Party News from the January 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Metropolitan Theatre meeting on Sunday, December 7th, gave us an indication of the effect of our propaganda in the London area. All of us felt that this meeting was something of an experiment as our meetings in this theatre previously were of a special character, as during election campaigns in North Paddington, or to celebrate May Day. This was an ordinary propaganda meeting, and it was held on one of London’s miserable, cold, foggy evenings when the weather seemed even grimmer than capitalism under a Labour Government. Readers will understand how heartened we were to have an audience of about 1,000 people there to listen to us. The majority of them showed warm sympathy for our clear cut and uncompromising attitude to the Labour Government’s failure to solve working-class problems and to our appeal to join in the revolutionary movement for the emancipation of mankind. We have no illusions about the task we have set ourselves in persuading our fellow- workers of the necessity of socialism, but meetings like this stimulate us to increasing effort. We gave an hour of the meeting to the audience for question and discussion, but we could have carried on much longer. The meeting was rounded off with a very acceptable collection of over £66.
The Editorial Committee is now working on a pamphlet on Russia, and the draft is well on the way to completion for approval by the Executive Committee. This is something else for which we need donations, but we do not anticipate that our loyal body of members and sympathisers who have kept us going in the past will let us down in the future. By the way we still need money to pay the final cost of the two new pamphlets on the “Racial Question” and the "Communist Manifesto” which are at the printers. Send your New Year’s gifts to the Pamphlet Publication Fund.
A Methodist parson asked Bloomsbury branch if he and a few of his flock could come along to one of their discussion meetings to show that Christianity was not incompatible with Socialism. The branch agreed and not only explained Socialism to Wesley’s disciple but also told him something about Methodism of which he apparently was unaware.
All branches are asked to send in to Head Office immediately their financial and propaganda reports (Forms “C” and “E”) for the quarter ending December 31st so that the annual report for 1947 can be issued without delay.
The result of the Executive Committee bye-election was that no candidate succeeded in getting a majority over all the remaining candidates, and as there was not sufficient time for a second ballot the position remains unfilled pending the annual election of party officials and the Executive Committee.
Dartford Branch is building up a useful body of sympathisers in their area and hope to get some of them into the party soon. The branch recently held a propaganda meeting at their headquarters when it was explained to sympathisers how urgent it was for all who understood socialism to undertake organised activity in the party.
Manchester Branch's second series this winter of Sunday evening meetings at the Rusholme Public Hall has now concluded. The meetings have been well attended throughout in spite of some special “Manchester” weather. The branch is holding fortnightly discussions on Friday evenings at it’s branch headquarters, and is covering economics and history. A special Socialist Standard canvass was very successful. The branch expect to book Rusholme Public Hall for Sunday evening meetings in the New Year.
Ealing Branch is now running its own General Knowledge class for branch members on Monday evenings and about fifteen members attend weekly. The difficulties of obtaining tutors has been overcome by calling upon resources available in the branch. The first series of classes is dealing with Marxist economics and history. This branch has now recommenced its Sunday morning Socialist Standard canvass in the area round the branch headquarters.
Islington Branch have opened their winter propaganda season at the Co-operative Hall, Seven Sisters Road. The Islington Central Library has also been booked. They are also continuing the Sunday morning outdoor meetings at Finsbury Park when weather permits. The branch is providing its own speakers for this station. The membership of the branch is growing (they now have more than 40 members) and they expect a number of sympathisers in the district to join soon.
Kingston-on-Thames Branch's debate with the Trotskyists turned out to be a much larger affair than they anticipated, as quite a number of non-members of the organisations concerned came along. The Trotskyist representative trotted out the usual authentic "Bolshevik-Leninist” rubbish which died a natural death here and in every other country many years ago.
Preparations for Annual Conference, 1948, are now well in hand. The conference will be held at Easter at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, W.C. Branches now have from Head Office a call for items for the Preliminary Agenda. The items called for are Resolutions and Amendments to Rules. A call for items for the Final Agenda will follow later. Any London members who can put provincial delegates up over Easter are asked to get in touch with the Social Committee at Head Office as soon as possible.
Leyton Branch have now arranged a series of indoor meetings at the Lloyd Park Pavilion, Forest Road, Walthamstow. They will be held on alternate Fridays commencing on the 16th January. They hope to have a debate on one of the evenings.
Comrade Prince Vallar, of Glasgow Branch, died December 1st. Many Socialists all over the country knew Vallar’s sincere comradeship and unflagging devotion to the cause of the working-class. While he did not join the party until 1938 he was for many years before a practical and moral bulwark to the small handful of enthusiasts who kept socialist principles alive in Glasgow against frightening odds. He played a great part in the formation of the Glasgow branch in 1922 with his generosity and unfailing optimism. He sought no reward and was unassuming in his party work* He later had the keen pleasure of seeing his two sons and daughter-in-law become members of the large, virile branch which Glasgow is today. His wife and family have suffered an irreparable loss and the party has lost a staunch member. The working-class owe Vallar a debt, and lie would ask that payment should take the form of ever-increasing struggle for the emancipation of the working-class.