National Sections of the L5I:

Marxism and the Trade Unions

Marxism and the trade unions

The nature and limits of trade union consciousness

The Marxist understanding of the role and nature of Trade Unionism proceeds from the analysis of the laws of motion of the capitalist mode of production itself. Capitalism creates the proletariat by freeing the serf both from feudal rights and duties and from the ownership of any means of production. The proletariat, as a result can only acquire the necessities of life by selling its ability to work, its labour power. Read more...

The R.I.L.U. Thesis on Trade Unions


The documents contained within were translated by Dave Hughes.

We print below three of the crucial founding documents of the Red International of Labour Unions (RILU but also known as the Profintern). All three documents - the Programme of Action, the theses on Workers' Control and the theses on Factory Committees - were passed at the first congress of the Red International of Labour Unions held in Moscow in July 1921. (The Programme of Action has been retranslated from the Russian for this journal, the two theses are based on the printed English texts, revised in the light of the Russian original) Read more...

The Comintern, the C.P.G.B. and the Minority Movement

Developing a communist united front in the British Trade Unions.

By Stuart King

Against the capitalist offensive: the political strategy for a rank and file movement


A new period of crisis has opened for world capitalism. The period of expansion and relative stability which characterised the '50s and '60s has ended. It has given way to a new period of chronic instability affecting all the major capitalist countries. This period, marked by high rates of inflation, declining rates of profit, sharpening competition between the major capitalist economies for investment and markets, the collapse of major companies employing thousands of workers, propels the capitalist class everywhere to devise new-methods to increase the exploitation of the working class. The capitalist class, internationally, is seeking to solve its crisis by attacking workers-rights and organisations, by driving down living standards, by increasing the size of the army of unemployed, by fostering and exploiting divisions in the ranks of the working class. In order to carry through this offensive, to break working class resistance, the capitalists everywhere are forced to rely more and more on legal and physical attacks on the working class, its rights and organisation. Read more...