May 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard
It is some time since a report from this branch has appeared in The Socialist Standard, but that does not mean that we have been idle by any means. In addition to our ordinary outdoor propaganda, which we have kept on all through the winter, except when the weather positively refused to allow us, we have entered upon a new departure in the direction of indoor discussions. To these we specially invite men outside our organisation, and purposely go so far as to import opposition. Not only does this seem a useful means of assisting in crystallising our more general propaganda outside, but is a necessary educational force for our members. A comrade's education, it seems to us, should not cease when be joins us, on the contrary, it is but just beginning. To this end then one of us opens a discussion on some aspect of the Socialist position, and the discussion which follows is a powerful means of developing young speakers in addition to its educational qualities. With regard to our outdoor propaganda, one is forcibly reminded of the truth of the assertion that the outer ring of London's suburbs are its dormitories, whose inhabitants only go there to sleep, for apathy and indifference are the characteristics of this huge sleeping-chamber. A revival is certainly needed here, and it shall be supplied by a strong and vigorous Socialist propaganda on right lines during the coming season, when a determined effort will be made to rouse the proletariat of Wood Green to a due consciousness of its true position.—Dick Kent.
Since our last report we are able to report progress. A steady and persistent propaganda has been maintained and carried on throughout the winter. The meetings are generally well attended by members of the working-class, and a keen interest is shown in the sound and uncompromising declaration of our principles. If this is continued we shall no doubt considerably increase our membership. The Socialist Standard has been selling very freely of late, due to a large extent to our energetic Librarian, Comrade Hutchens, who attends all the public meetings that come under his notice and disposes of a large number of copies. The current number contains the address of our Librarian, so readers in West London will be able to obtain our paper by sending him a postcard. We have several embryonic speakers in the Branch whom we hope to develop so that they may be able to render greater assistance in propaganda work.
The root of the bogus Socialists in our locality seems to be complete, at any rate they give no sign of their existence. The spread of Socialist enlightenment must, we are confident, convince the working-class of the hopelessness of their position under capitalism. The task we have set ourselves is the education and organisation of the proletariat, and we look forward to the coming season with confidence.—T. W. Allen.
During the last two months we have carried on our Wednesday night meetings at Fulham Cross when the weather would permit, and by distribution of specimen copies of The Socialist Standard and in other ways have kept Socialism under public notice. Local labour councillors (I had almost said fakirs) have been challenged to debate, but although, or perhaps because, one councillor and one guardian are members of the S.D.F., they have been afraid to accept this challenge. Yet one of these gentlemen makes a terrible fuss when a parson declines a debate with him.
According to Justice, T. Wall, who stood for the Borough Council recently, was the S.D.F. and Labour candidate. But none of his posters indicated his connection with the S.D.F., or even made it clear that he was supposed to be a Socialist. He was simply the "Labour Candidate." However, this is a small matter when one knows that the S.D.F. was affiliated to the local L.R.C., and did not protest when that body pledged itself to support two Progressive aldermen in 1903 in return for support of a "Labour” man.
But though Wall had the Irish vote he did not get in, which, the glowing report in Justice, notwithstanding, is very significant, because the Nationalists voted Progressive at last election.
Our Branch has had the compliment paid of being responsible for the defeat of the "Labour” candidate. I hope we deserve it. Meetings were run showing the real Socialist position, and a few questions were asked through the local Press.
Though small in number we are doing sufficient to cause a flutter in the Socialist-cum-Labour-cum-Liberal dove-cote, and so far we have progressed to the extent of getting ourselves well disliked by showing up some of the games of the alleged Socialist and Labour bodies, so we must be doing good. An increase in the membership and an enlarged circulation of regular subscribers to the Standard are some of the results of our winter's work.—E.J.B. Allen.
The Red Flag is still flying in Battersea, and our meetings during the winter months in Sydney Hall and other places have been successful. On the average we have sold between 8 and 9 quires of The Socialist Standard each month. We have made since the Party started thirteen new members. Our Economic Class has been well attended, and through it our members have been equipped for a more effective fight against working-class ignorance and apathy. We are now looking forward to the time when we can commence operations on a wider scale outdoors. We have no fear as to future of The Socialist Party of Great Britain in Battersea. Our members are fighting all the different sections of the capitalist-class, and echo with enthusiasm Comrade Lehane's word—"Onward! ”