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Kilmarnock Discussion Group

Kilmarnock Discussion Group  

 Thursday, 27 February 2014
 Thursday, 27 March 2014
 Thursday, 24 April 2014
 Thursday, 29 May 2014
 Thursday, 26 June 2014
 Thursday, 31 July 2014 -

Venue:- 
7:00pm - 9:00pm
The Wheatsheaf Pub,
70 Portland Street,
 Kilmarnock KA1 1JG
(About three minutes walk from the rail station and five minutes from the bus station)

For more information contact: 
Paul Edwards.
Tel: 01563 541138

Discussing the SPGB Case

A collation and re-editing and reformatting of various contributions to the RevLeft discussion thread adapted from here

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is the oldest socialist organisation in the UK and have far outlived most other groups. As for recruitment, the SPGB has perhaps the highest rate of member retention of any group and certainly isn't miniscule in comparison to other “Marxist” parties, (its among the larger groups in Britain which doesn’t say too much, though). Most “Marxist” groups disillusion and burn-out more people than they recruit. The master-disciple relationship is perpetuated in many “socialist” parties where the theorists of the executive committee “do the thinking” in private meetings and the rest “do the action”. The SPGB answer to how socialists should organise is transparence with all meetings being open to the public as the best education for the class self-organising for themselves.

It is only right and proper that the Socialist Party’s case is …

Personal Memories

When i first joined the SPGB in 1971 Edinbugh branch in fair weather held two outdoor meetings at the Mound on Sundays. 30 years after those, the influence still existed. During a casual chat during tea break a co-worker recalled listening to a socialist at the Mound telling the audience that the dummies in the shop-windows along Princes St were better dressed that most of them - so who were the real dummies? My colleague concluded "I felt slightly insulted because i thought i was a dapper dresser but looking back now, damn it,  if he was right!"


The branch i joined reflected the alternative counter-culture that prevailed at the time, students, "hippies" and bikers probably out-numbered actual members with steady employment. At times the branch appeared polarised betwen the druggies and the drunks. I was a school-boy back then when i first came in contact with the the SPGB. The other political group that first Sunday evening at the Mound was the International Mar…

Talking socialism

Cde Donnelly will open the March 20th Branch talk with the subject The Rise of Chinese Capitalism

Cde Cumming will open theApril 17th Branch talk with the subject The Curse of Capitalism

The proposed Day School programme
Saturday, 11th May

POLITICS TODAY

1pm to 2.15pm The Rise of Scottish Nationalism Vic Vanni
2.15pm to 3.30pm The Occupy Movement John Cumming
3,45pm to 5pm The Threat of War Brian Gardner

The Rid, Rid Rotten Revue show

This legendary show put on by the Glasgow branch of the Socialist Party back in the early/mid 1980s, has now been transferred from tape cassette to digital and can be accessed following the links below. The venue was The Admiral Bar. It was a 'revue' show, described as "An evening of music, songs, sketches and humour, and just a wee bit of social comment." It's all very skilfully joined together by the Master of Ceremonies, Richard Donnelly.

Peter Ross, a contemporary of a young Billy Connolly and worked with him in his pre-comedy days, plays guitar and sings.

The files have been uploaded to a site called 'DropBox', but you don't have to be a member to access them - they are publicly available to anyone with the correct web address:

The MP3 digital file for Side A can be played or downloaded from http://tiny.cc/m0jfrwSide B is at http://tiny.cc/d1jfrw

Alternatively, there's a link for each individual song/sketch etc.

If you click on:
https://www.dropbo…

Past Reflections 3

It’s a pity that there is so little written information about the history of Glasgow branch. However,  when I joined in 1963 there were still two founder members of the branch  and some other members who knew stories about the branch’s early days while the old minute books contained some really fascinating tales, but be warned, what I can tell is mostly hearsay. 

There may have been individual members in Glasgow before the branch was formed because in 1907 the SOCIALIST STANDARD carried details of seven newsagents in the city where the S/S could be obtained.

The founding of the branch was reported in the December 1924 issue of the S/S, but branch details in the S/S vanished in August 1927 so there was no Glasgow branch until the details re-appeared in October 1928. Included among the early members were John Higgins, Tommy Egan, Harry Watson, “Professor” Barclay, W. Falconer and Alex Shaw.

I’ve already written about the contribution made by Alex Shaw but it was probably John Higgins wh…

As others see us 2

The late Paul Foot, the veteran SWPer, and nephew of the ex Labour Party leader, Michael Foot,  in an article in the Socialist Worker called "Why I became a Socialist" recalls hearing a member of the SPGB speaking on an outdoor platform where that member, who had worked in the shipyards, told of his disgust at the celebrations in Clydebank of the local yards getting a contract, because it meant more misery for workers on Tyneside and Belfast. He attended a lot of SPGB meetings when he worked in Glasgow for the Daily Record. He, of course, dismissed the Socialist Party as impossibilists.

An excerpt from a letter (15th January 2003) wrote of his memories of the SPGB in Glasgow in the early sixties, when he was living and working there as a journalist:

    "I went to Glasgow for my first job (a reporter on the Daily Record) in September 1961. I joined the Young Socialists and the Woodside Labour party. A highly influential figure in the Woodside YS at the time was Vic Vanni…

How other see us

How the the Small Party of Glesga' Bookies (as the local branch in Glasgow was known in its early days because, it turns out, a number of its members were bookies, an illegal occupation back then) has been seen by others.

At the Barras market in Glasgow about 25 years ago open air political meetings were not uncommon, and the best were conducted by a fiery brand of working-class revolutionaries called the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Founded about a hundred years ago (and still going, I’m glad to say) and proudly hostile to all other allegedly socialist or communist political parties, they had several fine speakers and in those less apathetic days could always raise a fair crowd of the starvelings whom they hoped to rouse from their slumber. Scorn for their hearers’ meek acceptance of poverty and satire upon the quality of goods and services supplied to the workers were prominent in their arguments, as when the speaker would draw our attention to an evil-looking greasyspoo…

Past Reflections 2

 Another installment in the recollections of members and once again from Glasgow member Victor Vanni.

The party’s heyday began with WW2 and lasted into the early 1950’s. During this period party activities and membership grew and this certainly applied to Glasgow branch. Huge audiences attended indoor and outdoor meetings and from 1945 to 1948 the branch even had a rented shop and eventually enough members to form a second branch in the city until 1961 when the two branches amalgamated.

By the time I joined in 1963 the branch’s activities were really expanding. Several parliamentary and council elections were contested while new, successful outdoor speaking stances were established, but the big day of the week was Sunday when two outdoor meetings were held in both Glasgow and at The Mound in Edinburgh. If Donnelly was the speaker in Glasgow then Shaw spoke in Edinburgh with the order reversed the following week.


These meetings at the Mound were my own favourites. The afternoon meeting …

Brief history of Glasgow branch

To say times were hard when Glasgow branch was formed in 1924 would be a serious understatement. The branch consisted of working men, only some of whom had jobs, and money was so scarce that in the early days branch meetings were sometimes held in the open because members couldn’t afford to rent a hall.

If funds were lacking then energy and commitment were not, so members threw themselves into making the party known in the city. John Higgins, the first branch secretary, was particularly effective at this and his meetings Glasgow Green gave many Glaswegians their first introduction to the party’s case.

To branch members knowledge meant everything and they were determined to have as much of it as they could, so classes on Marxist theory, logic, etc, were an essential feature, but the main activity was always indoor and, especially, outdoor meetings. Glasgow branch always had a reputation for having first-class speakers and even our opponents, whatever else they thought of us, conceded th…

Mayday Rallies

SPGB members and sympathisers will be out and about at the Mayday rallies in Edinburgh and Glasgow this coming weekend, distributing Socialist Standards and leaflets .

Details of Saturday's Edinburgh Mayday Rally here

Details of Sunday's Glasgow Mayday Rally here
Mayday belongs to the workers – we have a world to win, and we can win it.

election address

What’s the alternative to the profit system?

That's the issue in this election, says THE SOCIALIST PARTY candidate in Lambeth and Southwark Danny Lambert.

On 1 May, you will have your occasional ration of democracy with the opportunity to vote for the Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly.

It's all very well having a vote but are you normally given any real choice? Let's face it, if it wasn't mentioned on the front of the election leaflet, could you tell which party was which?

It's tempting – in the absence of any real alternative – to get drawn into the phoney war that is political debate today. Whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Greens or the others, they all spout empty promises. And it all amounts to the same thing – vote, vote for us and we’ll do this, this or this for you. As if they could.

None of them offer any alternative to the present way of running society. That’s why they always fail to deliver. The profit system requires them to put profits before pe…

SPGB at Stop The War

Listen to the Party

Socialist Courier wishes to draw readers attention to the availability on the internet of a talk given by Stephen Coleman of the place of the SPGB in the history of the labour movement that can be got as a download by going to link :

http://invereskstreet.blogspot.com/2007/12/reasons-to-be-impossibilist-historical.html

Edinburgh Mayday 2007

Glasgow and Edinburgh members attend the traditional Mayday Saturday rally in Edinburgh .

Edinburgh and Glasgow May Day Rallies

The 2007 Edinburgh May Day march and rally will be on Saturday May 5th . Assemble East Market Street 11.30 am . Rally in Princes Street Gardens (West End) 1 pm .

On Sunday May 6th , in Glasgow , the traditional May Day Rally will take place . Participants should assemble in George Square at 11am. The rally will leave for the City Halls and Old Fruitmarket at 11.30am for speeches at 1.15pm .

The Socialist Party will be in attendance at both events , busily handing out leaflets and distributing free copies of the May issue Socialist Standard and we will also have a literature stall , stocked with books and pamphlets .

Seek us out . We are always happy to discuss the Party's case for Socialism .