I visited the People’s History Museum; I was looking for something specific on NOLS, the Labour Student organisation, in the 70’s, which I sort of found. I also found some other things, which interested me and so here are my notes …

The Labour Party’s LPYS have documented their history better than NOLS. There is a gap in both sets of records for the 60s and 70s, although it’s possible neither the LPYS nor labour students existed in the 60s. The records for NOLS in the late 70s the period in which control was contested between the Militant and Clause IV and when I served on its National Committee for a year, are particularly week.

I found a copy of Students and Socialism, with a forward by Mike Gapes, at that time National Student Organiser, dated post 78, which is when Clause IV lost the Broad Left position within NOLS, there were lots of use of the words socialism and perspectives, so much that I thought it was a Militant document when I first found it. It was this conference that later led to the decisions by NOLS to run exclusively Labour student slates for the NUS Executive.

I found a write up of the NOLS candidate’s election as President of IUSY (1979); this was at least a year later than when I attended the IUSY Summer Camp, and by then I had started work and was no longer involved, I only found out years later.

In an NUS bulletin dated in the 80’s there was a picture of a young Daniel Ortega, promoting a motion expressing solidarity with the Sandinista Revolution. I also found a NOLS Poster,

The international priority of the labour youth in the 70’s was Chile Solidarity, although in the 80’s there came to be more emphasis on Nicaragua. The Anti-Apartheid campaign was also important at this time.

I found a bunch of material, mainly in the LP Conference 77 Minutes about the deselection of Reg Prentice by Newham North East CLP. Interestingly today, once again, the Newham Parties are suspended.

The Conference proceedings tell the story that there was significant legal intervention in the management of the CLP which the NEC lost; I googled to see what papers or books might be around. The judge at one point ruled the delegates needed to be given 28 days notice of an AGM, whereas the party had always considered that this needed to be only given to the organisation. The rules have changed although the rule defining on the contact point over party unit which was the secretary has been changed. Meetings require seven days notice of the agenda, update time and place of course.

I noted that the language and artistic tastes have changed; looking at the many leaflets and the old LPYS summer camp flyers. The pictures of the Miners Holiday camp in Skegness reminds me of Prora rather than Centre Parks, but these papers also reminded me of the one LPYS summer camp I attended but by then, they were being held in the Forest of Dean and we stayed in tents, not chalets. Another reminder of how things have changed is my memory of a seventies LPYS delegation complaining about the continental breakfasts in the IUSY Hotel in Stuttgart. At the time I thought this was an act of ignorance about the Europe and the World, I was pretty well travelled even at that age, but we were about to join the Common Market, or had just joined it, which became the EU. Continental travel was still an adventure in those days, mind you, I am surprised they couldn’t find bread and sausages.

I noted that the NOLS Conference 1986 documents were logo’d with the PSOE rose and fist which has been adopted by Clause IV as their badge; the following year it had the faux real rose, which memory suggests to me was brought in by Peter Mandelson, but I am not sure the dates work.

In the 1981-90 folder, I found a document on the EC/EU, which may have been misplaced in terms of dates due to the language and politics, and in that folder I think I found the minority paper on education, unfortunately it’s undated so it’s hard to know.

Dave History, Politics , , ,

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