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Eleven Deputies Censored.__I


- The Dowlais Distress. !


The Dowlais Distress. DOWLAIS is in truth to-day a city of the damned. The remorselessness with which the steel-owners have conducted their fight against the demands of the skilled steel-producers for three months and more, and the constant consequent break- down of employment among the subsidiary workers, although failing to break the spirit or determination of the men, is coming perilously near to breaking their hearts, and undermining the health of themselves and their loved ones. As to the ultimate solution that will alone re- move from despotic and irresponsible hands this terrible power of sowing broadcast misery and debt and a heritage of impoverished health, we have before expressed ourselves—nothing .short of socialisation can eliminate these episodes from our civilisation. The question at the moment is not one of ultimate solutions, however, but one of organisation of all the forces available for the alleviation of the distress that is so manifestly observable on every hand in the steel-town of Dowlais. With the passing of the weeks the circle oi misery is bound to spread ever wider and wider, and even if the present strike was concluded, the notices served on the remaining workers in the works to cease contracts this week-end and join the great army of our local unemployed, withdrawn and work resumed at the earliest moment, there would still be a period of abject poverty ahead of DoAN-lais i period that cannot be bridged, before the end of year brings out the unskilled workers whose notices to terminate their agreements under the Sliding Scale ii-ill work out towards the end of the year. Every indication is one of vicious class warfare waged mercilessly—and the conse- quence cannot but be disquieting to everyone touched with the least spark of humanity. Al- ready we understand that some small, disorgan- ised agencies have been at work seeking to col- lect sums for distribution amongst the most dis- tressed cases. That is good so far as it goes, though we sincerely legret to learn that in many cases donations have been made conditional upon an undertaking that no part of the particular donations shall go to the I elief of the family of a striker. But it does not go far enough. Face to face with an ocean of poverty, sporadic charity effort takes on the aspect of ladling an ocean with bucket, The ne«d is for a respon- sible centralised effort, with properly organised channels of appeal, and a complete machine of distribution. The task we believe is in process of consummation. A Central Committee of the unions chiefly affected, and co-related organisa- tions is being mooted amongst the men. That way alone lies promise of effectively dealing with the problem, until such time as the neces- sary powers may have been obtained to open re- lief works for the men. The need is urgent, and the Committee should be drafted at once, and duly authorised appeals directed to the organised workers of the whole locality through those or- ganisations. The two miners districts imme- diately contiguous are prepared to get to work, we understand, at once; .and unquestionably the railwaymen and lesser industries of the town will levy themselves once tlie machinery is run- ning, and the appeal properly addressed to them by the steel trades unions. The churches, too, are doing what little they can to assist. But it is through the unions that the field can be best surveyed, the forces organised and the work most effectively done. We trust that the Com- mittee will materialise quickly, and that the workers of the whole South Wales area will be aroused to a consciousness that the steelworkers of Dowlais are part and parcel of the great working-cla-sis movement, and that by their stub- born resistance to the vested interests of conso- lidated Capital in this fight, they are waging the war of the whole working class. j

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