Communism and Syndicalism

trotsky

Leon Trotsky

(October 1929)

THE trade union question is one of the most important for the labour movement and, consequently, for the Opposition. Without a precise position on the trade union question, the Opposition will be unable to win real influence in the working class. That is why I believe it necessary to submit here, for discussion, a few considerations on the trade union question.

1. The Communist Party is the fundamental weapon of revolutionary action of the proletariat the combat organisation of its vanguard that must raise itself to the role of leader of the working class in all the spheres of its struggle without exception, and consequently, in the trade union field.

2. Those who, in principle, counterpose trade union autonomy to the leadership of the Communist Party, counterpose thereby – whether they want to or not – the most backward proletarian section to the vanguard of the working class, the struggle for immediate demands to the struggle for the complete liberation of the workers, reformism to Communism, opportunism to revolutionary Marxism.

3. Prewar French syndicalism, at the epoch of its rise and expansion, by fighting for trade union autonomy actually fought for its independence from the bourgeois government and its parties, among them that of reformist-parliamentary socialism. This was a struggle against opportunism – for a revolutionary road.

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