TALKING to prominent trade unionists recently I have been impressed by the degree of resent ment which exists among officials and rank and file at the way in which more and more of the unions' time is taken up with political discussions initiated by the Communists.
My own union, the National Union of Journalists, is a good example of this. A small minority, most of whom are employed on Communist publications, succeeds in turning the proceedings of the Central London branch (which organises the Fleet Street men) into something resembling a political debating society.
A similar position exists in some of the other big London branches, such as that to which those employed on the trade and technical press belong. When the national executive board of the Tailors' and Garment Workers' Union last met a third of its entire proceedings was given over to the discussion of resolutions coming from Communist-dominated branches, on the Sheffield " peace" congress, German rearmament, the International Brigade. Spain and similar subjects. That same time might have been more profitably devoted to subjects more in keeping with the true purposes of the trade union movement.
It is interesting to note that the resolutions came from branches in London, Manchester and Leeds— and in all three areas the union has large numbers of Catholics among its members. But it was the Communists, not the Catholics, quite obviously who got the resolutions an to the agenda.
A USEFUL job which Catholic
trade unionists might very well tackle is that of campaigning to bring their union branches and annual conferences back to the purposes for which they were intended. Pleading that you cannot separate the workers' industrial and political interests, the Communists have turned many union organisations into little more than political discussion groups.
The result is that many people who would otherwise be interested are driven away from their union meetings. knowing that almost the last thing which is likely to be discussed there is anything to do with the working conditions of the members.
Here is something which Catholics, cooperating with others, could undertake with a real hope of success. Just fighting the Communists, voting down their resolutions and voting them out of position is a negative business at the
best. Moreover, those who limit themselves to that soon find that it is a very personal and uncharitable business too—for one is up against, maybe, the personal popularity of the Communists concerned.
It would be more helpful if our people refused to allow themselves to be drawn into the rights and wrongs of the Communist-sponsored resolutions on peace, Germany, " Z" Reservists. or whatever it may be and in the discussion confined themselves to registering a protest that union time should be given over to such matters and to urging that genuine trade union matters be discussed instead. It would be up to them to go on from this to ensuring that more profitable subjects for discussion appear regularly on the agenda. I believe that in course of time those taking up that position would find that there were many who would support their attitude.
UNDER the caption "Not much
sign of Church 'persecution' here!" the Daily Worker recently published a photograph which
would have been far better headed—nn the tradition of the
children's comics — " What's wrong with this picture?"
It purported to show " how hollow are the tales of the 'persecution' of the Roman Catholic Church in the Czechoslovak Peopla's Democracy " by portraying "a new vicar capituler, Jan Dechet," seen in procession " following the. Mass which celebrated his installation." But Canon Jan Dechet has been excommunicated, he should not therefore be saying Maas; as such he is non persona grata with the lloly Sec and therefore could not be elected to the position claimed for him, and which is just a Communist appointment; he is shown wearing a mitre, but a non-episcopal vicar capitular. unless he is a protonotary apostolic—which Dechet is not—does not wear one. The picture, in fact, is to Catholics a particularly revealing one as proving just how far the persecution of the Church has gone in Czechoslovakia and the depths to which the Communists will go to deceive the faithful and the world at large.
ANSWER to the curious : The Daily Express bought the serial rights of my book " I Believed" from the Liverpool Daily Post, who had published it almost in full last August and who owned the sole serialisation rights.
On the day the book was published, they sold those rights to the Daily Express. The transaction was entirely out of my hands and I had no personal or financial part in it; neither had I any responsibility for the excerpts which subsequently appeared.