September 1986 TUC Conference: LunchtimeCongratulations to Raven for winning the challenge set in this post. (I'll have to have a think about the prize.) As Soon As This Pub Closes... is a pamphlet that had iconic status amongst lefties and trot-watchers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, getting passed around in samizdat form - usually around pub closing time.
The entrance to the conference hall is nearly deserted. The delegates have retired to adjacent hostelries to sink enough pints to allow them to sleep through the afternoon debate, so most literature sellers have taken a break.
Only two groups remain. One (the Spartacist League) are chanting "General Strike Now", while another (the International Communist Party) try to drown them out with "Build the ICFI" (International Committee of the Fourth International to the uninitiated). Do they hope to convert each other? Or myself, the only other listener? Surely not, but each feels that the first to leave would be chicken. I am glad my daughter is not in sight as she is probably warm and dry – on the other hand she has my coat. Resisting the temptation to raise my own slogan (Smash neo-Kantian revisionism!) I leave both groups to the sardonic screaming of the gulls. The rain drizzles from a lead grey sky as I walk to the station. "So what", you may say, "I never did care for Brighton." However, the two groups, and their rivals who have gone to lunch, form the core of organised British socialism. If a bureaucrat temporarily wakes from his slumber during the afternoon and feels any guilt about applauding the hypocritical rhetoric coming from the platform, he has certainly in his youth been a supporter of one of the socialist groups. This work is to be commended for providing the uninitiated with a guide through the labyrinth.
Its author, John Sullivan, sadly passed away a couple of years ago.
(P.S. I haven't heard the folk song by Alex Glasgow and Henry Livings "As Soon as this Pub Closes, the Revolution Starts", mentioned by the great Keith Flett.)
Completely unrelated (I think): A welcome to A World of Barmcake to the Axis of Bob - will be added to the blogroll when I have a moment (suffering from dodgey computer today).
Links: Gauche, Ten Blokes That Failed to Shake the World, One Trot Party, The Early Days of a Better Nation, John Sullivan's homepage