28 MAY 1921, Page 10

[To mz Horroa or THE " Sescresoa."1

Sin,—In reference to your article on May 14th on this subject, it may interest your readers to know that nine months ego an organization on almost identical lines to that desiderated in your columns was in fact formed in Glasgow. A meeting was called during the strike of 'last autumn, and the following resolution was carried unanimously :—

"This meeting resolves, in the interest of public safety, to form a preliminary committee to make arrangements -for the preparation of a roll of all persons willing to place their services so far as possible at the disposal of the Imperial or Civil Authorities in the event of a civil emergency."

Thereafter a statement of policy was framed and approved (in terms of the annexed copy) at a general meeting of members on the roll.

A large number of public-epirited citizens have been enrolled, and they are classified on cards. The idea of the promoters has been just as indicated in your article, that it is too late to organize after the strike takes

place. On these cards there are now, in classified form, hundreds of motor drivers, heavy and light, railway workers, engineer and electrical workers, and any number of members who can do either manual or clerical work. On the occasion of the two last strikes a number of specially selected members were actually standing by, on the eve of the strike, ready to act as railwaymen (drivers and stokers) and motor drivers, but their services were not actually called upon owing to cancella- tion or settlement. In the present dockers' strike in this city the organization has come into full operation. This strike was a deliberate attempt to coerce the community by blockade or embargo, and it was no doubt hoped that the strike would spread to other parts of the country. Within thirty-six hours of the dockers' lightning strike the organization had supplied over a hundred men to unload food cargoes. Every day since then further parties of volunteers have been drafted to the docks, until at the moment of writing there are over 1,500, of whom the great majority have been supplied by the Roll of Voluntary Workers.

Needless to say, the action of the Roll of Voluntary Workers or, rather, the success which has attended its efforts, has aroused a storm of abuse, and the Daily Herald has honoured the Roll of Voluntary Workers by publishing a column of angry denunciation and inaccuracies. The office for enrolment is picketed all day, and after office hours on one occasion the place was raided and the caretaker forced to open the premises. Fortunately all the papers and records had been removed pre- viously, so this contemptible action met with no success.

May I quote a paragraph from a circular issued last December, which I think concisely summarizes the objects of such an organization?— " From time to time the vital services of the community are interrupted by strikes. Unless active assistance is given by members of the community, the supply of food and other necessaries may be absolutely cut off. The Government of the day may have the material and the means of transport, but they cannot have the personnel. It is our aim to enrol that personnel, classify the volunteers according to their skill, and band over definite Rolls of Voluntary Workers to the authorities whenever any emergency arises."

In point of fact the committee have done more than the para- graph indicated, since their success at the beginning of the strike has rendered it unnecessary, for the Government to take any action towards recruitment of labour, and the committee have not only tabled their roll, but have called out their members, enlisted hundreds more, and drafted them each day to the docks. All classes are represented, and the community has demonstrated in a small way not only that it is prepared to take action to protect itself, but that such action can, with a little preparation, be made completely effective.

I venture to hope. thatthis illustration of a "League of Good Citizens". in actual operation will encourage the formation of similar committees in every town in the country. The deter- rent effect produced by the mere formation of such committees would, I believe in many ORSON prevent the extremist section of the trade union leaders from rushing headlong into strikes, which in many cases are called more to gratify the sense of power dear to the heart of officials than for the furtherance of their. constituents' real interests.—I am, Sir, &,c.,


(1) We believe that with the franchise so fully extended as it is at present to both sexes, there is no justification for the attempts recently made to carry by Direct Action what cannot be secured through the ballot box. (2) We believe that the present condition of affairs in the industrial world constitutes a grave menace to the community, Inasmuch as, by the action of extremists, various sections of the people endeavour from time to time by strike action to impose their will on the country. (3) With the evidence before us of Russia, where 600,000 Communists hold 120,000,000 people in subjection, we realize that, few in number as the revolutionaries in this country may be, there is a danger of their securing their ends unless met by an organized body of well-disposed citizens. (4) We believe that many strikes, by producing hunger and distress, have behind them the intention to foster that revolu- tionary atmosphere so essential for the purposes of the extremist section.

(5) In our opinion, any strike or lock-out which interferes with the ordinary supply of food, fuel, light, water, and other necessaries of life is an attack on the community, and as such falls to be resisted with all the resources at the disposal of the Government of the day. (6) We believe it is essential for the well-being and good government of any civilized country that the community should be able to demonstrate. its ability to carry on vital services, notwithstanding any action by a section of workers or employers however powerful. (7) We believe, therefore, that all good citizens should forth- with declare themserves at the disposal of the authorities, so that, in the event of any emergency arising, the necessary personnel for maintaining these services will be readily available.

(8) We believe that the formation of bodies such as ours, and their employment when conditions necessitate, would demon- strate the real weakness of the revolutionary element in our midst, thus ensuring that internal peace and sense of security without which there can be neither progress nor prosperity. (9) As an organization, we take no side in political or industrial controversy, but we pledge ourselves to uphold the interest of the community and to support the authority of the State.

[We heartily congratulate the Glasgow voluntary workers. They have "organized victory." And they deserve success because their scheme is wise and moderate. It is not provo- cative at any point. It aims at protecting the community and at nothing else. Winnipeg showed what could be done by citizens "getting together" when their right to exist was threatened, and Glasgow has set a similar example in this country.—En. Spectator.]