Staying Red

Why I remain a socialist. By Norman Harding

The Newsletter Archive

The First Two Years of The Newsletter

Because of the interest shown in the documents recording the launch of Keep Left and The Newsletter in 1950 and 1957, Staying Red is proud to announce a digitally archived set of the first 82 issues of The Newsletter covering events from April 1957 to December 1958.

This initiative is not merely a form of reminiscence, but is about exemplary journalism and communist principles.  The Newsletter was launched at a time when thousands of communists were appalled by the events in Hungary after The Hungarian Revolution of October 1956 and were seeking ways to recreate socialist internationalism. The weekly newspaper appeared thanks to a massive commitment, especially by former Daily Worker journalist Peter Fryer who had witnessed the suppression and murder of Hungarian communists in Budapest by Stalinist forces.

The Newsletter unified thousands of CP members, the Left within the Labour Party, socialists generally and, vitally important, workers engaged in huge battles with the Macmillan Tory government. The period from 1956 to 1958 was astonishing in many ways, as this archive reveals.  It finishes where it does simply because all later issues are archived at Glasgow Caledonian University Library. But coincidentally, in Issue 80 the Editorial Board announced a new member, one G. Healy, who within 9 months had driven Peter Fryer and others from the paper to make it increasingly his own vehicle.

That is why making the first two years of The Newsletter available is a vital step for the communist movement, even almost 60 years on: the movement will soon need a means of wide communication and these issues will help establish how it operates in a lively and principled manner. What stands out from these early issues of The Newsletter is a stark contrast with the sectarianism that came to pervade the SLL and then WRP. First and foremost it was a communist paper reaching out to all, while opposing the Stalinist leadership and bureaucracy of the Communist Parties, as did Trotsky and the Left Opposition.

The archive stems from my having had these early issues properly bound in the late 1960s, and a good job too as even between boards the paper and legibility are deteriorating. Each issue is in the form of a PDF created by Steve Drury from digital scans. These are not of the best aesthetic quality, largely because of print deterioration but also because of a need to keep the PDFs small enough for anyone to download. But they should be readable on-screen with few problems. If you wish to print the files make sure that the settings fit the pages to A4 sheets, which will usefully enlarge the small type, and use best quality printing.

So, as they say, read on!

Newsletter Flyer April 1957

vol 1 1957

No.1 10May57  No.2 17May57  No.3 24May57  No.4 31May57
No.5 7June57  No.6 15June57  No.7 22June57  No.8 29June57
No.9 6July57  No.10 13July57  No.11 20July57  No.12 27July57
No.13 3August57  No.14 10August57  No.15 17August57  No.16 24August57  No.17 31August57
No.18 7 September57  No.19 14 September57  No.20 21September57  No.21 28September57
No.22 5October57  No.23 12October57  No.24 19October57  No.25 26October57
No.26 2November57

Special issue: 40 years since the Russian Revolution (4 parts)

No.27 7November57 pt1  No.27 7November57 pt2  No.27 7November57 pt3  No.27 7November57 pt4 
No.28 16November57    No.29 23November57  No.30 30November57
No.31 7December57  No.32 14December57  No.33 21December57

vol 2 1958

No.34 4January58  No.35 11January58  No.36 18January58  No.37 25January58
No.38 1February58  No.39 8February58   No.40 15February58  No.41 22February58
No.42 1March58  No.43 8March58  No.44 15March58  No.45 22March58  No.46 29March58
No.47 5April58  No.48 12April58  No.49 19April58  No.50 26April58
No.51 3May58  No.52 10May58  No.53 17May58  No.54 24Mayl58  No.55 31May58
No.56 7June58  No.57 14June58  Strike Bulletin No.7 14June58  No.58 21June58  No.59 28June58
No.60 5July58  No.61 12July58
No.62 2August58  No.63 9August58  No.64 16August58  No.65 23August58  No.66 30August58
No.67 6September58  No.68 13September58  No.69 20September58  No.70 27September58
Busmen’s Special Sept58  Portworkers’ Special Sept58
 No.71 4October58  No.72 11October58  No.73 18October58  No.74 25October58
No.75 1November58  No.76 8November58  No.77 15November58  No.78 22November58  No.79 29November58
No.80 6December58  No.81 13December58  No.82 20December58

9 thoughts on “The Newsletter Archive

  1. Barry Buitekant on said:

    Well done for doing this. Will the issues also be going on the Marxist Internet Archive?

  2. Graeme Atkinson on said:

    This is brilliant. A vital resource for studying the history of the Trotskyist movement and, hopefully, drawing out lessons relevant to today.

    Just one problem: have the late 1957 and 1958 editions been published yet? I can’t find them on here.

  3. John Plant on said:

    Excellent. Many thanks.

  4. Dr Paul on said:

    Well done, an excellent endeavour.

  5. aris on said:

    from greece hope to continue this work with other issues. even with workers press or socialist outlook if this can be done of course also an archive with theoretical organs like labour review or marxist review would also be good

  6. Well done Norman – a great contribution to the history of Trotskyism – and what a fine example of journalism compared to the tub-thumping days of corporatism, illegal governments etc

  7. I joined the SLL in 1965 and knew nothing of these Newsletters of less than ten years before (ie only what G Healy wanted us to know). There’s lots of material worth thinking about here, and an atmosphere of discussion that was fairly open, how things changed by the time I joined. Many of the names of contributors, let alone the editor, had already become almost unmentionable.

  8. Dr N D Ellis on said:

    Very interesting to read and reflect on. I still vividly recall as a young socialist selling the SLL publication ‘Miner’ in mineworkers’ pubs in South Leeds on the Friday evening of the day Hugh Gaitskell (the local MP) died (18 January 1963). Grown men were weeping in their beer. Never understood why there was so much false consciousness among such traditional working class people.

  9. Keith says really what so many never knew…the SLL was a different organisation/collective before …sadly GH destroyed so many people, (their lives, families, relationships etc) and with the Bandas controlled everything FOR HIS OWN ENDS…

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