15 APRIL 1938, Page 30


In this addition to the New People's Library series (Gollanez, is. 6d.) Mr. John A. Mahon puts forward what is substantially the left-wing point of view on Trade Unionism in Britain. In a chapter on the growth of Trade Unions he lays emphasis on motives of class-struggle in the Owenite, Chartist, and Socialist movements of the nineteenth century, and characterises non- revolutionary tendencies as due to ignorance by the workers of the class nature of capitalist government. The Marxist view of the State, as reflecting the interests solely of a class in power, governs the author's analysis, and he looks with suspicion on Parliamentary reforms or State intervention in the problems of industry. This approach leads him to condemn the policy of modern Trade Union leaders who have been willing to collabo- rate with employers and with the government ; to neglect what improvements they have won for the workers ; and to declare that they are on the road to Fascism, in which the independence of the Trade Union movement is completely destroyed. While the author's fear that Trade Union machinery here may become absorbed into that of a centralised State has some basis in fact, particularly in regard to the situation in war-time, yet he nowhere comes to grips with the democratic solution. He avoids the fundamental problems of workers' control in public enterprise, and describes the status of Trade Unions in U.S.S.R. in such a way that their subordination to the State power is conveniently covered.