ILP - A Socialist Weapon - Literature Selling
The dissemination of Socialist literature is one of the most valuable weapons of Socialist propaganda, The organisation of its sales and disposal should receive the most careful attention. The circulation of the weekly papers is the most exacting section.
In Portsmouth we have about a hundred customers, buying about a hundred: and seventy (ILP New Leader) papers weekly, spread over an area about six miles long by three or four wide.
Up to now these have been divided between six distributors who meet at the railway station and receive the papers for each round as they arrive. With the aid of a bicycle, each delivers his papers, and at the next meeting hands in money received, together with particulars of orders or cancellations.
Each agent, it. may be mentioned, is apportioned a district as close as possible to his residence, and the number of calls is kept as low as possible to entail the minimum of labour for each. We have a few customers in outlying districts, said to these literature is posted. Monthlies, if they arrive over a week-end, go out with the weeklies, but otherwise a special distribution is arranged.
Payment, as far as possible, is arranged weekly, but some customers prefer monthly accounts, and in this case a bill , accompanies the literature on the last week-end of the month, and payment is kept as prompt as possible.
The billheads are designed by the literature secretary, and have an advertisement for the New Leader or the Department on the bottom. Books are generally dealt with at meetings. The latest lists and circulars are kept available, and orders are transmitted, as rapidly as possible, and often are delivered direct to members' homes.
The winter is good for book sales and the summer for pamphlets. At open air meetings comrades patrol the crowd with weeklies and pamphlets, and in the case of weeklies always ask directly if the purchaser requires it regularly, and specifically mentions delivery.
Advantage is taken of all possible publicity, and occasionally a circular is distributed with the literature. In this respect, a duplicator comes in handy, though at present we have not one of our own. The whole organisation, though it entails arduous work, particularly in rough and wet weather, goes fairy smoothly, and represents a real co-operative effort on the part of our comrades who, uncomplainingly undertake the work. Special mention must be made of two lady comrades who are among the six distributors.
Independent Labour Party (ILP) New Leader 24th February 1928
Portsmouth ILP Report February 1928
Membership and attendance at meetings during January kept up to standard the winter programme is being steadily worked through, and in addition lectures after branch business have been facilitated.
For February we had the following arranged: "Can Democracy Succeed? by W. Durman; " The Romance of the Insect-World," by R.S. Bawl; "Is Socialism
Biological ? by M. Schofield; and " The Politician or the Industrialist," by J. Berryman.
A spring series of lectures is being arranged. A comrade of ours, A. E. West, has been adopted as Parliamentary candidate for the Fareham and South Hants Division, so besides propaganda in the city here in the summer we shall be assisting him in his semi industrial-rural area.
Literature sales remain up to standard. The Portsmouth branch of the ILP Guild of Youth is progressing favourably, holding branch meetings weekly, with lectures, debates and question nights after business. Propaganda for the summer is being arranged, and the co-operation of the I.L.P. is being sought for literature distribution in the town and rural areas, and for the acceptance of Guild of Youth speakers at I.L.P. open-air meetings.
Guild of Youth established 1924.
Portsmouth ILP Guild of Youth Report October 1925
Portsmouth ILP Guild of Youth membership remains between sixty and seventy members (October 1925). During Peace week a meeting was held every evening in various parts of the town and despite bad weather, all were very successful. Two Carnivals have been held. the Dramatic Class is working hard to produce Miles Malleson's "Young Heaven" at a "Kier Hardie" concert, The literary and debating Class opened with a debate on "Communism". Arrangements have been made for the Flame to be placed in the Central and four branch libraries. Secretary T.J. Farnes, 16 Woodland Street, Kingston, Portsmouth
Note: ILP New Leader Masthead 1928,
ILP New Leader Pegasus editorial masthead 1925