18 months ago we posted on the Edinburgh based Revolutionary Socialist Party of the 1930s / 40s which was at that time one of the components of the Revolutionary Socialist League, British Section of the Fourth International.
Since that time we discovered an article by Mark Shipway which traces the history of the group, from its origins in De Leonism.
We contacted Mark and were delighted to find he had a substantial collection of photocopied issues of the RSP paper Workers Weekly which he has been kind enough to lend us. These photocopies, which were originally made by Willie Tait of the RSP, cover the 1939 – 41 period and are mostly four or six page duplicated bulletins, the masthead painstakingly hand drawn and lettered each week.
This collection of around 50 issues (some possibly incomplete) gives a fascinating insight into the activities of a small group of socialists trying to orient themselves and relate to the titanic events of a world war unfolding around them. They manage to maintain a regular weekly output for much of the period but with a long hiatus from 6th September 1940 to 10th January 1941, whilst later that year the frequency closer approximates fortnightly than weekly. Still a remarkable achievement to bring out such a paper amidst the privations, dislocations and shortages of war.
The first sixteen issues style themselves “Workers Weekly Organising Sheet” but thereafter become “Workers Weekly (new series)” whilst maintaining the previous numbering.
Of particular interest are the May Day 1939 special issue which appears to have been the only one ever to appear as a printed tabloid newspaper, and the special issue for 18th August 1940 RSP Challenges The War Makers which has Frank Maitland’s statement to the tribunal for conscientious objectors.
Workers Weekly no42 dated August 23rd 1940 carries a moving tribute to Leon Trotsky, murdered by a stalinist agent just two days before.