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.

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