Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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.

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