Party News from the May 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard
Glasgow Branch at the start of the year found itself in serious difficulties in that it had lost, by transfer to Kelvingrove Branch, a proportion of its active members. The extent to which the branch faced up to the problem is evidenced by the increased general activity and the fact that 17 propaganda meetings were held in the quarter January-March. Included in this total are three addresses to other organisations and two debates, one with the 'Workers Open Forum' on a question of Parliament and the other with the 'Church of God ’ on the question 'Socialism or Religion?'
With this renewed extension of branch activities there is solid reason for taking a bright view of further development. Immediate plans include a literature sales drive and a rally to be held on May Day (May 7th) in the commodious and popular Cosmo Cinema.
A further attempt is being made to encourage the hitherto coy Labour and Tory M.P.s in the West of Scotland to debate with a representative of the S.P.G.B. Some years ago challenges were sent to every M.P. in Glasgow, and one Tory M.P. accepted. The “firebrands ” of yesteryear, the McGovern crew, lacked the grace to even acknowledge receipt of the challenge. This time the Glasgow Branch members hope to be luckier.
Leyton Branch is holding a MAY DAY rally at Coronation Gardens in Leyton High Road on May 1st at 7.30 p.m. The branch is operating a scheme to send the Socialist Standard together with a list of local activities, with details, to ex-members and everyone who may be interested. The interest of some old members has been rekindled and a number of other contacts have become interested. The branch is continuing its fortnightly lectures at the branch meeting place. During May they will be held on the 2nd and 4th Monday evenings.
West Ham Branch has appointed its own Parliamentary Committee. An attempt to build this committee on a ward basis was not encouraging. Now, four enthusiastic members form the committee and are getting everything set in preparation for the next election fight. In particular the committee is considering means of effecting economy of effort and finance in the next campaign. The regular meetings at the Cock Hotel commenced on Sunday, the 16th of April.
Our Summer School this year will be held at Tree Tops Holiday Camp as it was last year. The camp is to be booked for Saturday and Sunday, June 10th and 11th, and accommodation to be arranged for 75 students. The same sports and social facilities that were available last year will again be at the disposal of all visitors as well as the school lectures and discussions. It is proposed that one discussion shall be on the subject of methods of fighting elections. Full details of all arrangements will be announced in the next issue of the Socialist Standard. In the meantime, those who wish to be assured of accommodation at the school should contact the Central Organiser.
Head Office Library is in a state of flux. Old and less useful books are being eliminated and, as far as possible, are being replaced by new ones that are beneficial to borrowers. The Librarians are trying to duplicate or triplicate the books that are used at the Economics classes. The pamphlets department of the library is being enlarged. Members and friends who have spare copies or early Party pamphlets are urged to subscribe them to the library.
The Socialist Party of Ireland members who visited us during our Annual Conference period sold over 200 copies of their recently issued manifesto. Three of them spoke in Hyde Park on Sunday, April 9th, and a comrade from Cornwall spoke at Lincolns Inn Fields on Tuesday, April 11th. All of them acquitted themselves well and are congratulated by London members who listened to them.
Collections at our Conference amounted to £45 13s. 1d. First day collection was £11 10s. 6d., second day £5 18s. 6d., and third day £4 16s. 9d. The collection at the rally on Sunday, April 9th, was £23 7s. 4d. Details of income from catering, raffles and the Saturday evening social and dance are not yet available.
The Literature Committee reports an increase in the number of Socialist Standard subscribers following the inclusion of a subscription form in a recent issue of our paper.
A History of the S.P.G.B. and companion Parties has engaged the attention of the Executive Committee following a recommendation from Conference. An ex-member, now resident in South Africa, made the suggestion that such a history should be compiled and his letter was read to the delegates at the Conference. The Executive Committee considered that such a work would be extremely valuable but that it would require full time work by some comrade who was in a position to collect and collate all the material. As most of the members who are best situated to devote themselves to such work are already engaged to the full in Party work, and as the E.C. was unable to delegate the task to anyone, the matter is held in abeyance.
Ballot Papers for the annual election of our Party officers are to be printed. The Executive Committee has decided to implement the Conference recommendation to send out these ballot papers direct to every member from Head Office instead, as at present, sending them to branch secretaries. Each ballot paper will be accompanied by a pre-paid postage, addressed envelope for its return to the Ballot Committee at Head Office. This practice will operate next year commencing with the election of officers for 1951.
The Amendments to the Declaration of Principles proposed by the World Socialist Party of United States was duplicated and sent out to our members some time ago. Our companion Party in America was requested to send us a reasoned statement for the proposed change. This has been received and is also to be circulated to the membership of the S.P.G.B. The letter received from the W.S.P. of U.S. states that the proposed amendments have been rejected by the members of that party through a referendum, but as the matter is likely to be raised again it is considered advisable to keep all our members informed.
Our Dagenham and Romford branch was dissolved some months ago following the decline of the branch due to its members being dispersed around the country during the war years. Some of these members have now returned to the south Essex area and an attempt is to be made to re-form the branch. All such members and anyone else interested are requested to contact Comrade F. Johnson at “ EREHWON,” The Mount, Noak Hill, Essex, or Comrade W. Waters at Head Office.