Page 4, 2nd July 1948

2nd July 1948
Page 4
Page 4, 2nd July 1948 — "A STATE OF EMERGENCY"
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Locations: Berlin, Moscow, Oxford

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"A STATE OF EMERGENCY"

By Michael tie la Bedoyere

THE nature and persistence of

the Dock Strike led the Government to advise the King to proclaim a State of EIIICTgency. This, no doubt, was considered the most convenient way of obtaining all powers needed to maintain the life of the country if the strike continued, but the 1920 Act—note how much better protected are the liberties of the people under this 28 year old act than under executive powers more recently acquired — very effectively brings home to the whole country the deadly seriousness of the whole situation in which we now find ourselves.

The essential point is the terrible vulnerability of the country. We are living from hand to mouth, and any check in this trying and already uncertain process risks nothing less than disaster. Hence the immense opportunity. offered to those whose business it is to see that the country does collapse. Let us not be deceived into underestimating the malice of these people. They want the country to collapse. Communism is now fighting for a decisive victory in the long cold war which it has been waging against the free and civilised world. After many a check during the last few months, it feels the need to go all out to prevent the recovery of the West, and only a child would suppose that the attempt to paralyse a vital industry of Britain at this moment was unconnected with the battle of Berlin.

The " State of Emergency" is a designation which can usefully cover

" NO New Look for me! " dis

dainfully said Mary Ryan of Barnsley, Yorks. " I was at Word Catholic Workers' College for two years. I saw the New Look girls about the .town there looking like bobby-soxers teen-agers who mob film stars in the States, looking sloppy with shirttails hanging out."

" Dear met" I said amazed, "a woman with a mind very much your own?"

" Yes; I was a bus conductress here in Barnsley for over II years, and though friendly passengers gave me tea and chocolates, I saw they paid their fares and got off at the right stops. When I had a bad driver who threw us about I'd complain I was black and blue. ' Did your foot get stook in't clootch?' I'd ask him, ' think you're playing at?'"

Mary objects to the name "Catholic Workers' College": " I am tired of explaining to Catholics what it's all about, that it isn't a theological college for missionaries, or a purely religious institution. It should be called Plater College,' after Fr. Plater. who founded it, for instance." She had intended going to Ruskin College, and is not sorry she was induced to try the C.W.C. instead. " We did the same course as at Ruskin. Everything is done at the C.W.C. most efficiently, and Catholics should know more about it. But give it another name!"

WNTH her knowledge now acquired ' Mary feels more competent to enter public life. to take up again her work as an active trade unionist. Sire had been president of the local women's section of the Labour Party and chairman of the local Fabian Society, sacrificing all in 1946 to go to Oxford. " Yet I'd always thought myself a hopeless case. I took to St. Jude as patron and now I've adopted him I feel more confident about things, and about myself."

Mary is a tonic: "I want Catholics to enter public life, but I don't want them to use their religion for narrow-minded bigotry. When I marry I shall want a husband with a sense of humour, neither tragic nor boisterous. Considerate in the home, who will let me carry on my public life. Me die? When it comes to that, I should hate to think I was being a nuisance to others." a world situation in which the Dock Strike was but one, albeit vitally important, factor. In this sense, the " State of Emergency " will be with us fur a long time yet, and we shall do well to get used to the name and to think continuously in terms of it.

The Human Factor Overlooked BUT each of these assaults, whether they be the rape of Czechoslovakia, the electoral

battle in Italy, the strikes in France, the game of bluff in Germany or our own Dock Strike, have the advantage of teaching us alt their appropriate lessons. If we can learn those lessons, we shall win through, for Soviet Russia is much weaker than she allows herself to appear. The Dock Strike has shown up the weaknesses of our present Trade Union organisation. It is clear that the vast majority of the dockers are in effect leaderless and isolated. For the personal relations once provided by individual employers and Trade Union leaders in constant touch with the men there has been substituted two enormous impersonal administrations, the public employing Board and a Union machinery belonging to another world of remote officials and.wellpaid bureaucrats. it is a situation to elight the heart of a Fabian wha? conceives of social relations running smoothly in accordance with principles of abstract justice.

Regarding women in work, Mary says: "Personalities and conditions in factories affect women far more than men; if a charge-hand is given to favouritism and pretty faces, women resent it and the work suffers. Bad output with women workers is traceable to wrong types of charge-hands. But women everytime prefer a fair crack of the whip."

And Mary likes fresh cream. " Bother the waist-line! But I can't get enough of it these days." And she likes swimming; as for punting, she never took kindly to that Oxford habit of students.

Had she seen the much-talked of statue of Our Lady in the Oxford Chaplaincy Chapel which holds a finger up in apparent admonition? "Our Lady is probably ticking us naughty children off," said Mary smiling, " like ,a good mother, she linds we Catholics are not doing all we ought to. For instance, there is the ordinary parishioner quite content to join a movement and-pay his subscription and do no more, but just leave all the donkey-work to the same few. That's not Catholic Action."

MARY is the eldest of eight, and brought her brothers and sisters up. She has ordered them about in a kindly and considerate way and now hates being ordered about ruthlessly herself. "I hate priests," she says, " to shout, wave their arms about and talk down to you from the pulpit." Once she got a decade of the Rosary for penance at Confession and felt aggrieved. "That's a bit stiff," she told herself. But as time went on and her knowledge increased she saw no penance can be too stiff. " In fact we don't do enough," she said. "I give up sweets and flicks in Lent. stop taking a morning coffee, say the Rosary daily. But none of that is sufficient really."

Had she been able to witness a scene in Om. Lord's life, she would have chosen the Crucifixion: "It would have taught me what sufferings can be undergone out of pure

love." F. A. F.

Of course, the present situation is infinitely 'better than the old anarchy, so well described by the Prime Minister in his broadcast, but like so many well-meant sociological and scientific systems, it overlooks the essential truth that men and women remain creatures of flesh and blood with strong personal reactions that can never fit smoothly into the best-laid theoretic plans. On paper it seems absurd

for men to rebel against improvements as vast as those brought into our dock industry; yet the smallest acquaintance with human nature— with ourselves—shows that such rebellions, such hates, such loves, such insistences on our own personal reactions, will and must always continue. Unless we can find ways and means of repersonalising the industrial and social lives of the people under a planned economy, however theoretically just and excellent, the whole venture must fail.

In other words, if the men and women of this country are not going to be buried under the oppressive weight of the super-structure of impersonal and oh so tidy socialist planning, a means has got to be found of providing the articulation and flexibility which unpredictable human nature always demands. This would be true in any case. But the danger becomes imminent when there are forces at work desirous of exploiting an inhuman situation for subversive purposes. The need is urgent, and if a public inquiry into the Dock Strike helps to reveal the real weakness of present structure, it will be well worth having.

EXCOMMUNICATION OF TITO IT is surprising that the pontiffs

of the orthodox Communist faith should have chosen this ticklish moment to excommunicate a ith all due solemnity Tito and his Yugoslav heretics. The first major split within the post-war Communist empire is bound to have unfortunate propaganda results for the Kremlin masters, even if the complete absence of any sense of humour in their make-up makes it impossible for them to see what foots they make of themselves with their ideological pronouncements that read in Western eyes like Beachcomber or Timothy Shy having a bit of fun at their expense, All this, of course, is the camouflage for the realities behind. And these realities are the determination of the Kremlin to brook no sort of indiscipline or rivalry from any of the Communist stooges who rule the satellite countries in its name. For our part, we have nothing good to say for Tito and his regime which is in fact a sort of marriage of the worst elements in Fascism with those in Communism, but from Moscow's point of view Tito must always have been somewhat suspect since he staged his revolution independently, and has never felt obliged to look to headquarters for the chains that serve at one and the same time to support the regime and to bind it to Moscow.

For these reasons it is probably too early to say that this first split between revolutionary tyrants will prepare the way for others. Great care has since been taken to see to it that the new Communist States are wholly dependent for survival on the hand that guards and feeds them, and any process of fissure between the different countries or of revolt from within any of the countries will depend on signs that any such initiative might have an outside chance at least of success. Such signs will not be forthcoming

until the pressure of the Western Powers begins decisively to outweigh the present Communist pressure. We believe that this time will not be so Icing delayed now if only the Western Powers do not weaken, but from now onwards maintain an unyielding stand both on international affairs and within the domestic spheres of each country concerned. The next few months

may be decisive.

GOVERNOR DEWEY

THE nomination of Governor

Dewey as Republican Presidential candidate is a fairly good augury for the future, In America the greatest danger lies in the ideologists and the professional politicians. Roosevelt, for all his personal genius, was a combination of both, and nearly all his good work was destroyed by his lack of realism about world affairs and his overdose of it in managing affairs in his own country. Governor Dewey, who is an excellent administrator and a hard-headed man of affairs, is likely, if he becomes President, to steer a sensible middle course. He will have little patience with the narrowness of the isolationists and even less with the volatile internationalists who at one moment believe that all men need only to get together to make the world go round smoothly and at the next divide the world into obvious sheep and even more obvious goats to be hunted down at any cost.

Such extravagances as these cannot be afforded by anyone who knows how to run a human business, whether a small one or the whole business of a great country, and Governor Dewey will at least bring to the task of ruling the United States during anxious years the commonsense and shrewdness of a tough and realistic experience. These arc by no means the greatest qualities to be looked for in a person who may wield such immense power, but the lack of them in the modern politician, whether he be a politician of great good-will or a politician too clever by half, has gone a long way to account for the present state of the world.

THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE doubt whether very many of our Catholic readers will spare much of a thought for the Lambeth Conference which opened yesterday. To us it is a very strange ecclesiastical body. It has little authority and no power, and its findings cannot be more than the highest common factor among an assembly comprising the widest possible religious views. Moreover, while the Lambeth Conference witnesses to the geographical extension of Anglicanism and the tightening relations between the Communions that comprise it, it also suggests that the heads, so to say, have extended far r more rapidly than the bodies. There is too little evidence that Anglicanism is taken very scriouslY by the populations where it is established or that it sufficiently dominates the whole spirit of its adherents. We say there is " too little " evidence, because we cannot agree with those of our fellow Catholics who hold that the weakening of Anglicanism is a good point for the Church. On the contrary, we only wish that the Anglican faith were tough enough to inspire Christian co-operation on moral and social questions where the fight at the milsomweidnetstispobsseitbwleeenseCZistaiaondityunitt.

believers. We only wish for example that movements like ACTU or the Employers' Association could he linked with similar movements outside the Catholic Church.

The sense of the urgency of this need conflicts in no way with the Faith of a Catholic. On the contrary, he cannot but feel that the present weakness of Anglicanism and the impotence of a Lambeth Conference are precisely due to the basic error of the comprehensiveness of that religion. We live in times when the uncompromising insistence on even the detail of dogma and morals is infinitely more important to the world than any gentlemanly toleration of fashion, weakness and error, and we can only regret the indifference within the Anglican religion which makes it in fact so weak an ally in the battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.




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