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THE BRITISH TRADE-UNION BILL

A HISTORY-MAKING STATUTE

[THE hopeful signs of a dawning era of industrial good will which smiled upon England earlier in the year have suddenly been overclouded by the introduction of the Trade-Union Bill. The Government's proposals have given the Labor Party an issue for the next campaign, and seem to be making capital for its Communist wing. However this may be, the bill is commonly interpreted as the most significant piece of legislation attempted in the United Kingdom since the war. The first half of the following article is a contribution by a writer who signs himself 'A Die-hard' to the April 23 issue of the Outlook. The second is the May Day circular of the Labor Party.]

I

A LITTLE While ago those who listened attentively heard a new theme creep into the Labor symphony-a peculiarly plaintive and wistful little melody, almost a cradle song, on the theme of industrial peace. We could almost imagine the foot of Mr. Thomas on the rocker of the cradle, the finger of Mr. Clynes to his lips. Hush, hush, the tender infant must not be disturbed. It was a tender and exquisite little improvisation, a tranquil, soft, dreamy piece of music, and it was played by an odd coincidence - just at the time the Government must have been considering the draft of its TradeUnion Bill.

Then the bill appeared, and with a crash the music changed. Cymbal and

kettledrum drowned flute and oboe. The babe of industrial peace had not merely been awakened, but was going to be murdered. The Government was treating peace as Macbeth treated sleep-a wanton outrage, an unprovoked attack, a monstrous intrusion upon the tranquil calm of industry.

Our Socialists are expert at creating what is called an atmosphere, whether of peace or war. But I doubt if the country is deceived into forgetting certain facts of the case, both present and past. The leading facts are contained in the history of that portentous organization, the Trade-Union Congress. If we trace that body to its origin we find it in the agitation to turn trade-unions into not merely a political, but a revolutionary, body. One trade-union could negotiate with only one set of employers; could, at the worst, paralyze only one trade. But all the trade-unions together could negotiate not merely with the employers but with the Government, and, if need be, paralyze the nation. Therefore let all the trade-unions come under one hat and be subject to one direction. Long live the Solidarity of the Proletariat! Such was the underlying idea of the Trade-Union Congress -a translation into practice of the class-war thesis of Karl Marx.

The organization was formed almost stealthily, since trade-unions which cherished their independence might easily be alarmed, and added to its powers as occasion was found to hoodwink or cajole the delegates. By

such means a concentration of tradeunion power in the hands of extreme men trade-union Socialists and politicians was effected.

Organizations, like individuals, are known by the company they keep, and we may judge of the purpose in the mind of the Trade-Union Congress from the fact that in April 1925 a secret conference was held in London with Tomskii and other members of the Soviet Government.

What happened at that Conference is not known, but that it was pleasing to the Bolsheviki may be surmised from the fact that several members of our Trade-Union Congress were thereupon created 'honorary members of the Moscow Soviet.'

In the autumn of that same year came the famous Congress at Scarborough, where Tomskii was presented with a gold watch and his wife with a pearl necklace. It has been observed that these trinkets of the bourgeoisie were hardly appropriate gifts to a Communist Commissar, who is not supposed to hold with private property, and who, on the other hand, if he wants a gold watch or a pearl necklace why, he takes it. But that is beside the mark.

The main point is that Tomskii announced in accepting the gift that he and our Trade-Union Congress were very much at one.

These facts should be borne in mind when we come to the events of the General Strike. For it is too easily assumed that the Trade-Union Congress was dragged into that attempt at revolution by its sympathy for the cause of the miners and the dominating character of Mr. Cook. The truth is that the Trade-Union Congress, representing almost the whole trade-union movement, had made its preparations long beforehand in concert with the Minority Movement and with the Soviet

of Moscow. Scarborough was the public celebration of an arrangement secretly made. The General Strike and the Coal Strike were two branches of the same conspiracy. It was in the face of this conspiracy, in which the whole British Trade-Union 'movement' was involved, that the Government decided to go forward with the measure which Mr. Baldwin a year previously had refused to undertake.

It may, however, be objected: Why rake over the past? The Trade-Union Congress has sown its wild oats. It is in a pentitential mood. There is no chance of any such attempt being renewed. As Mr. Clynes has said, the British worker learns by experience.

I have the greatest respect for the British worker his common sense and moderation - when left to himself. But in the hands of his trade-union bosses and professional agitators he is- or seems to be intimidated or charmed out of his true nature. We have then to keep our eye in this question, not on the workingman, who means no harm, but on the clique of trade-union bosses that pulls the strings. Let us remember that the parliamentary Labor Party is in itself in practice subordinate to the TradeUnion Congress, since it depends upon the affiliated trade-unions for its funds. These things being so, it is significant that the Trade-Union Congress recently sent a delegation to Berlin to meet the representatives of the Soviet Government, including Tomskii, the hero of Scarborough. Now, if the Trade-Union Congress is still in touch with the Russian Communists, are we not justified in supposing that its purpose has not changed, and that that purpose is not industrial peace but industrial revolution?

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Socialists is camouflage; and, the second, that the Government is in duty bound to attempt to deal with a power which is conspiring against it and the nation. Whether the bill is adequate to the emergency is another question.

II

ON May Day the workers throughout the world find opportunity to demonstrate their national and international solidarity. It is the festival of the spirit which binds the working people together in comradeship and the unity of a common purpose.

More than ever before, it is necessary for the workers on this May Day to reaffirm their unity and their devotion to Labor's cause.

Long-established rights and legal powers, won by the trade-unions by years of struggle and sacrifice, are imperiled by the Government's Trade Disputes and Trade-Unions Bill.

A dangerous attack has been launched upon the workers' organizations by the powerful employers' associations and reactionary class influences which control the Tory Government.

Their aim is to deprive the workers, by Act of Parliament, of their strongest weapons of defense against exploitation and oppression. The trade-unions are to be fettered by legal restrictions upon the right to strike, the right to picket, the right to use union funds for union purposes, the right of trade-unionists to associate with one another and to act together in pursuit of a common policy by lawful means.

The blow is aimed at the fundamental principle of trade-unionism — the principle of combination by the workers who share a common experience of toil and hardship, exposed to the risks of unemployment, of wage cuts, of unjust and oppressive conditions of labor, no matter in what

industry or trade they are employed.

Those who have grown wealthy and powerful by exploitation of the producers hate and fear the unity and discipline of the Trade-Union movement. They know that the strength of the organized workers is their solidarity, their loyalty and devotion to the organizations they have created. They seek to destroy these organizations, not by frontal attacks which the mass of wage-earners can understand and repel, but by mean and malicious attempts to undermine the spirit that has united the workers.

The Government's bill offers incitement and encouragement to tradeunionists to betray their fellow members, and to bring divisions and dissensions into the unions.

It exposes to the peril of criminal prosecution, to fine or imprisonment, those who take part in any strike or stoppage of work which can be declared illegal within the meaning of the bill.

It places in the hands of the police, of magistrates, of judges, the power of deciding whether workmen who cease work in protest against injustice or unfair treatment from employers are to be punished as criminals. It disables the trade-unions from using their funds or their power of effective action to defend their own members when such legal decision has been given. Remember the Taff Vale Case! Remember the Osborne Judgment! Remember the pronouncement of Mr. Justice Astbury!

In countless instances it has been proved that the law can be twisted to penalize the workers and to paralyze the action of their organizations when industrial disputes arise. This bill increases these legal dangers for the trade-unions a thousandfold.

The bill denies to workers in the Civil Service freedom of association with their fellow workers outside the

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service. The Civil Service unions are not to have the assistance of other unions in their efforts to improve conditions of employment under the Crown, and are not to be allowed to assist their fellow trade-unionists outside the service, although conditions in other employment are used as an argument against Civil Service workers.

The bill strikes a heavy blow, also, at the political rights of the tradeunions. It is intended to injure and impoverish the Labor Party by making it difficult for the unions to collect political contributions from their members. It does more it strikes at the whole of the political activities of the trade-unions.

To disable the Labor Party, the rich men who have dictated the terms of the bill are attempting to prevent the unions from collecting the political contributions their members have, by ballot, decided to make for the lawful political objects the unions are entitled by Act of Parliament to pursue.

poor party which carries on its work by modest contributions from tradeunionists.

The trade-unions make no concealment of their political funds.

The Labor Party collects its funds in the light of day.

The parties opposed to the tradeunions and the Labor Party are financed from secret sources they dare not reveal.

They have millions at their disposal. Are the adversaries of Labor to have the right of obstructing the collection of political funds by the working people, to interfere with the arrangements of the unions for gathering the pennies of their members in order to maintain the Labor Party, while rich men may make large secret contributions to the organizations engaged in fighting the Labor Party and to disable the trade-unions?

Workers! Your enemies use every unfair weapon against you. Meet their unscrupulous, mean, and malignant attack by resolute and united

The party of the rich is trying to opposition! Rally round your leaders! cripple the party of the poor.

A rich party, financed by secret funds derived from the sale of honors and from large subsidies subscribed by wealthy men, is trying to disable a

Your loyalty to the union is the union's strongest weapon. Your devotion to your Party is the Party's guaranty of defeat for your enemies and triumph for your cause.

VOL. 332- NO. 4307

INCIDENTS AND INTERPRETATIONS

FROM OUR POLITICAL SCRAPBOOK

I. AMERICANS IN CHINA 1

THERE are approximately twelve thousand American citizens residing in China, exclusive of some twelve hundred American citizens of Chinese race who reside chiefly in Hongkong and Canton. Of the twelve thousand American residents of China, some seven thousand are adults, the remainder, or five thousand, being children. This editorial is addressed to the adults, not the children.

At the present time the Americans residing in China occupy a peculiarly difficult and trying position due to the fact that, while America is a party to the old treaties which were negotiated many years ago, nevertheless American policy toward China is quite different from that of other Powers which have territorial concessions in China. At the Washington Conference the American Government tried in every way possible to induce the Powers to meet China's demands for treaty revision, and succeeded to a certain extent. A great deal was done at the Washington Conference to reëstablish China's administrative and territorial integrity. For example, the foreign postal agencies were withdrawn; unauthorized troops stationed in China were withdrawn; the Shantung case was settled to China's satisfaction, and in general the foundation was laid for improving China's international status. The Washington Conference failed in two important re

From the China Weekly Review (Shanghai American English-language weekly), March 19

spects in meeting China's wishes. These failures pertain to tariff revision and extraterritoriality, but America was responsible for neither of these failures. Tariff revision was held up for over four years because one of the Powers, France, refused to ratify the Washington Treaties; and revision of extraterritoriality was delayed largely on account of conditions in China, none of the Powers wishing to forgo protection of their nationals so long as China was an armed camp with irresponsible militarists dominating the land and overriding the Chinese laws, courts, and Constitution. Now, in view of the fact that China is giving promise of early unification, the American Government is taking steps to meet China's desires. Secretary Kellogg has announced his willingness to revise the Sino-American Treaty, and, of more importance, a measure was introduced, and nearly passed, in the last session of Congress, which was intended to effect a complete revision of the Sino-American treaty pertaining to tariff control and extraterritoriality. The only difference between the intentions of Congress and the State Department is that Congress, being nearer to the American people, desires to go further than the State Department. But, regardless of this difference, there can be no misunderstanding, of America's intentions in respect to China.

On the whole, American policy toward China in connection with the present situation has been generally good. America has sent a naval and

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