Our Friends Koltchak and Deniken. PAGE 2.
Political Notes I By F. W. Jowett. I t THE COMINC CRASH. The capitalist system is going headlong to de- duction. In the nations that have suffered de- at the system appears to be already broken be- £ °t)d repair. Here in this country that stage ?? not been reached, but the refusal of the ^pitalist class to recognise the situation which front5 it brings the system nearer to destruc- IOn every day. In a world made immeasurably ??rer as a. result of the war the capitalist class ￼ this and other countries that have not suf- t?'rc-d defeat, presumes that it is richer than For five years it has been accumulating ??r profits, and pretending to lend wealth, ^hich in fact it did not possess, and the effect is tat the produc?Tve power of the people is as- 1,411TOc?d to be heavily mortgaged to Capitalism, i NECESSARIES FIRST. JNvo things have followed, as it was certain would follow. One is high prices, because ces are loaded with interest charge* daimed, J the capitalist class, and the other is artificial ^fcrcity of necessary commodities, because the f^fiteer has the first call on industry, and the flÏngs that are most necessary from the na- tional point of view are not necessities for him. li(lyace, for example, large and well-equipped en- sneering factories arc working on orders booked I^any months in advance for private motor-cars, Or the enjoyment of rich profiteers, whi 1-i the 'i "H'kya rds and storage warehouses of the -oun- T are packed full of materials which cannot he ^oved to the centres of industry for lack of I -tootor transport or other forms of conveyance. I WHy YOU CAN'T GET A HOUSE. I To make matters worse, the count ry has been tfioked into c-lf-(-tinc, t Vvhich calmly looks on whilst Ministers, acting in (101JUsion with Big Business Interests incro-.tst, I sean.in of commodities, and send prices up &tJ.n further by restricting the importation of things urgently needed from foreign sources. As If aU this madness was not enough, ships that re-quired for conveying the means of Jifl. and the products of peaceful industry are being used i carry bulky and heavy tanks, and other > •■- j !?€ments or wàr to suppJ a ring of armed f'orre^ ?? Mcckitdt' Russia with all its vast and varied ?ateriat resources. Amongst Russia s material Resources is timber, of MhicL ?P aN' in n<?d for ?ndin? the houses that arc promised, hut of I w hose fr?-twn thne is as ;pt no sign. r THE WORKERS' DEBT. Jhis ini|)iident assumption of the capitalist- that prices are to be loaded with interest I'hurgos, as if the capitalist class had actually lent the substance of wealth, in exchange for a IUortg-agp on .ill the products of labour lor ever until the debt is paid, is too colossal io be i>()ine in any case. Aggravate! as it is by mis- direction of spending power on to non-essential filings, the breakdown of the whole system on ^"hich the assumption rests is practically as- tl rod. 1, A LAND FIT FOR HEROES." -1 labour, which has promise! a new and jitter world as a result of the war has bitterly disappointed. Millions of men who have to'Hc through hell and risked tl eir lives realise hat in their absence Capitalism has increased demand and that they are exj>eeUd to pay "htckrnail to those who made profits out of the is and some things—- Nothing, footwear and household requisites for example—are so extremely dear that only com- paratively well-to-do people can supply' their nevds. And yet cotton shares pay 25 per cent. Shipping shares are paying 3.:) and tO per cent, Igns of luxurious spending meet the worker ^very where. and exploitation becomes more ram- Piint than evei'. CORRUPTION AND REVOLT. I And the people rebel. This should cause no Surprise. Parliament does nothing. It is Packed with profiteers and their supporters, and ,doc,s nor want to do anything. The Coalition 'Majority is hand and glove with the profiteers, whilst the once powerful Liberal Party bleaks '^effectively about cutting down national expen- diture. although its leaders pay lip-service to the demand for housing and other schemes of ^•-construction which involve enormous expendi- ture. As for the Labour Party, it is too weak in ^ai-lipment to change the economic policy of the Nation in the teeth of vested interests. BREAD BEFORE CAKE. I Parliament, having become a nici-C tool of the Capitalist class, what else could be expected than industrial and social upheaval? Working people cannot be fobbed off nowadays with the old fal- incy tht t,lic, 1st (riYe them ?urk and ?a?ps. They kmw. in fowt thaL the necessary man Ls the working-man, and that the eapiblišt profiteer and the landlord are dependents. The War has taught them that. During the war the men who fought and the men who produced use- ful things had to be fed.and clothed. There wa.s nu unemployment problem. The necessary work had to be done. It was a case of essential things first. Bread before cake, carriage of goods be- fore touring for pleasure. BE AUDACIOUS." I Xow that peace has come, the working people do not see why they should not be able to buy tlit, things they need, and as prices go up they >vant more wages. Consequently, there are Strikes. The war having enlightened working people as to the value of labour, they are hc- coming "audacious," as they were advised to do hy the Prime Minister himself. But their auda- city conflicts with the claim of the capitalist class to hold fast to its war profits, and to seize for itself a bigger share than ever of the pro- ducts of labour. THE STORM WIND. I As the ronnict proceeds, one Id(' or the other I will have to gin' ?ay. Either OttpitaH?m mu%t I r?iievc production of the heavy charts on ac- has count of rent, interest and profit;, and also of the waste involved in the ill-organised method s of collection, manufacture and distribution, or the worker must live leaner and work harder to keep the capitalist system afloat. This he will never do, and as Capitalism seems to have no in- tention of abdicating of its own free will, there will be strikes and more strikes. Capitalism has sown the wind, and reaps the whirlwind. THE RLCHT TO STRIKE. The Police Bill passed its third reading stage without a division. Att-empto wore made by the Labour Party to persuade the Government to I agive to various amendments, but they were in- effectual. The Home Secretary made damaging use of an admission by Labour members that policemen could not be Trades Unionists in the ordinary way, meaning, presumably, that they should not have the right to strike. A POTENT WEAPPON. j It is precisely because the police had formed I a powerful trade union, and had decided to strike, that the Government granted improved conditions. Policemen have obtained u now wage minimum of 70/- per week, but in return for it they are being compelled by law to throw away the weapon by which it was won. The sub-sec- tion of the Bill which, in effect, precludes police- men from associating with any other organisa- tion than that provided for them by the Gov- ernment was voted upon, but it was carried by 117 to 28. The Capitalists' Labour Party, of course, voted with the majority. I BLACK BRETHREN. I Ministers reveal the veal state of their miml on labour questions when they answer enquiries relating to the conditions of labour in Crown Colonis. Answering lr. Spoor in the House JL-Tuly 28th), who had asked for a Government declaration in favour of a nine-hours' working day and a minimum wage for men, women and children in British Guiana. Colonel Amerv gave ly observed that the Colonial Government gave protection to unskilled labourers in the Colony, and had set up Boards to tween Capital and Labour. j I FIVE HOURS AND NINE. I To the further request for the appointment of Labour representatives on the Executive Coun- cil of British Guiana, Colonel Ame-ry replied that there was no such representation, but that the Secretary of State was unable to admit that the interests of Labour in the Colony do not receive full consideration." It is evidently ta ken for granted by the British Colonial Office —where the hours of duty are between ten in the forenoon and four in the afternoon, with an interval for lunch—that a nin<v-hours' working day is an unattainable minimum in British Crown Colonies. AN IMPUDENT CLAIM. I Useful and interesting facts relating to the acquisition of "native territory and the treatment of native races was revealed in the course of the debate on the Colonial Office vote in the House of Commons on July 30th. Mr. Ben Spoor began the discussion, and he was ably supported by Colonel Wedgwood. It has been decided that the British South African Com- pany, commonly known as the Chartered Com- Dany, has no legal claim to the ownership of Rhodesia, so the Company has put in a claim for compensation on account of its ad m inistra- tion of the Colonv. The Company claims be tween £ 7.000,000 and £ K 000.000. According to an article which appeared recently in the Times the claim is likely to be increased to somewhere near £ 18,000,000. With character- istic tenderness to capitalist exploiters the Gov- ernment has decided to pay whatever sum it is assessed to pay by Lord Ca e and two other members of a commission that has been ar- pointed to enquire intojjie matter. A SUBJECT RACE. I the cost of the two predatory wars is included ;n the claim of the Chartered Company on ac- count of expenses incurred in Rhodesia. The terms upon which forces were enlisted for the Matabele War by the Chartered Company in- cluded gifts of extensive areas of land (about 6,000 acres) and half the loot." The loot." included 40,000 to iO,Cno head of cattle cap- tured from the natives. The net result of the Chartered Company's operations in Rhodesia is that the ;),000,000 natives .ire "reserved" in thirteen per cent, of the land, almost entirely busli-land, whilst the white population, number- ing 1,500,000 are allowed the remaining 87 per cent. of the land. The natives work under a system which wa.s appropriately described by Lord Henry Cavendish Bentinck, who also took part in the debate, as more or less veiled slavery." If a native wishes to leave an em- ployer he must get a pass, which his employer only need refuse to give if lie desires to keep hi, servant. If a native strikes for an increase of his wages, which amount to Od. or 8d. a day. lie is fined or imprisoned.. CECIL SHIES AT CHILD SLAUCHTER. I Lord Robert Cecil is an aristocrat, and an astute and deadly opponent of democracy and Socialism. He encouraged, by evasive answers to questions, the corpse factory and polygamy lies against Germany. He prepared for a more rigorous enforcement of the blockad" against Germany in the event of the ]>eacc terms being rejected. But he draws the line at seizing 140,000 milch cows from Germany, and deliber- ately starving to death more invalids and young children, now th.it peace has been made. Ac. cordingly, on July 2th. Lord Robert asked the Government to postpone the demand for the cows, under tho present eircumstances. A Tory member, anxious to counteract the influence of the question on the public mind. enquired how many Belgian and French children were suffer- ing. This seemed to imply that Lord Robert
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I More About Direct Action I want to add to what I have already written about" Diroot" or Industrial Action. I want to be perfectly clear. Strikes dislocate and irri- tate and impress. They feed the spirit of revo- lution. They make excellent propaganda. But of themselves they cannot bring about real economic gains, that is, gains which the capital- ist cannot cancel. Even a general strike—most impressive of all-would not of itself complete the revolution and settle the problem. Before we could hope to succeed on such lines, we should, as I have said before, and as another writer has said more recently, have to wean the Army, the Navy and the Police to our side! Moreover, we should have to convert the workers of Neath, Aberdare, Ton Pentre, Treorky and Cwmtillery! When we have converted the workers in these localities we shall be wise enough and powerful enough to brinahont the same revolution in a far far better way." If I lived in Russia—or in Russian conditions else- where—I should be a Bolshevik! In this country and in our conditions I believe the Social Revo- lution can be brought about constitutionally and without violence—wh \n the Owmtillery Lodge and all other workers desire a Revolution! The real enemy is not the landlord or the capitalist the real enemy is the ragged-trousered philan- thropist and "patriotic" worker, who resides in Abertillery, Neath, Ton Pentre and Aberdare —and even in Merthyr! Let us have a sense of humour, even if that is all we possess. During the past few months Labour and Socialist journals have wasted reams upon reams of good paper in attacking Churchill, "the British Koltchak." Last week we called him thousands of names from hundreds of plat- forms. It is all so silly. Why is Churchill in power at all? Why is he in the House of Com- mons at all? Who sent him there? For the love of our revolution let us preserve our sanity! The British Parliament is not a Soviet in theory or in practice, but it would not he what it is but for the tgnora-nce and indifference of the workers. Practically all &he members are returm-d by working men and working women. Eighty-seven per cent, of the votes of this coun- try are votes of wage-earners. Ownership of the land and the other means of life means parliamentary sanction." Econo- mic power accompanies political power. The power of the capitalist is really in Parliament, although ostensibly it resides in industry. His title-deed lies in Parliamentary power or author- ity to .-all out tl the police—and the naval stokers! In this » -aiiiry, I repeat, the obvious way to capture ownership is to cap- ture Parliament, aye, even the present Parlia- ment with its territorial basis and its other shortcomings. It is waiting to be done. Revolution is a fascinating word, and a glorious theme. But if we want to make it more than a theme and more than a dream we must know exactly what we want and we must be clear about the methods we are going to apply. As M..louhaux, of the French C.G.T., has just said: It Is not enough to go into the street, erect barricades and declare a general strike. It is first of all necessary to have a well-thought- out plan which will give the nation the possi- bility of developing in well-being, instead of suf- fering in the midst of famine. A revolution which ends in famine is not a revolution. It is the destruction of a revolution. A revolution should suppress inequalities and put an end to exploitation, but it is not limited to suppression or destruction. To make a revolution is to or-I ganise a vast constructive business to replace the worst by the best, to create reciprocity and com- munity among men to concentrate the efforts of all for the common good, and to conciliate the greatest liberty of individuals with the greatest tJ)(? c,) I lective anxietv for the collective interest." DAN GRIFFITHS.
The Workhouse Infirmary Allegations. I False Smse of Loyalty and Fear of Victimisation Baffles Investigation. Why not a Communal Mess with Collective, Democratic and Co-Operative Management ? I was delighted last week to Learn that the members of the Merthyr Board of Guardians, ir- respective of political conviction, together with the responsible head officials at the institution, bad taken so serious a view of the allegations of maladministration in the infirmary, that an en- quiry has to be instituted to sift the matter- and either kill it or remedy it. I was delighted, because so far as I am concerned, and, I be- lieve, so far as the Trades and Labour Council- i at whose meeting the matter was introduced is concerned, tins is not one of the questions that we are out to make Party capital out of. It is much too serious for that. So serious that I myself have spent a considerable portion of my spare time endeavouring to elucidate the ques- tion, which was left more or less vague despitt. the very definite statements given utterance to by responsible persons at the Trades Council meeting. At that meet.ing it will be remembered that it was very definitely stated that inmates had ap- proached Labour representatives with com- plaints about the ill-feeding, if not actual under- feeding, of the nurses in the infirmary; that nurses themselves had ventured on murmurings, and Councillor Francis made some very definite statements as father of one of the nurses em- ployed there. So far things seemed very definite, but against that has to be set the equally de- finite statement of other guardians, that though they have repeatedly asked privately if there are any complaints they have received none; and personal presence at meals served to the inmates has revealed a care and quality at the table that would favourably compare with anything to be found in the great mass of working-class houses. I know that that alludes to inmates' fare, but it seemed strange to me that. nurses would long remain passive under treatment inferior to that meted out to their pauper patients. Agafn, there was the statement of the chairman, Mr. John Ad kins, himself a gu!irdian, to the effect that an uneasy feeling that things were not as they should be troubled the minds of many of the guardians who could not, however, place their fingers on the sore spot.. So that we had at that mooting two statements that on first sight seem to mutually cancel each other—(a) that complaints of bad feeding of the inmates were made by nurses, and by observant inmates; (b) that no complaints could be obtained on en- quiry, even privately lnade; together with a third indefinite statement- that, despite its in- definiteness, I regard as the most significant. I A VAGUENESS. I And .somehow the further the enquiry is pushed the more difficult the question becomes, and that feeling of something wrong without being able to place it grows stronger the further one goes. Even while a nurse is actually deny- ing the existence of anything wrong to a Labour guardian the impression is left that the denial is false. There is that ring about it; that air of reservation tha.t makes the denial uncon- vincing and increases the knowledge that there is a sore spot that needs uncovering, cleansing and healing. It is that knowledge that tantilises to a desire to get to the bottom of the matter, despite the natural instinct to leave the matter alone when those whom it is sought to help, themselves oppose obstacles to the extension of that aid. There is only one other source left. That of interrogating ex-nurses who have left the insti- tution, either to take up private practice, or through marriage. I have questioned, and been approached by a few such, and they all rejoice that at last something is to be attempted to re- medy what seems to be a long standing griev- ance. But here again there is a vagueness that is baffling. One remembers how in the pre-war days when butter was both plentiful and cheap —there was none for the nurses after, say, Wed- nesday, and visits in search of dripping with which to smear the bread were paid to the kit- chens. Another declares that in her experience, also years ago, things were not as they ought to be; but remembers how night duty always offered opportunities of pilfering that served to make tilings livable. Now. that to me is about the worst result of things as they are that could possibly obtain. A syst-em that leads to that undermines the morale of a girl, to a far greater degree than perhaps the average person thinks. That in itself would more tb" justify any at- tempt to remedy the present state of affairs. For that goes on to-day and has gone on for years. I REASON OF RETICENCE. I But more than all 1 have tried to discover the reason for the reticence in making complaints about the condition of things. And here they are so far as I can discover them. First, there is a false sense of loyalty to themselves and to the staff officials who are sus- pect of responsibility in this matter. A sort of feeling that it is better t.o treat the matter as a family skeleton to be jealously shut from sight in the darkest cupboard of the mind of the individual. That is one of the main reasons—a foolish one, but a not unnatural one. Secondly, there is the fear of punishment. Not oyen punishment that can be resented, but a subtle and mean punishment that makes the form of night-duties, unpleasant duties, or, worst of all, no duties at all. Thirdly, there is another baseless fear, and an even greater one than the last. The need for a testimonial when the course is concluded and a fresh situation is sought, is imperative—a peru- sal of any advertisement for such situations will illustrate the need, for all contain some such sentence as this: "Applications, including copies of three recent testimonia ls to be in my hands," etc. Now the nurses believe that by stopping the present conditions of affairs by giving evidence, the- testimonial win be withheld from them. They believe that because they have been told it. It is a lie. The withholding of a reference or testimonial, from a nurse of good character, conduct and efficiency is action- able. Indeed the withholding of a reference at all should be fought to the finish. Those are the three main reasons that close the mouths of the nurses as with sealing-wax. And I want to touch upon them in the form of an appeal to the nurses themselves. First of aU that false sense of loyalty, that I cannot help but admire, mistaken though it be. I want to ask the nurses first of all whether they cannot recognise another loyalty—a loyalty to them- selves individually and collectively that should outweigh any fancied loyalty. Is there not also a loyalty to the Board— itself not responsible, but calculated to bear all tihe responsibility when the facts are known, as known they must be ultimately by the public? Is there not, too, a responsibility to the profession; and the professional union also to be considered? And further, is there not a real need for a display of loyalty towairds those nurses whom, it is freely- rumoured in whispers; are already being penalised in petty- ways because-they are suspect of divulging facts? TRADE UNIONISM. Points two and three seem to me to indicate au entire absence of trade union spirit amongst the nurses, and that I am compelled to regard as the product of an absence of proper method upon the part of tihe union of which they are membe, The trade union that allows its mem- bers to' staad. in such fear of victimisation that they docilely submit to raspingly irritat-ing in- justices, is a hundred years behind the times; and should be superseded if it does not get a move on. And I am inclined to ask why this union does -not send its representatives to the Trades Council? If they were there they could state their grievances without fear of penalisa- tion, -and with the sure protection of the amal- gamated forces of Labour. Either get on or get out should be the message delivered to this union. But to return to point two as a vital point, and one calling for immediate action. How could this fear of victimisation be eliminated ? The answer is simple. If all the nurses draw up jointly, at a private meeting of themselves, a memorandum of their grievances, and each and all sign it in alphabetical order of surname, then they can't all be victimised. This memorandum they could present either directly to the Board, or through their union, the master, or the La- bour Party. Point three I have discussed in stating it. It is a mythical fear. SIMPLE SOLUTION. Yet simple though the matter be to solve, its solution calls for a display of initiative that I fear is absent. Yet there is an evil, and it should be remedied. The Board as a whole should take an interest in solving it. Evidence or no evidence available it is there, and it must be solved, with or without the co-operation of the nurses con- cerned. I have neither the time nor the facili- ties to look up the powers of the Board in this question, nor do I think that they should count against the humanity and common sense of a solution if one can be found. It has suggested itself to me that one solution might be found in the vesting of the messing of the nurses in the nurses themselves. Partly, and, I think, largely the trouble revolves around the 2/6 al- ready contributed by the nurses towards their mess, and, as an experiment, the spending of this 2/6, and the administration of the commo- dities it repre-sents could be handed over to the nurses as a whole. They could then form them- selves into a liDtle co-operative society, with a self-elected management committee, and by de- mocratic usages purchase, control and distribute the goods they collectively buy. That was the principle followed in the Home Office camps suc- cessfully it is a system that obtains in a hun- dred different ways the world over. It has every element of justice, equity and democratic control to recommend it; and it would go a long way to settling this very important question at the workhouse infirmary. If there are any objec- tions I should like to hear thenu If there is a better alternative scheme I should welcome an opportunity to give it publicity. At all events, something has got to be done for the honour of the town. I "am delighted that both Board and public recognise that. A.F.Y.
J ,??,— ￼ BOLSHEVIK COLD. Under the Treaty of Brest Litovsk the Rus- sian Soviet Government was compelled to hand over to Germany 320 million roubles in gold, a fact which played no small part in the internal i difficulties of Russia. This infamous exaction aroused horror and execration in the Allied countries as an example of the rapacity of Im- perial Germany. Mr. Cecil Harmsworth has now informed the House that that gold is now quite safe—in the Bank of France. When the Allies got the upper hand of Germany, they sa.w to it that they got that gold. And they have no intention at present of giving it up, a-coord- ing to Mr. Harmsworth. -tl1oI ￼ .??.? ??tf.F?C
cared less for the Belgian and French babies than for German babies, so the following day he sought to remove the implication by means of i another question. Ho asked whether the popu- lations of Belgium and Nortlierit France were in fact suffering in health from want of milk, and the answer A-.is to the effect that they were not. When the man in the crowd at an outdoor labour meeting endeavours to confuse the issue by asking about Belgian and French children, following upon a speaker's Reference to this point in the Peace Treaty, the Food Controller's admission may be cited. OBVIOUS. 1 Questioned concerning imports and exports (House of Commons, July 21st), Sir Auckland Geddes compared the position of this country with the United States. For the twelve months ending May, 1919, the foreign trade of the two countries was as follows:— United Kingdom. Imports. 1,363.031,000 Exports 626,623,000 United States. Imports I. 638,169,000 F,xp(wt,3 1,415,025,000 A supplementary question followed inviting Sir Auckland to say whether under the condi- tions prevailing Great Britain is not heading for bankruptcy. This was the reply:— Sir Auckland Geddes: "I think that must he obvious to everyone who thinks for a moment." THE NEW HOLY ALLIANCE AT WQRK. I Mr Harmsworth, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, admit.ted on July 21st that the French Government were using black troops against the Hungarian Communist Hcpnbtic. With th? help of black I<?-!cs the Hungarians ha?" bceu starved into submission by means of the blockade. Bela Kun has resigned, and a new Government elected to the order of the Allies is to be installed. It is a clear case of want.on and unprovoked interference, in not contradiction of the professed objects of the AIIHMI and Associated Governments. No serious allegation of atrocities has ever been made against Bela Kiiii' Is Government, and it took office with the consent of all parties. This is the first act of tJp new Holy Alliance against Governments which refuse to recognise the rights of landlords and capitalists. I,