From Our Branches
Reports from Branches for insertion under this heading must be in before the 20th of each month, otherwise they cannot appear.
Another month of good work well done fitly sums up our position here. Since our last report although three meetings had to be abandoned owing to the rain, nevertheless we have held four meetings in Waltham, four in Edmonton and three in Tottenham. These meetings have been very successful and, as a result, the Edmonton Branch is not only stronger in every way but a sound Branch will soon exist in Tottenham also.
On Sunday, November 20, we had a field-day, the meeting at West Green Rd. lasting nearly four hours, during which five critics—two from the Temperance Party, two from the S.D.F. and one from the Primrose League—had each a turn on the platform. Needless to say the criticism, which was more or less friendly and certainly courteous—in striking contrast to that which greeted us in the evening at Edmonton—was effectively answered, so much so that a resolution thanking The Socialist Party of Great Britain for the addresses delivered and pledging the meeting to work for the realisation of the object of that Party, moved and seconded by two of the audience unknown personally to any of us, was carried unanimously by the meeting. A good sale of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD and an increase of three to our membership were also pleasing features of an all-round good meeting. In the evening at Angel Road, Edmonton, we proceeded to hold our usual meeting, but before half-an-hour had elapsed the local S.D.F. had planted their platform on the edge of our audience and commenced a series of antics that compelled almost everyone to laugh. We have entirely failed even yet to learn what was the matter with them. They put up Mr. Thomas, Mr. Pearson, and Mr. Mercer, each of whom had two trials to take the attention of the audience from our speaker but in this they absolutely failed ; abandoning their platform they tried to break up our meeting by entering the audience and trying to incite a portion of it to riot. In this they failed also and eventually when close upon 10 p.m. the police, as usual, had to make us close our meeting, it fell to the lot of the revolutionary Social-Democratic Federationists to cheer the police and to exhort them to “lock the–––up.” However, the police are not yet the servants of the S.D.F. no matter how anxious one of the latter evidently is to become the servant of the former.
Still, be those things as they may, the Edmonton Branch of The Socialist Party of Great Britain is in high spirits and full of confidence. We have no desire to bluff ourselves nor yet another body, but the steady sale of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD and the foolish tactics of those who, to suppress an opponent, would jeopardise the right of public meeting by trying to turn orderly meetings into bear-gardens, will yet, and we believe very soon, show effectually that our Party is right, that our Party is justified and alone worth of the confidence of the working-class. Speed the day!
The meetings we have held here have been successful from the numerical standpoint, and the sales of our paper have been fairly good considering the large number of men there are unemployed in this district. The week-night meetings that we hold at Fulham Cross at 8.30 on Wednesdays are better attended than the Sunday morning meetings and have been very successful. Once the summer comes again (as the poet sings) this branch will be placed on a firmer footing. We are getting well known now and a good number of men are beginning to undertand which is The Socialist Party
—E.J. B. ALLEN.
With the departure of the last leaves of autumn and the arrival of hoar winter with his chilly blasts comes a falling off in the attendance at our open-air meetings. Too great are the temptations of the cheery inglenook and the fireside’s genial glow. No longer do the opening buds of spring, the full-blown flowers of summer, or the many hued leaves of autumn bring the people out to the parks clad in their dainty raiment. No longer the proletariat dons his “Sunday best” to stroll through the thronged avenues——[We have cut out thirteen foolscap pages of similar matter to the above.—EDITORIAL COMMITTEE.]
So we may explain to ourselves the falling off both in the number of our meetings and in the number of the audience at those meetings. We have, however, done something in this direction and shall continue while the weather allows. We are somewhat hampered in our work by the fact that a number of our members are working in enforced overtime. It is not for us to point out the anomaly of such overtime in view of the number of people at present unemployed. Suffice it to say that it is this very unemployment which the capitalist employs as a lever to force men to work excess hours.
Fraternal greetings and a promise of rare doings from the merry village of Islington.
PERCY O’BRIEN MacTAVISH.
I am sorry I was too late for you last month. It was not because there was nothing doing, for, as a matter of fact, things have been very lively in Peckham. The Liberals have been holding open-air meetings which we have attended, and we have asked pertinent questions, which have been talked round. The Liberals allowed opposition, so Comrade Belsey and others put forward our position, and this was well received by the audience. I may say the Liberals were discussing the fiscal policy, and we challenged them to a debate on the subject, but this was not accepted.
We had some handbills printed and distributed at their meeting, announcing a mass meeting of The Socialist Party of Great Britain to take place at the same spot on the following Monday. We wrote Comrades Lehane, Kent, and Anderson, but owing to its turning out such a wet night they did not put in an appearance. It left off raining by the time for starting, and in spite of the weather we had a good meeting, which was adjourned till the following Monday. At the adjourned meeting Anderson turned up and met with such success that we had a third meeting, when Anderson was again the speaker. Our audience was quite as large as that of the Liberals, and Anderson, in spite of the bad weather (all three Mondays were wet), was kept until past 11 o’clock answering questions.
We are still carrying on our outdoor meetings. We had a good meeting at Peckham Rye on Sunday (13th) morning, and we intend having one on Sunday next, weather permitting. The branch meetings are well attended, as are also our Friday night discussions. We have also made several new members and altogether are going on satisfactorily.
Since my last report of the Movement in Wood Green several really good and successful open-air meetings have been held, both from a standpoint of the numbers attending them, and the intelligent interest shown by numerous questions and lively discussion. Perhaps the most important of those meetings was the one held on Oct. 23rd, when there was a debate between C. Horn, of New Southgate, and comrade A. Anderson, of Edmonton.
The debate arose out of a previous meeting at which C. Horn was present, and at which the speaker, Anderson, referred very plainly to the conduct of C. Horn (who claims to be a Socialist and is a late member of the S.D.F.) in actively supporting a Liberal capitalist candidate for parliamentary honours, thus betraying the working class. Now the two men meet, the one to defend opportunism, the other for uncompromising revolutionary Socialism. It was a sight never to be forgotten to see the great mass of faces turned towards the speakers, eager to take in the whole argument, and anxious to show their appreciation of the many good points.
Comrade Anderson was never in better form, and never before have the workers heard in such plain language the principles of Socialism. This evidently told, not only upon the audience, but upon Horn himself, for his last words were “It is quite true the emancipation of the workers must be the work of the working-class themselves.”
At the conclusion of the debate the meeting did not break up, but nearly the whole of the audience remained to listen to another address. The meeting commenced at 11 o’c. and closed at 2.30.
Another feature in Wood Green is that THE SOCIALIST STANDARD is going well, many people asking for the first and second numbers,