1960s >> 1961 >> no-683-july-1961

Party News: Coventry Re-Blitzed

We arrived in Coventry at about 11.30 a.m. and by noon we had our platform up and our literature displayed on our stand. The speaker opened the meeting and comrades moved to the various points, some selling “Standards” and pamphlets and others distributing “Introductory” leaflets with the address of the Coventry group stamped on them. Soon we had a sizeable audience and the questions came fast and furious.

In the afternoon an individual in the audience, using some youthful arrivals from the local beer shop, attempted to create some trouble. This eventually caused a rumpus and Party members were obliged to rally to the aid of the platform.

Soon after we had reopened the meeting, the local police arrived on the scene. They insisted that we close the meeting, but not before our speaker had put the issue to the audience and secured a majority vote of hands for us to carry on. Nevertheless, we were obliged to give way to the forces of the State, and dismantled our platform to cries of “Shame” from the audience — directed at the police.

During our ‘break’ we were approached by the police inspectors to whom we gave the necessary details of the Party, and this provided amusing incidents, such as our inability to furnish details of our “leaders”. Just think of it; 57 years organised and no leaders to show for it! What did emerge during the course of the discussion was the fact that the police had been sent for by the local stores; British Home Stores flanked us on one side and Marks and Spencers on the other Marks and Spencers certainly didn’t want Mars and Engels! The Precinct in Coventry is the city’s open, ultra modern, traffic-free shopping centre, and our meeting had attracted so many people that it was impossible to get into or out of the stores on either side. The Superintendent of the police later remarked that, whoever we were, we certainly hit Coventry with a bang, and apparently this was loud enough to stop the “commercial symphony” being played on the cash register bells!

However, we finally fixed things so that we could open again, and this we did at 4.30 p.m.. though in a different spot. We shouldn’t have been speaking at the first one in any case. We carried on for about half-an-hour and then had to vacate the speaking place in favour of some hot-gospellers (this description provided by the police), who had apparently booked it. So back we went to the scene of our former triumph, and here we carried on a successful meeting with no interruptions until 7 p.m.

We distributed 400 “Introductory” leaflets, sold literature to the value of £2 9s. 3d., made numerous contacts for the Coventry Group, and rolled back to London, highly pleased with our day’s work and determined to return to Coventry in the near future.

Since the above report was written we have heard of two further propaganda ventures in Coventry. On June 10th and 17th London members joined with our Coventry comrades in running very successful outdoor meetings.