Party News from the October 1961 issue of the Socialist Standard
I had to screen grab details for this advertised debate from 1961 because Richard Headicar has been a member of the SPGB since the mid-eighties, standing a couple times - at least - as a SPGB candidate in parliamentary elections. I was in the same SPGB branch as Richard for a number of years in the 1990s and 2000s in London. Lovely bloke.
And the advertised debate from 1961? It had to be 'rejigged' - see below - because Richard was in the jail for civil disobedience! The things some people do to get out of debating with the SPGB.
From the December 1961 issue of the Socialist Standard:
The debate organised by Paddington Branch on October 29th almost didn't take place, and then not quite. Mr. Headicar, the CND representative, “sat down” the previous Saturday and got himself two months imprisonment. At the last moment Mr. S. Cash agreed to put the case for CND. He maintained that Socialism was alright as a theory, but mankind was faced with annihilation and all our energies should he devoted to "banning the bomb.” The SPGB were out of contact with the real world, and death would overtake us all, notwithstanding the propagation of Socialist ideas, unless nuclear weapons were abandoned.
In reply: Melvin Harris for the SPGB showed that CND was similar to many other bodies, which had sprung up in the past, attempting to tackle one or other evil of the capitalist system. These organisations had failed, and CND would fail for the same reason. Nuclear war can not be separated from the problem of war itself. And the constant threat and possibility of war was a direct consequence of the existence of capitalism. The Socialist Party were opposed to all war, and were working for the establishment of Socialism, in which war would be impossible. This was the most important task facing mankind.
A considerable number of questions were put to both speakers, and many of the audience of 200 took part in the discussion. There was not nearly enough time for everyone. The collection was £13 and literature sales were good. Perhaps one day we shall land a debate with the elusive CND?