr. Robert Williams returned to England he delivered a formidable onslaught upon Mr. Appleton.
The personal attack upon Mr. Appleton, disagreeable and discreditable though it is, is, however, nothing compared with the intention of Moscow to upset traditional British Trade Unionism and turn the Unions here into instruments of class warfare and violence. It is this that the British working men ought to think over.
We have before us a copy of the Democrat, described as " a paper for thoughtful workers," for September 24th. When the Democrat calls itself democratic it means what it says. It believes in the ballot-box ; it believes in the Constitution ; it believes in the power of persuasion and emphatically not in the insanity of revolution ; and con- sistently with these convictions it believes in obtaining every advantage for the working man that can possibly be got. The issue of September 24th contains textual extracts of the manifesto to which we have referred. The manifesto was issued by the Communist Council of Trade Unions, whose headquarters are at Moscow, on July 15th. It is said in the course of the manifesto that British and French representatives of Labour were present. We should greatly like to know who they were. Possibly someone will be able to tell us. The manifesto, which is addressed " To the Trade Unions of all countries," begins with an attack upon the Trade Union movement as it has hitherto been conducted :- "What have the trade unions of both great and small nations done during the course of the war ? How have they carried out the solemn pledges of international solidarity and working- class fraternity ? The trade unions mostly became the pillars of Jingo policy on the part of their respective governments ; they worked hand-in-hand with bourgeaia nationalist rogues, and aroused in the minds of the workers the basest of chauvinist instincts. These persons, for a period of many years, have been the henchmen of their respective governments. The latter have directed all their energy to mutual extermination of the people, whilst the former have now commenced to reconstitute the International Federation of Trade Unions, which had collapsed through their treachery. At Berne and Amsterdam, those trusted protagonists of the bairgeoisie, namely, Messrs. Legien, Oudegeest, Jouhaux, Appleton, Gompers, &c., became recon- ciled ; they re-established the International Federation of Trade Unions after long nationalist discussions and mutual recriminations of a chauvinist character. What are the principles of this Federation ? What is its programme ? What is the attitude of thi; International Orgamz%tion to the violent social conflicts of our times ? How, in their opinion, will they emerge from the blind alley into which Capitalist Imperialism has driven humanity ? The answers to these questions are expressed by the fact that the directors and leaders of the International Federation of Trade Unions are at the same time the principals of the infamous International Labour Office of the rapacious League of Nations. This Labour Office is composed of repre- sentatives of the organized employers, the trade unions, and the ' neutral ' capitalist governments. The attitude of the Amsterdam International is a logical consequence of constituting the Federation by component national factions. It is an organization of Social Patriots, of traitors to the interests of the workers of all countries. It is an International Federation of Betrayal."
British working men will hardly recognize themselves in these words. Yet they ought to understand that when they made one of the greatest self-sacrifices in history and.. ennobled themselves and their nation by resisting the oriminal wickedness of Germany they were merely, accord- ing to Lenin and Co., behaving like irresponsible Jingoes. They will have equal difficulty in recognizing the description of their Trade Unions which, according to Lenin and Co., are merely hypocritical supporters of bourgeois rogues. Happily they are quite aware of the fact that the Unions have brought them untold benefits.
Iu the latter part of the manifesto working men are instructed what they are to do. They are to take their orders from the Moscow International Council of Trade Unions, which, by the way, was only formed on July 15th. Here is the programme :—
"The newly formed General Staff of revolutionary trade unionism representing eight million members calls upon the trade unions throughout the world to repudiate those leaders who voice the criminal policy of collaboration with the bcur- geoisie ; moreover, to enlist themselves under the banner of class war to the bitter end for the emancipation of mankind. The International Council of Trade Unions proclaims war, not peace, on the bourgeoisie of all countries ; that is the sub- stance of our agitation. Our programme is to overthrow the bourgeoisie by force ; the bringing Into effect of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of irrepressible class struggle both nationally and internationally, and to form an immovable affiance with the Communist International. Be it known that we regard those leaders of trade unionism as our class enemies who are of opinion that negotiations and compromise will solve the social groblem ; who seriously think that capitalists will hand over the means of production on the achievement of working-class majority in Parliament ; who think that trade unions can remain ' neutral' at a time of collapse of the old social order, and at a time when the destiny of the world is being deter- mined ; and who preach social reconoiliation at a timo of rabid class warfare. We shall employ the most stubborn resistance in order to defeat them and their manoeuvres. The International Council of Trade Unions and the International Federation of Trade 'Unions at Amsterdam stand on different sides of a barricade ; on one, the side of social revolution ; and on the other, of reaction. The choice will not be difficult for the workers and for the true revolutionary. Long live the proletarian world revolution I Long live tlie dictatorship of the proletariat !"
We do not imagine that the British workman will take long over making his choice when the facts are before him. He has the choice between making his living out of violence, chaos and the utter ruin of trade, such as is to be seen to-day in. Russia, or out of the steady and unceasing progress which has come to Trade Unionism under the direction of such men as Mr. Appleton. It is significant that the Moscow manifesto is not signed. Who are the eight million Trade Unionists whom it professes to represent ? There was a delightful piece of bunkum the other day at Portsmouth when the Congress passed a Resolution pro- testing against the action of the Government in refusing to allow " Russian Trade Union delegates " to land in this country. The Congress did not inquire who the delegates were, but Mr. Appleton did. He telegraphed to find out their names and their authority and to ascertain who paid their expenses. He never received an answer, for the simple reason that in the British sense of the word there Is no such thing as a Trade Union in Russia. There are conscript workers under Soviet Rule, and that is all by way of organization. So the sum of the whole matter is that the communistic schemers of Moscow not only offer a disastrous choice to the British working man, but offer it on the authority of a body which does not really exist.