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Urge Tact in Fighting Religion in Russia

July 24, 1923
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The advisability of caution and discretion in carrying on anti-religious propaganda in the trade-unions is emphasised in a circular letter sent out to all trade union organizations by Tomsky. president of the Executive Committee of the All-Russian Trade Union Congress.

The latter was inspired by the action of the more radical unions in closing churches, changing the weekly rest day from Sunday to some other day and excluding members who belong to religious organizations.

The letter defines the purpose of the trade union movement as the liberation of the working class from the yoke of capitalism and declares that the unions must struggle against religious superstition as an obstacle to the spiritual freedom of the proletariat. The letter continues:

“But this struggle must find expression in methods of persuasion, in steady cultural work, and in the systematic inoculation of the broad trade union masses with the materialistic interpretation of history and nature.

“The problem of anti-religious propaganda must be approached with greater carefulness and delicacy, so that the results may not be the reverse of desirable.

“The trade unions carrying on their work from the Marxian point of view, must maintain an attitude of complete toleration towards the religious convictions of their members and not push them away from the trade unions by hurting their religious feelings through thoughtless and tactless acts.”

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