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.Merthyr's May DayI


Merthyr's May Day I GREAT DEMONSTRATION IN CYFARTHFAI PARK. MR. R. SMILLIE AND RECONSTRUCTION I BY LABOUR. THE EISTEDDFOD AT THE RINK. I Merthyr has every reason to be proud of the succesa that attended its celebration of Labour's May-Day on Wednesday. May 1st is a political holiday, a holiday that preaches in itself the das war and international working-class solidar- jty; and to find thousands of men and women, not alone willing and able to successfully oppose the official attempt to prevent its celebration, ,but to consciously demonstrate their belief in the solidarity, that seems to be denied by the hard facts of life as we are viewing it to-day, is 7,0 be compelled to take the long view to realise that it is not in the professional politician or the journalist stirrer-up of hate that the future lies, but in the serried ranks that marched through the streets of Merthyr, that enthusiased to the speeches on the Castle Balcony on the Park, and that in the evening literally packed the eisteddfod in the Rink. SPORTS AND BAND CONTESTS. I The appetite of the public was whetted in the morning by the marching competition along the High Street. Though the entries were naturally small from the fact that most of the bandsmen were following their employment in different parts of South Wales, there was still some gQ(jl<I playing, and Bedlinog carried off the first prize with a spirited performance that set the feet swinging in rhythmic time to the tune. Bed- linog also fought hard for the prize in the Band -Contest which attracted such attention on the Park in the afternoon, and they gave New Tre- degar a ha.rd run, though the latter's success was a popular one It says much for the quality of the playing that such crowds should have so patiently and interestedly listened the competi- tion out despite the biting east wind that <mt through clothes like a hot knife through butter, and chilled to the bone. But perhaps the best of the alfresco programme on the Park was the children's sports that provided real joy for the youngsters, and hearty amusement for the grown-ups. There were literally hundreds of entries, but thanks to the skill and enthusiasm of Jack Price there was perfectly fair handicap- ping, and workmanlike organisation to send the whole thing swimmingly along. THE EISTEDDFOD. But unquestionably the most popular of the day's items was the huge eisteddfod in the Kink, over which Mr. Jas. Winstone presided so ably. Again the entry list was heavy, but not too heavy for the vast audience that crammed the Rink in every available inch, and that would have filled a much larger building had it been ^available. Yet it was in the speeches on the balcony in front of the Oastle that the aspinLtions that May- Dav represented were expressed, and wonderfully well expressed by our Comrades the Rev. J. M. Jones. Dr. Marion Philips, and Rob" Smillie, •speaking under the presidency of the Trades "Council chairman. Mr. Hugh Williams (Trehar- ris). THE RESOLUTION. I The Rev. J. M. Jon<s opened the addresses with a wonderfully fine speech in which he moved -the following resolution -— That- this meeting of the workers of the Mer- thyr Tydfil County Borough desire to reaffirm their belief in nh<■ Brotherhood of Man and the solidarity of Labour and desire to record their determination to rebuild the International, be- lieving that this is the only method that will bring peaty to humanity, the resources and products "f t-he earth t.o the workers, and the destruction of the present cruel capitalistic- system. Further we wish t,o congratulate the women t'hat have been enfranchised and hope what a.H women will soon get the vote, so that they shall join in working for a better world —the work which our late revered Comrade J. Kejr Hardie lived and died for. TRUE BROTHERHOOD. Mi, Iarion Philips ^seconding) spoke on the Brotherhood that. the "lay represented, and re- minded us that Brotherhood meant much more than feeling that we were brothers to our fellow workers in this country. It was easier to -ay that than it was to be regally the brethren of our next door neighbours, yet unless we observed and exercised the spirit of true brotlierliness in its international meaning we should never be able to do our duty even by those dependent upon U. Especially to the women would she say that their concern did not top with their own doors. For they were affected by every misfortune and -every misery suffered by every family in the community. We could not separate our happi- ness or misery from those around us. Just as the outbreak of war between two nations brought in all the other natioTL4 of the earth, and affected everyone in them no matter how humble or ex- alted, so every action of our lives had some re- action on those around us. Labour stood not •only for economic freedom, but freedom from the. burdens upon our spirits as well. And we ^t*»peoially looked to the women for help in aid- ing us to gain a life for the children wliic$ would mean that they not only grew up healthy chil- dren living in homes that were spacious and healthy, but fxha.t. t-hev should also grow up citi- zens of good will. (Cheers.) If the future was to be a future of peace, we had to make it so. -ind we could not, do th.-Lt-thaiigh we might have people's peace and a league of Nations and all the machinery to make peace possible—unless we had a well-informed Democratic force in every na-tion controlling its policy. And that Demo- cratic fprce had got to IWIIt.n ill, the small things of life and not only look at the large. She person- ally believed that we had a better instrument in making good citizens in having good houses into which children should be born than almost any other reform of which we could think and we wanted the ordinary every-day woman as well as the women at the top to help on tha.t reform. She wanted all women made to recognise that the drudgery of their lives was a sin for which the whole community was responsible, and to see that they must join with all the women in try- ing to do away with that sin for ever t. Cheers.) POVERTY THE BAR. I We all knew perfectly well that the people of this country could at any time during the last t30 years have controlled the country if they had been awake but they hnd been kept- down by poverty. They had not had the strength anrl force to struggle against this r ndin- misorv-, and to take the reins of responsibility from those who had them. It was not, bom. iise the other people wfcre better or knew more; it was because they had chosen to keep the power in their own hands knowing full well the value of that power, and knowing that the workers were content to lead a blind existence, not exercising the spiritual and intellectual gifts they were given. Labour was out to set the workers free. May- Day was a festival because there was joy in the idea of freedom. There would be a world revolu- tion when we realised the joy and beauty of free- dom as well as the bitterness of poverty and op- pression. They would be happy men and women who would make that revolution, men and women who could see the full hope of the future—a future that could make lye infinitely more pre- cious for the people of the whole world.1 We could never gain that until we had also spiritual freedom, which meant toleration of other people. Toleration was one of the gifts of real strength. So long as a movement was torn by bitterness between its different sections, so long would it be impossible for it to do its work properly. The duty of the future was to gain so strong and powerful a movement that we could look without fear upon all our enemies, and because we under- stood their point of view find out how best to create what we wanted in place of what they had made. (Cheers.) BOB" SMI LLI E. I Air. R. Smillie said that the Merthyr people were the only mining community in Wales which was in step that morning. His own county of Lanark was also in step for they, too, were hold- ing a. demonstration. He had no doubt we would be blamed for taking that idle" day to demonstrate for the mmers were wonderfully im- portant these days. True, they were not of much iinportaneo for many, many years before this war. They were then allowed to live in miserable homes, allowed the possessing class to take about two-thirds of the wealth the workers produced, and no one paid over much attention to it. But they were of immense importance now. (Laughter.) For 30 years he had been a rebel against existing authority, preaching to his class that they were the most important class in the community, he had pointed out to the workers that they and their children were as good as the children of kings and princes, of duchesses and lordlings, but they would not be- lieve him. Generation after generation of misery and starvation and sweating had lowered them down until they had begun to recognise that God Almighty had really created the two classes—the hewens of wood and drawers of water, and the idle class. The really useful people who had been doing the really useful work were of very little importance before the war came, but now that they had been told by the politicians and other gentlemen that they were of importonce they were beginning to realise that they were of some imjMjrtance really. (Cheers.) That day those who had caught that idea. were met together to prove so far as they possibly could the Interna- tional solidarity of Labour. (Cheers.) The news- papers had severely blamed those of us who had presumed to take up a different line of thought from the majority of the ruling class in this country. Personally he had only continued the line of thought that as a Socialist he had preach- ed for over ;30 years. (Cheers.) He had not changed his mind in the slightest degree with re- gard to his hatred of war. The cause of all wars was economic, it was the desire of Capitalism to secure the exploitation and development of the mineral and other resources of the earth. War did not occur and would not occur amongst the Democracies of the world. We had no reason to tight each other. We had more reason to agree with each other in fighting the common enemy of Democracy the world over—the Capitalistic Sys- tem. (Cheers.) We had been called by the press pro-Germans and people had been told that we would prefer to see Germany win rather than our own nmiitry. The people who wrote that knew that they were telling lies. (Cheers.) Those people knew very well that we were not out to see a. victory for the Central Powers. (Cheers.) Wo did not want, to be ruled and sweated and starved by German Junkers any more than by English Junkers. (Cheers.) But we were desir- ous of securing at the earliest possible moment a real peace. When Secret Diplomacy had brought the nations to the verge of war, and the yellow press in all lands had been set to work to drive all the nations into war he, as chairman of the Inter- national miners' movement, and Mr.Ashton as the secretary, had sent out. letters to the secretaries of the Intel-national miners in the hope that if t.hevminers could get together they could prevent war. They felt that if they could get all the miners of the earth to stop internationally all the Kaisers and Kings and Statesmen could not carry on war without them. But they had failed. Capitalism and Diplomacy were too many for them. He Ijelieved that their letters were never delivered, for they never had any answers. (Cheers.) OUR PURPOSE. I We were out to-day to declare for the Inter- national—for Democracy—and to say that this war was not a war wanted by the Democracies of the earth to say that secret diplomacy was the cause of this war and was now keeping the war going on. Whenever offers had been made which rendered it possible to open up negotiations for peace they had been rejected. Why ? The secret treaties. It was because those secret treaties existed that the nations of the earth were prevented from coming together and finding a way to peace. He wished the Labour Move- ment to work in the direction of an early mutual peace that would secure peace for all coming time. If the governments could not do that be- cause secret treaties stood in their way, then in heaven's name let the Governments stand aside and allow Democracies to settle the peace. (Cheers.) LABOUR AND RECONSTRUCTION. I Proceeding, Mr. Smillie said that he wanted the Labour Movement to concentrate its atten- tion on securing the land for the people, for this war had taught us that though we were an island we were not immune from attack, and had shown us that the wars of the future would be fought largely under the spa. and up in, the air. Bear- ing that in mind, this conn t ry ought to start producing enough to make it sf-If-supporting. If our country had been. organised for the purpose of jxroducing enough to keep our population strong and well, we should have been a happy and contented population to-day. (Cheers.) But the land was not the only reorganisation that we should have to see to. We should have to re- organise in all directions, but not to re-organise as the Capitalists wanted us to under their re- construction schemes. Those schemes meant. the highest possible production from each individual. They were desirous of organising by sotting one man against another to see who could produce most. The miners knew something of that sys- tem. That was an old kind of Capitalist recon- struction. If the Labour Party was wise it would make sure that the reconstruction followed entirely new lines. (Cheers.) A reconstruction it should be that would see that the nation pro- duced as much as it was capable of doing by the finest machinery that could possibly be put, into the workshops; and that reconstruction and work should not be for private capital and dividends, but for the use of the whole community. That was the real reconstruction to which we must look forward. PAYING FOR THE WAR. I The workers, continued Mr. Smillie, ¡ would! t we to pay for the war. They would have to pay the pensions to the dependents of the brave lads who had died for the country, and they should see that that payment was adequate, as also the payment to the thousands who came back maimed and shattered from the war. (Hear, hear). And we could pay for it. We had a beautiful and productive country and splendid and willing workers. But we could not be pro- perly organised for the greatest production for the community so long as land was owned by private individuals. We must. therefore, go in for the nationalisation of the land on behalf of the i>eople. We must cultivate from 8,000,000 more acres than we were doing at the present time. If we did this and produced co-operatively and not for the landlords, we could feed our- selves in the future and be independent of any other nation. We also wanted an absolute re- volution in the housing conditions in the coun- try. a. public health service organised as Dr. Saleeby said, to save a thousand babies per week, and a fuller educational policy, not for tho pur- pose of raising the individually clever child alx>ve its fellows, but for the purpose of raising the whole community. (Cheers.) The resolution was carried unanimously.

[No title]

Mr. E. D. Morel -


The Fetish of Industrial History

I Theatre Royal