Party News Briefs

 Kelvingrove Branch is now 15 strong having recently recruited three new members. The discussion group, started in November of last year, is still running with a satisfactory attendance. Outdoor propaganda meetings were started about the middle of April, but up to now they have not been a great success owing to lack of experienced speakers among the branch members. But the meetings are a useful training ground and young speakers are gaining the necessary experience with each meeting held. Next year should find the branch with an established propaganda station, qualified speakers and good audiences. One meeting held this year, on the first Sunday in June at Drury Street was a fair success, a young member of the branch holding an audience of 200 workers for nearly two hours.

Kelvingrove members have recently finished the first month of a door-to-door literature sales drive and they have sold a considerable number of Party pamphlets. During May the Glasgow members completely sold out their stock of the current issue of the Socialist Standard and during June and July they anticipated increased sales of our paper. Comrades Turner and Millen visited Glasgow during May, Turner speaking at the May Day rally and Millen addressing the branch’s first indoor propaganda venture on the subject, “Your Vote—Did it Matter?” The Kelvingrove members are pleased with the response.

Our Summer School this year was not as great a success as was anticipated. It was held on Saturday and Sunday, June 10th and 11th at Tree Tops Holiday Camp, Farley Green, Surrey, the same venue as last year. At the school last year, the attendance exceeded the accommodation booked. On the basis of that experience, an increase of 50 per cent. was made in our booking for this year, but the attendance fell short by about that amount. So this year’s school has involved us in a financial loss.

The members who attended had an enjoyable time. A dance was arranged for the Saturday evening and a variety of recreations and amusements for Sunday. During Sunday afternoon. Comrade Wilmott delivered an excellent address on Imperialism which many members attended and acclaimed with enthusiasm. The school terminated in the early evening of the second day.

Contact With Austria. A party of members who recently visited Austria bring back greetings from the small Socialist group in Vienna and news of their activities. In an occupied city, where the military representatives of four great powers sit watching one another, and the Viennese, with caution; where incoming and outgoing mail is censored by the Russian authorities, where political freedom is strictly limited, our comrades have an unenviable task. A few of them have mastered the English language and make translations from our literature. Whole pamphlets are translated into German and small quantities produced by duplicating typewritten sheets. There is no excitement, no stimulants to their enthusiasm; they can hold no meetings, print no literature. Their work must be solely by personal contact and carried out with caution. One or two wish to visit England and hope to do so this year, but currency restrictions, restrictions on their freedom of movement, an unfavourable rate of exchange, passport control and a host of other obstacles must first be overcome, the greatest obstacle, of course, being the usual working-class one, very shallow pockets. Meeting and talking to these comrades was a great pleasure and we wish them success with the tiny bit of help that we can give them, in their stupendous task.

From New Zealand we have the following news letter: In the political field things are reminiscent of 1935 when the Labour Party first gained power. At that time when various groups of workers became impatient at the slowness of the Labour Government in fulfilling its election promises; Labour Ministers would point out that, “the last Government left us such a mess to clean up, etc.,” appealed to the workers to “go easy on their wage demands and don’t embarrass the Government.” Now the Nationalist Government in 1950 put forward as an excuse for delays, “legacies left by the Labour Government,” there are, “obstacles which had to be overcome in restoring freedom to the individual,” “We are trying to stop inflationary pressure that has been generated over fifteen years.” What a game! When general elections are over the old saying, “After the Lord Mayor’s show comes the dust cart,” is very appropriate. The Labour Party supporters are making dire prophecies of prices sky-rocketing as a result of the lifting of subsidies from various commodities. They claim that had the Labour Government been returned it would not have happened. However they have no explanation for the rising commodity prices (butter for instance) and wage freezing in Britain in spite of the Labour Government. There are the makings of stirring times in the Trade Union Movement here. The struggle that has been going on within the Federation of Labour has resulted in a split. A new body has been formed calling itself the “New Zealand Trade Union Congress.” According to a statement published in the Evening Post, Wellington, 21-4-50. “The new organisation would work toward the principles of unity, freedom from political domination, and the right to handle their own business and affairs.” A committee has been set up to work out a constitution. The split followed the walk out of more than 40 delegates from the Federation of Labour conference, the bone of contention being the expulsion of the Waterside Workers Union. It was the culmination of a long struggle between the so called “Moderates” and the “Militants.” Compulsory unionism brought into existance many strange and weird Unions whose representatives were very staunch Labour lickspittles, commanding sufficient votes to curb the aspiration of the more militant unions, thereby sparing embarrassment to the Labour Government that was in power. Officials of the “Militant” Unions have from time to time complained of what they have termed these “hot house” unions and the use their votes have been put to by the leaders of the “Moderates.” However, if that was the state of affairs in the F.O.L. the so called Militants should have left the Federation long ago. The whole business is a substantiation of what Socialists have pointed out for such a long time. “While the workers fail to study and understand their position in society they will be victims of job and place hunting Labour leaders in addition to all the other effects of this rotten Capitalist system.”

S.W. London Branch, after losing many active members to newly formed branches and through the exigencies of war is now experiencing a renaissance. There has been an influx of new members; attendances at branch meetings have doubled and the members are mostly young and enthusiastic. This has had heartening results in the form of increased activity. A systematic literature drive is now in full swing. Sales have exceeded expectations and are still increasing. May sales of the S.S. being 17 dozen. The Branch has also doubled its outdoor propaganda this season. Clapham Common station is being run from 3 p.m. till dusk on Sundays instead of Sunday evenings only, as previously, and a new and lively, if somewhat hostile, audience is being addressed on Saturday evenings outside Chelsea Town Hall. Propaganda in the Clapham Junction area has improved as a result of a change in the meeting place. S.W. London Members are also hoping to obtain more congenial branch rooms in the near future where lectures and discussions can be a regular feature of branch activity, but they must have the support of all members and sympathisers in the district if this is to be successful. This season S.W. London intends to put itself “on the map” and if you live in that area you can help.

Tottenham Branch have been actively engaged in a door-to-door canvassing campaign since the beginning of the year. This has resulted in good sales of the Standard—the monthly order being increased from 6 dozen in January to 20 dozen in May. Over 50 regular readers have been obtained during this period and we hope that new members will be made in the near future.

Regular outdoor meetings are being held at West Green Corner on Sundays commencing at 8 p.m. and interest in these is growing. Although audiences were small when the meetings commenced in April, they are now attracting more attention, and the average audience is between 60 and 80.

Tottenham Branch meets at Earlsmead School. Broad Lane, on Thursday, at 7.30 p.m. to deal with Branch business, followed by discussions.

W. Waters

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