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Aberbargoed Branch Against…


Aberbargoed Branch Against Conscription. Before a crowded audience, including many ladies, at the Aberbargaed Workmen's Institute, last Thursday evening, an enthusiastic meeting was held under the auspices of the Aberbargoed Branch Against Conscription. The chairman was Mr. D. E. Howells and the speakers were Councillor W. J. Jenkins (Caerphilly) and Coun. Morgan J one,, (Bargoed). C'oun. Jenkins, a member of the No-Conscrip- tion Fellowship, is the gentleman who; having been exempted by the local Tribunal, was ap- pcaled against by the military authorities, and allotted to Non-Combatant Service by the Coun- ty Tribunal. Coun. Morgan Jones, the Executive Member of the No-Conscription Fellowship for South Walesa recently appeared before the Gellygaer Tribunal; and lie, too, was also ph ed for Non- Combatant Service, against which decision he is appealing. Coun. Jenkins, in his opening remarks, said that he spoke as a' private of the British Army—(laughter)—Conscript Jenkins and he was very proud of the name. (Applause.) He ardently opposed the Military Service Act, and pointed out that by the passing of the Bill we are forging the very instrument that would get. us into further messes. He did not ask them to consider him, as he had been before two Tri- bunals., and could not face anything more mean. He had to face the music. He also em-I phasised the fact that whereas the Act should have brought 650,000 single shirkers." only 50.000 of these "shirkers" had been brought in and in order to increase this figure, they were withdrawing the single men from their various trades at the munition works and replacing them by married men of inexperience. He, how- ever, did-not think the "country would be very long before realising its mistake, and appealed to them for their support in every measure for the abolition of the Act. (Loud applause.). Coun. Morgan Jones said that he, like his fellow-Councillor, must acknowledge that he was a "private in the Army," and supposed he must call himself "Conscript No. 13." (Laugh- ter and. applause.) But he was a. very unwilling Conscript, and he was afraid that he would be a very very difficult Conscript, annd would break rather than bend to the yoke of militarism. (Hear, hear and applause.) It had been a privi- lege for him to hold up the Socialist flag in that valley for some few years, and why should lie go back those years in the movement. If they wanted to improve the physique of the people, why not give them more breathing room? (Ap- plause.) He had been approached by persons who had sons 111 the army, telling him that he should -o. as he was no better than their sons. He inferred that perhaps by him joining, the war would terminate sooner. (Laughter.) How- ever, he asked what business was it of theirs to make him go, and challenged his audience to name any parent in Aberbargoed who had call- ed their son into the private room-that is if the- had one--(laughter)-and forced him ag- ainst his will, and made him go. No! not one could be found. On the contrary, the son, knowing there was a, war on in Europe, and with an inclination towards soldiering, would go to his parents and tell them of his desire, and even then they would not shout for joy at his departure. He refused to be compelled, and if a General Election took place on the question of Compulsion, he would still oppose it as a De- mocrat. (Cheers.) The speaker went on to show how the people had been tricked into the acceptance of the Act by the Conscriptionists, who had distributed tons of literature favouring the ideas and methods of the Continental Sys- tem for this cuntry. He reminded them of the agit.ation that was made a few years ago by the National Service League, and the debate which he had had with Mr. Martin Chairman of the N.S.L.. at the Parish Hall, Bargoed, at which he (Mr. Jones) pointed out the dangers of the foreign policy of this country with Germany, and told him (Mr. Martin) that unless such a policy was stopped. we should be soon at war with that country. Coun. Jones pointed out how very few .Acts had been repealed, for once put on the Statute Book, they were seldom re- moved. He thought that though our agitation might not result in the repeal of the Act, it would prevent its further extension. (Loud ap- plause.) Several members expressed their desire to form a branch of the I.L.P. at Aberbargoed, and we understand that about a dozen names have al- ready been given in for membership. A large quantity of literature was distributed by the stewards.


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