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Speakers' Corner

Book Review: 'Hyde Park Orator'

'Hyde Park Orator', by Bonar Thompson (Jarrolds, 287 pages, 10s. 6d.)

In his 'Hyde Park Orator' Mr. Bonar Thompson has written a somewhat irritating but entertaining book. He tells us about his early life in Northern Ireland, his introduction to working-class life in English industrial areas, his contacts with trade unions and labour organisations, and his strenuous and not always very successful efforts to earn his living as cheap-jack in the market-place, and as platform speaker and entertainer.

Book Review: 'Corker's Freedom'

'Corker's Freedom', by John Berger. Methuen 21/-

In the post-war world we have become accustomed to the oft-repeated story of working class prosperity. The term "the Affluent Society" has now become an overworked joke, but not so very long ago it was taken most seriously. Cosy articles in newspapers and magazines, and cynical adverts on the television screen, have painted a picture of workers leading lives of unparalleled richness and variety.

Book Review: 'Speakers' Corner - An Anthology'

Holding Forth

'Speakers' Corner: An Anthology'. Kropotkin's Lighthouse Publications, £1.75. Illus.

The most remarkable thing about Hyde Park is that meetings and speakers still proliferate there. Up to the traffic and television explosions of the early nineteen-fifties, crowds went to parks and listened every Sunday. Finsbury Park, Victoria Park, Clapham Common, Platt Fields in Manchester and numerous others where audiences can no longer be found; but Hyde Park, despite surgery fifteen years ago, carries on. Tourists flock there, Londoners go - largely because, as is not the case with most of the so-called "means of communication", communication actually takes place.

Obituary: Tony Turner

News of the death of A. W. L. (Tony) Turner in a Cape Town hospital in February at the age of 83 will awaken memories in many older readers. He joined the Party in 1931 and resigned in 1955 after a series of acrimonious disputes.

Tony was accused of an anarchism that was incompatible with Marx. He had taken up a completely pacifist view together with Tolstoyan ideas about the socialist future—small-scale, a vastly simple society, that anticipated subsequent thinking amongst people like Ivan Illich, Fritz Schumacher and Edward Goldsmith.

Many members felt the difference should have been containable in a party seeking world revolution. If market society was replaced with production for need it was inconceivable that the result would take the same form everywhere.

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