Sunday, May 1, 2016

From Our Branches (1904)

Party News from the November 1904 issue of the Socialist Standard

Reports from Branches for insertion under this heading must be in before the 20th of each month, otherwise they cannot appear.

BATTERSEA
Since our last report we have made good progress. More new members have been enrolled and our economic and history classes are doing splendid work by equipping them for a more effective fight against working-class ignorance and apathy. Our party organ The Socialist Standard, goes well, and of the first number we managed to dispose of 260 copies: a fine total, but one that the energy and enthusiasm of our members enabled us to pass on the second issue of which we have sold 386 copies. We may be relied upon to do our best to maintain and increase even this figure, believing that in our paper we have an excellent medium for the propagation of the principles of Socialism.

A Sunday School class for the children is held every Sunday afternoon, and is well-attended, and after the school a communal tea is provided to which all comrades are most heartily invited.—Press Committee.


EDMONTON
The Edmonton Branch of the Socialist Party of Great Britain is as active and successful as ever in its endeavour to build up a sound revolutionary party, and thereby justify its name. Despite the broken weather, we have held several good open-air meetings during the past month, and in order to further equip ourselves for the prosecution of that class struggle, the existence of which the pseudo reformers deny, we have formed a discussion class, which already is showing good results, so much so, that even our youngest recruit is now able and willing to take the chair and open our propaganda meetings.

Some somewhat sensational developments on our local District Council, and the very acute form of the unemployed problem manifesting itself in the district, has enabled our local Punch and Judy politicians to work overtime at the parish pump, but signs are not wanting that the unemployed already suspect the motives of those who would lead them. Already two relief committees exist and the formation of a third is contemplated.

The painfully pathetic spectacle of the deputation that waited upon the District Council begging, in the name of the working-class, that the master-class should forget its classhood showed clearly enough that it was neither relief nor yet work that was wanted for the unemployed, but merely popularity and self-advertisement for a few unprincipled political quacks who are misleading the unemployed. In new of i those things we are not idle. We are steadily at work clearing the political atmosphere, and even day brings nearer the time when those misleaders of the working.class shall find themselves alone, and an intelligent proletariat will know its true friends in The Socialist Party which will do its duty regardless of temporary and therefore, fleeting success.

In response to an invitation several of us j journeyed to Waltham Cross on Saturday, Oct. : 15th. A splendid meeting was held, during which over 30 copies of The Socialist Standard were sold and many intelligent questions about Socialism and the various working-class parties claiming to be more or less Socialist were put and answered to the evident satisfaction of all concerned.

The following Saturday, Oct. 22, we again visited Waltham, holding two fine meetings—one at the Cross, followed by one at the Abbey. Fifty-five copies of The Socialist Standard—the whole supply we had with us—were rapidly sold out.

The welcome given us and the eagerness displayed by the workers in Waltham will not soon be forgotten by those who had the privilege of carrying to them the seeds of Revolutionary Socialism. It was, many of them said, the first time the Socialists had come there and they urged us to come again. Needless to say, we readily promised to return, and it shall not be long before the men and women of Waltham step forward ioto the field of Socialist politics in line with The Socialist Party of Great Britain.— A. Anderson.


FULHAM.
Here we are doing all that a small branch placed in our position can do. Our literature sales have been fairly good, and our audiences though small at times, turn up regularly and consist mostly of men who will listen and reason, and are not led away by rhetoric, however brilliant. Solid educational work is being done and ere long we shall doubtless have our reward.

We have, of course, to combat the mischievous work of other bodies claiming to be Socialist, which finds expression in the mental confusion of those who take the floor against us. For example, it is a common thing to hear it urged against us that trade unionism is Socialism, and that trade unionists are Socialists!

However, the red flag is still flying, the knowledge of our principles is spreading, and the future is full of promise.—E. J. B. Allen.


WATFORD.
Past October—and all's well.

Excepting for special occasions, we have now closed down our open-air propaganda meetings, and are organising a scheme of winter work that we hope wilt keep the branch in evidence and Socialism clearly defined before the people of the town. Developments will be duly reported, and although we cannot—knowing the neighbourhood and its inhabitants passing well—anticipate that these will be of a startling nature, we are yet sanguine that before many moons we shall have a tale to tell of a growing class-conscious proletarian fighting force enrolled under the standard of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, pressing sturdily along an undeviating path to the overthrow of capitalism and the realisation of the Co-operative Commonwealth. We plough a hard and lonely furrow to-day and the field of our endeavours is weed-encumbered and all but choked with stubble. But what a few can do to clear the ground and keep it clear that do we, and to-morrow we reap the harvest—or if we do not, it will not be fault of ours.

To all in the fight—Greeting!—Alec Gray.


WEST HAM.
J. J. Terrett’s farcical candidature for N. West Ham collapsed at a very early stage, although presumably backed officially by the S.D.F. But the "great” Joe is never happy unless he has a finger in the political pie in this much plagued borough, and is never satisfied unless he is "raising Cain" all along the line, and so he is now introducing a Parliamentary candidate in the person of Mr. W. W. Crotch from Norwich, and has succeeded in resuscitating the some time dormant N. West Ham Branch of the I.L.P.—a branch containing a number of persons who have been pursuing tactics detrimental even to I.L.P’ism, and for that reason have been expelled from the S. West Ham branch of that party. This branch of "don’t-know-where-they-are’s" have apparently at "Joe's” behest adopted Mr. W. W. Crotch as Parliamentary : candidate for the northern division of the borough, so that for our sins we have now two labour candidates, one in each division of West Ham. This kind of thing makes our position extremely hard. Our work would be much easier if we had to sow Socialist seed on virgin soil; but before we can do that we have to root up all the labour tares. Nevertheless, we are doing fairly well. We are successfully continuing our propaganda, having only failed to hold one meeting during the past month, that being due to the weather.

We are doing very well with literature, both Standards and pamphlets; and as we have had a number of greatly interested listeners and some enquirers, we hope soon to be able to announce a further increase in membership. I can confidently say that we shall be able to keep the uncompromising red flag flying here.—G. J. Hodson.



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