Page 2, 9th March 1945

9th March 1945
Page 2
Page 2, 9th March 1945 — T.U.s AND COMMUNISM

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People: Walter Cut-me


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SIR,-Your front page story in yout issue of Februaly " Communists are making Great Headway in British Trade Unionism," reads like a nightmare-experience of •a 'frightened Dowager.

Your correspondent -shows no perspective whatever. He jumbles a num.her of disconnected and irrelevant issues together, and reaches a startling conclusion-that the British Trade Union Movement (and soon) the Labour Party are going Red.

I cannot appreciate why you published the story. Arc you working up a " Red Menace " stunt for the General Election 7 Or arc you trying to make the task of Catholics in public life more difficult than it 'already is 7 For heaven's sake, la us keep both our feet on the ground and our beads under the cold water tap if necessary. Your story is mischievous in the extreme, and is calculated to do a great deal of harm. Let me put you right on a few items.

I. The so-called " Black Circular " never did debar Communists from holding office of any kind in Trade Unions. A Communist, like a Jew, Or a Catholic oran agnostic, can hold any office in his appropriate Union if elected by his fellow-trade unionists. This has always been the The Black Circular merely debarred Trades Councils accepting a Communist as a delegate (torn an

affiliated Trade Union branch. Its withdrawal' does not increase the powers of Trades Councils. They tire not polic)-making bodies; nor have they ally direction or control of the Trade Unions.

Trade Unions may withhold affiliation to Trades Councils if they choose to do so; and no doubt would, if Irides Councils acted in conflict with established Trade Union policy BS laid down by the annual Trades Union Congress.

The incident of.the London Trades Cleuncil's position is interesting but not decisive. It will require to conform to established trade union policy just as the other 250 Trades Councils are required to do, or risk expulsion.

3. The establishment of the AngloSoviet Trade Union Committee and the visit of the British delegates to Russia had nothing to do with the withdrawal of the " Black Circular." The most important clause iut the Constitution of the Committee is the undertaking not to interfere in the internal affairs of either of the national bodies.

4. Your correspondent's suggestion that National Executives of Trades Unions will come under the control of Communists and through them, the Labour Party and a Labour Government, reads like a page from a penny dreadful.

Eve never heard such dangerous nonsense in my life. But if such a remote happening came to pass, would the Communises he to blame or the seven million non-Communist members of the Trades Unions ?

5. The T.U.C.'s policy on the Education Bill is irrelevant to our subject. I can say this, the Communists had as much to do with that policy as did the Vatican. Personally speaking, I doubt whether the Communists could excel the bigotry and hatred of many " Christian " anti-Catholics in our 6. midst. for a possible Communist

" Black Circular " debarring Catholics as such from holding positions in the Trade Unions, the best answer to this is, there are at least ten Catholic Trade Unionists to every one Communist Trade Unionist. If Catholics wish to commit harikari-let them.

While Catholic and non-Catholic non-Communist Trades Unionises are content to leave all the " don

key-work and missionary zeal " to the Communists (to sax nothing of the teas of thousands of nonTrade Unionists-including ,Ca tholics). we ought not to complain of the prize going to those who run and win the race.

Tom d'BRIEN.

General Secretary. National Asso-, dation Theatrical and Kine Employees.

[The purpose of the article was not to criticise the. Comnuttrists for doing their own job only too well. It was rather to criticise Catholics who are allowing a minority to introduce something contrary to Catholic policy and teaching and to show them that the attack on their liberty and religion comes from their own apathy and not from the strength of other bodies.

The point regarding the powers of the T.U.C. is Of disputed The Met that they have disaffiliated numerous Trades Councils throughout the country shows that the Communists have in many instances infiltrated in the Trade Uniotts. When Sir Walter Cut-me returned from the U.S.S.R. he recommended the withdrawal of the " Black Circular" and we can leave our readers to judge whether that was a coincidence or the result of the visit. Mr. 'O'Brien cannot dispute that many of the District Commit/its of the Trade Unions are under the control of the Communists. The effect of that is being shown as the elections of the National Executives take place.

The following is paragraph of circular 16 (known as the "Black Circular) from the General Cohncil's report at their sixty-seventh Annual Congress held at Margate: " . . . so that as the unions are concerned the Executive Committees are to be acquainted with the difficulties in question and asked to do all in their power to sec' that persons associated with disruptive organisations are debarred from pursuMg their tactics in any official capacity in the Trade Union Movement, breading Trades Councils. '-EDITOR. C.H.1

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