[Book] Ted Grant Writings: Volume Two


Appeal is in danger

Paper control used for political victimisation

[Socialist Appeal, Vol. 5 No. 22, November 1943]

The voice of revolutionary socialism is in danger of being suppressed. On a technical plea, the paper controller has suspended the license for both the Socialist Appeal and Workers’ International News. There is an implied threat to revoke our license altogether. These are the facts.

We must sound the alarm to our readers and friends. Never have we been faced with such a grave situation. In this period we need the full assistance and solidarity of every single friend, as we have never needed it before.

For two years, the Tories have been hammering at Herbert Morrison to suppress the Socialist Appeal and the Trotskyists. In Parliament and out of Parliament these representatives of big business have been pleading with Morrison, not only to suppress the Appeal but to suppress our organisation, Workers’ International League, and imprison its leaders. Morrison has refused on the plea that our press and party have not sufficient influence, although he threatened us with suppression about two years ago.

The Tories do not challenge the truth of what we print. On the contrary, it is because the Socialist Appeal alone of all the British working class press is fearless and consistent in its exposures of Tory aims that they demand a black out.

When the Barrow strike was taking place and the campaign was launched against us by Bevin, who accused the Trotskyists of being responsible for the wave of strikes, the Tory press used the situation to renew the campaign to suppress us.

The Daily Mail editorially demanded that police measures be taken against us. Charles Sutton, the Mail’s industrial correspondent stated that Herbert Morrison was reconsidering his belief that we had only a small influence in the country and was changing his mind about leaving us alone. This was probably wishful thinking on the part of Sutton and his editor, but it is an indication of how the most vicious anti-labour press look at the situation.

It is not possible to say exactly what the position is among the government tops; it is [however] possible to state openly that the attack against the Socialist Appeal did not arise from the local office of the Paper Controller but was clearly motivated and directed from the top, the office of Tory Minister of Supplies, Sir Andrew Duncan.

All the indications are, that failing to get Morrison to carry out their foul demands, and following on the violent attacks against the Trotskyists by Bevin – which indicates that the Tories can expect the support of Bevin in any steps they take against the Socialist Appeal – the right wing have become emboldened and have used Duncan’s office for a stab in the back at the Socialist Appeal and thus at the whole working class.

The use of the Paper Controller to strangle the Socialist Appeal is an attempt at political assassination in the dark-out of the public eye. We will not allow it to happen. We will bring their sinister activities into the open. If they insist on suppressing us they will be forced to do it publicly, before the eyes of the whole of the working class – in Parliament.

It is not because paper is short that we are being attacked. Every paper and magazine in the country is getting an increased allocation. Sir Andrew Duncan recently let it be known in Parliament, that not every journal uses its quota. It is clearly therefore for political reasons.

The Socialist Appeal is fast becoming recognised as the leading political and industrial paper of the British working class. Everyone knows this. In every part of the country, the advanced workers pass it from hand to hand because there are too few copies in circulation because there is one copy where there should be ten. This is what the Tories fear. This is why they are taking backstair methods to suppress the Socialist Appeal.

At present we are conducting negotiations with the Paper Controller. We do not know how these negotiations will go. But we can assure our friends that we will fight to the last ditch to keep the Socialist Appeal regularly on the streets. We will refuse to have our voice silenced. This may involve us in costly legal expenses.

Besides moral assistance we need every penny of financial assistance that we can get. Readers, friends, fight for the Appeal; give us the cash to make our voice heard.

Political Bureau, Workers’ International League
Editorial Board, Socialist Appeal
Editorial Board, Workers’ International News