Red Union International

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The Red Trade Union International (RGI) ( RILU / Red International of Labor Unions / or in the Russian abbreviation "Profintern" ) was an international communist trade union umbrella organization . It was founded in Moscow (founding congress from July 3rd to 19th, 1921). One of the three general secretaries and important theoreticians was Solomon Losowski , the other two Andrés Nin and Michail Pawlowitsch Tomski .

The first two German representatives in the RGI's enforcement office were Richard Müller from Berlin and Anton Maier from Stuttgart.


Solomon Losovski, General Secretary of the Red Trade Union International

The RGI was a central instrument for the spread of international communism in the 1920s. The RGI initially had a high degree of independence from the Comintern and the Soviet state and party leadership, but over time it became more and more an appendage of Soviet politics. It emerged as an alliance of communist trade unions, communist minorities in trade unions dominated by social democrats and initially non-party syndicalist trade unions . They integrated the with the October Revolution sympathetic revolutionary part of the international trade union movement and was contrary to the social democratic-influenced International Trade Union Confederation . After the First World War, many syndicalists joined the communist parties, while others became critics of communism. The RGI narrowed its scope of action and ultimately took the path towards an international communist trade union apparatus. There were attempts to establish common ground among the large workers' organizations, but the calls to the ITUC for “unity” in the mid-1920s failed. The “ultra-left turn” in the international communist (umbrella) organizations and disputes with social democracy led to the establishment of independent trade unions from the end of 1920, which saw themselves as competitive associations to the free trade unions, which were usually dominated by social democrats. In Germany, “revolutionary red associations” emerged in several industries that formed part of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition (RGO) .

This path deepened the division in the workforce and led directly to the isolation and defeat of the communist trade union organizations, as it became clear after the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933. At the same time, the previously strong trade union federations and organized minorities in the ITUC trade unions, such as Czechoslovakia, France, China and Great Britain, lost considerable membership and influence, so that the Soviet trade unions were the only member organizations of numerical weight.

Beginning in 1934 and under the banner of the Popular Front ( VII. World Congress , 1935), a common anti-fascist defensive struggle was proclaimed. The RGI had now become an obstacle to the efforts of communist trade unionists to join the ITUC federations. At the end of December 1937 the RGI was in violation of the statutes (only an RGI Congress would have been authorized to do so) and, without making this step public, the Comintern Secretariat dissolved the RGI assets. Most of the affiliates outside the Soviet Union integrated into ITUC unions by 1938. The world trade union federation , founded in 1945, has no direct organizational continuity.

See also


  • Grant M. Adibekow: The Red Union International . Floor plan of the history of the RGI. Verlag Tribüne, Berlin (East) 1973.
  • Dagmar Goldbeck: Publications of the Red Trade Union International in Germany 1920-1933 (= bibliographical contributions to the history of the workers' movement. Vol. 3, ISSN  0233-2841 ). Institute for Marxism-Leninism at the Central Committee of the SED - Library, Berlin (East) 1987.
  • Stefan Heinz : Moscow's mercenaries? The "Union of Metalworkers in Berlin". Development and failure of a communist union. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-89965-406-6 .
  • Ralf Hoffrogge : Richard Müller. The man behind the November Revolution (= history of communism and left-wing socialism. Vol. 7). Karl-Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-320-02148-1 .
  • Aleksandr Lozovskij, Jakob Moneta, Pierre Frank, Leon Trotsky: The Red Trade Union International (= contributions to the history of the international labor movement. Vol. 7). ISP, Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 3-88332-043-9 .
  • Salomon Schwarz: Red Union International (RGI). In: Ludwig Heyde et al. (Hrsg.): International dictionary of trade unions. Volume 2: Kober - Zwiedineck. Werk und Wirtschaft, Berlin 1932, pp. 1348–1359.
  • Reiner Tosstorff: Profintern: the Red Union International 1920-1937. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2004, ISBN 3-506-71793-6 (also: Mainz, University, habilitation paper, 2004).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. On the founding congress see Tosstorf: Profintern. 2004, as well as Hoffrogge: Richard Müller. The man behind the November Revolution. 2008, p. 160ff.
  2. On the debate about own communist unions in the German delegation at the RGI founding congress see Hoffrogge: Richard Müller. The man behind the November Revolution. 2008, pp. 160-163.
  3. On the changed orientation of the RGI from the end of the 1920s, on the formation of independent communist unions and on the politics of the KPD in the RGI, see Heinz: Moskaus Söldner? 2010, pp. 69-170.