the croydon New Left Club has now been in existence for about four months. It evolved from the spontaneous demands of those people within the Croydon YCND and the Croydon Young Socialists, who wished for some independent socialist body, in which topics of a wider scope could be discussed and acted upon.
The Club both suffers and benefits from the youth of its membership (the average age is about 19). This makes it difficult to achieve much continuity of development, since many of the keenest members, both students and apprentices, are continually disappearing to study for examinations, and this autumn the exodus to the universities will leave a big gap in the ranks. Yet these difficulties are more than compensated by the general enthusiasm, and readiness to take part in activities such as public demonstration and canvassing.
The Club runs by co-operation rather than administration, and although this has meant some lack of efficiency, it seems to bring more people into the circle of active membership. The whole Club, i.e. an active membership of about 50, meets twice monthly for speakers (recently: Local Co-op official, Gordon Redfern, Clancy Sigal), and discussion, and individual members at the moment run three study groups, each group consisting of about 12. The most successful of these has been the Housing Group, which is examining the Problems of the Homeless in Croydon. It has visited the Council Receiving Homes, and is trying to expose some of the very real suffering that still exists in the town. The second group, the Teenager in Croydon, is studying the Albemarle
Relations with the Croydon Labour Party are in general very good; many members play an active part in the Party affairs. But the inevitable Right-wing clamour about “splinter-groups” developed into a harmful exchange of letters that helped only the Tories. The formation of the Club seems to have revitalised the Left in Croydon and to have made a particular contribution to the local CND, drawing attention to the wider aspects of unilateralism.
The Club has recently attracted more older members, and it is hoped that they can give the group the experience and stability it needs, without imposing the patterns of the Old Left. The group is achieving a membership of wider experience and background, and with this it can look forward with confidence to the future.