1950s >> 1959 >> no-654-february-1959

Party News Briefs

Activity and enthusiasm appear to be the key words for the start of 1959. At Head Office on Tuesdays nowadays there are many members, all working in different aspects of improving and spreading Party Propaganda. It will be obvious when the list of Branch meetings are noted in the current issue of the Standard.
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Hackney Branch, which is concentrating especially on the forthcoming election campaign, report good progress. Here is an extract from a letter received from the Branch:—

   “The following is an announcement by the diarist ‘Beta’ in the  ‘Hackney Gazette,’ December 2nd, 1958:
‘The Socialist Party of Great Britain inform me that they will be contesting the next General Election in Bethnal Green. The candidate is Jack Leslie Read, who was one of the candidates for the division in the last L.C.C. elections.
” ‘The candidate and his organisation stand in complete opposition to both the Labour and Tory parties, and also the Liberal and Communist parties if they choose to contest the seat.
“ ‘Our purpose in putting forward a candidate is,’ says Mr. J. Harris, the party’s Press Officer, ‘to give working people an opportunity of casting a vote against capitalism, the system which we claim gives rise to all the social problems and misery of our day, and casting it in favour of Socialism, by which we mean a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of all the means of living and where production takes place for use instead of for profit’.”
” ‘Beta’ then added, “Local Socialists, who put their faith in Hugh Gaitskell can make of this statement what they will.”
“Hackney Branch hopes to give local ‘Socialists’ during the months ahead plenty of opportunities to make what they can of the Party’s Socialist message, and look forward to the maximum help from comrades in other Branches.”

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Ealing Branch starts the New Year optimistically. The merger of the literature and propaganda activities of the Branch into one “general purposes” Committee should help to streamline Branch organisation and lead to useful economies in members’ time. This Committee is already examining the possibilities of running film shows as an alternative to lectures and discussions. A Press Officer has been appointed to deal with correspondence in the national and local Press, and a monthly Branch Newsletter has been started. This will be distributed to all Branch members and to regular Socialist Standard readers made from our canvasses. The Annual Christmas Social was a great success: over 80 tickets were sold, and Branch funds benefited by about £10.
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Bristol Group has arranged a debate, and much work has gone into preparations to make it a success. It is hoped to enlarge propaganda there during the forthcoming months.
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Edinburgh, Mitcham and Swansea Groups are holding meetings after intensive work by members of the Groups.
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Paddington Branch, in planning well ahead, are confident that the meeting to be held at Denison House. Vauxhall Bridge Road, on Sunday, March 15th, will be the first of many such propaganda meetings held. London members are urged to make a special note of the date.
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Fulham, Islington and Lewisham branches are among the London branches who have planned well ahead for meetings. Notices of these appear in this issue.
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Glasgow (City and Kelvingrove). The branches in Glasgow have conducted propaganda this winter jointly and since November have held monthly meeting in the St. Andrews Halls. A feature of these meetings has been the number of new speakers who have volunteered to take the indoor platform. This is a very encouraging prospect for the outdoor season when it is hoped new stances may be tried.
A series of classes dealing with the socialist theory have been held on the Sunday evenings when there was no propaganda meeting and these have been exceptionally well attended by party members and sympathisers. The discussion has at the classes been most stimulating and is bound to encourage study of Marxism in all its aspects.
The general feeling among Glasgow members is that so far this winter we have managed to encourage young speakers to a greater degree than hitherto and we look forward to the coming outdoor season with a great deal more enthusiasm than last year.
Details of the propaganda meeting and the classes for this month are contained elsewhere in this issue and all members, sympathisers and of course opponents are invited along.
Phyllis Howard