1960s >> 1968 >> no-769-september-1968

Party News: Scandinavian Tour

During a recent tour of Scandinavia four members—our comrades Assirati, Cox, Garnham, and Zucconi —came upon a ‘Free Speech Tribune’ in the concourse next to the Central Station in Stockholm. Needless to say, they required little encouragement to take advantage of this opportunity, newly provided by a considerate City Council, and Dom Zucconi eagerly mounted the raised pulpit.

Introducing the Party to the groups of bystanders, who quickly reformed into a solid audience of 200, our speaker was able to present our case—in English. It was soon apparent that there was no language barrier when the all too familiar, questions and objections were raised.

Although a five or ten minute speech is usual for this democratic innovation, Dom ably upheld the party traditions in resisting one vociferous objector “. . . why don’t you go back to your own country?” and another who actually joined him in the box to insist he’d spoken enough. With the support of the audience, indicated by an overwhelming show of hands, he continued his exposition of the Party’s attitude for an hour.

The four members subsequently engaged in discussion with a number of those interested One promised to pass around, as he finishes with it, the considerable amount of literature sent to him.

It is to be hoped that this outdoor facility, so convenient for our purposes (no lugging around of the platform), will be used by any other Party speakers visiting the delightful capital city of Sweden.

We should also mention the other ‘aid to democratic practice’ provided at the same spot—a large expanse of white painted wall on which can be written or stuck slogans, messages and political statements. Another of our group took advantage here of a prominent space to mark up a concise statement of what Socialism is and is not. But the message should be renewed as the authorities periodically re-paint the wall, presenting a ‘fresh page’ to cater for the sloganeering of each new spate of alliances, protests and ‘immediate demands’.

Although these ‘outlets’ may have overtones of civic paternalism and don’t compare with Speakers’ Corner, they have their uses and are certainly better than nothing in a country previously devoid of such recognised speaking spots.

Louis J. Cox