Moses Baritz

Moses Baritz was one of the most forceful and courageous characters who ever entered the ranks of the S.P.G.B. Of less than average height, bulkily built and with a stentorian voice, he was a ruthless and merciless man to meet in political debate. He had an uncanny memory, was a terror to his opponents and sometimes an embarrassment to his friends.

He was a Manchester man and much of his political work was done in his native city, and London. He was also active in the U.S.A. and Australia. In 1919 he was invited by comrades to give a series of lectures in New Zealand. On landing in that country he was met by detectives who shadowed him during his brief stay. He became a torment to New Zealand labour leaders and was soon arbitrarily deported. Finding it difficult to enter another country he spent some time on the sea to the annoyance of the shipping company.

Of the numberless anecdotes about Baritz’s political activities we can give only one. Once, in Manchester, forcefully debarred from entering a meeting to be addressed by H.M. Hyndman of the old Social Democratic party, because it was known that he would be an annoyance to the speaker, Baritz climbed on to the roof and blew his clarinet down the ventilator shaft until he was enticed down and allowed to take his seat in the hall.

Later in life his detailed knowledge of music secured him a responsible job with a well known gramophone and radio company where he was highly valued. He broadcast on musical subjects on several occasions, and frequently combined his musical knowledge with his Socialist propaganda. Failing eyesight caused him to wear pebble lens spectacles and in the 1930’s his bulky frame, white curly hair and dominant voice, were met with mixed feelings by men of all political parties throughout this country. When he died in April, 1938, at the age of 54 the S.P.G.B. lost a treasured and colourful personality.

W. Waters

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