John Maclean Internet Archive
Transcribed by the John Maclean Internet Archive

Coal and Cotton

by John Maclean

Source: “Coal and Cotton”, (letter) The Call, 20 March 1919, p.6, (418 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.

Comrade, m— After a week’s meetings amongst the cotton weavers of North-East. Lancashire for the purpose of establishing unofficial town committees, representative of all works and all occupations in each town, though mainly cotton weaving, I had the great pleasure of addressing a large conference of those most keenly interested in the movement in the I.L.P. Rooms, Burnley, on Saturday, March 15th. Nelson and Burnley Committees have already issued excellent manifestos explaining the industrial unionist method of organisation, and the control-of-industry objective.

I could not wait to learn the various decisions of the conference, but the idea of summoning a conference of all in the cotton trade interested in the unofficial movement at a very early date met with enthusiastic approval. Such a conference would knit together the movement in cotton-land, and be the instrument to force the Cotton Federation to adopt a programme in line with that of the miners. Meantime, groups ought to send resolutions through their union branches demanding, the Federation to abandon the claim for a forty-four hour week and to adopt the thirty-hour week, with such wage adjustments as will enable all to get a standard of living higher than that obtaining in July, 1914. Coal and cotton in the past have united at Trade Union Congresses as a reactionary deadweight. Now that coal is giving the lead, let us hope that cotton will take the hint and unite for progress. If comrades and groups act immediately they ensure new and healthy solidarity of cotton and coal.

The proposal of half-control with the Government by the miners in the nationalised coal Industry, placed before the Coal Commission by Mr. Straker, ought to inspire comrades to forge ahead with the workshop committee idea, and should let Lancashire lads see the immediate power they can wield if they move forward as boldly and swiftly as the ‘unofficial miners’ have; for be it ever remembered that the present coal splash is the result of the intelligent rank and file efforts.

Is it too much to ask comrades in the West Riding of Yorkshire to beat Lancashire? I fancy Fred Shaw and Halifax might take the lead as Hutchinson and Nelson have on The Ribble. I shall be in South Yorkshire the last week of March, and would be only too pleased to address a conference on Saturday, March 29th, in Order to get wool on the right road to the Revolution. Yorkshire, it is never too late to mend.

Yours fraternally,