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On the Wrong Track

Arthur Horner, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1946 to 1959 and a leading member of the Communist Party died on September 4 at the age of 74. We do not doubt his sincerity but his life shows what mistakenly believing Socialism to exist in Russia can lead to. We give below an extract from his obituary in (The Times 5/9/68) which shows how the so-called Communist Party's anti-war stand and industrial militancy comes and goes in accordance with the foreign policy interests of state capitalist Russia. Horner incidentally, to his credit, opposed the first World War and was thrown into jail for doing so; but in the second: "When the civil war broke out in Spain, he came out solidly on behalf of the Spanish Government, declaring that it was not merely a rehearsal ground for the next world war but an important stage in the class-struggle which transcended national frontiers. He brought all the aid he could to the International Brigade and on one occasion toured the battlefront. In general his policy was naturally the same as the Communist Party's which he personally expressed by supporting any move which made for increased friendship with Russia and combined action to prevent aggression."

"When the war came he sincerely believed that the situation had suddenly altered and that it began another pointless struggle between rival imperialist powers rather than as a fight to preserve freedom and democracy. However by 1941 and with the attack on Russia he was using all his influence to raise coal production. He attacked the Government's wartime policy of ‘Dual Control’ of the mines which he said meant that the main responsibility for production remained with the owners, and called for the earliest possible nationalisation of the whole industry and, as an important first step forward, the maximum use of the pit committees. At the same time he was careful to condemn absenteeism and unofficial strikes, saying that although the Government and the owners were usually to blame, the men should resist provocation to strike."