An Irishman and The Strike I MR. JOSEPH KEATINC AT YNYSYBWL I AND PENRHIWCEIBER. On Thursday morniing a. crowde d meeting of members of Peiirliiwceibei- Lodge (S.W.M.F.) was held at the Workmen's Institute, Mr. Jeremiah Murphy (chairman of the Lodge) presided, sup- ported by Councillor George Hall, Mr. J. W. Bath, uid Mr. E. D. Bennett (Secretary). Mr. Keating gave his views on the railway dispute in which, he sadd, the Government was aiming an indirect blow at the Miners' Federa- tion. Railway workers and mine workers were., in the opinion of his government, earning too much money. The government was not satisfied with taking back as much as they could through taxes on wages, and the necessaries of life. They were now out to lower the standard of the mini- mum wage, while at the same time they were allowing the big profiteers to send prices up higher than ever. AT THE POINT OF THE BAYONET. Mr. Keating stated the case for Home Rule for Ireland, and informed Jiis hea-yers that under the Prussian Militarism by which that country was now governed, the f ariiiei-s of Tipperary were stopped at the point of the bayonet from bring ing their produce to the market. Food was short in Mountain A all, and Penrhiwceiber, de- clared Mr. Keating, yet the farmers of Ireland were not allowed to send their food over to this country. (Shame.) Mr. Keating was convinced that the time had arrived when the workers should become the rulers of the country. There was no other way of securing justice for all classes. He could see no reason why the. majority should be the ser- vants of the minority. He wanted to see the producers of wealth in control of the wealth which they produced, and a Labour Government was the only means that end could be achieved. (Loud applause.) Last Wednesday Mr. Keating addressed at the Workmen's Institute, Ynysbwl, a. crowded meet- ing convened by the Trades Council. Mr. F. J. Friday presided, supported by Coun. Richard Woosnam, Mr. Ellis Lewis, and Mr. Jeremiah Murphy (chairman, Penrhiwcedber Lodge, South Wales Miners' Federation).
Our London Letter By Our Special London Correspondent- I A FENNER BROCKWAY.. I WHY CEORCE CAVE IN. I Last Saturday it seemed as though an exten- sion of the railway men's strike to every indus- try and service an the country was inevitable. On Thursday and Friday the Government had offered terms which it. was impossible for the railwaymen to accept, and Mr. Lloyd George had announced that lie would not negotiate with the N.U.R. executive until the strikers had re- sumed work. This "unconditional surrender attitude had even moved the moderates of whom the Trade Union Mediation Committee was so largely composed to issue a grave warning, making it clear that unless the Government re- considered its position a general strike was in- evitable. It was this rallying to the railwaymen of every section of the Labour movement which caused Mr. Lloyd George to climb down. He was compelled (1) To negotiate with the N.U.R. executive, although the railwaymen still re- mained out; (2) To repudiate the definitive- ness" of the Geddes scale; (3) To guarantee the present war-wages until the end of September next; (4) To promise a minimum of 51s. (an ad- vance of 3svfor some railwaymen) until the cost of living falls below 110 per cent, above pre- war prices; and (5) To re-open the whole ques- tion of standardisation (which Sir Auckland Geddes had said could not be negotiated upon further). These constitute, the definitive gains which the railwaymen won. They do not repre- sent all for which they asked, but they entirely justify the strike, and I think we may be cer- I lin that the solidarity shown now will mean that importa-nt concessions will be made during the standardisation negotiations. RULINC CLASSES FRICHTENED. I Most. astonishing scenes were witnessed in London during t;he strike. I can well believe a Socialist (but Wealthy) friend of mine who says that many members of the ruling class were actually unable to sleep during the strike owing to their fear of the Revolution! Whitehall was thronged day by day with vast crowds who sang the Red Flag and cheered the men's leaders until they were hoarse. Sir Eric Geddes, Sir Robert Horne, and other members of the Gov- ernment were received with a storm of booing, and the railway men's executive actually had the audacity to sing the "Red Flag" in No. 10 Downing Street, greatly to the amusement of the Press men outside! On Sunday evening the West End of London was invaded by an enor- mous army of railwaymen and their wives, making their way to the Albert Hall. More than ten thousand people squeezed inside the building, but there wwe thousands who could not gain admission. The enthusiasm was over- whelming. It wa." as though one were in the presence of some titanic and irresistible force. J. H. Thomas' speech was listened to with some anxiety, but at the conclusion he received a prolonged ovation. ITHE SWINC OF OPINION. I It was irtei-t-stixig to observe the change of public opinion last week. The suddenness of the dispute at first prejudiced the average new s- paper reader against the strikers, but when he came to consider the matter more calmly he be- gan to appreciate that the railwaymen were fight- ing an issue that affects every worker, namel,r- Are War Wages to lie reduced or not?—and as the days passed his sympatheties with the men steadily increased. This change in opinion was reflected even in the Northcliffe Press towal-ds the end of the week. The Time's," of Friday, said, for in stance It is now sufficiently apparent, that the wages question has not been well handled by the Government. We are satisfied that some hard cases would occur under the Govern- ment's proposals, and we think the whole question should be reconsidered with an open mind. The refusal by the X, U .R. of the Government terms on Friday night—indisputably right as it wa.s from a Labour standpoint—had the effect of slightly alienating opinion once more, but again on second thoughts there was a reaction in fa- vour of the strikers. In generalising in this way I have tried to reflect the view of the moderate man or woman who is not a. partisan on either side, but I suppose the truth is that the strike 'has divided the nation more clearly into the two camps of the "bourgeoisie" and the proletariat than any issue has ever done before.. The intensity of feeling on the side of the railwaymen among the rank, and file Trade Unionists of every industry and craft has been extraordinary. FACTS OF RAILWAY PROFITS. I Owing to the dislocation in transport, I sup- pose it is possible that many leaders of the "Pioneer have not been able to obtain the Herald regularly. I do not hesitate, there- fore, to repeat here some remarkable facts as to the railway profits given by Mr. Sidney Webb in one of last week's issues. Mr. Lloyd George, during the negotiations preceding the strike, spoke of the "enormous deficit" on the rail- ways, and Sir Eric Geddes has spoken of a deficit to the extent of 60 or 100 millions." But what does Mr. Webb, after a detailed examina- tion of the statistics, show to be the truth? On a four and a half years' working from the be- ginning of the war to the end of 1918, the rail- ways made a profit of 272 millions, after paying all increases in wages. The actual figures for 1914 are not available, but, taking the estimates, Sidney Webb calculates a profit of 45 millions. These facts ought to be made as wisely known as possible. By the way, the" Herald" pub- lished a northern edition from Manchester during the strike. The National Labour Press is printing it. A QUICK CHANCE. I The reports as to how last week s negotiations between the Government, the Mediation Com- mittee, and the Railway-men's Executive were proceeding changed almost from hour to hour. On Friday night I was in the editorial office of a daily newspaper. In consequence of the strike, the first edition for outlying districts had to go to press very early, and the last new!; received was, that. the N.U.R. men and the Mediation Committee were still closet-ted with Mr. Lloyd George and that at 7.15 Mr. J. R. Clynes. M.P.. had left No 10 Downing Street in an optimistic frame of mind. Building on that report, the hoodlinesalld introduction of the strike "story" were phrased in. such a way as to suggest the likelihood of a settlement. Then, just as the last, page was being passed through, the news came that at 9.10 J. H. Thomas had left No. 10 reporting a failure to reach an agreement, and, a few minutes later, the long official report of the. breakdown in negotiations came over t;he You should have seen the hustle this news occasioned! As soon as its nature was realised, an order was given to the printing rooms that the edition must be held up, and three sub-editors in turn took a shorthand note of the message as it came over the 'phone, printers' "devils" standing at their elbows. to rush to the compositors with each sheet as they transcribed it. Meanwhile, the News Editor re- wrote the introduction, and re-drafted the head- lines, and in an incredibly short time a proof of the new page was brought, telling an entirely different tale! Had the news come ten minutes later, the readers of this edition would have been led to expect that the strike was concluding. As it was, they read that a danger of its extension was greater than ever. YOUR RULERS! Sometimes 1 can find no words to express the sheer effrontery of our ruling classes; I can only gasp. Consider the case of -81r. Bonar Law. He is now declining to make permanent the increase in wages gained by the lower-grade railwaymen during the war. Yet it is not two months ago t.hat Mr. Law was appealing in the House of Commons for an increase in the salaries of ministers from £ 2,000 to £ 5,000! And this is what he said: It pays to give proper rewards to the men who are doing the work. Two thousand pounds a year now—and his is the urgency of it-is nothing like the equivalent of the same salary before the war/' So you see, a Cabinet Minister must have a permanent in- crease from £ 40 to £100 a week, but a railway- man must not have a permanent increase from 20s. to 53s.! Or consider Sir Eric Geddes. The North Eastern Railway Company presented him with £ 50,000 when lie left their service to join the Government. That gift from a railway com- pany will enable him to receive k;50 a week in interest for the rest of his days. But he is re- sisting the claim of the railwaymen for a mini- mum wage of a little over 50s. a wooki How much longer are the workers going to tolerate such men as their rulers? OUR LORDLY BLACKLEGS. ,rji(, strike, serious as it was. was not with- out its light side. To watch the amateur ported-s at the big London stations has been as good fun as witnessing any comic opera. Paddington-I suppose because it is furthest west—is the best patronised. Load Por-,ailington is busy here every day pushing trucks about, and among other volunteers are the Countess Wemyss, Lady Angela Forbes, Lord Drogheda, and Lord Roy- ton. To judge from the exertions expended by these lordly porters in getting a loaded truck along the platform-—sometimes three of them pushing in a row behind—the experience should enable them to sympathise a little more with the lot of the railwayman. T wish we could have a cinema picture of Lord Portarlington, witii a sack apron tied over his neatly-pressed trousers, knocking the bottom out of the strike." He would beat Charlie Chaplin hollow.
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1 he T h eatre Royal ￼ The Theatre Royal If Mr. Yal Stevens were to take a baillot on ins grea.test capture of his already great autumn season, I believe that lie would find an over- whelming majority of the playgoers with him in declaring Daddaltiins tiliie greatest capture that Merthyr has had for years. That 1 should probably be in a minority of one against-having cast my vote for Pygmalion "—does not mean anything at all. I know when I am in a minor- ity, and the general nature of the experience does not make me lose any sleep.. And, mark you, no one more than myself has enjoyed the great work of Louis Calvert and, Ernest Hendrie, rather more than less Ernest Hendrie, whose in- terpretation of the canny Srotsman is delightful. Daddalums preaches no .sermon, presents no problem in morals. It is just a sentimental play that depends chiefly on great acting, and that.: is getting. For such a piece as this Mr. Calv«~' is the man to choose, a man who can so lose bfl" self in a character that, he is the cliaracte' the duration of the play, who can weep an laugh, joke an(I get angry, with just the ?Ve1.' empha.sis that this type of work dema.-n" rarity. Francis Lester as the wicked, 14 mately regenerated "Tamas" is a FI)Iendi(i niately regenerated "Tammas" is a I have a warm spot in my heart for t*1 can- tankerous Ellen as told by Beatrice B' a admiration for the almost genius ¡ t/h w'1Üc Miss Edyth Olive plays her part ? d, aughter, (drr's fine mo- and M1 appreciation of Dorothy (Arr'. ￼ m07 ment of renunciation in Act 1? ?' Fdwai, q,' Bonfield must also be mentin? for culturedj work, and W. Edward St.??s playmg of Donald" is a capable pie^ of work. But it is next week's rlfY that is beginning to glamour me. The pIll. t,hat in "A Warning and three acts can h.,y,e as one o the oontra ideas in the story tlKtt a famous-New iork doc- tor makes use of -^nnan subjects in order to further his ox]ents for the sake of human- itv at. large, ors tremendouR possibilities. In the develonniftot of the sttory it is shown that the subjects .so utilised are utterly worthless memoors lally. This opens up a question w hether heartless criminals meriting the extrenjs elJalt, would not benefit the St?te amd mA?m kind a' a whole by being placed at the dispose of the medical fraternity for surgical expuey ment, instead of being committed to the forrare costly trial and eventual execution. There i lie strong oast, including George Howard, FranH it Strickland, Oampbell Goldsmith, Betty Debery ham, Maudie Grayson and Maud Morton Powe
p Labour Notes. I YOUR TURN NEXTI I The Government promised the workers a new world after the war. Now they attempt to start the new world with a reduction of wages. Labour has had ample reasons to suspect a general campaign against wafces. Lord Gain- ford's hint before the-Coal Com mission that the Industrial Council might be used as. a lever with which to bring down the miners' wages was one. The application of the engineering eni- K\ plovers for a 5/- reduction—which the Syren," the leading shipbuilding paper, hailed as the beginning of a campaign—was another. The Wages (Temporary Regulation) Act expires in November, and there is a strong disposition among employers to take that opportunity to force a widespread reduction. We needed "you desperately during the war; we need you Jess fcadly now; you will have to shift for yourselves —that is the attitude Labour has to resist. And now the Government has actually set the pace in reducing wagee. The State as employer, h relying on the ,strength of the loyalty and k patriotism aroused over very different issues, re- K 'Tingon the very loyalties it originally calhxl out K by the plea that it was fighting for the freedom of peoples, has made the first move in the attack upon the wages of the workers. Loyalty and the State is the strongest side-issue that can be introduced into a wage dispute. The railway- Bp men are servants of the State; therefore it is thought that, on account of the gi-eat patriotism of the British people, it is safe to reduce their t wages first. t The State is leading the way. Private em- P ployers will follow, if the defeat of the railway Men should show that the way of wage reduction !p as safe. I -"SECTIONAL "? I t In a resolution passed at the London Chamber -of Commerce ou the 30th September, the Cham- her entered the field and offered its unanimous t support against the holding up of the community by "a section of Labour." Persons who feel themselves being influenced by the implications I of the last four words would do well to ponder the results of the Caxton Hall Conference, where delega,tes representing three million trade miQni1:\ pledged themselves to support the rail- waymen. In fact, this is not a sectional strike, but one that has the whole Labour behind it. K STRIKERS AS POLICE. IThe Government and the capitalist press are ?? using every means to represent the strike as an «ic*t of unwarranted violence, an attack on the ?? community subversive of all law and order. Mr. ?m Lloyd George opened its method o? attack by ￼ -a:He?mg the strike to be the result of an anar- chist conspiracy. Since then there have be(?n widely circulated stories of boulders placed on the railway lines, the turning of red signal lights to green, and other similar misdeeds. We won- wder if they will give equal prominence to the fact that on Monday night strike pickets near Cardiff captured a number of pilferers on the railway, -and handed them over to the police ? Strike breakers who have desol'tcà their comrades are k receiving higher wages on account of their efforts ￼ ?' to preserve law and order." What about the strike pickets? -AN ARMY OF STRIKE BREAKERS. K'. The Times," in a leading article of Wednes- ?? ?lay. makes a suggestion which the workers of the Country will do \H,n to note—the formation 'Of a great State paid army of strike breakers. A strike in a key industry, savs Thf Times, may have as bad results as a foreign invasion. Tlie Ariny can protect the country from invasion, but it is helpless in a war of folded arms." Therefore a new organisation must be created, -an army of labour volunteers which can be trained to do the skilled work without which es- sential services cannot be run. It is to be other enlisted as a civil voluntary army, or organised privately—" The Times is not quite sure which —and held at the call of the Government in moments of emergency. Of course, it is not to be used in wage disputes "pure and simple," but only when the State, with the assent of Par- liament, has declared than an attack is being made on the constitution. An examination of this proposal shows that it is merely an old K ttiemr in disguise. The volunteers are not to B be used in a wage dispute "pure and simple." What is a. wage dispute pure and simple ? If J -a. body of workers in an essential service strike S -against unjust conditions, all the Government. V have to do is to declare—as they have done now f -that war is being waged against the commu- nity, and to ea:ll on the army of strike breakers. And will Parliament check them—a Parliament packed with the nominees of vested interests jL -and profiteers ? The Times gives the essence ?• of the matter in its opening sentences. The pro- £ tectum of the Army is no longer adequate." l'hat is the position. The Army has failed the ■capitalists. The workers are solid and so far at- ? tempts to bribe them have failed. Therefore let Us bribe them in advance, let us have a huge free labour" association, paid by the workers Against whom it is to be used. At any rate, if the country will not agree to tha.t, let us, the railway companies, mine owners, royalty re- reivers, pay it ourselves. It is an old dodge, and will deceive nobody. The workers have already rejected bribes, and they will reject this, all the more scornfully because of its more insulting audacity. I AN INTERESTINC EXPERIMENT. The Stationery Office announces its intention of running its own printing works as a three gears' experiment." This development from the contracting system to the national organisation of services is so far to the good and the fact that, according to the press, there is only one opinioii in the printing trade on the intention of H.M. Stationery Office" need not very much concern us. It is only natural that they should -set up a w ail: but their protestations of the im- possibility of a State printing works would he more convincing if they did not in-all quite so loudly over the prospect. If their indispensabil- ity and their perfect service were so remarkable as they make out, it becomes difficult to explain why a' Government certainly not coijistittit-lonally I prone to nationalised industries should seek to dispense with their services. Nevertheless the character of the present Government prevents the proposal being one that can be received with simple acclamation by labour. The reputation of the Government as an .employer is not a good one, and if the bad old methods iare to be fol- low ed there is no reason to expect anything much better than the usual results of bureaucratic management. t WHO USES VIOLENCE? I There is plenty of talk at present about vio- lence and the Labour movement. When a strike is on it is taken for granted that troops must be sent to prevent disorder. Persons in high places do not scruple to use the terms anarchical conspiracy, and the like. But a very different t story is being revealed in the United States Senate enquiry into the steel strike. The evidence brought before that committee of the Senate is L a terrible indictment of the methods of the American capita;Hsm. The President of the American Federation of La:bour, Mr. Samuel Gompers, so highly praised on all sides as a sane and moderate Labour leader not, given to revo- lutionary rhetoric, did not hesitate to declare that the Steel Company was employing thugs and gangsters who were gui'lty of assaullb and murder." Mr. John Fitzpatrick, chairman of the Steel Strikers' Committee, recounted the story of the shooting of a man and woman near Brenikenbridge (Pennsylvania), during the ooal miners' strike, and stated that the mem who did the shooting were deputy sheriffs, men hired to put fear into our people." Senator Phipps (Colorado) brought out the fact that no trial had been held in regard to the alleged crime, which occurred before the steel strike. News now conies through that in Chicago discharged sol- diers have resumed their uniform and are armed by the Steel Corporation for action rin their em- ploy. The Unions," says the. message, are naturally indignant over this unauthorised mili- tary force, which, however, is secure against condemnation by the courts, whatever fatalities may happen." This amazing return to the con- dition of feudal barons with private mercenary forces is a picture, not of some half-savage State, but of centres representing the highest pitch of modern capitalist development. NATIONAL EXPENDITURE. I The latest Treasury return still shows a deficit of over one and a half million pounds in spite of all the steps for saving that have been tal-en. It does not need a Cabinet Minister to show that this cannot go on. But.can the present Government's policy stop it? If the return is examined it will be found that the receipt's under excess profits duties show a decline. 'J he Government, it will be remem- bered, introduced a c haracteristic feature in the Budget this year by cutting down excess profits duties from 80 per ek-nt. to 40 per cent., that is to say, giving free license to the trader to take 60 per cent, of his excess (and then the Govern- ment professes to pass an Act against profiteer- ing). Is this the way to raise an adequate in- come for the heavy needs of the present time? On the other side expenditure is loaded with the ruipous burdens of the Government's imperialist policy. The recent White Paper on the cost of the Russian adventure atone revealed an ex- penditure of seventy million pounds. But there is i-eason to l>elieve that seventy million does not represent the whole cost of Russian interven- tion. In his statement in the French Chamber last week, M. Piclion, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, being questioned about France's expenditure in Russia, declared that for one considerable section of that expenditure England had paid half. That is the way in which the money that is saved at home by indiscrimin- ate sacking and reducing wages is flung away abroad. And then it is considered surprising that there should still be so heavy a deficit. I AMERICAN STEEL STRIKE. An extension of the A men can steel-workers .1 strike has taken place, despite the offer of the men's leaders to order a resumption of work if the Steel Corporation would agree to arbitrate and recognise the Union. The Chairman of the Steel Corporation (Mr. Gary) has reiterated his refusal to deal with the Union. In his evidence before the Senate Committee which 1138 been in- vestigating the strike, Mr. Gary defended his attitude towards trade unionism, and declared that if the Unions controlled the industries, they would have diminished production and general decay of their prosperity. I RUSSIAN INTERVENTION NOT OVER. I he evacuation ot Archangel does not mean the end of Russian intervention. There are other and deadlier weapons than the open fight- ing which the British public has so decisively condemned. There is the 'Sending of supplies and guns to Denikin, and there is the terrible weapon of the blockade. Mr. Harmsworth has denied the existence of the, blockade against Russia. But the Swedish Foreign Minister has given him away by revealing that Swedish ships are prevented from communicating with Russia by the threats of the British navy. The Supreme Council issues one day a pretty statement about non-interference, in Russian affairs. But the Supreme Council spent its time last week dis- cussing the blockade of Russia not that there was any question of stopping the blockade; the simple problem was to find a satisfactory legal justincation for the unjustinable thing and dig out some precedent which would cover it. But, indeed, the party of open military inter- vention is not yet silenced. On the day that the evacuation of Archangel was announced, the Times" hastened to point out that this was only because Archangel was not sufficiently im- portant strategically to be worth while, and re- turns to its policy of an attack on Petrograd. The party that wishes to strangle the workers' republic of Russia may seek to hide its policy with deceitful statements, but it is still the party that rules in influential quarters. The struggle over Russian intervention is still before us.