Party News: News from the Branches

Conference, 1959
The Comrades who were fortunate enough to attend the Annual Conference this year must have been heartened by the enthusiasm and interest apparent throughout the discussions, and most certainly all enjoyed the social arrangements. There was a good delegation in number and the contributions made by the delegates were interesting and useful. For the first time in the history of the Party two delegates from Canada were present, Comrades Greta and Jim Milne from Winnipeg. Needless to say, it is hoped that these Comrades are the first of many Companion Parties’ delegates to attend our Conferences and we look forward also to the sending of delegates regularly to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Agenda was completed and recommendations have been referred to the E.C. for consideration, most of them dealing with the expansion and improvement of Party propaganda.
The Social side of the Conference was excellent. On the Friday a get-together evening was held at Head Office, and the Dance at Conway Hall on the Saturday was even jollier than last year and from the financial aspect a credit balance of £29 was reported. A Rally of mainly Party Comrades was held at Conway Hall on the Sunday evening to round off the weekend. Comrades R. Critchfield and H. Young spoke on Darwin and Marx, and tape recordings were relayed of greetings from the Companion Parties in Canada, U.SA, Australia, and New Zealand and our Comrades in Vienna.


Camberwell Branch
Camberwell Branch, in addition to organising three weekly outdoor meetings, East Street and Clapham Common on Sundays, and Rushcroft Road on Saturdays, is still canvassing the Socialist Standard every week. The Branch hopes to extend this activity, Currently, one branch meeting each month is being devoted to a lecture-discussion. These meetings have been very interesting, the most recent was given by Comrade Coster who spoke on Marx and Darwin. This stimulated a good discussion by Branch members. On May 11th a discussion in the form of a debate is being held by Comrades Baldwin and Michael, the idea being that it will help Comrades to learn the art of debate. Details of this event are shown in the Meetings column.


Mitcham Group
Since the beginning of the year, this Group has had a more centrally situated meeting place, namely a room in the “White Hart” at Mitcham Cricket Green. Regular, well attended lecture discussion meetings have been held once a month on Tuesdays. A report of Branch meetings has been sent to the local paper and an extract of “what the speaker said” has usually been published. These notices which have always included the full and correct name of the Party, plus the several letters by Party members printed in the correspondence columns have been useful in letting people know of the S.P.G.B.’s activity. Already the Group has served to bring some Central Branch members into touch with one another, and provided an opportunity for them to air their views on the general subjects discussed. With a few more Central Branch members attending, the Group could function as a Branch and thereby provide an opportunity for members in this area to more effectively express themselves on Party matters. Meanwhile, the Group is going ahead with its Summer programme of meetings and literature selling in an endeavour to increase its membership in the district.


The Branch’s first effort at holding a Film Show proved to be a great success. The subject was “Automation” and Comrade Hardy gave the accompanying talk, followed as usual by questions and discussion. There was an audience of thirty, and a very good collection of two pounds was taken. This will certainly be the first of many such shows.
The Branch has decided to have a thousand each printed of a short introductory leaflet to the Party’s pamphlets Russia Since 1917 and War. These will be distributed to readers of the S.S. and will be followed up by canvassing of the pamphlets concerned.


Canvassing activity is still continuing, and new areas are being opened up. At present, efforts are being concentrated on the Wembley area and encouraging results have so far been reported. Paddington Branch have requested that we assist them with a canvass in their area and we have agreed to give them as much help as we can.
Arrangements are being made for a further series of lectures to be given by Party members during the next few months. Details will be announced later.


Members are asked to note that the annual Branch outing will be on 13th June to Eastbourne. They arc asked to notify the Secretary as soon as possible of the number of seats they will require.


Commencing on May Day, Sunday, May 3rd, speakers are going from London every week for propaganda meetings in Nottingham. It is hoped that most speakers will be able to get there on Saturday evenings in time for a meeting on arrival, followed by Sunday morning and evening meetings. These arrangements of course will depend on the travelling times from London. A debate is being organised and details are shown under “Meetings” in this issue.


Phyllis Howard


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Islington Branch
Social & Dance
Saturday, 23 May, 7 p.m.
Co-op Hall, 179 Seven Sisters Rd., N.7
Live Music, by Joe’s Group
Admission 2/6 (including refreshments)