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Merthyr -NotesI

ILlantrisant and District…

IPontypridd Notes.

Merthyr and The Strike.

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The Levy On Capital. 1

ILlantrisant and District…

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I Llantrisant and District Notes. Tramway's Bill-Labour Defeated. The fundamental which divides Labour from all the other parties is the demand for the public ownership and democratic control of mines, railways, tramways, and all the other means of production, distribution and exchange. In no other way can the exploitation of man by man; the war of the classes, be brought to an end. Take away this principle from Labour and there is nothing fundamental left to divide it from ether parties. Yet it is on this very fundamental and first principle that the Labour Group on our District Council has failed the movement. For months pa,¡f. ngolations have been proceeding between the District Council anca the Bboiidda. Tramways Convpanj% The negotiations had for their object the exploitation—on terms, of course,—of this district by the Company. First the negotiations concerned the Gilfach Goch to Penrhiwfer Road, 'afterwards the negotiations were extended so that the Company might ex- ploit this district generally. During the progress of these negotiations for the setting up of this capitalist tramway concern the Labour Group made no public protest or announcement, and the minutes of the District Council available to the public give no record of even the feeblest opposition. The old council was bad enough, but it did oppose the coming of the Rhondda Tram- ways' Company into the District in 1913, al- though illogicaily it only asked for one third, in- stead of the whole of the increased burden which the e-oming of the rail-less cars on the Gilfach road then meant to the ratepayers, but for sheer, cool, capitalistic impudence this council, with its invitation to the company—" Coriie in and ex- ploit our people, and we'll make terms with you," —cannot be beaten. It was on these ne- gotiations for setting up this capitalist concern that the Labour Movement had -its best chance to fight and defeat this capitalist move and so make room for the accepta-nce of its own prin- ciple of public ownership. With the co-ordinated efforts of Trades Council, parish councillors and district counc illors, the negotiations could have been defeated. Through the Labour members keeping information secret they have failed. The Rhondda Tramways Company,-so we learn from the Western Mail" for September 26th, 1919, are to have the fight of extending their tram- ways along the Ely Valley road to Pontyclun. What the company was afraid to ask for in 1913 without one Labour member on the District Council, it gets quite easily in 19,19, with four Labour members out of nine members composing the District Council. Why have the Labour members been silent while these negotiations to set up this profit-making capitalist corn-era have been going on? Why have they not made some effort to mobilise opinion 4for a publicly owned tramway system ? If there's an answer then let us have it. The Parish Council. Having regard to the history of the 1913 Rhondda. Tramway's Company Rill it would have been an easy task with the aid of the Parish Councillors to have defeated the negotiations just concluded. All classes could have been mobilised behind, the Labour councillors. From now on the fight, if there's to be one, will be much more difficult since it will necessarily be on the terms of the agreement come to by the District Council and the Company. In spite of the increased difficulty of the fight, the move- ment outside is looking to the Parish Council to take it up. Leli the Parish Council insist upon information from the District Council respect- ing this agreement, let them employ their own experts, independently of the District Council, and carry the fight all the way to Whitehall. Behind them will stand, without doubt, the whole of the working-class movement of the district. ♦ A Sham Tribunal. I The District Council has decided to set up a Profiteering Tribunal. During the appointment of the tribunal a motion to include Labour re- presentatives in addition to those on the coun- cil was defeated by the casting vote of the chair- man. The Labour members asa protest threaten to resign from the tribunal. Just as the tribunals under the Military Service Acts failed to pro- tect the people aga-inst Militarism, so will these tribunals under t'lie Profiteering Act fail to pro- tect the people against profiteering. Profiteer- ing is too deep-seated a. trouble to be eradicated by any such mean.s as are a,t the disposal of the Profiteering Tribunals. Theso tribunals are merely intended to keep us chasing the small trader while the Big Business gets awav with the swag. Let each one ask himself or herself the question seriously: Would we refuse a. shil- ling for a sixpenny article if placed behind a counter to sell it? The candid answer to that question is that the bulk of us would not. That once fact gives us Ithe clue to effective action to prevent profiteering. It is, take the means of life out of private hands and let them be publicly owned. Inflicting fines, or sending small trades- men to prison (the bigger profiteer will not be sent to prison) will not solve the question of pro- fiteering. Had the Labour councillors been so keen to secure public ownership of the tramways in the Ely Valley as they appear to be to secure more Labour representatives to join in the hunt of these 'small business people, they would have been getting nearer the heart of the profiteering problem. We hope the Labour movement will not lose its head over shams. A Resolution. We take the following from District Council minutes: "It was resolved: That the following Closing Orders be made under Section 17 of the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1909, namely —O wner, Gomer S. Morgan: No. 1 Llanelay Cottages, Llantrisant, occupied by A. Smith; No. 2, ditto, Mrs. James; No. 3, ditto, W. Pick- ford No. 4, ditto, Mrs. Bond. Closing Orders Useless. Closing orders are made under Section 17 of the Act referred to above so as to secure either the repai r of houses unfit for habitation, or that such houses he closed and demolished. If the owner chooses to refuse to repair, then all the Council can do under this section is to order the closing and demolition of the houses. To close houses during the present house famine, with people living in vans, in corrugated iron sheds, in tents and as many as twenty persons in a cottage as is oecuring in this district, would be <i crime which the District Council dare not commit. Under the New Housing Act, 1919, as the Ministry of Health points out in its recently issued booklet, "Housing: Powers and Duties of Local Authorities," the District Council can If a house is not kept in all respects reason- ably fit for occupation, but is capable of being made fit iv ttiioitt, Ion, and the owner fails, after notice, to carry out the necessary re- pairs, the local authority may do the work, and -i ( t o -t, l ie ,xvol- k I ll,(l charge the cost to the owner (page par. 2). Closing order's are: ineffective and a sham. When the District Council proceeds to put the large number of houses in its district in a reasonably tit condition for Occupation by doing tlie repiii-i themselves and leaving closing orders alone, wv shall begin to bel ieve they,are in 'earnest on the (Continued at foot of preceding column).