More joy for miners
The Daily News “Trade Survey” is a column always worth reading. Take that of June 6, for instance. You will there discover that our coal export trade is, in a manner of speaking, going rapidly to pot. According to the returns, our coal exports for April were 24 per cent. less than last year’s monthly average and the worst for two years. What has happened? This :— Since the collapse of passive resistance in the
“Ruhr, France, Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg have been obtaining from Germany a large amount of the coal supplies they were previously compelled to obtain from Great Britain. Last year France and Luxembourg were able to extract from German sources only 420,000 tons a month on an average. In April of the present year the amount received was more than 1,300,000 tons.
Continental countries outside Germany are winning coal from their own territories on an increasing scale. The mines of Northern France are back again practically to the pre-war rate of prodution ; Holland and Belgium are producing at more than the pre-war rate.”
This is good news indeed for the miner. Those who formed part of the late Miners’ Battalion will feel especially ecstatic. Those who are satisfied with Capitalism are about to experience another example of its manifold benefits to the working class in general and the miners in particular. We may as well complete the quotation :—
“Those who take a pessimistic view point out that more distant markets, such as South Africa, India, and the Far East are drawing less on British and more on their native sources of supply; that the navies of the world were in pre-war times coal-driven, and are now oil-driven, while oil bunkers are becoming steadily more popular in the mercantile marine.”
Of course there is a moral. In fact, two. Perhaps you would like to hear the Daily News man’s first:—
“The moral is that, as British coal has much less of a monopoly in various markets of the world than in pre-war days, every effort should be made to sell at a competitive price which, in turn, involves the adoption of the most efficient and economical means of production at home in, and the consent of the workers, if need be, to possible sacrifices as regards wages and hours of labour.“
“If need be?” “Need” will “be” all right, one may depend. You may or may not like that moral. This is the other : As the coal mines are owned by a small and useless group of people who only allow them to be used when a profit to themselves is assured, and who, further, take advantage of our propertyless condition to hire us for the price of subsistence; and as, further, the whole of industry is run upon the same basis, we will join with our fellow slaves in all occupations, and seizing the mines, the railways, the land and the factories, will become our own masters and abolish the
rule of the few.
We hope you like the second moral better.
(Socialist Standard, August 1924)