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Political Notes

Our Easter Conference.


Our Easter Conference. VOLUME OF BUSINESS TRANSACTED. MACDONALD AND SMILLIE MOVE CON- FERENCE. Tuesday found the delegates laced with a huge volume of business to get through in the few hours of the one day. M. Litvinoff, the Russian Ambassador, sent cordial greetings, as did the children of the Socialist Sunday School. The Jewish Socialist Party, meeting in Man- chester, telegraphed: We admire your stand for Internationalism and are with you in your strivings." Letters of apology for non-attend- ance were read from the Rev. W. E. Moll and M essis. Harry Dubery and Walter A vies, the latter of whom wrote from Dorchester Prison. The discussion was then resumed on the Bow and Bromley proposal to delete the paragraph Programme. Mr.. W. C. Anderson argued that if the dele- tion were carried an unexplained gap would be left in the statement of principles and policy, an explanation which Conference regarded as satisfactory, and the paragraph was retained. ORGANISERS AND THE N.A.C. In the discussion on the Constitution, the Kingston delegate moved that a new clause should be added to the section covering or- ganisation laying it down that no organiser or paid official, whose salary is paid by the N.A.C.. shall be eligible for election to the X.A.C. Mr. Ramsay Maedonald warned the Confer- ence to be careful of what they committed themselves to on questions of this kind. What was meant by "salary" for instanced Did it refer to anyone who was paid a salary by the N.A.C., or only to those whose whole income was paid by the N.A.C. While he agreed we ought to safeguard ourselves, he suggested the wording of this proposed clause was open to loose interpreta tion. Mrs. Snowden suppotted the Kingston amend- ment. The I.L.P., she said, was not a business organisation run for profit, and though she did not for a moment suspect that anyone would act on the N.A.C. for his own advantage, yet it might have a bad effect if it were known that those who had the spending of the money were actually receiving some of that money contri- buted to put into their own pockets. She knew something of the practical effect of a rule of this sort from her experience as a treasurer. The (Joventry delegate expressed himself against the amendment, because the movement wanted Its best brains on the N.A.C., and sure ly the National body could be relied upon to judge whether an applicant was after financial gain or hot. The proposal, in his view, was a slur upon everyoody who by dire necessity might have to accept some financial acknowledgment of his services to the Party. The profKised new clause, however, was car- ried by 204 votes to 159. JTHE N.A.C. I Hie paragraph headed "Organisation" stated that the X.A.C. shall be composed of twelve re- I presentatives, in addition to the two officers. Burton-on-Trent moved an amendment to make the clause read, the N.A.C. shall be composed of four National members and one member from each divisional area." By carrying this resolu- tion the Conference left it open for any pos- sible new division to have its representative on the N.A.C. < Mr. Egerton P. Wake moved a, resolution which gave expression to a large body of opinion in the movement concerning the dura- tion of our annual Conference. On behalf of the Barrow branch he iroved: That the busi- ness of the National Conference commence at 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday, the N.A.C. Report to be considered on the Sunday, that resolutions be taken first business on Monday, and that the Conference end at 4 p.m. on Tuesday." The re- solution, he said, was really an agreed resolu- tion representing the opinions of the Lancashire blanches. Mr. Larrad (Mancht ster Centra!) seconded, and the resolution was carried unanimously, and future Conferences will begin on the Sunday. _I RESOLUTION ON DEMOBILISATION. Having finished with the construction, the delegates turned to the consideration of the first resolution "That this Conference demands that when the armies are demobilised at the conclu- sion of the war the pay and separation allow- ance of all soldiers and sailors be continued until such time as they have been provided with per- manent work at which they can earn an ade- quate living. Further, that tJie Government should immediately prepare vast schemes of work, such as Housing, Land Reclamation. Af- forestation, into which the surplus labour in the market can be drafted and thus avoid a serious unemployment crisis." In the discussion Mrs. Kawcett raised the question of Laoour Exchanges and persons urging women who are employed to enrol for military service. Probably, she said, Trade Union fathers were to a great extent responsible for the ignorance of their daughters who filled up forms of enrolment without knowing how they were tying themselves up. The resolution, with an addition suggested by Bow and Brom- ley "that this surplus labour should -be em- ployed under Trade Union conditions," was unanimously carried. J. R. MACDONALD ON THE SOLDtERS CHARTER. Mr. Ramsay Maedonald then rose from the body of the Hall to move the Soldiers' Charter. "The resolution," said Jla(do"nald. "it; long, but it is not quite comprehensive enough. It must be taken rather as an indication of inten- tion. It means fundamentally to say that the soldier is a man. When he is called up by the State he retains his human rights and his civil rights." Speaking of the distinction between officers and men in the exercise of tivil rights, Mr. Maedonald declared that wliat was good for the goose was good for the gander, and this citizen army must retain its citizen rights. The ("barter was seconiled and carried unani- mously. SMILLIE AND PEACE. I Mr. Snowden then asked Mr. Smillie to move the peace resolution which was brought forward in the place of many resolutions on the agenda. The resolution reads This Conference of the I.L.P. strongly re- affirms that a democratic and unaggressive peace secured by negotiation at t.he earliest possible mement, alone can save the nations from mutual destruction, ruin, and bankruptcy, and urges in the interests of civilisation, that no opportunity be lost of examining honestly the possibilities of a world settlement; the Conference sends greetings to the men and women in all coun- tries who are working for a peoples' peace with- out annexations or indemnities, and with the rights of peoples, large or small, to determine their own life, and assures such men and women that the forces of reason are rapidly gathering strength among the British Workers, and this Conference denounces and repudiates the secret treaties to which governments and rulers have committed themselves behind the backs, ef their peoples, and insists that such treaties, involving imperialist conquest and territorial aggression, are the real stumbling blocks to an early and lasting peace, and must be swept away with all governments that aue bound by them." Mr. Smillie said several of his old comrad es in the movement had told him lie was looking amazingly well. He was not nearly so well look- ing when they met him at the Labour Party Conference or at the Trade Union Congress. How can anyone look well at the Labour Party Conference or the Trade Union Congross:" he asked, and the delegates laughed and applauded. Attending the I.L.P. Conference was like get- ting a breath of the sea, he continued. It got into your lungs, into your blood, into your mind. I think if I could attend every year I would live for ever." The soul of the Confer- ence, he thought, was in two or three of the resolutions, the resolution moved by Comrade Maedonald and the two on Peace and Liberty that were before them. Peace without liberty was not good enough. They must endeavour to secure peace, but while securing it they ought to protect the little liberty they had.. DISAFFECTION. I Simmons has been sentenced to prison, and one of the clauses under which he was charged wa^s Any pei-son who attempts to cause dis- affection among the civilian population," and so on. Why, good heavens, what is tin's Confer- ence trying to do this morning? (Loud il)- plause.) What are you here far r I have been causing disaffection for nearly 40 years, and I have never found any tiling—or hardly anything —in life to be satisfied with. This is Easter time. Some two centuries ago there was a cross elected, and evidently the Defence of the Realm Act was enforced in that country. Evidently Jesus of Nazareth was going about causing dis- affection among the civilian population. The Churches keep his Cricifixion a.s a holiday, but they have forgotten his teaching. Dealing with the suggestion of cowardice levelled at us, Mr. Smillie said, "Some of those who make that charge must be deliberately lying. They know it is not the cowards who go out to the street coiners and talk as we have done." There is not one here to-day who would not go out of that door, stand up against the wall, and suffer death if it would finish the war. STAND ASIDE. I Speaking of the "amazing progress" the I.L.P. has made, Mr. Smillie remarked: "Some people are wondering whether they will have the I (Continued on Page 2).