Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jimmy Reid - Hayes 1961

Jimmy Reid Young Communist League (YCL)
National Secretary speaking at West Middlesex YCL rally, Hayes November 1961.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nasty Tories: Thatcher Milk Snatcher

EMI Hayes 1953



From the work inside our factory, and especially from the movement around redundancy and the wages campaign, in which our factory were the leaders in that part of West Middlesex, we have learned that it would "have been impossible for us to have achieved such a level of activity, to have so influenced the course of events in other factories, without the existence of a Communist Party branch which was recognised and known in the factory as a public force.

Inside our factory there are 100 shop stewards, of whom only eight are members of the Communist Party, yet invariably, on all major questions, the standpoint of the Shop Stewards Committee is a progressive one, and it was possible to win some 5,000 signatures in the factory on the demands against rearmament, for a Five Power Peace Pact and for the defeat of the Tory Government. It is obviously not just a question of voting strength, especially when you consider that the attendance at the fortnightly shop stewards' meeting is round about fifty. It is because the Party has become known through the public meetings it has conducted outside the factory, where the convenor is known as a Party member, who speaks for the Party outside and inside the factory.

That is the basis on which we have been able to make this contribution towards the broader movement on wages and redundancy. But we have now reached a stage for some time where we know that if the policy of the Tory Government is not to be more heavily and sharply felt in Hayes, there is one essential and necessary condition, and that is, the building up of the Communist Party.

Inside the factory we are proud of the contribution we have made over the past twelve months; but we recognise serious weaknesses in the way we have not faced up to the building of the Party. In twelve months, up to the annual meeting of our branch last May, we had increased our Party membership by 25 per cent.

This was in a period of a number of outstanding events, including the formation of an "Anti-Tory Committee" at the time of the elections in 1951, which the Shop Stewards Committee elected and which formulated its own points of policy, and spoke outside the factory along with the local candidates for Uxbridge and Hounslow on the policy of the Shop Stewards Committee.

The No. 1 Question

Since May 1952 we have only been able to increase membership from thirty-eight to forty-one inside the factory. Yet that period is one in which we have had tremendous opportunities and possibilities. The work of our, Party Branch, its activity, has not been on a lower level. On the contrary, it has been much higher; the Party Branch has issued leaflets, held more meetings, and the work of our Communist stewards has been improved. Yet in spite of this, we have not had the growth that we expected, and it is because we have always supposed that the question of Party building is the last thing instead of the first.

Frank Stanley World News & Views in May 1953

Note workforce at Hayes EMI about 6,000

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weakness in the London Labour Movement 1928

"Two special weaknesses appear to afflict the London Labour Movement. One is insularity and parochialism. In many cases wild horses cannot drag people just over the border into another constituency. The other is a refusal to come up to the scratch unless the candidate, or the circumstances surrounding the fight, are of a spectacular character". Referring to David Moss electoral fight for the ILP in Marylebone April 1928 "During the week end before the poll there was an influx of workers, but Labour men and women have to learn that at that late stage most elections have already been won or lost What we think column ILP New Leader 4th May 1928 In the same edition it was reported that H.H.Champion (1859-1928) (picture above) one of the earliest socialist pioneers, who helped establish the Independent Labour Party had died in Melbourne, Australia. (emigrated to Australia in 1893). "Henry Hyde Champion was a brilliant and restless genius to whom modern socialism owes more than it knows" the other MP who had died recently was George Roberts former Member of Parliament for Norwich "During the greater part of his career Roberts served the Labour and socialist Movement well, but latterly his undoubted gifts were given to entirely alien causes, it was his tragedy that one part of his life cancelled the other" Notes on George Roberts

George Roberts 1868 - 1928

Roberts was born in Chedgrave on 27 July 1868: his parents, George Henry Roberts, butcher and shoemaker, and Ann (nee Larkman) had married in Chedgrave church on Christmas Day in 1867. The family moved to Norwich when Roberts was still a child: he did well at school, becoming a monitor at the age of eleven and thus earning a few pence a week. As was normal at that time, he left school at thirteen, becoming an apprentice to a printing firm.

Roberts soon became a leading trade union man in the city. He was a member of the printers' union, the Typographical Association, and rapidly became president and secretary of the local branch. In 1898 he was elected president of the Norwich Trades Council. Elected as member of Parliament or Norwich in 1906.

ILP Living Wage Policy

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) had passed a resolution at its 1928 national conference at Norwich.

ILP East Northumberland Federation

Met at Bedlington on 23 April 1928 Comrade Joe Taylor, Ashington presiding; a hearty welcome s a visitor was extended to George Elliot, a stalwart of the Blyth Branch of the ILP, who with the able assistance of his wife, helped materially in making possible for Blyth Branch to own their own premises.

Comrade H. Floyd had been delegate to ILP conference in Norwich

Harry Stoddart in due in area week beginning 7th May and will be visiting Blyth and Ashington ILP branches

Partick West ILP had a musical programme provided by a quartet from William Morris Choir of Glasgow conducted by James Houston April 1928

New ILP Branch in Perry Common Erdington February 1928 - branch Sec Seth Samuel 82 Witton Lodge Road, Perry Common, Erdington

Hampstead League of Youth dance Stanfield House, Prince Arthur Ed Saturday 25th February 1928

Bolton ILP organised a nursery school conference in February 1928 with Margaret McMillan as speaker, the attendance was splendid, press gave lengthy account

Salisbury ILP According to the New leader 24th February 1928

Salisbury Independent Labour Party (ILP) organised three successful meetings in connection with the ILP rural areas campaign. A concert Party taken at each meeting and at Amesbury - in the middle of a military district - a critical audience of 150 turned up. plenty of hostile questions were asked, but it is the first time the ILP has been listened to. At Broadchalk about 100 supported the meeting. At Farley a small village in the wilds, between 40 and 50 were present. Fred Henderson was the speaker at these meetings, and was of enormous help. E Shinwell and A. Shepherd hav

e been to Salisbury itself, and are expecting R.C. Wallhead next month

Note: Is this James "Fred" Henderson born 1867the famous Bradford and later Norwich Socialist and poet who was was a socialist pioneer in Bradford and then Norwich, in his early life he was a journalist. Henderson was arrested for leading with Charles Mowbray in the famous Norwich riot 'The Battle of Ham Run' which took place on Friday 14th November 1887, and subsequently tortured on the treadmill (the last man in England to do so). The riot and looting of food shops by over five hundred unemployed of Norwich was so called because the first policeman on the scene noted in his note book that " I saw a ham run over the heads of the crowd" In 1902 he became the first Labour representative to serve on the City Council and it is believed that when his wife, Lucy, was later elected they were the first husband and wife team ever to serve together on a local council. Lord Mayor of Norwich 1939-40 The many talks about Socialism which Henderson gave during these Sunday meetings were published and translated into several languages. He died in 1957 aged 90. New Leader Dundee The usual Sunday meeting in the Lindsay Street Hall was addressed on February 19 by P.J. Dollan of Glasgow and Bailie Pat Fletcher of Dundee. Dollan stated the case for the ILP policy as against Communism. comrade Leonard Ord presided. Next week we have a visit from the William Morris Choir of Glasgow Bradford new ILP Library Nottingham Independent Labour Party February 1928 Chairman: Gilbert Hall Vice Chair: F. Goodey Hon Treasurer Miss M.R, Bird Literature: J. Charlesworth Subscription sec: G. Cawkwell Minutes: Miss P Hartwell Org Sec: Frank Taylor ILP Nottingham Headquarters - Hardie House, 5 Stanford Street, Nottingham Bellshill ILP Oldest member John Cummings joined the ILP in 1893 as a foundation member and has been a member of Bellshill branch since 1897, Wiilie Stewart will also be present. Bo'ness meeting of 1,200 with E. Shinwell at the Hippodrome on Sunday night (prior 24 Feb 1928) Dundee ILP New Leader The usual Sunday meeting in the Lindsay Street Hall was addressed on February 19 by P.J. Dollan of Glasgow and Bailie Pat Fletcher of Dundee. Dollan stated the case for the ILP policy as against Communism. comrade Leonard Ord presided. Next week we have a visit from the William Morris Choir of Glasgow Lochgelly Women's Group meeting regularly Montrose ILP P.J. Dollan the ILP Scottish Chairman addressed a well attended meeting on Sunday afternoon. one of the best known Sheffield comrades is now located in Montrose and is helping the branch North Lanark Fedetarion ILP Meeting held at Kier Hardie Institute, Glasgow David Kirkwood MP spoke, James Carmichael ILP organiser was also present Stirling ILP Miss Jenny Lee, Lochgelly and P J Dollan Glasgow had spoken at recent meetings. Rev Richard Lee of Glasgow . Frank Crockett has been nominated to the the education Board/ Stranraer ILP Hector McNeil of Glasgow a member of Anderston branch selected as candidate for Galaway Division in lieu of John Mitchell Mansfield ILP Presentation to Tom Mellor for his devoted services to the local ILP. Councillor H. Garratt and J. Farmilo CC and J.J. Cantrill Trades Council Secretary Worcester Independent Labour Party ILP The week end February 11 and 12 will long be remembered in Worcestershire & Malvern our branch is affiliated to Bewdley divisional Labour party as well as Worcester Labour Party. Mr Gibson of Manchester is our candidate "a long row to hoe". on 11th February 1928 George Lansbury spoke in Malvern, Landsbury and Richard Clements our parliamentary candidate spoke, at the "biggest hall in our city". A Guild of Youth branch was established fourty strong, having distrabuted 4,000 leaflet and supplied half a dozen stewards. Eastbourne ILP Mr A. B. Bishop spoke on working class history to 200 Hornsey ILP V.W. Garratt Vice President of the branch and Dr Dunstan "Is the Communist Party a Mence to the Labour party". A.B. Bishop of Golders Green ILP spoke on the "Socialism by Force or Persuasion" Poplar ILP speaker Lucy Cox of the No More War Movement Portsmouth ILP "Can Democracy succeed" by W. Durman, "The Romance of the insect world" by R.S. Bawl, "Is socialism Biological" by M. Scholfield and "The Politician or the industrialist" by J. Berryman. Comrade A.E. West had been adopted as the parliamentary Labour candidate for Fareham and South Hampshire. the branch of the Guild of Youth is progressing favourably, holding weekly branch meetings with lectures and debates and question nights" 24 Feb 1928

Cheltenham ILP Visit of George Hicks, Comrade Florence Widdowson also gave an interesting speech, she is well known in the Midlands and is the popular parlimentary candidate

Florence Beatrice Paton (1 June 1891 – 12 October 1976),

Born in Taunton, Somerset, where her father was a railway guard. The family moved to Wolverhampton, where she later became a school teacher. A Methodist lay preacher, she was initially a Liberal, but joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1917. Under her maiden name of Florence Widdowson, she first stood for Parliament at the Cheltenham by election in 1928, and at the 1929 general elction, she contested the Rushcliffe constituency in Nottinghamshire. After her marriage in 1930 to the future Norwich Labour MP John Paton, she stood again in Rushcliffe in 1931. When the ILP split from Labour in 1932, John and Florence Paton stayed with the ILP. They left the following year, and rejoined the Labour Party,

She won the Rushcliffe seat at the 1945 general election, but after boundary changes in 1950, she stood at the 1950 general election in the new Carlton constituency. She lost by only 395 votes Gloucester ILP W.T. Stamford MP of the ILP NAC was speaker at the Parkend Empire on 19th February 1928. Fred Perriman ILP Organising Secretary in the Midlands, Leonard Ord selection as candidate for East Perthshire, now resident in Dundee formerly of Sunderland ILP - New Leader 24 Feb 1928 Rev Richard Lee candidate for Dumfriesshire is a Unitarian clergyman in Glasgow

Hands Off Russia 1919-1920

Hands Off Russia 1919-1920

In early May 1920, in London's East India Dock a ship called the Jolly George was found to be loading munitions for Poland which with the connivance of the British and French Governments, had invaded Russia and captured Kiev. 

On May 10th 1920 the dockers stopped work. they declared they would not load the Jolly George until the arms were removed. the coalheavers likewise refused to load coal for the ships engines until the munitions were unloaded which they were on the 15th May

 Harry Pollitt leader of the "Hands Off  Russia" campaign and worked to build support amongst the dockers

"The strike on the Jolly George has given a new inspiration to the whole working class movement. On May 15th 1920 the munitions were unloaded back on the dockside, and on the side of one ofcase is a very familiar sticky-back: "Hands Off Russia". It was only very small but that day it was big enough to be read all over the world"  


Before the end of July 1918 the German forces invading northern France had begun their retreat across the Marne. In the first week of August 1918 British troops were landed both at Arch-angel in the north and in the south at Baku.

On August 6 the British government issued a 'Declaration to Russian Peoples' stating that they had 'no intention of interfering in Russian polities'.
The actions of the British military authorities and their support of anti-Soviet forces spoke otherwise.

It is doubtful if the statement was anywhere swallowed. It was not readily accepted by the workers, perhaps least of all by the miners of South Wales who had experienced the inveterate duplicity of their rulers. The Rhondda Monthly Meeting, composed of delegates from thirty-two trade union branches, in October 1918 carried a resolution both in Welsh and in English:

"That this Meeting strongly protests against the Armed Intervention in Russia in opposition to the declared wishes of the Soviet Government, and indirect contradiction to the Allies' pronouncement in favour of the self determination of all Nations. This Meeting believes that the overthrow of the Soviet Administration would be a disaster to the Organised Labour Movement throughout the world, and could only be construed as evidence of the intention of the Government to make War on the Working Classes."

Similar protests were made elsewhere up to the armistice on November 11, 1918, which afforded an opportunity for the cabal within the British government to push forward their sinister schemes. Britain and France and a dozen other powers were to send their armies against the territories of their war-time ally.

Nineteen days after the armistice, on December 1, 1918, a meeting of the London Workers' Committee and the Socialist Labour Party adopted an appeal for a national conference to campaign for a general strike against intervention. This circular, headed 'Hands off Russia!', was on show at the Marx Memorial Library exhibition in October 1977.

The month of January 1919 opened a two year period of strikes,riots, mutinies and insurrection, both in Britain and throughout the world. In the British army at home there were over fifty strikes in the month of January. Commander-in-Chief (Sir Douglas Haig informed the Secretary of State for War (Winston Churchill) of a whole army camp at Calais in mutiny; that he had surrounded it with Guards troops heavily armoured; that he would find a dozen 'ring-leaders' to have them court-martialled and shot. Churchill, while in general agreement with the sentiments of Haig, was considerably more cunning and advised less drastic penalties.

As industrial acting-editor. Page Arnot interviewed in the Herald office a group of the fully armed strikers and took a note of their grievances, while Andrew Rothstein was responsible for another unit refusing to volunteer for Archangel.

The further progress of the 'Hands off Russia' campaign may now be summarised as follows:

January 18,1919: The London Workers' Committee conference, in association with the BSP, SLP WSF and IWW at the Memorial Hall, with 350 delegates, including Arthur McManus and Sylvia Pankhurst, and Harry Pollitt (Openshaw BSP) who spoke as a delegate, adopted a resolution launching the movement thereafter known as the 'Hands off Russia!' Campaign. A committee of 16 was formed. Pollitt was already know to the River Thames Shop Stewards Movement.

January to September 1919: Local 'Hands off Russia!' bodies formed in many places, including one at Oxford of workers and students, of whom Andrew Rothstein was one, in February.

February 8, 1919: British Socialist Party 'Hands off Russia!' meeting filling the Albert Hall where both of us were present—as also at subsequent such gatherings.

March 31,1919: First number of revived Daily Herald reinforcing campaign.

April 3,1919: Joint Conference of Trades Union Congress and Labour Party called for immediate withdrawal of troops from Russia and decided 'to take such action as may be necessary to induce Allied Governments to do likewise.'

April 9,1919: The above resolution presented to Chancellor of the Exchequer (Bonar Law) by a deputation from Parliamentary Committee of Trades Union Congress, whose chairman (Stuart-Bunning) told Bonar Law that if the answer was unsatisfactory, there would be the likelihood of a general strike.

May 15, 1919: Meeting of Parliamentary Committee of Trades Union Congress (on conscription), with Triple Alliance of miners, railwaymen and transport workers. 

June 3, 1919: Triple Alliance conference on conscription threatens strike if troops are not withdrawn from Soviet Russia. Conference in Manchester sets up national 'Hands off Russia!' Committee including trade union leaders and members of parliament.

June 1919 The Labour Party conference, against the will of the leadership denounced the intervention as "war in the interests of financial capitalism, which aims at the destruction of the Russian Socialist Republic and as a denial of the right to self-determination"

June 1919 The national committee elected in January gave way to a more representative National "Hands off Russia Committee, set up by a conference in Manchester. Its President was A.A. Purcell and included C.T. Cramp (NUR Rail union), Tom Mann (ASE Engineering Union ), George Peet National shop Stewards Committee, John Bromley (Locomotives and Firemen union ), Fred Shaw (ASE) David Kirkwood (ASE) John Hill (Boilermakers union), W, Straker (Miners union), Alex Gossip (Furniture maker union), William Gallacher (Clyde). Secretary W.P. "Pat" Coates (BSP) and during 1919 its organiser was Harry Pollitt with headquarter at Margaret Street Hall, Openshaw, Manchester, from which the great industrial centres of the North and midlands could be more easily be reached.

July 20,1919: International strikes against intervention in Russia.

August 18,1919: British naval attack on Russian fleet.

September 8, 1919: General Ironside's interview on his plans for offensive in Russia divulged in Daily Express. Ironside replaced by General Rawlinson. 

September 11, 1919: Churchill issues statement that evacuation would be carried out, but subject to 'General Rawlinson's fullest discretionary power as to time and method'. Scottish TUC resolved (with one dissentient) that, failing withdrawal of British troops, 'a special TUC be called immediately to decide what action shall be taken.'

October 11, 1919: Daily Herald demonstration on Peace with Russia (and nationalisation of mines) fills Albert Hall.

October 16,1919: Kronstadt reported to be under bombardment from British navy. Finnish Diet (parliament) next day decides against peace negotiations with Soviet Russia.

November 8,1919: Lloyd George's Guildhall speech hints at peace with Russia.

November 1919 Leaflet circulated to unions quoted Principal W.T. Goode M A Russian correspondent for the Manchester Guardian and Lt Col Malone MP who had just visited Russia who gave factual eye witness accounts.

December 10, 1919: Special Trades Union Congress resolved: 'That this Congress, having heard the report of the deputation which waited upon the Prime Minister on the Question of Russia, expresses its profound dissatisfaction; it calls upon the Government immediately to consider the peace overtures made by the Soviet Government.' Congress also decided that a delegation be appointed to visit Russia.

January 16,1920: Allied Supreme Council decide to 'permit' trade with Russia, if through co-operative bodies; and, six weeks later, to forbid diplomatic relations.

February 27, 1920: Big demonstration in Albert Hall called by National 'Hands off Russia!' Committee chaired by Tom Mann and addressed by Colonel Malone and Commander Harold Grenfell RN., John MacLean from the Clyde, Robert Williams Transport Workers Union, Israel Zangwill, Professor Goode and Commander Grenfell.
March 24,1920: Vast Albert Hall meeting, Tom Mann in the Chair, welcomes home George Lansbury who reports on his visit to Russia and his talks with Lenin.

March 1920 Red Army drives counter revolutionary troops into the Crimea.

April 4, 1920 Daily Herald states " The marionettes are in Warsaw, but the strings are pulled from London and Paris".

April 24,1920: Marshal Pilsudski of Poland invades Soviet Russia..

April 1920 Rumours of two Belgian barges at Blackwell shipyard being fitted to carry war material to Poland, A few weeks later news came that the towing rope attached to the barges had broken while crossing the North Sea and the barges had sunk.

May 1, 1920 May day march to Hyde Park, Danish steamer Neptune sailed with Munitions, brave attempts to stop her fail. However two Communist firemen amongst the crew, when she neared Gravesend called all the hands together, explained that the cargo was munitions to be used against Russia and while the Captain argueed the ship hit an oncomming ship forcing it to return to dock.

May 3, 1920: Pilsudski receives telegram of congratulations from King George V.

May 10, 1920: The Times wrote that the capture of Kiev by the poles "is a great triumph for them and their Ukrainian allies and a heavy blow for the Bolsheviks"
May 10th 1920 London dockers, on an appeal from Harry Pollitt, strike against loading the Jolly George with munitions for Poland: and then receive full backing from Fred Thompson, District Secretary of the Dockers' Union.

There followed a three month period in which at first the Polish armies made great inroads and captured Kiev the capital of the Ukraine. But within four weeks the Poles were driven backwards.

Whereupon the British government which, Churchill had admitted on May 11, had 'helped to strengthen and equip the Polish army', came once more to its aid. The danger of the British and French people being plunged into war was greater from week to week.

Throughout May, June and July the agitation for peace and for 'Hands off Russia!' increased correspondingly.

June 1920 Labour party conference at Scarborough, Hodgson of the BSP moves amendment calling for Peace with Russia. moved an addendum to the official resolution (which called for peace with Russia) proposing the immediate summoning of a national conference.

"having for its object the organisation of a general strike that shall put an end once and for all to the open and covert participation of the British Government in attacks on the Soviet Republic . . ."and which, moreover, recommended: "that unions should support their members in refusing to do work which directly or indirectly assists hostilities against Russia."

This addendum, opposed, amongst others, by Ernest Bevin, was heavily defeated at the time, but had its effect.

The Polish armies at first rapidly advanced. On June 12 they took Kiev. But at the end of the month they were in headlong retreat from the Ukraine, pursued by Budienny's First Cavalry and other Soviet forces right to the gates of Warsaw, a remarkable military feat which aroused tremendous enthusiasm in the international working-class movement.

Friday, August 5, 1920: Arthur Henderson, 'from his sick-bed' as his son Willie told Arnot, sends telegrams to every local Labour Party calling for immediate citizen demonstration against intervention and possible extension of war.

Saturday, August 6, 1920: Communist Party of Great Britain (formed five days earlier) sends telegram (drafted by Andrew Rothstein) to branches in thirty main industrial centres, urging participation in these demonstrations with demand for five points: (see below)
—Immediate withdrawal of warships.
—Immediate withdrawal of British troops in Poland.
—Withdrawal of any support for Poland.
—Immediate Agreement on Peace with Soviet Russia.
—Formation of Central Labour Action Council to watch over fulfillment.
The Communist in the next four weeks has many reports of the '5 points' being adopted by trade union and labour demonstrations.

Sunday, August 8, 1920: Special issue of Daily Herald under the headline "Not a man, Not a Gun, Not a Sou" , with CP manifesto embodying the five points.

Tuesday, August 9,1920: The Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress and the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party decide to call national conference in London and to lay before it resolutions for a general strike if war were made on Soviet Russia.

Saturday, August 13, 1920: Above Conference (over a thousand delegates in Central Hall, Westminster) sets up a National Council of Action to stop the war, The Committee had 15 members of whom only two were Communist Party members A.A. Purcell and Robert Williams): and 350 local Councils of Action formed in the next few days. National Council of Action then deputed two of its members (Chairman of the TUC Parliamentary Committee and Chairman of the Labour MPs) to cross to France (where they were arrested) to concert common action with the French Labour movement; and on the same day set up Publicity and Propaganda Committee to be organised by the Assistant Secretary of the Labour Party (J. S. Middleton) and by R. Page Amot, Secretary of the Labour Research Department. This Committee, meeting daily, issued a stream of manifestos and articles to the trade union and labour press.

The Conference passed the following resolution

(1) An absolute guarantee that the armed forces of Great Britain shall not be used in support of Poland, Baron Wrangel, or any other military or naval effort against the Soviet Government.

(2) The withdrawal of all British naval forces operating directly or indirectly as a blockading influence against Russia.

(3) The recognition of the Russian Soviet Government and the establishment of unrestricted trading and commercial relation ships between Great Britain and Russia.
The effect of all this was immediate: and within three days (on 10th August 1920) Lloyd George hastily beat a retreat. It was announced that war preparations were to be cancelled and a deputation of MPs and other Council of Action delegates were told by the Prime Minister on August 16 that there would be no war and that 'Labour is hammering at an open door.'

As Winston Churchill later put it, Under these pressures Mr Lloyd George was constrained to advise the Polish Government that... the British Government could not take any action against Russia".

So after eighteen months of unremitting effort the aim of the conference of January 1919 had been achieved; by threat of general strike the capitalist government had been compelled to change policy. No one could dispute the statement in the Labour Party's annual report "There is no doubt whatever that the action of the Labour movement early in August prevented open war with Russia".

The "Hands Off Russia" movement triumphed because it expressed the will of millions who wanted to avoid another war and of thousands of class-conscious workers who knew that the emancipation of their class was bound up with the preservation of the first Socialist Republic. Among many talented and devoted leaders of the movement Harry Pollitt stood out as having been the first to see clearly that success depended on Labour's will to use its industrial power; as the man who realised that the seamen, dockers and shipyard workers were best placed to strike the first blow; and who personally led the months of campaigning in the East London dock areas to convince them to act.

Years later, when the Labour leaders rejected the strike as a weapon of struggle against another war, Pollitt wrote: "To prevent, impede or sabotage a war demands constant and unremitting preparation, agitation, propaganda and organisation. But when the workers are won for direct action, then indeed the results of this action strike decisive blows against the war makers and can on occasion force them to change their whole political line.
Source: R. Page Arnot ,Andrew Rothstein Labour Monthly December 1977
Harry Pollitt by John Mahon, History of CPGB 1919-1924 by James Klugmann

On August 6th (the fourth day of its existence) the Communist Party sent out its first circular to Branch Secretaries1 over the signatures of Arthur MacManus and Albert Inkpin, The Five points of the circular were embodied in a Communist party manifesto, which appeared for the first time ever on a Sunday. The four page edition of the Daily Herald on 8th August 1920 with the slogan "Not a man, Not a Gun, Not a Sou"
"There is no need to remind you of the importance of saving Soviet Russia from the attacks of the capitalist governments. For nearly three years you have worked loyally and well to that end.

Your efforts, according to their own admissions, have paralysed the militarists' attempts to crush our Russian comrades, for they realise how deeply 'Hands Off Russia' propaganda has sunk into the minds of the workers.

"But this is a supreme moment for action. War—definite, open, bloody war—in support of the Polish nationalists, is threatened against Russia. The Polish attack was secretly instigated and secretly prepared; the Polish request for an armistice a trick to gain time....
"Comrades, the Government must be told in plain terms that the workers will not have war against Soviet Russia. It is our duty deliberately to advise the workers not only to refuse all service for that purpose, but to oppose it actively.

"The Communist Party, in the first days of its existence, must be worthy of its mission. Let us rise to the height of a great occasion. "Call meetings in your District to denounce the new war. Wherever meetings have been arranged for the week-end, make them specifically for this object.

"Get into touch with the organised workers in your District, through the Trade Union Branches, Trades Councils, Shop Stewards Committees—everywhere—and urge them immediately to notify the Government that they will not make nor handle munitions, nor volunteer for service, nor be pressed into services, but will actively oppose, by a general strike, the threatened campaign.

"Speak boldly and act quickly. Neglect nothing. On the shoulders of every individual member of the Communist Party rests the fate of Russia at this critical moment. Let every member, therefore, be a missionary for the salvation of Russia, lest we be branded with the infamy of crushing by our apathy the first Socialist Republic, and our own hopes and ideals at the same time."

The first issue of the weekly organ of the Communist Party, the Communist (August 5), called on the workers to fight against the intervention in Russia" ' The Threatened War Against Russia, C.P. circular of August 5, 1920.


Harry Pollitt paid special credit to the role of Melvina Walker (Poplar- East London) in the "Hands off Russia" Campaign, she was an active member of Sylvia Pankhursts - Workers Socialist Federation (W.S.F) and its journal the "Workers Dreadnought" in keeping an eye on Munition ships in the London docks.
Melvina as a docker's wife, and the WSF had strong links with the dockers and seamen and as such were in a position to monitor cargo movements as Pollitt states: "Mrs Walker of Poplar toiled like a Trojan, on a shopping morning you could rely on seeing her in Crisp Street, talking to groups of women about Russia and how we must help, asking them to tell their husbands to keep their eyes skinned to see that no munitions went to those trying to crush the revolution".

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Royal Wedding - Crowns & Coronets 3 A Penny

Daily Herald 16 November 1918

The Daily Herald started as a print workers (London Society of Compositors) strike paper in December 1911 and later as a Socialist daily, the first issue appeared on 15 April 1912.
Closed 1964

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tory Repatriation Leaflet 1964

Conservative anti immigrant leaflet
Lambeth, South London 1964

Tory racist leaflet and misspelling - "Burdened"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Merthyr ILP - Kier Hardie MP 1906

Southall ILP Choir 1925

Wanted - A Conductor

The Southall (Middlesex) Independent labour Party (ILP) is very anxious to form a choir, but has nobody in its ranks qualified to take on the duties of conductor. If there is any ILP er in the district is able to assist, will he or she please get in touch with J.M. Cooper, 14 Great George Street, Westminster

ILP New Leader 23 October 1925

Monday, November 15, 2010

Literature Selling - A Socialist Weapon ILP New Leader 1928

ILP - A Socialist Weapon - Literature Selling

The dissemination of Socialist literature is one of the most valuable weapons of Socialist propaganda, The or
ganisation 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