1930s >> 1931 >> no-324-august-1931

Brutal Attack on A Speaker

We learn from the “One Big Union Bulletin” (Winnipeg) that repeated brutal attacks have been made by Communists in that city on speakers of the newly re-formed Socialist Party of Canada.

We have recently experienced similar tactics in Glasgow, not, be it noted, from Communists, but—or so it is believed—from certain religious fanatics.

On Monday, June 29th, after a meeting at Clydebank our speaker, A. Shaw, was attacked by four individuals, one of whom finally knocked him unconscious with a piece of lead pipe. Comrade Shaw was badly shaken up by the assault, and it was some days before he fully recovered.

The gratifying feature is that listeners, whatever their political or religious views, do not usually sympathise with such methods, and further very successful meetings have been held at Clydebank.

We do not often have cause to complain of attempts to interfere with our meetings. Except at times of high feeling, such as the war years, when outdoor socialist meetings were often made impossible by the joint efforts of the authorities and the patriots, we find audiences ready to give us a hearing. Our great advantage over the other political parties is that we allow our opponents to state their case on our platform. Audiences, knowing this to be our practice, are less willing to tolerate obstructive methods from our opponents. If other political parties extended the same liberty to opponents they would have less trouble than they sometimes get.

There are, of course, exceptional cases. Those who deliberately set out to smash up meetings or to attack socialist speakers can contrive to seize opportunities for so doing. As explained by Mr. Harry Pollitt in the “Daily Worker” (29th January, 1930); it is the deliberate policy of the Communist Party to smash up its opponents meetings by force. If that policy has not been attended by any success the explanation can be no doubt be found in the smallness of the Communist Party membership, which makes it a very risky proceeding for the would-be smashers.

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