Party News from the July 1947 issue of the Socialist Standard
Manchester Branch reports have now come in. May Day meetings were hindered by bad weather all day, but a good audience came to the Rusholme Public Hall to listen to London and Glasgow speakers. There were about 600 people at the debate with J. Jones (Labour M.P., Bolton) at the Downing Street Co-operative Hall. The Propagandist/Organiser is holding outdoor meetings on blitzed sites in the city during the lunch hour. We are the only political association holding meetings on these sites, and our pioneering work has been mentioned in the Manchester Evening News. Week-end outdoor propaganda meetings at Platt Fields and Alexandra Park Gates continue very successfully. The branch have in mind the publication of a special broadsheet for distribution at a big Labour demonstration at Belle Vue on July 6th, where Dalton and Jennie Lee are to speak.
Attractive Party Badges will be ready in about a month's time. They will cost members 1/6 each, post free. When ordering please say whether brooch or stud style is required.
P. Howard (Bloomsbury Branch) was elected to the vacancy on the Executive Committee.
The New Speakers' Test is constantly being applied at the request of members wishing to become fully fledged outdoor speakers. Most applicants pass satisfactorily. An examining committee is also at work in Glasgow, where four members have already passed the test.
The Communist Council of Holland (Spartacus Group) asked us to send a member to attend a conference of various groups being held in Brussels during Whitsun. The Executive Committee decided not to send a member but instructed the Overseas Secretary to send the conference a statement of the party's position to be read.
Edgware Branch are arranging a debate with Sir Waldron Smithers on Friday, July 11th. Smithers ought soon to know something about the party's policy, though this should not be taken for granted. Two previous debates with party representatives (in London and Manchester) drew very large audiences who were entertained by Smithers’ pitiful efforts to make the Conservative policy palatable to a working-class audience. He is now coming up for the third time; perhaps this venerable Conservative M.P. is punch drunk! The debate is at 7.15 p.m., Friday, July 11th, at Edgeworth British Restaurant, Hale Lane, Edgware.
Glasgow Branch have a debate with the United Nations Organisation in hand. No further details are yet available.
“Socialism and Race Prejudice” is title of a draft pamphlet at present being considered by the Executive Committee. If published it should be a very useful addition to our literature. There are so many false and confusing theories bandied about on the question of “Race" that a scientific Socialist approach to the whole question is badly needed. The Editorial Committee are also working on a centenary edition of the “Communist Manifesto" with a special party preface for publication shortly. Other pamphlets we hope to have soon are a short pamphlet on “War,” and others on "Socialism and Religion,” "Russia” and the “Trade Unions.”
An Old Comrade in Vienna is now in touch with us again. He was greatly stimulated by what he heard of the party’s election campaigns. The result of the North Paddington bye-election was broadcast by the Vienna radio, our candidate being incorrectly described in the first broadcast. A correction was then given. He says that while people in Austria still cling to the old decrepit parties, they are really in the main indifferent and quite apathetic. They are longing for something new but it is not forthcoming.
Bloomsbury Branch discussion meeting at Head Office on Thursday, July 3rd, should be very interesting. E. Kersley will open up on Priestley's ”Socialism and Art.”
Beverley Baxter, M.P., missed a very large audience when he dodged out of the debate he had agreed to do with a party representative at White Hart Lane New School, Wood Green, on June 13th. The Palmers Green Branch made every effort to let the local people know that Baxter had backed out of the debate, but that our representative would be there as advertised. Four hundred people turned up and the meeting was lively and stimulating. A considerable amount of literature was sold. Two opponents were given time on the platform to put their points of view. They were not Conservatives. If any Conservatives were present they held their peace. Baxter's lack of ordinary courtesy in not even sending a message of apology to the meeting, and merely cancelling his engagement by means of a telephone communication from his local agent, was something which the local "gentlemen” of the Conservative Party would probably prefer not to defend before a working-class audience of electors in Baxter's constituency. The party representative speculated that Baxter funked the debate after receiving our party literature which showed him that the debate would not be the comfortable joy-ride which he obviously anticipated in the first instance. A Conservative meeting addressed by Baxter a few days earlier at Winchmore Hill nearby was very sparsely attended, only about 60 of the faithful appearing, but Baxter probably prefers 60 admirers to 400 workers anxious to examine his policy critically.
Palmers Green Branch followed up the Wood Green meeting with another at the same hall a week later, when the party speaker challenged the Labour Party to defend their policy. Palmers Green Branch’s next debate is with E. Durbin, Labour M.P. for Edmonton, at Edmonton Town Hall, Fore Street, N.9, on Monday, July 14th, at 8 p.m. We hope he will give Beverley Baxter an example of turning up and facing the music.
Shortage Of Funds will have the effect of slowing down the party’s development. Branches, members and sympathisers are asked to send as much as they can to Head Office to the General, Parliamentary or Provincial Organisers’ Funds. Branches who have more money in hand than is required for current engagements would help by sending the unrequited balances to Head Office.
“We Work and Want" is the title of the meeting being organised by Paddington Branch at Paddington Town Hall, Paddington Green, on Thursday, July 3rd, at 8 p.m. The General Secretary will be the speaker.
C. C. Groves,