Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Branch News (1964)

From the June 1964 issue of the Socialist Standard

More news from Belfast and Glasgow.

Danny McCarthy reports that the Belfast members had good literature sales at both the Easter CND parade and the Conference of the Northern Ireland Labour Party.

A recent demonstration over redundancy was used as an opportunity to put over our case. Danny went along with Comrade Montague, who stated our attitude to the television and radio reporters who were present. Alas, this was not included in the television programme that same evening.

The Irish comrades put their usual hard work into the recent local elections, in which we had a candidate in the Duncairn ward. Danny reports that the response of the Duncairn workers to our appeal for election funds was “truly staggering”.

Glasgow report that they had an audience of about eighty at their debate with the Young Liberals, when R. Donnelly put our case. The theme of our May Day meeting in Glasgow was “Abolish the Wages System”. The audience numbered over a hundred, seven pound collection was taken and over £2 worth of literature sold.

The Branch contested two wards—North Kelvin and Knightswood—in the municipal elections. Publicity at North Kelvin was limited to intensive canvassing of the Socialist Standard—over 450 copies were sold during the previous three months—and the distribution of eight thousand manifestoes. The party polled 134 votes which, Glasgow Branch think, must have contained comparatively few “mistaken” votes.

In Knightswood again our publicity was restricted, although we did get a mention on TV. The Glasgow members slogged away here under tremendous difficulties—they sold the Socialist Standard around the doors and they distributed twelve thousand manifestoes. The party polled 297 votes but, as the Branch puts it, “How many of these were Socialist votes is difficult to say in view of this being the first time we have contested the ward.”

Glasgow Branch are a living witness to the fact that hard work for Socialism is the most invigorating thing. Far from being tired after their exertions, they arc already planning “a greater effort next year.”

We hear from Sunderland that our comrade Clifford Allen addressed the Hylton Estate Workingmen’s Club (or rather their Debating Society) last month on the subject “Karl Marx—was he a dreamer or a realist?” His lecture was very well received by an audience of 50, of which 5 were members of the Sunderland Group. The address was followed by extensive discussion and many questions. 11/6d. worth of Socialist Standard were sold.

Comrade Allen and the members of the Sunderland group were much encouraged by the results of the lecture and intend to concentrate their efforts on similar activities in the future. There is a move to establish a number of debating societies and discussion groups on the numerous new housing estates in the Sunderland area, and the group hope to give further addresses to these. It is heartening to see such a good start being made to the activities of the Party in the North-east.

The debate at Bromley with INDEC attracted an audience of about 45, of whom half were non-members. Literature sales were only nominal, but there was a collection of £3 4s. 6d.

1 comment:

imposs1904 said...

The debate in Bromley mentioned at the end of the report was between the SPGB's Eddie Grant and J. Haigh who were both parliamentary candidates for the Bromley constituency at the forthcoming 1964 General Election. From what I understand - and there's not a lot of info on the net about them - 'INDEC' were an anti-nuclear grouping who had emerged out of elements of CND and the Aldermaston Marches. The title of the debate was: "Which Way To Peace?" SPGB or INDEC', and the date of the debate was Friday, 8th May 8pm and was held at Bromley Library, Bromley High Street, Kent.

Details of election result for the Bromley parliamentary constituency at the 1964 General Election is available at the following link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromley_(UK_Parliament_constituency)#In_the_1960s

(For the record, the SPGB candidate received 234 votes and the INDEC candidate received 461 votes.)