John Maclean Internet Archive
Transcribed by the John Maclean Internet Archive

The Coal Situation

by John Maclean

Source: “The Coal Situation”, The Call, 6 March 1919, p.1, (759 words)
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Chris Clayton
Copyleft: John Maclean Internet Archive ( 2007. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

On the heels of the offer of 5s. a week added to their wages, Mr. Lloyd George throws at the miners a Commission under Judge Sankey. William Brace asked for the Commission’s report on hours and wages on March 12th, three days fore the miners’ notice to strike was up was satisfied a with a report on March 20th, five days after the notice to strike terminates. Mr. Brace, along with m Richards, went to South Wales and urged the miners to vote against, a strike. It may be forgotten that Mr. Brace was for time Under Secretary at the Home Office, a position he occupied at a tine the South Wales miners found it more than ever necessary to be on their guard against the army of agents provocateurs employed by the Government in the interests of the mine owners. One can readily realise that Brace’s pressure for a report on March 12th was a sham, and that he was only too anxious to defer the strike till after March 20th in the hope that it would not come off.

Government agents have also got at some of the other miners’ leaders and convinced them that Bolshevists are responsible for the attitude of the miners, and that their object is revolution and not merely a slight improvement in the miners’ lot. These leaders will do anything to stave off a fight. This compromising Commission offer them a means of salvation. These men were the most active in inducing the miners to fight for British against German capitalism in the late war, and they are just as intent on seeing the British working class pay a perpetual indemnity to the British capitalist class in the form of the interest on the National Debt of eight thousand million pounds — an indemnity placed on the workers because Lloyd George won the war.

The miners’ leaders will fail far fear of Revolution. It is thus all the more necessary that the unofficial movement prepare itself to carry on the fight independently — for the fight must go on. As long as British capitalism actively tries to crush the triumphant workers of Russia and the Spartacists of Germany, it is the duty of the fighting workers here to keep British capitalism busy.

Readers should stamp it into their minds that this preparation for the class war is not the exclusive business of the miners. The miners are but the vanguard of the workers, and they rightly expect that if they accept the dangerous front-rank position other workers will determinedly back them up.

Therefore, all readers of “The Call” should force the pace inside their respective workshops and unions, and see that their fellows demand a thirty-hour week maximum, with a wage having a higher purchasing power than their wages had in 1914.

If the present pressure on the capitalists is to be effective it must not be the pressure of a million miners but of at least ten million workers; in other words, it must be a full working-class pressure. To achieve this it is not necessary to have the machinery of industrial unionism: all that is required is the class spirit and unity of demand.

Undoubtedly, the majority of the leaders will help the capitalists. That will be all to the good for the sooner they are discredited the better for the continuance of the fight. Win or lose, the workers must return to the assault again and again and every time with a stiffer demand. We must not be afraid of the cry that the country will be insolvent, since approximately all interest to meet the National Debt is taken from the workers to put into the pockets of the capitalist parasites. The national insolvency of which the capitalist Press speaks will occur when the workers refuse to work long hours for low wages to feed the plundering capitalists and their hangers-on. Equally we must spurn the suggestion that our fight will help America in the race for markets. We have seen the same race between Germany and Britain leaden to the world’s bloodiest war, and we can confidently expect the race already started to lead on to conflict with America in about five years should be inspired by the world-market monopoly bogey to fight all the more unitedly and fiercely, in the sure and certain hope that the American workers and ourselves will paralyse the capitalism of both countries, take power, and with our comrades everywhere run the world for the world’s workers.