Since then workers’ control had to transform itself and become workers’ management (administration). How is phenomenon to be explained? What are they doing there?”, When we saw at last the creation in Berne and Amsterdam of the International Federation of Trade Unions, at the head of which were the men who collaborated in the International Labor Bureau of the “League of Nations”, we asked ourselves: “Can we consider those men who make common cause with the authors of the Versailles peace and so many other monstrous crimes, as representatives of labor?”. First of all, it took possession of all the State institutions; it took possession of the State apparatus itself, knowing full well what decisive role this apparatus plays in the class struggle. [18] Moreover, the workplace itself became increasingly militarised. We were completely cut off from you. We already have the benefit of real revolutionary experience. 457–459. [9] In early 1914, trade union membership encompassed 1.2 to 4.6 percent of the industrial workforce. We were isolated. An International Perspective, Milan 1992, p. 398ff. Our great crime is to have made the Revolution, not having been too gentle with the bourgeois property, having no particular sympathy for international capitalism, having dared to put a sacrilegious hand on the sacred bourgeois régime. Neither is it made to order; socialism does not fall from the skies already made. Now in the metal workers’ union there exists a section of engineers and mechanicians; the same in the textile union, in the union of chemical products, and elsewhere. Within a year it had over 9,000 members. Let us notice here that it was precisely on this question of strikes against the Revolution that the workers and officials were divided into two camps. ), Strikes 1992, p. 378. [26] In the summer of 1915, the Central War-Industries Committee (TsVPK), a liberal industrialist association, proposed to introduce a so-called “Labour Group” into their structures in the hope of a tighter incorporation of workers into the national war effort. Labor in the Russian Revolution: Factory Committees and Trade Unions, 1917-1918. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Russian Communist Party, took control of the Soviet Union. Steffens, Thomas: Die Arbeiter von Petersburg 1907 bis 1917. The Russian people were angry at Tsar Nicholas II for getting Russia into the war. [13], The outbreak of the war in 1914 had multiple consequences for Russian labour. Revolution in the Factories 1917-1918, Cambridge 1983, pp. Mandel, David: The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime, Houndmills 1983, p. 63. Petrograd which on the eve of the Revolution had 2,700,000 inhabitants, now has no more than 900,000. When four members … There is no sense in discussing this question! This text It proceeded with the systematic closing down of those plants and factories in which the workers were more revolutionary, in order to subdue these workers by hunger. All-Russian Confederation of Labour, formed in 1995, affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the General Confederation of Trade Unions. Only 2 per cent of the total labor force and less than 10 per cent of all industrial workers, were members of unions. A Discussion of Statistical Data, in: Haimson/Sapelli (eds. Labor in the Russian Revolution: Factory Committees and Trade Unions, 1917- 1918 by Gennady Shkliarevsky; Soviet State and Society between Revolutions, 1918-1929 by Lewis H. Siegelbaum; Mary McAuley; The Electrification of Russia, 1880-1926 by Jonathan Coopersmith / Review. Admin Login. Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Search . Worker Activism in Petrograd and Moscow Between February and October, 1917, in: Haimson/Sapelli (eds): Strikes 1992, pp. The question of pay, of labor conditions are inseparable from production itself. 76–78. Both strike waves can be best understood in the context of two structural processes occurring within the Russian industrial workforce in this period: first, increasing urbanisation and the geographical concentration of a mostly young workforce in the cities, and second, the rationalisation of work processes, the changes in both the general composition of the workforce, and the forms by which it was remunerated. A sort of bloody drunkenness came over the minds of the workers. [38], The autumn and winter of 1916 brought along a general rise in popular discontent. It represented us as bandits, as destroyers, as apaches, as men without honor or conscience for whom there is nothing sacred in this world and who have pillaged the national wealth, filling their pockets with it. There was an economic struggle, but no unions. 619–642; Haimson, Leopold: The Problem of Social Stability in Urban Russia, 1905-1917 (Part Two), in: Slavic Review 24/1 (1965), pp. The strikes with their mixture of political and economic demands coincided with a general mood of upheaval in society. This is the goal which we propose to you, such is our duty and such is the mandate that we have received from the organized working class of Russia. 2. Thanks to the unions, the conquest of power was accomplished in two directions. But the revolutionary experiences and the needs of the masses showed that the unions not only are not superfluous after the Social Revolution but that they are the pillars of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. [3] What they had in common were appalling work conditions, housing problems, low wages, and a weak position vis-à-vis the factory administration. Unprecedented close involvement with the state, radical strikes in the later years of the war and after, the growth of trade union membership, strains and splits in labour movements have all attracted a considerable body of scholarship. When the workers took the power in October, 1917, everywhere they felt themselves as the masters of the factories. [20] Workers felt threatened by the prospective of being drafted, but also a temporary upsurge of patriotism had permeated the working class. Comrades, permit me to conclude my report by the general characteristics of the situation in which the Russian proletariat finds itself to-day. This can easily be seen by these divers facts: in the All-Russian conference of the unions held during the month of June. These committees were confronted with many other questions, such as the question of production, workers’ control, raw materials, fuel, the sabotage of the contractors and proprietors of the factories, etc., questions which played a decisive role in the October Revolution. The Petrograd Soviet constituted one half of the “Dual Power” system, competing and collaborating with the Provisional Government. During the periods of conflict, a strike cominittee was organized at the head of which usually was the secret social-democratic organization of the locality. They elect their representatives to the “commune of consumption”, etc. Aves, Jonathan: Workers Against Lenin. Others thought that the unions should disappear making room for the Shop and Factory Committees. Within the main peasant party, the Socialist Revolutionaries, a left … Create lists, bibliographies and reviews: or Search WorldCat. Outside of this Union of Unions, in a vertical sense, there exists another Union of Unions in a horizontal sense. (ed. The conference of shop delegates of the factories of one department, elect the DEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE and the national congress elects the CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE UNION OF PRODUCTION. ): A Dream Deferred. Prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 per cent. [8] The trade union law of 1906 for the first time codified the right of workers to organise, however these trade unions were bereft of any political power, and their statutes had to be approved by the authorities. 187–227; Badcock, Sarah: Politics, Parties, and Power. An overwhelming majority of the Russian unions have adopted the Communist viewpoint. The Bolsheviks had a certain advantage over their socialist rivals in that they were more likely to be called upon to perform illegal work, however their contributions were scattered. [17] The world war also brought about a militarisation of factory labour. It made a pact with the officers’ corps preparing them to crush with arms the advancing Revolution. [4] Moreover, workers were separated from urban society. One must always bear in mind that the unions were born, developed and consolidated during a period of extreme effervescence, in a period of struggle and combat; the unions acted energetically every time the Soviet Republic was threatened with danger. But in spite of this rudimentary state of the labor movement, the toiling masses, led no less tenaciously the economic struggle and in this struggle under the yoke of czarism was forged the class consciousness — this gnat hatred against the oppressors — which broke out with elemental force in 1917. From the beginning we drew the line of demarcation between the factory committees, the unions and the Soviets of workers’ deputies. By Gennady Shkliarevsky. 87-90. The slogans of international solidarity were forgotten. The birth of the new order is painful, very painful. Labour Protest and the Bolshevik Dictatorship London 1996; Churakov, Dmitrii O.: Revoliutsiia, gosudarstvo, rabochii protest. McKean, St Petersburg 1981, pp. Anonymous Spontaneity or Socialist Agency?, Pittsburgh 2000. Thatcher, Ian D.: Late Imperial Urban Workers, in: Thatcher, Ian D. Van der Linden, Marcel: Transnational Labour History. They watch that the principle of obligatory labor shall be strictly applied; 11. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act was passed that guaranteed the right for private citizens to form a union. … Some of the skilled workers who were originally drafted into the army were sent back to the factories to make their military contribution on workbenches rather than in trenches, remaining under military discipline within the factories. [16] At the same time, skilled workers were sought after by the war industry. Here are these functions: 2. 105–119. Nosach, Profsoiuzy [Trade Unions] 2001, p. 120ff; Pushkareva, Irina M.: The Working Class Movement in Russia Between February and October 1917, in: Haimson/Sapelli (eds. Peasant workers, war refugees, women, and adolescents made an influx into the factories. For the sake of stability, tsarism insisted on rigid autocracy that effectively shut out the population from participation in government. Interesting Facts about Labor Unions during the Industrial Revolution. In Russia there are two types of trade unions: those that survived from the Soviet era and the newly established ones that have appeared independently. Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia… Soviet Workers and the New Communist Elite, London 2008; Murphy, Kevin: Revolution and Counterrevolution. To what extent does this viewpoint correspond to the viewpoint of the Russian proletariat? Throughout history, labor unions have played a vital role in the relationship between workers and owners and have helped to improve conditions for working-class people. The earliest recorded strike occurred in 1768 when New Yorkjourneymen tailors protested a wage reduction. Labor in the Russian Revolution: Factory Committees and Trade Unions, 1917-1918: Factory Committees and Trade Unions, 1917-18: Shkliarevsky, Gennady: Fremdsprachige Bücher Both statistical sources do not include strikes on. Let the bourgeois press sneer at us, let the gentry that call themselves socialists viciously laugh at us, the Russian proletariat shall surge forward and above the sneers, for it has chosen as a watchword those great words of Dante, with which our great teacher Karl Marx ends the first volume of his “Capital”: “Go your way, and let people say what they please!”. In Hungary it was the yellow socialists, leaders of the trade unions, Weltner, Garami and their aids, that brought about the downfall of the Communist regime. The general decline of the interest in labour history in recent decades notwithstanding, one hopes that new, innovative research in this area will emerge in coming years. [34], The second wave of strikes in the first half of 1916 brought about an even more disproportionate amount of strike activity in Petrograd compared to the rest of the empire, and of metal workers compared to other branches. The formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union orga… See most recently: Lohr, Eric: Nationalizing the Russian Empire. Even though there was never a general decree that outlawed trade unions during the war, they were violently disbanded by the authorities one the other and barred from re-registration. In the treasury of the Central Committee enter 50% of the dues of all members. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this They furnish the workers with working suits; 9. 101–119; Postnikov, Sergei P./Fel’dman, Mikhail A.: Sotsiokul’turnyi oblik promyshlennykh rabochikh Rossii v 1900-1941 gg. The police carried away the treasuries and books. On the Sunday before May First the Central Labor Union organized a mobilization demonstration which was attended by 25,000 workers. The March Revolution, even though it opened the, road of organization and creation to the toiling, masses, had overthrown nothing but czarism; the whole State apparatus with its functionaries, the whole capitalist system with its monstrous consequences: the anarchy in production, exploitation of the masses, capitalist profits, decisive influence over the governmental apparatus by the organizations of contractors and industrials, private property of the means of production, etc. [14] At the same time, due to the needs of the war, branches of industry related to military production (particularly metal working and chemicals) experienced growth; in Petrograd, the working class in the capital grew by 62 percent. $54.95 (cloth); $16.95 With their growth, the unions slowly assumed control over the Shop and Factory Committees in the economic domain, leaving to them only the limited domain of production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. All these Thousand and One Night stories can not but provoke in the Russian workers a sentiment of aversion and disgust. The difficulties appeared from the first days of the Revolution. The strikes generally ended with deportations to Siberia of the members of the strike committee and the czarist regime tightened its mailed fist and became unbearable and choking. Workers’ Politics and Organizations in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 1900-1914, Berkeley 1983. Capitalist exploitation once having disappeared, the unions should disappear as well. A Case Study of Saratov, in: Rogovin Frankel, Edith et al. It carried on, through its press, a violent campaign against the “usurping” tendencies and aspirations of the workers, accusing them of anarchism, demoralization, etc. But we ask you: “Who is responsible for the suffering of the Russian proletariat? This profoundly irritated the workers and the abyss that was dug then between functionaries and workers, was filled only during the last few months, and not completely at that. resolutely declared themselves against such strikes. International capitalism and its literary mercenaries know why they hate Soviet Russia and the Russian proletariat; they know it much better than these invalid politicians who have come out of the socialist ranks. Reassessments of 1917, Cambridge et al. From 1907 until 1914 the unions led a miserable existence, as a consequence of the incredible police persecutions. The function of the unions as organs of disciplined and efficient production and distribution must be broadened and much of the task of Communist reconstruction and responsibility for the running of the industrial apparatus given into the unions. Their struggles, combined with increasing discontent felt throughout society at large, resulted in the overthrow of autocracy. Because the autocratic Russian state prohibited public organization of any sort, especially trade unions, autonomous workers’ movements often shared common interests with revolutionary parties and tended to cooperate with them. We hope that this new pamphlet will contribute much to dispell the confusion and cloudiness that now prevail in the ranks of the revolutionary workers of America regarding the role of the labor unions in the Revolution, not only in Russia, but in our own country. In 1906 and 1907 in Russia there were 200,000 organized workers. With this yellow capitalist press, with the papers subsidized by the kings of finance, by the barons of coal, steel and oil, we have seen march in line the socialist-patriotic press of all countries, munching in its proper fashion this capitalist and bourgeois piece of invention and wetting it with socialist saliva. But workers’ management is a new form of organization of production; it changed all the previous relation and put the unions face to face with new problems. [23] Nevertheless, these scattered revolutionary activists managed to exert influence on the shop floor when the temporary halt of the labour struggles ceased in mid-1915, and even more so on the eve of the February Revolution. While some recent authors have stressed the growing integration of workers into a national whole in the pre-war years,[5] others suggest that at the eve of the war, workers were still at one end of a polarised society, with the higher classes making little effort to give workers and their grievances room to be heard in the political arena. The role of the labor unions in the Russian Revolution. Thus czarism made impossible all organized economic struggle. Raleigh, Donald J.: Political Power in the Russian Revolution. Haimson/Brian, Labor Unrest 1992, p. 408–411. [32] The first wave was accompanied by political events such, for example the rout of the Russian armies in Galicia and the dissolution of the Duma, and a worsening of living conditions for the general population. Soviet trade unions, headed by the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (Всесоюзный Центральный Совет Профессиональных Союзов, ВЦСПС [VTsSPS]), traced their history back to the 1905 Russian Revolution, roughly 15 years before the Soviet Union was founded. We do not ask for aid and compassion from our class enemies and of their lackeys. What have the unions of the Entente countries, done in order to make impossible the monstrous Versailles peace which falls upon its authors as an eternal shame? The Russian Revolution, through both the experience of the soviets and, centrally, the capture of state power, opened an important debate between the Communists and the syndicalists over the relationship between unions and politics which is examined in Darlington’s book. ), Strikes 1992, p. 508. 1904 was a bad year for Russian workers. In 1916, the movement gained momentum and there were between 1,284 and 1,542 strikes with approximately 951,695 to 1,172,052 participants. The actions and politics of the workers from the outbreak of the war up until the October revolution shaped the course of Russian history for the whole 20th century. 825–858. Their primary aim was to negotiate between employers and employees, but gradually they took control over many aspects of production. — all that remained intact. In 1916, 330 political and 354 economic strikes, with 377,431 and 243,500 strikers, respectively, were recorded. [28] The lion’s share of strikes took place in Petrograd: in 1915, there were 146 political strikes with 132,384 strikers, and 157 economic strikes with 78,563 strikers in the city. They were rather well-paid relative to other workers, and were not hit as hard by war-time wage shortages. It is evident from the discussion going on since the Russian Revolution that both the extreme reactionary and the ultra-radical have distorted conception of the unions: their origin, present and future functions and tasks. At the beginning of World War I, the number of urban wage labourers is estimated at between 12 and 22 million, roughly half of them being employed in factories, small-scale enterprises and construction. Sormovo Workers in 1917, in: Filtzer, Donald A. et al. Postnikov/Fel’dman, Oblik [The Outlook] 2009, p. 294ff. Petrograd 1917, Seattle 1981, p. 73; McKean, Robert B.: St Petersburg Between the Revolutions. [24], Other forms of labour organisations also came close to a halt during the war. It suffices to read the history of the birth of the bourgeois order in France, to read the bourgeois historians Thiers, Taine, Sorel, Aulard and others, in order to understand what the Russian Revolution represents, which has aroused the great masses of the people. Enterprises chose electoral delegates to constitute the group, and after a turbulent election, the Labour Group in the capital was constituted by Menshevik representatives. The soviets gained in strength during 1917, and particularly in the provinces, they gradually supplanted governmental organs. Soviet Union - Soviet Union - The Russian Revolution: Sometime in the middle of the 19th century, Russia entered a phase of internal crisis that in 1917 would culminate in revolution. The most obstinate resistance was offered by the physicians. 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