1920s >> 1923 >> no-223-march-1923

United Front?

We have been handed a circular that has been sent out by the British Bureau of the Red International of Labour Unions.

The circular is headed, “Now for the United Front.” The “United Front” is the latest “idea” flogged by the sensation mongers in the endeavour to put fresh life into their fading support.

Like all the effusions of the mushroom organisations that live upon phrases instead of upon the recognition of facts and the application of science to problems, the above organisation has its particular set of slogans:

   “Work or full maintenance for the unemployed,” “The forty-four hour working week,” “The six-hour day for miners,” “The conscription of wealth,” “All power to the workers.”

Why the forty-four hour week? Why not the 40 or 30? Why the special concern about the miners? What have the printers or painters done that they should be left out? Why should the unemployed bother about work if they can get “Full maintenance” without working. What exactly constitutes the “conscription of. wealth,” and what “All power to the workers”? Upon these points the circular gives no information. The circular states :

   “We must reply to the coming attacks by taking the offensive. We must concentrate all the available strength of our movement in order to win. ”

How is the “available strength” to be “concentrated” apart from the “slogans”? By the formation of “Councils of Action” through the medium of a conference composed of delegates from “trades councils, trade union branches and district committees, working class local and national political organisations, unemployed organisations, co-operative societies, and guilds”!
What the nature of the action is that this conglomeration of antagonistic bodies is to take we are not informed beyond the fact that it is to “ensure the carrying into effect of the workers9 demand. ”
As the “workers’ demands” at the present moment are varied and many opposed to each other, the “United Front” movement promises to make the usual “progress” of such organisations—that is, backwards, by increasing the number of organisations and thus increasing the confusion already afloat.
The wording of the circular shows that the organisers are afflicted with customary flamboyant and empty Russian phrases.
If more attention was paid to a solid back there would be no need to worry about a “United Front,” and no occupation for those who are making profit out of the propagation of such a mongrel idea. This solid back can only be obtained by the study and propagation of Socialist principles. This may not be exciting, it does not require slogans or frothy phrases, but it is the only way to achieve working class emancipation, and hence is worth the effort.