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Andrew Price

Nye Bevan’s Sister Opposes Witch Hunt

(January 1977)

From Militant, No. 343, 18 January 1977, p. 10.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On Saturday February 5th over 200 people crowded into the Miners Welfare Hall in Pontillan Fraith for a meeting called by Bedwellty Labour Party to celebrate Tribune’s 40th Anniversary.

The first speaker Richard Clements (Editor of Tribune) spoke vaguely about the need for ‘a socialist press’ without really spelling out how this was to be achieved or what policies such a press should advance.

Arianwen Norris (Aneurin Bevan’s sister) spoke of the campaign to obtain regular sales of Tribune in Tredegar in 1937. Describing the impoverished social conditions of working class people at the time, she explained how the newspaper was well received.

Arianwen recently gave support to a resolution passed unanimously by Ebbw Vale CLP opposing the witch hunt against Militant supporters. To her credit she has not abandoned the socialist traditions of the early pioneers of Tribune.

Fred Evans MP for Caerphilly drew strong applause from the audience when he attacked ‘the conspiracy of the right wing of the party, and the Tory press to deny that Marxism is a legitimate part of the traditions of the Labour Party.’

The final speaker Ian Mikardo began by describing the swelling opposition to the right wing policies of the Labour government from the movement.

He said that every month the NEC receives around 100 resolutions critical of government policy, some sharply so. Unfortunately Comrade Mikardo spent most of his speech explaining that however bad this government was, it was better than any Tory government. It is extremely doubtful whether one single member of the audience needed this explanation.

Although references were made by various speakers to “the alternative strategy” of Tribune not once was an attempt made to justify or explain this programme. Despite the good intentions of the organisers, such meetings can in the final analysis only serve to frustrate the attempts of the movement to formulate alternative policies to the present disastrous policies of the government. In particular the absence of questions and discussion from the floor was a poor example to the movement.

Because of Callaghan’s links with South Wales, the Militant supporters in the area, particularly within his own constituency have been singled out for attack by the press. This seems to have rebounded as 120 people from the meeting signed a petition condemning the witch hunt, and those party members who use the Tory press to attack other party members. Over 60 copies of Militant were sold.

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