Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A bit of Glasgow Branch history

January 1948

Comrade Prince Vallar, of Glasgow Branch, died December 1st. Many Socialists all over the country knew Vallar’s sincere comradeship and unflagging devotion to the cause of the working-class. While he did not join the party until 1938 he was for many years before a practical and moral bulwark to the small handful of enthusiasts who kept socialist principles alive in Glasgow against frightening odds. He played a great part in the formation of the Glasgow branch in 1922 with his generosity and unfailing optimism. He sought no reward and was unassuming in his party work

 He later had the keen pleasure of seeing his two sons and daughter-in-law become members of the large, virile branch which Glasgow is today. His wife and family have suffered an irreparable loss and the party has lost a staunch member. The working-class owe Vallar a debt, and we would ask that payment should take the form of ever-increasing struggle for the emancipation of the working-class.

February 1948

Glasgow Branch are keeping well in action in 1948. They are strong with the determination to make the very best use of their resources this year in socialist propaganda among the teeming wage-slave population of Glasgow. 

The branch had a very successful mass meeting on Sunday, January 11th, in the Central Halls to commemorate the centenary of the “Communist Manifesto.” Three speakers addressed the audience who were packed tightly in a hall with a seating capacity of 160. Members gave solid support as stewards, literature sellers, etc. 

A branch social committee is now busy arranging a theatre evening or smoking concert for members and friends as soon as accommodation can be reserved. 

Correspondence is being maintained with the Workers’ Socialist Party of U.S.A. at Boston and with comrades in Dublin and Belfast.

 Branch meetings are held on Wednesday evenings at 7.30 p.m. at the branch headquarters, 43, Maryhill Road, Glasgow, N.W., and the Sunday evening programme of lectures at the Central Halls, Bath Street, continues. These commence at 7 p.m.

The February programme is as follows: 
1st February, “The real crisis,” F. Duncan; 
8th February, “Socialism and Morality,” J. Thorburn; 
15th February, “The affairs of our masters,” J. McFarlane; 
22nd February, “ The workers’ party,” T. Mulheron; and 
29th February, “Dictators and Socialism,” J. Prout. 

There is, of course, no charge for admission to these lectures, and plenty of time is reserved for questions and discussion from members of the audience.

April 1948

Glasgow Branch has suffered severely lately owing to the death of members. John Adrian died in February suddenly under very tragic circumstances. He had been making plans for his usual visit to the Annual Conference, an event which he always looked forward to. John joined the party in 1936 and became a very valuable member. He was not a public propagandist, but a very serious student with a thorough grounding in socialist theory. He organised classes on economics and was a source of inspiration to all members. He had all the essential attributes of the revolutionary worker. Fifteen members attended his funeral at which a party member gave a fitting address. 

The branch has also lost R. D. Robertson who died in February after a long illness. He was a young member who joined us in 1942. He was an earnest and unassuming lad with a keen and intelligent interest in the work of the party.

The branch have been temporarily inconvenienced as a result of being served a notice to quit their excellent shop premises by May 28th—or to buy them at £700 (an impossible sum). This has faced Glasgow comrades with the difficult task of seeking new premises in the city by that date. The shop with its spacious window for displaying pamphlets, and announcing meetings, proved itself a most useful asset during its several years of branch occupancy.

Indoor meetings are continuing, but with the present mild weather and longer light evenings a start on outdoor propaganda is being made this month; probable venues are Queens Park Gate and Brunswick Street. 

Again a challenge to the C.P. to debate has been issued, this time through their Penilee branch, who await their central committee’s, sanction. It is expected, however, that the C.P.’s usual political cowardice about debating with S.P.G.B. representatives will add but another refusal to efforts to get them on the public platform.

 Recently the branch organiser travelled 50 miles on invitation to Kelty, to address a meeting composed mainly of miners. The S.P. case was well received.

July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard
Glasgow Branch continue their outdoor propaganda with moderate success. Glasgow lacks a really well-established outdoor "Speakers’ Corner” and the branch is trying out one or two new stations. They have some promising young speakers coming along but could do with more. 

They had a public debate with the Trotskyists at the end of May on the subject “Is Parliament the road to socialism?" The hall was packed and many had to be turned away. The Trotskyist repeated the usual stale distortions of Marxism and incitements to mass action. The debate is being repeated at Hamilton with a view to stimulating interest there.

 A special branch meeting is being held to discuss future activities on the electoral field and all friends in Scotland are appealed to for assistance and are asked to get in touch with the branch.

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

November 1948
Glasgow Branch has been holding highly successful outdoor meetings at Drury Street (off Renfield Street) in the busy centre of the city, and they hope to keep this’ street going as a permanent outdoor stance. At 7 p.m. on Sunday, 10th October, a series of indoor meetings commenced at the Central Hall, 25, Bath Street. These meetings will continue fortnightly throughout the winter months. Debates are also being arranged and challenges have already been sent by the branch to practically every M.P. in the Glasgow area.