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Andrew Price


LPYS – Don’t go back to the stooge days

(November 1982)

From Militant, No. 627, 19 November 1982, p. 12.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Dear comrade,

I was horrified to read reports that the new hard right majority on Labour’s National Executive Committee intends to carry out attacks on the Labour Party Young Socialists.

Presumably Dennis Howell, John Golding and other witch-hunters on the NEC don’t like the present leadership of the LPYS. The fact that this leadership is supported by the overwhelming majority of LPYS members, and that this leadership has succeeded where others have failed in building a mass LPYS are small details to these witch-hunters, as their purge gathers its own momentum.

From 1965 to 1970 the LPYS had a stooge leadership imposed on them by a constitution drawn up by Reg Underhill (yes he was at it in those days as well). This leadership, whose ideas would be applauded by Denis Howell today, was as representative of LPYS opinion as John Golding is of CLP opinion today.

Militant led the fight to democratise the LPYS, and when in 1970 the LPYS was eventually allowed to elect its own National Committee Militant supporters won a majority.

In 1970, I spoke at a national demonstration organised by the LPYS. As I recall around 500 youth were in attendance. A few weeks ago I marched with the LPYS from my own CLP in a demonstration of over 8,000 youth in Liverpool.

On the South Wales train there were over 300 young people. Many of them were new to politics, but by the end of the day all of them had been signed up for the LPYS and the Party. This demonstration was a magnificent tribute to the dedication of those young comrades who lead the LPYS, nationally and locally.

In the mid 1960’s when I joined the LPYS I remember Frank Field being active in the YS. Presumably he remembers a pathetically small organisation, incapable of campaigning on youth issues, a leadership totally repulsive to any self-respecting youth, and a tiny movement policed by Underhill and Bessie Braddock. Is this what this erstwhile ‘left’ MP wants a return to when he calls for the suspension of the LPYS leadership?

Capitalism has sentenced million of our youth to a life sentence on the dole. More than ever before the Party needs a strong youth movement. In the unlikely event of Howell, Golding, Field and company getting their way in their proposed purge of the youth – the ranks of this movement will never forgive this abject betrayal.


Yours Fraternally,
Andrew Price,
National Vice-Chairman of the LPYS (1970–73)

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