Brian Pearce

Constant Reader:

Right Wing Is Not Satisfied

(May 1959)

From The Newsletter, 23 May 1959.
Transcribed by Christian Hogsbjerg.

Finchley Advisory Committee of the London Typographical Society has put down a resolution for the next meeting of Finchley Labour Party’s general management committee.

Why, of course, you are thinking, they want to rally support from the local Labour movement in connexion with their forthcoming dispute.

No, that’s where you are wrong. They are not that sort of people at all. The resolution refers to my recent expulsion from this Labour Party – by 13 votes to 11, and under the direct threat of disaffiliation voiced by the chairman – and calls on the committee to declare that my ‘activities in association with the Socialist Labour League were not in the best interests of unity in the Labour movement’: a copy of this resolution to be sent to the Labour Party’s national executive committee.

In other words these people want to obtain a declaration of support for the attitude taken by Transport House, not merely a formal compliance with its ultimatum.

From my experience of talking to Labour Party members locally – and selling them The Newsletter – since my expulsion, I forecast that the Right-wing busy-bodies are going to regret that they did not let well alone and sleeping dogs lie!

A hypocritical Brahmin

In R.P. Dutt’s self-righteous criticism of Pelling’s history of the British Communist Party, in the May Labour Monthly, he makes reference, I notice, to ‘the Tory government’s prosecution of the twelve communist leaders in 1925’.

It is hardly appropriate for Dutt to mention that incident in an article in which he is accusing somebody of misrepresenting history.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the Communist Party’s foundation, in 1950, its King Street headquarters issued a souvenir booklet which included a photograph captioned thus:

‘Some of the Communist leaders who were put on trial in 1925, standing outside the Old Bailey. Amongst them can be seen T. A. Jackson (extreme left), Harry Pollitt, Bill Rust and J.R. Campbell in the centre, followed by Arthur McManus, Wal Hannington, Tom Bell and William Gallacher.’

Now, T.A. Jackson was not one of those put on trial. On the other hand, clearly visible in the photograph are J.T. Murphy and Tom Wintringham, who were among the twelve.

The only possible reason for not naming them in the caption is that later on they were both expelled from the party – Murphy in 1932 for advocating a campaign for east-west trade, and Wintringham in 1937 for ‘maintaining personal relations’ with the daughter of an alleged Trotskyist.

As far as I know, the British Communist Party has never gone so far as its opposite number in France, which ‘adjusted’ photographs of the leaders in party publications following André Marty’s expulsion in 1952 so as to eliminate him altogether.

Even so, it is not for these political shysters to pose as protectors of historical truth.

Last updated on 12.10.2011