Party News from the August 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard
During the visit of the Provincial Propagandist to Manchester, our outdoor propaganda increased, from what could be described as a struggle to express ourselves, to a point whence from day to day the case for Socialism was put before the workers of Manchester. Our main speaking site is in the centre of the city and for a change, the workers who usually spend their staggered lunch hours listening to street traders and strong arm men, heard the party’s case, acquired useful political knowledge and were made to realise how little they really understood the world in which they live. After a week or two on this site, the laughs which greeted our attempts to expound Socialism, the arguments that we were utopian dreamers, or too advanced, began to change, the audience were interested, discussions became lively and questions began to show that our case was being thought about and that the literature sales were having effect. The importance of this site should not be under estimated as these lunch hour meetings served workers from all the suburbs of Manchester. In addition to these excellent meetings and others which were held on our normal sites, the large industrial concern of Metropolitan Vickers was given a treat, speaking sites which had gone in to disuse owing to lack of speaking strength, were again opened up with success, efforts were made to revive Eccles. where, although the audiences were small, literature sales were good and it was thought that given time a reasonably good hearing could be obtained. One Sunday evening, one could hear the case for Socialism being expounded in Eccles. a bus ride into Manchester the same thing was happening, and again on the other side of the city, in Platt Fields, this vital propaganda was in progress. It really did seem that the workers would waken up under such bombardment. As an experiment Liverpool was tried on a Saturday afternoon and the large audiences of 300 to 500 and literature sales of approximately 14/- gave promise for the near future.
In all 50 meetings were held including two indoors, one of which was held to round off the month’s propaganda. £8 of literature was disposed of, including 32 dozen Standards, and collections, which were not often taken, amounted to £2 15s. Od. There is no question on the grounds of literature sales and though it is hard to measure to what extent socialist knowledge was acquired by people hitherto unfamiliar with our case, we certainly upset the Labour Party supporters and the Stalin idolisers and even the religious meetings increased to combat the dreadful spread of materialism. If anything, a month is far too short, but the least we of the Manchester branch can do is to make every effort to continue with the excellent work put in by the part time organisers. That along with our new methods of door to door canvassing, which is showing excellent results will, we hope, bring into being new branches in this area and help to fill in those blank spaces between here and London.
A. G. Atkinson.