J. T. Murphy

The Great Red Drive

Miners’ Minority Movement

Source: The Communist, September 9, 1922
Publisher: The Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

THE Blackpool Conference saw more than the casting of 118,000 votes in our favour. It saw the beginning of the first real attempts to organize the strength of the R.I.L.U. influence in the Miners’ Federation.

This takes the form of a powerful minority movement within the Federation. The need for such a movement has been felt for some time. Our influence has been growing rapidly, but has lacked organised expression and leadership.

The R.I.L.U. Bureau and the Communist Party recognised this weakness. Two months ago it set the pace for a campaign and set up special committees to conduct the work of agitation throughout the industry.

Many of the districts had already elected their delegates to the Conference by the time that these districts were reached. Notwithstanding this the results have been excellent.

Instead of the Blackpool Conference registering a finial defeat of the Red International, it marks the beginning of a great process. Arising directly from the Conference and the agitation we have conducted, has sprung a new leadership challenging that of the old gang—an organised endeavour to harness the present minority forces with a view to winning the Miners’ Federation completely to the Red International of Labour Unions.

The lead in this Minority movement comes at the moment from South Wales. Comrades S. O. Davis and A. H. Cook (who led the Conference on the Red International resolution) along with Comrades Ablett, J. Thomas and Dagger, all of whom are prominent leaders of the South Wales Miners’ Federation, have led the way with a clarion call to the whole Miners’ Federation of Great Britain.

Great discontent exists throughout the Federation. The great downward push in wages since the lock-out of 1921, the bitter sufferings of the miners and their families throughout the length and breadth of Britain, the refusal of the leaders to face the demands arising from these terrible conditions all are contributing daily to inspire the miners to look for a new lead.

The new lead has come and it cannot help but gather strength.

The Minority Movement is demanding the complete reorganisation of the Miners’ Federation, the fusion of the County organisations into a single industrial union, the elimination of non-unionism from the coal-fields, the repudiation of the Amsterdam International, and the tackling of the miners’ problems on an international scale by the building of the Red International of Labour Unions, the admission of the Russian miners into the International Miners’ Federation, and its affiliation to the Red International.

Never in the history of the working-class movement has the international character of the workers’ struggle been so clearly demonstrated to the masses. And never in the history of the Miners’ Federation have their leaders demonstrated such incapacity to deal with the everyday struggles of the miners or shown such treachery in the face of urgent demands.

Mr. Smith told the American miners when in America that the British miners were 100 per cent. strong in support of the American miners’ strike. On his return to England he has shown himself to be the echo of Mr. Hodges (the pioneer of the “industrial truce,”), and has done nothing to substantiate his American pronouncement.

Mr. Hodges and Mr. Smith travel to Frankfurt—and muster support for the American miners to the extent of about 3d. per miner on strike, whilst agreeing to do nothing to stop the export of millions of tons of coal from Britain which it is known is going to break the American miners’ strike.

International union black-legging is a problem they are afraid to tackle.

Let them sit up and listen! The 1922 Blackpool Conference marks the beginning of the fight of the revolutionary miners’ minority against such leadership. 1923 will see that minority near to becoming a majority.

The Great Red Drive has begun in the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain and NONE CAN STOP IT!