A Busy Night. I MERTHYR TRADES COUNCIL'S I IMPORTANT MEETINC. INDUSTRIAL COMMITTEE, MILITARISM IN SCHOOLS AND MUNICIPAL BUREAU CONSIDERED. Last Thursday's meeting of the Trades Council proved one of the most important, from the workers' point of view, that has been held this year. Condemnation of the military training of school children was voiced with vigour; the need for a more thorough co-ordination of the indus- trial forces thai the Trades Council represents, and the part it would play in a national crisis was recognised, and the first step in the direc- tion of providing proper machinery taken and in addition an information and discussion bureau to be formed of Trades Council delegates. Town councillors and Labour Guardians was inaugu- rated. The question of the military training of school children was introduced on a resolution from the Troedyrhiw I.L.P. that read: "That this Coun- cil consider the question of Militarism in the schools, as we consider it a menace to real education." MILITARISINC THE YOUNC IDEA. I Mr. D. J. Lewis, who was Troedyrhiw spokes- man on the matter, declared that the matter had been raised by the Troedyrhiw r.L.P. at the re- quest of a number of families in Troedyrhiw which were deeply concerned at the amount of time that was spent in the Troedyrhiw schools in training boys in military drill. During the last couple of days it had come to his knowledge that during the solemn two minutes of the an- niversary of Armistice day in one of the lower schools of the borough a teacher was sent out to salute the flag. Mr. Lewis also took objec- tion to other methods of inculcating the Jingo idea into the youngsters. He had, for instance, been .surprised a week before to find himself, as chairman of the Plymouth Waixl Committee meeting in Abercanaid School, seated below the Union Jack draping an ornate portrait of the late King Edward VII. He had made some em- phatic remarks. These things were important to the working-class who on a glance round the world could see what militarism was doing for the world. In the United Jtates machine guns and troops to man them occupied cities, towns and villages because the workers were demand- ing an amelioration of their conditions. In France militarism was conjured against the workers, and her,- at home the chief concern of those in authority was to curb the liberties of the people. So called educationists of repute to- day wrote books not alone teaching ohidlren mili- tary drill, but even, as in the case of the work of one Leicester educationist, instructing them in the use of the bayonet. It was one of the most terrible things that could happen in a town like Merthyr, which had had the honour of representation by such men as Henry Richards, and, especially, Keir Hardie, that such a doctrine should be taught in its schools. Little children should be taught the higher things of life and not instructed to be- come cannoij fodder. If they allowed these things to dominate the child minds the nation would develop into a second France or Germany —merely fodder for ibe cannon, serfs and slaves of Capitalism and Militarism! Lords Curzon and Milner were chiefly responsible for the de- velopment of this chauvinistic spirit in educa- tion, having worked unremittingly to secure it for years. It was time that the workers, if they were to be free men of this land, should take this matter in hand. Mr. E. Slvadbolt seconded because lie saw much of the Jingo spirit in the schools, and being a- class-conscious Socialist what he saw was discordant on (his nature. He had seen aiuemic boys and girls singing Rule Britannia, Britannia rules tlie waves." It was a travesty! Children taught that and then, going home to see their fathers hand over the proceeds of their wage-slavery to their mothers—a pittance insuffi- cient to feed and clothe them well. Britons never shall be slaves "—a Union Jack in one hand and bread and margarine in the other! He too depreciated the ostentatious display of gilded sovereignty in the scthools, and looked for the day when the children should be taught to revere such men as Ruskin, Marx, Hardie and others who in service had given their lives to mould the greater and better Empire of human brotherhood. A WORD OF CAUTION. I Mr .Hugh Williams sounded a word of warn- ing against being too hasty in denouncing mili- tary training in schools. The Red Army of Rus- sia would never have been able to hold its own, as it had, if it had not been for the training of its manhood to arms as conscripts—a system he agreed they disliked and condemned, but one which had prepared them for the defence of their own. Mr. Barr followed in similar strain. Ul- timately the clash of classes would come, and in preparation for that day the task of Labour was not so much to prevent the people receiving training to arms, but one of making them class- conscious Socialists. Mr. Bert Brobyn said it was not physical train- ing that was objected to as such. But experts had declared that the military training of chil- dren, far from proving physically beneficial for children, actually did them harm. Military ti-rill did not seek to develop tlie body beautifully, but to bring about perfect uniformity of action and movement such as militarism wanted. He paid a high tribute to the new instructor at the Se- condary School, who, lIe understood, was a man conscious of the importance of hi,s good work, and who spent his time striving to perfect the bodies of those under his care. What ought to be aimed at was more of that physical culture, and there need be no trouble in getting it done without inculcating anything of a military char- acter. HISTORY NOT DRILL. I Mr. W. J. Davies, speaking as an elementary I teacher, challenged the .statement that the pre- sent system in the elementary schools ignored physical training and inculeated militarisim as a system. To his mind this danger in the elemen- tary school was exaggerated. The danger oaime later when the child was a little older and it passed into continuation schools. Many teachers had been induced to remain in the army, and a month ago the Board of Education issued a cir- cular to the Army authorities regarding these men wJho were to be incorporated into the con- tinuation schools. There lay the danger. In the elementary schools the danger did not lay so much in physical training as in the blatant drum-and-trumpet, battle-and-flag histories that were used to the harm of the child mind. The Rliondda Education Committer bad given a fine lead recently by calling in many of their histori- cal readers for inspection, and in the event of their proving unfitted for the child mind it was advocated to have new historical readers suit- aNy written by experts to take theirr place. In the elementaiy schools it was physical develop- ment that was aimed for. By only one dissentient vote it was decided that steps should be taken to discourage the militarising of the elementary schools of the Borough. THE WHITE ELEPHANT. Councillor Francis presented the report of the Labour activities on the Borough Council—point- ing out that with two exceptions the Labour Party had captured all the principal seats on the Council. Those two exceptions were the Taf Feclian Committee, which was regarded as a white elephant, and the Museum Committee, which was also left to the other side to stable it ill. (Laughter.) Some interesting figures with respect to housing in tlie district were given by the Councillor, as well as some others treat- ing of the strange appreciation of land for build- ing purposes when the Council wanted it. He also dealt with the somewhat peculiar position that has arisen respecting the application by the Director of Education for an increase in salary. Mr. Elias' work lie eulogised to the sky, and then pointed out that the Labour Group were fighting against big increments to large salary holders on the ground that the lower paid had not sufficient to live a proper life upon—with the consequence that now they were somewhat puzzled about the situation. He inferred that a further discussion would probably result in an increment being granted without prejudice to the principle of "no man to have cake whilst another lacks bre.ad" that the group had adopted, and the Council seemed to expect that that course wouhX^e fc.'lowed when they learned that directors of adjacent areas with fewer ohil- dren under their aegis were receiving more taian the Merthyr director. Guardian D. G. Morgan presented a brief but interesting account of the Guardians work for the month. THE INDUSTRIAL COMMITTEE. '11"1" men jMT. John Barr, as delegate for the Mer- thyr I.L.P. moved: That in view of the com- plicated developments that may arise in times of industrial crises, and the absence of any ma- chinery to deal with the same, this branch calls upon the Trades Council to immediately instruct their Executive Committee to make arrange- ments to deal with any industrial situation that may arise." This motion, said Mr. Barr, resulted from deliberations arising out of the railway /strike. If that strike had continued but a few days longer the Labour Party would have required to have met to set up the machinery that the reso- lution sought to construct. TIle basic idea was that under the industrial conditions of to-day disturbances might arise and spread with rapidity to all the industries of the land, and to meet such a. contingency it was felt that a per- manent industrial committee should be estab- lished, the function of which would be to get into touch with the strike bodies, of which, after all, the Trades Council should be the parent body locally. Further the committee should be- come the supreme Labour body should the need arise. Mr. Bert Brobyn (A.S.L.E. and F.), the framer of'the resolution, seconding, said that at the time when the recent railway strike was set- tled the rail way men had called a special Execu- tive meeting of the Trades Council to get them to take over the whole business failing a satis- factory settlement in London, for in that event the wheels of industry in the country would have been stopped. There would then have been only one body which could function in the locality— and that the Trades Council. He emphasised the fact that the proposal was not to take sec- tional disputes out of the hands of the trades engaged, but. pointed out how in that case the committee could offer its assistance and advice, reminding his fellow delegates that the recent protracted steel-works strike was ultimately set- tled thanks, to the activity of the Ebbw Vale Trades Council. He condemned the policy of regarding Trades Councils as primarily political bodies, and contended that their first function was industrial ,and their political activities only secondary to these. He felt that in the future the Labour world was going to witness acute conditions and declared that the Council could not afford to disregard the urgent need to have an industrial committee continually in touch with the industrial movement, and in a position to take over the reins of government local and national if necessary in the event of a national stoppage. NON-INTERFERENCE. Councillor T. J. Evans and other delegates feared that the resolution meant intolerable in- terference between a union engaged in a sec- tional strike and the masters, and for that rea- son, though in perfect sympathy with the resolu- tion, they were inclined to look upon it with some degree of scepticism, but it was again pointed out that that was not the intention. Mr. Hugh Williamis was in favour. In one aspect alone, he pointed the advantage of such a commi ttee. The great problem in the event of a national stoppage of all industry would be to secure the supply of food for the people, and there the Co-operative societies should prove the people's commissariate. The Co operative societies of which every trades unionist should be a member—were linked into the Trades Coun- cil to which all the industrial units also belonged and which, therefore, became the correct medium for the performance of this important function. (Continued on Page 4, Column 5).
Political Notes C By F. W. Jowett. I MINISTERIAL MAKESHIFTS. r The latest makeshife proposal of the Govern- ment. for meeting the difficulty of increasing the supply of 'houses will have little or no effect on the problem which confronts the nation. It in- dicates, of course, that the Government is will- ing to pay blackmail to the powerful association of interests which lias laid hold of the building trade, but it has otherwise no substantial hear- ing on the problem in hand. The amount of the blackmail is insufficient for its purpose. The lowest figure mentioned as the cost of building the smallest of the labourer's cottages it is pro- posed to build is £ 750. What the -Government proposes is to grant -subsidies to builders to the limit of L150 per house. The subsidy is for the builder, so presumably the builder would take the whole of it and one of these smaller cottages would therefore cost the purchaser £ï50. Lord Robert Cecil pointed out during the debate on the subject in the House of Commons that in the present state of finance it would require a return of not less than 8 per cent, to cover interest and other charges, including repairs, but not includ- ing rates. That is to say the rent wo: kl 'have to be £60 a yean- plus rates. Even if the. builder passed on the advantage of the subsidy to the purchaser and sold for £ 600—assuming the sub- sidy amounted to that sum, which is not pro- bable on a small I)otis-the rent would have to be fixed at jE48 a year, i.e., about IS/6 a week, and rates. There will be nothing doing at this figure. A BOON TO BUILDERS. I Instead of vainly attempting the impossible feat of bribing the building profiteers build houses in preference to other properties, Da1. Ad- dison would be well advised to pay some atten- tion to rhe rings and associations for maintain- ing higril prices witich control every department of the building trade. Before the w;> stoves, grates and any number of articles required for building houses were artificially maintained at high prices U>: agreement between large makers who penalised by heavy tines :.r].11cJ. -a ho dis- obeyed their rules, and regulations for keeping prices up. The system still continues and tlie manner of friflieting t,he-c fines is well known to the Government. Makers purposely sell their goods on terms which include a large discount which the purchaser sacrifices if he goes outside the ring and sells a cheaper article. Since the war, as Dr. Addison himself has acknowledged, many articles necessary for building houses have Hone up 200 per cent. -1?n tnfl in some cases •100 per cent, and more. Jf Dr. Addison meant 'iO?.) p(?i- 4?ent. ind iijoi-k- terials at 'a fair price based OH cost of produc- tion, and rigorously prohibit all luxury building forthwith. PERMISSION TO PROHIBIT. it is true that Dr. Addison proposes to take action with regard to htxnry bmlding, but it is in t i ,,? little more than .a pretence. Be has?racionsh- consented to allow )ocal authorities in the event of non-essentia.i buiJdin?s U?nitia? t'he pro- vision of houses in tlfeir area to represent to us ''—ui?nnin? his ineffective self (the Minister of Health), prompted hy his too elective officials. He wHi thereafter consider whether hf will give the local authoritie" Iwrmission not to pass the plans" for the non-essential" buildings. What silly fooling this is! It is even worse than the Profiteering Act! Local authorities on which there is a majority of Labour members will serve him right if they refuse—permission or no per- pass plans for non-essentia l building which robs t'iieii- lioitsing schemes of labour and material. ECONOMIC RENTS. There remains, finali'ly, the barrier of finance, which still stands untouched by Dr. Addison's latest proposals. If the profiteer builder conlkl have been bribed to undertake seriously the building of houses, Municipal and County Coun- cils would have had ,tin excuse for abandoning their building schemes. But, as I have already explained, a subsidy of even so much as £ 150 a house will not enable houses to be let at econo- mic rents. On the other hand, let Dr. Addison say what he will. local authorities cannot raise all the money required for their housing schemes. If there had hee-n a possibility of their doing so the Government would not have dared to pro- mise to pav the difference between the annual cost of the houses and ;1, penny rate even for the comparatively short period of seven years. Moreover, at the end of seven years local author- ities are warned that they must charge economic rents for their bouses. Is is expected that by then the economic rent will have fallen to. two- thirds of the present figure. This would mean charging over 16/- a week rent for a house costing £ 800 to build at ito-day s prices and rates extra. The thing simply won't work and Dr. Addison is either a fool or a. charlatan or Dr. AA 1 4-i i,, he would acknowledge the fact. [n truth the capitalist system is bunkered in regard to pro- viding houses for the people. Capitalist finance blocks the way. Capitalist finance- will have to he blasted way by means of a capital levy and a forced housing loan or houses will not be built and the housing conditions will steadly get worse until the working people of this country will be housed no better than half-civilised peoples. WHAT THEY TOLD THE MARINES. I The Government had other reason for with- drawing the British forces from North Russia in addition to those given by Ministers in the House of Commons. It is now revealed that there was serious difficulty in getting the men to fight. Two questions were addressed to the Gov- ernment on the 17th inst., from which it appears that about ninety men of the Royal Marinesai-e at present in prison serving sentence for re- fusing to fight in North Russia. Many of tihose men had completed five years service before they committed this offence and, therefore, they must have been feeling a a-eal grievance or they would not have faced the prospect of punishment which they were well aware would follow. It is stated that the men concerned were despatched from England last August and were given to under- stand that they were going to Germany. Six hours before they sailed, however, the destina- tion was announced to be North Russia, where they were to take pad in a 'relief expedition. When it was discovered that it was not as a. re- lief force, but for a quite different purpose they I were to be employed, the men refused to obey orders. Colonel Wedgwood and Lieut Comman- der Kenworthy were the questioners of this mat- ter whilst the irrepressible Labour Member who in Parliamentary records is deoorousily named Mr. John Jones" appropriately invited the Minister to explain how it came to pass that men could be court-martialled seeing: that war had not been declared against Russia. CLOGGING A KEY INDUSTRY. The latest development for special protection of "Key Industries" relates to clog soles. It appears that clog soles are being "imported from j Germany at a price which works outa.t [) per dozen pairs. The home supply of the same kind! of soles cost, according tüstatement imwle in the House of Commons on the 17tli inst., 11/- per dozen pairs. Consequently, two of the Par- liamentary custodians of the profiteer's inter- est wanted to know Why it was that the (manu- facture of w ooden clogs', which one of them said was, one of the key Industries of this coun- hv" could not. be included "as an industry which needs protection." One would think, having regard to the figures mentioned, that it is the wearer of clogs who needs protection, and the best way of affording it would he to allow the available supply at 5.' per dozen pairs of soles to be put on the market. There is plunder for the profiteer included in the higher price of 11/ LIMITING PRODUCTION! A short time ago there was quite a fuss in the House of Common's over tii- action.of the Edin- burgh Corporation in giving an electrical con- tract to a Swiss firm who had tendered a much lower price than British competing firms. Big Business was alarmed at the moment and wanted protection. Doubtless what Big Business wanted was to have the whole of the electrical industry scheduled as a Key Industry and all its imported products prohibited. Not even the present Government- could go so far, however, and other methods have had to he found for the protection of Big Business and to keep up prices. Mr. Lunn described the metkod which had been adopted for this purpose in a question in the House on the 19th inst. ft was the Swiss firm of Brown, Boverie and Co., who disturbed the serenity of Big Business and punctured its prices by securing the Edinburgh contract. Therefore Messrs. Vickers, Ltd., who stand for Big Business in this connection have acquired an interest in the firm of Brown, Boverie and Co., on agreed terms. Under the agreed terms it is arranged that Messrsc. Brown, Boverie 'and Co. undertake to do no business within the British Empire. 'I
Merthyr N.U.T Meetingi k A BUSY CATHERINC. The ordinary general meeting of the Merthyr Tydfil N. u. T. Association was held at Aber- morlais Boys' School Ion Saturday, when the President of the Association (Mr. Hugh Jones) occupied the chair. There was a g() o(I a,t,te-nd- ance of members. At the outset of the proceed- ings a vote of sympathy was passed in silence with Miss F. R. Davies, Aberfan,- domestic science teacher, on the death of her father, also a. hearty vote of congratulation was accorded to Mr. David Jenkins, Abercanaid, son of the late Mr. T. T. Jenkins and Mrs. Jenkins, on passing the final of the Law: Examination. In the nomination for the 1920 N.IT.T. Elec- tion the following were nominated: Vice-Presi- dent, Mr. Powell (Colchester); t'reasurer, Mr. [Bentlfff, J.P. (London); three Executive mem- bers for Wales, Miss Phillips (Cardiff), and Messrs. W. G. Cove (Rliondda) and J. C. Wil- liams (Swansea). The Secretary moved the recession of the fol- lowing resolution: That the scheme for an Ad- visory Committee be withdrawn." This was se- conded and carried unanimously. The Secretary then moved "That the scheme with a few al- terations be again forwarded to the L.E.A. with a view to its adoption. This was also carried in the same way. The following were elected unanimously to re- present the Association at a special conference of the N.U.T. to be held in London on Tuesday, December 30bli, to consider the Report of the Standing Joint Committee on the National Mini- mum Scale of Salaries: Miss M. A. Williams (Brecon Road Infants), Messrs. H. Evans, B.A., B.Se., W. B. Evans, E. R. Hughes, and the Secretary (Mr. J. Price). Immediately following the general meeting a special general meeting was held to revise the Rules of the Association. >
SOCIALISTS' TRIUMPH IN ITALY. I In the Italian elections the Socialists have be- come the strongest Party in the new Chamber. Full result's are not to .hand at the time of writing, but it is already certain that the Social- writiwnigl, l hoM 160 se-a?s. In the last Chamber there were 77 Socialists. More than half the new Chamber will consist of new deputies, and the Socialists will have- a determining influence upon the national policy, in consequence of their successes. Even the newspapers in opposition to t'he Socialist Party admit that its triumptti is a condemnation of the excessive nationalism of recent Governments.
Mainly About Strikes. Mainly About Strikes. I SOME REFLECTIONS. I BY "SCRANTON." I There is reason to fear that a serious situa- tion is threatening, but Mr. Thomas, who has never encouraged the lightning strike policy, has given the Government and the public due warn- ing, and there is still time to divert the present trouble."—(" Western Mail," Sept. 21th). If Mr. Thomas had a honest desire to appeal to the justice of the British public he should have done so before he called the strike." —This was in the same paper on September 29th, five days later. You don't know when you have some people. They are as unstable as water, and as variable as the wind. Here is some more hot and cold stuff: It sluould be the sublime duty of all without thought of partisanship to help in building up the New World where Labour shall /have its just reward and indolence shall suffer want."—(From The Future," the Prime Minister's Downiing- street, broadsheet). The following by the same man teMs how lie tried to break the railway strike: "I will tell you a secret about this organisation. In Feb- ruary I came to the conclusion that there were signs that this was coming. I felt that matters at home required attention, and my colleagues and I started this organisation—a purely civilian organisation—in February."—(Prime Minister. London Mansion House, Tuesday, Oceober 7th). Here's some more by the same man at the same time, and place: "Britain once again not- for the first or the twentieth time had rendered deep and lasting sacrifice to humanity, civiliza- tion and real freedom, by defeating an effort to hold up the community, and strangle it into sub- mission. Of course the Workers' Friend" will be speaking to the rail way men agaiu one of these days, aud he will prate on the lines of "4 The Future." 'He will say Labour must have its just reward, and indolence alone shall suffer want. But in the worps of the sage will say to l himself: "I don't think." I HOW THE PUBLIC ARE SPOON-FED. I As a result of the improved railway service the (wlunifiis of milk lorries" have already been withdrawn. "—(Official communique, 10 Downing Street, Thursday, October 2nd, 1919). At Marylehone Station he counted 107 churns of bad milk. We have seen then tand- ing there for four days,' said a porter in disgust. 'If you go to Paddington,' said another, 'you will find another 150 churns, and the milk 'has stood until it has set liard.' "-("Daily Herald "). A BLACKLEG. I In normal tiiiles that porter is a grim pro- fessional man whose doormat cannot be stood on for a. less fee than a guinea. "-(" Daily News," Saturday, October 4th, 1919). He ought to work for 53/- a, week for the rest of his days. He is one of the beauties that is out to 'help to brow-beat men into accepting a reduction of their starvation wage of 53/- a week. Of course there are no cads in this coun- try. Oh, dear no, only something worse. I thought it was a pity that this peach, with others of the same clime, should mot he allowed to continue tihe work they had shown such an aptitude for. They would no doubt find it more difficult to subsist on 53/- a week than on £ 53, "but still I think they would do it in the interests of patriotism, and loyalty, until they were fed tip, then they, too, would come out on strike, and in the immortal words of Lord Milner, Damn the consequences."
I 66 FOREIGN AFFAIRS." I fPublished hy the Union of Democratic Control, I 2/6 per Annum, post-free.] t The Union of Democratic Control has .very wisely decided to continue its monthly publica- tion under the name of Foreign Affairs." Now that the war is over there is a vital need that we should not relapse into the old neglect of the study of Continental politics and their relation to international affairs. The U.D.C. fulfilled a great function during the war, it ha,s still a special mission and special functions. It must supply the movearnent, with a summary of foreign news and outline the policy which all interna- tionally minded people want to be adopted. This little journal, published onoe a month, intist be- come an essential part of interna-tional Social- ist literati-ire. The chief feature of November's issue is the article by M. Paul Barukoff, the bio- grapher of Tolstoi, entitled: To Save Russia," a vivid and pathetic appeal to the Allied people t,o stop the intervention of their Governments. There is an interesting article on the Anglo- Persian Agreements. Now that the Shah has been to England, and public attention is once more being directed to Persia, the following pas- sage by a Persian is significant:— Poor Persia is breathing the last moments of her existence. The English have put up a verv reactionary cabinet in Persia which is seeking nobody's interest except their private pockets. They are controlling the election of the Parliament which is going on now, so as to secure a majority of old men, ignorant bribe- takers, rascals. They are taking all sorts of concessions for railroads and mines. They are publicly demanding that Persia secures British advisers for their administration; in other words tltev are playing the same role of 40 years ago, wnidh they played in Egypt. They are strangling us and yet they call us indepen- dent. ATI the young and educated t-leiymnt is exiled, and there are scores of them living in Paris .and Switzerland. The Shah has become a vassal of me English, fattening his pocket and ignoring the everyday life of other beings who pass before his eye." There is a good review of Lord Lorcburn's book by by Competent international tninkers. The jour- nal is well worth the ainnuii subscription of half- E.H. |