Thursday, July 17, 2008


If you're looking for the cutest 5-6 year old, then here's a contender. This group is the core membership of the 1940 Sheffield Communist Party branch; I can name names.
No prizes for guessing who the youngest member is.


ejaydee said...

But, but... I don't see any horns on anybody's head.

That's a great picture to have in your possession, in all seriousness. Do you know what happened to the rest of the group?

ToffeeBoy said...

@ goneforeign - don't answer him - it's an FBI trap!!!!


Not Dsd at all, no, no, someone else entirely said...

Of COURSE ! J.Edgar / E.Jay !!

Blimey, that's one helluva cover, and I want the number of the plastic surgeon.

Proudfoot said...

gf that picture is beyond cool. We have some with my family at some sort of bonfire party. We're all wearing white hoods...

goneforeign said...

My father, back row 2nd from left died in the early 60's, my stepmother has her hand on my shoulder, she's still going and is 94, the lady on my right, Lil, is still alive and well in Sheffield and I think she passed 100. There was an oft' repeated story about the day this pic was taken, supposedly after hiking all over Derbyshire someone noticed that my boots were on the wrong feet!
That's how we dressed when we went hiking, which we often did.

ejaydee said...

Goddarn it! My cover's blown

While I'm here, thanks GF, but I meant more in terms of party activity. What happenned in the US is pretty well known, while in France we had a pretty well functioning party until 6 years ago, as in Italy, but I often wondered about the UK.
So, hiking involved wearing your shoes the wrong way in those days?

Proudfoot said...

The Communist Party of Great Britain officially disbanded in 1991.I think it's fair to say the writing was on the wall long before then. Karl Marx envisaged the whole caboodle taking place in industrial Britain and, I think, would have been genuinely surprised to see socialism taking root in the USSR, China, N. Korea etc, and not in Manchester. I could rant for days about this, but consider:

Can you imagine workers in UK coming out in sympathy with students like they did in Paris

King George felt a bit guilty when they shot/bayonetted the entire Russian royal family after he had ample opportunities to get them out safely. Apparently he didn't like the Tzarina (although compared to Diana or Fergie he had nothing to worry about). Even his wife, close relative of the family, forgave him and the whole thing was buried. He needn't have worried about the communist uprising in Britain, had he bailed them out. Never going to happen was it?

Somehow, in the most class-ridden society in Europe the whole idea of international socialism has failed to find favour. We've had over 100 years to fix it but whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.

Communism was/is alive and well in Italy, France & Greece but they don't have such a well-developed & maintained caste system as we British. Class is still the issue.
In the USA and elsewhere one is encouraged to aspire to wealth and health & happiness, but only here would that not be enough. Next you've got to get a title, or be some sort of 'squire', 'dame' or 'lordship'. If you think anyone smart & wealthy would be immune from this pernicious influence then what the hell has Madonna been up to for the past 5 years?

I would be very proud of that photo if I were you, gf. The people in that photo were on the right side, and it's not to their shame that communism failed - it's ours.

By the way I expect most Communist Rambling/Hillwalking Societies insisted on everyone wesaring two left shoes.

CaroleBristol said...

A fantastic photo.

i wonder exactly how disappointed they would all be in the current debacle that is the Labour Party?

I was a member inthe late 70s/80s. We thought we would have a chance of creating a genuinely left of centre party.

We were wrong, the voters wanted a centrist soft capitalist alternative to the Tories.

I really despair of the voters in the UK. Mostly fucking reactionaries under the skin and most obviously in traditional Labour areas.

The ruling class really succeeded in destroying the revolutionary impulse here. It started off during the wars against revolutionary France and with a few hiccups along the way, they ended up creating a supine working class that cannot even see when it is being shat on from above.

Just look at the cult of Windsor.

goneforeign said...

Thank you all for those kind comments;
Well posting this has caused me to reflect on that period quite a bit, I remember it very clearly. My father's house was the meeting place for our weekly meetings, usually Saturday evening, this group plus others would turn up armed with bottles of beer and assorted food. A 'cell' meeting basically comprised a lot of talk about the war, the Soviet Union and communist theory, not in any sort of formal manner, it was mostly small groups sitting, drinking, smoking and chatting; there was often singing and games, in short it was not THE party but A party. There was never any formal structure. I enjoyed it thoroughly, I was one of the group, no one talked down to me, I was free to join in or not.

I recall one evening when I chose to NOT, I sat under the table with a white tablecloth reaching down to the floor, it must have been after Christmas or similar because I had a new toy, a kids hand-cranked film projector and a selection of Mickey Mouse cartoons; I sat there quietly projecting my films onto the tablecloth in my own private cinema as the world order was discussed outside. I've wondered if my later career in film started at that point.

There was a game that we played regularly that's stayed in my memory. Consider a vinyl 78, when you start it by putting the stylus on the edge it finds the lead-in groove and the music begins and the stylus spirals into the center. Our game involved a 78 with about 6 concentric lead-in grooves, the record was a commentary of the Derby horse race, each groove was identical ie, They're off and so and so is in the lead etc. The difference was in the ending, each track had a different horse winning the race so there was potentially a different commentary each time. We'd bet on our favorite horses and my job was to start the race, I bet also and it's said I won quite a bit.

The hiking was always on Sunday afternoons, we'd meet and take a bus to the edge of the city and then walk across the moors, again in small groups with lots of chat, we'd often walk for miles but always heading for a specific pub and when we got there they'd all adjourn inside and I'd have to sit on the steps outside and they'd bring me lemonade and crisps. Kids were not allowed in pubs but I didn't mind, I'd sit there and think about kid stuff.

I've always felt proud to have been involved with that group, they were all very friendly and dedicated to each other and to having a good time plus they were all very active union people and truly dedicated to the betterment of humanity: the grim, humorless stereotypes propagated in the press didn't apply to this group nor probably to any similar.
I know some of you have seen it but there's a piece on my blog that's my memories if that period plus a bit about my father. Thanks for the support.

Proudfoot said...

Hey those multi groove records (is there an official name for them?) were cool. I had one from Mad magazine. It had different versions of 'Zippity Doo Dah'.

Blimpy said...

Multigroove are still about, I have a Shins 7" from last year that has a choice of 2 b-sides to it, either of which can be heard according to where you lay the needle.

You don't get that with an mp3 etc etc etc etc