The William Morris Society and
the TUC Day of Action
Members of the Society joined the TUC March for the Alternative on Saturday, taking our banner of the Socialist League, Hammersmith Branch, reconstituted for one day only. We were proud to be part of one of the biggest protest marches in recent times, carrying our banner from Waterloo Bridge to Hyde Park, where Morris had addressed rallies on many occasions. Our fellow marchers from trades unions, local authorities and public services were committed, passionate and very good-natured.
We saw none of the later activity. It is interesting to note that Morris condemned anarchist violence. In an interview in Justice in 1894 he stated that, 'The acts themselves are criminal, criminal because inexpedient and stupid, and criminal in as much as they are attacks on people who are personally innocent, and are as destructive and harmful out of all proportion to any possible good they might produce'.
The next meeting of the Society Committee was due to take place on Saturday 26 March, but at its meeting on 28 January the Committee agreed to bring the meeting forward to the evening of Friday 25 March. We took this unusual step so that members of the Committee and others in the Society could take part in the TUC’s day of action, planned as a march to Westminster on 26 March.
We feel it is important for the Society to participate in the march for three reasons:
- The Government’s planned cuts are already having a serious effect on local government and its capacity to offer financial support to organisations such as ours. At present we receive an annual grant from Hammersmith and Fulham towards the costs of our Curator and from time to time seek funding from other public bodies whose income is threatened by Government policies.
- Cuts in the education, arts and heritage sectors will clearly have an effect on our ability to achieve our charitable objectives to make Morris’s life, works and views known as widely as possible. In particular, the proposal to withdraw all funding for university teaching in the humanities will seriously impede the progress of scholarly and interpretive work on Morris and his associates.
- Morris was deeply committed to the rights of free speech and free assembly, enabling individuals and groups to make known, through argument, advertisement and peaceful demonstration, its views on public policy.
The William Morris Society will join the march carrying the facsimile banner of the Hammersmith Socialist Society as a fitting reminder of Morris’s own political allegiance and the Society’s determination to act in accordance with his beliefs.
If you wish to join the march please meet at the café of the Royal Festival Hall at 10.30 am.