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The toiler. (Cleveland, Ohio) 1919-1922, September 10, 1920, Image 12

Image and text provided by Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88078683/1920-09-10/ed-1/seq-12/

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The Needs for Industrial Preparedness
(Reprinted from the Glasgow "Worker")
The Need for Unity. The cumbrous weapon of craft unionism.
Never at any time in our history has the What ever else might he said in favour of
need for an understanding among tho various present day Trade Unionism, it can hardly be said
grades of workers been so pressing as it is to- that its organisation is favourable to quick and
day. Not only are all our wage demands being resolute action on a large scale. The constitutions
flouted, not only has official Trade Unionism of most unions were elaborated during a
been fought to a standstill at home, but behind period when the union leaders were just beginn
the scenes the diplomats are plotting to embroil ing to build up those financial reserves, now de
us in a new European massacre on behalf of in- posited in the war loan, or in some other kind of
ternational Capitalism. Whether the criminally- Capitalist business, of which the older members
minded scoundrels who are engaged in fomething of the union are so justly proud. Any striking on
this plot will hold their hands at the eleventh the part of the rank and file was a hindrance to
hour, or whether they will set in motion a Eu- the fund-accumulating tendencies of the union,
repeal) program against Bolshevism, involving the and the average Trade Union constitution gene
lives of thousands of better men than themselves, rally consists of an elaborate set of obstacles
is not at the moment qute clear. What is clear placed in the way of a spontaneous strike. If a
is that the working class of Great Britain are grievance arises affecting the workers in any
in outlook and organisation but poorly equipped industry covered by several unions, the consti
for protecting themselves from the gibbering in- tutions of those bodies are so diverse, the agree
sanity of the military party in Britain. They are ments with the employers are so arranged as to
handicapped by their old Trade Union outlook, expire at different times, the jealousies of the
which regards the industrial organisations of officials are so intense, that common action is
the workers as being purely organisations to be almost impossible, and each union sets out in an
used in squabbling about wages and hours, and unsatisfactory manner to try and get the griev
to use them for any other purpose is regarded ance remedied on "its own."
as an outrageous violation of the principles of Even within the average union it is difficult
Trade Unionism as embodied in the rule book. If to bring the men rapidly into line. Before action
the bosses reduce your wages, why, strike like is possible a ballot must be taken. Several weeks
hell about it, but if their puppet Government are lost in taking the ballot, and the emploqers
proposes to grab the young men of the country have ample time to take steps to safeguard them
and send them to be blown into smithereens an selves from the blow which they feel to be im
the plains of Poland on behalf of the most vil- pending.
lainous clique of international financial vampires The mobility of labour's enemies,
who ever polluted the earth, why, that's a polit- On the other hand the classes in the country
ical question outside the scope of Trades Unionism, who are opposed to the workers can generally
We must insist that this attitude is at once il- mobilise all their forces very quickly in a period
logical and cowardly. The workers' organisations of industrial or social crisis. During such periods
should be used to protect their lives and happiness the State and the local authorities become the
as well as protecting the current rate of wage, natural rallying points for all the defenders of
and the workers should be so organised that they the existing system. They can rally round them,
can bring their full industrial strength to bear as the.v did, during the late railway strike and
when any issue arises without loss of time. The immediately be given a part to play in the strug-
less time we give the other side to draw up plans gle. The workers on the other hand have no
of campaign and arrange their dispositions in single body speaking authoritatively for Labour
order to beat us the more effective will our either locally or nationally. They have no rallying
action be. point at all, and are therefore but ill equipped

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