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f Trade Union Notes

Swansea Valley Notes.

In Reply to Mr. Woolf


In Reply to Mr. Woolf Labour's Way from Industrial Servi- I tude to Industrial Supremacy. Marxist Outlines His Programme. I TO THE EDITOR. I Dear Sir,—Mr. Woolf's rejoinder to my reply to his article on Labour and Political Power in your issue of November 17th shows how widely he and I differ with regard to principles and methods. Whether the kind of world lie wants to exist is the same as mine is dubious, as he does not define his kind of world. What, however, he does make clear is that he is out for unity at any price, or what Belfort Bax has termed "fac- titious unity." His whole case- is built upon the rotten foundation of opportunism. AN INITIAL DIFFERENCE. In his first article he states that Labour had failed politically mainly because of intolerance within itself." I do not think so. I contend that the reason why the Labour Party has failed in Parliament is because it is essentially a poli- tical reflex of craft unionism. Craft Unionism is based on the principle of obtaining a fair day's pay for a fair day's work," "and it only emerged upon the political field as a separate political party when it found that principle threatened by the Taff Vale decision. Since then it has vainly endeavoured to improve its status as a wage-slave class by fighting the effects of Capitalism instead of aiming at its overthrow. As Craft Unionism divides the workers into over a thousand sections, real unity of aim on the political field is impossible so long as Craft Unionism exists.. This fundamental weakness is now recognised by the more intelligent workers in all the unions. They realise that Capitalism has evolved beyond the stage which necessitated the formation of trade unions. They perceive that Capitalism has reached the point where the industry is the unit of production. They, there- fore, aim at bringing their fellow workers to- gether as a class, organised upon an industrial basis. The Workers' Committees which have been formed in most of our big industrial cen- tres are tentative efforts to achieve this end. On the other hand, the trade union officials are doing their best to hinder this progressive de- velopment. Hitherto they have wielded an al- most despotic power in the unions, and they perceive in the new movement a menace to their power and authority and their privileged posi- tion as, paid officials and political leaders. As the workers' commodity status as wage-labourers has not been improved by the compromising taotics of their trade union leaders, either in their capacity aa officials or political representa- tives, it is not surprising that- conflicts between the rank and file and their officials are so recur- rent. TRADES UNIONISM AT THE CROSS-ROADS. I Despite this fact Mr. Woolf is optimistic enough to believe that unity can be effected be- tween interests that are rapidly becoming irre- concilable. Trade Unionism is at the cross-roads and until the vexed question between those who advocate industrial unionism and those who ad- here to craft unionism is fought out triumphant- ly by the former section there can be no real unity of aim. on the political field. As a member of the Socialist Labour Partv and an organiser of; the Central Labour College, I am doing my best to promote the establish- ment of a Socialist Lahnur Party with the ideals not of the Capitalist State, but of the Socialist Republic." The first step in this direc- tion is to educate the workers in order to en- able them to understand the problem to be solved. The class of which I am secretary in- structs its members in the principles of scientific Socialism, i.e., Marxian Scientific Socialism. Scientific Socialism explains the commodity status of the worker, how the unpaid labour of the wage-earner creates surplus-value why the interests of the Capitalist Class and the Work- ing Class are irreconcilable, thus developing the class-struggle why the workers must aim at the abolition of the Capitalist System if they would be free; a-nd why no nostrum put forward by any section of the Capitalist Cl ass can possibly save the workers from the dire effects of profit- making. It also shows that the evolution of Capitalism will inevitably lead to the breakdown of the system, and indicates that' the historic mission of the working-class is to expropriate the expropriators, i.e., to socialise the means of production in. order to substitute the social pro- duction of wealth for the Capitalist production of commodities. ? Finally it calls upon the workers in all lands where Capitalist production is carried on to unite, internationally, so that they may win the world I for Labour. Labour's Empire is the world! CONSTRUCTION AND DESTRUCTION. I The ideals thus inculcated (familiar enough to Marxists) needs a constructive and destructive programme in order that they may be realised. As an S.L.P.er, I advocate that as political in- stitutions are not adapted to the administration of industry, constructive Socialism can only be realised in the industrial field. Hence the neces- sity for revolutionary Industrial Unionism as a constructive forte. On the other hand, as the Capitalist State, together with its political ma- chinery and its power over the armed forces of the nation, is an obstacle to the realisation of constructive Socialism, I advocate that it is necessary for the workers to come together on the political field in order to capture the State, the robber burg of the Capitalists, with a view to dismantling it and rasing it to the ground. Hence the necessity for revolutionary political action as a destructive force. Now, Sir; I submit that this is the only way a Socialist Industrial Republic, or Co-operative Commonwealth, can be effectively established. The other ways mentioned by Mr. Woolf will certainly not lead to Heaven, but will un- doubtedly keep the workers in the present hell of Capitalism—the only hell I know. The tac- tics of strategy I advocate—springing as they do from sound principles-will strike at the Capi- talist system on all sides—front, flanks and rear. The, rem edv I propost, seeing that it will cut out the canker of Capitalism from Society, will free it from its hereditary disease—slave-labour; and thereby elevate Humanity to a plane of health and well-being it has never hitherto known. The advertisement which will announce this wonderful revolutionary change will not be Pink Pills for Bloated Capitalists (see political pro- grame of our revisionist Labour Party), rout the waving of the Red Flag where once the patriotic flags of all the nations flaunted their menace to peace and liberty within and without the bour- geois communities they represented. Yours, etc., F. B. SILVESTIRP-, (Ho*. gee., Birmingham Social I Science Class). 8, Evelyn Road, Sparthill, Birmingham. Dpoetmbtr 8th, 1917.


Abercynon Notes.


Bridgend Notes.



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