How did S.O. Davies become interested in politics and social change?
In his early twenties, S.O. was profoundly influenced by two great forces: socialist politics and religion, both of which he had inherited from his father, Thomas. Thomas Davies was an early convert to socialism and an agitator par excellence. In the 1870s, he had written scathing articles in the Welsh language newspaper Tarian y Gweithiwr denouncing bad management practices and poor safety records in the pits of the Rhondda and the Cynon Valley.
When his pseudonym was revealed, Thomas faced a decade of blacklisting and struggled to find work in the mines – in the early 1890s he became an insurance agent. With that new role, Thomas enjoyed a position of influence and so during the 1898 miners’ strike, which led to the formation of the South Wales Miners’ Federation (SWMF), he took on the role of chairman of the Cap Coch soup kitchen. S.O. and his brothers, were founder members of the SWMF and through it began to engage directly with politics.