Party News Briefs

Hackney Branch has received short notice to vacate its present meeting place at the Co-op Hall in Mare Street, Hackney, owing to a scheme for re-building. Future branch meetings will be held at the Bethnal Green Town Hall on Friday evenings until further notice. The Mile End Baths have been booked for a debate with the Conservative Party candidate for the Mile End (Stepney) Division, on Monday, February 13th, at 8 p.m. Application has also been made for a further booking of the same hall to hold a Social and Dance sometime early in March.

The Manifesto of the S.P. of Ireland is at the printers. We are expecting copies to be available before the next issue of this paper.

The W.S.P. of U.S. has moved its National Headquarters from Boston to Detroit. The address is now World Socialist Party of the United States, 3000 Grand River, Detroit 1, Michigan, U.S.A. The previous headquarters at 27 Dock Square, Boston, Mass., will remain the centre for publication of The Western Socialist

, and all matters concerning that journal should be addressed there. All matters for the National Executive Council should be sent to Room 307 at the first-mentioned address.

The Report of the 45th Executive Committee to the 46th Annual Conference (1950) is now in the hands of the branches. The Conference will be held at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, W.C.l, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 7th, 8th and 9th of April. The report is a very detailed one covering 22 foolscap pages. From it we learn that membership figures are still slowly increasing. At 31st December, 1949, we had 1,071 members. The Executive Committee, acting on a 1949 Conference resolution, agreed on a procedure for enabling members of our Central Branch (comprising those members who reside in an area where no branch of our Party is established) to vote at Annual Conferences. The procedure is being implemented. The Central Organiser reports on a series of meetings held in the provinces at Derby, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Bristol, and says: —

“At the. moment it is difficult to assess the value of these meetings, but they must contribute to the ultimate formation of branches in the areas mentioned. In 1950 attempts will be made to hold meetings in other parts of the Provinces and it is hoped that our increased speaking strength will make this a practical possibility.”

Since the increase in the size of the Socialist Standard from its war-time 12 pages to its present 16 pages, our Head Office has suffered a loss with the publication. Figures are given in the report which show that the normal monthly deficit is approximately £18 10s. 0d. and this does not take into account the expenditure connected with posting and packing of library copies, free issues, etc. Objection is raised to any increase in the price of our paper to offset this deficit. It is suggested that increased sales are the remedy. A 1949 Delegate Meeting resolution recommended that the cover design of the Socialist Standard be changed. This matter, together with proposals for a new lay-out, is receiving attention.

Detailed statistics of the year’s propaganda meetings are included in the report. The total number of outdoor meetings reported to Head Office during 1949 was 950. Other figures are as follows: Indoor meetings, 108; Debates, 14; Addresses to other organisations, 21. Total for all meetings, 1,093. Not included in the report, but for readers who are interested, we give comparative figures for the past few years. These are for meetings that have been reported to Head Office. It has been estimated that approximately 33 per cent, are not reported.

Under the heading “Education” the Executive Committee makes a statement in reference to a 1949 Conference resolution calling for the setting up of machinery “ . . . to more effectively utilise the energies of those members who have passed through the tutorial classes at Head Office.”

“The view of the Executive Committee is that it should be borne in mind that the production of speakers, writers and tutors is not simply a matter of attendance at classes. These kinds of Party work, like others, produce themselves, as always, by doing work and keeping on with it and this would happen, better or worse, if there were no classes. What the classes do provide (in addition to a general survey of Party theory) is a more systematic training and encouragement They also help to sort out Party members leanings, and provide refresher experience for older hands, and their existence as a permanent part of organisation helps to maintain the general level of Party work in various fields.”

The report then reviews the work of the Introductory Class, the Speakers’ Class, the Writers’ Class and Special Classes together with the arrangements for an Advanced Economics Class.

The difficulties experienced by the Committee that was to inaugurate the Research Bureau are reported. It had been hoped to publish a regular publication composed of the material produced by the Research Committee, at least once a quarter and possibly once a month. Unfortunately plans did not materialise, not because the response by branches was lacking or that the matter was insufficient, but mainly because the members of the Committee, for reasons of employment and pressure of other work, could not continue the job. Under “Electoral Activity” we are informed of the nomination of G. McClatchie as prospective Parliamentary candidate for North Paddington by the Paddington Branch and of H. Young for East Ham South by the West Ham Branch. Following a Delegate Meeting resolution calling for a new procedure in the manner of appointing Parliamentary candidates, the Executive rescinded the two previous candidate appointments. The new nominations from the two branches concerned were approved (C. Groves being unable to stand for health reasons and W. Waters expressing a desire to withdraw).

It is not possible to deal with all the matters covered by the report. It must be sufficient to say that it is a clear statement of the condition of our organisation, containing no false encouragement, but a plain explanation of what has been done, what has been left undone, what it has not been possible to do and what it is intended to do in the future. Altogether it is good reading and gives one a feeling of satisfaction with the progress made.

The Publicity Committee reports that the Star has declined to accept an advertisement for the Socialist Standard. No reason given.


Leave a Reply