Foreword

FOREWORD

A few words are necessary to explain how this pamphlet came to be written. All the suggestions in the preamble, programme, constitution, and policy have been sent from one lodge or another, through their districts to the Executive of the South Wales Miners' Federation. The Executive appointed a sub committee to sit on them and draft out a programme. This programme was submitted to the Federation "Reform" Conference in March, 1911. It consisted of a recommendation to increase the contribution to 2/- per month, and a very worthless and highly bureaucratic scheme of centralization. The people responsible for the resolutions from the lodges realized that it was hopeless to expect any reform from that quarter, and in the course of time they got together and held meetings in every part of the coalfield. The net results of these meetings are contained in the two following resolutions:-

1. Realizing that no one lodge or district can be expected to devote sufficient time to work out the details of such a comprehensive scheme as the reorganisation of the Federation, this meeting decides to give up its time to organise sections in every part of the coalfield for the purpose of taking on this highly essential work.
2. That a draft of our proposals be sent to each section in Monmouthshire Eastern and Western Valleys, Swansea and district, Merthyr and Aberdare and district, and the Rhondda districts. That they be asked to sit, deliberate, and suggest improvements; hold a series of joint meetings; and eventually to meet in conference at Cardiff, to submit their findings, and to abide by the decisions the Conference will arrive at.
3. For the last four or five months this has been done. Hundreds of men (trade union officials, executive members, and workmen) have given up their time and money to this work. It was soon realized that an explanatory statement was necessary to accompany our proposals, and so this pamphlet was written. No name appears on the pamphlet, as it is not the work of any one man, but if it is criticized as it ought to be, and no doubt will be, there will be no lack of men to take up its defence. We venture to think this is a record for a democratic work of an entirely voluntary character.

In conclusion, let us again emphasise, as it is emphasised in the pamphlet, that this work is not offered as a hard and fast, or dogmatic scheme, which the workmen must accept. It is offered in the spirit of brotherhood, as a guide to the workmen, in the necessary work of putting their house in order. Hundreds of men all over the coalfield stretch out their hands to the workmen and say:- "Here is the best product of our time and thought, which we freely offer as an expression of our oneness of heart and interest as a section of the working class. Do what you will with it, modify, or (we hope) improve, but at least give it your earnest consideration."

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libcom
Apr 9 2005 12:52

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