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Stop-the-War Meeting 1 at…


Stop-the-War Meeting at Clydach. Despite the attempts of several worthy "pat- riots to prevent the conveners from holding their meeting at the Globe Cinema, the above meeting was a great success. It was called for 2.3p on Sunday, and the hall was crowded be- fore the time of commencing. The chairman was Mr. Edwin Thomas (Glais), and the first spea- ker was Mr. J. L. Rees (Trebanos). Mr. Rees. in his opening remarks, spoke some plain words regarding the clique that had en- deavoured to prevent the meeting. He said that after the promoters had engaged and paid for the loan of the hall, certain individuals from Clydach were so patriotically inspired as to send a deputation down to the proprietor at Swansea, to induce him to disallow the use of the hall. This deputation, which was compos- ed of solicitors, tradesmen and religious people, had deliber,ately misled the proprietor, and had succeeded in getting him to withdraw the loan of the hall. But. fortunately, the promoters were diplomatic enough to again procure his assent bv calling upon him on Saturday even- ing. and refuting the falsehoods which the "gallant" deputation had previously made. This was an example, continued the speaker, of the honourable methods these freedom-loving Britishers are adopting to crush German Prus- sian ism. You may need to go out to Flan- ders and Gallipoli to crush Prussia." he said, but if you want to kill Prussianism, you can start to do so at home, here in Clydach." Then he went on to speak on Conscription and the War He illustrated 'the tremendous sacrifice of life which was bound to accompany each bat- tle without even a victory, for either side, as was the case at Verdun, He showed the 7-1- in? Peace movement in Germany, and a?l fhe changing attitude of a section of the workers in this country. During his speech a. person in the corner of the hall made some interruptions. The audience intensely resented these interrup- tions and many of them threatened to put him out. One in particular, who is, by the way. a stalwart Swansea footballer from Glais, threa- tened to chuck him out" if he interrupted any more. This quietened the interrupter for the whole of the time the speakers were en- gaged. The principal speaker of the meeting was Mr. Nun Nicholas, the well-known lecturer on Poli- tical Economy. Immediately upon rising, he met with a great ovation, for Mr. Nicholas. "though lecturing for the last six years in Lan- cashire. is one of the most popular and well- known men in the locality. Indeed, Clydach is his native home. As he himself remarked, H He was born and bred there." I am sure that the" natives" are more proud of him since his great speech on Sunday afternoon than ever, In his opening remarks he mention- ed that since the beginning of the war he had addressed innumerable meetings in various parts of Lancashire, Cheshire and South Wales. Never In the course of one of these meetings had he met with any opposition during the course of ths lecture. True, after the meetings, he only expected the opposition to give vent to their feelings. Meetings would not be worth the trouble of holding if there were no opposition. Neither would they be worth the holding if the opposition was not confined to the proper place and to the right spirit. He did not ask for fail play: he knew he would get it. (Cheers.) He had always obtained it in Lancashire, etc., and he was sure he would get, It in Clydach. He was well aware that the Clydach people pri- ded themselves upon their sense of fair play. (Cheers.) True they prided themselves upon the manner with which thev defended their own views. (Laughter.) Well, he was not there to ask for mercy, but to insist upon a full argu- ment of the case. The Chairman, of course, had promised them "a fair field and no favour." He fully endorsed the Chairman's sentiments, and promised them a full innings at the right time—question time. (Loud applause.) He then proceeded to discuss the statement: War al- ways has existed, and always will exist. The above statement he divided into two sentences: War always has been. and war always will be. The one was a question of fact, of history; the other was a question of opinion, of prophecy. He then proceeded to demonstrate in his usual very lucid manner the relation betewen history and prophecy. Revesting to the tirst division of the state- ment, he pointed out that at whatever period in history we sought to investigate, be it an- cient or modern, the truth of the statement was made obvious. For, without exception, the history of all nations was nothing but & tremen- dous struggle for existence. Not alone against nature, but also against neighbouring combina- tions- War, he said, was the obvious midwife of all nationalities. It was present at the birth of all nations. It was also the funeral dirge" of all nations. (Loud applause.) H. demonstrated his point by citing the rise and fall of the Iroquois Confederacy of the North American Indians, which he characterised as the earliest and most classical example of na- tion building" the great Greek Republic of the early period, the great Roman Empire, the great "nations" of modern Europe, to say noth- ing of the history of gallant Wales, were other instances. If then. the history of all these na- tions was nothing but a chronicle of war, then surely there mast be a cause for war. If, then, we could discover that cause, i.e., the general cause, we should be well on our way to the answering of the second part of the statement, to say nothing of demonstrating, a topic which was kept religiously in the back ground, viz., the cause of the present war. Proceeding, he analysed very closely the economic structure of the various organisations mentioned. The Iroqouis Confederacy, he demonstrated to be a communal one. They were compelled by the very structure of their societ- and the manner in which they obtained their livelihood:—hunt, inc. fishing, etc.—to stand and fall together in their attempt to obtain sufficient territory to enable them to live. These men. undoubtedly, untu they became civilised, could well sing their equivalent of Hen Wlad fv Nhadau" without making a travesty of the statement expressed therein. (Loud applause.) With reg- ard to Greece, he demonstrated how the eco- nomy of Greece was based upon slavery, how the Greeks, in order to extend their power, for- med themselves into a military nation. How they set out to conquer the world, and more slavey. The Greek soldiers were free men. They did no work in times of peace: they, like their generals, made fortune out of war. This itself was a sufficient incentive to cause them to enlist. They had no "conscience," and ergo required no "tribunals." Rome, he ar- gued. was based upon foundations very similar to those of Greece., Land. however, became a irM7c>ant factor in Rome. The Roman wars were therefore wars not only of conquest, but also of colonisation. At its kiter period it was purely based upon military power. It had its military dictators and tribunes, but un- like their modern British successors, the Derbvs and other leading patriots," a condition of their remaining iin office was that they should be in front leading the armies— not behind sheltering and shirking their duties. As an instance of the danger of militarism, he in- stanced the case of the Roman soldiers who put up the whole of the Roman Empire for sale, and 'sold it by auction to the highest biddetr. As ai instance of the degradation to which mili- tarism led to, lie pictured the exquisite taste of the mighty Roman warrior in the matter of torture and pleasure." Atrocities," he pointed out. are the inevitable outcome of war, but are never the cause of war." (Loud ap- plause.) This, again, he further supported by showing the state of France under Napoleon. He next touched very briefly upon the history of the Welsh nation. A nation which possess- ed some of the most virile characteristics of all nations, yet. for a,lttliat, tllei, to-day possessed neither land, country, leader, flap- nor Parlia- ment. And yet there were Welshmen who could sing Hen Wlad fT" Nhadau." (A voice, "Celwydd yw e!") Mr. Nicholas. No, not ex- actly a lie. for it is a survival of times gone by. For at one period in the history of Wales, and that not so very remote either, every Welshman when he attained the age of 14 years was entitled to his share in the land and cat- tle of his "kindred." He was at that age guaranteed a livelihood, and that, mark you, net by his father, but by the whole of his kindred. (Surprised or ies of "Oh!" Well can you say "Oh! nevertheless what I have said is absolutely true. Politicians, historians, etc., are well paid to keep this phase of history well in the background. Our forefathers fought the legions of the world to maintian this heri- tage. They fought for over a thousand years, and that without the assistance of War Loans, Credit Votes, Allies, Tribunals, etc. Further, they fought successfully, and because they were successful they were termed Barbarians. Un- fortunately (?) there were other forces at work, and our one-time glorious heritage of independ- ence. like "Hen Wlai fy Nhadau." exists only in the minds of a few donhtfnll people who term themselves Welsh Nationalists. The AVelsh warrior of old could well answer the call of his chiefs. But, alas! times have changed, and even posters call in vain, and independence forsooth marches hand in hand with Conscrip- tion and Civilisation. (Sustained applause.) Continuing, he pointed out that each econo- mic epoch had its own particular cause for war. The Iroquois Indian had to fight for sufficient land to live on the Greek for sumcient sTaves and spoils to live in luxury. So true was the latter statement that even Solon; one of the wisest rulers of the world, thought that the onh possible means of wealth production con- sisted of robbery, and for that reason founded "colleges of pirates in Greece. The Romans, lie continued, had a society very similar to that of the Greeks. However, progress had caused land to play a more important part in the economy of Rome than that of Greece. Thus we find the Roman wars to be wars not only of conquest, but also of colonisation. With the tribute, slaves, riches, etc., exacted from the conquered peoples, they built their mighty Reman Empire all for the benefit of a few patricians and fixture disaster. (Loud cheers.) The Welsh had to fight to maintain their very physical existence, fov on more than one occa- sion the order had gone forth that the Welsh had to be exterminated. When the order for the extermination of a people, is giv«fci, well! what can you expect ? (A furore). Annibyni- aeth sydd yn galw am ei deWT,f dyn 1" (Laugh- ter.) In all the instances mentioned. iSien. each and every individual had a direct interest at stake The interests at different times and ir different places are undoubtedly varied, yet for all that the general cause for war is obvious. It is simply the expansion and extension of the economic interests of the period and place. What, then is the economic interest of present day society? Is it the maintaining of the "inde- pendence of small nations?" Obviously No; for that is a ourely political interest, and it is in. this direction that men like E. D. Morel. H. N. Brailsford, etc., have done good work. True political interests are inevitably bound up and determined by the economic interest, but the economic interests of to-dav are class inter- ests, and consequently the policies of nations cannot but be "class policy." It is for this rea- son that Vfre find the innumerable anomalies arising from the breaking and otherwise of treaties. It is for this reason that we destroy the independence of South Africa condone the French occupation of Morocco countenance, and assist in the destruction of Persia, etc., and yet at the same %ime assist in the raising of a tre- mendous moral wave of indignation over the invasion of Belgium. Why? the whole thing would be farcical if it were not for the tre- mendous issues of life and death brought in its train. The life and death of the manhood of the whole of the civilised world, determined at the Tribunals by tradesmen who have already lost their souls in butter and renegade persons who never had a conscience to pawn. And all this at the bekest of a few "concession hunt- ers," "high financiers." and government con- tractors who euphoneously term themselves Imperialists. (Loud applause.) But wait, that is only half the problem. Such a series of inter- ests lead up only to "small" affairs such as the Boer War, and explains the reason why several respectable newspapers and several pro- minent politicians, etc., took up the pro-Boer attitude. In Wales at that time it was quite respectable to be a pro-Boer. (Laughter.) But to-day— Well! a progressive is a pro-German. (Laughter.) Whereas prior to August 4, 1914, to lie a German was to be progressive. Prior to that time a man was not considered an in- tellectual" unless he had a smattering of Ger- man at his command, and one could hardly pick up a book, with any pretentions- to the claim of oeing "modern, unless it had one or two phrases 11 therein. Most of them, he feared, Vv-er-e merely taken from Dictiona- (Lo?ud lau, h ter. ) ries of Foreign Quotations." (Loud laughter.) However. Imperialism could account for a few wars, such as Egypt, and perhaps the most clas- sical example of all, South Africa. These wars, however, never met with the whole-hearted support of press, politicians, and the various economic interests of the country as the present day conflagration. What, then, is the cause of it:1 Obviously it is to be found in the psychol- ogy just mentioned. For such abtate of things logically implies the recognition of German su- per ority. Now, as a student of German thought and literature of over ten years standing, I can truthfully say that I never held that opinion. Indeed, several German writers have stated that the "saving grace of the Teutonic, i.e., Ger- man element in England, is largely due to Cel- tic influence and Celtic blood." Whether that be true or not does not matter. A Scotchman perhaps might take it as a compliment. (Laugh- ter.) I prefer to believe that all men and all nations, though having special and essential characteristics, have also the average share of common sense. (Hear, hear.) What, then, could account for the infatuation of press, platform, pulpit and professional chairs ? Obviously it was to the remarkably rapid advance of Ger- man science, manufacture and commerce. This was admitted on all hands, and particularly so bv the present scare headlines entitled How to Capture German Trade. Tha.t was the so- lution to the second half of the cause of the present war. (Loud applause.) What then, was the secret of this rapid expansion of Ger- man trade, so great an expansion, that it was the German diplomats of to-day who were the I apostles of that one-time essentially English School, so ably represented by John Bright and others, viz., that of the Open Door," i.e., fair play for all comers and for all trade in the new fields and colonies ? It could not be due to superior German brains. There was no such thing as German brains" neither was there such a thing as German Kultur." These were simply the stock phrases of the German I Scholars" who wrote for our modern press. What then could it be due toP He then pro- ceeded to quote Bismarck's well-known saying about England being nrst in the field, and then followed a most telling analysis of the function a.nd task of capitalism. He pointed out that it was the function of capitalism, and therefore the duty of the capitalist, to for ever keep on increasing the productiveness of the forces of production. If new and better pro- cesses, machinery, etc., were invented, it was their duty to scrap the old processes, machinery, &c., and instal the new. This, however, would mean that the capitalist would be compelled to expend his profits in keeping his factory up to date, and the consequent loss of revenue to him to spend on motor-cars, wine. and de- bauchery in general. It was from this stan d- point that the capitalist believed in the prin- ciple of thrift. Of course, not for himself, but for the workers. (Applause.) If the capitalist followed his own paid preachers, he would be a, useful and necessary member of present-day society but since he did not, then not only was he useless to society, but also a menace. (Re- newed applause.) Illustrating his point. Mr. Nicholas instanced the aniline dye industry. He shewed how the process had developed, and how it had been perfected by Dr. Hoffman. Further, he shewed the importance of Man- chester and Macclesfield, and their relation to the dye industry. How Dr. Hoffman had first of all offered his process to various syndicates in these places, and how they had refused to take it up. Presumably, as he pointed out, because it would entail the scrapping of their own vegetable" processes and the expending of huge capital on the introducing of the new aniline process. Dr. Hoffman perforce had to go elsewhere. He went to Germany. There, there was no capital to scrap. He showed how the German banking system co-operated in or- der to make it a hug,h success, with the result now well known, that our War Office had to permit the importation of dyes from Germany in spite of the war. Incidentally he mentioned several other insta,noes-boot machnes, bottle machines, &-c.. and then proceeded to an analy- sis of the steel trade. In this illustration he. was very apt in his re- marks. Prior to 1903 England was far ahead of Germany in the production of steel. Since then Germany had rapidly overtaken England, and to-day was far ahead of her. Quoting figures he shewed that Germany could sell steel far cheaper per ton than we could. This he pointed out. could be done in one of three ways. better advanages. lower wages, or better ma- chinery or processes. Analysing these in turn, he shewed how the first two played practically no part whatsoever. True he admitted that in so far as freightage, royalties, &c Germany had a distinct advantage. With reo-ard to royalties, he stated that it ",a,s a serious handi- cap to all mining industries in this country He shewed how certain collieries in the locality had to pay to absolutely useless individuals in way leaves and royalty" far more than they paid to the miner for getting the coal. Refer- ring to Lord Derby, he pointed out that the nioney drawn from Bootle Docks alone, for do- ing absolutely nothing, nay. even worse than nothing, would keep several hundred families in comfort. (Cheers.) And. he continued, rais-1 ing his voice, this is the man who dares to talk of Prussian Junkeri^m! Why they would never suffer such a. man as Lord Derby to exist m Germany. (Tremendous furore of applause.) Why! the character of this individual was made manifest in his latest advice to the at tested married man: to play tke part of the spy on his fellow-worker, the single man. (Loud cheers.) All this in the name of patriotism! Truly, late events had shown us what patriot- ism really meant. He had nothing. to com- plain about the married me* enlisting But when they held such meetings as they had been holding all over the country reoently, one could not but help conclude that they weT" six inch patriots in six inch uniforms—(ap- plause) with a six foot general asking them to play the pimp." (Loud applause.) Continuing, he pointed out that the chief cause of the success in the steel trade of Germany was due to better machinery. This he demonstrated by showing the number of patents now being slowly ana reluctantly introduced into local steelworks. These local employers, like most employers who were "first in the field," pre- ferred to rest o theIr oars. The war was a god-send to them. It enabled them to get rid of all the old stock which they had had on hand for years. It enabled them to desecrate the Sabbath; it was going to enable them, unless the Trades Unions were careful, to desecrate the principle and fruits of Trade Unionism Had it not been for this war most of the steel works would have had to close down or else "scrap" their old machinery. The local works even now, was m a process of reorganisation, and how expensive a process it was likely to be could be slightly gauged from the fact that the local magnate was compelled to engage the services of a skilled engineer, who, so he was told, received the sum of £1,000 a year. True they had attempted to combat the effects of German Ciompetition through agitating for Ta- liff Reform. But, alas! there they were up against the tinplate industry. Had not the au- dience noticed that almost invariably the steel industry stood for Tariff Reform whereas the tinplate industry stood for pree Traded Here the lecturer mentioned several names in order to prove his point. Viewed in that light, he said, the forthcoming campaign on the fiscal question should be quite easy and clear to the workers. (Cheers.) Again, they ha,dattempted to counteract German competition. through at- tempting to lower wages. So far, however, they had not been over successful in that direction. However, if the workers did not "wake up," he feared that under the cloak of patriotism and dilution of labour, which, judging from the propoiinders of the scheme, could be more fitly called "The Dai Loshin" of Labour. (Laugh- ter.) He feared they would be more successful in rate near future. Reverting to his main the- sis, viz., the stumbling block of "constant capital, he pointed out that capital in this country was confronted with the alternative of reorganising its forces, machinery, processes, etc. or by some means or the other of cap- turing German trade." The formet- was an ex- pensive method, nevertheless the scientific me- thod. However, the cost of it all would fall largely upon individual capitalists and the ma- chinery of credit. The other method implied se- cret diplomacy, secret treaties, exclusion of German trade, etc., in short WAR. Whether it is cheaper, though unscientific, is yet to be seen. Likewise, whether it will be successful or otherwise..From the economic, if not from the military standpoint, we can unhesitatingly forecast, and my answer is No. "In fact, I am inclined to think that whether the Allies win or lose, England as a commercial nation is doomed." This would be a sad thing if com- mercialism were the only end of life. But thanks to forces operating in society, it is only the beginning of life. (Loud applause.) And it is to you as workers that this mission of bringing about a freer and fuller life has been given. (Sustained applause.) Continuing, he dealt with a series of statistics and figures pertaining to the- financial aspect of the war. His illustration of what a million pounds really meant evoked several cries of astonishment. His illustration of the debt alrolady incurred by Engand actu- ally staggered the audience. He showed how this burden must, of necessity, unless they saw to their Trade Union organisation fall upon the working olass in the form of harder work, longea; hours and less pay. To say nothing of the dilution of labour. He then. proceeded to discuss the "strategy" of the war; of the struggle between the military and commercial groups; of the struggle between "credit and man power." How ultimately the victory fell to the "man-power group," with the sop of .industrial, conscription thrown in to appease the others. Not satisfied with spending incredible millions, they now were preparing to sacrifice thousands of lives, the wrecking of thousands of homes, and all, as the Press had the effront- ery to put it, to capture German trade" His concluding remarks consisted of a terrible indictment of the cost of war, its utter ineffici- ency to settle anything, and finally of a most rousing appeal to all present to seek to discover the genera,l concord of the world, not through cheering the exploits of their own respective exploiters in their race for wealth, but to re- move all greed from the world, thereby remov- ing the cause of all war, and establishing the permanent peace of all peoples. The applause at the conclusion of Mr. NiChO-1 las' speech was thunderous. It is remarkable to note the appreciative manner in which his arguments are received by the masses who have attended his lectures and meetings. The next speaker was Mr. Tom Jeremiah, of Pontardawe, who also made the worthy opposi- tion sit uncomfortably in their seats. "The de- putation," he said, were the representatives of the cowardly attested married men, who had so willingly accepted the 2"[9 to fight for their country, but when called up. protested piti- fully against going before the single men." Mr. Jereraah then made a slashing attack on Con- scription. He demonstrated clearly that the purpose of the capitalists was not to get Con- scription to crush Germany, but Conscription to crush the British workers. (Loud cheers.) The final speaker was Mr. D. J. Williams (cheekweigher, Glydaeh). Mr. Williams was on the top of the poll in the voting for the post of miner8 agent for the Western District, and undoubtedly he will be the selected person in the final ballot. This speaker also directed an attack on the individuals who had come to upset the meeting. Thev were surrounded, lie said, not only by policemen and soldiers. but by solicitors who were busily taking notes of what the speakers were saying. He declared emphatically that this fact did not in the least prevent the speakers from stating their opinions quite frankly. He, nor any other of the speakers, was afraid of any opposition. He was confident that if any one cared to ask a ques- tion. he would be given fairplay to do so at the end of the meeting. He was confident also that Mr. Nun Nicholas or one of the other speakers would satisfactorily answer it. He made a stirring and eloquent appeal to all the workers present to give their utmost support to the campaign for bringing to an end this horrible. damnable, hellish war." The Chairman then asked Mr. Phil Thomas to second the resolution, which read as follows That this mass meeting of workers in Clydach and district regret the tone and si) Li-I t of Mr. Asquith in the recent Peace debate, and demand the Government to im- mediately open Peace negotiations. Mr. Thomas seconcted in a few remarks, and the resolution was put to the meeting. With the exception of about six, the 1,200 odd present voted in favour of the resolution. This resulted j in an enthusiastic roar of cheering. The Chairman then invited questions, and the solitary one asked was answered suitably by Mr. Nicholas. The Chairman then asked the interrupter" (who was Coun. R. A. Jones, soli- citor) ? he wished to move the amendment which he had requested at the beginning of the meeting. Coun. Jones said "Yes," and came on to the stage. T'ho audience then started booing and howling, but at the request of the Chair- man, they consented to allow him to speak. He then attempted to win sympathy by uttering a few sentimental, irrevelant remarks about the war. "Look!" he said, "what the people of Clydach have sacrificed; look at the Clydach boys out in the front, look (An interrup- te" "Look at you !"—loud laughter and cheers.) Coun. Jones then wanted to explain his position. He had attempted to join the navv. and he was attested; furthermore, if he went to war he had nothing to gain. and by staying behind he had nothing to lose. (Ironical cheers.) After this, the gallant patriot, who had foolish- ly attempted to brave the storm*, threw in the towel, and went dejectedly off the stage. This ended the most enthusiastic meeting that has been held in the valley during the war. The feeling created is unexpected, and the speak- ers have been asked to hold meetings at num- erous other places in the valley.



The Palace.

At Random.