(Below are excerpts from a www.marxists.org article entitled; 'Trade Unions & Socialism'
by J. T. Murphy, an English Communist dated 1936, interspersed with random quotes)
'THE SOCIALIST LEAGUE.
is an organisation of convinced Socialists, fulfilling the conditions of membership of the Labour Movement laid down below, who believe that Socialism can come only through the conscious & determined action of the working-class movement in this & other countries & who believe further that only through such action can the dangers of Fascism & reaction in every country be averted.
Its members, accordingly, are pledged as units within their Labour Parties, Trade Unions & Co-operative Societies, to do everything in their power to further the promotion & ultimate realisation of a militant Socialist programme & policy.…….
When Trade Unionists fight the employers on wages questions & the conditions of labour they are really fighting against consequences of the private property system…….'
'UNIONS & MASONRY
Since the institution of Freemasonry was originally adapted from the craft of the stone workers, one of the guilds or building trades, it should not be surprising that many similarities can be traced between the various labor organizations & the Masonic fraternity…..The ritualistic, fraternal type of labor organization with which we are now concerned did not come into existence until 1869. In that year a small, disgruntled group of members from the Garment Cutters organization founded a fraternal society under the grandiloquent title of the ''Noble & Holy Order of the Knights of Labor.'' One of the founders of the society, Uriah Stevens, was firmly convinced that the failure of unions to make a lasting contribution to society, etc. was due merely to a lack of secrecy & of ritual. Consequently, the Knights of Labor adopted various modes of secrecy, formulated a ritual & gave their officers such titles as Grand Master Workman, Venerable Sage, Worthy Foreman, Unknown Knight, & other strange & wondrous appellations.'
'TRADE UNIONS’ FUNCTION.
Trade Unionism really represents in one sense an attempt to organise monopolies of labour power in order to break down the competition between the workers who in the labour market are commodities for sale & to establish monopoly prices for labour. The more Trade Unionism advances in this direction the more difficult it becomes for the Capitalists to make profit…….The goal of Socialism as the classless society has its starting point in the propertyless condition of the working class which is also precisely the starting point of Trade Unionism. The Trade Unions represent the first weapons of the working class in the struggle against Capitalist interests; the Socialist’s goal represents the consummation of the struggle of the working class—its emancipation from the system which gives rise to that struggle.
Trade Unionism & Socialism have thus a common origin & the aim of Socialism is only possible of achievement by the working class becoming victorious in the struggle against Capitalism…..'
'Socialist Schemes. - Schemes for the regeneration of mankind have been hatched in every age, from Plato & his Republic down to Louis Blanc's Organisation du Travail, & the International [of Marx]. Many communistic movements took place in the 16th century, & the brief history of the Anabaptist kingdom of Munster presents striking resemblances with that of the Commune of Paris. Babeuf & the conspiracy of the Equals remind us of the demagogues who filled Paris with blood & fire [French Revolution]. The collegia opificum of Rome, the guilds of France & Germany, the trades-corporations, the compagnonnage - all these were the forerunners of the modern trade-unions & the International. the systems of Sait-Simon, Fourier, Cabet, Louis Blanc & Owen also had their day. In this country no law has been passed against trade-unions, & therefore they flourish here, & have led to deplorable events….But these trade-unions, dating from about the year 1833, are still to be condemned, because they are the instigators & upholders of strikes, the greatest curse, not on the hated capitalist, but on the poor workman. Now the International was a combination of trade-unions, with the additional poison of Communism diffused through it's system'
Charles Heckethorn 'Secret Societies Of All Ages & Countries' (1897)
Throughout the history of the Trade Unions there have been three marked tendencies, first the break up of the crafts & trades into more simple forms of labour which brought in its trail the widening of Craft Unions into Trade Unions tending towards Industrial Unions; second, local & national combinations of all the unions into Trades Councils ['Soviet' means 'Council'] locally & the Trades Union Congress nationally, representing the merging of the many sectional interests into the common interests of all the Trade Unions—the gathering together of the working class; third, the political development of the workers’ movement, the formation of the Labour Party & Socialist parties & groups representing the growing consciousness of the working class of its independent interests & aims—in short, its approach to the Socialist conclusions arising from a recognition of the class divisions in society & the conflict arising therefrom…...All the signs in countries where Capitalism reigns reveal the increasing strains & stresses to which it is subjected, & the failure to find, save at the expense of the workers, any sure temporary stabilities. & yet it is a fact that the bargain-making outlook is in command of the unions. So much is this the case that wage struggles are unco-ordinated, the Trades Union Congress is committed to all kinds of plans for re-constructing Capitalism, “Roosevelt Plan for Britain,” & so on…..'
'Dating back to 1276, the Worshipful Company of Paviors is one of the City of London Livery Companies that evolved from medieval guilds & were responsible for the regulation of wage control, labour conditions & industry standards. The Paviors were responsible for roads. Today, Livery companies play a significant role in City life by providing charitable giving & networking opportunities.
Around a fifth of the City of London’s 110 Livery Companies have their own masonic lodge. During their year in office, every Livery Lodge Master is invited to attend each of the Sister Livery Lodges as an honoured guest. The City of London Installed Masters’ Lodge meets at the Guildhall & is made up of over 300 Liverymen who have been Masters of a masonic lodge.'
'WHAT THE SOCIALIST WANTS.
The Socialist declares that such a policy, especially in the present period, is disastrous for the unions & the workers. The Socialist is not anti-trade union. On the contrary, he is the most ardent of Trade Unionists. Socialists want their fellow Trade Unionists to recognise the cause of the struggle their Trade Unions are compelled to wage. Recognising the cause as rooted in the private ownership of the means of production & the propertyless conditions of the working class, Socialists want all the struggles of the unions to be co-ordinated, so that behind every national or industry conflict there will be available the appropriate power of the working class. Socialists want sectionalism to be superseded by a united working class army of the unions led by a general staff which directs the struggles of the workers to one end—the securing of the victory of the working class over the Capitalists.
This means that the Trade Unions should recognise that all the efforts of the working class must be directed to the goal of the conquest of political power. Their fight in the industrial field must be linked with the fight to obtain a Socialist Government which, backed by the might of the working class, would transfer the ownership of the means of production & distribution from private hands to social ownership.'
'It is to Masonry we owe the affiliation of all classes of society, it alone could bring about this fusion which from it's midst has past into the lives of the peoples. It alone could promulgate that humanitarian law of which the rising activity, tending to a great social uniformity, leads to the fusion of races, of different classes, of morals, codes, customs, languages, fashions, many & measures. It's virtuous propaganda will become the humanitarian law of all consciences. Every generous reform, every social benefit derives from it, & if tase survive, it is because Masonry lends them it's support. This phenomenon is due only to the power of it's organisation. The past belongs to it, & the future cannot escape from it. By it's immense lever of association, it alone is able to realise by a productive communion (communion génératrice) that great & beautiful social unity conceived by Jaurez, Saint Simon, Owen, Fourier. If Masons wish it, the generous conceptions of of these philanthropic thinkers will cease to be vain Utopia's.'
- Jean Marie Ragon 'Cours Philosophique Et Interpretatif Des Initiations Anciennes Et Modernes' (Ed.1841)
'INSTRUMENTS OF STRUGGLE.
The Socialist wants the Trade Unions to be instruments of struggle for this power & this aim, & not instruments for the retarding of the workers’ struggle, as some bargain-makers would seem to desire. Trade Unions should become transformed into industrial unions, i.e. one union for each industry, for the longer the delay in such a transformation the greater the impediments in the way of the conquest of power…...The greater the crisis of Capitalism, the more desperate the Capitalists become, the more certainly will they take issue with the Trade Unions on every question. Trade Unionists must face the fact that the conditions of labour they seek to maintain & establish become increasingly inimical to the existence of Capitalism. Hence the struggle must be joined unless the unions are prepared by accepting the limitations of capitalism to suffer the fate of the Trade Unions in Germany & Italy, where the Fascist regime with its terror—itself but an extension of Capitalism—has broken them to pieces. To prevent this fate the Socialist ideas of reorganisation must take root, become widespread, & inspire the working class to struggle for power.….'
'The Great Purge, also known as the “Great Terror,” was a brutal political campaign led by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to eliminate dissenting members of the Communist Party & anyone else he considered a threat. Although estimates vary, most experts believe at least 750,000 people were executed during the Great Purge, which took place between about 1936 & 1938. More than a million other people were sent to forced labor camps, known as Gulags. This ruthless & bloody operation caused rampant terror throughout the U.S.S.R. & impacted the country for many years.' - https://www.history.com
'IN THE U.S.S.R.
A living example of this transformation, this enlargement, is now before us in the U.S.S.R. There the unions have complete responsibility for the administration of social welfare; there the unions in co-operation with the party of the workers & the workers’ state, regulate & control every phase of the productive & distributive processes; there is no “dilution problem”, no “apprenticeship problem”; there the struggle for wages with private Capitalism has ended. In the U.S.S.R. society has become a working community, owning & controlling the means of production, & no class conflict, no rival interests of employers & workers divide & impede. The old basis of struggle which characterises the position of the unions under capitalism has vanished in the triumph of Socialism. A new basis of common ownership has given the transformed unions new functions of self-government & administration. This is the path of working class emancipation.'
'Collectively, communist states killed as many as 100 million people, more than all other repressive regimes combined during the same time period. By far the biggest toll arose from communist efforts to collectivize agriculture & eliminate independent property-owning peasants.' - The Washington Post (By Ilya Somin November 7, 2017)
Above image, from Manly Hall's 'The Lost Keys Of Freemasonry ' (1923)