Birmingham Branch are having a speaker up from London at least once a month during the summer. They have been holding meetings with their own speakers in the Bull Ring lately and are becoming established there. One of their members spoke at an A.E.U. meeting at the end of June, and other members took part in the discussion. C. Lestor was there for a week-end and, assisted by the local members, held three successful meetings in the Bull Ring.
National Posters giving the party angle on the Government’s “Work or want” posters are now ready. Branches should write in to the Publicity Committee for supplies.
The State of Party Funds was given serious consideration by the Executive Committee during the month. The first step taken was to set up a Party Funds Committee to do whatever is possible to stimulate the flow of money into the party. The position is serious and the Executive Committee are now compelled to scrutinise all proposed expenditures with ever greater care than before. One effect of the shortage of money has been that the Executive Committee have been compelled to delay calling for nominations for the vacant post of Propagandist /Organiser, from which D. Fenwick had to resign for personal reasons. Party activity increases all the time, but we must have funds to back it up.
Bradford Branch are having C. Lestor with them for a month during the summer. They have been holding a number of outdoor meetings on the Bradford Car Park, a station opened up when Lestor was the propagandist/organiser in the area. The local Conservatives, who hold two outdoor meetings a week there, now carefully point out that we are not the people to whom they allude when they talk about “socialists.” It is to be hoped that before long our opponents will learn to call things by their proper names, and stop trying to discredit socialism by giving the Labour party a name which they do not earn by their practice, policy or objectives.
The Communist Council of Holland (Spartacus Group) have now sent a report of the conference held by various groups in Brussels at Whitsun. This is being translated from French, and main points from the report will be sent to branches. From the report it appears that the conference dealt at length with statements received from other organisations but practically ignored the one we sent. The only reference to us is that the letter we sent was noted by the Conference.
A Good Selection of Marxist Classics is on order from Charles H. Kerr & Co. of Chicago, and will be available for sale at Head Office when it arrives. A number of the books have been practically unobtainable in this country since the beginning of the war, and members will have an opportunity of building up their libraries with books which all socialists should have.
Paddington Branch filled Paddington Town Hall for their “Work and Want” meeting on July 3rd. This was particularly encouraging as their principle means of advertising, a loud speaker van, broke down three days before the meeting. Questions and discussion centred largely on the workers’ struggles against the employers on the industrial field, probably due to the possibility of a London bus strike starting the next week-end. The speaker emphasised the view that effective strike action depended in a large measure on the extent to which workers understood their identity of interests as against the employers.
Sir Waldron Smithers, M.P., had second thoughts about debating with a party representative for a third time. A week before the debate he had undertaken at Edgware, he sent the Edgware branch a telegram saying that he would not appear. He gave no reasons and sent no apology to the audience of over 100 who attended. Like Beverley Baxter (see July Socialist Standard) he lacks both courage and courtesy. The party representative, C. May, carried on with the meeting on his own, as the local Conservative Association were not prepared to supply a substitute. The audience were sympathetic to the way in which we dealt with the Conservative party from the platform, and donated a collection of £3 15s. 0d. A considerable amount of party literature was sold.
Hackney Branch challenged the Co-operative party to debate, who re-acted favourably at first but subsequently climbed down. As an alternative the Co-operative party suggested that they should send a speaker to Hackney branch, which Hackney accepted provided that the Co-operative party would receive one of our speakers. This was agreed to, and the Co-operative speaker had the doubtful pleasure of meeting about 40 party members and sympathisers who during discussion gave him the socialist attitude to the Co-operative movement. The return date is being awaited, but so far no news has been received from the Co-operative party on this subject. A report of Hackney’s debate with the Revolutionary Communist Party at Bethnal Green Central Library on July 16th will be in next month’s Socialist Standard.
Palmers Green Branch’s debate with the Labour Party at Edmonton Town Hall on July 14th was very successful. There was an audience of about 500, a large amount of literature was sold and a collection of £13 6s. 0d. was taken. E. F. Durbin, Labour M.P. for Edmonton, spent most of his time in attacking a special mythical “Marxism” of his own invention and seemed reluctant to defend the Labour Party. Our representative, A. Turner, after disposing of Durbin’s curious views on Marxism, went on to demonstrate the futility of Labourism, giving illustrations from the Labour Party’s record: he then put forward the Socialist alternative.