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" Renaissance."1

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Renaissance." THE ACTUATING SPIRIT OF THE UNOFFICIAL REFORM COMMITTEE. AN ARTICLE INSPIRED BY THE HART- SHORN ATTACK. The events of the past three-and-a-half years, in so far as they effeet organised Labour, seem, to a large extent, to have the effect of making advocates of work ing-class emancipation view the prospects of Laoour in a, gloomy spirit. The restrictions of free speech, the imprisonment of outspoken labour champions, the treatment of 0.0. 's, the curtailment of trade-union activity, and, what is, perhaps, worse than the foregoing, the apparent apathy with which the bulk of the working-class seem to view the loss of the civil liberties (such as they were) which they possessed —these developments, at times, make one in- cline to the opinion that the near future pre- sents an aspect, as far as Labour is concerned, which ardent advocates of working-class eman- cipation' can only vieAV with despair in their hearts. INSPIRING INDICATIONS. But, gloomy as the future may appear in face of the foregoing developments, there are other developments also tukrng place which bid the workers be of good cheer i" although the pre- sent seems gloomy, the future is yours! The growing spirit of rebellion against the treatment meted out to the working-class (aB expressed by the attitude the A.S.E. and the miners have taken up from time to time), and which is directed against class rule in its entirety, and not, mer-ely for bettet not. merely for "better" treatment, is enough to gladden the heart of any working-class ad- vocate in these dark and gloomy days. But far more inspiring than even the growing spirit of rebellion is the growing tendency to break down the barriers of a constitutional- ism," which is fitted only for the maintenance of present-day conditions. The spirit of rebellion is welcome and inspiring as the expression of a real objection to present conditions. It indi- cates that, despite, all coercion, the spirit ani- mating the Labour movement will not be downed." But the growing movement towards the breaking down of present day constitu- tionalism," within our own ranks, does more than spasmodicalliv object to the present. It breaks open the gi'ound In arck-r to lay the foundation of the organisation of the near fu- ture. And here I refer, in particular, to the activities of the "Urofficial Reform Committee" of the S.W.M.F. The miners will do well, in my opinion, to place their confidence in thati gallant little body of men, not ov allowing them to usurp the place of the Federation E.C. mem-1 bers (a? Hartshorn seems to think they desire), but by assisting them to establish tlwir claim: that organised Labour requires but one "leader" j —the rank and file, expressing itself as a single unit. LEADERSHIP FROM BELOW. The day has gone when workers should wait for rusty "leaders to give a "lead." The day has come when the rank a.nd file should take the lead by developing its own initia- tive. This does not mean, however, that we do not require "advisors" and representatives." It means that, if we are to progress at all, we have to "choke off" the spirit which is com- mon in most leaders and which develops the dicta/tor and the autocrat. Too long has the E.C. council proceeded from an assumption which suggests that they regaaxl the Miners' Federation as an offspring of the E.C. (and one which needs keeping in its place). The business of the Miners' .Federation ought now to be to teach the E.C. that it is an offspring of the Miners' Federation—seeing to it that they are kept within reasonable bounds. The work advocated by the Unofficial Reform Committee is to break down tha,t form of con- stitutionalism which checks any progressive movement on the part of the rank and file and develops bossism on the part of the Labour leaders." Already this committee has evolved beyond the stage when it can be ignored. It has given the divine gang palpitations of the heart. Boss Harthorn warns us that the activities of the "unoBicials," if not checked, will cause a split in the organisation. So they will! But not in the sense that he implies. Dictatorship, autocracy, and "divine leader- ship "—which have become the ruling forces of the orga,migation-will be split in a thousand fragments. It will be "war to the death "— as Boss Hartshorn is reported to have said, at Maesteg—not, however, the death of the Un- official Reform Committee, but of the "labour leader." The "unomcials" can well afford to leave the leaders to blow alternately hot and cold because of their wtivi.ties--tliev represent the outward expression of the birth of a new spirit which is taking possession of the working- class. The revival has begun. A new phase of working-class organisation is soon to lieeotne ma,nife-st-t,he tendency cannot be checked de- finitely. History has a knack of unfolding itself despite all the efforts of reactionaries. When the productive forces have developed, giving place to a newer and higher form of organisa- tion, none but divine leaders and ninnies would lx* mad enough to think of attempting to prevent the organisation finding expression. It would make no difference if you called the pioneers of the new movement a set of nin- compoops, without the intelligence of torn-tits until you became black in the face, the move- ment would still assert itself. As well is it to stand on the shore screaming at the oncoming time and advocating policies to nip its movement in the bud "—but it stall continues to sound its mighty roars, to swell, and to come onward

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