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I The Lyrics of a Miner. I
I The Lyrics of a Miner. I I ^EW VOLUME BY LANARKSHIRE CHECK-I WEIGHER. I SONGS OF LABOUR-PESSIMISTIC AND OPTIMISTIC. [bongs of a Miner, by Jas. C. Welsh. Crown ?'o., cloth boards 2/6 nett. Herbert Jen- ?s, Ltd., London.] There is no man on earth who extracts so Jlluch enjoyment out of lyric poetry as the | ?u'u, and there are few books published in the 1 nghsh tongue that will appeal to his sense of Iht and shade, and rhythm than the Songs ûf Vner'" just puM?hed from the pen of Jas. ? ?- Wlsl, a Lanarkshire checkweigher, who sees ?e effusions of his pen for the first time in book lorJ1 this week. Personally I confess to a greater king for simple lyric verse that goes singing through the ears with a pretty lilt,than the more Ponderous forms of the poet's genius; and few our minor working-class poets have sung in sweeter cadences than Mr. WaLsli, who, I think, gives us the secret of his style and appeal in Jus d Dedication to my Wife," where he says:—- "I have sung my songs as the throstle singe, They come as the roses come. (In mines where. deepest darkness clings, Or safe in the case of home." That dedication gives us not only an explana- tIO of his style and appeal, but it also throws J'ght on wliat is a weakness inseperable from tms style of composition—that the message shall depend on the mood. I know that there are ?any who argue that this gives naturalness t* ?"e lines; and involves an insight into the psy- chology of the poet that is iliol?(? than a recom- Xlell,e.foi- the occosional moods of poesimism that the employment of this style of spontaneous art Necessarily produces. And it is defended, too, °h the grounds that it is realistic; a defence, or serIes of defences that I personally do not up- hold. Pessimism is not realism, it. is a disease, transcient, occasionally morbid and le, that is not real to life, and is induced OY artificial restrictions that stifle the natural hope and aspiration that is the real plasm of the average human life mentally and physically. J-here was a time when pessimism in poetry was ;accounted a. mark of art, but I think that it was oranky. fashion and was deservedly short-lived .as a, mode in criticism and I am genuinely sorry to find black despair occasionally sitting on Mr. Walsh's shoulder and dictating his pen to write, -as lie, writes in "Labour, "Conceived in the mire and the murk. Born in the slut and the slime, Hocked in the tempest of work, Fed on the garbage and grime, Lashed through the dungeon's of life, Like sins through the horrors of hell, Stabbed by the storm like a knife— Curse on the things that I tell! Brute lust and self rule my lot, "Ideals for me can't exist, Fancy with me cannot float Where gods by the angels are kissed; Braised in the hell upon, earth, I." Scorched in a hell when I die, I should have sought better birth When calling to life passing by." One can easy Imagine the mood of our author which produced this sombre picture of the workers' lot, but not its dfrge-like tune; not its shce?r abandon of hope, by one who does see the ultimate goal of Labour as he sees It, for in the next poem, "The Miner," he points unerringly to the cause of the suffering and misery he paints ,'So (,rapliica.Ily: You've built from our lives your success, "Ye swear now 'tis war to the knife, •\ s Your progress is shaped to oppress, Ye spare neither children nor wife; The gold ye have set for your crown We'll melt in the streams of your blood, By the god* that ye worship and own "We'll o'rwhelm all vour schemes in its flood. 'so- (I init l A prophecy which is expressed with a poet's licence, and which I, personally, hope will never ne an actuality, for I should hate to think that the dawn of Freedom and Love will necessitate the reeking shambles which we vision through the lines. And Mr. Walsh also sees the futility ft the barricade and guillotine in his Tribute to Robert Smillie," a particularly fine one by the way, for he tells us— But some have glimpsed The eastern streaks that bring triumphant day. Press onward still, the future holds your <, dreams, ,j Though dark the night the dawn shall come m Tho tigli dai-i?, the the, (lawn ,,ha-11 come in hen loud hosannahs from the morni- ng hIlls ?hall herald in the day of brighter worth, £ And hope shall crown your triumph with men'* love." There are many more beautiful things in the h, ook wherein one senses the ideals of the de- mocrat giving breadth" and scope and joy to the Pen of this our poet; and more in which his broad humanism and love of beauty more clearly show how black must have been the mood that f-°niured up that picture of the shambles that Will precede our triumph, and I find it possible to wish that he had written his lines on our final Overthrow of the powers of Capitalism after, say, a visit to Casey and while still exhalted by the aI'.t of that master of art, instead of when fired With indignation and hurt at some graphic re- collection of daily life as we of the working class know it only too crudely. Mention of Casey by the way, reminds me that that virtuoso has sung loudly the praises of Mr. Welsh often; and that the admiration is fnutual is proved by the sweet little poem included in this collection en- titlsd, 14/When. Casey Plays." The book is a Really good half-crown's worth, and one that I ^onhdently recommend. A. P. Y. I
ABERDARE VALLEY DISTRICT C.L.C. LEAGUE (South Wales Diyisior^. A Public Lecture ORGANISATION-WHY? will be given at CESSER HALL, ABERAMAN- INSTITUTE, ON SUNDAY JULY 15th, 1917, at 3 p.m., by MR. SYD JONES, C.C., Chairman of the above Division. Questions. Collections. Literature. S?? T?e Union Lodge Or Council or Socialist desirous of hearing the case for independ- k" .l' worJ>inS-class education should apply to ent,. •JSecretary, 67 Thomas Street, Miskin, MFno?unt? ai- n Ash, for deputation.
A Straight Reply
A Straight Reply TO HAVELOCK WILSON'S CIRCULAR. YOU AND TUPPER ARE THE FRIENDS OF THE ENEMY." STRAIGHT TIP TO UNREST COMMISSION. ?ll ? ?? me following is the reply ot the Aberdare Trades Council to Mr. Havelock Wilson's circu- lar, respecting the attitude of the Seamen's Union to the Leeds Conference and its subse- quent action in holding up Mr. J. R. Maedonald, M.P., and Mr. F. w: Jowett, M.P. Dear Sir,—Your circular letter on the above matter was read to my council, and I am in- structed to convey their views concerning it in this communication. With the whole of the first page respecting German barbarities we are in full agreement. As a mining community where acts of bravery and heroism are of common occurrence, we still think that our sailors courage is splendid and supreme beyond, words and deserves the admiration and recognition of all men. Nevertheless, we deplore the fact, that so sacred a. human sentiment should have been exploited and used by you- like Mark Antony—to inflame public opinion against men who are doing what they conceive to be right. Your account of the Leeds Conference is false and as you were* present, you know it to be uiitnie. Amendments were allowed, and the Seamen's amendment obtained special privilege at the hands of the Standing Orders Committee, and the delegates assembled. No one jeered at the Seamen's proposals; and my Council would like, to know in what respect the remarks of the delegate who shouted that the British ship- owners should compensate relatives of the men who lost their lives by German submarines were insulting. Whilst we admit that no money can fully compensate for the loss of a, man's life, we think the Seamen's Union has been very negligent, if it has not yet adopted that sug- gestion. Widows and children cannot wait until the desired indemnitie.s are wrested from the Germans. Your circular states that a special confer- ence held in London the foil owing1 morning de- cided the Seamen's attitude with, regard to the proceedings at Leeds Conference. We would like to ask if the delegates to this Special Confer- ence had any mandate on this question. As Trade Unionists we know how easily men's passions can be roused by any leader unscrupu- lous enough to adopt these methods. Moreover, we beg to suggest that yourself and Tupper (withont.the Captain ') are the friends of the enemy. If SmiHie, Williams and other leaders of large bodies of workmen adopted your tactics and advised their men to cease work if the selected delegates were not allowed to sai4, then the obvious effect would be disaster to both Army and Xavy, and the responsibility would be on -111 ( 1 iiid the i-(,s;poiisI b i l ity woul d b<? oil- "This is the reply of the Aberdare Trades Council, representing 10,000 Trade Unionists, comprising workers in 21 different trades. Yours faithfully, E. STOXELAKE, Secretary." I
Threatened with Death Sentence…
Threatened with Death Sentence Twice. NEWS OF CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS INI FRANCE. The N. C.F. has now received confirmation of the news that reached them more than a, week ago in a letter from a private soldier to a friend concerning Millwood and Allen, two Conscien- tious objectors who were sent to France at the end of March. He wrote: That just reminds me that we have had two conscientious objectors with us, ever since we left Paddington, but both have stuck out ond have just been sentenced to five years' penal servitude." Other references in the letter enabled them to identify the two men, who have now found an opportunity of commu- nicating with their friends themselves. Threatened With Death. I In a letter which was posted near Southamp- ton on June 14th Ernest Millwood writes: "The court-martial sat in the kitchen of a ruined farm-house in the village of Courcelles, some time in early May. During the proceedings I heard for the first time this season the song of the thrush and the linnet." He also says that, At Boulogne, after a refusal to obey orders, we were threatened with the death sentence, and granted two intervals each of ten minutes to reconsider our position after each we returned o distinct refusal. He enclosed a copy of his charge sheet and his court-martial statement. With reference to the former, it is interesting to note that he was tried upon a charge of disobeying orders at Boulogne. It may be remembered, however, that when a protest was made to the War Office at the time that Millwood and Allen were sent to France, it was asserted that to leave them in England would mean that combatant witnesses would have to be kept back to be pre- sent at their court-martial. The offence for which they were to have been court-martialled if witnessed in England must presumably have been committed in England. In view of Mill- wood's charge sheet this exouse of the War Office scarcely holds water. A. letter from Allen, posted at the same time states: "I have been three miles from the firing line; it is terrible. I am very happy. I don't know what prison they are taking me to. I've got five years' penal servitude, so that won't worry me." His letter throughout shows a spirit of cheerful readiness to face whatever is in store for him without 'flinching, as, with Mill- wood, he faced the threat of the death penalty.
I CORRESPONDENCE. I
I CORRESPONDENCE. I I COWARDS. I I TO THE EDITOR. I Sir,—I read in the South Wales Daily News." of the 18th inst., that Mr. Ben Tillett called the Peace Party cowards at Merthyr. May I remind him that abuse is no argument. Ac- cording to Tillet's logic Henry ilicharcl-this apostle of peace'—and the late member for Mer- thyr were both cowards. John Bright was also a coward when he resigned from the Gladstonian Government on account of the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882. Keir Hardie was a coward because he opposed this war tooth atod nail— and no doubt he is in his grave as a martyr to this disastrous war. However, I prefer rather Jevon's logic—the logic of commonsense-the logic of humanity. Shun the logic of brimstone and fire. Shortly after the war broke out (Nov., 1914) Ben Tillett said that if ever the conscription Bill passed that the workers of this country would strike. What about it now? I presume Ben Tillett and the workers are tame enough to ,swallow anything. "Resist not evil."—Yours fraternally, T. E. DA VIES. 20th June, 1917. I
I Concerning Political Action.
I Concerning Political Action. Comrade; Mark Starr has developed an excel- lent case for political action—if his premises be granted. Let us examine these. The whole, article assumes that political action is educative, nay, more, that it is progressively educative, and less subject to the violent re- actions that result upon the failure of industrial action. Failure of a strike results in demorali- sation and victimisation, but failure, to achieve political aims results in—education. Now I think Comrade Starr has lost sight of the fac- tors engaged in this educative process, and the manner in which it is carried on. Political action is action by delegation—'by proxy. The educa- tional process takes place in the calm atmosphere of the talking shop. The rank and file do not discuss political questions with (relative) inten- sity. They are indifferent. Now the first neces- sity if an educative process is vital interest. There must be an inhibition of all disturbing ond secondary matters, and this mental condition can only be brought about in the mass of work- men. by relating the educative process to the vital and immediate needs of the workers. This can be done in the most effective manner by con- centrating upon industrial matters. It must not be forgotten either, that this educative process almost invariably results in a considerably modi- fied delegate or representative. M.P.'s and Councillors become ultra constitutional. This is inevitable, because they have to administer laws made by the bandages of bourgeois respec- tability. Conventional morality becomes their code of action. Revolutionary zeal cannot ex- press itself in Council Chambers. The working class must be creative; must fashion its own weapons in its own way; it must realise that political delegation of its power is phantasmal and that both its productive power and consump- tive needs find their true delegation in modern society in commodities. Working-class power is power over commodities. They are the material embodiment of aU mental, physical, and if you like, spiritual power. The relationships of mo- dern society are poised upon commodity; if you Avish to alter those relationships, then the most obvious and effective way is to approach them at the base. This means industrial action. Much has been said about sUPQrstructure H and reflex." Political action must be the reflex of industrial action. It seems to me that those who advocate, political action, while grant- ing that it is but a reflex, are in the same posi- tion as those who would argue that a very help- ful way, though, of course, secondary in import- ance, for a, man to shave himself is by lathering the looking glass. If in the process soap bubbles are made, it will make the operation very enter- taining and to an inquisitive mind highly-educa- tive. It might lead such a mind to discover the- a\l:s of the refraction of light, and absorption of its rays ,but I doubt the efficacy of the method for the comparatively simple operation of shav- ing. The analogy of the scaffolding is singular- ly inept and yet singularlv appropriate. It all depends upon the point of view regarding the "historie processes." If society develops in wooden stages," if it is but expression of sub- jective variation of design, then the analogy is appropriate. "Men of politics," says Laforiola, see in the succession of human events only a variation of, these designs, these projects and these intentions," but all that has happened in history was not, and is not, with rare exceptions, the result of a critical choice or of a reasoning desire." The "scaffolding" analogy implies a too "pyschological intention to be a true one. As for the" egg shell," it is at best but a frail protection, and has not vet prevented the wea- sel from sucking it. I will end by briefly answering some of the questions. (Your readers will refer to your issue of June 16th for the questions). 1.1 am not aware that industry consciousness is antagonistic to class consciousness. I should call industry ■consciousness localised or limited class consciousness. The difference, if any, is not a difference of kmd, but merely of degree. Industry consciousness develops from the true source—a bread and cheese one. 2.—This question seems to me to be on a par with asking if the stage of the caterpillar was not a useless one in the development of the but- terfly. The must of the caterpillar staoe is the caterpillar stage. The must of political action stage is also the political action stage. For authoritative opinion refer to "Capt. Tupper and Havelock Wilson. 3-—This question asks us to turn prophet My ansAver is You never can tell." Catastrophic climaxes needn't bother us, seeing that at present everything stands on its head, and that "grotesque ideas" are woven by wooden neads. I don't deny "repressive power" of the State. We have energetic policemen in the llhondda. The question as to "the power to defy," is too general to answer. It all depends. One could only make a guess upon a particualr and concrete case. The "moral fibre" evinced would depend upon the material conditions pre- vailing; the concrete Question at issnp —Vnuro -,+, i on it ]-,cil,, V etc., RHOXDDA TEACHER.
Who Mandated Them ?I
Who Mandated Them ? BRITISH "DELEGATES" IN FRANCE. Messrs. J. OJGrady, M.P., A. Short (Boiler- makers), and W. A. Appleton (secretary), repre- senting the General Federation of Trade Unions, are now in .France, in response to an invitation from Mons. L. Jouhaux, of the Confederation General du Travail, to discuss with a committee of their .French colleagues the attitude that the two Anglo-French trade union organisations should adopt. with regard to the Stockholm Con- ference.
RHEUMATISM- KIDNEY TROUBLE.…
RHEUMATISM- KIDNEY TROUBLE. I Rheumatism is due to uric acid crystals in the joints and muscles, the result of excessive uric acid in the system that the kidneys failed to remove as nature intended, and this acid is to a great extent the cause of backache, lum- bago, sciatica, gout, urinary trouble, stone, gravel and dropsy. The success of Estora Tablets for the treat- ment of rheumatism and other forms of kidney trouble is due to the fact that they restore the kidney sto healthy action, and thereby remove the cause of the trouble, and have cured num- berless cases after the failure of other remedies which accounts for them superseding out-of-date medigines that are sold at a price beyond all but the wealthy. Women frequently suffer from ills, aches, and pains under the impression that they are victims of ailments common to their sex, lait more often than not it is due to the kidneys, and in such cases Estora Tablets will set them right! The test is at least worth making, as woman's happi- ness and success in life depends on her health. Estora Tablets fully warrant their description —an honest remedy at an honest price, 1/3 per box of 40 tablets, or six for 6/9. All Chemists or, postage free, from Estora Co., 132, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C. Bargoed and Aberbargoed Agent—W. PARRY WILLIAMS, M.P.S.
NATIONAL Amalgamated LABOURERS' UNION. Registered Office -1 ST. DAVID'S PLACE, RUTLAND STREET, SWANSEA. The Live Fighting Union for South Wales. We Don't Merely List Benefits on Paper-We PAY Them. General Secretary: JOHN TWOMEY. Organiser: "BOB" WILLIAMS, 220 Blackfriars Road, London, S.E. District Secretaries: A. BARTON, 5 Stuart Street, Docks, Cardiff; JOHN O'LEARY, Century Institute. Winmill Street, Newport, Mon.; Coun. J. POWLESLAND, 10 Picton Place, Swansea ALL CLASSES CATERED FOR—MALE AND FEMALE. Affiliated to the National Transport Workers' Federation, Trade Union Congress, and National Labour Party. Approved under the National Health Insurance Acts. It .t It It | DOWLAIS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, Limited, I 16, 17, 18, and 19, Union Street, Dowlais. i DRAPERY DEPT. I t We are now showing a Large Assortment of New Goods for the 1I M coming Season:— B ) Household Linen. Blankets. Quilts. Sheets. I: I Carpets and Rugs. | 1= MILUNERY DEPT. I I Costumes. Jackets. Blouses. Ladies and 1 j Children's MHHnery. I Is VALUE AND QUAHTY GUARANTEED IF YOU BUY AT j 16, 17, 18 & 19, Union Street, Dowlais. I Is Pantscallog, Dow!a!s Caeharris, Dowlais. ￼ j High Street," Penydarren. |1 ) Station Terrace, Bedlinog. j look Lost. LOST.-On Sunday, June 24th, a small red i J and green Seal was lost between the Rink and the Railway Station.—Finder returning to the Pioneer Office will be rewarded. Literary. UNITARIAN PAMPHLETS on The Bible," "Heaven," and Hell," given post free.— Miss BARMBY, Mount Pleasant, Sidmouth. Medical. -PAGE BOOK ABOUT HERBS AND U HOW TO USE THEM, P-t Free. Send for One. TRIMNELL, THB HERBALIST, 144, RICHMOND ROAD, CARDINT. Established 1879. Miscellaneous. STROLOGY.-Life Events, Changes, For- tunate Days, Business Success, Matrimony; Two Years' Future added.—Send Birth-date, 1 f. P.O., PROF. GOULD, The Nook," Heathfield Road, Cardiff.
Brynmawr Notes. Mr. John Scurr at Brynmawr. I One of the best meetings ever held at Bryn- mawr under the auspices of the local I.L.P. took place at the Cinema Hall on Friday. ::The meet- ing presided over by Mr. Alfred Jones, was opened by the Gwalia Glee Party rendering a glee. A resolution of greeting to our comrades of the Russian Revolution was moved by Mr. J-ones and ably seconded by Miss Pallister. Mr. Scurr who was loudly cheered on rising to support, said: "It seems strange that we, the workers in this country were sending greetings to Rus- sia on her birth of Liberty and Freedom, and, at the same time, we as workers in this country were letting slip the liberties that had been won by the sacrifice of our forefathers. Russia im- mediately the revolution was established opened the doors of her prisons and back from Siberia came the men and women who had laid the foundation of the Revolution. Some of these men and women were sent to Siberia when they were m ere lads and girls, chained to one another and forced along by the knout, outraged and tor- tured, forced to slavery in the quick-silver mines, yet they never wavered in their faith that some day freedom and liberty would come." Turning to the war the speaker traced the operations of the European armaments firms, the rivalry of the Capitalists over the Morocco affair and the Bagdad railways, endmg his speech by exhorting his hearers to control their own jobs; pointing out that all political and industrial questions re- solved itself into this. The resolution was put to the meeting and was carried unanimously. The Gwalia Party gave a very finte rendering of Peace and War." The chairman invited questions and a number were put and satisfactorily answered. The usual votes of thanks terminated a great meeting. A number of new members were signed on at the close.
Discharged Soldiers and Sailors.
Discharged Soldiers and Sailors. ASSOCIATION FORMED AT MERTHYR. i nas lormeci a branch of the National Association of Discharged Soldiers and Sailors of which there are now over sixty brandies in the country. There was a splendid muster of silver badge men at the inaugural meeting h eld on Saturde y at Bentley's Hall, Merthyr, and initiated by the Merthyr Trades Council. Mr. Bert Brobyn pre- sided. Mr. W. Harris explained the objects of the association which may be briefly summarised into: Generally safeguarding the interests of dis- charged soldiers and sailors and their depend- ants; securing adequate pensions and finding employment for invalided men and the preven- tion of their possible exploitation industriallv and to obtain for them full remuneration for work done, irrespective of pensions they might be receiving. Mr. W. Harris said that if the ex-soldiers and sailors did not band themselves together in SUel, an organisation as this they would alwavs be ml industrial menace. Complaints were made by several soldiers pie- sent of the inadequacy of their pensions although -as admitted in some of the cases-the, amoun t" granted were according to the army pension scale. Other men complained of great difficulty and often failure to obtain work after their iv turn home disabled. A hard case was this: An ex-soldier be- cause of his return with three inches of stump instead of a hand could not revert to his former vocation as a miner. He applied to another works for employment, but (he said) six times in eight months was lie turned down although men who had never been in the arnlY or navy were found work there during this time, Whilst he was in the army coal was granted his family by his employers. On his discharge lIt, asked an official to allow his son (also a collier) to receive coal for the family at reduced rates. Tlie, reply was, Whilst you are alive you can't get coal on the ooy's name." "I have beon discharged 12 months but I can't get coal unless my neighbours give it to me," was the discharged man's conclusion to his story. Similar cases of refusal of coal at the local col- lieries were cited; and it is to remedy such hard- ships that the association, with a strong mem- bership, will be in a position. The following officials were appointed: Presi- dent, Mr. Hugh Williams, Trehar ris; vice-presi- dent, Mr. Thos. Meyrick, Dowlais; secretary, Mr. W. Harris, Merthyr; treasurer, Mi*. W. I). Lewis, Merthyr. A committee of one member from each ward was formed: Dowlais, Mr. A. J. Evans; Peny- darren, Mr. Dd. Fvaiis- Park, Mr. Wm. Sulli- van; Cyfarthfa, Mr. T. Tatcher; Town, Mr. Nor- man McLeod. Treharris, Troedyrliiw, and Abor- canaid ward appointments were postponed. Men discharged from the service should pro- tect their interests by joining the Association at once. Subscription Is. per annum.
TO-MORROW MAY BE TOO LATE. Get a Box TO-DAY! Robert Edes, of Weybridge, writes:—"After I had taken the second two I felt better than I had done for over four years. The pain in my back had entirely gone. Mrs. King, Runwell Road, Wickford, states: Your pills cured me aftel years of pain." Sufferers from Gravel, Lumbago, Pains in the Back, Dropsy, Bright's Disease of the Kidneys, etc., Sciatica, Rheumatism, and Gout, will find a positive cure in Holdroyd's Gravel Pills. Is. 3d., all chemists; post free,; 14 stamm.- Gravel Pills. Medical Hall, Cleckheaton. HOLDROYD'S Medical Hall, Cleckheaton,