246 THE CLASS STRUGGLE liver those speeches here. find that this change in temper, generally speaking, applies to every district in which have been during the past few months, Though it is well known everywhere what my views are, and that have been and am in direct opposition to the vast majority of the national trade union leaders of the country, am receiving hundreds of letters from branch trade unions and local trade and labor councils to address meetings, The rank and file of the workers are changing their minds far more rapidly upon the question of the necessity for pushing in the direction of an early peace than are the old leaders. am convinced that the pressure from the rank and file will within a very short time force a change, if not in the opinions at least in the expressions of many of the leaders of the trade union movement.
There will not be this change in Scotland or Wales, because in those twa countries the men have been anxious for peace negotiations for a considerable time. The same thing my be said of Northumberland. But the change which have described as taking place in Nottingham is going forward in Durham, Yorkshire, Stafiordshire and Derbyshire. have watched the change in my own county (Lanarlrshire) and there it is very marked. Two years ago, though am a trusted and favorite servant of the men, and they would not like to do anything that would seem to injure or ofl end me, remember that in our conferences the vast majority of the delegates were fight to tbe finish and knock out blow men. have watched the change carefully, and venture to say that the question of the earliest possible peace by negotiation, without annexation or indemnity, would be carried in Lanarkshire almost to a man. There is certainly a strong feeling in the districts of the county and in the conferences where the branch delegates meet against any more men being taken from the mines.
The feeling is that peace could be secured if the British government were anxious to bring about an early settlement of the war.
Cause: of the Change The first cause of this change has been a natural one. We have been three and a half years in the most terrible war ever seen. Every village has its widows and orphans and mothers who have lost their sons. There is undoubtedly a war wearinessr Then the greed of the capitalist class and the profiteers has been another fruitful cause for bringing the people to look for peace. And the hideous mistakes which have undoubtedly been made, the blunders by some of our higher commands which have meant the useless slaughter of so many of the rank and file Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and the latest at Cambrai have added to the causes. These have all DOCUMENTS 247 tended to make people tired of the thing; the food shortage, women and children standing in queues have added to it.
But probably the chief cause of the change which has taken place in the minds of our people has been that they have come to find out through recent revelations in Russia that to a very great extent we were misled at the outbreak of the war, that we have not been in it solely because Belgium was invaded, but that there are many other factors, Our capitalist classes and great armament firms and the jingo imperialists with their greed for new lands to exploit and de velop a greed common to Russia, Germany, Austria, Italy, France and ourselves they were all in it were desirous of laying their hands on the possessions of other more primitive peoples. When you recall how Russia and ourselves divided Persia, how Germany wished for Bagdad and we sought to prevent it out, all of us, for mineral resources and oil those were the real causes. And there is now an extraordinary number of our work people that are reading those facts and spreading them among their fellows. Our people, in growing numbers, have come to the conclusion that so far as the working people of Germany are concerned they are pretty much the same as ourselves, and there is no real cause for war between us. must admit that to me it has been rather amazing that all the efiorts of the jingo imperialistic press to get up a bitter hatred against the German and Austrian people amongst the workers of this country have utterly failed. There is a hatred of the Junker and military class of Germany, and there is a growing bitterness against the same class in our own country. Our people to a very great extent believed that the very strength of the German military machine was proof that she was preparing for years for an attack on her near neighbors.
But now, from the information that has leaked out, our people are realizing that Germany great preparations may have been caused by her fear that combinations and preparations outside her own borders made it inevitable that she should prepare for a combined attack.
The difficulty has been that up to the present time the governments of the opposing nations have managed to make their own peoples believe that they are fighting a defensive war and not one of aggression. That is the reason why working class opinion has not been more strongly expressed. If we can prove to the German people that the democracy of this country is not out to smash Germany as a nation and cut 05 Germany from free commerce with the rest of the world if we can prove that we are out to rebuild the world nationally and internationally on lines of brotherhood and lasting peace if we can prove to them that our ultimate aims are in keeping with the proposals of the best of the Russian revolutionists, for the final establishment of the co operative commonwealth, and the rights of