Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
COMMUNIST PARTY FACTORY REPORT 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
Friday, November 19, 2010
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
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
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.
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.
September 8, 1919: General Ironside's interview on his plans for offensive in Russia divulged in Daily Express. Ironside replaced by General Rawlinson.
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.
"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."
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)
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.
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.
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....
"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.
MELVINA WALKER - WSF
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
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
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
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 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