TRADE UNION t NOTES. AI < SEE PAGE 3
OUR LOAD OF DEBT. PAGE 2.
The Proposed New Labour Party Constitution By F. W. Jowett, jVl.P. The proposed new Labour Party Constitutioni has had what newspaper men call" a good Press." In other words it Jias been treated piously by the leading newspapers, and the chief features embodied in the draft constitution Prepared for submission to the next Labour "arty Conference have been freely quoted and given due prominence. # We of the I.L.P. cannot afford to be less "rlindful of the issues involved in the re-organisa- tion of the Labour Party than outsiders. We have far more at stake in the matter than any other party, and it is necessary for us to care- rully consider the probable effect on our party and its work. I therefore, propose to touch on ￼ few of the more important points involved in the new scheme and state what, in m, opinion, ey mean to us of the I.L.P. V In the first place let it be understood that ,h, ere is nothing contained in the proposed con- + n •, ,i -r —<-uwon tnat commits me party to oociaJism. It Is true that "in the statement concerning the ob- Jects of the party, "common ownership of the Cleans of production" is mentioned as the basis for securing the full fruits of their industry for producers by hand or by brain." There is othing, however, to prevent Co-operators, for ^stance, who look rather to the gradual exten- s, ion of voluntary Co-operative activities until the whole field of industry and commerce has en brought within the scope of its operations, r°Hi subscribing to this fol-iii of declaration. ihI mention the point not because I anticipate at the policy of the Labour Party will, in practice, be affected by the particular form of 01 ds in question but merely to record the posi- °h. I do not see any useful purpose that would b served by forcing a wa ter-tight declaration of pPciaiist faith on a bodv such as the Labour f^ty, which includes hundreds of thousands of rAe, be r,?,, of trades unions who know nothing f er about Socialism. The important thing to ??* d°ne< present, is to get the Labour and c Clahst forces together for the purpose of in- ?PPndent political action. The issues as they ? ?s'e ? ??? coming political struggle between q aP'talisni and its victims will compel the party, if ? is kept free from compromising entangle- !ve.hts, to he?d directlv towards the Socialist ?Jective. "t" As a means of getting, and keeping, the La- bour and Socialist forces together the proposed ew constitution is not very well adapted for Its purpose, It is deliberately framed in such a ray as to exclude from recognition an important act which at present, ought to be provided for in the constitution. It was provided for in the riginal constitution, and, until the last Labour i aloY Conference, the provision was not chal- nged. The fact to which I refer is that for _Purposes of political action Trades Unions and ooialist organisations cannot be compared on the basis of membership. Members of Trades Unions enrolled into the Party en bloc (with the exception of t hose who ctli hal!" ("Xeltl ptloyi) cannot be relied upon to vote S er full strength at elections. Members of -It organisations, on the other hand, not onlly throw their full strength into the scale ai e ections, but their adherents vote also, and the hdleretsof Socialist organisations far outnum- ber their members. A political party, therefore, c Gaining both Trades Unions and Socialist or- Rations, must, if it is to function properly, be COlJstItuted on a federa l basis with an execu- e on which both sets of organisations are re- separately, not in proportion to the ttti hiber of their individual members, but, llghly, according to their political strength. f p i P?'op?sed new constitution treats Socialist vl'O'a Oro tions exactly on the same footing as '(Jta;des Unions, as if all mem bers of Trades pllons were active supporters of the Labour whereas probably not more than fifty per tnt. snpport the Labour PartY, at public elec- lqll,s, a/' as ?' on the other hand, the political 4SO?itiist organisations could be ex- ?ctl*y ? measured by the number of their members. J3 Ofn? ? mistake of combining the two sets of ???tions, Trades Unions and Socialists' l' CletIes, as if they were similar will have re'l.'er 11(i more far-reaching eNeet than that ??? ??'?.Hg Socialists of their due share of re- wi? ?.?tion on the executive of the party. It I'at 0 ??Ct the constitution of the Intern a- I'eality he La?our Party if it ceases to be m ist <50cj ^.federation of Trades Unions and Social- heeall',ehes canMot function in the International ??ed t? ?' as Continental nations are con- lJoliti lthe International is composed of Socialist ??tiCHi Parties only. Trades Unions on the Coj?? ?rm no part, as such, of the political ￼ 'If tl ?'tip ￼ eortlPosing the Intern a hon a, there- ?'p? Proposed new Labour Party constitu- tio.?j ???? as it stands, Socialist societies in p^lLl'y cann°t consent to the pretence that the Ln,K0',r (,annot consent to the pr,3teiice, that I.11.11-t-?7 i?, the section of the "???ational. The British section of 1;]1 uOUa ..[ h b,o t^rnational is and must be the ?lalists '?? Britain who are in favour of )li t ca ￼ J?UrP??? P'?Posed new constitution the La- hour p.fTw"^Co^sist of affiliated bodies, i.e., P'T a. U" Socalist Societies, Local Labour parties p ocie,?ies, and Trades Societies, and Trades ?ReIIs ?? ?"?y ?? already ?sta-bushed and ??orm f? ???T.io.is of L?- 1?,0?,. Parties' The National Executive will be elected by the annual Conference. There are to be 21 members, ) e 21 iiiein b ers, including the treasurer. Apart from the trea- surer, the members of the executive are to be elected from three separate lists of candidates. List "A" is for candidates nominated by affiliated bodies, and 11 members of the execu- tive will be elected from this list. Each affiliated organisation will be entitled to nominate one candidate for list "A" or, in the case of an affilia ted societv wi th more than 500,000 mem- bers, two candidates. The I.L.P. with its affiliation of less than 500,000 members will only be entitled, therefore, to place one candidate on list "A," but unless the Trades Unions give the I.L.P. candidate a large measure of support he cannot be elected. From the" B" list of candidates five mem- bers of the Executive will be elected by the annual conference. Each Parliamentary consti- tuency organisation will be entitled to nominate a candidate for this list, through its local Labour Party. The five members elected from list "B," I fcnereiore, will be constituency nominations, al- though, as in the case of list "A," the confer- ence will make the selection. list C" four women will be elected by the conference. Each affiliated organisation of less than 500,000 members will be entitled to nominate one woman for list C." Organisa- tions with more than 500,000 members will be entitled to nominate two women. As in. regard to "A" and B" lists, the conference will select the four women to be members of the Executive out of the nominations sent in for list C." The delegates to the party conference will be drawn—(a) from Trades Unions, Socialist Socie- ties and Co-operative Societies affiliated to the Nntiönrtl Party (each of the-e bodies will be en- titled to send one delegate for each thousand members on which fees are paid¿, and (b) from constituencies through their local Labour Parties. Each constituency will be entitled to select one delegate, or in the case of two- member constituencies, two delegates. In the case of a local Labour Party with more than 500 women members in the women's section of the Local Labour Party an additional delegate is provided for who must be a woman. W l i(?i-e a Tr?i d dise l iai-()- i n,, tl-ie Where a Trades Council is discharging t*he fnnctions of a Local Labour Party it WtH be eligible to continue its arnliation to the National Party providing that its rules and title be ex- tended so as to include Local Labour Party func- tions as amended and extended under the new constitution. Trades Councils affiliated under the conditions mentioned will be entitled to send one delegate each to the conference. Affiliation fee for societies affiliated to the National Party are to be 2d. per member, with a minimum of 30s. Local Labour Parties will consist of affiliated Trade Union branches, the Trades Council of the area, Socialist Societies, Co-operative Societies having members within its area also individuals (men and women) willing to work for the objects and subscribe to the Constitution and Programme of the party. The management of the local La- bour Parties will lie in the hands of representa- tives of the bodies above mentioned and repre- sentatives of individual men who are members of the party and individual women who are mem- bers of the party. These representatives will form the General Committee. The inference to be drawn from, the place as- signed to representatives of individual members is that every local Labour Party will have to organise two separate sections for individual members, one for men and one for women. Each of these sections will be entitled to elect not more than 10 members to the General Commit- tee for the first 1,000 members and one ad- ditional representative for eaah additional 100 members. The contributions payable to the local Labour I'arties will be a minimum of 2d. per member per annum for Trade Union branches and Co- operative Societies and for Socialist Slocieties,and? Trades Councils not less than 10s. per annum for each Society or Council. Individual male mem- bers will contribute a minimum of Is. per annum, and individual female members a minimum cf d i'i- idividtial f(?iiial e a. Ti iiii I ll,-Llyn cf :1: In the a bove statement I have endeavoured to make clear the main, outlines of the; proposed new scheme of organisation for the Labour Party. I will now mention a few important points to which members of the I.L.P. should devote special attention. The first of these points I have already referred to at length, viz., the merging of the Socialist section of the old alliance in witlV the general collection of Trades Unions in the system, of electing: the Executive which administers the affairs of the party and guides its policy within the limitations imposed by the Aniiual Oonferenco. This decision should be challenged by our members in their 'Ira de II Unions and at the Conference itself. The next point of special importance is the necessity for removing the incubus of the block vote. Whether ltaets for us or against us in regard to any particular issue or proposal sub- mitted to a party conference it is misleading and unfair. With regard to elections for the Execu- tive and in the disposal of powers wielded by the Conference it involves the delegates in a system of huxtering and bartering their societies' votes which is a discredit to the party and deprives it of the exercise of its considered judgment. It should be made one of the regulations governing the Conference that all votes should be counted, minority as well as majority, of each separately affiliated body. The only other point I will mention at present is one affecting the enrolment of individual mem- bers. As the draft constitution reads at present, members of Trades Union branches and Social- ist Societies aÆliated through their respective bodies to local Labour Parties may become mem- bers of the sections for i dividual members. This is as it should be, for be active constituency work will be done by individuals who will not be satisfied to be merely ?giliated en bloc to the local party. An effort ?11 be made, however, to make members amiiated ?to local Labour Parties ineligible to become members .of the sections of individual members. The object of this effort will be to start rival organisations to the I.L.P. in every constituency. Personally, I do not ap- prehend that the object would be achieved, but, on the other hand, the sections for individual members if restricted in their membership as is suggested, would probably become the happy hunting ground for small coteries of persons with axes of their own to grind or schemes and policies of their own to push. With their separate rights of representation on the local Labour Parties and opportunities for becoming delegates at the party conferences, small sections consisting of a mere handful of wreckers could do a lot of mischief and make local Labour Par- ties almost unworkable.
I Rhymney Valley Notes. I Is this Killing Labour? Hie following; tacts may serve as an answer to the recent statement of a local oouncillor at a New Tredegar mass meeting, to the effect that the substance of the Labour Movement is being killed by Trades Councils and I.L.P.ers." The Rhymney and Abertyswwg Trades Council has under the Increase of Iients Act, 1915, and the Amended Courts Emergency Act, 1917, dealt with the following cases: J. H. (Rhymney), rent increased by 5s. per month above the amount paid by the previous tenant. He was advised by the Trades Council to withhold his excess rent and notify the owner to that effect. He was summoned before the Tredegar County Court, and Mr. E. Roberts. (Dowlais) defended on behalf of the Council. Tenant won his case. W. D. (Rhymney), rent increased 5s. per month, this sum being kept back in weekly sums from his wages. Again tenant won case.—A Widow (Rhymney), in receipt of out-door relief, took in a married couple in apartments, and subse- quently received two notices to quit, and a summons under the Courts Emergency Act to appear at' New Tredegar on August 24th. The owner refused to accept rent from her, but ac- cepted from sub-tenant. Council took case in hand, and had case adjourned. Owner failed to appear, and case fell to the- ground.—A number of cases have been settled out of court, amongst them being cases involving separate amounts of 1£2 4s. and £ 3 6s. refunded to tenants through the activities of the Council. It is requested that all trades unionists affiliated to the Council coming into possession of facts of maladministra- tion or evasion of the acts, should notify the secretary, Mr. T. Davies, Caina Pit Row, Rhymney, or Mr. J. Morgan, Post Office, Aber- Vox Populi. The Cefn .Forest Allotment Association, Gar- den Village, has passed a. resolution protesting against the Bedwellty Food Control Committee granting the milkvendors the maximum price for the winter. The Association claims that since a good deal of the milk supplied is local milk, it is lower in price than train milk. They desire that the control committee should recon- sider the question in view* of the alarming rise in prices of all commodities. The Control Com- mittee has postponed the fixing of the prices for a week to enable the deputation to get facts to show that there is sufficient cause to alter their decision and in the event of their decision being not altered they were prepared to hold a public meeting1 in the/village, if the public was not satisfied, at which they will state their case for fixing the price. Allotment Association. The Association decided to link up with the Cardiff and District Allotment Association, with a view of forming a South Wales and Monmouth- shire association; meanwhile, the committee has been instructed to take steps to organise the valley. I Fatality. I I At an inquest at Ystrad Mynach on Saturday on Elliott. Barnes (12), son of Mr. G. Barnes, Penallta-road, who fell down a short ladder in- side the Ystrad Mynach Cinema on Tuesday night, a verdict of "Accidental death was re- turned. Workmen's Club. I For failing to send in for 1916 to the Registrar of Friendly Societies, the Ynysddn Working- Men's Club and Henry Jones (secretary) were t'i),Ied ind f-3 3s. each at Blackwood. Miners and Ballot. -1 Pontiottyn miners on Saturday expressed themselves against the principle of balloting the Coalfield, oil* the comb-out, and in the event of it being taken advocating voting against down tools."
Deri Dispute Sequel.. I A. ca.se in which the lihymney Iron Co. (Ltd.) summoned 50 other workmen at the Groesfaen Colliery. Deri, for alleged breach of contract arising out of a dispute in July last was men- tioned at the Merthyr Police-court on Friday. Mr. C. Kenshoie, Aberda-re (solicitor for the Company) stated that after consultation with the soloeitor for defendants (Mr. T. J. Thomas, Bargoed) terms had been agreed upon and he accordingly asked for 14 days adjournment. The ap-plieation was granted.
The War & The Class War BY MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUILDS LEAGUE. It is first of all essential in discussing after the war labour problems to realise that at bottom they are precisely the same as the old "pre-war" problems. When you get it into proper perspective, even the greatest of Euro- pean Wars appears a very superficial business. We make a tremendous fuss about these mat- ters: patriot orators love to tell us that it was Wellington and Nelson who made England what it is; though pretty obviously the blame lies very little on their shoulders. And so to-day the armies in France and Poland and the Balkans in Fi-aiiec, an d -1 are not "remaking Europe "-they may be re- making the "map of Europe." Europe—what- ever the colours of its map—will be, after the war, the same old Europe that we have known all our lives; a Europe inhabited by a few capi- talists and a multitudinous proletariat—a. Europe of heaven knows how many nationalities, but of only two classes. Our rulers are telling us, it is true, a different story. "When the smoke of this great conflict has been dissolved in the atmosphere we breathe, there will re-appear a new Britain. It will be the old country still, but it will be a new coun- try. There will be new conditions of life and of toil for Capital and Labour alike, and there will be new relations between both of them and rt '"I --r me btate." Tlms Mr. i.loycl Ueogre and a hun- dred less exalted voices are chorutsing the same opinion. Reconstruction is the catch-word of the moment: and count-less? committees and sub-committees are setting themselves with a light heart to tasks which they believe-or at any rate profess—to be the economic reconstruc- tion of the country. Now it matters little perhaps if a few civil ser- vants and their semi-official advisers choose to believe that by demobilisation schemes, and la- bour exchange schemes, and conciliation schemes and the like, they are going to make a new Eng- land from the ashes of the old. But it does matter intensely that they should not, in de- ceiving themselves, deceive Labour also. It is vitally important that Labour should realise clearly and tenaciously that while the founda- tions of our economic edifice remain unaltered, no repairing and redecoration of the superstruc- ture can make it e*y n tolerably habitable for the mass of men. While the wage-system en- dures while the control of industry is in the hands of a capitalist oligarchy and of the State they control, while Labour is a commodity to be be bought and sold, there cannot be, in any real sense, a new England certainly there cannot be a new relationship between employers and em- ployed. That relation is determined by causes wl ich the war cannot affect: and it must re- main while those causes endure. Only in two ways can the class struggle be ended: either by the decisive victory or by the unconditional sur- render of Labour: either by the complete ac- ceptance of a servile status, or by the overthrow of the wage-system. Third way there is rone. For all the talk, then, of reconstructions and reformations, it is the old problem, and the old struggle which will conlront us after the war. Despite all the talk of brotherhood and solidar- ity, it is the hard bargaining of the labour mar- ket to which rhe men will return from the trenches. They may have saved England: but their share of the salvage will be only their own labour power, by the sale of which they must gain their livelihood. They may have won poli- tical freedom for the world, but they will have to begin again to fight for economic freedom for themselves. And they will not be able to take up the battle where they left it in the summer of 1914. The fight will be the same, but the conditions under which it is waged will have been modified considerably—and modified greatly to the disad- vantage of Labour. What the industrial situatioii-tlio state of trade "—will be when peace comes is hard to prophecy with any confidence. The official mind tends as always to a placid and comfortable op-I timism in many other quarters there is per- haps an exaggerated pessimism. But at the best there must be an enormous dislocation of in- dustry, only in part alleviated by a boom in cer- tain industries, and at the worst there may be a firancial collapse accompanied by an industrial depression more severe than any within memory. And under these conditions, unfavourable at best, Labour will find itself forced to fight primarily not for a further advance, but for the regaining of the position it had attained in 1914. Prices may fall at the end of the war, but they will not fall to the old level, and Jt will need a stiff struggle to bring the general standard of wages into conformity with the new prices. Every indication points to an even harder battle over the restoration of the rules and privileges which were so lightly abandoned in the hot fit of patriotism. Promises of restoration were cheer- fully made, and trustfully accepted but it is a long way back to March, 1915, and the capitalist press is already busy explaining why and how restoration will be neither practicable nor desir- able. So, too, with the rights sacrifioed under the Munitions Acts, with the concessions with regard to dilution, with every sacrifice of free- dom or status that Labour has made. The em- ployers have, naturally enough, little wish to abandon their gains and scraps of paper are apt to be as little regarded in the industrial as in the diplomatic world, unless there is behind them the power and the readiness to The employers, too, have realised the possibili- ties of the exploitation of patriotism and they will not forget the experience. Already the cry is being raised that in the trade war which is to, come with peace, the whole energies of the na- tion will be demanded: that strikes will still be acts of treachery to the nation. All. that has been preached with regard to munitions of war I will be preached with regard to munitions of peace. And the State, armed with new powers, which it will not easily forego, will be the cus- todian of national unity and of industrial peace. Already compulsory arbitration schemes are being mooted, and M. Briand is a hero and a shining example. So the main feature of the coming period will be distraction and confusion. A hundred com- plicated and interwoven problems will face La- bour, and compete for its attention. A hundred cries will be raised for its bewildering and con- fusing. Promises will be made, delusive conces- sions freely offered, every act of intimidation and cajolery will be utilised. And if Labour, disor- ganised and disunited, suffers itself to be bemused, it will pay the inevitable penalty. The employers are better organised and better pie pa red than ever before, and they have a fairly clear and shrewd idea of what they want and of how they mean to get it. Unless Labour can meet organisation by organisation, clear purpose by clear purpose, and well-conceived strategy by well-conceived strategy, it is march- ing straight to irreparable disaster. In indus- trial as in international war, success can only come through clear thinking and careful pre- paration.
j Brace's Busy Day. PUERILE ANSWERS AT TONYREFAIL Mr. Wm. Brace, M.P., addressed a large audi- ence at the Cinema last Sunday week under the auspices of the Labour Education Committee on War Aims." It may be presumptuous to attempt to make any report or comment upon this illustrious and superior member of the Government on his ad- dress, after his declaration that no one had any right to offer any criticism of the authorities in power, unless such persons are superior in their intelligence. He took it for granted that there was no one in the audience who had a right to question the wisdom of the Government in power and incidentally of himself. In spite of such arrogant assertions and as- sumptions, I will venture to express what I con- sider a fair estimation of his address. Aims he hardly touched at all. His main con- tention was based on Mr. Gerard's report- to the American Government, and, on the ex-German Chancellor's peace terms, which, it appeared, were grotesque and antiquated. He made special reference to the "comb-out" of the mines, de- claring that the miners had no right to any privelege in such matters. He dealt with several atrocity argumeuts and savoured it with abuse and ridicule of ti.- pacifist—to which he received a fine and enthusiastic response in the form of questions, which rather put him off his bearings. When asserting the right and wisdom of the Government a member of the audience reminded him that the Government was self elected, to which he childishly retorted that they would not elect you." Several such retorts to questions was given by the Hon. Member, such as "Would you make a bettter Prime Minister than Lloyd George? They would not select you to go to America," "You have no right to ask questions if you have not rendered service to your coun- try," 'It is not decent for you to ask questions, a young man like you ought to be in the Army," And please do not try to score off me." At this he was reminded that lie had availed himself of every opportunity to score off others in the audience, and what was applicable to one was applicable to all in the audience. At this junc- ture the whole audience was animated and ques- tions from all parts of the building came, spon- taneously. In reply to a question on Alsace- Lorraine, lie made a remarkable admission, to the effect that previous to 1870 the French had annexed Alsace-Lorraine from Germany. But lie believed that Alsace Lorraine should be given back to the French as a reward for their sacri- fices in the wa.r. Thousands and thousands of British soldiers are to be sacrificed to make these provinces a French property. < He was asked why he voted for a minimum wage of 25s. per week for the agricultural worker in preference to the 30s., to which he replied: because I am a member of the Government. He was in the team and he had to work with the team or get out." On a question whether it was right for the Government to permit the export of tea when the home supply was inadequate, he replied. I will refer to Lord Rhondda, who is in control of that department." Intermingled with these replies there were sup- plementary questions and interjections, which caused considerable commotion, and amidst which Mr. Brace stated that the profiteer should be hung. From the audience came the reply; "Start with Bonar Law and Lord Rhondda." On German gold Mr. Brace stated that he be- lieved that the pacifist movement had not in any way received any. But lie did not say that the 'Jingo Press had been using German gold, as is revealed by the Bolo affair. You pacifists," said Brace, are good fighters, but where I lose you is that you will not fight the Germans." After vividly describing the horror of the air- raids in London, he stated that it would be a good thing for a. Zeppelin to come to this locality to bring home to the people the reality of the war. Thus it is not enough for Mr. Brace to have the slaughter of women and children in London, he wishes it would happen here also. To this came a retort from the crowd that it would also be a good thing if one came over the House of Commons. Ultimately the chairman succeeded, after several efforts, in closing the question time amidst much amusement. On the whole the spirit and toleration of the meeting were very good, and everyone seemed to take their part in good humour. A hearty vote of tflianks was given to Brace and the chairman.
PRESENTATION. On his retirement after 35 years service in the Merthyr Railway-station, 28 of which he spent as platform foreman, Mr. John Davies, Merthyr, was presented oa Friday with a silver- mounted ebony walking-stick and a purse con- taining a,hout' £ subscribed by the genera! I g ,iboiii, E50 s-tibscrib e(I I)v the ,enerat