Editorial: Our Annual Conference
Our 32nd Annual Conference took place on Good Friday and the following Saturday at Fairfax Hall, Harringay, London. The attendance of delegates and members at Friday’s session was by general consent the best for many years, taxing the capacity of the Hall.
The year’s work of the Party’s Executive Committee, sub-committees, officials and organisers, was reviewed by the delegates. Of particular interest this year was the report on the series of educational classes held at our headquarters on Sunday afternoons through the winter months. The lectures covered a very wide scope, including, to mention a few, lectures on economics, banking, commerce, history, philosophy, science, art, and literature. In all there were twenty-eight lectures, and a feature of them was that they were the work of a wide selection of lecturers and others whose co-operation was sought by the organiser in working out the course and drawing up the syllabuses. The success of the whole series was a tribute to co-operative organisation. The number of students who attended the course was a record for any series of lectures at Party headquarters, and exceeded the available accommodation. Arrangements are being made to continue these lectures next year on the lines of a more advanced second-year course. In addition, arrangements are in hand for the past winter’s lectures to be repeated at branches, particularly at branches in the provinces. This ambitious scheme will involve 600 tutorial classes, but the organiser is confident that the help of new tutors coming forward from the last course will make it possible to carry the scheme through successfully.
Reports on various departments of the Party’s work showed unmistakably that there has been a solid and substantial growth of the Party. The number of new members during the year was three times the number of lapsed members for the same period. Provincial propaganda was carried out more widely and established on a more regular basis than for many years. The sales of The Socialist Standard over the past six years have increased by fifty per cent. Six years ago, when we took a seven years’ lease on the premises of our present headquarters, many of our more cautious members had doubts about the necessity and the ability to meet the expense of such large premises. Our experience since then has shown that the step was justified. Premises that were then considered too large and ambitious are now, as a result of our continuous growth, not large enough to accommodate all our activities, and we find ourselves faced with the task of securing new and larger premises. Conference recommended a special fund to be set up to meet the inevitable extra expense which will be involved.
Optimism was the keynote of Conference—an optimism justified by the sound and fruitful work of the past few years.
We have excellent reasons for our optimism. Since 1929, sales of The Socialist Standard, Party income, membership, and activities generally, have increased by fifty per cent, or more. Loyal support from sympathisers will enable us to increase our rate of growth in the years ahead of us.