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(1) We Want Proof, Not Assertions

Executive Committee, R.I.L.U., Moscow, Russia.

Fellow Workers:

We are in receipt of a communication from Fellow Worker Krebe, in Berlin, Germany, with which was enclosed an "Appeal to the Rank and File of the I.W.W." This "appeal," which we have been requested to publish in our official organs, is signed by Lozovsky, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the R.I.L.U.

The reasons advanced why this statement ought to be given space in the official publications of the I.W.W. do not coincide with our knowledge of facts in connection with events and happenings relative to the intercourse between the I.W.W. and the R.I.L.U. If, as is alleged in the appeal, you desire to "state our views clearly and honestly," much that is only innuendo would be so "clearly and honestly" advanced and supported that sufficient evidence would be furnished, upon which the rank and file of the I.W.W. could base a clear and honest judgment.

We Want Proof, Not Assertions

The appeal to the rank and file of the I.W.W., to be really informative upon matters in controversy between Williams' report, as our delegate to the R.I.L.U. Congress, and you, cannot be covered clearly or satisfactorly by asserting, as you do, that "we have searched in vain for one correct statement in the report of Joe (George) Williams on the Red International of Labor Congress"; and "It is so full of lies that a complete reply to it would be useless." This latter statement seems to us to be significant of a peculiar state of mind, for, if a "complete reply to it would be useless," anything less than a complete reply is not only useless but extremely foolish as well. You offer the rank and file of the I.W.W. an alternative of selection between Williams' report and your statement, which, in the absence of full and complete knowledge, must be made entirely on faith. We, of the I.W.W., are much more thorough than you appear to regard us.

Then, again, when you undertake to disprove one statement by Williams, the result is not a happy one for your side of the contention. For instance, your "appeal" charges that "Williams asserts that we intend to force our theories and methods upon the American masses. Nothing of the kind." In this connection it is not out of place to quote from an article by Lozovsky, published in the International Communist No. 21, in which he states the R. I. L. D. position upon the relationship of the international to its national affiliations. Considering his position -- secretary of the R.I.L.U. -- and the medium through which his views are expressed, the International Communist, official organ of the R.I.L.U., it is logical to assume that this pronouncement is authoritative:

Real R.I.L.U. Intention

The Federalist International, of which these comrades (the French syndicalists) are dreaming, must not direct the sctivities of the individual organizations. It may only register whatevelo they may find to do. This dream reminds us of the past, for we have seen such internationals at work at the beginning of the war. The social revolution will not be advanced, even one step nearer to victory, if we put up one more letter box and paste upon it the label 'Federalist International.' The revolution will be successful, only when the International shall llecome a real, active force; when it shall unite all the growing movements of the masses, coordinate their actions; when it shall be able to set in motion the international movement; when the workers of one and the same calling shall be able to act simultaneously, in accord with one slogan. He who sets up a Federalist International, as opposed to such a real international, in fact rejects every kind of international, throws the labor movement back and closes his eyes to the real aims and problems of the labor movment.

We do not quote this to take issue with this conception of an international. We do so only to show that the policy of non-interference, as proclaimed in the appeal to the I.W.W. rank and file is not the real attitude of the R.I.L.U., as put forth by one of its foremost and most capable spokesmen, Lozovsky. Is it by accident or design that he assumes one attitude toward the European syndicalists and another, directly opposite, in the appeal to the I.W.W.? Why vote "Yes" in Europe and "No" in America upon the same proposition?

Our conception is also an international of action, proletarian action, and our concern is not allout coordination or national movements for international objectives, but about the domination of the proletarian (economic) forces by non-proletarian (political) ideology. Williams, in his report, points out the intention of the Communist politicians to dominate the economic movement. That Williams' report did not overstate is proven when, in the course of the same article which we have previously quoted from, we find Lozovsky saying, "But when they speak about independence from Communism our disagreement begins."

Unintentional Support of Williams

But, without quoting from Lozovsky's article in the International Communist, the "appeal," within itself, carries not one, but several propositions which support Williams' statement. With strange shortsightedness and incomprehensible inconsistency you corroborate the charge you would refute, or Lozovsky in his appeal does so in your name, by declaring":

  • (1) We only ask that the I.W.W. avoid the splitting of other organizations where they are well established, by starting a parallel organization of its own;
  • (2) that it confine itself to industries where it is already dominant, and
  • (3) that it cooperate with other revolutionary bodies towards the building of a united front against one of its most bloodthirsty opponents -- American Capitalism."

The Devil In Cowl and Cassock

With an assumption of frankness you are here imputing to us a purely destructive intention and purpose -­ the splitting of unions -- when you cannot help but be aware that our effects are constructive in aim and character. In these proposals, ingeniously intertwined, you submit to us the liquidation of the I.W.W. by asking it to forego every principle upon which it is founded and every policy to which its experience has taught it to commit itself.

Again, you assert that:

  • (4) "If the I.W.W. is to be a real factor in the Labor Movement, it must change its attitude towards other Labor Unions."

This is equivalent to saying that the I.W.W. must cease to be the I.W.W.

Next page: The IWW With and For Labor.