Discussion of adult (working-class) education, WEA and NCLC:-
On headed paper: Syndicalist Workers Federation
BRITISH SECTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WORKINGMEN’S ASSOCIATION
ORGAN: “DIRECT ACTION”
NATIONAL COMMITTEE: 25a Amberley Road., London, W.9 COPY
18th October 1953
5, Charteris Rd.,
Thank you very much for of your letter 8th October. We note that you are wishing to attend, and we shall send definite information as soon as the arrangements are decided.
We have discussed the matter raised in your letter: your son Richard is welcome to attend as an observer. It is understood, of course, that the proceedings of the Congress are a matter of confidence.
I should have written before, but you may be interested to know that your earlier letter to Ken, on the subject of a Popular University, promoted a useful discussion among the members of the National Committee and the London Group. We agreed that our movement had not the means to start such a project effectively, in competition with the National Council of Labour Colleges and the WEA, both of which themselves did not have easy going. We decided, however, that our cause would be better served if as many comrades as possible did lecture for the NCLC, chosing [sic], of course, the subjects which were as relevant as possible to our ideas, eg. Workers’ Control. At least one comrade present at that meeting undertook to do this, as he had at times previously. We were all of the opinion that the NCLC was a more useful field of action than the WEA, because the former had some influence among the most strongly organised and militant workers, and he latter was handicapped by the doctrine that education was something apart from the war of the classes, and must be ‘unbiased’. I might add a personal note that I attended a WEA class at Plaistow, near my home, and found that this ‘impartiality’ seemed to imply, in their practice, repudiation of the class struggle. The audience seemed to be less class conscious than the average attender at a Branch Meeting of the Transport & General Workers Union. Do not let my personal fad dissuade you or Richard from carrying on what you are doing, though. I expect the audiences vary in different cases, and in any case, you know best, as you are doing it.
We were interested to hear that you had heard from Alan Smith; only recently he contacted us again, after quite a long gap. Do you know if he is interested in any activity?
I must close now,
With best wishes from us all,
[signed] Peter Green