Report from the October 1963 issue of the Young Guard
On Sunday, 8th September, a conference was held for N.E. YS. Each branch was asked to send five delegates. It had no terms of reference and nobody yet knows what it was really about.
There were three speakers, Geoff Foster recently appointed youth officer, Roland Boyce a Young Socialist and lastly the prospective candidate for Sunderland.
Comrade Boyce excels in self control, a fact that he himself pointed out repeatedly, and only once declared he was getting annoyed.
He was, quite justifiably getting annoyed at comrade Foster who opposed a suggestion that the YS should get down into the dole queues. Comrade Boyce quoted the example of Peterlee (Durham) where an unemployment committee had greatly helped in a council by-election.
Unemployment in the N.E. is not only a Tory headache but seems to cause the Labour Party much embarrassment. The Unemployed Men’s Association in West Hartlepool was almost used by its President as a means of getting him elected against a Labour candidate as an SPGB candidate (it shows how contemptuous of the Labour Party many working people are when they turn to two ends of nothing like the SPGB).
In my own town the unemployed men’s association meets, believe it or not, in the Conservative Party headquarters. How the hell that happened I just do not know. But this may be partly explained by a remark made by the prospective Labour Party candidate for Sunderland. “The Labour Party must be careful that people do not believe it gets into power only on the backs of the unemployed.”
Letter to the Editor from the November 1963 issue of the Young Guard
As a member of the SPGB (and also a reader of Young Guard) may I draw your readers’ attention to the complete inaccuracy of the part of your report from Middlesbrough YS (October 1963) which refers to the SPGB.
The Chairman of the Unemployed Workers’ Committee in West Hartlepools, a Mr. W. Aves, is in no way connected with the SPGB. The facts are that Mr. Aves announced his intention to stand at the next General Election as an unofficial Labourite against the official Labour Party candidate. He has since changed his mind. Mr. Aves also tried to get adopted as Liberal candidate—but they wouldn’t have him. If Vic Wood can confuse this gentleman with the SPGB then it can only be assumed that he is unaware of the SPGB position. Despite this he feels competent to direct two sneers at the SPGB.
First, he suggests that our members are the type who climb to prominence on the backs of unemployed workers after the fashion of ILP and CP labour bleeders in the 1930’s. As a matter of fact the SPGB regards such activity as reformism.
Second, he refers to the SPGB as “two ends of nothing”. This is a very ungenerous way to refer to the group which pioneered the view that Russia is a form of State capitalism; which has since its foundation rejected the idea of “leadership” declaring that the workers must emancipate themselves; which has always exposed the fraud of nationalisation and which, finally, has always emphasised the democratic nature of Socialism. I say ungenerous because today all these ideas are circulating amongst sections of the YS and particularly amongst Young Guard supporters.
I trust that Vic Wood will have the decency to apologise and withdraw his inaccurate statements.
Newport (Mon) SPGB