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).
Our London Letter. I DON'T FORGET RUSSIA. I We must not allow the big social and in- dustrial issues which are arising at home to lessen our concern about Russia. Within the past few days some extraordinary de- velopments have taken place. When the Armistice occurred, the Allies, whilst de- manding the demobilisation of the German army generally, requested the retention of a strong German force in the Baltic provinces of Russia to resist Bolshevism. In August last, according to Mr. Phillips Price, this German army was included in orders for-an advance issued by the British military authorities, and only a few weeks ago a 'British General at Riga allocated a portion of the front to the force under Von der Goltz and Bermondt. The Deutsche Zeitung (October 13 th) has reproduced the text of this communication. And yet the Allies are now threatening to impose all kinds of dire penalties upon the German people for per- mitting Bermondt's army to proceed What is the explanation of this sudden revolution in policy? THE EXPLANATION. The truth is that the Allies are expecting the immediate fall of the Soviet Govern- ment, and, whilst they wanted the assist- ance of everyone in overthrowing Bolshe- vism, they are not prepared to share the spoils with everyone—certainly not with German capitalists. The German Imperial- ists and militarists, of the type of Bermondt, have no difficulty in promising Koltchak and Denikin all they ask, and, in conse- quence,'the Allies fear that the Germans will get more from the counter-revolution- sits than they will themselves. The Times (October 14th) in quite a panic says we must prove to Koltchak and Denikin that we are their real friends by giving full official recognition to their Government. The alternative is the predominance of Ger- man influence in Russia. I will quote one passage The policy of Germans and, if there were any chance of realising the profits, of the German Government itself, is to substitute Russia for Austria, to exploit her tremendous commercial possibilities, and to use the vantage ground that Rus- sia gives for an attack upon our position in Asia and throughout the world. This, we say it deliberately, is a more formid- able danger to the future of this country than even an attack on the liberties of Belgium. The Times goes on seriously to suggest that we may have to renew the war on this issue. "It is of no use ingeminating peace if the conditions of peace are non-existant." it says, and we may not ensue a penny- wise economy now at the cost of an extra- vagant expenditure of life and treasure (later." The root of the matter lies, of course, in those three words—" tremendous commercial possibilities." EX-SOLDIER IN CHAINS. The extraordinary sight of a tall. fine- looking man walking through the streets with heavy chains hanging down from his neck was beheld in London last week. He was a discharged soldier from Birmingham, and he proceeded in this condition to No. 10 Downing Street, where he handed in a petition to the Premier. The petition ex- plained that he had approached Mr. Lloyd George bondaged and chained in order to attract public attention to the ill-treat- ment and the brutality from which ex- service men are suffering. They thought they had been fighting for democracy, "in- stead of which we find we have been shed- ding our blood in the interests of the most scandalous and greedy profiteers the world has ever known." The men who made this great sacrifice now discover them- selves in a state of starvation and want, with no houses to occupy, no work, and their wives and families dependant." I find the temper of ^x-Service men is rising everywhere. At a demonstration in Trafal- gar Square the other day, Councillor Whelan, who led the recent march of un- employed discharged soldiers from Man- chester, said the refusal of their request to see the King was a direct insult to the Army. Apparently neither King nor coun- try want them now. A CHANGED PARLIAMENT. 4 Parliament, for what it is worth, is sitting again. Its temper is very different from
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Shop Workers. I BIG WAGES, CAMPAIGN IN MERTHYR. I THE WEALTHY DUSTMAN." The Merthyr branch of the National Amalgamated. r nioll of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks have begun a big wages campaign in the Merthyr area, and during the week conferences have been in progress between Mr. Hughes (the na- tional organiser), Mr. Myrddyn Davies (the Merthyr and Aberdare branches' secretary) and various employers relative to the new minima. Negotiations with the grocery firms of John Evans (Ltd.) and Messrs. Gunson are likely to be concluded success- fully in a few days. All dressmakers are entitled to a mini- mum rate of wages since April 7 under the Trades Board Act and these rates, together with back pay, have been secured for such employees from the largest drapery estab- lishment in the district. The union are de- termined to countenance no evasion of the rates, and with this in view they are ener- getically engaged in organising the dress- makers. Large numbers of shop-workers back from the Army are ignorant of the change in the cost of living and, in addition to ac- cepting low-paid posts, many have attached their signatures to radius agreements de- barring them from entering the employment of any other firms within five miles and, further, have agreed to pay insurance to provide a safeguard against short stocks. Some of these men are branch managers with wages ranging from £2 ros. to £ 2 15s. a week. Soon the union intends to contest the legalityof such agreements. There is a general feeling among shop assistants that the weekly half-holiday should be transferred from Thursday to Saturday, and there is no reason why it should not be, for with the pay-day of the greater masses of workman changed to Fri- day, Saturday is no longer the shopping day it once was. Dressed like a duke on the wages of a dustman can now be applied with truth to the. shop assistant, for the dustman drawTs weekly from the Merthyr Corpora- tion (and MerthjT is no .exception to other boroughs) £ 3 4s. 71d., which to the average shopmail is wealth as yet beyond his grasp. ) Hence the new wages movement is being prosecuted with vigour.
attach a municipal laundry. You can start a Common Good Fund, which will give you the initial capital necessary for the institu- tion of many municipal enterprises as pro. vided for in the Statute Books. And when you have done all these things the vision will have come to you of many hundreds more, and you'll be dealing with a different generation, a generation that will be linking up its co-operative with its municipal and State and Trade Union functions. In conclusion, every elector who has the interests of his country at heart, every man and woman in our midst who wishes to see our Homeland a place fit for heroes to live, in, a place where a standard of comfort and culture will be the birthright of all, has the solemn and serious duty imposed upon them of voting for the Labour Party candidates next Saturday week. J. BARR. what it was nine months ago. Then the huge Coalition majority was boastful, con- fident, apparently united. The beginning and end of its programme was trust Lloyd George. The man who won the war will win the Peace," the members said. They were not saying that to-day. THE ECONOMY STUNT. The attendance at the House was small, and little interest was displayed in the Aliens' Bill. But in the lobbies and smoke rooms keen discussion was proceeding. For it is realised that a crisis has been reached in the history of the Government. The power of the Press is enormous. For some weeks now the HarmswTorth brothers —Lord Northcliffe and Lord Beaverbrook- have been running: the economy stunt in their papers, the Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Pictorial, the Weekly Dispatch, and the London Evening News have day after day attacked the Gov- ernment, by one means and another, for! maintaining such an enormous expenditure. They have succeeded in arousing public opinion on this point, and in frightening the politicians. Public interest has now compelled the other papers to give first place to this issue, and the discussions in the lobbies to-day showed that it occupies first place in the mind of Parliament too. Indeed, feeling is so strong that I think it clear that the Government must face the issue drastically or-clear out. I A WRONG ECONOMY. j I None of us wants to see wasteful expendi- ture by the Government, but there are dan- gers in this agitation for economy which, should be recognised. If the Government would economise on military and naval ex- penditure we should all rejoice, but I fear that there is not much hope of any great saving upon these departments so long as the present Imperialist policy is maintained. The likelihood is that the Government will decide to economise on education and housing and are keeping down wages, as the Capitalist Press is advising it to do. I hope the Parliamentary Labour Party will resist all proposals of this kind.. I ALL CONVERTS NOW. The most interesting feature of the econ- oi-ii3, campaign has been the steady conver- sion of the Press and politicians to the view that the only method of meeting the financial position is the adoption of the La- bour Party proposal to make a levy on capi- tal. Practically every London newspaper is now demanding a levy on War Fortunes and, if necessary, upon other fortunes, too. Even the official Liberal leaders are now approaching this position. It is, indeed, the only possible policy. I THE MINERS' CAMPAIGN. But the attention of Parliament will not be fastened exclusively on the issue of the fiuancial situation for long. To-day the Miners have held a national conference in London, and they have decided to organise a campaign in favour of the Nationalisation of the mines on an unprecedented scale. They have decided, in the first place, to or- ganise a series of impressive demonstrations from one end of the country to the other. The series begins with meetings addressed by Robert Smillie and Frank Hodges in Manchester and Liverpool next Sunday and Monday. But, while the miners will be re- sponsible for conducting the campaign, they are not going to limit their platform, Frank ^Hodges tells me, to their own representa- tives. It will be our objecthe said, "to show that the whole trade union and poli- tical Labour movement is behind the miners in their demand for Nationalisation." Con- sequently, leaders of every section of the Trade Union Movement (barring Havelock Wilson) will "be invited to co-operate, and the I.L.P. leaders and prominent members of the Fabian Society, too. If Frank flodges carries through his plans, it will be the greatest platform campaign this country has yet seen. PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN TOO. The, Miners to-day also endorsed their executive's proposal to organise a great pub- licity campaign. The Press will be used just as fully as it can be, and leaflets will be published by the thousand. The miners understand the value of the printed word. The railway strike opened the eyes of or- ganised Labour to the necessity of having a thoroughly competent Press staff. Mr. J. H. Thomas and his colleagues were too much immersed in fhe details of negotiation and organisation to be able to keep "abreast with the tremendous controversy in the Press. Accordingly they handed over that side of their work to members of the Labour Research Department, who called in expert pressmen, both on the news and advertising sides, to do the work for them. Fortunately there are now men iii the movement with the necessary technical capacity, and we can be sure that the miners will do as well as the railwaviiieii did. Indeed, Frank Hodges assures me that they are going to do a great deal better THE INDUSTRIAL CONFERENCE. A crisis has been reached in the negotia- tions between the Labour section of the Joint Committee of the Industrial Confer- ence and the Government on the subject of the inclusion of the agricultural workers. the seamen, and the police within the scope of the 48-hours' Bill. I am told by one who was present that the Government represen- tatives yesterday were absolutely adamant in refusing to accept the unanimous recom- mendations of the Industrial Conference that the measure should apply to all workers. and that it should be left to employers anJ employed to make the necessary modifica- tions for certain trades. The Government gave a pledge, when the Industrial Confer- ence was called, together, that its recom- < mendations would be embodied in legisla- tion. The refusal of the Government to fulfil its promise has led the Labour section to summon a special session of the Industrial Conference.^ Should the Government de- cline to give way it is likely that Labour will refuse to participate in the proposed National Industrial Council.