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TRADE UNION NOTES. SEE PAGE 3
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DIPLOMACY & THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
DIPLOMACY & THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION The Real Force Behind the Maximalists-How Kerensky was Sacrificed by the Allies-The Tragedy of Not Understanding By H. N. BRAILSFORD i The progress of mechanical invention lias made the world one society the evolution of men's minds has meanwhile fitted us to achieve happi- ness, certainty in a village conmiunity, possibly in a compact national State. Our bodies have annihilated space and acquired powers of loco- motion and percept ion which remove us as far from the biped man, as he is removed from the I jelly-fish: our social inteHigence lags by some centuries behind this material evolution. We move, see. hear and act like a new species of world-ranging supermen: we think on the old provincial and national plane. The slow pace of our mental adaptation, the vertiginous speed of our material expansion—these are the two terms which explain the world-tragedy of this war. Of this truism Russia is the most disturbing illus- tration. A military alliance links us physically to hex, like Alpinists tied over the same chasm by the same rope the telegraph enables us, as it were, to see the outward show of what hap- pens within her bonders: finance gives to large numbers of our investors, bankers and capital- ists an intimate concern in ail that she suffers and does. With all this, our prc" has reflected since last March a nearly total failure to under- stand the working of the Russian mind, and dip- lornacy was not better equipped. On her side the incapacity of the revolutionary mass to ,gJ"ftSp the intricacy of the world proems is no less pain- full' obvious. These Russian Socialists, quick- witted, sensitive, sincere, idealistic, might value an earthly paradise of a village commune: they have had to steer an Empire amid a world-war. Misunderstanding has led to the common results of anger and suspicion on both sides: it is going to lead us into worse tragedies yet, unless some of us can achieve the feat of divination. THE MAXIMALIST PROBLEM. I The problem of accounting far the Maximalist revolution is something more intricate than an explanation of, the Maximalists themselves What, we have to explain is not why they rose in revolt, but why they achieved success. They have acted after their kind and according to de- finition. For ten years they have stood apart from the other Russian Socialist parties and fractions, cultivating in their isolation an un- bending, doctrinaire, revolutionary creed. Their aim was. always an instantaneous catastrophic social revolution. A political revolution, which substituted a Republic for an Autocracy, was for them merely a stimulus, an index to what might be achieved. Their internationalism amounted to colour-blindness: they see and admit no differences among the warring capital- istic governments. They had always opposed any co-operation with middle-class elements. They had ahvays advocated the dictatorship of the AVage-earning proletariat. For this creed they had faced Siberia, exile, and the Tsar's "neck-tie." One need not pause to ask why they acted on it this November. Englishmen fail to understand, only because we had grown up in the belief that a Socialist necessarily re- sembles Mr. Shaw or Mr. Sidney Webb. In its be,vilderment our press ascribes these vagaries to German gold. That is a grotesque and stupid calumny. German ^old might explain why Lenin and Trotsky do things which are incon- venient to us to-day: it can not explain why for many a long year they had been doing things highly dangerous to themselves. I once met. Lenin, some ten years ago: no one could fail to perceive the unbending, self-moved self- generated fanaticism and the brave sincerity of the man. WHY DID LENIN SUCCEED? What we have to explain is not why Lenin acted, but why Lenin succeeded. In the early phases of the Russian Revolution the Maximal- ists were merely the outer fringe of its main, body. None of its prestige belonged to them. Their leaders were in exile when it happened. Moderates like Tcheidze and Kerensky reaped the fiirst glory of its achievement: the real hero was the nameless crowd of the garrison and fac- tories of Petrograd. 1 The Soviets (Councils of Workers' and Soldiers'' Delegates) elected in these early days, and periodically re-elected, con- tained only a harmless percentage' of Maximal- ists. The dominant majority was drawn from the various Socialist parties which are content to follow an evolutionary strategy, which admit some distinction between allies and enemies, and axe prepared to co-operate with Liberals. The overwhelming change in public opinion came in the autumn, when the Maximalists- (otherwise Bolsheviks) became suddenly a majority in the workmen's s.oviets, not merely in Petrograd and Moscow, but in most of the larger towns of Cen- tral Russia. The Moderate Socialists held their own only in the non-Russian areas of the West and South. That is one measure of the veering of opinion. There is another. After the Korni- liff adventure, Kerensky set up a Provisional Parliament, to which all the parties, Soviets, and Municipalities! sent delegates. It was to bridge the interval before the elected Consti- tuent Assembly could meet. The voting power assigned to each element could only be arbitrar- ily fixed; Kerenaky?s critics sai? that this. Chamber wa. ,Noiie the les? this Chamber wa? $0 little satisfied with the Moder- ate conduct of affairs, that it gave Kerenaky a vote of confidence which was really a defeat. He scared against a Maximalist motion, out of over 400 Votes a majority of less than twenty, while more than twenty members abstained. On the we of their coup the Maxim a.HKts had unques- tionablv the urb?n masses, and the active main body of the Revolution behind them. THE SIMPLE EXPLANATION. The Russian masses are not academic thinkers, and we may safely assume that they care nothing at all for Lenin's tali superstructure of Marxist logic. The veering of opinion from Moderates to Extremists was due to one simple fact. The Moderates had failed to give the masses peace and bread. One need not pause to enquire Avhether better organisation might have provided bread without peace. In an advanced modern industrial state one may improvise an organisa- tion which will make war physically endurable for the masses. In a country which had at the bent of times only the most slovenly and rudi- mentary organisation, without either a feudal system or a numerous middle-class; the task amid war and revolution is impossible. The starvation, the depreciation of currency, the fabulous rise of prices, the break-down of the i-ailivays, had all become well ngh intolerarble before the Revolution. They were its cause. The aged locomotives were dropping out of use, incapable of repair, by hundreds each month, and in the villages there was a dearth even of spades and ploughs. With most of the ports closed, and others congested, no help from American or British experts could have done more than touch the general collapse in one or two departments. Organisation implies a long experience of associated work, in schools, fac- tories and business, and this Rubsia lacked. Bread and peace had come to be synonymous terms. The only hope of feeding the towns lay .in reducing, if not actually demobilising, the de- vouring army at the front. Kerensky had al- ready released one class. His War Minister, Verkbovsky, proposed to demobilise a third of the army. We have learned since his fall, that Kerensky -was about to adopt an even nwre dras- tic expedient. He intended to release all unwill- ing conscripts, retaining only those regiments which volunteered for continued :servioe That fact reveals with startling clearness how large a measure oi agreement over i:.apts thee W:,í,.<; be- tween Kerensky and the Maximalists. Both knew that Russia was" worn-out." gotli realised that the army Avas incapable, as a whole, of any positive contribution to the war. Both knew that it was impossible this winter to feed a great army at the front and at the same time to find bread, fuel, clothing and boots for the masses in the towns. They differed not in their reading of the facts and their perception of Rus- sia's dire need, but solely in this, that Kerensky and the Moderates retained a sense of loyalty to the Allies. They did not want tb break with the Western Democracies, and at terrible sacri- fices to themselves they were willing to keep at the front a force which would compel the Austro- Germans to man then- long Eastern front. THE MARTYRDOM OF KERENSKY. I in this passionate dramatic contest, through eight months of crises, between Moderates and Extremists, the Allied Governments were the absent third. State the problem, if you please, in the narrowest terms of momentary self- interest. The task for us was to keep Russia at least passively within the Alliance. The penalty, if she should go out, is not merely that the Austro-Germans regain the full use of 120 divisions (over two million men) from the Eastern front, it is that the" siege" and the economic encirclement of the Alliance ceases on the Eastern front. Here was a great stake to play for; it had to be won by political sagacity. Kerensky, facing a growing crowd, first of critics and then of rebels, who grew desperate as winter added the peril of cold to the peril of hunger, had just one card to play. He could appeal only to the sentiment of loyalty, and to the instinctive sympathy which newly-liberated Russia felt for the older democracies of the West. "While everything turned on this delicate sentimental factor, policy, chance or sheer ignor- ance spoiled our prospects at every turn. The more powerful newspapers in England and France were at first cold and then hostile to the Revolution. The papers which were friendly, like the Nation were excluded from the mail- bags, and might not be quoted in telegrams. When Russia, not merely because she honestly hated Imperialism, but still more because she wished to shorten the war, gave up her admitted claim to Constantinople, and appealed to the Allies in their turn to, drop all similar aims, the response was to scale. Each Ally made reserva- tions and distinctions, and even the American Note was too vague to be helpful. I need not dwell upon the veto placed on the Stockholm Conference. One must have been in touch, as I was, at the critical moment, with delegates of the Soviet, to realise what that meant. Stock- holm was the Moderate expedient. The Maxi- malists were from the nrst opposed to it, and treated it with scepticism and disdain. When it failed, they turned round on the Moderates, with the ineirtmble aud unanAwerable We told you so." I MAXIMALIST PROPHETS. They predicted from the* first, that Russia would fail to move the Western Aililes, and that if a mixed Socialist-Liberal Coalition, remained in power, it would be dragged, protesting out impotent, into a never-ending "Imperialisrt" war. The A-lio-le tread of events, and nearly every official utterance from London, Paris, Washington, confirmed these Russian Socialists in their sense of isolation. Kerensky's offensive, undertaken in deference to Allied opinion, brought its dismal sequel of retreat. After Korniloff's coup, which the British and .Fremch press welcomed with delight, no Russian could retain any illusions about Kerensky's ability to influence his Allies. All the while, a steady cur- rent of anxious criticism, turned on the financial aspects of the Alliance. Russia inevitably was falling ever more deeply into foreign debt. She could not balance it, even partially, by exports. The natural consequence followed. Before the Hevolution and even after it, her immense un- developed mineral resources, iron and coal, but especially copper, gold and platinum, were pass- ing into foreign mining companies, at first Bri- tish and latterly American, multiplied as fast as the debt- itself. It was a process of mortgage, and those who had foresight perceived that it might lead to some phasA of open or disguised control. I will not qur¡Je the angry leading articles or the statistical demonstrations -of this danger. The sympathetic reader can supply his own commentary. DEATH OF SENTIMENT. I By autumn the chance, that Kerensky, with I the Moderate Socialists, would be able, against hunger and Avar-weariness, to beat hack the Maximalist Opposition by appealing- w the senti- ment of loyalty, was slight, but he had still one card. In May the ProA ixional Government had invited the Allies to revise their war-a ims at a common conference. They hoped to eliminate the cruder purposes, to throw into relief the 'broader and humaner aims, and by moderating the programme, to shorten the war itself. The invitation was accepted, though without enthu- siasm, and the date originally fixed for August. That month passed, and the next and yet an- other. In the last days of October telegram fter telegram' told us how seriously Russia was taking this conference. The General Council of all the Soviets had drafted its sketch of a "de- mocratic" programme, a reasonable and moder- ate document. The Socialist ex-Minister Slcooe- leff was to attend as its delegate, and had been included by the Provisional Government among its staff. On its side the Government was dis- cussing this programme and its own variations to it, in the Provisional Parliament. Sometimes in open and sometimes in secret sittings, the Foreign Secretary, M. Terestchenko, was debat- ing it, point by point, wiob the representatives of all parti as. The hopes dashed by the veto on Stockholm had revived, and against the sneers and threats of the Maximalists, the Moderates were working up the belief that Russia and the Allies would arrive at an agreement which would at once ennoble and shorten the war. In the midst of this flicker of optimism there came, first the news that the Allies objected to the presence of M. Skobeleff at the Conference, and then Mr. Bonar Law's statement from London, that the Paris Con ferenc-o would consider the prosoeution but the s of the war. When that telegram arrived, the battle for RiisE;.ia,s loyalty was lost. The Moderates had no longer an expedient left. The correspondent of the Manchester Guardian has stated eategori- cally that it was only on the arrival of this news ,that the Maximalists determined an armed revolt. THE FAILURE OF THE WEST. I The moral of this analysis is simple. In the I struggle between Moderates and Extremists, the West has failed to realise that its own attitude was the determining factor. We expected Kerensky to achieve miracles, and failed to un- derstand that some readiness on our part to re- cognise Russia's dire need, was the condition of his success. The Moderates wanted a reasonably early peace, if it were consistent with honour, no less than the Extremists. They were ready to face protracted ivar, but only on condition that continued war was found to be unavoidable, after the moderate definition of Avar-aims. All this is ancient history to-day, and it is probably too late to consider Avhetlier any skill or any sympathy could still avail to save Russia for the Entente. The moral is as simple as it is depress- ing. Our professional diplomacy broke down, as it always does, in handling democra,tio forces. The emergency called for insight and sympathy, and our ruling class had none to give. We have lost R.ussia in plain words because we did not de- serve to keep her. What is there in common be- tween the Revolution and the diplomacy which drafted the Paris Resolutions and concocted the Secret Treaties P
Dowlais Co-uperative SocietyI
Dowlais Co-uperative Society I EXCELLENT QUARTER JUST CLOSED. I SOCIETY FAVOURS POLITICAL REPRE- I SENTATION. The quarterly meeting was held in the Base- ment Hall, Dowlais Library on Thursday, July 6th, 1917, Alderman C. J. Griffiths (president) in the chair. There was a good attendance of members. The balance-sheet as presented by the Secre- tary showed sales for the quarter amounting to £ 36,017 12s. IQjd., an increase over the corre- sponding quarter of t6,631 2s. 4Jd. The profits for disposal after allowing ;E220 for depreciation, £ 250 for interest on Share Capital, £ 152- 3s. 4d. for Collective Life Assurance, C20 4s. 6d. for War Allowances and all working expenses, amounted to £ 2,161 17s. 132d. A dividend of Is. in the £ on members' purchases was declared. The members Share Capital stands at L22,338 5s. 8-d., an increase over the corresponding quarter of last year of £3,718 18s. 2Jd. The following donations were granted Cardiff Poor Crippled Aid Society 21s.; Dowlais and Penydarren Nursing Association 21s., Y.M.C.A. Hurt Campaign to- 5s. The four retiring com- mittee-men, Messrs. C. E. Morgan, G. Hum- phreys, J. H. Peters and J. Jenkins, were Ile- elected. Mr. J. Evans (secretary) who attended the Emergency Conference- in London gave a report of the proceedings., The chairman impressed on the meeting the necessity for Parliamentary action, several mem- bers taking part in the discussion.. A resolu- tion in favour of direct representation of Co- operators in Parliament was carried with only one dissentient. It was also agreed to adopt the suggested subscription scheme of £2 per 1,000 members to the political fighting fund as recom- mended by the Cooperative Unio*.
I Communal Kitchens I
Communal Kitchens I WHAT THEY ARE. AND WHAT THEY DO. CONSIDERATION OF GLASGOW EXPERI- MENT. The increasing pressure of food supplies; the long, shivering queries of men, women and chil- dren outside the' provision merchants that haA-e been a feature of town life in Merthyr as ebe- where- for some time past, and Avhich grow ever longer as the weeks run their course; and the growing monotony of the breakfast and ten tallies at home, have all tended to produce a more profound desire for the solution or the problem of food conservation and economy than all the speeches of all the food economy lecturers, or all the anchor advertisements of Sir A. Yapp, and his underlings. When the Merthyr I.L. P. some six weeks ago tabled a resolution to the Trades Council asking for the serious considera- tion of that body on the question of agitating for a food kitchen for the Borough, the com- munal kitchen idea was a strange one. of which one only heard occasional comment, and that of so nebulous a nature is to compel the opinion that the commentors had merely secured a phrase, and not an ideo.. Now, however, the cock-s tiredness of the Yea" and "Nay" of those communal kitchen references is gone, and the sheer pressure of the moment has occasioned a better frame of mind, and an inquiring dis- posi tiOll towards them. CHANGING OPINION. I Six weeks ago if an enquirer approached a friend with a request for an opinion on a com- munal kitchen, he Avas dogmatically assured that it was only a new term for the old soup-tieket- for-the-poor dispensation of charity, and straightway his pride was in arms. Now ho is not so sure that the answer was a right one, and what is more to the point, the dogmatist has wrinkled his brow and expressed the same desire to know something more about these war- time institutions that he dismissed so peremp- torily such a short time ago. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any reliable published utterance on these kitchens. One goes to the bookstall and picks up a dozen" Cookery with- out Eggs," or "Pastry without Flour"' hand- books, but the bookstall is silent as the grave in connection with this greater way to economy; and in those occasional, columns that have ap- peared in the daily press when some mention has launched the experiment one finds nothing but padding. What a communal kitchen is, and how to establish one is still a sphinx-like mys- tery to most of us. Nor am I able not to deal with the theory of communal kitcheneering; and its evolution is to my mind somehow traceable to the Sylvia Pankhurst East London experi- ments either directly or indirectly, but that is impression and not history. But thanks to my friend, Mr. Barr, who on his recent visit to Glasgow collected a fund of first-hand informa- tion, I can at least present my readers with the how of the scheme as practiced in the great Clyde city, at Townhead Kirkintilloch. OUR PROBLEM,TOO. I We should be correct in assuming, I believe, that it was out of the consideration of a prac- tical way out of the difficulties that confront us to-day, that the authorities of Kirkintolloch devised their scheme of municipal cookery, or communal kitctheneering, to which we shall de- vote our attention. How they solved their pro- blem may present us with the principles neces- sary to the solution of the same problem that is ours. First of all, premises were needed and for the purpose of a kitchen a, large shop on the main street was rented and converted into the municipal cookery. It was handsomely decor- ated on the exterior and fitted up internally with two large gas boilers, gas cooking table, fish fryer (with lid for st-ewing purposes) potato peeling machine, bread-slicer, mincing machine, large pots, pans, etc. The total cost, according to the report before me, including shop altera- tions, came to about £ 85. Now, I am prepared to admit that the Kirkintolloch authorities were initially lucky. That £85 seems an insignificant sum with which to set up in a business such as this with the plant such as I have enumerated; and the probable cost here might double that sum HoweveT, that is a detail, and the next point is to my mind much more important. Most authorities I know would have been frightened at the expenditure initially incurred, and would have tried to economise on salaries by convert- ing the centre into a playground for busybody amateur cooks, AVIIO would have frittered away tthe capital in fancy and expensive experiments on eggless oi-nelettes-if such are possible—and Avouldd have sought to teach the populace econ- omy by way of fancy jellies. The amateur cook always thinks in terms of salads and pastries. The Kirkintolloch authorities either had more sense or experience than to commit that folly. Thev realised that the first essential of a suc- cessful cookshop is a good cook, and they proved that they wanted a good one by paying a pro- fessional woman cook 30/- per week, plus food, and by giving her a. woman and a girl as assist- ants. The manager of the cleansing department acted as buyer and the Borough Treasurer paid all accounts, and received nothing for their ser- vices. So that the total working expenses, in- cluding rent, rates, taxes, gas and wages, were worked out to lis. 6d. per day. THE COSTS OF FOOD. I On September 12th the centre was opened. Soups, different kinds each day were retailed at Hd. per large adult portion (Mr. Barr was ag- sured that one portion amply satisfied four chil- dren), iiief a, t dinners G; lb. meat, vegetables and four potatoes) ranged in price from 4Ul. to 7d. per adult portion. The groceries, meat, fish, vegetables, etc., were, of course, bought whole- sale. At these prices it required the daily sale of over 100 portions to realise the working ex- penses of lis. 6d. per day. Did it succeed? From September llJth to 29th inclusive the bal- ance in hand after meeting working expenses and by the end of October the profit in hand had been raised to £ 6 26. lid.; from this an allowance has to be made for in; terest and sinking fund on1 the initia.1 capital, and for t-iiis t3 would be ample. So that the first six week s of this communal enter- prise realised a small profit. I might mention h.ere that all consumers brought their own dishes and no consumption was allowed on the pre- mise. That is th? one direction that the muni- di "if ee r<) ?ii t It(- ordinary cook- shop—that and the ill-important absence of the scramble for profit. THE INITIAL TROUBLE. Of course there were troubles for a time. The .greatest one was the fluctuation in sales. One da.y the kitchen would be sold out, and the next have a quantity of cooked food on hand. This was got round by the adoption of the practice of selling any surplusage to the School Board Cooking Centre for necessitous children; and also by securing supplies of scarce comodities, such as butter, and retailing these to regular customers. Another, and serious, difficulty was the prejudice that existed against it. People did entertain the idea that they were being the recipients of charity that they were partici- pating in it new cult of th8 old soup kitchen. But our figures prove otherwise. The slight profit r-ealised shows that the communal kitchen in practice is no more a charity scheme than is Co-operation. It is Jt-help, and united action in the common good; and co-operation is that too. The communal kitchen as here set forth is I a cold business proposition, in which people pay for what they require, and which will have to pay its way if it is to exist.' I have personally left out here the question of food economy that is most frequently urged as the reason for the establishment of these centres. Let us be can- did and say that the patriotism of few people is capable of withstanding the encroachments of self-interest over any but the shortest periods. And it is not until it has been proved that patriotism in this particular connection is coin- cident with personal well-being and self-interest that Ave can consider the more abstract results of communal kitchenery. COMMUNAL ADVANTAGES. Surely, that has been proved by the figures I have been privileged to give, and we can now turn to a consideration of the real economy that they mean. The most material general con- sideration is the saving of foodstuffs by the eli- mination of the waste that is engendered in a hundred housewives pottering away with a hand- ful of vegetables, a scrap of meat. and an archaic cooking range and appurtenances. Wo are told that the average waste from tike com- munal kitchen we have had under consideration equals only the average waste from four house- holds ;and if we assume that 105 portions were sold per day, and three portions went to one household we thus see that the wastage of 31 households is saved to the community I per- sonally incline strongly to the opinion that the very material money Mving that must be repre- sented on the figures I have given is quite as much a communal as a prii-ate concern, but I am not prepared to assess this at the moment. Then again there must necessarily be a result- ant improvement in public health, for it is authoritatively announced that one such experi- ment in Bristol reduced the sickness rate among the employees of one large firm by 50 per cent. A consideration of all these factors compels one to ask Avhetlier we in South Wales have as yet awake-ned to a. realisation of our needs and our ourselves into effort:' Is it not also time that of us who stand for municipal enterprise roused ourselves into effort Y It is not also time that those who sneer at us as pro-Germans still more bestirred themselves to prove their patriotism in this practical wey? A.P.Y.
Mid-Rhondda Notes. Neah Ablett. The Mid-Rhondda boys are sending their heartiest congratulations both to their Merthyr comrades and Mr. Ablett on the result of the ballot for ininei*' agent. While veo-y. pleased with Mr. Ablett's success we cannot help feeling sorry to lose such a valuable comrade from the Rhondda, and without any intentioit of casting any reflections on any of the other candidates, as we have no personal acquaintance with them, we say that our experience of Mr. Ablett is that he is one of the most faithful friends that we Qver met, and also a born fighter for his class. As he has said himself: "I alwavs put my claaisi interest before anything else." We wish him and the Merthyr comrades every suc- cess. Rhondda Class Teachers' Meeting. A meeting was held in the Judges' Hall on December llth, under the auspices of the Rhondda Class teachers, to consider the wageII paid to teachers, and some startling revelations were made regarding the low wages paid to cer- tain sections of teachers. We are very pleased to see this section of waglavery waking up land taking their place alongside the rebels in the Labour Movement. These" people have been misled far too long, and it is a good sign to see some of them putting their snobbish pride on one side and taking their part along with such rebels a? David E'Vas (Ynyshir) and Mainwaring in fighting for their rights.. We a,r? also very ?'plea.secl to learn that a campaign is to commence through the whoJe di&tric? of the R.U. Councils, to explain to the working-man ratepayer the conditions under which the school-caretaker* are working. Th 1.4 Qiould prove very interesting when the comparison is made between the differ- But grades and the wages paid to them. Sylvia Pankhurst. On Sunday, December 23rd, Miss Pankhurst will address two meetings in Mid-Rhondda.. The first meeting will lie held at 2.30 p.m., for womem only, and an evening meeting commencing at 6.30. We expeen to see the Llwvnv-pa Batho full on both occasions, peciaJly for the after- noon meeting.