John Maclean Internet Archive
Transcribed by the John Maclean Internet Archive

The Coal Compromise

by John Maclean

Source: “The Coal Compromise”, The Call, 27 March 1919, p.5, (573 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.

As most intelligent workers anticipated, the Government has met the miners half way, and the press has been turned on to convince “the public” that the Government has granted huge concessions to the men by offering a 7-hour day and 20 per cent. increase of wages. As one in touch with the rebels amongst the miners, I know that huge masses of the men are against the acceptance of a compromise. Many, however, who voted for a strike on the advice of the Federation’s Executive may be prepared to accept the offer if the Executive advises acceptance. The chief duty of the “reform movement” amongst the miners must be immediate effort to prevent the Executive from climbing down before the Government. This can be best done by at once communicating with the M.F.G.B.’s Secretary and organising mass meetings to stir up rank and file resistance to compromise.

The Executive, on the other hand, may feel justified in taking another ballot on the issue of acceptation or a strike. Several “reform” miners have expressed themselves strongly against a second ballot in view of the overwhelming majority in favour of a strike for the winning of the Southport programme.

Viewing the matter from the class standpoint, that the miners in the present issue are but the vanguard of the whole working class, I should advise support of a second ballot. This would give the “reform movement” the best opportunity of rousing their comrades to vote against the Government’s decision, and they would gain vast influence by pointing out that the United Mine Workers of America had now been stirred up to accept the Southport programme as theirs as well — tremendous achievement in itself since the Government and the capitalist witnesses before the Coal Commission contrasted American with British miners, to the detriment of the latter.

It would also justify the “reform movement” holding a conference of representatives from all the coalfields to formulate a joint line of action in the case of any eventuality at all.

As a last resort, the “reform movement” may have to call the miners out in defiance of the leaders and the Executive. To do so successfully, joint agreement and action are necessary, and to secure these a conference must be convened by some section of the fighters. Attention must be paid to arousing the support of all other sections of the workers, without whom no immediate concessions can be gained and without whom no revolution in the system of production and distribution of wealth is possible. The “reform” men should remember that no compromise was shown by the Government and the capitalists on the Clyde during the recent strike and that twelve workers are awaiting trial at Edinburgh on Monday, April 7th, because the police battered the heads of innocent people. They should also remember that the Government is showing no mercy to the triumphant Russian workers who are prevented from getting machinery, seed, etc., from the Scandinavian countries on account of the British Government’s threats and grip on the sea-trade of these petty powers. Let there be no compromise on our side either, now that British capitalism is faced with a situation that, we trust, will break it up for good — the good of the world’s wage slaves.

On with the fight, boys, on with the fight, but with such skill, power, and determination as will lead to ultimate triumph.