Newspaper Page Text
No. 147. 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 ignored. - -mm 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.