Islington Branch Report
Reorganised in October, 1906, the Islington Branch has made steady progress. Our propaganda meetings have been the means of converting, among others, several members of the I.L.P. to Socialism, who have therefore resigned that body and joined the Socialist Party. The meetings, both at Highbury Corner and Finsbury Park, have well attended. THE SOCIALIST STANDARD sells well here, and we are always sure of a good collection. Several debates have taken place in Finsbury Park, the most notable of which were those with Fred Bramley, late of the Clarion Van, and Mr. Byland, of the Constitutional League. A report of the former appeared in the Party organ, while the latter was given a column in the Islington Gazette. We are now trying to arrange a debate with the Islington Branch of the S.D.F. on the question of “The palliative position of the S.D.F. v. the non palliative position of the S P.G.B.” Finishing up a very successful open air propaganda season, we looked about for a means of carrying on our work indoors, and finally succeeded in obtaining a hall, described by the local press as “the cosy, well lighted, well warmed, cheery-looking Grovedale Hall,” situated in Grovedale Road, Elthorne Road, Upper Holloway, close to Highgate tram terminus. Here we shall continue our work of converting the proletariat of Islington to Socialism. A debate has been arranged with a member of the Islington Borough Council, particulars of which we give from the Islington Post: “The first of a series of meetings to be held under the auspices of the Socialist Party of Great Britain will be the much talked of debate between Councillor Thomas Henry Dey and Mr. A. Anderson, of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, which will take place in Grovedale Hall on Thursday, February 6th. The Chair will be taken by Alderman T. Wakelin Saint at 8 p.m. Councillor Dey will open for half an hour, and take the affirmative on the question “Would Socialism be detrimental to the interest of the people?” Mr. Anderson will have half an hour to reply. Councillor Dey will have another twenty minutes and his opponent twenty minutes, then a final ten minutes each. Admission will be free to all.” Several debates have taken place from the enemy’s platform on “Christianity v. Socialism,” and on one occasion, in spite of 8 degrees of frost, the audience numbered several hundreds.
Islington, like most other districts, has its poverty problem, and in Pentonville it is most acute. In this district a Children’s Care Committee has been formed “for the relief of children suffering from want of food.” Four schools alone: White Lion St., Risinghill St., Ann St., and Winchester St., have 4,836 children on their roll. The statement of an official in the Pentonville Branch of the Salvation Army that “In spite of all our efforts poverty in Pentonville is increasing,” proves once more that chartity cannot cope with the problem. Neither can any other palliative of capitalism. If you desire to know the only solution come to Grovedale Hall on Thursday evenings.