May 1, 1921 THE WORKERS COUNCIL 35 The Workers Council Vol.
New York, May 1, 1921 No. history, made to suffer the most intense misery as TABLE OF CONTENTS a result of the aftermath of the war, inspired on the other hand by the spectacle of at least one section Page of the world toilers that has succeeded in throwThe New First of May 34 ing off its chains and is already at work forging The Treason of the Triple Alliance 34 the new society of free workers, ever larger groups The Great Virtue of Frankness 36 of workers in every land are learning to grasp the Peonage 37 idea and purpose of working class emancipation.
The Lusk Bills 38 And during these years the May Day slogans have New Policy Toward the Peasants 39 become genuine workers slogans with the solid ring of earnest revolutionary purpose in them. To Towards Clarity 42 wrest from the hands of the exploiters and proSignificance of the Order of the Red Flag 43 fiteers the factories and the fields and place them Democracy Re analyzed 44 in the hands of those to whom they rightfully beThe Storm Center of the Comm. International 46 long by the sweat they have bestowed on them; to The Commune 47 free themselves from the oppression and violence of the paid defenders of private greed and the massManager Column 48 murderers and hangmen of the working class and establish a workers state which shall create the Published by the International Educational Association new communistic society in which there shall be neither oppressors nor oppressed this is the revoBENJAMIN GLASSBERG, Sec y Editorial Board lutionary purpose that is inspiring great masses of WALTER COOK, Sec y Intern. Educ. Assn.
the workers of all nations today, and that has given the First of May a new significance. The rulers of bank and parliament no longer look down induigEditorials ently upon parading workers seeking petty reforms and uttering mild pacifistic hopes; they are THE NEW FIRST OF MAY anxiously bringing up defences and setting guards, for fear that the rallying day of the revolutionary Holidays, in common with many other institutions and customs, change their significance as workers may bring the fate which they know must sooner or later overtake them.
times go on. When the First Paris Congress of the Second International established the First of May as an international workingmen holiday thirty THE TREASON OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE two years ago, the chief purpose of that day was a general agitation for the eight hour day. From For a moment the leaders of the Triple Alliance year to year new slogans appeared upon the posters seemed ready to oppose the capitalist onslaught and banners of the parades and demonstrations of with the power and solidarity of labor. But only the workers; there was no dearth of phrases about for a moment. Thomas and Henderson, for a fev disarmament and general appeals to international days, were forced to play a most difficult role, the brotherhood and kindred demands in which great roie of spokesmen of militant labor. For once it masses of workers, the class conscious along with appeared that the compromising and vacilating those who lacked class consciousness, could join, and liesitant leadership of the Triple Alliance And as even the inore advanced units of the world would give way to action. The brazen attempt of labor movement becanie imbued with the tame the wine owners to bring down the wages of the spirit of reformism and bourgeois pacifism and British workers to the 1914 scale constituted a liberalism, it seemed significant that this working challenge which organized labor immediately acclass holiday was established on the 100th anni cepted. With the cost of living still more than versary of the French Revolution of 1789, in which 100 per cent above the 1914 scale, the capitalist the working people, led on by the catchwords of class made no efforts to conceal its intention to deliberty. equality, fraternity, fought the bourgeois prive labor of all its war time gains.
battle, gave their lives so that new masters might The staggering wage reductions which the mine have the freedom to oppress them.
owners were bent upon enforcing would have reThere has been going on in recent years within duced the mine industry to a sweated trade. In adthe working masses a tremendous ferment.
Dis dition, passage of the Decontrol bill, which the govillusioned by a gigantic mass murder, in which the ernment was pressing, provided that government workers of the world have sacrificed for a bour control and the subsidy of the mines would cease geois cause on the most enormous scale in their on March 31st instead of August 31st. This meant the abolition of all national agreements. In view of miners, railway and transport workers. The electhis situation, the miners demanded that a National trical workers and railway clerks and other unions Wages Board should be set up for the regulation of were quick to determine their solidarity with the wages and profits; that the industry should be Triple Alliance. Labor at last was organizing to treated as a whole, the pooling of profits to con meet the ruling class in open warfare. The possitinue, and that a national minimum wage should be bilities of the struggle resulting in a decisive class fixed. The owners, however, favored district struggle between capital and labor were clearly settlements; abolition of the pool; fixing the stand recognized. Hence the many and frantic efforts on ard wage at the 1914 level, and a minimum profit the part of Lloyd George to secure some sort of of 2s per ton.
temporary settiement without granting any of the Negotiations between the owners and the miners miners demands; sonie postponement, or at least failed to accomplish any results. By a vote of the submitting of the question to a solemn ref723, 000 to 231, 000 the miners, on March 25th, deerendum. But labor was standing by its guns. Its clared in favor of a strike, and the strike actually ranks were united.
began on March 31st, even the pumpmen being As if in answer to the statement of the Prime called out in spite of the consequent fooding of the Minister that the Executive of the Federation were mines. The government declared a national emer not in favor of the strike but that their hands were gency existed and issued a call for the mobilization forced by the thoughtless blind clamoring of those of the troops. The Triple Alliance was equally below a joint manifesto signed by executives of quick to act and it immediately agreed to support the Parliamentary Labor Party, Triple Alliance the miners in their struggle.
leaders and executives of the Trade Union ConThat the Triple Alliance would actually carry gress was issued to the nation which read: out its thrcat of a general strike seemed unbeliev This conference is convinced of the justice of able. Its recent history was a combination of brave the claims put forward by the miners and pledges words and inaction. Again and again in the past support of the miners, railway men and transport workers. It appeals to all sections of the labor few years the possibility of a direct challenge of movement and to every citizen who cares for the the ruling class by British Labor seemed imminent.
well being of the community to stand solidly The only result in every case was another congress against this attack on the position of the workers.
or conference and lengthy resolutions ending with The conference condemns the action of the governthe dispatch of a deputation to the Prime Minister. ment throughout, more particularly the military The creation of the Council of Action (or, as others preparations made during the last week, as being named it, of Inaction) last August, aroused the calculated to provoke public feeling and create enthusiasm and hopes of labor everywhere.
British labor demanded the cessation of all aid to Could it be possible that Thomas had failed the Poland in its war against Russia and threatened government and the employers? Thomas who had a general strike to enforce its demands. But pretty succeeded in delaying, compromising strikes so soon this enthusiasm waned as in the past. It was often in the past? Or was Lloyd George right in a glorious gesture but it did not greatly interfere feeling that the leaders were anxious to suppress with Curzon and Churchill and Lloyd George this movement of the masses?
Shortly before midnight, in the closing hours of This time, however, it appeared that the Triple Thursday, April 14th, Frank Hodges, the young Alliance was ready for action. After the failure secretary of the Miners Federation, laid the basis of the government to mediate successfully between for the treason to the Triple Alliance. At a conthe miners and the owners and the refusal of the ference with a number of members of Parliament miners to man the pumps unless they were first he declared that the miners would discuss wages guaranteed a national pool and a wage board, the with the owners and the government at once if the Triple Alliance determined upon April 12th as the question of a national wages board and a national date for the beginning of a general strike, a strike profits pool were separated from wages and conwhich would involve several million workers. It is sidered later. This was a complete reversal of the true that poor old Thomas announced the strike de position taken by the miners in conference after cision with tears in his eyes and that the Triple conference with the Prime Minister and the mine Alliance declared that they were not embarking on owners. This offer was made without authority (it a revolution; that it was to be a strictly industrial appeared later) and was repudiated by the execustruggle.
tives of the Miners Federation.
Tuesday the 12th came but the Triple Alliance, The Railway and Transport Workers executives true to form, postponed the strike pending a con grasped at this straw. The opportunity they looked ference between the miners and the government. for was at hand. They urged the miners to go into The miners, however, again refused the terms of conference on the basis of the terms which Hodges the government and the owners, although willing had advanced. The miners, however, rejected their to take a reduction in wages, the reduction to be advice. They refused to retreat, and betray the one established by a sliding scale based on the cost of million workers they represented. Thomas and living. The Triple Alliance then set Friday, April Gosling hastened to write to Lloyd George 15th, as the new strike date. The General Work that the strike had been cancelled that they had ers Federation, with a membership of one and a decided to desert the Miners Federation. The half million, decided to throw in its lot with the treason of the Triple Alliance was complete, and in