Showing posts with label paul foot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paul foot. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

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, a big, very good-looking and persuausive bloke, a sheet metal worker, whose father had come to Glasgow from Italy, and ran a fish and chip shop. I became friendly with Vic and liked his sense of humour. He was greatly influenced by the SPGB, and many times I went with him and others to hear the SPGB lecturers in St Andrews Hall (I think). We also heard SPGB speakers like Dick Donnelly speak at open air meetings off Sauchiehall St. Before I left Glasgow in 1964, Vic joined the SPGB and I think he is still a member, probably a very senior one. . .These SPGB speakers had a wonderful, proletarian, down-to-earth way of conveying Marxist ideas. They were all, without exception, sardonic and witty speakers, and they made a profound impression on me. In particular, they scornfully rejected the idea - prevalent at the time, that Russia etc were Socialist countries . . ." 

 However Paul Foot was not totally convinced by the Party's case "I was, however, always irritated by their passivity, brought on by the ludicrous notion that the workers had to be educated to socialism, and do not have to fight for it"

And since we have mentioned Michael Foot it is worth recalling his memories of the SPGB too:
 “Of all the sights and sounds which attracted me on my first arrival to live in London in the mid-thirties, one combined operation left a lingering, individual spell. I naturally went to Hyde Park to hear the orators, the best of the many free entertainments on offer in the capital. I heard the purest milk of the world flowing, then as now, from the platform of the Socialist Party of Great Britain." Michael Foot, Debts of Honour.

 

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