Answers to Corrrespondents
W.T.S. (Crewe).—Irrespective of our opinion in the matter, the General Secretary and Executive Committee of the A.S.R.S. are condemned out of their own months. In April last they issued a manifesto to Railwaymen in which they said “The delegates” (at Birmingham in November, 1906) “also decided that all negotiations relative to the men’s conditions shall be conducted through the Head Office, and the General Secretary of the Society. It may at once be definitely accepted that until this is done the men cannot hope for any great or substantial reforms.” The italics are ours. The income of the Union in 1906 was £82,978 6s. 0d. and the expenditure £50,813 1s. 1d., of which £25,214 0s 8d. was paid to members in benefits, £69 17s. 0d. in contributions to other Unions, and £25,529 3s. 5d. went in salaries of officers and other expenses of management.
J.B. (Manchester),—At the 1903 Newcastle Conference of the L.R.C. the constitution was revised, but has not since been altered. Candidates pledge themselves to accept the constitution, and “to abstain strictly from identifying themselves with or promoting the interests of any section of the Liberal or Conservative parties.” At that Conference it was moved by Mr. John Hodge (Steel Smelters) and seconded by Mr. C. Freak (Boot & Shoe Operatives) “That this Labour Representation Conference, representing nearly a million organised workers, unanimously endorses the candidature of Wm. Crooks, L.C.C., for the bye-election at Woolwich, rejoices in the chance of tha return of another member to Parliament who accepts the Constitution of the Committee, and begs every workman in the division to vote for Crooks.” This resolution was carried with one dissentient. The Constitution was revised after the passing of this resolution. At the fourth Conference (Bradford, 1904) the Executive gave the result of the bye-election, describing Mr. Crooks as the L.R.C. candidate and included him in their list of L.R.C. candidates for the next elections. His name also appeared in the next annual report as a candidate and in the following one as an L.R.C. Member of Parliament. Mr. Crooks received £200 from the Committee for his salary for 1906, and presumably, therefore, he was taking the money of the L.R.C. at the time he sent the letter in support of Mr. Hamar Greenwood at York. No member’s salary is paid until he has signed the Constitution.
M.B. (Manchester).—It was stated by Reynold’s Newspaper of January 14th, 1906 that, among other “Socialists,” E. Belfort Bax, J. F. Green, and A. S. Headingley, all of the S.D.F., were members of the National Liberal Club, and that before being elected, every candidate must take a pledge that he will support the principles of the Liberal Party. Mr. Bax makes no secret of his membership. In the Social Democrat for July, 1902, J. B. Askew wrote : “It certainly seems curious that Bax, who is so severe on Bernstein, finds it consistent with his hatred of Liberalism to remain a member of a club which makes it a condition of membership that a member should recognise the principles of the Liberal Party . . . But then, are not the armchairs comfortable, and the whisky good ?” In the following issue Bax replied as follows: “Those members of the S.D.F. (and they count among them men who have certainly paid their tribute to the Cause in the past) who like myself are members of the N.L.C.,” etc. We believe that Mr. H. M. Hyndman is also a member. At any rate he was one of the speakers on May 25th, 1906, when Mr. W. M. Thompson was the guest at a dinner of the Club. Mr. Hyndman spoke after John Burns ! A. Hayday, S.D.F., is president of the South West Ham Radical Club of which W. Thorne and J. Jones are also members.
S.T. (Glasgow).—The S.D.F. “demand” is for “compulsory military training” and this cannot be had without military discipline. The S.D.F. must recognise this, because in that weird document which they term their programme they declare for the abolition of standing armies (number not stated) and the establishment of national citizen forces (number also omitted) and afterwards the abolition of courts-martial; all offences against discipline to be transferred to the jurisdiction of civil courts. So that they anticipate there will be offences against discipline even when they have national citizen forces.