MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Organisations



Trades Union Congress (TUC)

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in Britain, representing the majority of trade unions. There are fifty-eight affiliated unions with a total of about 6.5 million members, around half of whom are represented by Unite or UNISON.

The TUC’s decision-making body is the Annual Congress, which takes place in September. Between congresses decisions are made by the General Council, which meets every two months. An Executive Committee is elected by the Council from its members. The senior paid official of the TUC is the General Secretary, currently Brendan Barber.


The TUC was founded in the 1860s. The United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades, founded in Sheffield, Yorkshire, in 1866, was one of the forerunners of the TUC (though efforts to expand local unions into regional or national organisations date back at least forty years earlier; in 1822, John Gast formed a ‘Committee of the Useful Classes’, sometimes described as an early national trades council). However, the first TUC meeting was not held until 1868 when the Manchester and Salford Trades Council convened the founding meeting in the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute (located on David St, now Princess St). The fact that the TUC was formed by Northern Trades Councils was not coincidental. One of the issues which prompted this initiative was the perception that the London Trades Council (formed in 1860 and including, because of its location, many of the most prominent union leaders of the day) was taking a dominant role in speaking for the Trade Union Movement as a whole.

Arising out of the 1897 Congress, a decision was taken to form a more centralised trade union structure that would enable a more militant approach to be taken to fighting the employer and even achieving the socialist transformation of society. The result was the General Federation of Trade Unions which was formed in 1899. For some years it was unclear which body (the GFTU or the TUC) would emerge as the national trade union centre for the UK and for a while both were recognised as such by different fraternal organisation in other countries. However, it was soon agreed amongst the major unions that the TUC should take the leading role and that this would be the central body of the organised Labour Movement in the UK. The GFTU continued in existence and remains to this day as a federation of (smaller, often craft-based) trade unions providing common services and facilities to its members (especially education and training services).

As the TUC expanded and formalised its role as the “General Staff of the Labour Movement” it incorporated the Trades Councils who had given birth to it–eventually becoming the body which authorised these local arms of the TUC to speak on behalf of the wider Trade Union Movement at local and County level. Also, as the TUC became increasingly bureaucratised, the Trades Councils (often led by militant and communist-influenced lay activists) found themselves being subject to political restrictions and purges (particularly during various anti-communist witch-hunts) and to having their role downplayed and marginalised. In some areas (especially in London and the South East) the Regional Councils of the TUC (dominated by paid officials of the unions) effectively took over the role of the County Associations of Trades Councils and these paid officials replaced elected lay-members as the spokespersons for the Trade Union Movement at County and Regional level. By the end of the 20th century local Trades Councils and County Associations of Trades Councils had become so ineffective and weak that many had simply faded into effective dissolution.

The TUC was the body which initiated the Labour Representation Committee in the late 19th century (which went on to become the Labour Party). The major TUC affiliated unions still make up the great bulk of the British Labour Party affiliated membership, but there is no formal/organisational link between the TUC and the party.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress, which was formed in 1897, is a separate and autonomous organization.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_Union_Congress



Members of the Social-Democratic Party of Holland, whose organ was the newspaper De Tribune. The leaders of the Tribunists were David Wijakoop, Herman Gorter, Anton Pannekoek, and Izlenriette Roland-Holst. The Tribunists were not a consistently revolutionary party, but they represented the Left wing of the Dutch labour movement, and during the First World War (1914-18) they adopted an internationalist stand. In 1918 the Tribunists formed the Communist Party of Holland.


Triple Alliance

The Dual Alliance of 1879 between Germany and Austria-Hungary was joined by Italy in 1883. Italy broke away in 1906 at the Algeciras Conference and joined the "Entente" nations: Britain, France and Russia in 1915.



A revolutionary group of peasants and intellectuals supporting an revolutionary agrarian program for the peasantry, to fully integrate them into capitalist Russia.

In April 1906, a group of 130 to 140 peasant deputies in the Russian Duma began separating themselves from the Cadets to form an independent party. These Trudoviks had an agrarian program that followed the demands of the peasantry for ownership of all land. Conversely, however, they did not seek to overthrow the government, but to overthrow the agrarian system. Thus, the movement represented an attempt to cleanse Russian society from all traces of feudalism, and to ensure all peasants capitalistic freedoms.

In the Duma the Trudoviks never fully establish themselves independently, and vacillated between the Cadets and the revolutionary Social-Democrats. During the First World War most Trudoviks took a social-chauvinist stand.

After the revolution of Feburary 1917, the Trudoviks fully supported the Provisional Government. The Trudovik Zarduny became Minister of Justice after the July events and extremely persectued the Bolshevik Party. After the October revolution the Trudoviks sought to overthrow the Soviet government and were disbanded.