Demonstration for Socialism
Wednesday, October 18th, is the day of the third central London meeting in the Demonstration for Socialism series and is being held in Caxton Hall, Westminster.
The two previous meetings (filling St. Pancras Town Hall in April and Conway Hall in July) were stimulating and successful by all standards. Now, with one speaker drawn from each, a bigger and, it is hoped, an even more fruitful meeting will be held. The normal Party arrangement of the order of the meeting will ensure a substantial part of the time will be devoted to questions and discussion contributions from the audience—this procedure itself aiding the Demonstration for Socialism.
Since it is quite a long time since the SPGB has held meetings at the Caxton Hall, a word or two on the situation of the hall might be timely. Caxton Hall lies just off Victoria Street about mid-way between Victoria Station and Parliament Square. Several bus routes use Victoria Street and St. James’s station (Circle & District Lines) is nearby the hall.
The meeting starts at 7,30 p.m.
The Autumn Delegate Meeting will be held at Head Office, 52, Clapham High Street, S.W.4 on Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th. Saturday, 2.30 pm to 6 pm, Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Arrangements are being made by the Standing Orders Committee to re-arrange the seating arrangements in order that the maximum comfort will be possible.
The two Glasgow Branches, having joined up again in their work for Socialism, have reverted to their original name—Glasgow Branch instead of City and Kelvingrove. They have had a most successful outdoor season this summer, both in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
They have arranged a very ambitious programme of weekly lectures extending to the Spring under the title “Problems of the Sixties”. Each month’s lectures will be devoted to a particular aspect of this, as follows:—
November 1961—In Britain Today.
December 1961—The British Political Scene.
January 1962—Power Politics.
February 1962—The Socialist Searchlight.
March 1962—Marxism Today.
April 1962—History Today.
The subjects for October and November are listed under Meetings.
Ealing Branch is now meeting regularly again after the short holiday break in August. The Branch has now been given a new meeting room—bigger, more comfortable, and generally much more pleasant than its previous one. This will certainly provide more incentive for members to venture forth on miserable winter nights.
A very busy winter season is being planned. One of the members now has access to a film projector unit and the Branch intends to take the fullest advantage of this in arranging its lectures and discussions. The new room will also be much more practicable for this purpose. We hope to give further details of the programme next month.
Having the Overseas Secretary as their own Branch Secretary is not the only reason for its increasingly international flavour. The proximity of Hyde Park and their virtually West-End location are also important factors. A Wednesday in August is a case in point. Following upon the greetings received from the two branch members visiting Newfoundland, on the chairman’s table was a letter from Pierre, a good friend of the Party now back in France. Its main purpose was to express, with appreciation, the extent to which his own socialistic leanings had been clarified and given direction by his participation in Branch and Party meetings. In attendance was Comrade Bryant. It was the eve of his trip round Europe prior to his return to Australia. He was deluged with the addresses of people all over the Continent whom we know to be in sympathy with us. Also in attendance and very welcome was our Austrian comrade, Ernst. Some members met him in Italy last year but for some time he has been working in Scandinavia and he reported briefly but with humour and insight on the scene as he finds it there. A sad note was struck on recollecting that it was he who had first introduced our late Lisa Bryan to the Party. He was able to pass over to the Branch some of her old lecture notes which are certain to be of further educational value.
As they meet in a room above a pub their timetable is governed by the licencing laws which means they have to adjourn before closing time at eleven. However, those who are prepared for a “morning after the night before” usually fit in another three quarters of an hour of discussion at a coffee shop down the road. On the night in question a dozen members descended on the place and to their delight they were joined there by several others including our good comrade M. L. [Michael La Touche] on the eve of his return to the West Indies where the climate is a lot healthier than ours, he finds. A friend, just back from Turkey called just in time to give Peter Byrant a few interesting addresses in Germany and an Indian sympathiser of long standing spent the evening with us.
Their wide perspective has not lessened their enthusiasm for Branch propaganda outings to places nearer home. This summer Paddington has made successful and highly enjoyable trips to Coventry, Nottingham and Stevenage and on our very doorstep, Hyde Park has proved to be well worth the running on Thursday nights.
Wembley Branch are pleased to announce that their first indoor public meeting will take place on October 30th when Comrade C. May will be “Introducing the SPGB” to the workers of Wembley. Quite a lot of time and money have been spent on preparing and publicising the event, and Branch members are hoping for a good attendance. Full details of time and place will be found in the advert elsewhere in this issue.
The second of the Branch canvassing efforts in Portsmouth was successful although hampered somewhat by a late start. On this occasion we had the welcome help of a member from Woolwich Branch. During the afternoon and evening, the usual meeting was held on the seafront to an attentive audience, and lit. sales were most encouraging. This is an excellent speaking station. It deserves regular visits throughout the summer season.
Preparations are being made for a series of lectures by Branch members through the winter months. The last series dealt with various religious movements and was very successful. Any comrade having a special knowledge of a particular subject is encouraged to hold forth and other members find this a great help in broadening their general background.
Branch S.S. Sales are now running at over 20 dozen a month. The excellent summer outdoor season has, of course, helped a lot but the persistent canvassing efforts must not be forgotten either. It is the intention to continue these throughout the winter. At the same time we shall encourage our present contacts to attend the branch—and in particular the public meeting already mentioned.
Not forgetting, the lighter side, a social will be held at Christmas and we hope it will be at least as successful as last year’s. Full details and tickets will be available later, of course, but preliminary work has already begun.
For a long time now we have been receiving regular 5/- donations from some one signing themselves “Anon”. Regular donations are a considerable help to a working class party like ours which suffers from restrictive finances. Thank you Comrade.
The small committee which had such great success in selling literature at the Russian Exhibition at Earls Court, have had further success. A member of the Committee, Comrade Hyams of Hackney Branch, went to the Trade Union Congress at Portsmouth and during the period of the conference sold 60 Socialist Standards and 50 various pamphlets. This is excellent work and Comrades throughout the country could follow this up by attending local political meetings and selling the Party literature.
Comrade Gilmac is working hard on his American tour and it is hoped to have details of the meetings he has addressed and his television and radio talks in our next issue.
The Toronto group is making encouraging progress. Our Comrades Catt, report good discussions and attendances at all of their meetings—even during the hot summer months. Over 20 meetings have been held so far, a grand achievement, especially when it is remembered that the group has been in existence for only a few months.
Persistent attempts are made to keep in the public eye, and with the growth of the group, other socialist comrades in the area are giving their support, so that there is a possibility of forming a local of the S.P.C. in the near future. A heartening report indeed of courage and determination in the face of gigantic odds. Best wishes to our Toronto comrades.
The H. O. Film Meetings commence on 9th October with an interesting film “The German Story”, which has just been made by the German Democratic Republic. This remarkable film took two years to make and tells the story of two world wars. It takes 85 minutes to run. A large audience is expected. Remember that the film meetings have been changed to MONDAY evenings.