Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the October 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Comrade Groves is temporarily unable to compile the Party News Briefs and until he resumes they will be carried on by the member whose signature is at the end.

The newly-formed St. Pancras Branch is wasting no time in making itself felt in an area until now barren of a working-class Political Party. A very convenient Meeting Room has been secured at the Fred Tallant Hall in Drummond Street, just off the Euston Road end of Hampstead Road, and a large hall has been booked there for a series of Winter Lectures to be held at 7.30 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. The first Lecture will be on Friday, October 1st, introducing the S.P.G.B. to St. Pancras. Well attended Outdoor Meetings have resulted from the Branch’s establishment of a Sunday evening Station at Islip Street, Kentish Town. Questions and discussion from the audience have shown the pressing need for Socialist Propaganda in this area of St. Pancras.


Edgware Branch’s debate with the I.W.W. on 12th August was attended by about 60 people; J. M. Hutchinson, putting the I.W.W.’s point of view gave a good indictment of the capitalist system, but in putting the LW.W.’s case left the way open for Waters’ rebuttal for the party. Briefly, Hutchinson advocated that the workers should “organize and educate” themselves on a basis of class-consciousness for the purpose of “organizing their industry at the point of production and distribution.” The futility of the industrial unionism of the I.W.W. as an instrument for working class emancipation was amply explained by Waters who demonstrated the inseparability of the means from the end which the I.W.W. failed to face up to, and instanced another "non-political” trade-union that had concluded its activities by urging its members to join the Conservative Party! The activities favoured by the I.W.W. were shown by Waters to be abortive and disillusioning to workers, whose task of emancipation is political in character.


Kingston Branch commenced its outdoor meetings at "The Fountain,” New Malden, Surrey, on Saturday, September 18th. It is hoped that the weather will allow these meetings to be continued for six weeks, by which time a programme of indoor meetings will have been arranged and advertised to be held at the New Malden public library on Saturday evenings, commencing in November.

The meetings at Castle Street, Kingston, on Friday and Saturday evenings will continue until winter weather makes outdoor activities impossible. After September, speakers for the Friday evening meetings will be drawn exclusively from the branch.

In co-operation with Ealing Branch, a coach outing has been arranged for October 3rd to Southsea. Thirty-three members and friends of both branches, including four or five speakers, will journey to Southsea and hold a continuous afternoon and evening meeting on or near, the Marine Parade. Members living on the south coast within travelling distance of Southsea have been invited to join the party at the meeting place.

Door to door canvassing with a distribution of literature in the Twickenham district was conducted by two members of the branch during the early months of the year and resulted in collections for branch funds totalling £7 18s. 5d. This averages 5s. per hour of canvassing from each of the two members.


The Overseas Secretary reports that the response to his appeal for assistants to help with the overseas correspondence has been far beyond his expectations. The number of volunteers exceeds the amount of work to be done. As the amount of overseas correspondence increases a job will be found for everyone who has offered to help.

To the request that branches send in the overseas addresses of ex-members who have gone abroad, the response has not been so good. Where such an address is passed to the overseas department an attempt is made to link up the ex-member with comrades who may reside near and to keep in touch with him as well.

When the "Racial Problem” pamphlet first appeared a number of copies were sent to native trade unions, newspapers and journals, and to individuals in Africa, India, America, Ceylon, Malaya and British West Indies. A few encouraging replies have been received. Here are extracts from one or two such replies:

From Trinidad: ". . . [it] is a masterpiece. Since reading same I have lent it to no fewer than twenty- five persons . . . I am now beginning to know the why and the answer to many problems. I would really like a catalogue of Socialist works . . .”

From the Gold Coast: ". . . I hope to review [The Racial Problem] as soon as the present censorship of the Gold Coast Press is lifted. I am keenly interested in Socialism, personally, and would be most grateful for any literature on the subject that you could forward to me.”

From Madras: "Please be good.enough to send regularly every month a copy of your monthly 'The Socialist Standard’.”

There are other similar letters.

From the All-India Trade Union Congress we learn that " . . . in the last week in March, office bearers and organisers of a very large number of affiliated unions of the AITUC all over the country were arrested and detained without trial, and warrants were issued against many others, on the ground that they were Communists.” They tell us that offices were sealed and registers and papers were confiscated. From Assam we learn that "In the course of the last month [June] more Trade Unionists have been put behind the prison bars in Assam than even within a year of the worst days of direct British rule.”

The Dublin Socialist Group hope to have their Economics class started sometime during October. Their attempts to get the S.S. and the W.S. in the Dublin libraries have met with no success. "The ordinary channels just don’t exist as far as we are concerned . . . in other words, the bar is up to us.”

The new pamphlet on Russia, to be published by the Socialist Party of Canada, went to the printers in August.

The Johannesburg paper formerly known as Europe To-Morrow is now entitled Socialist Forum. This paper comprises, in the main, a selection of articles from “left” European journals. We thank the Comrades in Rhodesia for their recent generous donations to our party funds.

To readers of the Socialist Standard in all parts of the world. There may possibly be another reader of the S.S. residing near you. There are some parts of the world, very remote from Great Britain, where we have more than one subscriber or contact. If such readers would like to be put in contact with one another it will be arranged when they write to Overseas Secretary.
W. Waters.

Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the August 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Hackney Branch have now their own Speakers Class at Bethnal Green Library on Friday evenings. The aim is to develop a team of speakers for North and East London. This area has a number of excellent outdoor stations and it will ease pressure on the Central Propaganda Committee considerably if the branch can feed the stations with their own speakers. At present outdoor meetings are being held at Stamford Hill on Monday evenings, and at Fulbourne Street, Whitechapel Road (facing the London Hospital) on Wednesday evenings. The results are very encouraging.


Outdoor Meetings generally now need the support of party members more than ever before. The Conservative Party is making a great outdoor propaganda drive with many meetings all over London. They start their meetings with a big nucleus of supporters, which makes it much easier going for the speakers. Our members are urged to get to our meetings early and give them a good start off.


A Special Edition of bound volumes of five of our pamphlets is being prepared for public library use. These have been solidly bound and lettered in gold “Collected Socialist Pamphlets.” They are not for sale to party members or the public, but are reserved exclusively for public and university libraries. Wide-awake librarians will not miss this chance of adding a well-bound 307 page volume to their shelves containing objective socialist facts and views to place alongside the pseudo socialist literature of “ Communist” and Labour authors. The price is 8s. 6d.


The B.B.C. still refuses us time on the air. Our efforts have so far been fruitless, and we decided that the time had arrived to use some kind of pressure, or at least get publicity, in another direction. So we wrote to the Manchester Guardian and they published our letter on June 18th. We said in our letter that while there appeared to be fairly general agreement in principle that minority political views should be heard, in practice the B.B.C. interpreted the principle in a narrow and exclusive way. Mr. Burke, a former Assistant Postmaster General said in 1947 in the House of Commons that the minority should be given a fair chance and that to put only one aspect was to falsify the whole truth. The view put forward by the Socialist Party of Great Britain was not expressed by any of the majority or minority political parties selected by the B.B.C. for a hearing on the air, but in reply to our many requests to the B.B.C. we have been invariably told that they were unable to arrange a discussion in which we could be heard. This was in spite of the fact that two members of Parliament (one Labour and one Conservative) had told us of their desire to take part in a joint discussion with us. The B.B.C. were informed of this but they made it clear to us that in no circumstances would they allow us to broadcast. We concluded our letter to the Manchester Guardian by saying that it would be interesting to know on what ground the B.B.C. decided that certain minority views were to be permanently excluded. An allocation of only a small amount of time would be reasonable, but with this absolute ban it appeared equally reasonable that they should declare the ground on which it was based. We are not aware of any results from this letter and it is probable that the B.B.C. have decided to keep quiet.


Ealing Branch’s Debate with Christopher Hollis (Conservative M.P. for Devizes) at Ealing Town Hall was the most successful indoor meeting held by the Branch in Ealing. The hall was packed and numbers had to be turned away. H. Young was the party’s representative, and he dealt very adequately with Hollis’s somewhat original interpretation of Conservative policy. A collection of over £10 was taken.


A Manchester Comrade is giving us a very inspiring example of how the party literature can be sold. During the last two months he has disposed of over thirteen hundred copies of the pamphlet “Socialist Party—its Principles and Policy” by personally interviewing residents in various parts of Manchester. He has sent us a long and interesting letter describing the methods he adopts. He is keeping a record of all purchasers and passing it over to Manchester Branch for them to follow up.


An attractive new poster to advertise the “S.S.” is now at the printers. It will he found useful at meetings and for newsagents display boards. A specimen copy will be sent to each branch as soon as they are ready.


Debate with Trotskyists: “Is Russia Capitalist?”
On July 1st at Conway Hall D. Fenwick for the S.P.G.B. debated with R. Tearse for the Revolutionary Communist Party. In his opening half-hour Fenwick carefully defined Capitalism and Socialism in the usual Marxian terms and argued that the existence in Russia of a propertyless working class living by selling its labour-power for wages, and producing commodities for sale on the market shows that it is not Socialism but a form of State Capitalism. Admittedly it had not developed exactly on the lines of capitalism in the Western countries. Trotsky in “The Revolution Betrayed” had asserted that the term “State Capitalism” is meaningless, but certainly Lenin did not think so for in his “The Chief Task of Our Times” he had argued that State Capitalism would be a step forward for industrially backward Russia. The contrasts of riches and poverty in Russia and the growth of bondholding are features of Capitalism not Socialism. What is the interest paid to the bondholders if not surplus value resulting from the exploitation of the workers? Fenwick emphasised that the achievement of Socialism presupposes a socialist working class, it cannot he imposed by a dictatorship.

R. Tearse in reply claimed that the S.P.G.B. is wrong in describing the 1917 revolution as a bourgeois revolution. It would be a peculiar capitalist revolution that expropriates the capitalists. The S.P.G.B. idea of all the workers moving together towards Socialism is wishful thinking, and the notion of Capitalism and Socialism being divided by a sort of Chinese Wall is erroneous. In the introduction to “Civil War in France” Engels had conceived of a whole new generation after the working class seizure of power before it would be possible to have fully-fledged Socialism. The R.C.P. never claimed that Socialism exists in Russia. Marx and Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, when they wrote of revolutionary measures such as steeply-graduated income tax, and the centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, obviously envisaged the continuance of the wages system and commodity production in the transition period after the workers had gained power. The first essential step for the workers is to secure the centralisation of large-scale industry in the hands of the State as had been done in Russia. Inequality exists but this does not prove the existence of Capitalism. The rich in Russia are the artists and writers but in the S.P.G.B. pamphlet “Socialism” it is claimed that these better-paid workers are still members of the working class.

Bondholding is a very small feature in relation to the whole economy. The bondholder does not control undertakings. The bureaucracy may receive parasitic income from the exploitation of the working class but accumulation of capital through the individual capitalist and the resulting capitalist crises of boom and slump do not exist in Russia. What social group constitutes the capitalist class in Russia? He challenged Fenwick to answer. As regards the R.C.P.’s willingness to support Russia in war, this is justified because there you have a progressive economy based on the nationalisation of the whole economy.

In further contributions to the debate Fenwick referred to Marx’s statement of the possibility of the workers overthrowing the bourgeoisie and of this merely serving the development of the bourgeois revolution itself as happened in France in 1794 (quoted in “State and Socialist Revolution” by Martov). He also quoted from “Socialism, Utopian, and Scientific” where Engels showed that the nationalisation of industries does not lessen their capitalist nature. Russia was in fact affected by the 1931 crisis like other countries. He referred to the change in the law which allows holders of State bonds in Russia to bequeath them to their heirs and quoted Trotsky’s statement in “Revolution Betrayed” that if any such development occurred it would be a victory for the bureaucracy and would mean their conversion into a new ruling class. The measures at the end of Section II of the Communist Manifesto, showed that at that time the immediate establishment of Socialism after the capture of power was not entertained by Marx or Engels; but industry and knowledge had undergone great development since then. In 1872 Engels had said that the passage in question would have been very differently worded under the different conditions existing at the later date.

R. Tearse repeated his argument that wholesale nationalisation is different in kind from the nationalisation of sectors of industry as in this country. In Russia nationalisation would form the basis of Socialism after the transition period. The 1931 crisis did not affect Russia in the fundamental way it affected other countries. It was not the result of the accumulation of capital in the hands of private capitalists. As regards the quotation from “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific” about the capitalist nature of nationalised industries, it should not be overlooked that in the very next sentence Engels argued that though the capitalist relation is not done away with it is “brought to a head, it topples over.”

In Russia industry as a whole has been taken over by the State and the anarchy of private appropriation of surplus value does not exist. The defeat of Russia in war would be a defeat for the working class and a further lease of life for capitalism. There must be a transition period between capitalism and socialism and during this period capital and wages would exist but this alone does not make it capitalism. Though in 1872 Engels had said he and Marx would not in the changed conditions lay special stress on the measures proposed in the Communist Manifesto Engels never said the measures were wrong and he continued to call them revolutionary measures.

The debate was well-attended and the audience showed the closest attention to the by no means simple clash of argument. A collection of £10 15s. was taken up.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.

Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Glasgow Branch continue their outdoor propaganda with moderate success. Glasgow lacks a really well-established outdoor "Speakers’ Corner” and the branch is trying out one or two new stations. They have some promising young speakers coming along but could do with more. They had a public debate with the Trotskyists at the end of May on the subject “Is Parliament the road to socialism?" The hall was packed and many had to be turned away. The Trotskyist repeated the usual stale distortions of Marxism and incitements to mass action. The debate is being repeated at Hamilton with a view to stimulating interest there. A special branch meeting is being held to discuss future activities on the electoral field and all friends in Scotland are appealed to for assistance and are asked to get in touch with the branch.


Tottenham Branch have just lost by death Comrade C. J. Whitby, after a long illness. He joined the party in 1920 and always played an active part in everything the branch did. The branch will miss him very much, and particularly his sound expositions of the party’s policy at their meetings.


Islington Branch’s debate with the Communist Party filled the Hornsey Town Hall to capacity. A. Turner (who opened the debate for us) first explained the meaning of socialism in all its aspects, and dealt with the political and economic foundations of the class struggle, showing the road the workers must travel to their emancipation. The Communist Party, he said, had never sought working-class support for socialism or the overthrow of capitalism. They had during their career opposed Parliament and urged the workers to arm themselves. Their attitude to the Labour Party had from time to time been one of opposition and then of support. They had first supported the 1939 war, then opposed it, and on Russia’s entry had supported it again. The somersaults in their policy could only be explained by their support of Russia, a country in which capitalism existed. The Communist Party were reformists, formed in the first instance by a number of reformist parties getting together. It was true that the Communist Party prosecuted the class struggle, but their efforts in fact served the interest of the capitalist class. Against the Communist Party’s claim that a minority could take control without the backing of an informed working-class, the Socialist Party said that socialism will be established by the working-class when it understood the issues involved, and not before. Turner quoted statements made by prominent members of the Communist Party in support of his arguments. 

G. Jones (Communist Party representative) replied that the capitalists had always opposed the Communist Party: in the “Communist Manifesto” Marx had said that the spectre of Communism was haunting the world. The Communist Party were extending the work of Marx and Engels and engaging in the elementary struggles of the workers, which Engels had said was an attack on the capitalist class. It was not necessary for the Communist Party to state the case for socialism, because this had been expressed so many times before. Lenin had stood for a party which aimed at smashing the State machine and replacing it with a working-class State machine, and this was in line with Marx’s views. The Communist Party changed its policy as circumstances demanded, but the Socialist Party were Utopians. In Russia the working-class had taken power and the capitalists could never stage a come-back there. 

A. Turner in his second statement said that his explanation of capitalism and exposition of socialism had not been contradicted by his opponent, but that the Communist Party had never advocated these ideas. The Communist Party was not democratic and its changes of policy came from the leadership and were imposed on the members. He gave a number of quotations from Communist Party literature showing how they alternately opposed and supported the last war. Lenin himself thought that the State would wither away, and not be smashed. The object of the Communist Party was to maintain the security of Russian Capitalism, and that of the Socialist Party to establish socialism by means of a working-class understanding socialism taking control of the State machinery by obtaining a majority in Parliament. He quoted from the “Communist Manifesto” showing that both Marx and Engels from the beginning had understood the necessity of there being a majority of socialist workers in order to establish socialism. The present task of the Socialist Party was, therefore, to spread socialist knowledge. In Russia the means of production were not owned by the working-class. The Communist Party had never advocated socialism, but had tried to gain support by lies and trickery. 

G. Jones in his second speech claimed that Turner had arranged quotations in a way calculated to deceive. Russia was weakening the capitalist chain in the fight to build socialism, and Turner's statements were an amazing travesty of Marxism. There must be leaders in any movement, even though some may turn out to be bad leaders. 

Both speakers had another session, but towards the end of the debate some members of the audience became so unruly that it was difficult to hear what was going on. In spite of these well-known Communist Party tactics, members of our party present thought the debate well worth while, particularly as it is so rare an event for a Communist to risk himself on our platforms. A collection of £32 was taken up, and good literature sales resulted.


Ealing Branch's debate with John Parker, M.P., at Fulham Town Hall was also a success. The hall was full and the General Secretary had little difficulty in exposing the Labour Party in its true light Parker did his best but he fought a losing battle right from the beginning. A collection of £17 was taken and plenty of our literature was sold.


Further Public Debates are on the way as a result of the vigorous policy adopted by the Central Propaganda Committee and branches. Max Aitken, M.P. (son of Lord Beaverbrook), has expressed willingness to “have a go,” and Christopher Hollis (Conservative M.P. for Devizes) has agreed to debate on “ Is there a Class Struggle?” If final arrangements are settled in time an announcement will be made in this issue of the Socialist Standard. A debate which should be of great interest to members takes place at the Conway Hall on July 1st. We shall take the affirmative on the question “Is Russia capitalist?” and the negative will be taken by the Trotskyists. Our man will be D. Fenwick.


Manchester Branch are now holding regular Sunday afternoon and evening meetings in Platt Fields, and so far when weather has permitted, they have been uniformly successful—this in spite of big rallies by other political parties. On one evening the Trotskyists had to close down a widely advertised meeting owing to lack of support. Meetings have also been commenced on a bomb site in Market Street, where after hard slogging to begin with, good results were obtained. The May Day procession there was a poor and dispirited affair, in spite of light relief provided by a Communist Party banner which aimed to arouse the wrath of the workers by announcing that rabbits were now 3s. 6d. each compared with 9d. in 1939. We held a good meeting in Platt Fields during the Sunday afternoon and another well attended one in the evening.


Annual Conference of W.S.P. of U.S. We have received a brief preliminary report of the Annual Conference of our Companion Party in U.S.A. They appear to have had a number of disappointments but they consider that the Conference was stimulating and that much valuable work was done. The attendance of “out-of-town” visitors was small. When we consider the difficulties that our own provincial members have to get to our Annual Conference, we can appreciate the greater difficulties that are experienced in America. A programme of outdoor meetings that was organised for the Conference period was spoilt by rain and a debate with the Wallace Party was postponed by that party.

Here are one or two of the decisions that arose from the Conference discussions. There is to be an experiment for one month with a four-page supplement to the Western Socialist. The four extra pages are to be devoted to pictures, graphs, cartoons, etc.

A Socialist Seminar is to be held in Boston during the last two weeks in August of this year. This will be publicised and accommodation will be found for visitors. It is hoped that the seminar will include daily classes, discussions, street meetings, debates, tours of museums, etc.

Discussion groups, similar to those organised by the S.P.G.B., are to be started where possible.

A new pamphlet is to be published consisting of vital and outstanding articles from our papers.

A full report of the Conference will be sent later and we will enter in this column outstanding items of interest.


The Overseas Secretary reports that, following suggestions made by members at different times, he is now in contact with enthusiastic readers of our literature in Trinidad, the Gold Coast and Bombay.

Articles from the Socialist Standard have recently been reprinted in Klasbatalo, journal of a Worker’s Esperanto Federation and in Europe Tomorrow, published in Johannesburg.


Lewisham Branch continue their successful Socialist Standard canvass in the neighbourhood. A new outdoor meeting station has been opened in a prominent position on a bomb-site at the Clock Tower. Seven Saturday afternoon meetings have been held in succession with a good audience each time and growing literature sales.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.

Annual Conference, 1948 (1948)

Party News from the May 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

“It's been the best conference I’ve ever attended,” said one old member of the party after the Conway Hall rally on Easter Sunday evening, and, to judge by the enthusiasm of the majority of those present at the rally, his views must have been shared by nearly everyone. It was three days' hard slogging for all of us, but we enjoyed it because in our own democratic way we spent the time in keeping the revolutionary weapon sharp. What a lesson in democracy in action there is to learn from the manner in which Socialists run their organisation! The whole conference belonged to delegates sent with their branch's mandates; Executive Committee members present had the right to speak—but not to act.

Here are some of the things decided upon by conference. The first item on Friday morning brought delegates up against our most urgent problem, the question of financial resources. In spite of a plea from provincial delegates, conference found itself compelled to instruct the Executive Committee not to proceed during 1948 with filling the vacant posts of paid organisers, but to review the question again in twelve months' time. The decision was made solely because of our weak financial position. The discussion of propaganda took a lot of time on Friday, but as propaganda is the heart of our activity the time was well spent Conference rejected the idea of appointing a full-time propagandist in London as opposed to full-time provincial propagandists; it discussed the appropriate propaganda in the present political situation; it declined to alter the party tradition of giving free admission to all our meetings, and it declared that we should be prepared to debate with any political party —this after turning down resolutions which would have kept Fascist organisations off our debating platforms. Conference then altered our rule book by making the literature distribution department the responsibility of the Executive Committee and not that of a Literature Secretary appointed by party ballot.

On the second day we started with greetings from companion parties overseas and from an old member in Vienna who sent a very inspiring letter. After this we took the item “Electoral Action," and after a long discussion the branches, through their delegates, overwhelmingly defeated a resolution which wanted us to defer putting forward parliamentary candidates for the time being. Members of the Independent Labour Party, please take special note of this! Under the same heading we went on to discuss the attitude of a Socialist M.P. in the House of Commons towards reforms. This question was the subject of a prolonged series of debates in the party many years ago, and the position approved then was re-approved by conference without a dissentient. Those who are interested can find the party's attitude given in an answer to a correspondent in the February, 1910, issue of the “Socialist Standard." This answer is, by the way, being circulated in the full conference report sent to members. Space prevents us giving it here.

Late on the afternoon of the second day we started dealing with our publications. The first thing we talked about was the price being charged for our pamphlets. Some branches thought that they were too dear, and others that this sort of question was better left to the discretion of the Executive Committee. In the end a majority supported the latter view, but only after a keen debate. Then delegates really got to work. Pamphlets, pamphlets, pamphlets and still more pamphlets were asked for. The conference was reminded of paper and financial difficulties, but delegates were not deterred. They had the feeling that if we got stuff ready for the press, somehow or another we'd find the paper and the money too. Pamphlets specially mentioned were a short one on ‘‘War and the Working- Class," a revised edition of “Questions of the Day," and ‘‘Trade Unions.” Every month in this column we ask readers to help us financially, and we make the appeal again. Send as much as you can as quickly as you can. Socialists want all the written ammunition they can get hold of—it will be well used, but one of the curses of capitalism is that printing has to be paid for. Do what you can! Excuse the digression.

After pamphlets the "Socialist Standard" came under fire with a discussion on the desirability of publishing articles dealing with side issues on which party members might have varying views. No decision was arrived at and there was a wide divergence of opinion among delegates. It was pointed out to conference that the present policy is to publish articles providing they do not conflict with our position even if they contain material on other questions which represented only the writer's point of view. One branch was in favour of discontinuing the publication of “Party News Briefs" in the “Socialist Standard" as soon as possible, but found very little support. Branches appeared to consider them useful and informative.

Another revival in party history was a branch's suggestion to recommence an inter-party journal for circulation among members. We had one some years ago which had a brief existence before difficulties of production killed it. Here again no decision was arrived at, and delegates did not appear anxious, to commit themselves on the question. The discussion on party publications took us nearly up to-lunch-time on the third day, but during the morning conference had a report on the success of the Head Office tutorial class. They learned that the effort to turn out tutors able to run classes for party members was progressing in a very healthy fashion. The committee running the class was satisfied with the results, particularly as they aimed at something that took much longer than just preparing members for speaking on the party platforms.

Most of the afternoon of the third day was spent on an item of discussion which covered the method used by the party in its approach to workers organised in the trade unions, particularly those in factories, mills, mines, etc. A very wide field was traversed—much too wide to attempt to report here, but the final result was a request to the Executive Committee to get out a pamphlet, on Trade Unions as quickly as possible.

And so our 44th Annual Conference came to an end, and while most of us were washed out physically, our spirits were high and our minds refreshed. In all, during the conference we had 63 delegates representing 23 branches. And now for the relaxing side. First of all on Saturday evening the party had its annual fling at the Conway Hall where amiability was combined with agility on the dance floor. In view of the astonishing dexterity of some of the older members with their feet it is to be regretted that we only have these jive-sessions once a year. And then we think it reasonable to classify on the relaxing side the rally on Sunday evening. The hall was all but full and the whole atmosphere was one of enthusiasm and party well-being. The speakers concentrated their attention on the progress of the party, particularly in relation to those organisations which had derided us for what they claimed to be our ‘‘slow” methods. As they die one by one we gain in strength; and the audience provided an atmosphere which was stimulating and invigorating. They also donated £40 to our funds. And now for another twelve months' struggle towards our objective.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.

Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the May 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

May Day is being celebrated by the Party on an extensive scale this year. The original plan was to conclude large outdoor demonstrations in Hyde Park with a bumper meeting in the Metropolitan Theatre on Sunday evening, May 2nd. Unfortunately, through no fault of ours, we cannot obtain the Metropolitan Theatre this year, and the Sunday evening rally is to take place in the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square. The May Day procession organised by the London Trades Council takes place on Saturday afternoon, May 1st, and our aim is to have at least 100 members selling literature and delivering handbills on the route. We have made application to use decorated trailers as platforms in Hyde Park both on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and on the Saturday we hope to have an amplifying apparatus at work as well. The whole of our effort is being extensively advertised.. There is every reason to believe that, given reasonable weather, May 1st and 2nd will be something to remember in party history. We hear from the provinces that Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol are well ahead with their own plans for special May Day efforts. The speakers at the London Conway Hall meeting will be Cash, Turner and Groves.


The Summer Outdoor Propaganda Season is now off to a good start, and most branches will have their various stations at work by the time this issue is published. South-West London branch is spreading its wings a bit more this summer with meetings planned for Friday evenings at Comyn Road, Clapham Junction, Saturday evenings at Rushcroft Road, Brixton, and Sunday afternoons at Clapham Common.


Kingston Branch commenced their outdoor season on March 20th at Castle Street, Kingston, with a very successful meeting. During 1947 the Communist Party tried to establish meetings here. They invariably commenced them early, but as soon as our platform was erected their audiences evaporated and ours grew. This year the branch will commence their meetings at 6.30 p.m. to save the audience the trouble of moving from one platform to the other. The branch attempted to hold Saturday afternoon meetings and establish a literature stall in Kingston Market, but they were stopped by the police on the grounds of “Obstruction." When petrol is available the branch is going to organise Sunday propaganda outings to various south coast towns during the summer season.


Manchester Branch recently held a debate with the Stockport Labour Party at the Unity Hall in Stockport. The hall was packed—about 150 being present. The Labour Party’s representative was Councillor Watson, and our man was A. Mertons. Watson was quite hopeless. All that he could say was that the S.P.G.B. might be right, and so, for that matter, might be quite a number of other parties. So far he had been unable to make up his mind, but in the meantime someone had to do the “practical” work! He had great difficulty in filling out his time and seemed relieved when our representative managed to collar an extra 15 minutes. All members present agreed that the debate was very well worth while. Two days after the debate the branch held a meeting at the Rusholme Public Hall where Mertons was again the speaker on “The Struggle for the World.” There were about 120 at this meeting and members were well satisfied. Outdoor propaganda has commenced in Platt Fields on Sunday afternoons, and during the summer the branch aims to revive the Eccles Cross outdoor station. In addition regular indoor meetings are going to be held in the Onward Hall, Manchester. The branch has also an economic class in course of preparation. Without being unduly optimistic it is possible to foresee more and sustained activity by the branch which should result in an increase in membership.


Edgware Branch has recently been in difficulties owing to a shortage of active members, but now appears to be on the up-grade. Sympathisers living in the district will be welcomed to branch meetings.


The Independent Labour Party through one of its organisers in London, has been nagging us to send a speaker to their summer school to talk on something palatable to them like the “Managerial Revolution" or “ Russia.” We replied that we would send a speaker to talk about the policy of our party. There the matter rests for the moment pending an official reply to an official letter sent to the I.L.P. We do not aim to entertain the last few tottering remains of an organisation which has been in the last throes for years and is now dishonourably sinking into oblivion. If they want to hear something about Socialism we’ll give it to ’em.


A Party Meeting is being arranged for members to discuss the question of "Socialism and Violence.” A hall has not yet been booked, but members will receive ample notice.


The Annual Conference is reported elsewhere, but one item of news has just come to hand. In addition to the general success of the conference we learn that party funds will benefit by about £70 as a result of collections, dance tickets, prize draws, etc.


Ealing Branch’s debate at Kensington Town Hall again proved the popularity of this form of propaganda. This debate was with Collin Brooks, Editor of Truth,” and Chairman of the Executive of the Society of Individualists. Our representative was the General Secretary. The hall, holding 600 people, was filled to capacity, and literature sales and collection were very good. Brooks, who had agreed to defend Capitalism against Socialism, spent nine-tenths of his time attacking Labour Party state capitalism in spite of strenuous efforts on our part to get him to the point. He refused to get to grips with the real issue of the debate, perhaps through ignorance, or perhaps by choice, one guess being as good as another. Members present considered that good propaganda work had been done by the debate.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.


Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the April 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Annual Conference will be over by the time that this edition of the "Socialist Standard’’ is on sale and a report of what took place will appear in our next issue. Last month we gave some details of items which will be dealt with by the delegates, and here are a few more things which are on the agenda. Our Central branch (covering members who cannot attend branches) numbered 162 at the end of the year. Although the members of this branch are handicapped by their isolation a number of them are very active in their areas. During the last few years good branches have been formed by pockets of Central branch members living near to each other. Our Central Organiser reports to the Conference that many branches of the party are increasing their activities, but that a large amount of work falls on a comparatively small number of members. Nevertheless on the whole the condition of most branches seems to be healthier than for some time past. The supply of articles by members for publication in the “Socialist Standard” was considerably better in the last half of 1947 than it was in 1946, and because of this the Editorial Committee were able to give more of their time to working on pamphlets. The number of "Socialist Standards” printed was 6,000 per month up to October, 1947, but owing to unsold copies during the winter months the quantity was reduced to 5,600 for October and November, and 5,400 for December. The party’s Literature Secretary in his report to the delegates points out that copies of "Socialist Comment” (the journal of our companion party in Australia) can now be obtained from Head Office. This paper offers members an excellent opportunity of learning about the local problems of our Australian comrades. Our literature was advertised right through the year in various organs of the press, bringing in a number of new subscribers to the "Socialist Standard” together with some enquiries from abroad. We have also continued to press the B.B.C. for time on the “air” but so far without result. The work of our Overseas Secretary’s department during 1947 increased enormously, and the results of this increased activity are slowly becoming manifest. These results so far consist of closer contacts with groups and parties abroad, interest in our literature in different parts of the world and the growth of an organisation within the party capable of dealing with any socialist development overseas. The delegates will have in front of them details of the activities of all the companion parties abroad. The Overseas Secretary has also tried to get in contact with small groups who have broken away from self-styled working-class parties in Italy, Holland and France, but so far he has nothing of interest to report under this heading. The "Socialist Standard” is now being sent to a large number of groups and workers in various parts of the world, including libraries in Hamburg and Moscow. We have now built up a team of translators and also a panel of linguists who are prepared to represent the party abroad when required. The resolution sent in by branches upon which delegates will vote in accordance with their branch mandates cover a wide field, dealing with the party's propaganda, literature, etc., but the most lively discussions will probably be on the various “Items for discussion" which appear on the agenda. Delegates are not tied down by their branches on these items in the same way as they are on the resolutions, but it is their duty to report back to their branches on the various points of view expressed. Altogether there is every indication that the Conference will have been stimulating, interesting and beneficial to party welfare.


A New Pamphlet reproducing from the “S.S.” from 1918 onwards articles on Russia containing material of permanent value is now ready for the printer. This is not intended to meet the need for an original pamphlet dealing with Russia from our standpoint. The Editorial Committee has other pamphlets in mind for publication when the financial situation becomes easier. We are still waiting for you to make that situation easier. It is a very serious matter and we cannot over emphasise the need for funds.


Glasgow Branch has suffered severely lately owing to the death of members. John Adrian died in February suddenly under very tragic circumstances. He had been making plans for his usual visit to the Annual Conference, an event which he always looked forward to. John joined the party in 1936 and became a very valuable member. He was not a public propagandist, but a very serious student with a thorough grounding in socialist theory. He organised classes on economics and was a source of inspiration to all members. He had all the essential attributes of the revolutionary worker. Fifteen members attended his funeral at which a party member gave a fitting address. The branch has also lost R. D. Robertson who died in February after a long illness. He was a young member who joined us in 1942. He was an earnest and unassuming lad with a keen and intelligent interest in the work of the party.

The branch have been temporarily inconvenienced as a result of being served a notice to quit their excellent shop premises by May 28th—or to buy them at £700 (an impossible sum). This has faced Glasgow comrades with the difficult task of seeking new premises in the city by that date. The shop with its spacious window for displaying pamphlets, and announcing meetings, proved itself a most useful asset during its several years of branch occupancy.

Indoor meetings are continuing, but with the present mild weather and longer light evenings a start on outdoor propaganda is being made this month; probable venues are Queens Park Gate and Brunswick Street. Again a challenge to the C.P. to debate has been issued, this time through their Penilee branch, who await their central committee’s, sanction. It is expected, however, that the C.P.’s usual political cowardice about debating with S.P.G.B. representatives will add but another refusal to efforts to get them on the public platform. Recently the branch organiser travelled 50 miles on invitation to Kelty, to address a meeting composed mainly of miners. The S.P. case was well received.


The Croydon Bye-Election gave our branch there an opportunity of extending its propaganda work. Indoor and outdoor meetings were run, and while the audiences were on the small side we managed to get the ear of a number of workers in the constituency who were not swept away by the reformist barrage of the candidates.


Kensington Town Hall houses another of our debates on April 12th. The Society of Individualists are putting up Collin Brook (editor of "Truth”) against us. Our man is the General Secretary. The straight subject of "Socialism versus Capitalism” has been agreed upon.


“The Socialist Standard” now costs more to produce than we get for it at Head Office. This is due to higher wages of printers and the higher cost of paper. The resulting loss each month increases our financial difficulties.


"The Communist Manifesto" centenary commemoration meeting at the Conway Hall on March 1st brought a very good crowd together. As is usual at our meetings we finished up with plenty of time given to the audience for questions and discussion. The collection was £17 and about £7 worth of literature was sold.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.

Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the March 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Our 44th Annual Conference is being held at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, W.C.1, on Good Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 26th, 27th and 28th March, commencing at 11 o’clock on each morning. All of the proceedings are open to any member of the working-class who wishes to come along. We have no private sessions like nearly all other organisations who ask the working-class to support them. The last paragraph of the ‘‘Communist Manifesto” states that “Communists scorn to hide their views and aims” and we preserve this democratic principle intact. The main work of the conference will be to review the results of 1947 and prepare our programme for the future. The report of the 44th Executive Committee will be in the hands of branches about four weeks before the conference, and delegates will come mandated with their branches’ instructions. Here are some features from the report. Our membership at the end of 1947 was 979, an increase of 58 during the year. The total number of propaganda meetings reported during the year was 835, of which there were 678 outdoor meetings, 135 indoor meetings, 8 debates and 14 addresses to other organisations. The number of outdoor meetings is the highest of which we have records. Even these figures are not comprehensive, as a number of branches have failed to report all of their meetings to Head Office. It has been a difficult year financially. During the war years we built up a fairly substantial balance, but this has been absorbed by widened activity. Now we have to finance our activities as we go, and our expenditure (particularly on party publications) cannot be curtailed without reducing the scope of our work. This is the last thing we wish to do. A number of branches, are supporting an amendment to party rules which will raise member’s weekly subscriptions from 3d. to 6d. If this amendment is carried the branches supporting it think that it will go some way to ease our financial burdens. One effect of financial restrictions has been that the Executive Committee have had to postpone action in filling the vacant positions of full-time organisers. Two new branches at Kingston-on-Thames and Croydon were formed during the year, and the Dagenham and Romford branch was dissolved. The sales of the Socialist Standard fell off towards the end of the year, and the delegates may well consider ways and means of building up the circulation. Pamphlet sales will undoubtedly shoot up now that the ‘‘Racial Problem” is on sale and our own edition of the "Communist Manifesto” is practically ready from the printers. The first session of our Tutorial Class was a great success, and promises to play a big part in providing the party with a competent body of tutors for future educational classes. As well as the conference there will be our usual dance and reunion on the Saturday evening, and the Mass Rally on the Sunday evening—both at the Conway Hall.


The Publicity Committee is planning some attractive advertisements for the pamphlet on “The Racial Problem.” The E.C. allocates regular sums to this committee to be spent on advertising, but advertising is expensive, and the money in any case has to come out of the General Fund. So please step up your donations so that wider and ever wider circles may get to know of the Party and its policy.


Hackney Branch have sent in some interesting correspondence they had had with various “notabilities” they have approached with a view to public debate. Some letters they receive are long, and some short, but they all add up to the same thing. These “friends” of the working-class won’t have it! Their reluctance to face our speakers is matched only by their eagerness to get into the limelight under what they consider to be favourable conditions. Michael Foot, M.P., is “absolutely full u ” for the next few months (according to Hackney they have had this same reply from him for over two years). Donald Soper, M.A., of Kingsway Hall and Tower Hill finds that his ‘‘diary is fully booked right away through into 1949.” P. Piratin, M.P., regrets being unable to accept our invitation (no reasons given, let’s guess). Richard Acland, M.P., says that he has met members of our organisation and he has to state quite objectively that our processes of thought and of reasoning are so utterly other than his own that he has never believed that there is any effective point of contact between him and us. For this reason he believes that a debate would be an entire waste of our time and his. Mr. Acland seems to have forgotten the audience for whose benefit debates are really organised. Why not, Mr. Acland, let them judge the validity of your processes of thought and reasoning? Or are you just finding a roundabout way of saying that you don’t fancy your chances up against an S.P.G.B.’er in debate?


Radio Luxembourg costs £70 for a 15 minutes broadcast. Some members and sympathisers think a lot of this form of propaganda, but we shall need a lot more money before we can even consider it.


The Assistant Treasurer elected as a result of the second ballot is Kathleen Curzon of Paddington branch.


An E.C. by-election is in process and ballot papers have been issued to all branch secretaries. The nominations received are F. C. Adams (Palmers Green). G. Clark (Islington), H. Collins (Croydon), R. Coster (Leyton), J. P. Edmonds and H. Russell (Lewisham), G. Kerr (West Ham), and J. Read and S. Ross (Hackney). There is one vacancy on the Executive Committee.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.

Railway Nationalisation (1948)

From the February 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard
  “After a century of agitation the railways have became nationalised. The fact is accomplished and will be accepted.
  “In return the public ask one favour. It is to be spared the canting humbug which announces to the harassed traveller: 'They are your railways now.’
  “That is claptrap. The railways no more belonged to him on January 1st, 1948, than they did on December 31st, 1947. If anything, the humble citizen will be of even less account than he used to be.
  “The railways have merely been transferred from private capitalism to State capitalism.” (From the Daily Mail, 2/1/48).

Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the February 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

The election of Party Officers and Executive Committee members for 1948 resulted as follows: General Secretary, C. C. Groves (Ealing); Assistant Secretary, A. Fisher (Lewisham); Treasurer, E. Lake (South West London); Literature Secretary, F. Lawrence (Bloomsbury); Auditors, F. Lawence (Bloomsbury) and R. Stovold (Paddington); Trustees, R. Ambridge (Islington) and I. Groves (Ealing). 45th Executive Committee: A. Turner (Paddington), E. Hardy (Bloomsbury), C. May (Paddington), C. Groves (Ealing), E. Lake (South West London), G. McClatchie (Bloomsbury), R. Ambridge (Islington), H. Waite (Marylebone), C. Lestor (Leyton), A. Young (Bloomsbury), S. Hampson (Ealing), P. Howard (Bloomsbury), W. Kerr (West Ham) and D. Fenwick (Ealing).

A second ballot is now taking place for the position of Assistant Treasurer, where the candidate with most votes did not get a majority over the other two.


The Treasurer says that our income is now just about sufficient to cover routine expenditure, but that enough money is not coming in yet for our greatly expanded pamphlet publication campaign. We need donations urgently. Please do whatever you can. The new pamphlet on the “Racial Problem” is now on sale, and our own centenary edition of the “Communist Manifesto” is not far behind, and a pamphlet on “Russia” is well on the way. 


Socialist Standard” sales campaigns have been undertaken by some branches lately with very gratifying results. One branch sold eight dozen in a one-hour canvass of streets in their area the other Sunday morning. Regular contacts can be developed in this way and the branch benefits generally. Why not put this item on your branch agenda? Good results can be guaranteed if the job is tackled in the right way. Branches which have organised canvasses recommend that at least six or eight members should systematically cover the houses in selected streets, keeping records of purchasers so that they can be revisited the following month. The time has arrived to prepare for when paper restrictions will be lifted, and branches which have a small margin of Socialist Standards left over each month are asked to consider the suggestion of a canvass.


Hackney Branch have now heard from Hamm of the British League of Ex-Service Men that they are now prepared to withdraw the conditions they originally imposed for a debate, and will debate with us on our usual conditions, and further that they agree that we shall provide the chairman and steward the meeting. We are now trying to find a hall for this meeting.


The League of Individualists have challenged Kingston branch to debate at the Surbiton Assembly Rooms on February 19th. We gather that the issue will be “Socialism versus Capitalism” and that Waldron (come to Jesus) Smithers, M.P., speaks for the “Individualists.” Our man is Cyril May. We learn that there is a possibility that our opponents may suggest putting two M.P.’s up in the debate, but this is not definite. The hall is large and comfortable and Smithers is a born entertainer.


Greenford is expected to be Ealing Branch’s best district for indoor propaganda and in spite of a breakdown in advertising arrangements the branch’s first indoor meeting at the Library there was successful. Further meetings are being arranged. On February 5th the branch are running a debate with the Trotskyists at Ealing Town Hall. Hansen speaks for them and H. Young for us. A review of outdoor propaganda during the summer shows that this branch held 54 outdoor meetings in various places.


The Annual Conference agenda is now being prepared, and branches have been asked to submit items for this. These items are Amendments to Resolutions and amendments to rule which have already been submitted, and also “Items for Discussion.”


Newport (Mon.) Branch maintains regular Sunday evening lectures. The difficulty in Newport lies in outdoor propaganda where there are serious barriers against meetings imposed by the local authorities.


H.O. Library recently received a number of very useful books sent by the widow of Jack Butler, our late Treasurer.


Glasgow Branch are keeping well in action in 1948. They are strong with the determination to make the very best use of their resources this year in socialist propaganda among the teeming wage-slave population of Glasgow. The branch had a very successful mass meeting on Sunday, January 11th, in the Central Halls to commemorate the centenary of the “Communist Manifesto.” Three speakers addressed the audience who were packed tightly in a hall with a seating capacity of 160. Members gave solid support as stewards, literature sellers, etc. A branch social committee is now busy arranging a theatre evening or smoking concert for members and friends as soon as accommodation can be reserved. Correspondence is being maintained with the Workers’ Socialist Party of U.S.A. at Boston and with comrades in Dublin and Belfast. Branch meetings are held on Wednesday evenings at 7.30 p.m. at the branch headquarters, 43, Maryhill Road, Glasgow, N.W., and the Sunday evening programme of lectures at the Central Halls, Bath Street, continues. These commence at 7 p.m. The February programme is as follows: 1st February, “The real crisis,” F. Duncan; 8th February, “Socialism and Morality,” J. Thorburn; 15th February, “The affairs of our masters,” J. McFarlane; 22nd February, “ The workers’ party,” T. Mulheron; and 29th February, “Dictators and Socialism,” J. Prout. There is, of course, no charge for admission to these lectures, and plenty of time is reserved for questions and discussion from members of the audience.

Centenary of the Communist Manifesto. The centenary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto is being commemorated by a meeting to be held in Central London at the end of February or the beginning of March. Final arrangements are not yet completed. Watch for announcements.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary

Party News Briefs (1948)

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.
Clifford Groves,
General Secretary.