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T. C. Morris in Liverpool.,

Tredegar Notes.

I Swansea Valley Notes.


The Miners' Next Step. I


The Miners' Next Step. DESPITE the vituperative hot air that has been poured upon the South Walee collier, by our local patriotic press, for his action at Monday's S. W .M.F. Conference ill mot alone rejecting the M.F.G.B. reoommendation that he should assist the oomb-out" in the mines, but also in carry- ing forward his opposition to that course to the extent of balloting the question of a down-tools policy in case of any attempt on the part of the authorities to apply the oomb-out" process to this field; the decision was one for which every informed person in South Wales-and superficial information of the spirit of the miner would have suffioed-must have been prepared, j The South Wale gminer has so often and so un- mistakably expressed himself as the enemy of Militarism and all that Militarism embraces in these days, that any misconception of his posi- tion can but be due to a refusal to face the facts he adduces, or an admitted inability to compre- hend the political outlook of Democracy that would be criminal in journalists who are, at the moment, answering his present logical continuity of policy with threats of propaganda and can- vassing; and sophistries regarding his disloyalty to the parent M.F.G.B. organisation. We do not think much of the patriotism that needs to be canvassed, but we shall welcome the can- vassing in the hope that the busybodies, who seek to convince the miner of his entire error in this matter, will be taught to look for the prime causes of this war a lot further back than August, 1914; will learn that platitudes about German inhumanity have no retolity outside their own subjective prejudices; and will feel that social science as comprehended by the mass of the miners, and comprehended continually in aiR ever increasing degree—is much more real as a basis of good governance and future interna- tional fraternity than the hotch-potch that he or she has found self-satisfying in politics. In order that the canvassers may the more clearly grasp the task they are undertaking it would be as well to restate the miners' views on the war, and follow that up with an examination of the sophistries that have been editorially preached since last Monday. The miner, as expressed in his trado organisation, cannot be divided from the Labour Party, and in South Wales he is actively attached to the advanced Socialist wing of that Party. In that position he is a vigorous exponent in peace times as in war time of the economic doctrine of a class war. For the pur- pose of expressing his force effectively in that war he is a trades unionist; his conception of trade union activity is in an aggressive attempt to win from his exploiter, the coal-owner, an ever-increasing percentage of the wealth he creates, with the ultimate goal of a complete capture of the industry, for the communal good. Out of this personal view of the normal economic relationships in his own surroundings he has been compelled to educate himself to a world-wide conception of the working-class struggle, and to go back to history in search of fundamentals, for the scientific induction of a theory of politics that will not be dependent upon the existence of an exploited and an exploiting class, or classes. That investigation has discovered ta him the universality of his condition under Capitalism, has shown him that the historic mis- sion of the worker the world over is one and in- divisible and has also proved to him that econo- mic causes mould political ideals, and produce the open and secret policies of Diplomacy and Statesmanship. He has seen how necessarily pacifism of the textile era in industry, has pro- duced the iron and steel age with its political evolution to Imperialistic-Jingoism. He iian clea-rly conceived the piracy of international trade and finance; has traced its utilisation of the means of Governmental pressure to smash its rivals in the struggle for markets and the protectorate of the backward lands of the earth for the enhancement of the wealth of it's own wealthy. And side by side with this negative criticism, he has builded a logical system of Socialistic government founded on amity and common interests national and international. With the oonstructive phase we have not the space to deal even sketchily as we have been able to deal with the negative criticism that we have mentioned above for the guidance of the canvassers that are to be. It would be utterly foolish and futile on the part of those canvassers to go to the miner with a long, prosy story that fails to face the economic criticism that we have outlined. How much more futile it will be to go to him and tell him that he is disloyal to the M.F.G.B. in taking up his attitude of hostility towards the military comb-out, or that he is the victim of young men who are using him for the purpose of "legislating themselves out of the Military Service Acts," we will now see. In practice the M.F .G.B. is an alliance of the Scot- tish, English and Welsh coalfields for the pur- pose of trade interests, and the S.W.M.F. has never surrendered its autonomous rights to an oligarchic centralised committee-for it does not believe in the vesting of all power in a cen- tralised body. When it has differed from the M.F.G.B., as it often has, its plea has been that its democratic constitution has been in conflict with the autocratic prejudices of unmandated, self-styled leaders; that its delegates have gone to conferences with mandates constitutionally given by mass meetings, whereas its opponents have never consulted the men whose votes they cast against the Sputh Wales proposals. In so far as this has been true of the past he refuses to submit to caucus ruling in matters on which he has been fully consulted; and justly refuses in matters such as this to be bound to a machine; alien to his spirit and views. In this apostacy he is justified by his conferences. And exactly the same reasoning applies to the delegation at his conferences. If the young men are the dele- gates it is by the votes and selection of their colleagues whether old or young, and it is as their representatives, instructed on all vital issues that they attend and vote. A delegate's age has no bearing on his attitude as a delegate. Just the same powers that make him a delegate equip him for defeating the wishes of his own executive on occasion. It is through his col- leagues in his home district or lodge that he admonishes the Executive, and teaches that body that it is not above its constituents, and that it must be amenable to those constituents on all things. That is the position. Whether it be faced by private interfering busybodies or Governmental inquiry it will have to be an- swered with reason and commonsense, and not with hysterical yells of "German Gold," "Paci- fist Corruption," and so on. People who are so foolish as to believe that a huge body of opinion, such as is represented hy the S.W.M.F., can be corrupted against its common feeling and com- monsense, have much to learn about mass psy- chology before they should be allowed even the publicity of a correspondenoo column, let alone of a leading article.

Political N otes.


1 Theatre Royal. I