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Political Notes By F. W. Jowett. I THE GREAT BETRAYAL. I When the Allied Ministers and diplomats en- listed support for the war by pretending it was u war to give the right of selt'-detenni nation to small nations and destroy tho power of rulers who denied this right, they -had no conception of what the result might he. Ideas firmly rooted cannot be exterminated by guns and bayonets when they have served the purpose of t.h08e who have implanted them. President Witson's. de- claration of principle for which he said America Was taking part in the war, hastened the defeat of the Central Powers by undermining the wil- lingness of the people of Germany and Austria to continue the war. This was apparently all the British, French and Italian Governments in- tended the declaration to accomph.- h when they Hgreed to it, for, of course, they w ere secretly committed to each other lor objects which flatly C'firiini I ttt?cl to ei(,Ii otliel- t'ol- (OI)je(?ts Ministers failed, however, to realise was that ideas cannot be used with impunity as mere weapons of war, because if the ideas be just and true they live and grow quite regardless ef the occasion that gave them birth. DELIVER THE GOODS! I I And so, in Ireland, Kgypt, India alltl clsewliere the British Government is being confronted with an insistent demand to deliver the goods. Self- determination has been offered, promised to every people, unhindered, unthreatened, un- afraid, the little along with rlie great and power- ftil." Yet the demand of independence has been refused to the people of Ireland, India and Egypt. Take the case of Ireland. Ireland has an elected Parliament. Its representative char- acter cannot be questioned. No assembly re- cognised by the Peace Conference is more repre- sentative- of the people concerned. But it has been dispersed at the point oi the bayonet. ft mayor mav not he to the liking of the people of England, Scotland and Wales that Ireland should demand fulfillment of the pledge which the British Government has given to the world in associ.ation with President Wilson. Ireland makes the demand, however, and her claim is not. less, but uiore, e!< than tb»it <>.f the mixed populations contained in the Paris-formed States of, say, Poland or C/.echo-Slovakia. Yet instead "f being left free to determine its own policy, its own way of development, unhindered, un- threatened. unafraid. the Irish people—one of the little peoples clearly included iu the De- claration of Rights to which the British Govern- ment has subscribed, is being held in subjection by armed forces, together with all the most modern equipment, including ranks, aircraft, bombs, poison-gas and bayonets. PREACHING AND PRACTICE. I It is true that the Irish rwople IIOW demands something more than an Irish Parliament with limited powers, which excludes from tlit, right of self-determination certain questions affecting its policy and development. The Irish people is now frankly Republican. But what if it is:- It is within its rights, according to the declaration to which the British Government has subscribed. If the Allied and Associated Governments choose to assist their armed forces in a world-war by preaching revolutionary ideas, they cannot com- plain if the ideas take root and grow. Ideas act in that way. All over Europe little nations that previously thought only of Home Rule Parlia- ments have responded to the solemn declaration of the Allied ancL Associated Powers, and claim- ed republics. Tfieir claims have been granted, the British Government assenting without de- mur. It is impossible to deny Ireland the right which other.- have had conceded to them. The declarations stand, and they must be observed. There was no dissentient voice when they were made. SELF-DETERMINATION. I There is less to be said against granting the 1 full right of self-determination to Ireland now I than ever there was. ft used to be argued that, for reasons of safety, it was necessary to liolci Ireland in close association with the rest of the United Kingdom—with or without Ireland's con- sent. This was when Germany was armed and strong and less was known of the defensive strength of seaboards and ports protected by mines and submarines—although even at that time, so much was known that the strategic rea- sons for denying national rights to Ireland were ill-founded as wall as being on other grounds ir- relevant. Germany has 110 longer a navy and should France become once more the potential enemy, it is nearer itself to England than is Ire- land, so the old excuse for resisting Ireland's claim has gone. Leaving out of account, there- fore, the League of Nations which under present circumstances offers little or no security against war, those timid souls who fear to act justly with a. small nation for selfish strategic reasons may take courage and let the Irish people "de- termine its ow n policy, its OWJI way of develop- ment. unhindered, unthreatened, and unafraid." THAT UNALLOYED CEORCE. the reputation ot Mr. Lloyd George tor trickery of speech is becoming famous through- out the world. Mr. Bullit, who has good reason to know, said bluntly to the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States that in deal- ing with Mr, Lloyd George you must remember that you cannot take any of his public utter- ances seriously." As if it had been to give fresh confirmation of this fact there appeared along with the press reports of Mr. Bullit's warning to the Committee in question the strange story of the official statement that the Supreme Coun- cil had considered the question of Russi a and had formally approved of the British policy of evacuation and had disapproved of Russian Adventure." The Supreme Council it was stated "profoundly behoves that the future of the Russian people must be settled by them- selves, provided they respect the rights of their neighbours." No sooner was the announcement of this message of the Supreme Con noil to the world made than it was denied by all the parties concerned except Great Britain—American. French and Italian. The explanation was forth- coming later. A KNAVISH TRICK. The explanation now afforded to a puzzled world is that at the close of a meeting of the Supreme Council at which the question of Rus- sia was not discussed or referred to Mr. Lloyd George made all allusion to Russia which might have been taken as either a casual remark or an enquiry if his colleagues had not altogether ignored it to the effect that lie supposed it would be agreed that they had had enough of this Russian expedition." No notice was taken of the enquiry, which, of course, was quite necessary for any ordinary purpose, seeing that British troops are the only allied troops engaged in the Russian expedition referred to on the slender foundation of this incident an elaborate state- ment was made to lead the public to believe that the responsibility for the Russian expedition rests on the Paris Council, whereas, in fact, it rests exclusively on the British Government. The truth is Mr. Lloyd George wants to ishunt the responsibility for the British policy in Russia on the Supreme Council and the othe" members of the Council will not or dare not take it. THIEVES FALLLOUT. French writers havq been expressing them- selves in strong terms against Great Britain con- cerning the divisions of the spoils of war. Syria has been the bone of contention. A provisional settlement has been arrived at by an arrange- ment to withdraw British troops from certain disputed territory to give place to French troops but France still feels aggrieved because the Mogal oil wells remain with the British. It is, of course, for their capitalist exploiters the two Governments are contending.
p ————-———————————————————————— Malatesta May Go home. I FAMOUS ANARCHIST WHO RENOUNCED I TITLE AND ESTATES. Enrico Malatesta, the philosophic anarchist who for nineteen years of his adventurous life has found the whoie world with the exception of Britain closed to him. may now go home. The Court of Appeal at Aquila has decided on a case, In which he and nine other anarchists were as- sociated that they are no longer liable to prose- cution, having been "forgiven under th re- cent amnesty to politicals. Malatesta came to Britain following a roman- tic escape from prison in the island of Lampe- dusa. in the Mediterranean. Ten years of his life ha.ve beenspellt in gaols, and thrice he has been condemned to death. His prison experiences in- clude three months in this country for publish- ing a libel on a compatriot, and at that time lie was recommended for deportation as an unde- sirable alien, but the then Home Secretary (Mr. McKenna) with a fairer sense of the English right of a.sA,Iiim than has actuated some of his successors in the office, judging from the ex- perience of Russian exiles, decided after con- sideration of the case to make the necessary order for the transportation of Malatesta to other shores. Malatesta has propagated Anarchism in Spain, Italy, Cuba, the Argentine, and the United States at one time slammed the door in his face, as well as in his native isle of Sicily where hp is stated to have inherited a noble title and estates, the former of which lie renounced, and the latter of which he is said to have divided amongst the peasants. Whilst oordiaHv disagreeinp: with the message of Malatesta, we are glad that once agaiR lie 1. + '1. 1" *v» + linn+ +V>n pprt-MTlTV of
CORRESPONDENCE I Correspondents are requested to condense I their letters as much as possible.
POLICE AND TRADE UNION ESPIONACE. J TO THE EDITOR. I Dear Sir,—From evidence that has oome to hand, I find that the Police in the County of Monmouth are instructed to ascertain what Trade Unions exist in their districts, the names and addresses of their secretaries and the place w here these Trade Unions meet. This report lias been called for as being Urgent." It will be interesting to know whether a similar in- struction has been issued to the Police in other areas and as to whether the instructions are issued from the Home Office Direct or from the War Office by the orders of Mr. Winston Churchill via the Home Office. Monmouthshire is a large mining centre, and in view of the coming fight, in connection with the Nationalisa- tion of Mines, I think it would be well that as soon as Parliament re-assembles that the Gov- ernment should be pressed to give the rea.son as to why the Police are called upon to submit re- ports with regard to Trades Unions in existence in the various police districts. I trust the Labour friends will ascertain as to the action of the Policc in this direction all over the country. We have become accustomed to this kind of thing in Ireland, and possibly the Government are preparing for an Army of Occupation in the industrial portions of Eng- land, Wales and Scotland 'as well as that of I..(-land.-Yours faithfuIly, W. HARRIS, I
Direct Action for Nationalisation. WOULD A STRIKE BE SUCCESSFUL? From time to time certain abstract phrases come along to cause* doubt and perturbation in the minds of the comrades. A few months ago it was "Force," now it is "Direct Action," and the learned men and the soothsayers utter sage counsel and then come the philosophic prin- ciples and the historical analogies. The followers repeat their words with fervour and conviction; they become current catch words until the reality they once signified has been lost sight of in con- troversial dust. ABSTRACTIONS AND VITAL ISSUES. We are now discussing the relative merits of industrial and political action. To do this in- telligently it is essential to get away from the world of abstractions, forget all the little irrele- vancies which keep accumulating with discussion and come back to the world of practical possi- bilities. To form a sound judgment on the merits of direct action we have not to be con- cerned as to what might happen under a Labour Government faced with formidable and deter- mined opposition. We may be creating a tradi- tion but the next generation will be concerned with vital issues which affect thPIH and not tra- ditions which affect 11,1. 0 THE QUESTION OF MORALITY. Let us suppose the Government yield on Rus- sia, and Conscription and Nationalisation of Mines becomes the issue to be fought on. The morality of the question is simple enough. The sole question to he answered is "Would the Strike be successful and force the Government to nationalise the mines r" If that question can be answered in the affirmative, then it is the business of the I.L. P. to use all its propaganda machinery in advocating" Direct Action for the Nationalisation of Mines. Whether this is a constitutional policy or whether it is in keeping with political tradition does not matter at alL If Nationalisation could be forced by a national strike lasting say, a week, it would be worth while, for the gain resulting from the increase of national efficiency and the improvement of the life of the miner, would far surpass any temporary damage to the economic life of the nation. That seems to be the only point worth discussing, and it has largely been ignored. Mr. Brailsford did a great service to the La- bour Movement in writing an article in a recent number of the "Daily Herald" on the Mechanics of Direct Action," wnen he fore- casted some of the possibilities which might come if the Government determined on a vigor- ous fight against Direct Action on any great issue. If Direct Action ended with a vote at the Trades Union Congress all would be well, but unfortunately that would only be the beginning of matters, a-nd not the end, for final success or failure would rest with the rank- and file. And here comes the danger—the danger of over- estimating the determination of the rank and file. I DANCERS OF OVER-CONFIDENCE. It seems to me that the Labour Movement, at least many of its greatest personalities, are over- confident about the growth of revolutionary opinion among the rank and file. It is quite natural, the succession of by-elections tends to make one believe that the mental outlook of the workers is changing rapidly. But we must not make the mistake of over-estimating this ten- dency. One is apt when living in the atmosphere of conferences and reading largely the Socialist and advanced Press, to drop into the mood of imagining that things are becoming what we hope rather than what they really are. An election is one thing, a strike is another. Voting in an election requires intelligence, voting in a ballot after a week's strike requires per- sistent intelligent courage, not a characteristic of modern industrial democracy. It Is extremely doubtful whether even among the miners there would be much enthusiasm for continuing a strike for Nationalisation after a week's stop- page. There would be the isma.ll minority be- lieving that the leaders were Bolsheviks, Pro Germans making a good thing out of it, the Press would practically unanimously rave as it never raved before. The small minority would grow by the addition of those who had no de- cided opinions at all, then there would be a slump in favour of returning to work, another ballot with a minority whose enthusiasm would lead them to want to continue the fight, but who had become cynical and hopeless. POSSIBILITIES OF A FIASCO. Suoh is the alternative to the prospect of a swift successful strike, and it is the alternative which might come if the Government simply sat tight for a week or so. The Police Strike on a small scale, the Yorkshire Miners' strike on a larger scale are but recent examples of the failure of a strike against employers ready to starve the men into (subjection. Probably the mine-owners and the Government have taken these examples to heart.. If such a strike turned out a fiasco it would be 1S terrible blow for organised Trades Unionism ftist on the thres- hold of power. If the possibilities are these the miners leaders should carefully calculate their strength and bide their time. I EMRYS HUGHES.
I.L.P. AUTUMN AND WINTER CAMPAICN. A record number of open-air meetings have been held by I.L.P. branches during the present year, and they have been marked by larger audi- ences, bigger collectiotus, and a wider measure of sympathy than were ever met with before. Preparations ure now»being made for the hold- ing of large indoor demonstrations during the wiater months in hundreds of towns, and our speakers of national reputation have placed a large number of dates at the disposal of the Party. The allocations for October include only one South Wales demonstration, that at Cardiff on the 5th, when R. C. Wallhead will be the prin-
formation of a joint water board, it was inex- pedient to adopt that cot-trse and it was decided to seek powers in the bill to amend the provisions of the agreements entered into by the Corpora-
I Merthyr Councillors and Profiteering ITRIBUNAL AND MARKETS ESTABLISHES. Interest at Tuesday's meeting of the Merthyr Corporation of instituting a profiteering tribunal. Mr. L. M. Francis, from the Labour benches, raised the matter of administrative cost, and he objected to what he described as Parliament putting these things in our hand and making us pay the cost." It was of no use for ratepayers to grumble at inflated rates if municipal authori- ties were to be saddled with such burdens. There was a divergence of opinion as to the efficacy of these proifteering committees, and there were those who held that the Government in creating them was beginning at the wrong end. All he could see to the present was that -such tribunals would only harass the small traders, and to < lie certainly would not be party. Were they given power to reach the wholesaler something effective might be done. Consequently he put forward a proposition that consideration of the appointment of the committee should be deferred for the town clerk to gather the necessary data. Town Clerk (Mr. T. A. Rees) This act is only in for six months. The Central Committee, he added, had power to deal with the wholesaler and the local committee could report any caM of suspected profiteering in this direction to that body. Mr. D. Parry (Labour) moved the appoint- ment of a committee and Mr. F. T. James seconded Mr. John Williams (Labour) read the situation as being that overcharges of a penny would bring swift retribution to the offender whilst "tie man who makes thousands-would be patted on the back." Mr. Wm. Jones (Treharris) thought that with- out talking about the wholesaler "they had enough to do to stop swindling going on in oof locality and in his opinion the committee would have their hands full. It was on small items that the public had to pay. He had been charged lOJ-d. on a pair of laces that he used to buy for a copper or so. He had been a bit cross at-reading that Merthyr was rather in- clined at a previous Corporation meeting to turt. down the creation of a committee. Alderman C. Griffiths (Labour) pnt Mr. Jones aright on this last point. They had not beea against setting up this tribunal, but it was felt that they had not sufficient information as to its function and administration, and so it was that it M as then opposed He was ip fax our of such a committee if something could be effected through it for the benefit of the people. Ihe biggest sinners were the wholesale firms, and so far as he knew in the grocery trade retailers often had no greater margin of profit than from 7 to 10 per cent. In other lines like drapery and boots he believed there was a great deal of pro- a l reat deal oi pro- fiteering being carried on retail. The Town Clerk interposed with the gratifying information tha.t fines inflicted in prosecutions would go to the fund of the tribunal. Mr. D. Davies (Labour) told of a friend who purchased a pair of boots for L2 18s. 6d. that has cost the vendor 25/ That's profiteering for you he ejaculated. Eventually it was decided to appoint a. com- mittee, Messrs. L. M. Francis and L. M. Jon voting as a minority agajust on principle," there being in their opinion no satisfactory knowledge of the financial consequences to the ratepayers. The membership was temporarily fixed at 15. Then followed the reception of a deputation from the Merthyr ex-service men with a request to the Corporation to sanction the holding of open-air markets. Permission was granted and the site of the St. David's School in High-street was placed at the ex-soldiers disposal with pro- mise of further spaces should they extend their activities to other parts of the borough. The deputation's spokesman stated that* they in- tended to get to business at once and were the Merthyr experiment a success, branch markets would be opened next at Dowlais and Treharris. I A PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT. On the adoption of the minutes of the Watch Committee, Mr. A. Wilson (Labour) touched upon the problem of police-pay and prompted by a few of his colleagues framed his remarks in the form of a resolution, which should have far- reaching effect as to the proportion of State aid towards meeting the big wages increases granted under the Police Act. Mr. Wilson quoted the lucid report of the borough comptroller (Mr. W. R. Harris) showing that whereas Merthyr's force cost t7,982 in 1910, to-day the net cost was esti- mated to be £ 22,324 for the current year—prac- tically 300 per cent, advance. It would be seen that it was now necessary to levy zC5,000 more than the amount included in the estimate for the current year for police purposes, and this would mean an additional rate of 5d. in the j6, whilst to meet these increases there would be also a matter of ad, rate further each year. The townspeople should note when faced with the extra demand that the responsibility for the ad- vance was not that of tfie Corporation, but that of the Government, who accorded the wages in- creases to the policemen and called upon the various municipalities to pay half of the total cost. He did not deny for a moment that the police deserved their economic improvement, but he considered that it was full time, in the inter- est of municipal areas so heavily burdened in the matter of rates as Merthyr, that the Govern- ment realised their duty to make a far more generous contribution out of the Treasury funds towards the inflated police calls. His motion was that the Corporation should petition Parlia- ment to this effect. He was seconded by another Labour member. Alderman Enoch Wil- liams. On the motion of Aid. Griffith.s the meeting also agreed to request the Association of Muni- cipal Authorities to take similar action. I I MERTHYR'S WATER BILL. With reference to their proposed bill in Par- lianient relative to water supplies, the Corpora- tion considered that, having regard to the delay which would ensue in the event of negotiations being opened with other local authorities for the n • i I r 1 le v --1..
I The Iron Heel in Ireland. SIX DUBLIN NEWSPAPERS SUPPRESSED. The Irish Labour Press (Branch of the Irish Transport General Workers' Union) sends us the following The Government has promptly replied to the unanimous resolution of the British Trades Union Congress within seven days of its adop- tion. The reply has taken the form of further acts of aggression against the personal and na- tional liberty of the Irish Republic and people, and the suppression of all the newspapers which advocated Irish Freedom. Last Saturday morning several waggons of troops were driven to three printing offices in Dublin. The whole of the Wilts Regiment was employed in this outrage. Acting under the instructions of Detectives of the Dublin Metro- politan Police, the machinery used in the print- ing of New Ireland and the Irish World," at the Wood Printing Works, was dismantled. At Mr. P. Mahon's Printing Office in Yarnhall Street, an undertaking was exacted that no fu- ture copies of "Nationality" and" Fainne an Lao would be printed by him. At Messrs. Cahil and Co.'s, Ormond Quay, a similar under- taking was exacted in respect of the Repub- lic," edited by the well-known novelist and es- sayist, Mr. Darrel Figgis, and of the Voice of Labour," the Irish Labour, Weekly. In no instance was any reason alleged for this extraordinary action, and the authorities did not even think it necessary to communicate their decisions to the proprietors of the papers con- cerned..H This act of tyranny is a direct blow to the freedom of the Press. It cannot be pleaded that the Defence of the Realm any longer necessitates the suppression of free speech. It is. from the constitutional point of view, an act of a Party temporarily in power, to prevent its opponents making their opinions felt in the country, and on that account alone all British lovers of free- dom can be expected to protest with all the ve- hemence of which they are capable. Iw Ireland, however, we cannot make this plea. The Gov- however, ,'s action, dictated from London by a Cabinet raised to power only 14ist January, by the suffrages of the British people, eaij only be interpreted as expressing the will of British de- mocracy that Ireland shall be subject, and not only subject, but deprived of all means of ex- pressing its claim to Self-Determination. Wo are not concerned to intervene in the British controversy about, Direct Aetioi. v-, t surely he moral is obvious. The British Trattes Union Congress, speaking for over five million organised workers, demands Self-Determination for Ireland. The British Government replies by depriving the Irish People of their Press. The words of organised British Labour count for nothing in the opinion of t'heir masters. Parlia- ment, the constitutional check upon Ministers, is not now in Session; a grossly unconstitutional act has been committed by the Ministry, one calling for immediate redress. Is British Labour going to remain inactive ? We acklress this query through the Labour and Socialist Press of Britain, to every individual worker, to every Trade Union, to every Trade Council, and to every Workers' Committee. I IRELAND'S NEW LABOUR PAPER. The Voice of Labour" having been arbi- trarily suppressed by the British Government in Ireland, is now no more. The Irish Transport and General orkers' Union has sprung into the gap, however, and has arranged to produce a new weekly paper, which will be on sale this week. It will be called the Watchword of Labour," and will give a full record of Labour movements and progress in Ireland. Already the leading figures in Irish life and literature have proferred their services, aud the new weekly, backed as it is by the great organisation of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union with 120,000 members, and more than 400 Branches throughout Ireland, bids fair to beat all i-ecord-s. The Watchword of Labour" will be edited and published at Liberty Hall, Dublin, to which orders for supplies and advertisements, should be forwarded.
I Bob and The Duke. I PREPARED TO RESIGN IF NORTHUMBER- LAND CIVES UP ESTATES. The Duke of Northumberland, who has been pursuing Bob Smillie with the demand that he shall resign from the leadership of the M.F.G.B.. got a Roland for his Oliver from the miners' leader last Saturday in the shape of a sport- ing offer." It was at a mass demonstration of the miners* at Hanley Park, Staffordshire, that Smillie declared that the mines were going to be nationalised—in spite of the Duke of Northum- berland. By nationalisation they would be able to increase the output of coal and reduce its price to the utmost possible limit. (Cheers.) If, said the President of the M.F .G.B., they could obtain nationalisation by influencing public opinion and securing the support of other trades unions, without a strike, they would be only too pleased, but, whatever happened, they were ab- solutely firm in their demand for nationalisation. (Cheers.) Then came the chance of the Duke: I here is a noble duke who is on the stump at the present time," said Bob Smillie. "He is after my scalp. The Duke of Northumberland is a sport. I'll give him a sporting offer. I am pre- pared to resign from the Miners' Federation if he will resign from his estates in the oountry. (Cheers.) I am prepared to take a vote of the miners as to whether Northumberland or I aan in the right on this question of Nationalisation." The miner is as good as a duke, and the miner's wife a great deal better and more useful than a duchess."