‘The Red Sport International and the Role of the Trade Unions in the Labor Sport Movement,’ Resolution of the Third World Congress of the Red International of Labor Unions, 1924.

‘The Red Sport International and the Role of the Trade Unions in the Labor Sport Movement,’ Resolution of the Third World Congress of the Red International of Labor Unions. Published by the Trade Union Educational League, Chicago. 1924.

THE sport and gymnastic movement has assumed large dimensions in every country, especially after the war.

The main cause for this is the drawing of broad masses of the people into industry which makes it necessary for them to seek in sport and gymnastics a recreation after the harmful monotony of the factory work and a means of securing normal functioning of the human body.

The greater the industrialization of the country, the more widespread is the sport movement. On the other hand, capitalism fully realizing the colossal importance of sport and gymnastics for the greater exploitation of the workers, for subjecting them to its ideology and diverting their attention from political and labor activities, and for developing a chauvinist and militarist spirit, has been cultivating sport in its class interests.

The R.I.L.U. must make every effort to influence the working class and to further their revolutionary education.

The sport and gymnastic activity of the world proletariat in which several million workers are taking part, and the activity of the culture societies of the proletariat, (such as musical, singing, sanitary, excursion and other circles), if properly directed and systematically guided, may become one of the most effective means of the revolutionary education of the working class, a means of raising the proletarian culture, a means of proletarian self-defense against Fascism, and of preparing the proletariat for participation in the revolutionary struggle. They will also be instrumental in rallying the workers around the unions.

At the present time this activity of the workers is in most countries materially and organizationally dependent upon the bourgeoisie, which keeps it under its ideological influence and uses it for the class interests of the bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie is assisted in this by the Amsterdam International, which, under the cloak of neutrality of sport, adjusts the sport and gymnastic movement of the proletariat to the interests of the bourgeoisie, and reduces it to the role of servant of capital and of the counterrevolutionary interests of the bourgeois state.

In 1920, the revolutionary movement of the proletariat put OH the order of the day the task of internationally uniting the activities of the sport and gymnastics organizations for the purpose of giving the labor sport movement a revolutionary class character.

The Red Sport International, formed in 1921, at the International Conference of Labor Sport and Gymnastic Organizations, recognized as its task the revolutionary education of the labor sporting masses, their emancipation from the ideological and organizational dependence upon the bourgeoisie, the drawing in of the workers into sport organizations and the enlistment of these organizations in the proletarian revolutionary struggle.

The three years of work of the Red Sport International promoted the revolutionary consciousness and activity of the labor sporting masses. The sport international has created among the workers’ sport and gymnastic organizations revolutionary factions to combat the bourgeois ideology and the reformist muddle. These factions became fundamental nuclei of the Red Sport International and prepared the ground for the broadest sport activity of the labor unions.

The Third Congress of the R.I.L.U. recognizing the great importance of the proletarian sport as a mighty revolutionary instrument in the hands of the labor unions for educating, consolidating and disciplining the masses, considers it necessary to draw the special attention of the labor unions to the question of sport.

The labor sport and gymnastic movement at the present time places before the labor unions the following tasks:

1. To discuss in the entire labor press the questions of the sport movement of the bourgeois, reformist and revolutionary movements and to establish a correct line and program of work.

2. By an energetic systematic agitation and propaganda, to make it clear to the sporting labor mass:

a. That the labor sporting masses are interested in the economic and political struggle of the working class, and particularly in their capacity as sportsmen, they are interested in the struggle against the lengthening of the work day; the lowering of wages and the aggravation of living conditions.

b. That the sporting and gymnastic activity of the proletariat depending upon the direction in which it will develop, may become either a most important factor of its revolutionary struggle, or a means of strengthening reaction, Fascism, and militarism.

c. That the reformist activity of the Lucerne Sport International, which assumes the position of the neutrality of sport, actually leads to the use of the labor sport organizations for the defense of the interests of the bourgeoisie, and for the struggle against the revolutionary labor movement and that the refusal of the Lucerne International to create a united labor sport front and its demand that the Red Sport International should be dissolved, are a result of its reformist and bourgeois policy.

d. That many sporting societies and clubs, which include workers among their membership, are organs of Fascism, agencies for the supply of strikebreakers and are led by counter-revolutionary hooligans and murderers, are conductors of bourgeois influences and laboratories of chauvinist, militarist tendencies.

e. That the workers, remaining in the bourgeois sport organizations, become traitors to the working class, and that therefore, all labor sportsmen must leave the bourgeois sporting societies and clubs, and join the existing labor sport organizations or form new societies.

3. To create red labor factions in the bourgeois sporting societies and clubs for the purpose of widening the agitation and propaganda for labor sport.

4. To demand the merging of sporting circles formed by the employers in the factories and mills, with the existing labor sporting and gymnastic organizations.

5. To form red factions in all reformist labor sporting societies and clubs.

6. To form red labor sporting organizations and to affiliate them to the Red Sport International.

7. To draw the sporting labor factions and organizations into the struggle against Fascism and against all other counter-revolutionary organizations.

To carry all this out, the labor unions of all countries have to work out a program of sporting activity.

In that program, first place must be given to the methods of mass agitation for the transformation of the labor sport movement into a general revolutionary class movement. The forms of revolutionizing the sporting activities of the working class should be mentioned in this program. The organization of contests, the working out of programs and plans for them, the selection of organizers, coaches, and instructors, capable of transforming the labor sport movement into a real revolutionary movement—all this should occupy a conspicuous place in the program.

In the countries where there are already labor sport societies in existence, the organizations affiliated to the R.I.L.U. must insist upon their members leaving the bourgeois sport organizations and entering into the workers’ organizations.

The red unions must direct all their efforts toward merging the dual labor sport organizations, and struggle for the creation of a united labor sport international through the holding of an international unity congress.

Resolutions and Decisions of the Third World Congress of the Red International of Labor Unions Held in Moscow July, 1924. Labor Herald Library No. 12. Published by the Trade Union Educational League, Chicago. 1924.

Contents: On the report of the Executive Committee, On the immediate problems in the revolutionary labor movement, The struggle for the unity of the international labor movement, The international struggle for the eight-hour day as a maximum, Labor unions and factory and shop committees, On International Propaganda Committees, On strike strategy, Problems of the R. I. L. U. in colonial and semi-colonial countries, On the agricultural proletariat and the peasantry, Organizational construction, On the struggle against Fascist labor unions, On emmigration, On work among women, Role of labor unions in the labor sport movement, Labor unions and co-operatives, On the problems of the international revolutionary labor press, On the International Workers’ Aid, On the International Red Aid, Problems of the adherents of the R. I. L. U. in Great Britain, Program of action for the Trade Union Educational League in the United States of America, Program of activity for the Trade Union Educational League in Canada, On the work of the adherents of the R. I. L. U. in Czechoslovakia, On the work in Scandinavia, On the work of the adherents of the R. I. L. U. in Spain, On the work of the adherents of the R. I. L. U. in Belgium, On the work of the adherents of the R. I. L. U. in Holland, On Latin America, The struggle for the release of the political prisoners in the United States of America, APPEALS: The tenth anniversary of the world war, Against the white terror, Against the persecution of the revolutionary proletariat in Esthonia, Latvia, Finland, and Poland; Against the murder of violence upon the revolutionary workers in Jugo-Slavia; Against the white terror in Bulgaria; Against the persecution of workers in Turkey; Against the persecution of Egyptian workers; Against the terror in China.

PDF of pamphlet: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/tuel/12-3rd%20World%20Congress%20Red%20Labor%20Us.pdf

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