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Image provided by: Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH
Newspaper Page Text
CLEVELAND, OHIO, SATURDAY, NOV. 27. 1920.
Price Five Cents.
THE "DATUM LINE" and the "CONCORDAT"
By H. D. Wendell.
Two notable industrial upheavals have settled
down. Two more compromises have been effect
ed. The Italian "seizures" have been relinquished
upon acceptance of Premier Giolitti's "Concordat".
The British miners have returned to work upon
the basis of Lloyd George's "Datum Line".
The radicals of both countries looked upon
these fresh outbreaks as teeming with revolution
ary possibilities. Thanks to the "sabotage" of Bri
tish labor leaders on the one hand and the fail
ure of syndicalist tactics on the other, both
amounted to little more than added experience in
the class war. The efforts of the rank and file in
these countries, however, were not for nothing:
they may be considered as out-line skirmishes
of great battles to come.
In recent turbulences of this kind, new de
velopments are noted. Governments are begin
ning to lose their obscurity as capitalist class in
struments in industrial fights. With the increas
ing intensity of the class struggle, the capitalist
state is obliged to assume more and more the re
sponsibilities that rest upon it in upholding
the present order. Thus we see that in England,
Lloyd George represented the coal operators, and
in Italy, Giolitti spoke for the metal magnates. It
was only by extraordinary diplomacy and self im
posed restraint, that the Government of Italy was
able to avert open warfare between it and the
workers. In presenting the "Datum Line", Lloyd
George posed as an uninterested arbiter, but when
this offering Is viewed in the proper light it is
seen to be another capitalist sop.
The sinister "Datum Line"
The "Datum Line" is an arrangement by
means of which wages are determined by the to
tal national output of coal. The assumption is
that the miners are principally responsible for the
rise and fall of output. The many other factors
that may affect production are not considered.
Over a year ago the miners requested that the
government make inquiry into the decline in out
put that existed at that time. The request was
Since the wages of the miners are to be
determined by the TOTAL national output, there
is great danger oi a division in tneir own ramcs
if one coal district produces more than another.
But this is just what Mr. George wants.
To many of the miners it was clear that this
proposal was a flagrant violation of the principle
of the living wage: that wages should be estimat
ed by the human needs of labor and not by the
selling price or the output of coal.
For these reasons the measure was met with
popular disaproval by the rank and file. The slown
ess of the federation executives to exploit favor
able situations, their incessant compromising
sessions in Downing Street, the failure of the rail
waymen to enforce a sympathetic strike because
of the sabotaging tricks of Thomas and other
bourgeois tools and, finally, the Government's
consent to grant a two shilling increase until the
"Datum Line" could be put into action these
were the causes of the apathy and disgust that
led the miners back to their "holes in the ground".
When the vote was taken to return to work,
it showed an eight thousand majority against re
turning, but the rules of the organization provide
for two thirds majority and the executives issued
a call for return. This, in itself, shows that the
miners are very much dissatisfied. There has
been a date set for the "Datum Line" system to
start, whether or not the miners will accept it is
for the future to slrow.