Communist Party of Great Britain
Published: September 1955
Transcription\HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: Chris Clayton
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
Our title is taken from Tom Mann, one of the finest sons of the British working class, and a founder of our Party.
Tom Mann used the title in 1910 to describe his fighting scheme for trade unionism. The whole experience of his turbulent inspiring life eventually led him and others to create the political weapon of the working class—the Communist Party.
He ended his pamphlet of this title with the words: “What could be more, glorious than the campaign we are now entering upon? By this method of organisation and education we put life and health and sympathy and hope into the most sordid of human lives.”
They were meant for the Communist Party.
There is no higher honour than membership of the Communist Party.
The noble aim of our Party is to establish Socialism and abolish the right of one man to rob another of the fruits of his labour. This is what makes our Party different from all others.
Nowhere in the world has Socialism been established except where the working class has been led by the Communist Party. The winning of working-class power and the advance to Socialism is impossible under the old Social Democratic Parties.
Only where the policy of the Communist Party has led to the people taking the affairs of their country into their own hands is the future assured. There the bankers, landlords and profiteers no longer exist. Social ownership prevails. As a result, freed from all capitalist restrictions, there is rapid and continuous economic development. Economic slump is impossible. Living standards steadily forge ahead. Science and culture advance. New opportunities open out for all men and women, and especially for young people. Such a social system alone is the guarantee that atomic science and automation can really flourish, serving the people, not the profiteer. It is no accident that it is precisely the Socialist countries which make the fight for peace their main and enduring aim on the international field. For Socialism means peace and needs peace.
This is the Party you belong to. We should be proud of the men and women who formed it thirty-five years ago. They recognised that to establish Socialism in Britain the working class needed a Marxist party. The Labour Party was not such a party.
Over these years we have seen the rôle of the Communist Party in action, waging the struggle against capitalism and war. It has given leadership to the British working class on all the great issues, boldly fulfilling its leading rôle in all the great struggles. It has given ever-increasing sections of the working class a socialist consciousness and shown the way forward to political power through our programme, The British Road to Socialism.
Our Party, therefore, was formed to provide the vanguard, the most class-conscious section of the working class, with an organisation which could enable them to lead the struggles of the British workers against capitalism. Ours is a Party of a new type, with its most important organisation based on the factories.
As at present constituted and led, the Labour Party is above all an electoral party, organised to fight elections, not to conduct the class struggle. It does not carry out or give the lead for the all-round and continuous struggle against capitalism.
The organisation and outlook of the Labour Party, built up over the years, is to confine the political activity of the working class to the electoral field, to electing Labour M.P.s to form a traditional Parliamentary Government or “Opposition”. Dominated by the right wing, a Labour Government fears the mass activity of the working class, and whether in office or in “Opposition” the right wing Labour leadership carries out a policy which is in reality toleration of Toryism and capitalism, “bi-partisanship”, a thinly concealed collaboration.
The Labour Party, as at present constituted and led, conducts no propaganda or fight for Socialism. It preaches and practises class collaboration, rejects fundamental social change, accepts the capitalist state machine, which it has used and will use against the workers at home and in the colonies. In other words, it accepts capitalism and has no important disagreements with the Tories.
These fundamental differences in outlook and function come from the fact that the Communist Party is based on the theories and principles of Scientific Socialism—Marxism—which are drawn from the whole experience of the working-class struggles; while the theories and principles of so-called “democratic socialism” reflect the outlook of capitalism and amount to acceptance of capitalism and imperialism.
Our Party is a democratic party based on the principles of democratic centralism. All our leading committees are elected. They report at regular intervals to the Party organisations which elected them. We have the greatest possible freedom of discussion before policy is decided. Once the collective decision is made it is accepted by all; the decision of the majority is binding on the minority. In a like manner the decisions of higher Party organisations are binding on the lower. Our discipline is self-discipline arising out of political conviction and collective leadership.
Ceaselessly building the Party must be the major concern of all of us, for only by extending the Party membership and perfecting its organisation can the working class win political power and achieve Socialism. The task of the Party is not only to rally the workers for action around the immediate issues but to convince the working class and our own members of the need to build the Party out of these struggles. Workers develop politically when they take action to win their demands. Our job is to develop them further to see the need for the organised party of the working class—the Communist Party.
The success of all the campaigning and work of every Party branch, local or factory, must be measured by how the Party membership is built up out of it. Any election campaign, any struggle on a social issue or a factory question that does not result in winning new members to the Party is an opportunity lost.
So in the course of every action, in all our work, branch committees should be discussing who among the people taking part in the action, in the election, in the campaign, can be won for the Party.
Branch committees need constantly to discuss with all members, through dues collectors, at branch meetings, etc., what part they can play in building the party. Do they know anyone they can approach, do they want the help of leading comrades to get their friends and people with whom they mix into the Party?
Branch committees should be constantly checking on all friends and supporters of the Party, Daily Worker readers and people who read our literature, militant trade unionists, Co-operators and Labour people, and seeing that they are invited to join.
Socialism can be won only through a mass Communist Party, The need is to make our Party a mass organisation.
We thank all comrades who are leading and organising the Party. It is your invaluable work which will enable the British working class to reach Socialism.
We hope that this booklet will help you in your work.
THE Party rules lay down that the basic unit of the Party is the Party branch, which is organised on the authority of the District Committee in factories or other places of work, or in the localities.
“A Factory Branch”, Rule 17(c) states, “shall comprise all Party members employed in a particular factory, pit or other place of work.” The factory workers are the key workers. The factory branch is the most important unit of Communist organisation.
Our Party, correctly, is paying ever-increasing attention to the electoral struggle. Our development as a party demands that we win parliamentary and local government representation. But the parliamentary struggle is only one aspect of the working-class struggle—it will help forward the working class only in so far as it is based on the wide mass struggle outside Parliament.
To develop the mass struggle the key place is the factory and the trade unions. For the development of our Party organisation, the key field is the factory. That is why our greatest organisational effort takes place there.
Factory branches organise the vanguard of the working class at the point of production—the factory. The factory is the best centre for the mobilisation of the working class; the best centre for achieving unity of the working class, skilled and unskilled, male and female, young and old. Often a large factory can be a centre for rallying the people in a whole area.
The factory branch is responsible for carrying to the workers in the factory the Party’s policy on all current questions and also the long-term programme of the Party, to ensure that there is no separation of our immediate and final aims. It conducts public meetings, above all at the factory gates. It carries out campaigns in the factory in defence of the workers’ conditions, peace, and on social issues, etc.
A very important job for a factory branch when it reaches the necessary stage of ability and experience is to work out a policy for the factory, based on the Party’s policy for the industry covering the factory. Such a policy is the best way of relating the immediate demands of the workers and the general national policy of the Party. When a branch succeeds in doing this it presents the Party to the workers in the best possible way. It organises the sale of Party and progressive literature and, above all, of the Daily Worker. It is responsible for the political education of its members and sympathisers; it therefore organises regular classes and discussion groups. It has the constant responsibility of recruiting new members to the Party and of helping their political development.
At a time when more and more women, many of them married, are entering industry, it is necessary to stress the point that the all-round political leadership of the factory branch must include leadership of the women workers.
In many factories they are a large proportion of the labour force. Their wages are lower than men’s, their conditions of work often worse, and trade union organisation very poor. Yet, given leadership their militancy is unchallenged.
The factory branch should give constant thought to the problems of the women, finding ways of presenting our policy to them to win their support, and encouraging them to join the Party.
Factories, pits and depots differ enormously in size, organisation, degree of trade union organisation, etc. It is impossible to lay down a model form of organisation which will fit every place. The following notes are based on the actual work and organisation of good factory branches. They illustrate the principles of our work in the factories. One thing, however, must be stressed for every factory branch. It cannot work successfully unless it knows the factory—the number of workers employed, women, young workers, how far they are organised, in what unions, etc., times of shifts, what social or sports organisations exist.
The Factory Branch Committee
The first part of Rule 17(f) of the Party Rules states
“A Factory Branch Committee shall have as its first responsibility the organisation of all members in the enterprise to carry out the policy of the Party and recruit their fellow-workers into its ranks, in order to build a factory organisation capable of making a decisive contribution to the Labour movement....”
In two of our best factory branches (each with around forty members) the branch committees elected by the members were composed of seven and ten comrades with the following responsibilities Secretary, Chairman (often combined), Literature Secretary, Daily Worker Organiser (sometimes combined), Treasurer and Dues Organiser, plus comrades who have won leading shop stewards’ positions by democratic election because of their services to their fellow trade unionists.
Agenda are planned ahead by the secretary and chairman. They usually include discussion of the political situation and the main campaigning issue, political or industrial, and what is to be done about it; regular surveys of Party activity (planned in advance, with the discussion opened by the comrade responsible), dues membership and recruitment, education, Daily Worker, finance, etc.
The branch committee members have the responsibility for conveying decisions on campaigns to the members in the various shops, etc., and wherever possible leading the campaign.
Factory branch committees usually meet once per week .
Factory Branch Meetings
These are held at least once a month, at a place and time most convenient to the majority of the members.
It is at the branch meetings that the political discussions take place, and the various aspects and experiences of Party campaigning and development are discussed and considered.
In the two cases referred to, tickets or duplicated invitations for these meetings were got out by one of the branches, while the other had a duplicated programme covering three months’ meetings, a copy of which was given to every member. Sympathetic workers are invited to the meetings.
This is essential for the success of any factory branch and for the development of those joining the Party into mature Communists. Branch meetings play an important educational rôle, but in addition, the Area Committees helped the two branches mentioned to run education classes and to draw the factory comrades into educational activities developed by the District. In one of the branches which recruited quickly a special new members’ class was held over a period of four months.
Contact with the Members
Consistent attention is given to covering every member by dues collectors who work under the branch treasurer, the latter giving regular reports on dues and membership to the branch committee. Owing to the different departments and to other difficulties, this is not easy, the main work of contacting being done by comrades who, for a variety of reasons, are in the best position to do so.
Literature is usually distributed through the dues collector. Every opportunity outside working hours is taken to keep in touch with members. Dues collectors arrange to meet some comrades on a particular day during the lunch break. Many use the canteen and a good job is done there. Where it is very difficult to meet a comrade at work someone is appointed to pay him a regular visit at his home. Comrades are also seen at their trade union branch.
Contact with the Workers
Every factory branch member is in immediate contact with his fellow workers and has the responsibility of influencing his immediate workmates on the Party campaigns. This work is invaluable.
The main and most effective weapon of the Party factory branch, however, is the Daily Worker. Every successful Party factory branch without hesitation declares that its successes can be directly traced to regular Daily Worker sales.
Apart from newsagents’ sales the two branches mentioned above handle themselves respectively 200 and 100 copies a day. These are sold, among others, to key workers in the factory. All the readers are known, and are the most politically clear workers grouped around the Party. They are usually the first workers to go into activity on all issues, and in most cases constitute the closest supporters of the Party.
Morning sales at any factory gate are invaluable. To be consistent this involves sacrifice, often getting up very early to be on the job. A regular factory gate sale is not only important for the readers won, it also shows the Party to the workers. And we should try to persuade every newsagent and standsman near the factory to display the paper. The Daily Worker, therefore, is the daily organised link between the Party branch and the non-Party workers, and it is among Daily Worker readers that the most fruitful field of Party recruitment is to be found.
In no place is the rôle of the Daily Worker as an organiser, agitator and propagandist so obvious and so valuable as in the factory. The Party branch regards its Daily Worker sales as its most consistent and vital activity, and is ceaselessly trying to extend sales in order to ensure new successes. The Daily Worker readers are an organised reserve of politically clear, stable, capable and active supporters, a truly politically enlightened vanguard which is the force that gets things done in the factories.
A similar job is done by the sale of Party literature of all kinds, particularly mass pamphlets. With these, dependent on the issue, the branches try to organise really mass sales in the factories.
A further important means of contact is the production and distribution of duplicated leaflets from time to time on factory campaigns and issues. These are prepared with the help of the Area or District Committee and form an important addition to the national and district printed leaflets in influencing the workers.
Factory Gate Meetings
Regular factory gate meetings have been the aim. These are vital for the public appearance of the Party in the factory. They are organised in conjunction with the District and Area Committees. In these two factories where the Party is well established, the factory branch supplies the chairman and sometimes the speaker for the meeting.
In addition to these regular gate meetings, special meetings are organised on occasion to deal with some urgent event or crisis.
In organising factory gate meetings, therefore, the lesson is: make them regular, weekly if possible, and on the same day of the week. The best day will be found by experience. Avoid clashing with the shop stewards’ meetings, which are often held during the dinner break. Advertising helps—a duplicated slip in the morning handed out at the factory gate, or chalking—both preferably. And, of course, a meeting is doubly successful if our factory comrades bring workers out to it.
Other Public Meetings and Events
Tickets are sold inside the factory for all the big public meetings and events organised by the Party on an area or local sale. This is particularly the case for big District rallies and demonstrations, which are regarded as an important means of strengthening the Party in the factory on the one hand, and in contributing to the effectiveness of the demonstration on the other.
From time to time, special invitation meetings organised by the branch for the factory workers are held, and special attention is given to organising social functions of one kind or another.
Every effort is made to spread the jobs and to get the maximum number of comrades doing leading work of one kind or another.
In one of these branches, for example, seventeen comrades have been involved in this way. They are the branch secretary, literature secretary, the comrades active in the trade union and Labour movement work in the factory, Daily Worker organiser and two main distributors, dues collectors, treasurer, Daily Worker share club organiser, and comrades generally responsible for particular shops or departments.
The Smaller Factory Branches
The majority of our factory branches are still small, however, and it stands to reason that their organisation cannot be on the same scale as that of the bigger branches. But the smaller branches which do work well use the same methods and forms of organisation, even if on a more modest scale.
A branch of fifteen in an important factory has a branch committee of five. It meets weekly and the branch meets monthly. Its main method of contacting the workers is, again, the Daily Worker, and the branch comrades themselves sell fifty-seven daily. All the committee members have recently taken in an extra copy of the paper.
The branch holds a regular gate meeting every Wednesday, weather permitting. In this it is assisted by the District Committee. Regular educational work is carried on, and for a recent meeting organised by the District with a national speaker, fifty tickets were sold. Invitation meetings for recruiting have been held.
In another factory where the branch has few members, a campaign was carried out around the Geneva meeting of the Big Four, which shows that smaller branches can conduct work every bit as effective as that of the bigger branches.
Together with the Labour workers a brief petition was drawn up addressed to the Prime Minister and the local M.P. Eight workers, Party and Labour Party, signed it first. One branch member then took it to his section of nine workers and got seven to sign after many questions and discussion. He then got it taken into two other departments. The petition was also taken to three trade union branches covering workers in the factory.
After the campaign the factory branch committee then considered the experience gained and the questions which came up.
It was clear that the Daily Worker readers, the regular attenders at the trade union branch and those workers who had taken part in political or industrial struggles before could be brought into this type of activity. The first signature gained on the petition was that of a Daily Worker reader.
To the extent that the Party members openly argued for the Party’s peace policy the capitalist press picture of the Communist Party was overcome, the workers seeing the branch members as honest and sincere working-class fighters.
The need to extend the membership was obvious. The branch was five strong. Over the past six months it has doubled. And the main problem emerging from the experience was the need to bring the Labour movement in the factory into the struggle for peace, overcoming all bans and proscriptions impeding united activity.
Contact with the Local Party Branch
The final section of Rule 17(f) on the responsibilities of factory branch committees reads:
“The Factory Branch Committee shall encourage its members to help the work of the Party in the area where they live, shall itself maintain contact with the local branch in whose area the factory is situated, and give support to any electoral campaigns the local branch may organise in the area.”
This is a vital organisational principle in relation to the Party factory branches, and any separation of the factory branch from the rest of the Party must be overcome at all costs.
The importance of this rule in relation to elections, parliamentary and local government, is obvious, especially in view of the increased electoral work now undertaken by the Party. No election campaign can be successful unless it is conducted in the factories as well as in the localities, and here the factory branches have a vital part to play. In the recent General Election many factory and pit branches did excellent work in this respect. But too often factory branches neglect this important responsibility. In addition, in many cases the factory branch members are and can be candidates in these elections.
Ways and means can also be found of involving the workers in the factories in social campaigns run by the local branch, e.g. rents, educational and transport facilities in the district, etc.
Developing Factory Branches
The March Executive Report, Build the Communist Party, made important proposals for building new factory branches.
We have hundreds of factories in which we have three or more members and where, with proper work over a period, new factory branches could be established. The decisions of the Executive on this question were as follows:
“The Executive charges the National Organisation Department and the Districts:—
“To select 100 factories out of those where we have three or more members, with the aim of forming new branches there within six months at the latest;
“To consult with the leaders of the best factory branches on how their experiences and methods of work can be made general in all factory branches;
“To charge the Party leadership to give special attention and assistance to the factory leaderships.”
Many Districts have started on this work and a number of new factory branches have been established. But it is clear that this decision will be carried out only if the local branches are active on this work.
The Party Rules dealing with this matter [see 17(g)] say that a local branch committee shall encourage and assist the factory workers in the branch to carry out political activity in their place of work.
Local branch committees have the responsibility of helping the work of the factory branches in their area and developing new factory branches. This means regular work at the factory gates, with Daily Worker and pamphlet sales, leaflet distribution and, where possible, factory gate meetings and poster parades, etc. This is very necessary where the factory branch is weak. But all this can only be done in an organised way if there is regular contact between the factory branch committee or leading members and their comrades in the local branch.
How to build up a Factory Branch
In hundreds of different factories throughout the country we have two, three, or more individual comrades, but as yet no branches. Our position as a Party would be enormously strengthened if branches could be set up in these establishments. How to start is the big point. The best way is for these. factory comrades, as a beginning, to gain Daily Worker readers, and where possible see that friendly workers get Party leaflets and literature. Efforts should be made to get workers interested in this way to come to other Party meetings and socials, etc.
From the start such comrades should discuss with the local branch committee what is to be done, and the committee should then help in the ways described above.
Such work, planned with the aid of the local branch committee, carried through systematically over a period, can lay the basis for recruitment and, eventually, build up a branch. The assistance of experienced comrades in established factory branches should be sought at all stages, and especially in the first few months of the new branch working.
Factory comrades trying to establish branches have the right to demand the fullest assistance from the District or Area Committee, and should not be backward in doing so.
OUR local branch members represent the living contact with the mass of the people, which is essential. for all our work.
Success for the Party depends on the work of its branches, which should give an all-round political leadership in the area, just as the Executive Committee of the Party has to give an all-round political leadership to the British people as a whole. Leadership has to be fought fore and won, step by step. Without strong Party branches there can be no strong Communist Party and no successful advance to Socialism in Britain.
The branch should work in such a way as to become the most important working-class organisation in the area. It is responsible for organising activity to make our policy known to the people so that they can be won to take action in support of it, and at the same time to infuse socialist consciousness into the Labour movement and strive for the widest unity of all sections of it, to strengthen the organisation of the working class and working people, and help them to act in the interests of the people; and above all, to build the branch into a powerful organisation.
The branch is responsible for formulating a policy on local issues in line with our national policy, popularising it and organising the people to take action around it. This enables people to see that the Party is interested in the local issues, so important to the lives of many workers, as well as the national and international issues. Our best local branches conduct consistent propaganda and activity among the people on these local and national issues.
Therefore, for a branch to become a leadership of the people locally requires consistent public activity of a type which enables people to understand our way in terms of their own experience.
The first task of the branch is to know the area. What are the key sections of workers or people in it? What organisations are there in the area—trade unions, Co-operatives, Labour Party, other political parties, Peace Committees, friendship societies, British Legion and other ex-Service organisations, sports and cultural groups, local press, Church, women’s, youth and other organisations? Who are the main political personalities? What special problems affect the workers in the local factories or area? What is the local council doing and who are the main people in it? It is particularly necessary to know which are the key sections of the working people, which exert the most influence on the rest of the people, which are the key industries of an area or the key shops of a factory.
The Local Branch Committee
To work properly a branch requires a branch committee meeting weekly to organise its activity. As the rules put it:
“This Branch Committee shall be responsible for electing officers, calling regular branch meetings, organising the efficient collection of dues and regular political contact with members, initiating and guiding the organised political work and education of its members in accordance with Party policy and branch decisions, directing and controlling all branch activities, and managing the branch funds.” [Rule. 17(e)]
The branch committee, therefore, is a team, its size depending on the size of the branch, collectively responsible for leading all the work of the branch. Because of this it should be made up of the most capable and experienced members of the branch—those with a standing amongst the people, the factory workers and the Labour movement. At the same time every branch committee should have new developing comrades on it. This is essential, as leading comrades often have to leave an area.
Whether the Communist Party works as an effective force in Britain depends largely on our branch committees. They are the decisive link in our whole organisation, the unit of Party leadership closest to the mass of the people.
At its meetings the committee should briefly discuss the main events of the previous week nationally and locally, and decide what action the branch can take in relation to them. How much a branch can do depends of course upon its size, influence and the capabilities of its members. But every branch, no matter how small, can do something about the main issues, as we show below. The committee should keep well informed on local affairs of a political, industrial and social character through the local press, the proceedings of the local council and its publications, such as the Medical Officer of Health report, and other available documents, and highly important, through contact with the local Labour movement. In addition it should keep abreast with national and international affairs through our own press and literature.
Each aspect of the branch work should be discussed by the committee from time to time, with the comrades responsible for leading that work present.
At each meeting the committee should check up on the decisions taken at the previous meeting.
The Branch Secretary
The branch secretary is responsible for calling meetings, preparing agendas and seeing that the decisions of the branch committee are carried out. He or she works closely with the other committee members and other comrades carrying out any leading responsibility for the Party in the Labour movement or among the people.
In our best branches the branch secretary is the key comrade in the branch and the person around whom the collective leadership has been built. In such branches the secretary keeps well informed on events, local and rational, is familiar with Party policy, and knows the leading people in the local Labour movement and the principal civic persons such as the Mayor and leading council officials. As a result, the secretary is seen as the public representative of the Party, speaks at its meetings, on occasions leads the deputations to the various authorities, writes to the press on behalf of the branch etc.
It stands to reason that a considerable number of our branches have not yet reached the stage of experience and development where they can immediately produce a secretary who can work in this way. Apart from anything else, no secretary can work like this unless there is a good branch committee. Many secretaries do a much more modest job keeping the branch going. We want to say right away that the work of such comrades is very valuable and deeply appreciated.
At the same time it is the wish of all of us to make each Party branch into the most effective organisation performing its leading public rôle in the area. It is the responsibility of the District and Area Committees to give the necessary assistance, encouragement and training to every branch secretary to help him to do his job in the best possible manner.
One thing is certain—this can only be done if each branch makes a point of electing its best and most capable comrade as secretary and seeing to it that the branch committee is the best possible collective team that the branch can produce.
Other Branch Officers
Our branches differ so much in size, influence and experience that what is possible in some is obviously impossible in others. When deciding on the size of a branch committee and the election of officers what is desirable must be measured against what is practical.
Before a comrade is given a job there should be some discussion with him so that he knows what the job means. Area and District Committees should be called on to give advice, assistance, and at least the elements of training to committee members.
Experience shows, however, that even a small branch should have these essential officials: chairman, secretary, treasurer and a comrade responsible for propaganda and literature, including the Daily Worker.
As the branch grows in size and activity, with more members available for leading work and bigger committees, separate comrades should be appointed for propaganda, literature, Daily Worker, branch education, women’s work, youth work, the factory work etc. The Party candidates or councillors, being leading spokesmen of the Party, should be members of the branch committee.
The Local Branch Meeting
This important event is worthy of the most thorough preparation, both in regard to the agenda and the steps taken to get a full attendance.
The major amount of time at branch meetings should be devoted to discussion of some political question. If the discussion is opened by a speaker from the District, Area or another branch, then a member of the branch should be detailed in advance to prepare some points for the subsequent discussion which relates the subject of the meeting to the local situation and branch activity.
Since the purpose of the meeting is to advance the political understanding of all who attend so that they can work better in support of our policy, routine business should be confined to the minimum. The chairman should have a time table for the meeting and should see that each item starts and finishes on time.
Almost all our meetings should be open for Party supporters to attend. A notice of the meeting should be got to the members by post or by hand, and in any case dues collectors should be asked to tell members of the details of the meeting. Invitations should be given to all Daily Worker readers and Party supporters. It is worth spending a few shillings to advertise the meeting in the “What’s On” column of the Daily Worker.
How often a branch should meet is something to be determined locally, but meetings should never be less frequent than monthly, and if they can be held more often so much the better.
Developing Branch Work
Only a few examples can be given to show how branches have successfully applied the principles of good Communist branch work outlined in the beginning of this section.
One branch leader recently reporting on a year’s work concluded: “Our branch has grown in stature and in size, and is seen as a political force by local and Labour folk. A strong, growing Communist Party, working correctly, can bring the Labour movement into action to defend the people.”
What had they done in that year in their area?
Activity among tenants which secured the demolition and rehousing of two streets; a six-months’ rent strike which prevented rent increases and won £1,500 of repairs in another. As a result, housing and rent issues have been repeatedly raised in the organisations of the local Labour movement. The branch municipal candidate played a leading part in all the work. During this period the branch also conducted a campaign for peace, publishing a dozen leaflets and putting up three different posters against German rearmament. Repeated meetings and poster parades on German rearmament culminated in a coach of forty people to the National Lobby on January 25 and later a local deputation of fourteen to the M.P. In all this activity the Daily Worker was fully used and sold.
Another branch which has made rapid progress by mass work also combined activity on social issues with work for peace. Its first venture was to organise a social for old-age pensioners. It attracted fifty, and is now an annual event. Along with this, a petition for higher pensions obtained 2,000 signatures. A lot of attention has been devoted to housing cases; 200 have been taken up with the local council in the past twelve months. Over a number of weeks, 1,200 copies of Harry Pollitt’s pamphlet against German rearmament were sold in the area; and during the period of the national petition against the hydrogen bomb 2,000 signatures were collected. The branch contested the elections with two candidates.
These are two stronger branches whose activity illustrates what is needed. But smaller branches can do and have done equally effective work, although naturally on a less ambitious scale.
One branch of fourteen members in a shipbuilding town started its peace activity by contesting the local M.P.’s support of German rearmament in the trade union branch. As a result the support of other trade union branches was rallied. When these branches sent resolutions to the M.P. he repudiated them in a letter to the local press. The whole Labour movement was drawn into the public discussion which followed. Six Labour councillors opposed the M.P. The branch then launched a door-to-door petition and collected 2,500 signatures. The M.P. was later forced to abandon his support of rearmament.
The secretary of another group of four members in a small country town (not yet even a branch!) sent in a report recently to his District office. These few extracts speak for themselves: “Sid and I have been taking out twenty-four Saturday Daily Workers most Saturdays . . . at the same time telling the people that the only way to stop this rent business was to form their own tenants’ association. It is significant that the first estate here to get anything going is the one where we were consistently selling the Worker for years. . . . I have found some hostility, but on the rents issue none; and at the very beginning I had seven people coming to my house to find out what ought to be done.” Working in conjunction with local Labour councillors and members of the trades council, a tenants’ association 1,000 strong was formed. The local press estimated that 900 tenants withheld rents in protest against the proposed increases.
It is significant that such branches have found the means to work in a united way with the local Labour movement. This is characteristic of our best branches, large and small—close contact and friendly association with the local Labour party people, active trade unionists and Co-operators.
Talking over the problems facing a small branch with a comrade with considerable experience of them, this is his advice:
Try to develop a week-end round of the Daily Worker—that’s essential—and if possible, a sale in the main factory.
Have regular branch meetings—don’t be put off with the idea you “all see one another anyway”.
See what you can do about education, demand District help—a good discussion circle can often draw in the Labour people.
Develop the acquaintance of the local Labour folk and active trade unionists; try to get them to buy our literature and the Daily Worker. Make sure that comrades attend their trade union branch and Co-op meetings.
Approach the District or Area for help to organise a public meeting, or join in that of a nearby branch.
And regular social activity is even more necessary for a small branch than a bigger one.
Try working on these lines for the next twelve months.
It is activity such as the above which lays the foundation for our Party’s electoral work, municipal and parliamentary.
To realise the aims outlined in the Party’s programme, The British Road to Socialism, the Communist Party must win representation in Parliament and multiply by many times its present small representation on the local councils.
In 1953 an Electoral Commission was set up to examine our work in this sphere, and it reported to the Executive Committee in September of that year. The report showed that the fight for representation on the local councils was the essential preliminary to representation in Parliament, and outlined the following practical lines of advance:
(1) The improvement of our electoral position requires an advance in the all-round activity of the Party, greater popularisation of our policy on national questions, our long-term programme, and Marxist ideas.
(2) The Party has to advance as a force in the localities on the social questions which are the subject of the work of the local authorities. Leadership of the people by the branches on local questions, and, in the course of it, the emergence of comrades as local figures.
(3) Consistent activity all the year round, and not intensive campaigns for a few weeks before polling day.
(4) Building an election machine which enables us to enter contests with a clear knowledge of the streets and houses where we are most likely to win votes. This requires regular canvassing and the recording of results, with a follow-up of the most likely people by the candidate or some other leading comrade, so that all the time we are striving to bring people closer to the Party and its candidates.
Since 1953 we have been able to record the beginning of an improvement both in the scope and character of our electoral fight. Many branches have, as a result of their experience, appreciated that having the aim of winning representation on the local council has been of tremendous help in extending their public activity among the people. 
Work Amongst Women
One of the most important sections of the people to whose needs the branch has to give constant thought and attention are the women. No great advance is possible for the Party unless the branches are able to win the support of great numbers of women. Nor shall we build a mass Party unless many thousands of women are recruited. The responsibility for this rests on the branch and branch committee, not on the women comrades alone. It means that the branches must play a far greater part in taking up the problems which affect the lives of the women and in helping to solve them, initiating campaigns on such questions as nurseries, play centres, schools, etc. There also needs to be far more propaganda, specially thought out to appeal to women.
The Party branch should be seen by the women in the area as the champion of their interests, and so attract them to support it and join it.
The splendid work being done everywhere by women already in the Party shows what a great reserve force the women are. But as yet we are lagging behind in the serious effort to take our policy widely to them, take up their problems and win their support.
To help in the development of this work the Party encourages branches to set up women’s groups. Many women find it easier at first to attend a women’s meeting at which they more readily take part in discussion. Moreover, there is in Britain a great tradition for women’s organisations, which also provide a place in the active life of the Party for many women who for various reasons are unable to attend branch meetings.
The groups are a place for training Communist women. They should give political education, using a variety of methods for this. They help to get activity by our women under the leadership of the branch committee, using our paper Woman Today in the same way as the branch uses the Daily Worker to establish a wide circle of readers and friends. The groups also help our women to see how they can support the work of other women’s organisations. They should help to develop family and social activity. And never forget that they must be a centre of continuous recruiting, holding regular invitation meetings to which possible new members are specially invited.
The meetings of the groups should be well-planned, regular and attractive, and the whole work closely linked to the work of the branch itself. The groups are not basic units of the Party and therefore have no right to elect delegates to congresses.
The leadership of this work is an important political job and calls for experience and understanding. Therefore branch committees should try to put a leading woman comrade in charge of the work, bringing her on to the branch committee.
The development of the women’s groups does not mean that we aim to separate women from the general work of the branch. On the contrary, the groups should help to develop many more new, capable leading women comrades able to take on general political responsibility.
Nor do we have the idea that every woman must attend a women’s group, and we encourage those who do to begin, wherever possible, to join in the full branch life. But if the serious lag in this field of work is to be made up, and our policy heard and read widely by women, branches have to ask many of our women comrades with experience to take special responsibility for leading the work, and to win all leading women comrades to have a special care for developing the work among women.
Great attention needs to be given by the branch to training women, developing them as speakers and leaders. This is specially important for the development of our electoral work and our propaganda. Women are so close to the problems of the people, and can enrich our propaganda work because of their own experiences and feelings.
One of the real tests of the political leadership of a Party branch is its ability to win the support of the women in the locality, and build the Party among them.
Every Communist Party branch should make a special effort to appeal to the young people in the factory or area which it covers. Unless the Party appeals to young people, wins them for its policy, and for membership in the Young Communist League and the Party, it has no future.
This is not something which can be “farmed out” to the Y.C.L. The Party branch itself should undertake activities directed towards young people. One simple, but very important way of beginning is to ensure a regular sale of Challenge to young people in the factory or locality by Party members. Meetings on subjects especially interesting to young people can be held at the factory gates, outside youth clubs, and at other places where young people gather together. In drawing up its plan of indoor meetings, the branch should try to include one of special interest to the young people. It is especially important to organise activity around the local issues affecting young people, for this is the way in which the Party best shows itself as the champion of their interests. It may be around the need for a playing field, a swimming bath, or youth wages and conditions. There will be no lack of issues, once the branch gets in contact with the young people and finds out more about how they are living and working.
The aim of every Party branch should be to build alongside it a developing Y.C.L. Branch Experience has shown that Y.C.L. branches are set up and begin to develop when one or two Party members are given a special responsibility for this work. It may mean that they have to be relieved of other responsibilities, but there are very few jobs more vital to the future of the Party than this task of influencing the young people and building the Y.C.L. The branch as a whole can be of great assistance to the Y.C.L. in helping to organise lively Y.C.L. branch nights, providing tutors for classes, helping in the organisation of social activities etc.
To the degree that the Party branch appeals to young people and helps the Y.C.L., it will be able in its factory or locality to help end the traditional neglect of the youth by the Labour, trade union and Co-operative movement.
Propaganda for the Line of the Party
Every branch, however small, should be continuously carrying out public propaganda for the line of the Party, the aim of which is to explain the Party policy and win support for it; to suggest some action which will help to carry out that policy; to win recruits and regular readers for the Daily Worker and for Party literature.
At every open or public meeting there should be a carefully prepared appeal for members of the Party. It is essential that when this is made stewards should have application forms available and should walk round the meeting with them. A display of literature, particularly related to the subject of the meeting, is very important, and always some mention should be made of a chosen pamphlet by the speaker or chairman, while stewards have it prominently on sale.
(a) Indoor Meetings
Whatever the form of the meeting, careful preparation is necessary to make it a success. While the scale of this will vary with the size of the meeting, the following points need to be considered by any branch in planning meetings: (i) the political aim of the meeting, its subject etc., (ii) the hall, (iii) speakers and chairman, (iv) publicity arrangements, (v) time-table for the meeting, (vi) stewarding, (vii) recruiting appeal and arrangements, (viii) collection, (ix) literature.
It is no good having a meeting unless you let people know about it. This means a ticket, a leaflet (even if only a duplicated one) and an advertisement in the local press and Daily Worker.
What is spent depends on your means. But what is vital for any meeting is personal approach to all contacts, Daily Worker readers, factory supporters, and people in the Labour movement.
(b) Open-Air Meetings
Open-air meetings should be planned with the same care as meetings in a hall. Not only should the chairman and speaker be arranged, but also comrades to sell literature and the Daily Worker, to take the collection and to have recruiting forms.
Questions and answers are an extremely important part of all meetings, and particularly open-air meetings. Never forget that although the question comes from an individual who may be antagonistic, your answer is addressed to the audience as a whole, and your aim is to bring out the politics of the question as it affects the audience as a whole, not merely to score off the questioner. Every branch should try to build up regular pitches.
(c) Invitation Meetings
An invitation meeting is a meeting of friends or acquaintances interested in the Party’s policy and who are likely to join the Party if they hear more of its aims and its work.
Therefore it is not a question of general publicity, but of work beforehand, of invitations to individuals. Members of the branch or group should draw up a list of workers who regularly take the Daily Worker or other Party publications; those who buy tickets for public Party meetings; and others who have shown their interest in the Party. In the conduct of the meeting, the opening speaker should make a very short statement on the Party, after which questions on the Party’s aims and policy should be invited, so that there can be full explanation prior to the appeal to join the Party.
(d) Film Shows
Although a film show takes a certain amount of organising and careful planning, particularly if it is to be a financial success, it is a very worthwhile form of propaganda, especially if combined with a short speech and a recruiting appeal.
The question of Party literature is so important that a special pamphlet, Literature as a Political Weapon, has been published on this. Every branch committee should have it.
Literature can be sold at meetings, inside the factories, at factory gates, on street canvasses, to Daily Worker readers and sympathisers, to Labour Party members and so on.
The plan for sales depends upon the pamphlet. Some are for mass sale, and need to be speedily public in the greatest number, with the aim of quickly influencing public opinion; some are directed at a particular industry, or to special sections of people.
Every member should be encouraged to think of ways in which to sell even one copy of a pamphlet. We want our own members to read our pamphlets, study them and talk about them, and to sell them.
The local press is one of the most valuable means of putting our point of view—whether to state policy, answer opponents, or follow up favourable letters, etc.—and often it is one of the most neglected. In almost every branch it is possible to find one comrade at least who really enjoys writing to the press and organising other comrades to do so.
Systematic study of Marxism is one of the most important forms of political activity that Communists can undertake. Without it the Party cannot fulfil its responsibility as the vanguard of the working class within the Labour movement. Because of this, planning and organising Party education must be squarely faced.
This is best done when a branch can appoint a comrade specially for this job, working under the direction of the branch committee. It is very useful if this comrade keeps a special folder of cuttings from World News, etc., giving details of educational material issued and what District and National classes and schools are being run.
The branch committee’s job is to organise, with District or Area help, introductory and more advanced classes for its members. These syllabuses and books should form the basis for branch education:
Our Aim is Socialism. An Introductory Course (6d.).
Socialism and the British Labour Movement (2 parts, 6d. each).
The Role of the Communist Party ( ).
The Communist Manifesto (1848). Marx and Engels (6d.).
A Study Guide to the Communist Manifesto (4d.).
The British Road to Socialism (4d.).
The British State. Study Theme (1s.).
The State and Revolution. Lenin (9d.).
“Left Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder. Lenin (6d.).
The Central Education Department will always be glad to suggest material on other subjects which branches may wish to study.
The Daily Worker is our finest weapon for our public work. It is our main campaigning force. To the extent each branch develops its daily and week-end sale among the people, to that extent it will build up an organised body of support which can be rallied in campaigns. Because of this, the paper should be sold regularly to all the leading people in the local Labour movement. Besides selling the paper around national campaigns, branches should try to arrange with the Daily Worker to feature its big local campaigning issues.
To increase the mass influence of the Party and its effective work, an increased sale of the paper is vital. Every branch, no matter its size, should develop a week-end Daily Worker round. This is the first essential.
All branches should regard canvassing for regular daily readers as the most valuable way of consolidating support. Many have built up regular pitches at market places, railway stations and in main streets. Others have arranged guarantor schemes with newsagents. Our first duty to the paper is to read it carefully and thoroughly. An increased knowledge and understanding of the Labour movement and ability to react quickly to events will result.
Used in this way, our, paper will provide talking points for branch discussions; its editorials will advise what forms of actions we can take. Let all factory and local branch committees use the paper in this way, and we will get the results.
No Communist Party can function without money. The Tories get theirs from big businessmen and the landlords. The Labour Party has the affiliation fees paid by the trade unions. The Communist Party gets its money from its members and supporters.
The dues payment is kept low so that low-paid workers and pensioners are not stopped from joining for financial reasons. The dues payments are divided so that all Party organisations get financial support from them.
But the dues payments alone are insufficient to pay all the varied Party activities. So additional means have to be found for raising money.
Each branch is asked to pay a monthly sum by the District or Area Committee according to its membership and money-raising possibilities. This goes to help pay for the work of the Executive, District and Area Committees.
Branches, therefore, have to raise sufficient to pay for their own activities as well as helping other leading Party committees.
Branch committees are advised to prepare a quarterly budget. When the branch has an estimate of the amount of money it needs, it can then decide how to raise it. The principal methods of raising money are:
(a) The branch’s share of dues. More members and 100 per cent dues payment will increase the branch income:
(b) Branch guarantor payments. All members who are in a position to do so are asked to pay a weekly voluntary contribution in addition to dues. This must be voluntary, and no member is under an obligation to make it. For those who can afford it and volunteer the payment, gummed slips are available which can be inserted in their Party card and the dues collector or treasurer receipts the slip when the guarantor pays.
(c) Contributions from supporters. Some branches raise several shillings a week in small amounts from Daily Worker readers and supporters. In areas where there is good Party support, door-to-door collections have been organised, and in many factories and pits there are frequent collections for the Party funds.
(d) Social activities—dances, socials, whist drives, outings, jumble sales, raffles and other activities of this kind—can be a very fruitful source of cash if properly run. Such social activities also help to bring branch members closer together and bring non-Party people into contact with the Party. Many branches have established small social committees to do this work.
Each branch can think of many different ways of raising money. The important thing is to appreciate the need for it in order to carry out the many and varied activities of the Party, and go to the widest possible circle of Party and non-Party workers to raise the money.
Each branch should, of course, appoint a treasurer to lead the fight for money, control the expenditure and keep the books. The treasurer will report regularly to the branch committee.
The Party has printed supplies of account books and guarantor slips, which can be obtained for a small charge from your District Office.
Regular dues collection and the maintaining of close contact with the Party members is one of the most important duties of the branch. It is vital for building and strengthening the Party. The resolution of the Executive Committee on The Building of the Communist Party states:
“Our aim is not only to win members but to eliminate all preventable losses due to lack of contact. The first elementary step in this is efficient dues collection. . . . ”
All members should be very clear why the Executive Committee is so insistent on this and the importance and significance of a clear Party card. Here is what the Executive Committee resolution says:
“Bad dues payment in the Party and excessive fluctuations in membership go hand in hand. The fight for clear cards is part of the battle to establish that pride of Party membership which is the guarantee that our ranks not only remain strong but are rapidly extended.”
Having established this political aspect, the branch committee can approach the organisation of dues collecting.
For most branches this will mean appointing dues collectors, each to be responsible for not more than six members; for giving one comrade the responsibility of working with them (the treasurer often does this) giving them stamps, checking their members’ position by inspecting the dues collectors’ cards, and reporting at regular intervals to the branch committee on the position and problems.
To carry through such work the branch committee must raise sufficient money to buy enough stamps so that dues collectors have an adequate “float”. After that all money brought in for stamps should be kept absolutely separate from general branch funds and used only to buy further stamp supplies. This is vital to the successful organisation of dues collection. The profit on the sales of dues stamps can then be handed over to the treasurer at regular intervals.
While dues are kept as low as possible, it should be noted that if every Party branch in the country had five members not paying their dues, this would mean a loss to the Party as a whole of £3,000 a year! We must avoid laying clown conditions regarding the work of dues collectors. The branch starts with the forces it has available. The dues collector, however inexperienced, however hesitant, providing he patiently and faithfully makes contact with the members for whom he is responsible, does so not as an individual but on behalf of the branch.
Spread the work. Dues collection should not be seen as a burden. We should end the attitude which in effect says: “Let the member come to us.” This will happen not by nagging, but by conviction, and to the extent that the branch finds ways by which the member can fit into the general branch work, according to his special circumstances and capacity.
But we shall never succeed in this if we allow the member to get into arrears with his dues and thus erect a barrier to his continued membership right at the beginning.
To summarise, every branch needs, if it is to organise proper dues collection, the following:
An adequate supply of stamps sufficient to allow all dues collectors to have a substantial float;
Enough dues collectors to cover all the members;
A dues collecting card for each collector in which the dues position of each member is marked;
A branch register containing simply the name and address and dues position of each comrade, obtained by the responsible comrade entering up the information at least monthly from each dues collector’s card.
Thus the treasurer or the comrade responsible for the work of the dues collectors can tell immediately when any dues collector is in difficulties and can take special steps to help him.
Working in this way, we shall not only see the result in a greatly improved membership position and a strengthening of our Party finances, but shall also be well on the way to achieving 100 per cent dues payment.
NOTE.—Dues collectors’ cards and branch registers can be got from the District Office.
l. Admission of Members
The Party Rules concerning the admission of members and related questions should be studied carefully. (Rules 2-9.)
In most cases the essential question is the speed with which the application for membership is handled, the trouble taken to make immediate personal contact, and the care with which the new member is informed of the activities and part he can play in the branch life.
While hundreds of comrades are doing this in a painstaking way, plenty are not. This is why our Party Rules lay down a procedure based on the collective responsibility of the branch committee in admitting new members.
The comrade entrusted with the first discussion with a new member should have a clear aim in mind—what help the new member needs in order to guide him to become a Communist and to encourage him to carry out work for the Party in some form or another.
He himself may not be able to give all this help. But it is arising from his report to the branch committee and the decisions taken which can establish the first strong link with the new member. This can be the beginning of regular contact; if it is, the branch committee will never have the situation where it has so many names on a branch list which are unknown except perhaps to one comrade.
All new members, as soon as the branch committee has accepted their application, should be given the printed “Welcome into the Communist Party”, which will help them to know more about the Party they have joined. Every branch should have supplies of these. There is also a printed syllabus for new recruits’ classes.
2. Applications which must be referred to the District Committee
For former members of the Party (see Rule 6) or to any recruit about whom there may be some query, doubt or suspicion, the application form should be sent to a higher Party committee for decision.
Branch committees are custodians of Party security and care taken at this stage with a frank and friendly explanation that such an application has to be referred back, will only increase respect for a serious and responsible attitude to the admission of members.
3. Applications which the Branch Committee decides to refuse
A branch committee can refuse a card to someone it regards as unsuited for membership. This must be reported to the District Committee with the name, address and reason for refusal.
4. Applications which must be deferred
Applications from members of the armed forces cannot be accepted. A friendly letter or explanation should be given and the applicant asked to apply again when he is demobilised. The rules of the Party require members to pay their dues, accept the policy of the Party and work in a Party organisation. Members of the armed forces are unable to fulfil this last point.
5. The transfer of members from one local branch to another
All our experience of membership questions confirms that in the process of transfer serious losses in Party membership take place. The rule states (Rule 5):
“Members transferring from one Party organisation to another shall have the transfer in the Party card signed by their branch secretary. In all cases the secretary before accepting the member shall obtain confirmation of his status from the member’s previous District Secretary.”
The duty of the branch, therefore, is to sign the transfer slip in the Party card and to fill in a transfer form (supplies of which should be kept in every branch) with information about the new address and to send this in by hand to the District Committee.
Properly used this transfer form can save a great deal of work because it can be accepted as confirmation of the members’ status, thus eliminating the need for further correspondence.
The District Secretary will send this to the appropriate branch if it is still within the District Area. If it is in another District then it will be sent to the Central Organisation Department for passing on to the new District to which the member has gone. Every branch should keep a record of its transfers out during the year.
6. The transfer of a member from a factory branch
A factory branch may sometimes lose a member who has changed his work but remains at his old address. Sometimes the whole of the factory is shut down and the factory organisation is dispersed.
In all cases the transfer form for the comrade leaving the factory should be sent to the District Committee. The District Committee will then inform the local branch in the area where the member lives. The comrade should then become a member of the local branch which will be responsible for collecting his dues until such time as he becomes a member of another factory branch.
7. The lapsing of members
Rule 9 lays down a clear procedure which should be observed. To assist in this a form is available for branches, and one should be filled in for any member who it is proposed to remove from the books for non-payment of dues. It is for the District or Area Committee to satisfy itself that the procedure laid down by our Rules has been carried out before permission to lapse is given.
8. The branch monthly membership report
For a number of years we have been without accurate information of our membership in between the annual registrations. We had no real record showing recruits were being made and held, the branches making no recruits, where lapses had been heavy, and so on. Where information is lacking it is impossible to come to grips with the situation and to decide where assistance and action are needed.
We believe that it is essential to ask every branch for an account, month by month, of the members for whom it is responsible to the Party.
Every branch is therefore required to return to its District Committee a monthly membership report form. These are sent to the branch each month by the Area or District Committee.
A branch which is convinced that every member is important and fights to retain and develop every single comrade will welcome the assistance of this monthly report.
9. National Card Check
As part of all this effort to keep cards clear, we call for a national card check every year. For this the District Committee should satisfy itself that every branch is building up a dues collector organisation and has a dues register; and establish the exact position of the membership in each branch at a given date, the number clear or in advance, and the number in arrears; and should report on this to the Central Organisation Department.
The exchange of Party cards and the annual re-registration of the membership is a very important obligation on the part of every Party member. This is no formal question but a political act, a renewal of faith in the Party and pride in Party membership. In addition the information collected as a result of re-registration is vital for the proper organisation of party work. Our aim is to complete this in December and January of each year.
To carry this through will mean the continuous operation of all the measures described in earlier sections of this booklet—particularly the regular collection of dues and the immediate attention to any member in arrears. The branch which is carrying out this procedure will be able to start its card exchange with already a detailed knowledge of the position.
The registration form should be filled in by the member, and the branch is responsible for carrying out whatever instructions have been issued by the District Committee for the collection of these forms.
We know we are asking a lot from you in organising the Party. But then ours is a great aim to make the working class the masters of their own destiny, to win political power, and establish Socialism.
The Communist Party is the instrument of the working class for achieving this aim. One day, and soon, the working class will be called on to run the country. That will be all the sooner and will be done all the better if we can organise our Party as it must be organised, to carry out the job for which it was founded.
Be proud of your Party membership, proud of the job you are doing in running our Party and extending its ranks. For you are doing something to be proud of, and for the greatest of all causes.
1. Sometimes an issue is urgent and cannot wait for a committee meeting. A typical example was the Bevan expulsion issue. One factory leader had a brief discussion with one or two leading comrades. It was agreed to try to hold discussions with Labour Party members in various sections with the aim of an immediate petition. A petition and resolution were agreed, signatures were collected in the departments, with money for a wire. The matter was then raised by interested shop stewards in the shop stewards’ committee, where appropriate action was agreed. This was on the day shift, and comrades on the night shift were contacted to develop similar action.
2. The Party has published a detailed guide to the conduct of electoral activity: Win the Local Councils (Price 6d.). See also Harry Pollitt’s report on the 1955 General Election, World News, 11/6/55, p. 462, and Reuben Father’s report on the 1955 Local Elections, World News, 23/7/55; p. 590.
3. Advice and assistance in organising film shows can be obtained from Plato Films. Address: 376 Grays Inn Road, London, W.C.1.