1900s >> 1906 >> no-21-may-1906

From Our Branches

WEST HAM

West Ham is neither dead nor asleep, although so far as branch reports in our Organ are concerned some comrades might he justified in having come to that rash conclusion. Neither he “with lips of livid blue” nor his fraternal relative “rosy as the morn,” has been reigning here. The fact is we are poor, and have been experimenting on silence to see if it be golden. We have empirically demonstrated the hollowness of the platitude : all we can say in its favour is that silence seems to be cheaper than speech, seeing we are in debt for our branch advt. Like the bears, the dormice, and other sweet children of Nature, however, we must confess to a more somnolent attitude during the hybernating period than in the season of out-door propaganda. In Winter we can get no raw material on which to exercise our propagandist power; sensible men, the kind we want to convert, will not stand to be frozen, so all we can do is to drill, to sharpen our weapons, and otherwise get ready for the Summer campaign. We have done a bit of that, and are now in the streets carrying on the war. Several successful skirmishes have already taken place, and an assault in force was made on East Ham on Saturday 21, led by Comrade Anderson. Several supporters of the brewing section of the capitalist class turned up as usual and opposed in their usual undisciplined manner, but also some “bonnie fighters” appeared, and were bonnily fought. Anderson hits straight and hard. He is coming back : so are some of his opponents when they have recovered.

At our Forest Gate station we seem to have struck a better vein this year than last; and one of our apprentice-lecturers has drawn a strong opponent—a Mr. C. Quinn—who objects to our revolutionary attitude, claims to be a Socialist himself, believes and is prepared to demonstrate that Socialism is only to be established through a long series of reforms, only useful in their educational effect and as stepping-stones to Socialism. As this gentleman has signified his readiness to debate the whole question with a representative of our Party, the Branch is arranging a meeting.
G.C.H.C. (Branch Reporter.)

TOOTING

Still young and still vigorous, going right out for Socialism as the only remedy for the condition of our class, carefully avoiding everything likely to mislead and confuse, what time we do all that we may to combat the influence of those who seem, deliberately and of malice aforethought, to adopt exactly opposite methods.

We have received an invitation from the local Trades Council to send delegates to a conference convened to draw up an ideal programme suitable to all sections of the Labour Party. We know those conferences and those ideal programmes and have respectfully declined to accept the invitation. Our members are quite satisfied with the Party programme as expressed in the Declaration of Principles, and from our intimate knowledge of the Trades Council gentlemen (whose ideal programme at the General Election consisted in an appeal to the workers to vote Liberal) the outcome of their earnest deliberations is not likely to embody an improvement upon our present position. For the same reason we are not drawn to assist “Clarion Van” propaganda. We prefer to remain Socialist propagandists all the time, thank you.
R.B.

WATFORD

We promised ourselves that at the forthcoming Urban District Council Elections we would make ourselves heard and—it was so. We issued a manifesto, and pressed into it as simply and directly as possible a statement of the working-class position, and some of the reasons why we were obliged to deliberately range ourselves in opposition to every candidate standing for election, even those specially claiming to voice working-class interests. In the result the pseudo-labour gentlemen whose pretentions we particularly directed our argument against were all defeated by large majorities.

As to how far our Manifesto helped to this end we do not pretend to say, but we know that the possibility of the issue of such a document was regarded with much misgiving by some of the “Labour” candidates’ followers, who have not hesitated to lay the responsibility for their catastrophe at our door. We accept the responsibility. We would accept far greater responsibility if such were incurred by telling the truth that alone can make the workers free. We have no concern for “victories” gained by cloaking facts. Our business is to disseminate facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts. It was to facts that we confined ourselves in our manifesto. Therefore if the “Labour” candidates were defeated through our manifesto it was because the facts against them were too strong; because they were in conflict with the truth.

The incidents connected with the issue of our leaflet may be interesting. One is specially noteworthy. While our secretary was arranging with the printer, the editor of the little monthly sheet which the “Labour” party here issue, called. Subsequently the printer, who was also printer of the little journal mentioned, intimated that he had found he could not do our job. Why ? Because he had received instructions to keep the “Labour” journal “up,” and so could not use the type to print our manifesto ! Here was a predicament ! We had only a day or two to get it out. We tried half a dozen local shops. Only one could do it in the time, and the price asked was 100 per cent. higher than the first firm’s ! As a last resource we posted the MSS. to a London printer. It was turned out at top speed. We had no time to read a proof (which will account for one or two sentences reading awkwardly). We had the copies wet from the press and rushed them out the same night. It was a near thing.

We mention all this for two reasons. First to call attention to the act of the “Labour” journal’s editor which temporarily stopped our manifesto against the “Labour” editor’s party. Secondly, as an answer to those who, we hear, are alleging against us that we went to a “rat” shop for our printing. We don’t know whether our printers were trade union or not, although an objection of that sort coming from persons who are probably clad in sweated garments and certainly use some articles produced by sweated labour, does not perturb us. We only point out that even were our alleged offence as heinous as some of the “Labour” Party, for lack of other ground for criticism, would have it believed, they themselves by the act of their representative are responsible.

Heartiest thanks to all comrades and friends who lent us such ready assistance. No room for more this report.
THE BRANCH

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