I went to London yesterday for my fine Trotskyist friend David Renton’s 30th birthday party, in the function room at The Sol Arms pub just off the Euston Road. And it was a happy occasion: the London Socialist Historians’ Group brought their banner, various literature was passed around, and the assembled company follwed the traditional singing of “Happy Birthday” with the similarly-traditional Internationale — in (at least) two languages.
Britain’s finest man of letters Keith Flett, of the Beard Liberation Front, was there too, wearing a Philosophy Football Eric Hobsbawm T-Shirt — which, I thought, was an odd thing to do for a man who is waging a one-person campaign in the correspondence columns of the nation’s magazines drawing attention to the fact that EJH might have had time to write so many excellent books because he didn’t seem to sell many newspapers during his time in the CPGB. Dave, who by contrast both continues to sell a lot of newspapers and to write a lot of books, was distributing copies of his latest, Classical Marxism, which, he tells us, is the first volume of a projected five. If he continues his present work-rate, the other four will, no doubt, be out by Christmas.
It was also excellent to see a comrade from the Voice of the Turtle, Leo Zeilig, for the first time in months. He will soon be in the dock facing preposterous charges of “incitement to violent disorder”, after being the Person with the Megaphone on a recent antiwar demonstration in London, a charge which carries a possible five-year prison sentence. The defence campaign is already organising itself — and the party was a good occasion to collect signatures and donations on behalf of the Trafalgar Square Three (or whatever they will come to be called). More on this soon.