NEWPORT AND THE WATER QUESTION. PAGE 3.
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Political Notes By F. W. Jowett. I LABOUR AT THE POLLS. The capitalist press is very busy just now giving advice and direction to the Parliamen- tary Labour Group. The group is advised, for instance, not to be misled by extravagances of the small, discredited, yet very articulate sec- tion of the party." It is pointed out that in the recent election patriotic Labour candidates succeeded while others utterly failed. The Sun- day Observer" preaches at great lengthll the text. A League of Peace Within,"—a ser- mon on the gospel of reconciliation between Unionists. Liberals and the body of solid, tried and genuine trades unionists who will sit in the new House of Commons," and which body, the Observer proceeds to explain, "can scarcely allow themselves to be manipulated for any length of time by an external caucus whom the working classes have so freshly and explicitly repudiated. # PRESS CAMOUFLAGE. Of course, the object of this advice trom me enemy is to prevent unity in the ranks of La- bour by misrepresenting the facts. Ihe writers employed in the service of the capitalist press know that of the nine Labour members of the last Parliament who lost their scats, fotir were members who approved of the war. The five I.L.P. members who were defeated eaeh polled sufficient votes to secure their election in three- cornered contests under norma] conditions. Every 0110 of the five had been so freely abused and maligned for four years that the wonder is their poll was not so smifl] as to be of no account whatever. Even so. and notwithstanding also the enormous amount of money devoted to the object of defeating all the I.L.P. candidates, the five I.L.P. members of the old Parliament have been replaced by three others who are as loyal to the cause for which the I.L.P. stands as were J five who been for tIk-. pvese'v dis- placed THE TRUE SITUATION. J One can only be amused at the reference to the I.L.P. section of the Labour Party as the small discredited yet very articulate section of the Party." The average vote per candidate run by the LL.P. is over 6,300, and there can be no suggestion this time that Liberal or Tory vot-es are included. Whoever has voted Liberal or Tory at previous elections and voted I.L.P. on this occasion, has surely been born again." As for the suggestion that I.L.P. men have had more than their share of publicity, it is amusing but it is a lso impudent. As a matter of fact there has a regular boycott in operation in the press against prominent members of the I.L.P. for four years. On the other hand, the so-called "patriotic" Labour members who. before the war, were not regarded seriously and whose opinions did not count with the public are al ways reported at length just to make it appear that Labour opinion is what the capital- ist press desires that it should be. EFFECT OF COALTIION. I I One effect of the Coalition at the recent elec- tion has been to increase the usua l tendency to squeeze out minorities. When both Liberal and Tory candidates fight each other Labour has only to beat the strongest of the other parties in order to get its candidates elected. But fighting a Coalition of both parties Labour does not gain and cannot gain anywhere near its full share of the elected representatives. It is doubtful whether the position would be much im- proved if the system known as the alternative vote were adopted. Both Liberal and conserva- tive parties would in that case probably agree to give their second choice to each other's can- didates. Proportionate representation can only be approximately secured if constituencies are greatly enlarged and the system of voting is ar- ranged so that each candidate securing liis share of the votes required to carry one representa- tive is adopted. For this reason, I am, myself, in favour of proportional representation. THE I. L.P. VOTE. I Under the present system of voting the Coali- tion has returned 484 members. Dividing the total votes cast at the election for Coalition candidates—viz., 5,090,000—by the number of members returned, including members returned unopposed, each member represents 10,520 actual voters. The Labour Party polled 2.375,000 votes in 51 contested elections. Fifty-nine officially endorsed candidates were returned, including the candidates returned unopposed. Each of the 5H members, therefore, represent 40,250 La- bour voters, who actually voted at the election. There were 51 I.L.P. contests, and, of course, no L L.P. candidates were returned unopposed. The total I.L.P. vote amounted to 325.000. The baeking of each I.L.P. member of the present Parliament, therefore, reckoned 011 the voting strength of the partv in 5L constituencies only, is 108,000 voters. ac WILSON AND CLEMENCEAY. I The French Premier has taken care to chal- lenge the fundamental principle which President Wilson has declared over and over again must i. he observed in arranging terms of peace. Speak- II ing at Manchester on December 30th, President Ii Wilson said that "if the future had nothing for us but a new attempt to keep the world at a right poise hy a balance of power, the United States would take 110 interest because she will join no combination of all of us." This speech was reported in the press on the same day as the report of a speech made by the French Premier was reported, in which M. Clemenceau said de- finitely, with regard to the policy of balance of power, that it would be Ins" guiding thought at the Conference," and, that he meant to main- tain the system of alliances if he could. If, as there is reason to fear is the ease, the British and Italian governments are in agreement with the French Premier on this matter, then it fol- lows that if President Wilson stands firmly by his principles at the Conference, there will be serious disagreement. Will he hold fast to his. position? On the answer to this question the character and durability of the peace settlement depends. POLAND. The Allied Governments are determined if pos- sible to thrust upon Poland an entirely unrepre- sentative government. They are supporting the claim the National Polish Committee in Paris (a hody which hail no authority to represent the people of Poland) to be established as the rulers of Poland. The reason for this can only he that Piludski, who is regarded as a national hero by the Polish people and had been made Regent and given control of the Polish Army, nominated the Socialist leader Pas7.ank; as Premier, and Poland was becoming a Socialist State. The Polish National Committee has formed a rival Ministry, which is not only reactionary but stands for the worst form of reaction that has always been the curse of Russian and Polish policy, namely, persecution of Jews. The plight of the Jews both in Poland and Rumania is pre- carious in the extreme. Already there have been programmes, but the Allied Governments will support any irrespective of programmes or any other mur- derous proceedings. » « M. DMOWSKI'S PROGRESS. I Referring to recent developments in Poland the "Manchester Guardian" com men ted on January 2nd as follows:— The arrival of M. Paderewski at Posen has been the signal for fierce fighting, for drum- fire against the synagogue, and a general pogram. Wherever the. spirit of M. Dmowski wa lks among the Poles, massacres of Jews ac- company it; and this is the man whom the AI- lies have selected as the representative of Po- land, and whom they are trying to impose on Poland, whether the Poles want him or not. < PRISONERS IN GERMANY. I The Press reports regarding the privations of British prisoners alleged to have been turned loose from the German Prison camps after tho armistice was signed, most certainly misrepre- sent the acts Oil one important point. They make no mention of the warning given in the various prison camps to prisoners against their departure until arrangements were made for them. t have before me a copy of the "Conti- nental Times," a newspaper printed in English and circulated in the camps, which a returned prisoner has brought home with him. In it the following notice appears i II a prominent place in heavy type:- Jo all British Prisoners of War in Germany: (1) The German War Office has instructed all concerned to hasten forwarding of parcels from abroad to camps and commandoes." (2) The necessary steps for early repatria- tion are being taken. Any unauthorised strag- gling will lead to hardships and delay your re- lease. —British Red Cross. « DANCER OF WANDERING. I In the natural desire to return home large numbers of prisoners took the ris of fiuding their way out of Germany and picking up food in a country where there was little food to be obtained. The result is that they have experi- enced serious hardship and arrived at their des- tination in a far worse condition than if they had waited for the necessary arrangements to be made for their repatriation. GERMANY'S FOOD SUPPLY. I Having regard to the information available-- and especially information given freely by many of the returned prisoners—relating to the food shortage in Germany, one cannot imagine the frame of mind of writers in the press who are saying that the Germans are well supplied with food. The intention of the writers is clear. They wish the people of this country to become parties to the policy of starving the German people. When, for example, as one of the returned pri- soners reported to me, the German guards at one of the prison camps regularly scraped the meat tins thrown on to the refuse heap by the prisoners, after the prisoners had turned in to sleep at night, there is no necessity to seek for the explanation. What will bt. the result in years to come of tho cruel policy of tightening the blockade after an armistice has been de- clared one hesitates to contemplate. People who have watched their children die of hunger as a result of tho deliberate conduct of enemy nations after Avar has ccast-d cannot be expected to lorget.
I The Mines and The Demobilised, I A PLEA FOR THE SIX-HOUR DAY. I BY CHAS. C. FORESTER. We can expect in the near future many prob- lems arising out of such a complex question as the employment of demobilised miners from the Army, having due regard to the fact that during the war we have had many miners leaving dis- tricts where work was none tuo brisk, and going to areas where there was a great demand for a certain class of coal. The management have in the majority of collieries, promised that all men enlisting should have their work back when they return to civil life, and no doubt meant it at the time. But to-day we find soldier miners going to the colliery where they were previously en- gaged as a coal-getter and offered a job as a la- bourer, with anything from 4/- to 10/- per day less wages than they could earn as a skilled miner, because of other miners having come to the colliery while they were in the army. The demobilisation scheme of the Conciliation Board provides that where a returned miner fails to obtain employment at the colliery where he was previously engaged, that application shall be made to the South Wales District Committee, who will endeavour to find him employment at I some other collierv in the ditrid. I I NO CUARANTEE. Even here there is no guarantee that he will be given work in his own district as there is a further proviso: "If employment is not found him, the case would be reported to the Central Authority, the Controller's Advisory Board at Holborn Viaduct Hotel, London, with a view to obtaining employment." Thus the soldier miner may find himself drafted into a district from which many miners may have gone, who are still working, in the district to which the soldier belonged. At first-hand one would logically argue that the only solution is, that sufficient of the last comers to another district should re- ceive notice ? Some of the collieries may be closed dowir, or the coal does not enter into the market as a serious competitor of the bett-er qualities of steam or bi-tuminous coals, thus they will be thrown on the labour market to swell the ranks of the unemployed. I submit that there is a remedy that should command the attention of the country as a whole, and not left as a fight between Capital and Labour, and that is the introduction of an immediate six- hour day phis the abolition of all oontractural rates of wages, and the establishment of an uni- versal day wage for all grades of workmen in the coa l-mines. I CAPITAL'S OPPORTUN:TY. I Capital is always bemoaning the fact that La- bour will not. more closely co-operate with it because their interests are "identical. Here is a chance for Capital to prove that it is anxious by a practical means to draw the "renegade" a little closer to itself. Who in his more thought- ful moments can but agree, that here is an in- dustry with all its accompanying dangers of ex- plosions, falls, and the other accidents that are daily occurrences, only intensified by a system of piece wages. If there is any industry that calls for carefulness on the part of its workmen, and officials, that industry is essentially coal-mining with its awful toll of deaths and accidents which have increased out of all proportion since the war, simply because of the extended efforts of those engaged in producing coal for what they were pleased to call patriotic reasons. The public seem to lost sight of this fact when miners ask for more rational measures for safety of life and limb, and legislation is so framed, that it would be possible to prosecute a miner every day that lie works, yet a very difficult thing to procure a prosecution against a man- agement for the most flagrant breach of the Goal Mines Act. There would not be the same or- ganised opposition of vested interests against an universal wage-system for the mines, if the in- dustry was run for the convenience and need of the community, instead of its present first con- sideration, i.e., the return in -C s. d. to its share- holders. And while such vital industries con- tinue to be carried on under such conditions, both workmen and the community must ulti- mately suffer in the economic grind. ( ITS MEANINC. I The cry that there must bo higher productivity in the mining industry simply means more un- employment, for if you now find a difficulty in absorbing returned soldiers, it can be consist- ently argued that an increase in the intensitv in the labour of miners already employed, must decrease the need for further employment of workmen, and thus perpetuate a system that is most in harmony with the capitalist mode of production. We should take a broader outlook of the position than it lillv appear superficially. As a working-class we have looked on the soldier as the saviour of the only thing we possess, and that is our lives. Have the industrial magnates and the landlord looked on their services to them (tho magnate and landlord) in the same proportion, to have saved the industries and land, and therefore become entitled to the first fruits of cither of these? I think you will agree that the soldier and sailor will reap as much out of the land and industry as he did before lie risked his life to protect* them, only so far as the magnate and landowner can exploit his la- bour for the purpose of producing surplus value, and use him to be pitted against those already in employment for the further economic gain at his disposal, to lower wages and consequently the standard of hie. Here is something that the expression of public opinion, and it can he weighty when it likes, could do to raise a use- fulness to those who must obtain work to live. We shall find in the very, near future that the enthusiasm will wc-ar out as in the past, despite fervent speeches of men who do not understand the travail of the working-class. "They toil not, neither do tliev spin," and as such are not necessary for the present or future welfare of the producers of wealth, even less should they be listened to. I i
HANDS OFF RUSSIA! I Dick Wallhead's Great Speech at Merthyr. I Splendid Enthusiasm in The Rink. I Capitalist.. Horrors" Riddled. Tremendous as was the after-the-poll meeting which Mr. Wi nstone and the local leaders ad- dressed last Sunday week. it could give few points in the way of magnitude to the crowded gathering of Sunday last when Merthyr wel- comed back with royal welcome R. C. Wallhead. whose absence from the local I.L.P. propaganda platform of late has been one of the keenest re- grets of our audiences. Councillor L. M. Francis occupied the chair, and on his motion seconded by Mr. Sarsfield, a resolution of protest against the treatment of the Irish political prisoners and a demand for the provision of Home Rule for Ireland to be included in the peace terms was passed. Mr. U. C. Wallhead complimented Merthyr on its very marked success in the recent elec- tion. That election had been hailed by the Capi. talist Press of the country as a great defeat for the Labour Party in general and the J.L.P. in particular. Four years ago the I.L.P. had been told by those same papers that it was digging its political grave, that Socialism was dead ill this country, and that it could never again lift its head in Europe as an international force. Yet during the past election the I.L.P. had run 50 purely I.L.P. candidates for whom were polled 325,000 votes. (Loud cheers.) That was not bad for a party dying four years ago, was (Cheers.) However we might regret the temporary disappointment we had received in the loss of such men as Maodonald, Snowden, Anderson, Jowett and Richardson, yet quite apart from that the I.L.P. was very pleased with the result of the election. (Cheers.) We felt sure we had put up a fight and established a position from which we should not recede but go forward to ultimate and complete success. (Cheers.) THOSE THREADBARE CRIES. I The cries of Pacifists anu pro-Germans and Bolshevists, which had been used against us could not last for ever, and they did not do very grave damage to us whilst they did last. What had been the crime of the I.L.P. that had called forth all the malignant opposition of press, poli-: ticians and pulpit ? It was that it demanded a clear statement of the Allies' aims in the war, and declared that even two years ago peace could have been obtained which would have made it possible for the German Democracy to get con- stitutional control of their country. What we had got now was a German Socialist Republic. That was the net result of 18 months fighting. Was it worth the price of 400,000 lives that had been paid to establish a Socialist government in Berlin ? If the people thought it was worth the price then he wanted to know why they did not vote for the same thing in this country. (Chers.) If it was worth while fighting to se- cure the overthrow of the capitalist class in Ger- many then why in heaven's name wern't the people of Great Britain sensible enough to estab- lish the same thing here by the application of the Ballot Act. (Cheers.) The trouble was the fighting men had been too successful, and it was quite likely that we should have to go to Ger- many to take away the Government they had now got. I DEFEAT OF MR. WILSON. I Continuing, Mr. Wallhead said he was con- vinced that President Wilson was absolutely beaten by the old diplomacy, the forces of re- action and Capitalism. The things which Presi- dent Wilson said he was out to establish would not be established. Two days after President Wilson had spoken in Manchester saying that perhaps all his programme could not be estab- lished at once, M. Clemenceau had told the American President to mind his own business, and the French Foreign Minister had. put for- ward a claim for the French occupation of the whole of the West bank of the Rhine. He wanted to ask the soldiers present if they had enlisted to establish as part of France the left bank of the Rhiue:- (Cries of No," from ser- vice men.) Then if you did not, the I.L.P, was right. (Cheers.) Let us see what a statement of that kind means, and, remember, he was only dealing with the Western Front. General Maurice, writing in the" Daily News" that week, had said that if France established a new frontier of the Rhine, it would compel Great Britain to maintain a standing army of half a million to help in the garrisoning of the new ter- ritory of our ally. France with her dwindling population would take this territory by the aid and assistance of Britain to whom she would naturally look for future assistance to hold her acquisition, and so Britain would be compelled to establish conscription in perpetuity in the na- tion. (Shame.) Although we had won the war we had established militarism firmly in our midst. (Cheers.) Now look at Italy! What had happened there? The Dalmatians, the Croteans and the Slavin- ians had been handed over to Italy. They hated the Italians even more than they did the Aus- trians, and at the present time Italy was oper- ating against the armed resistance of the Dal- matians. The American food supplies for were expected to die of starvation, had been unable to reach its des- tination because of these military operations. (Shame.) That was the result of a war which had been entered upon to bring peace to the world and settle the peace of the world on lituv of human equity and human justice. (Cheers.) THE BOLSHEVIST APPEAL. I Again, reinforcements were being rushed to Russia for the purpose of fighting against an experiment in Government. There was no fight- ing because the Russians were assisting the Germans or Austrinns or had invaded somebody else's territory, 01 insulted the flag or broken a treaty. The Allies were fighting in Russia be- cause the Russians were making the most tre- mendous experiments in human politics that the world had ever seen. (Cheers.) When the Russian revolution had broken out the British politicians and press effected to believe that the Russian people had overthrown their system be- cause they desired to press forward the war with greater energy and despatch. Such a belief was contrary to the whole course of history. Never hatt a people had a revolution to get on with a war. There had been revolutions to end wars. And so it was in Russia. The Russians brought about the revolution because they wanted peace, because that was the one thing which could save Russia from anarchy, chaos and starvation. (Cheers.) Keren sky and Milukoff could not bring peace. Kerenskv was bullied and kicked by the entente into a hopeless offensive. It failed, and Kerenskv had to give in. Lenin and Troteky came into power. What did they do. According to the "American Republic" they approached a high officer of the American Red Cross in Russia, expressed their hatred of the Brest- Litovsk treaty and offered to refuse to sign it if America would send food and arms with which to continue the struggle. That paper declared that the message was sent both to the American Red Cross and direct to Mr. Lansing at Wash- ington, by whom it was kept from President Wilson's knowledge until it was too late- Shame.) Lenin and Trotsky did not want to come to terms with the Germans, were prepared to go on fighting if the Allies would render them aid. but because there was no response they were compelled to give in and sign the treaty. THE LOCKART EPISODE. Much was being made also by the reactionary elements in Britain of the treatment of a cer- tain Mr. Lockh; i iu vy. Mr. Joseph King had made a speech on November 14th before Parliament rose, in which he made the state- ment that Lockhart was a young member of the diplomatic service well known in Democratic cir- cles. He was sent to Russia by our Govern- ment, and when be went to Russia he took with him a letter of introduction from Litvinoff to Trotsky. The letter said: This is to introduce to you bearer who is of well-known democratic sentiment. He is a good fellow, treat him well. When Lockhart got t-o Moscow he received or- ders from the capitalist government at home, and he began to intrigue with officers in the Russian Army. He approached a certain offioer and bribed him, and the officer got documentary proof from Lockhart of what was going on, in which Lockhart proposed that this Russian offi- cer should bring over his soldiers, capture Lenin and Trotsky and hand them over to the care of Lockhart. The Russian oiffcer having got docu- mentary evidence, went to Lenin and Trotsky. (Loud cheers.) Lockhart got into trouble. (Cheers.) Serve him right. Mr. Joseph King had exposed that business and had said in the House of Commons that Mr. Balfour knew these things. (Cheers.) He said: "The Foreign Secretary (Mr. Balfour) knows these things be- cause when I told him 1 knew lie told me he knew before." (Shame.) Further, Mr. King had said that a British officer had spent £ 120,000 fostering a counter revolution in Moscow. (Shame.) MASSACRES. Again, there were the stories of Red Guard outrages. Nothing was said about the massacre of 6.000 Red Guards by the bourgeoisie White Guard in Finland or the massacres by the bour- geoisie in other parts of Russia. Nothing was said of the massacre of a whole Russian-Siberian tribe of 600,000 men, women and children under the Czar regime, a massacre that was only brought to light 12 months after its occurrence by the Manchester Guardian." We did not go to war with Russia about that, but directly a Socialist Government gets into power saying Russia for the Russians," and In this land there shall be no exploitation of one man by an- other," then t-hat Government was to be thrown over by force. (" N-o I" and cheers.) British men were in the Arctic Circle now, and by March their blood would be frozen as hard as rubies, for what? To establish Capitalism in a land which had repudiated it. (Cheers.) He was not there to defend the Bolsheviks or their philosophy, but he was there to protest against the shameless attempt on the part of Capitalism to overthrow the first Socialist Republic the world had ever seen. (Cheers). Talk about the terror in Russia: why that terror went back for four centuries to the time of Peter the Great. Ihe I.L.P. was going to continue its agitation against the intervention in Russia and the bour- geoisie and its Press could call us what it would. (Cheers.) The collection totalled nearly £ !«.
THE MINERS AND, INTERVENTION. TO THE FDITOlt. Dear Comrade.—I was delighted to read of the Resolution passed at the mass meeting re Russian Intervention a.nd the remarks of Com- rades Ablett. and S. O. Davies thereupon. The resolution conveys the threat of industrial ac- tion, let us act upon that resolution and not merely Ikvt it evaporate in enthusiasm. If we" are sincere let us direct our enthusiasm into the proper channel, and as miners demand that a special conference of the S.W.M.F. be convened to consider the attitude of the South Wales miners upon the question of intervention in 'Russia.—Yours, etc.. JOHN LEWIS RE-ES (S.W.M.F ).