WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Maoriland Worker, Volume 4, Issue 141, 15 October 1913, Page 3
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
J- T. Paul, Wellington (3.10.13), ■ATites: In tho organiser's report of the Social Democratic Party, Mr. Mills writes this paragraph in your last issue. "(2) J'he Trades and Labor Council had been tno md a-half years, under the leadership of Mr. I'aul, trying its best to join the United Labor Party, of which Mr. Paul was the president, and iv spito of his gmnt abilities, in spite of the fact that the Council was always ready to follow him, and finally, in spite of his tireless industry to achieve this result, it never happened." Now, what does that That sentence of 70 words has puzzled mc Was <t "writ sarcastic," or does vnp old friend, Mr. Mills, desire to do mo justice:- If justice, then I am getting more than I deserve. I hare never led the Otj,go Trades and Labor Council; neither has any other one man. It is a body composed of delegates of unions, I and these delegates are quite able to think and act for themselves. Two and a-half years "trying its best to join the United Laix>r Party"? Surely not. The United Labor. Party was created by a conference heM in Wellington in April, 1912. In April, 191?, the party was one year old. But everybody knows that from January to July the United Labor Party relaxed its organising efforts in the hope that Labor unity would be accomplished in July. Which means that the Council had nine months "trying its best to 'oin the U.I/.P. The great difficulty which, presented itself to Mr. Mills and myself was this: The Council is composed of unions. It could not become anything else thau the Trades and Labor Council unless and until the unions composing it agreed to the change*. Several unions quickly agreed to the Council becoming «vi integral part of the United Labor Party. Others postponed the matter. And it was necessary, too, that the Council should cancel its registration under the Arbitration Act. That consumed some time. And, above all, the Council's energies were- mostly centred on the industrial exhibition which it had in hand, and which meant so much to the Council. And during the above-mentioned nine months 1 was in Wellington for nearly five of them So your readers will see-, Mr. Editor, that Mr. Mills's comprehensive sonteßc© does not contain nil the truth. Leaving aside the organisei's humorous references to the."corpse" which is haunting him, let mc unfold a pai2,e of Labor history arient tho Workers' Political Committee of Otago. Mr. Mills's reference to it is necessarily quite inadequate, for tho reason that, he did not know it in action. In its day it was the most advanced workers' political organisation in Now Zealand; and it had a most successful career. Mr. Mills says: "Then (twenty years pgo) Millar, Earnshaw, Pinkerton, I Hutchison and Morrison were elected, and Labor was triumphant. There are ethers who realise that it was a great victory for Millar and Earnsbaw and for the most reactionary forces in New Zealand, which IiOW count them both in tho Massey. Party. That eld program was 'elastic enough to suit Mc- Laren, Fowlds, and Paul, and a new program of the same Eort might produce results of the same kind, but the icsulfcj are not satisfactory." That misees the point altogether. The Workers' Political Committee was formed in 1892. In 1893 it fought Hs tirst fight and won the three Dunedin City seats with. Messrs. Pinkerton, Earnshaw, and Hutchison. Mr. Pinkorton's vote was the highest polled by any candidate in New Zealand up 1o that time. Mr. Millar won Chalrrers, and Mr. Morrison won Caversham. The program was distinctly a working-class program, and included some of the principles for which the S.D.P. stands to-day. It was largely instrumental &n extending the franchise and the functions of the State. At the next general election (1896) the j Workers' Political Committee turned down Mr. Earnshaw, and Mx. EaJrn- J sha,w was beaten. At more than one succeeding general election the W.P.C. nominees swept the polls. In 1903— ever seven years ago —the Workers' Political Committee was dissolved. Two year 3 previous (1904) I had moved —first in the Otago Trades and Labor Council and later at the annual Labor Conference—to set up a national Labor pditioal organisation which nould be absolutely .independent cf either of the other political parties. This was carried. The idea of those of us who knew the work of the W.P.C. was to create a national organisation. And, Mr. Editor, you know with what result. Lest your readers might be nayled by Mr.'Mills, let. mc state that I am not in favor of an "elastic" program. I. am in favor of an independent Labor party with a Labor program.