The Morning Star
Eighty years ago last night the first edition of the Daily Worker, now known as the Morning Star was produced. Originally an organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain, its leader Harry Pollitt said “The paper is born and must never be allowed to die.” In 1945 though, in recognition of the changing political landscape in Britain and the need to fund the post war expansion of the paper, the Party decided to hand it over to the entire labour movement through the creation of the Peoples Press Printing Society.
This Co-operative made up and controlled by readers and supporters has ensured that the miracle of Fleet Street (as George Lansbury famously called it ) survives today. The movement has sustained the paper now for eighty years – a unique and historic achievement in the English speaking world.
The paper is rooted in the British labour movement and throughout its history has always stood for the interests of the working class, promoting and supporting campaigns to forge the greatest possible unity around an alternative economic and political strategy. Its roots are deep and firm as it has withstood many challenges over the years – staff being jailed, a ban on distribution by the wholesalers, war time bans, constant rabid anti communism and the monopolisation of the press . Receiving no government or corporate advertising the Morning Star will never be awash with money like capitalist media mouthpieces but it ensures the paper stays in close touch with those fighting for peace, equal rights, social justice, sustainable development and socialism.
The Labour movement faces sharp challenges in the next decade and there will be no better source for information and inspiration than the Morning Star. In the last paper of 2009 UNISON’s Million Voices campaign was prominent on page two of a 32 page edition packed with union branch congratulations. However we need to do more than advertise nationally.
We need more branch adverts, we need to nationally advertise jobs in it, but most of all we need to buy it – for the branch, as individuals for our homes.
Harry Pollitt at a meeting of supporters in Shoreditch in 1945 praised those who “..desire to see an independent daily newspaper that can in every respect, equal anything that capitalist combines can produce from a technical point of view, and on the other hand give the political lead which will succeed in strengthening every phase of working class activity in the very critical phase in which we are moving”
As true then as now and why it is even more urgent today to ensure the Morning Star is still with us in another eighty years time. Long live the Morning Star.