MerthyrMen at the Appeal Tribunal. SEE PAGE 4
The Other Side of the ^Conscription Farce. — SEE PAGE 3
The Merthyr Trades and Labour Council. THE QUESTION OF CHILD LABOUR DIS-I CUSSED. THE COUNCIL AND THE LIQUOR I CONTROL. At the special meeting of the Merthyr Trades and Labour Council last Thursday, the ques- tion of Child Labour in the Borough was dis- cussed. The discussion centred around the start- ling statistics prepared by the Borough Direc- tor of Education, and published in last week's PIONEER. Several members urged the rigid imposition of the present Corporation bye-laws as a means of checking the evil, but others pointed out that this would only touch the actual street trading boys, whereas the major part of the problem was centred in the employment of chil- dren out of school hours by tradesmen who paid small wages to the children and employed them for unreasonably long hours. The only cure for the evil was new bye-laws. which would empower the Council to attack this side of the problem, but Mr. T. J. Evans anti- cipated strong opposition from interested sour- ces to this act ion and advocated the full em- plo,y,ment of the present regulations as a begin- ning. Mr. T. T. Jenkins declared that one of the saddest things in this 20th Century was to see the way in which so many of the children, even in our town, were poorly clothed and shod. It would be interesting, but appalhng, to know how many children had been kept from school that week because of bad boots. and he did not bla-me the parents: they had done per- fectly right in keeping the children seated round the fire instead of sending them out in the snow. (Hear, hear.) They had to get right down to bed rock in these questions; the whole thought of the local administrators was £ s. d., with never a thought for the children. It was very unnerving at times to have to endeavour to educate children who were badly. he did not mean altogether insufficiently, but bftdlv fed. clothed and shod: and it seemed to him that organised Labour should take a keen- er and more practical interest-in this matter, for it was true that the child of to-day was the citizen of to-morrow. It was absolutely true that the children of to-dav weire, not educated "as they ought to be. and it was due to the economic pressure that C'me from the system Under which we lived. Whill, it was wonderful how some people managed to make both ends meet. it was not tiue that this evil of child labour was entirely due to the wants of the parents. He knew of one school in which 17 boys were employed, and an analysis had been made as to how many were wid,oR-s' sons, how many the sons of deserted mothers, how many had fathers or brothers in the army, and who were the others? On that division not one was a widow's son; only one was the son of a deserted mother, and he did not lose much school, though the extra hours inter- fered with his education. Ten of the 17 came from homes the income going into which was as big as that going into the home of any man wi that room. Drink was the problem at the bottom of this problem. He trusted that the Council would pay far more atehi ion to this children's question in the future than they had ever done in the past, not only from the educational, but from every possible side. The Chairman pointed out that one delegate hat! touched on the opposition that could be expected on this question, and he suggested that it would be wise for the Council to have the opinion of the various lodges on the matter. The delegate from" .Excelsior." Dowlais, said that his lodge quite agreed with hTm that at least no child under 11 years of age should be allowed out after 9 o'clock at night. His lodge thought that it was a, shame, and a disgra.ee to the locality that children should be employed around the streets in order that peo- ple could make money on their backs. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Shadbolt instanced the case of a paper boy who had been suffering from cataracts on the eyes from his occupation on the street, and he had been returned partly cured from hospital, but the cataracts were recurrent now that lie had again gone back to selling papers. Conn. Francis said that the point raised by Mr. T. J. Eva'ns with regard to the opposition tha was to be expected was a very important one. and one with which the Education Com- mittee were fully cognisant. There was no doubt that opposition would be forthcoming, and he did not think that the present time was op- portune to press for the passage of new and more stringent bye-laws, when by a tightening of the present observance of the bye-laws, he was convinced tha,t fully 80 per cent, of the boys could be got off the streets. The Chief Constable had tried his best, but for some reason the Stipendiary refused to enforce the bye-laws at the present moment. The loss in grants from this evil of street trading. and boy labour was a very serious one, as would be seen from the faot that when Mr. Harris went into this matter some years ago he discovered that if the Merthyr had been proportional to that at Cardiff and Newport, an additional £ 680 would have been coming into the Borough. If this sum was received it would mean that two extra school medical officers could be en- gaged to examine the children. He suggested I that the Trades Council should send a deputa- tion before the Watch Committee the Educa- tion Committee, to strengthen their hands, and also send delegates to wait upon the Stipendi- ary. when the deputation from the Watch Com- mittee interview him on this matter. Mr. J. Adkins pointed out that out of 622j children affected, only 147 would be affected by the tightening of the bye-laws, since only that small number were engaged in street trading. Tn reply to Mr. Tdris Davies, the Secretary i (Mr. W. Harris) said that in his ion the condition of affairs in respect to chila labour in Merthyr was worse before the war than now. Mr. Bert Brobyn thought that as the initia- tors of the matter, the Council ought to carry the matter as far as possible, and moved that a deputation be appointed not only to wait upon the Committees and the Stipendiary, but also to do anything necessary to further the matter. This was seconded by Mr. Moses Rees and carried, as well as the resolution that the bye- laws be enforced. Messrs. T. J. Evans and Bert Brobyn were appointed to represent the Council on this deputation. A Protest Against Tribunal. The Chairman (Mr. J. Williams) presented his report of his visit to the Merthyr TrbunaJ. It was plain, he said, that from the commence- rnent thg-Tribunals had decided to grant as few exemption "as possible. "I am proud of our chaps who appeared before that Tribunal. (Ap- plause.) What impressed me more than anything else was the intelligent way in which the men presented their cases; the fault was. of course, that their cases were not received as they were given. He told how the public were sympathetic to the applicants, and not to- wards the Tribunal, and how the Court was cleared at one part of the proceedings, the, restriction being withdrawn only on the Chairman declaring that the speaker had made himself responsible for the public restraining their emotions. Anyone who was there must have felt that almost from the commencement a great storm was brewing, and. the people who were present could not bear to see the, in- sults and jeers that their fellow-workmen had to put up with from the Tribune. It was not plain from the last meeting of this Council how long I was expected to attend the Tribunal, but I tell you that after attending one day I would not have attended for another day for a fortune. It made me bad, like many another. I consider that it was a waste of time and money to attend further, for my opinion co- incides wilii other people's, that it was a sheer farce from beginning to end." It amounts to this— that, promises made by the Government having been forgotten by the Local Tribunal, it behoves the workers to trust less, and believe less in these people when they send their pro- mises out to the country. Promises without number had been made since the war had started, but it would be easy to number the promises that had been kept. Whilst, as to the promises made to the workers, he did not know of one that had been kept. My opin- ion is that the Tribunals were disgusting from beginning to end. Mr. Willims, one of the delegates, asked whe- ther the Council was not going to enter some protest a.gainst the treatment meted out to those young men by the Tribunals. "I move that this Council enters its most emphatic pro- test against the manner In which these young men were treated by the Tribunal." He had been in the court on the second day when some of the attested young men were applying for exemption, and had he had a bomb he would positively have thrown it after hearing the way in which they were treated by the Tribunal. Mr. Bert Brohyn seconded in a happy little speech, and the motion was carried unani- mously.—It will.be forwarded to Mr. Walter Long. The Clyde Deportations. I Guardian Ha.rrv Elvans. in a forceful little speech, moved a vote of protest again-st the de- portation of the workmen on the Clyde. He remembered a few years ago how a wave of in- dignation swept over the country because the South African Government had done this very thing. Surely, now that the same thing had been done in this country, a still stronger pro- test should be made against the Russian me- thod with which the present Government was treating workers' leaders. Mr. Davies. of the A.S.E., in reply to a question, said that there was nothing for the Executive of the A.S.E. to do but to repudiate these men after they had themselves signed the Munitions Act. After signing the Act they might as well .have gone home until the war was over. He was in favour of the motion, and thought that the workers of the country should make it a personal matter, and not rest content until the grave injustice had been rec- tified The motion was carried. Liquor Control. I Mr. Will Harris (Secretary) presented his report as the Council's representative at the Liquor Control Board, which sat at Swansea recently. He believed that in a short time the Lancashire Order would be in force here. That Order restricted the hours for the sale of in- toxicants from 1 noon to 2—3 in the afternoon and from 6 in the afternoon till 9 in the evening. thus making the hours 5 in' place of the 17 that the public houses remained open before the war. The public-houses could, if they desired, regain open these old hours, but they could only sell intoxicants during during, the hours he had mentioned, and during the rest of the day they would have t-o sell sand wiches and ginger beer. Mr. Harris paid a high tribute to the ability of the Chairman of the Commission, and stated that he argued for the hours to remain as they were at present; that every curtailed would mean a shebeen, or the extension of the flagon tr^de. As regards the recommendation that spirits should only be sold in quarts, he pointed out that if the allowance of the addition of 50 water was to be allowed, in fairness to the purchaser the mixture should be labelled whisky and water. He agreed with the 'No Treating" Order, since treating made for unnecesary drinking; hub in respect to the proposal not to allow advertising of the flagon trade by the out-licensees, lie argued that it was impossible to control the fiagon trade unless they took control of the source, the grocery-off licence. Anyhow, no canvassing would be allowed in fu- ture. and no money would be allowed to be paid for flagons only when the order kwa-s given, and the order could only be given within the hours he had mentioned. With regard to the serving of women, he had put his own point of view as a member of the National Committee, that on Mondays and Tuesday, at all events, it should be stopped. If the members could see the way in which the. sharps and harpies preyed on respectable women, aud-)cer- tain houses did a big trade in the women's drinking, they would agree with him. He had pointed out that in Merthyr we had already what was called a "Lemonade Shift," because the workers on it were unable to get a drink, and pleaded for the retention of the present hours, but he believed that the Lancashire Or- der would, in he near future, be applied to Mer- thyr. The Council decided to grant L20 to the PIONEER.
To the Conscientious Objector. (To the Editor of the PIONEER.) Dear Sir,—I have received a pathetic letter this morning from one of your admiring readers, an ardent conscientious objector His splen- did spirit made me glad agd grateful, and also it made my soul to weep, and my eyes to run down with tears because of the ravening wolves of the Tribunals among the flock of the Lord, tearing the sheep and the lambs and trying to carry them away to the slaughter. My young friend writes:—" We young men of the N.C.F. were before the Appeal Tribunal last Saturday, and not one of us gained absolute exemption. So now the fight is beginning. We will go for- ward and take the flag of Peace and hold it with a resolute arm. undismayed with the vast- ness of the enterprise and the formidable char- acter of the obstacles that are before us. We Are advocating the cause of truth, reason, jus- tice, humanity, the cause of religion, and the cause of God. Will you allow me to suggest that, if possible, you should send an article through the PIONEER to encourage us. I am sure it will be welcomed by the boys. Though we are apart, not knowing each other in per- son, we know each other in spirit." The Tribunals nor the Government little realise the "spirit" of the conscientious objec- tors. The power, the permeation, and the im- mensity of our spirit are beyond their compre- hension. It is the spirit which looks upon the universe of men as one man, and fights for man only. It is the spirit of the only just and holy wai not between the kingdoms of the earth, but against them all. Our arsenals and muni- tion factories are in full swing in the Great Eternity; glorified. peacemakers beyond the veil are our munition ministers, seen by our im- mortal eyes to open inward into the expanding realities in the merciful bosom of our Socialist Saviour and the Infinite Labour Leader and Pioneer of our Heavenly Communism. With Him we work and forge the swords and spears of intellect to lay open the hidden heart. Here we hammer on the resolute will to annihilate pride, and pelf and pomn. Here we labour with patience in the silences which are destined as supernal forces to break forth into lightnings and thunders and earthquakes to upset for ever the thrones and the tribunals of the beasts, and destroy the dominion of Abadon, the king of hell among the nations. The Omnipotent llemover of Limits is Our Eldest Brother and Friend. In Him we are united to all the races of mankind, and willing to do all. things for the comnr welfare, with no desire to serve the unrighteous mammoths, nor any ambition to rule and be masters over others. I We labour and suffer conscientiously in the sight of God to bring about friendly agreement between all men, which is the immo- vable purpose and the ineffable will of Jesus Christ, and of every true Christian. No other social order can be a Christian Church, nor a Christian State. Out of forms and persons that are numerous and various, with Christian Socialism there will result a oneness With life and peace, and plenty for each and all. And though consisting of myriads and myriads, act- ing as one and being one by being at home in mutual love; every one united to all and all to every oi^e; yet the more numerous they may be, the more distinctly individually, and per- fectly would every, one act in Freedom ac- oording to the dictates of Conscience. Christi- ans without a good conscience are nothing but hypocritical mockers of Christ, and young conscientious men amongst them are like lambs wandering among wolves upon the precipices of despair. It is high time for the lambs to leave the folds to the wolves and come out en- tirely to the free and open fields of Socialism to build the Church of Man. Mabel Dearmer writes in her Letters from a Field Hospital: "It would be a maddening war- to die—before anything had been done at all." Every Conscientious Objector does some- thing and something great and durable. My friend refers to Henry Richard, tha,t great Ap- ostle of Peace, and that he said, "It will be impossible to conceive amy question of more universal interest, more closely touching the happiness of the human race than Peace. The goal might be distant, but he refused to be- j lieve it was unattainable. Each step in the? way, each dispute settled by peaceful j?eans," and I might add, each steadfast con-, scientious objector was a step in the right direction, and might save an incalculable am- ount of human misery." Stand ifrm, trusting in God, my conscientious young Comrades, obey the dictates of Consci- ence, the highest dictates for man, amid the sneering and ridicule of the Tribunals, and of the poor blind people outside, and pray for them. We call our worst enemies ou" brothers, hnt with a distinction. For the sa-ke and in the love of all men we stand fast in the liber- ty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and will not be entangled with the yoke of bondage. In the Eternal Bonds of Love and Freedom. I Llechryd W. REES.
"PROPAGANDA, NOT PROFIT," is the motto of the Pioneer Press." If yon are alive to the tremendous social improve- ments that the Party the Pioneer represents stands for. then it is your duty to all that all your Trades Union, Co-operative, and General Printing comes to Williams' Square Merthyr the Home of the Pioneer."
I "Truth and Freedom." I GUY ALDRED SAYS WE ARE THE SLAVES OF FALSEHOOD. OUR ONLY HOPE RADICAL SOCIALISM. There was a good attendance at Bentley's Hall on Sunday night, when Comrade Guy Al- Ired spoke on "Truth and Freedom." Mr. Bert Brobyn presided Truth and freedom, said Aldred, were merely two phases of one and the same subject, though truth was a word which had been very popular throughout the ages since the begin- ning of civilisation. It had been used by the pioneers of human well-being and had been the favourite phrase of thoir persecutors, and fov that roason it might be well to define what we meant by the word. These were days of tole- ration. People came to hear our views, and said Yes, very interesting; but everybody is entit- led to their own opinion." Now he did not sym- 1,?,d to I" own 0 P? R i on. pathise with this view of toleration. We were certainly entitled to hold our own opinion, but we must discuss it with- a view to discovering the truth, which was an exaot proposition. We must bring truth to bear with reference to reli- gion, politics, sociology, history and science, by fullest discussion of all the available facts, and then we should not be willing to dismiss it by simply saying that people were entitled to their own opinions. No one was entitled to hold an opinion unless it was true; consequently he was as much against the idea of toleration as he was against the id of persecution. Truth was the exact correspondence of our inward ideals with the actual facts of the outward world. Thus we had people in England saying that this was a war of Liberty, and exactly the same thing was said by the Germans. This would be true if the views of German and Bri- tish patriots corresponded with facts as they are. Until we were willing to go forward and accept only a fair conception of truth we could not possibly be free, since Freedom consisted of understanding, and understanding was an exclu sive possession of Truth. A narrow conception of self-interest prevented us from understanding truth, and he some- times thought that this war had done good by shaking up the people from their indolence respecting social conditions. Week by week people who had wondered why the Sooiafist, the Anarchist and the Free thought people could come out on the street corner and rail against a system that seemed to promise them all that they desired, because they themselves were wil- ling to discharge common-place functions in a common-place society. Men thought that they were domg their duty by merely keeping their ,of'is. ttt-ending their political clubs and places of amusement; and leaving the politicians, the diplomats, the great money lords and masters of finance to plan together for the mere purpose of capturing markets for purposes of self-inter- est, and then. when war was suddenly plunged on to a peaceful Europe, they were surprised. It was then that the narrow self-conceit of Suburbia was upset, and men began to see that they could not again allow the social condi- tions to revert to their former dangerous state. All this had happened because men, in time of peace, had not been willing to explore for truth. Unless people were willing to seek for truth, and get truth applied to society as they would in a building then Society must fall. Self-interest was not served by the pre- sent condition of enquiry, under which all were the slaves of falsehood, which would probably cause still further havoc in the midst of civili- sation. The first principle, of truth began with the in- dividual, and told him that in his own indiv- idual interest he could not allow a single ha'pen- north of disease to creep into society or of false- hood to remain there for one moment. We must realise as individuals that these things did not make for our preservation and well-being, and to demand the Truth, not a partial truth, or a tolerant truth,, but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," in relation to ourselves the value of our work, and the re- lationships between ourselves an d our fellow- men. We had been bred not to recognise truth but to pal allegiance to falsehood brought up in a certain way as being truth. To-day truth meant no more than electioneering truth, the truth of rivaJ candidates who were not anxious to tell the truth to the people. AJ- though we had recognised something of this from the war, we had still only got to think nationally, and had no thought for our neigh- bours. If we were to understand the truth about politics, about humanity, about self-inte- rest, we had to understand the. interests of everybody. Humanity was far more important than races or nationality. The feelings of the modern Britisher, German or Italian were much the same as the feelings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Once that was realised1, we W ('11' 1;), on the way to destroy the prejudioesand superstitions and injustices that had preyed on humanity all too long, and which still preyed upon us. If the workers of the world had had the truth, there would be no bastard system of Conscription imposed upon them at this mo- ment. for no politician would dare to come forward and persuade them that the slaughter of their felolw-men was the best way of express- ing their national greatness. Nor had the Socialists been out seeking the truth. We had rather been willing to accept a compromise, and when the time came for the Socialists all over Europe to say whether they were Socialists or not, they had been afraid to say it; and consequently we had this war and bad fed this war. The one thing tha,t the British tyrants did not want was a free discus- s ion of the truth, they did not want the work- ers to discuss the British barbarisms in India and Ceylon and Egypt; they did not want the people to remember Siberia and the prisons and incarcerations there they did not want the peo- ple to be citizens, but subjects, and subjects .vho forgot that in the past they had been taught that Christianity was a religion of Peace. If we wanted to get out of this, then we must be more Radical Socialists than we had ever been lbefore. We must preach Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Free- dom meant hea.th; the right to develop to the fullest extent the strength and beauty, the vigour and virtue of the individual body and mind; and the individual could not develop in unhealthy surroundings. The vigour and vital- ity of the man was according to the health and cleanliness of his surroundings. No man could be strong and healthy amid sickly compatriots. Freedom was not an individual question: it was essentially a social question, which could not be enjoyed by one at the expense of the Jack of freedom of another. We must realise that no one should be allowed to live unless he pro- duced if a man would not work he should not eat, and that this not only applied to the pau- per but also to the king. To-day we were aB seeking treasure on earth, we were seeking the well- being of the stomach. and not of society, and the consequence was that*" when it came to the test. and a man said that he had a con- scientious objection To kililing another man, then Society said, We are Christians, we do not believe that." We had a total lack of the meaning of Truth, and in our own rooms even were more concerned with the vote-catoher and Trades Unionism, than with real Labour eman- cipation and Socialism.
Morgan Jones at Abernant. ENTHUSIASTIC MEETINGS FOIR SOCIAL- ISM AND ANri-gOriSCRIF^ION. Our Comrade Morgan Jones -i^ed Abernant as a speaker for the first t;t> 0';1 Sunday, but though new to the platform of the Aberdare VaHey Society his reputation had preceded him, and there was a good meeting in the afternoon at the Lesser Hall, and a strong anticipation of a great lecture. And that anticipation was full realised. for his address support of the repeal of the Military Service (No. 2) Act was one of the most powerful and convincing that has been delivered in the valley. Everyone was struck with the forceful way in which he handled the subject. He showed very cleanly that the people had been tricked into the ac- ceptance of the Act by the Conscriptionists, and reminded the people tba,t they ought to have been prepared to meet this trickery, since the campaign maiign by the I.L.P. some years ago ill oppositiorr to the militarist themes of the Clonscriptionists ought to have opened the eyes of the proletariat to the aims and me- thods of those who favoured the Continental system in this country. That campaign had been inaugurated at that time as an opposition to the F?.ti.U. then being made by the National Service League, whose National Ser- vice was but another name for conscription, en- gineered by those who advocated Conscription at the present time. Though our agitation might not result in the repeal of the Act. said Coun. Jones, but it would prevent an ex- tension of it. Very few Acts had been repeal- ed. but many had been extended; and that might not be the case in connection with this un-British Act he would like to know what the Trades Unions were doing in the matter. The whole address was full of telling points, and the wav in which the Bargoed Councillor dealt with the advocates of Conscription won rounds of delighted applause from the audi- ence, thus giving a clear indication that the people are more than ever prepared to listen to our message and follow the path of Democracy. In the evening Coun. Morgan Jones had an- other crowded audience in the I.L.P. Institute, when he spoke on Socialism as an Interna- tional Creed." He dealt in an interesting and instructive way with the competitive sys- tem during the old days, and showed how this system is being slowly but relentlessly squeezed out of existence by trusts and combines. He said that the results of these huge combinations and their exploitation of the nation was that they reaped a huge surplus and were compell- ed to exploit the further unexplored regions of the world. This led to the introduction of a keen competitive rivalry among the nations which has resulted in the establishment of tw., camps with the Great Powers of Europe, the outcome of which we are now beginning to see was one of the prime factors of this awful crisis that is taking place to-day. He demon- strated beyond all doubt that Socialism stood for something nobler than what has evolved from the present system. He said that the essential principle of our belief was love—not force. Socialism meant Co-oneration, not Com- petition. and that one of the fundamental principles was the unity of mankind and the oneness of the human race. The illustrations he used for his arguments were wonderfully convin- cing. and he urged upo his hearers that the onl- solution to the evil system under which we live was Socialism, and that it was only by our principles being applied internationally can we ever hope to rid ourselves of race hatred, and cultivating the spirit of Brotherhood among men. He made an earnest appeal to the com- rades to work more strenuous]-- for the realisa- tion of our ideals.—Mr. Ike Griffith presided. At the afternoon meeting the following reso- lution was moved by Mr. G. Richards, second- ed by Mr. D. J. Philips, and carried unani- mously — ￼ That this meeting of Aberdare and District citiKens demands the immediate release of the Glasgow Trades Unionists who have been de- norted for their activity in the working class movement. We urge upon the Government the urgency of this matter believing such method is anti-British n violation of con- stitutional ^-O-E.! CJOB.
ARE WE DOING YOUR PRINTING ? We have the most modern equipment, and good work is quickly turned out by Trade Unionists at reasonable rates. NOTE THE ADDRESS THE LABOUR PIONEER PRESS Williams' Square, Merthyr Tydfil,