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The Municipal Battle.

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The Municipal Battle. What Labour Stands For. I Extension of the Capitalists' Collectivism to the Whole of Life. I A Model Programme of Municipal Enterprise. I We are now in the thick of the fight for -ascendancy in local affairs, and so popular las the Labour party become that practical- ly all other labels have been dropped by aristocratic and plutocratic candidates in their feverish haste to assure the working- man and woman elector they, too, belong to the Labour Party. The Harcourtian cry We are all Social- ists now of a generation ago is to be Uperseded by one of We are all Labour," but the general elector in his wisdom will seek to know the underlying principle of antagonism which has compelled the Con- servative and Liberal to amalgamate their forces inside the legislative chambers (both national and municipal) on an united oppo- sition to the Labour Party.. The old Li- beral and Tory Tweedledum and Tweedle- dee days are over and the economic struggle I)et-,N,een capitalist and worker is now, as it should be, truly reflected ill legislative and administrative bodies by the combination of anti-Labour forces. The grain of truth in the cry i' We are all Socialists now lies in the sense that the philosophy of collec- tivism has supplanted the old idea of in- dividualism. The days of competitive pri- vate enterprise are fast disappearing, and are being replaced by the higher developed form of combination. A walk along your Merthyr streets is fficiciit to prove to anyone that to-day is the day of the highly developed multiple shop combination.. The fight, then, is one between Collectivists, with the capitalist ofrces on the one side determined to hold ownership and the intelligent working-class movement on the other side just as deter- mined to carryon the good work of Col- lectivism to its logical end—communal •ownership. This was never better illus- trated than by Lloyd George, as first exe- cutive officer of the capitalist class, last Week firmly declaring to the miners' repre- sentatives that the Government were de- terminedly in favour- of a combination of in- dividual coal-owners as against their own Commissioners' report in favour of national ownership. The reasonably just nature of the Labour Party's case can best be illus- trated by a brief retrospective glance at the evolution-of Capitalism, from the personal to the present impersonal condition. In the beginning you had a distinctly personal relationship existing between the employer and his employees. All productive con- cerns were individually owned, with the owner generally in a managerial capacity. To restrict competition and gain the ad- vantage of centralised management this was -gradually changed along the evolutionary steps of partnerships, companies, limited olupanies and rings, till now we are within reasonable distance, in most highly produc tive concerns, of a trustified condition such ..s Lloyd George and his Government -stands for in the coal trade. This evolution- ary process can be clearly seen in your midst in the change from the personal em- ployer John Guest, of 1760, to the present impersonal concern of Guest, Keen and ^ettlefolds, with its multifarious interests :all over the country, owned by a body of shareholders, thousands of whom have never seen Dowlais, and run by thousands of skilled technical and manual workers ranging from the general manager to the labourer. This scientific transition by or- ganising forces has given us a maximum production at minimum cost, and the lesson is not lost to the Labour Party. In effect they say to the capitalist: We agree you have done a great work, a glorious work, you have so amalgamated the forces of pro Auction, you have so scientifically develop- ed management that one man can sit in an 'Office and control practically the trade of a Continent. In fact, you have completed a I great Socialistic work, but your Socialism is for capitalists only, with the workers completely left out. Now, whilst appre- ciating the work you have' done so well, we wish to carry it a step further by coming in and industrially managing the concern in the interests and under the ownership of the whole community." The fight is not one between Capital and Labour, as is stupidly declared sometimes by opponents. Capital, which is past La- j hour in a concrete form, is as necessary to production as the labour-power of the Worker, and so, whilst cheerfully admitting that Labour cannot do without Capital, the Labour Party hold that Labour can do with- out the Capitalist by a simple change from individual (ownership to arfl all-embracing communal ownership. In the principle of Collectivism, admitted -as it is by all, we see the antagonism lies between the apostles of private ownership and the disciples of public ownership. Thus we prove that the organised working- class movement enters the national and: municipal arena strong in the philosophy, of Collectivism, knowing well what they Want and how to get it. How then can this great and glorious work be carried on by out Labour members L on Muncipal Councils ? By taking ad- vantage of every possible chance to initiate and develop municipal ownership, aiming thereby at a production or distribution for use and not for profit. This will mean the maximum benefit at minimum cost with the elimination of the private shareholder and his share taken by the community. As an example of what could be done, let me give you some points from the munici- pal programme laid down by one of our smartest Scottish councillors, Mr. Thomas Johnson, editor of the Foru,ard:- MILK. » You can have municipal milk from municipal cows via a municipal dairy, as at Montrose; or as at Saltcoats, a municipal dairy and milk pasteurising business, buy- ing the milk from private farmers or you can have a co-operative pasteurising sys- tem, as at Kirkintilloch. Either method makes greatly for public health. I ENTERTAINMENTS. Run a Municipal Cinema. There is money in it for the community. Kirkintil- loch has made almost £ 1,600 profit. Where possible use your Town Hall for it. Run high class lectures, supply high class I music—indoor in winter, and outdoor in summer. I DANCING. Run municipal dancing in your Town or other public hall. Supply open-air dancing facilities for the summer months in your public parks. Mothers with daughters will thank you for municipal control of dancing. I FOOD PRODUCTION. I Encourage municipal plots. Lease and buy land, and get your cleansing depart- ment to go in for fanning. It pays. Oats, potatoes, cabbages, beetroot-everything. If possible, start an open-air market, and sell at cost to the citizens. HEALTH. I Insist upon the highest possible stan- dard in public health-which also means private health. Cleanliness everywhere. Open-air swimming ponds where possible. Certainly an in-door spray baths system, with special facilities for children. An In- fant welfaie centre should not stop at the weighing of babies, but can supply baby clothes, milk, Glaxo, etc., all at cost price. Women can be employed making baby clothes. OPEN SPACES, ETC. Provide open spaces, football pitches, howling greens, swings for the children, and beautify your open spaces with flowers and trees. Against drab cinder heaps and alley ends wage relentless warfare. I MONEY. Banking ultimately is a State and not a burghal question, but you can form a muni- cipal savings bank, and entice savings to your municipal offices at, say, 3 per cent. interest, which is i per cent. more than the ordinary savings bank gives. The ordinary savings bank is tied up to investing its funds with the Commissioners for the Re- demption of the National Debt, who give only 21 or 21 per cent, interest thereon. Thus working-class money gets 22- per cent. interest while Capitalist money gets 5 per cent. or st per cent, interest. And the savings of the working class, got cheaply, go to Mr. Winston Churchill's ware. But form your Town Council members into a limited liability company (to conform to the law), offer 3 per cent. or 3I per cent. in- terest, and get your local money savings in- vested in your municipal enterprises. An £ 800 house with the money borrowed at s! per cent. (the present market rate) will mean an annual tribute to the moneylender of £ 44. The same house with money, say, at 3i per cent., would pay only £ 2% in in- terest, a saving of £ 16 every year.. If your municipality can get money cheaply it can do almost anything. I RESTAURANT. I You can run a restaurant and supply cooked food much under capitalist price. The Government will give you money free of interest for that. DEVELOP YOUR PUBLIC WORKS. I If you buy land upon which there is a sand pit, go in for a municipal sand quarry; use your gas works to stack household coal; get your cleansing department up to the neck in the food production business, rear- ing according to local circumstances, hens, pigs, potatoes, tomatoes, etc.; your restaur- ant can manufacture jam; your water de- partment might be able to stock some ponds with trout as an experi- ment in water purification, and anglers could experiment upon the trout. You can beautify your streets with trees You can run public wash-houses with the latest devices in labour-saving; you could (Ocratmued at foot of next column).

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The Municipal Battle.