1970s >> 1974 >> no-840-august-1974

Party News: A Unique Exhibition

Head Office was a hive of activity from June 15th to 22nd. The exhibition was on. Many members had been involved during the previous two weeks in transforming No. 52 into a colourful and interesting centre of SPGB history and Socialist propaganda. At a Press review, only The Guardian showed up with a consequent fair write-up of our case.

The stands were “made on the premises” at a total cost well below the hiring fee for 1 stand from Exhibition contractors. A stand was devoted to each of the following subjects:— The Socialist Party of Great Britain; Capitalism; Trade Unions; Russia; Electoral Activity; War; Marxism; Companion Parties; the Socialist Standard and Socialism.

Party literature, posters, news cuttings, photographs all combined to deal with these subjects in depth. It is not easy to choose the outstanding exhibits from the wealth of material put at our disposal. All who saw the exhibition will have their own favourites.

Here was the history of the SPGB in reality. The leaflet calling a meeting on 12th June 1904 to form a new party. Photos of many founder members — what characters! Some original copies of a Bolshevik journal published by Lenin in Geneva 1905: Letters from James Connolly to a founder member, Anderson, when they left the SDF: The Party War Statement of 1914. A superb photograph of New Zealand members standing outside their hut in the Gold Rush in the 1930s — hut complete with Socialist Standard posters: The first copy of Socialist Standard, 1904. We could go on and on.

During the week about 450 people saw the exhibition and expressed their appreciation of the general standard. Many an interesting discussion was held over a cup of tea. Sales of literature, books and donations amounted to £138. Our thanks to all members who contributed material (it is safe and will be returned shortly); to all members who worked for hours both in staging and manning the exhibition; to our Companion Parties for their contributions that gave Socialism its international flavour.

All the stands have been dismantled but the exhibits are still in place. There are prospects that we may be able to stage the exhibition again, perhaps during the period of the forthcoming General Election.

The whole exhibition was well photographed for a permanent record. We shall in due course have a set of some 20 coloured slides and a taped commentary on the various stands; these will be sent to our Companion Parties and sets will be available for loan for Provincial Branches and Groups.

It was a great week.

* A few copies of the Exhibition programme are available on application to H.O.