History

This fantastic Mike Bryson cartoon has proved immensely popular, as it sums up the feeling of many ordinary people that the big business newspaper don't speak for them. One only has to look at the montley crew of billionaire owners to know that their interests - which permiate the media they own - are not the interests of ordinary workers struggling in Austerity Britain.

The Morning Star is the only daily newspaper that represents a socialist viewpoint of the broad left.

british media cartoon morning star

morning star logo

In 1980 the Morning Star/ Daily Worker reached it's 50th year of reporting for the working class.

To celebrate, they produced a large booklet to commemerate the occasion. It is digitised and presented here.

 morning star 50 cover graphic


 

What’s at stake?

The year 1979 saw a great debate within the labour movement about the role of the media, and of the press in particular. One union conference after another discussed press bias against the working class and its organisations. This led to the formation of a Campaign for Press Freedom, linking trade union leaders with churchmen and academics, the publishing of two TUC booklets on the media, and a full-scale debate and resolution at the Blackpool Congress.

50 1 papers selection

The gutter mainstream press verses the one daily voice for working class people.

Years of complacency and neglect of the press and communications within the movement had ended in abrupt shocks caused by two events.

The first was the winter of 1978 – 79 when millions of low-paidworkers rebelled against the fatal pay ‘guidelines’ imposed by the Callaghan government. Their fight for a decent living wage was met by a flood of misrepresentation, lies, insults and abuse from the whole of the press.

One lone voice was heard on their behalf-that of the Morning Star.

As the TUC booklet Cause for Concern put it: ‘Trade unions and trade unionists were subjected to an unending series of attacks and abuse which exceeded the experience and expectations of even the most seasoned media watchers.’
There was more at stake, though, than Fleet Street’s well-known hostility to strikers. It was an attack on the political and social identity of working people, an onslaught on their self-respect, designed to turn worker against worker.
The winter was swiftly followed by the general election, when again the majority of the press pulled out every stop in a campaign to install the Thatcher government in Downing Street.

The Guardian and the Daily Mirror, belatedly pausing in their attacks on the industrial workers, advised them tepidly to vote for the man whose pay policy had caused the cold season’s discontent. Having achieved its propaganda victory the Tory press then discovered that there was a ‘right -wing’ swing among the population, a great shift in ‘public opinion’, reversing the trends of postwar years.

In engineering this shift, the Tories had the support of daily newspapers with a circulation totalling 11 million out of the total 14 million. Again only the small Morning Star was unequivocally ranged on the other side.
In the late 1950 the Liberal Mews Chronicle with over a million circulation was bought up by the Daily Mail and its spirit was soon extinguished. The Daily Mail,most right-wing of newspapers, had digested it. In November 1969 the Daily Herald, which the TUC had sold into Odhams control in 1929, was transformed into the Sun by millionaire Rupert Murdoch. Within a short time this Tory rag was further converted into a campaign sheet for Mrs Thatcher. In 1967, the Sunday Citizen, formerly Reynolds News, was allowed by the leadership of the Co-operative movement to succumb to economic problems, leaving the Sunday newspaper readers totally without a labour movement voice.

And in 1978/79, Trafalgar House, owners of the Daily Express, biggest contributors to Tory Party funds, used their wealth to launch the Daily Star.

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Detail from a poster “The one that’s different” 1979 (not all the same kettle of fish)

In the manipulation of these millions of copies of newspapers lies much of the reason for the ‘shift’ in opinion. Thus the winter and spring of 1978/79 saw a battle in the class war in which the propaganda artillery on one side far outweighed that on the other. Its fire was directed by a group of men small enough to be put into the average mini-bus, but so rich that they controlled 80 per cent of the national morning and Sunday newspapers and half the provincial press.

In 1957, Labour MP Frank Allaun had noted that seven Companies owned nearly all daily and Sunday newspapers. With the press in
such hands, he said, ‘the dice are loaded against the common man’. In November 1979, Tony Benn said: ‘Everybody is waking up to the fact that the mass media in this country, owned by three multinational companies and six rich men, are engaged in conditioning and brain washing the people in order to get them to accept policies which are not in their interests.”
But ours is a free press, say the tycoons. If papers come and go, that is a fact of life like cold weather, the market, or changes in public taste. But this is not so. The News Chronicle and Daily Herald were killed. Even more arbitrary acts have been committed.

The Times was closed down for nearly a year when its management tried to intimidate its print workers and journalists into accepting unacceptable conditions. For a similar reason, Reed International wiped out Reveille magazine. In none of these cases were the readers, public opinion, or even ‘the market’ consulted.

‘I run newspapers to make propaganda’, said Lord Beaverbrook in an outburst of frankness. So do they all-but today the press is not even their chief interest. Their money is in TV, books, engineering, construction, transport, consumer durables, banking, property and oil. This gives them greater power to shape public opinion or ignore it.
In 1978 the Royal Commission on the Press noted: ‘Rather than saying that the press has other business interests it would be truer to say that the press has become the subsidiary of other interests.’
It is not only the national press: Bill Keys, general secretary of the print union SOGAT and chairman of the TUC’S media committee, said: ‘We have around 300 provincial newspapers and 300 magazines. All are opinion formers and yet multinationals control 80 per cent of the press.’

Where opposition to this grip on the press has been mobilised, the public has responded. In the past ten years, 70 alternative local and regional newspapers have been started, some by journalists locked out in industrial disputes. A small but influential and dedicated part of the labour movement has kept the Morning Star going as the sole source of opposition to the Fleet Street monopolists.

But the odds are tremendous. Leaping costs of production, swiftly advancing new technology, the class alliance of capitalist advertisers and media owners, all put immense pressure on the alter native press.
In 1975 the Morning Star summed up the situation in a series of proposals to the Royal Commission on the Press. It called for: no legal mergers; legal control of concentration of ownership; a levy on newsprint to enable small newspapers to be subsidised; an end to discrimination in the allocation of government advertising; a ceiling on the amount of advertising; a National Print Corporation which would enable labour movement and other organisations to produce journals; and the exclusion of the press from radio and TV ownership.

The difficulties for a press not owned by millionaires are enormous. It is one of the scandals of the past 50 years that the official labour movement has shirked its responsibilities. And it is one of the fine things of the past 50 years that the
alternative daily newspaper, the only one which consistently backs the labour movement interests, has kept going. This is in the tradition of the working-class and democratic press,a 2oo-year-old British tradition out of which our paper sprang and
grew, a tradition to which the labour movement must now give fresh life and power.

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50 2 morning star forerunners

papers who did what the Morning Star does today

Space allows only a passing salute to our paper’s predecessors, whose line stretches three times 50 years back beyond our founding date of 1 January 1930. But the Star’s anniversary celebrations would be less than complete without it. Numbered in hundreds, some with quite long but most with short lives, their approaches were as diverse as the trends in Britain’s labour and trade union story which they espoused and developed. Yet they all saw themselves as forms of democratic representation.

We may take our look back over the record in three 50-year leaps beyond the Star’s half-century; to the newspaper scene in 1780, 1830 and 1880.

Two hundred years ago, all Britain was resounding with the great victories just won by John Wilkes. Nearly 20 years earlier, he had delivered a ringing challenge to the Tory oligarchy of the day when he declared in the celebrated North Briton that ‘the liberty of the press is the birthright of a Briton and is justly esteemed the firmest bulwark of the liberties of the country’. That and the 11-year popular upheaval which followed opened a battle for press freedom, progress and democracy that has raged ceaselessly since those years, with the three aims always a joint and indivisible cause.
The Wilkes years ushered in a half century of struggles for the people’s right to have newspapers published in their interest – against the Stamp Act ‘taxes on knowledge’ that sought to restrict newspaper buying to the well-off, against the sedition and blasphemy laws, against packed juries and private prosecuting societies.

Thousands went to jail. Without that sacrifice, not only access to newspapers, but most of our trade union liberties and democratic political rights as we know them today, would not have been won.
Working people bore the brunt of the fight. Nine years after 1780, the French Revolution was spreading the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity explosively throughout England and Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It struck terror in the ruling class of that day. The ‘swinish multitude’, as Edmund Burke, spokesman of the oligarchy, called the working people, eagerly bough weekly news – pamphlets like Hog’s Wash (later Politics for the People) which satirised the Tory government.

Trade unions were illegal. So was combining to form a political party outside Parliament. The people, said Bishop Rochester, had ‘nothing to do with the laws but to obey them.’ But the people bought 200,000 copies of Tom Paine’s Rights of Man in three years. William Cobbett’s Political Register, T. J. Wooler’s Black Dwarf, and a host of other periodicals outsold The Times and other organs of the establishment many times over.

At the end of the half-century, the Radicals – a wide popular front seeking a democratic reform of the ‘rotten borough’ Parliament as the main cure for all the teeming ills of a country reeling under the first savage onset of capitalist industrialisation – commanded a free press power to which the government had no effective counter. Britain had been brought to the brink of the first great confrontation in its history – over parliamentary reform – in which organised mass action played the decisive role.

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Detail from the “Poor Man’s Guardian” heading

At this point we have a direct 5Oth anniversary link with the first journal to take a consistently working-class approach. This was the prestigious Poor Man’s Guardian, edited for five years by Bronterre O’Brien, ‘the schoolmaster of Chartism’. It was in 1830 that its precursor, Papers for the People was begun, to take its second title in the following year. This was the first paper that working people saw as their very own, the paper that won the most decisive of all the battles against the taxes on knowledge, and the paper that won the battle of ideas from which Chartism sprang.

Also in 1830 came the United Trades Co-operative Journal, edited by the Lancashire textile workers’ leader and Socialist pioneer John Doherty, followed rapidly by the Trades Newspaper run by the Metropolitan Trades Committee and the first paper to be conducted directly by trade unions. These and many more journals flourished through the devoted support they won in the national upheaval that took the country to the edge of insurrection before the Great Reform Bill was gained in 1832.

Working people got nothing out of this success however, and Chartism emerged in enormous force only seven years later in an attempt to remedy that failure. Its great democratic newspapers devoted to the demand for manhood suffrage – the Northern Star edited by Julian Harney, then later the first papers to raise the banner of Socialism, like the Red Republican, in which the first English translation of the Communist Manifesto appeared, and the People’s Paper of Ernest Jones – retain to
this day their old charisma for every labour movement activist.

Chartism was defeated, its papers died, and the reign of commerce in the press began, building on the victories for freedom of publication won over the previous century by the people’s struggles and sacrifices.

In the 1860s, working-class and trade union journals fell into line behind the Liberal leaders and for a long time served class collaboration ideas closely.

Not until a century ago, in the ’8os, did these ideas begin to be shaken off. In 1881 we find Engels writing in the
London Standard, organ of the London Trades Council, that the confidence was once again appearing that ‘that there is no power in the world which could for a day resist the British working class organised as a body’. Before the decade ended with the great London dock strike, the labour movement in roughly its modern composition had emerged.

There were now papers speaking for all the trends; journals of trade unionism like the Yorkshire Factory Times, journals working for Labour representation in Parliament, like the Labour Elector and Labour Leader, and the journals of propaganda for Socialism like Justice and Commonweal.

And then came the journals speaking for all the trends, devoted to the ideal of a united labour movement with Socialist aims that the William Morris generation knew as ‘the Cause’: Blatchford’s Clarion with its famous clubs of supporters, George Lansbury’s
Daily Herald born at the height of the strike wave of 1911, followed after World War 1 by our immediate direct predecessors, the
Communist (1920-23), the Workers Weekly (1923-27) and the Sunday Worker (1925-29).
All these are only a few of the hundreds of papers, journals and news-pamphlets that accompanied, sustained and inspired the movement out of which eventually arose the Daily Worker and the Morning Star.

Over our heads, as well as the banners supporting all the most worthwhile progressive people’s struggles of the past 50 years, there also fly the flags of press forebears who for 200 years fought for working people to have their own newspapers.
It was in the People’s Paper over 100 years ago that Ernest Jones defined the need for such a press with forceful, and to this day unsurpassed, eloquence. Such a press, he said, was the fundamental bond of union, the most essential requisite. ‘A movement that has not the mighty organ of the press at its command is but half a movement – it is a disenfranchised cause, dependent on others, pensioned on others, pauper on others for the expression of its opinions’.

It was our paper and no other that, in the field of daily journalism, first fulfilled this aspiration of all the pioneers. It fulfils it still. And it looks forward with confidence now to its second half century – the fifth in the long uphill fight for press democracy in Britain.

 


50 3 daily worker offices

 

Daily Worker offices, Cayton Street, City Road 1941

As 1929, year of crisis and slump, drew to a close, in a freezing warehouse next to the graveyard in East London where John Bunyan lies buried, eight men and one woman worked against all odds to bring into existence a new daily newspaper of the working class.

The ‘splash’ headline of its first issue saluted woollen workers on strike against wage cuts and its inside called on the unemployed to fight for their rights, and urged British working people to back India’s people in their struggle for freedom, and celebrated achievements of the young Soviet Socialist Republic.

It was a package that no other daily paper would offer its readers. The only other daily paper with a working-class message, the Daily Herald, after nearly 20 years of independent existence, had just been surrendered to Odhams Press by the Trades Union Congress. Odhams spent £2 million to make the Daily Herald a success. Press barons said that without such a sum to spend it was impossible to launch a new national daily newspaper. To prove them wrong was but one of the aims of the Daily Worker.

The new paper had a capital of £100. One peer called it a (2fd paper produced in a London slum’.
On the first day, the Daily Herald telephoned the Daily Worker staff to ask: ‘Are you coming out tomorrow?’ The answer was ‘Yes’ and it was to be repeated thousands of times in the following 50 years, as newspapers with more money behind them fell by the wayside: Morning Post, Daily Sketch, Sunday Empire News, News Chronicle. Almost 100 national and local newspapers wilted and died in the economic storms of those five decades

But the Daily Worker and its successor the Morning Star, came through.
They survived the economic storms, the ‘objective’ stress of market forces which led the Financial Times in 1960 to say that it was financially now more or less impossible to start a daily paper from scratch. And it survived, as well, one deliberate attempt after another to put it out of business. It had to overcome:
• Crippling court cases and the imprisonment of staff.
• Harassment and even censorship by the police.
• Bailiffs at the door.
• A 12-year boycott (1930-1942) by wholesalers during which the paper’s readers delivered the paper to newsagents.
• An 18-month ban (1940-41) by a vindictive Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, only called off when the TUC itself was about to condemn it after a grass-roots protest movement involving millions of people.
• The destruction by Hitler’s bombs in 1941 of its offices together with the new presses raised at great cost by readers’ collections.
• A postwar boycott by major advertisers which cut advertisement revenue by go per cent in a few years.
• A refusal in the 1950s by commercial television to allow it to advertise like other daily newspapers.
• A denial of government advertising, only modified slightly in the igyos as a result of massive labour movement protest.

It did more than survive. It achieved three separate modernisations of equipment, developed from four to six pages and launched for a trial period the eight-page weekend paper. And it lived to see great advances made for the causes it make its own.

Born in an era of slump amid the fatal division and betrayal of the labour movement by its right-wing leaders, with the trade union movement weakened and on the defensive, the paper lived to see the great postwar renewal of that movement, trade unions with 13 million members, and fresh battles to renew the ideas of Socialism.

50 3 war time editorial staff

War-time editorial meeting with Allen Hutt, Bill Rust, J R Campbell and Ivor Montague

Born in an era when imperialism ruled the world, it lived to see the struggling independence movements score victories that transformed the map of the world.

Born in an era when rampant fascism was driving its jackboot into the face of Europe’s democracy, it lived to see the defeat of fascism in a colossal world war and the realignment of social forces in every country.

Born in an era when one Socialist country, surround ed by hostile states and beset by hunger and shortages, struggled for survival, it lived to see a great chain of Socialist countries from the Caribbean to Indo-China, changing forever the world’s power balance, making the nature of Socialism the key question for world discussion.

In every one of these changes, it has been an active component, reporting, analysing, organising the battles of working-class people, warning, defending, encouraging.

 

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A selection of Daily Worker Cartoons

Always it has had to swim against the tide of public attitudes manipulated by Fleet Street. Often it has had to swim against the tide of opinion even within the labour movement. Mistakes it has made, but time and again its voice has rung true and its words have been taken up by others.

In 1930, when even Bevan and Strachey were taken in by Mosley’s demagogy, the Daily Worker
denounced him as the ‘British Hitler’. In 1935, it warned that ‘bombs on Madrid mean bombs on London’. Its campaign for a Second Front during World War II rallied millions at a crucial moment.

In postwar years it warned against the fatal American connection – with false loans, anti-Soviet alliances, H-Bombers on British soil – and it warned against the distortions of the arms bill and successive wage-freeze traps.

Equally it warned and fought against restrictions on union freedoms, whether in the Harold Wilson ‘In Place of Strife’ plan, or the Tory Industrial Relations Act of the early 1970s.

Already in the 19505 it launched the idea of the right to work, constantly urging the whole movement forward from defensive economic battles toward the task of transforming society in the working people’s interests.

Fifty years’ fighting existence has taught the paper to take nothing for granted. Those forces it opposes will not yield an inch of ground willingly.

In 1935 the Daily Worker ridiculed the royal wedding with its ‘Princess on the Dole’. In 1978 the Morning Star exposed the royal family’s vast private wealth, sheltered in a private tax haven on British soil. In 1936 it called East Enders out to block the way to Mosley’s stormtroopers. In 1978/9 it urged on a new anti-fascist generation against the new nazi thugs of the National Front.

In 1979/80 as in 1931, it calls to action against government cuts which hit the young and the old, the sick and the jobless. It has survived, it has won its battles, it faces the future because a section of the labour movement sees the need for it, believes in it, is ready to sacrifice for it and to build it. Its future is closely linked with that of the whole labour movement; neither can flourish without the other.

 50 3 daily worker cartoons 2A selection of Daily Worker Cartoons

 


At general elections a small number of daily newspapers call formally for the return of a Labour government. Only one, the Morning Star, consistently represents the interests of the trade union and labour movement; defending workers against employers’ attacks, and ideas of co-operative and public ownership against the incursions of private enterprise, and pointing the way forward to a Socialist society that will fully and freely employ the working people’s efforts and talents. Time and again this has been recognised, sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly.

Seven hundred delegates to the TGWU conference declared the Morning Star to be ‘the only daily paper at present in circulation which fully represents working-class views.’ A council leader of a big London borough, writing critically to the Star, said it was the ‘only daily newspaper representing the working class.’
The opinion of Ray Buckton, the locomen’s leader, about ‘this national newspaper which plays such an important part in the advance of the labour movement’ is mirrored by that of Tory Employment Secretary Jim Prior: ‘It tells me what the opposition is thinking.’

It is read by between a third and a half of the delegates at TUC and Labour Party conferences. They take it as central to the concerns of the whole movement, recognising that its influence goes far beyond its small circulation, and that its mere existence, as the sole daily press opponent of the newspapers of big business, gives it a value difficult to calculate.

Which is why in the 1940s the movement as a whole revolted against the Morrison ban. And why, when both Tory and Labour governments in the 1960s and 1970s denied it advertising, the trade unions and Labour MPS spoke up on its behalf.
And why, over the years, scores of Labour MPS, from left to right, have found space in its columns to express their point of view. Right-wing witch-hunters have so resented this link that they have drawn up lists of Labour Party people who contribute to our paper and tried to vilify their names.
In a caustic reply to such smears, Labour Party general secretary Ron Hayward said that he, too, had had articles published in the Morning Star.
‘In one I spelt out the evils of racism, the other was on the importance of the social contract with the trade unions. If other newspapers were to offer me a similar pulpit to preach such messages, I would use it gladly’.

Speaking from deeply felt experience of the 1978/79 industrial battles, Alan Fisher, general secretary of the public service union NUPE, said in May 1979: ‘The labour movement has no national newspaper speaking on its behalf except the Morning Star.
We must either make the Morning Star a newspaper read by millions, or the movement must establish another such newspaper’.

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Alan Fisher, general secretary NUPE (centre) joins lobbyers at Brighton TUC 1976

What are the chances of ‘another such newspaper’ ? After two year sand an expenditure of £200,000, the official Labour Daily Citizen collapsed in 1914. Between 1930 and the 19703 we saw the handing over of the Daily Herald to commercial interests and its final corruption as the Sun.
In 1966 when the renewed, expanded and renamed Morning Star came out, the Sunday Citizen (Reynolds News) welcomed it. The British press, it said, ‘badly needs a committed newspaper which holds strong convictions and does not fear to express them strongly. We wish it success in making a challenging voice heard between Monday and Saturday’.

But within months of saying this, the Sunday Citizen’s own challenging voice was silenced, basically because, at an ‘official’ level, no one cared enough to keep it in existence.

The experience of these 50 years shows three things
How difficult it is to sustain a labour movement newspaper. Secondly that the Morning Star and its supporters have found the recipe for survival. Thirdly that they have not yet mustered the resources to enable it to advance to the sale of hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, that such a fighting daily journal could reach.

The Daily Worker was founded by the Communist Party as an answer to the surrender of the Daily Herald. It had an initial period of sectarian hostility to the Labour Party, but its basic line and direction of effort from then on has been to mobilise left and progressive forces in the spirit of unity.
Without the support of the Communist Party and many left Labour people, the Morning Star would not exist. It is a contribution of the Communist Party to the labour movement.

During the period of right-wing domination of the movement, when voices were heard, even in the weekly newspaper Tribune, calling for the abolition of the trade union block vote at Labour Party conference, the Daily Worker opposed these arguments, saying that what was at stake was not the block vote but union policy and democracy; left Labour and the mass support of the unions should go hand in hand.
Out of this approach has come the alliance which in the 1970s has challenged right-wing domination. During these years nothing would have been easier than for the Daily Worker and the Morning Star to have driven a wedge between militant unionists and left Labour Party members.

But the paper has placed first and foremost the widest and most fundamental interests of the whole movement, including the Communist Party. Despite this party’s crucial part in launching and maintaining our paper this role has not been an exclusive one. In 1947 the paper was put in the hands of a Co-operative so ciety, the People’s Press Printing Society, with its elected management committee and its shareholders’ meeting.
Right from this moment it was agreed – by the founding meeting of the PPPS – that editorially the Daily Worker, and later the Morning Star, would express views in line with Communist Party policy and thinking on the developing current situation, at the same time as it provided a platform for all on the left, and in the labour movement generally, to express and discuss their views.

Today there are nearly 30,000 shareholders – individual Communist and Labour people, trade union branches and political organisations. No other newspaper, of the left or the right, has this democratic structure. No such paper could exist without such a participation of its readers.
This is the recipe that has given this newspaper its 50 years of fighting life. This remains the recipe for a labour movement daily newspaper.

 


 

In the battle of news and ideas, the labour movement’s own paper can command only a quarter of the page space, a tenth of the staff and a fraction of the resources of its capitalist rivals. It is an unequal fight at the best of times and waged often at considerable cost to the Star when issues of principle are involved.

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Producing the Morning Star newspaper in the 1970s

In support of striking journalists, the Morning Star accepted an enormous handicap when it refused to handle copy from Press Association teleprinters. And when, during the long dispute at Times Newspapers, the management tried to buy space in the Star to put its case against its own employees, the paper refused to sell it.

The Times print workers told our paper: ‘We would like to record our appreciation to you for your refusal to accept the malicious advertisement from Times Newspapers Ltd . . . this refusal to publish put a further strain on your financial position.’
Yet, even in the face of such obstacles, the men and women who staff the Morning Star have achieved a level of service to readers which has won recognition time and again.

Exclusive news stories – like our exposure of the private privileged wealth at the Palace, the CRE report on police violence, the government plans to axe the jobs opportunity programme, a secret bosses’ blacklist of building workers – show a high standard of working-class journalism.

But it is above all in the reporting of industrial disputes that the paper shines brightest. The ranging of the press consistently on the side of the employers highlights the contribution it has made. As the news editor of The Times testified during the long and bitter Grunwick dispute ‘Only The Guardian and The Times … fleshed out the dispute and only the Morning Star put the case of the strikers and the pickets.’
Journalists at large could see this for themselves during the provincial paper dispute in 1978, as the then president of the NUJ, Dennis MacShane said: ‘The news stories, features and photographs were all important in keeping members informed about the strike and thus boosting their morale. The clear and principled support in Morning Star leader columns was also most welcome.’

Or as Dan Connor, shop stewards convener at the Ford Body plant in Dagenham, said in thanking the Star for its reporting of their 1978 strike: ‘How else can any group of workers in dispute get their case across ? What other daily paper really gives you the story of an industrial dispute from the workers’ point of view. The Star is all we’ve got and we are grateful for the job it does.’

Backing this reporting of industrial disputes is the analysis of matters of key interest to workers in factory or office. City notes which expose exploitation rather than recommend investments for those with too much money, articles dissecting government plans to run down industry, the Edwardes plan to dismantle British Leyland. No other newspaper has given such searching consideration to the debate over nuclear energy, none has such a record in pursuing the cause of industrial health and safety.

Its contribution to the development of the women’s movement, to women’s rights at work and throughout society, is well-known. It has helped in the drive to win the labour movement for these rights and in combatting sexism both inside and outside the movement.

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Morning Star fights for women and against racism

 

The paper’s reporting of the massive anti-racist demonstrations and its effectiveness in promoting solidarity among workers of all colours has won wide recognition. Peter Hain of the ANL has spoken of the way the Morning Star ‘consistently covered the League’s explosive growth and impact.’

Ken Worpole of the Friends of Blair Peach Committee wrote in December 1979: ‘Morning Star Readers have shown enormous generosity towards the campaign and that of the Southall Defence Fund and we are very grateful indeed.’

In the Star’s open discussion on ‘The Future of Socialism in Britain’, its pages were open to the widest range of labour movement opinion. And in its reporting and analysis of the immense variety of developments and achievements in the Socialist countries the Morning Star has shown the same comradely critical spirit, support and solidarity, that it has contributed to the labour movement and its debates at home.

Scientific and technological development, literature, music, theatre, the arts – all these have their share of our space. In some fields, books for example, the proportion of space given exceeds that allowed by any other newspaper. The constant influx of new young talent to the staff has enabled it to tune in to the pop, jazz and folk scenes while bringing to these areas its own distinctive approach.

Twice winner of the Newspaper Award, the paper in no way intends to stand still typographically, and its team of make-up men and women during the 5Oth year will continue to develop layout and presentation to give the paper a constantly modern appearance A special kind of money

A newspaper which is different from others, which swims against the media stream, which has no contact with millionaires, but devotesitself to fighting their grip on Britain, must keep itself going in a different way, too.

The bulk of the Morning Star revenue – over 80 per cent – comes from sales. While the ‘popular’ papers get nearly 40 per cent of their finance from advertising, the Star gets only 6 per cent from this source.

The gap between costs and sales revenue, in the teeth of mounting inflation, is met by the efforts of the Star’s readers, including a grass-roots contribution down the years from the organisers and supporters of the country-wide Star Bazaars.
When the Daily Worker was first published a Fighting Fund was established, continuing a well-tried tradition of radical and working class newspapers. The target was £350 a month and the slogan ‘Shillings for Socialism.’ Today that fund target is 30 times greater at £10,000 a month.

On top of that fund, the readers have time and again gone deeper into their pockets and come up with special extra sums of money. In 1934 there was £2,000 to keep the bailiffs out, in 1938 £20,000 to buy new machines, in 1947, £35j°o° to launch the new-style paper for the People’s Press Printing Society, and in 1966 some £60,000 to match the needs of the enlarged Morning Star.

If the rate of monthly and special collection is maintained during 1980, and there is no doubt it will be, then the grand total of £2 million will have been raised since that famous New Year’s Day in 1930.

Giving regularly to the Fighting Fund are some 630 organisations, trade union branches and committees, Communist Party and Labour Party branches, and some 4,000 people in groups and as individuals.

The labour movement has been generous both regularly and on special occasions. In the summer of 1979, at the TASS AUEW conference, delegates debated the Press. One delegate declared: ‘The Morning Star is the only daily paper which clearly supports the demands of the labour movement, the only paper that refutes the lies and slanders of the so-called popular press. The movement needs the Morning Star.’
The 150 delegates collected £610 for the Fighting F und. Collections at trade union conferences in 1979 totalled £7,000. TUC delegates gave £15620 and Labour Party conference delegates £285. Donating £500 to the Star, the political committee of the London Co-operative Society put the matter succinctly: ‘Don’t hold back – help the paper that helps the movement.’

Indeed, if over £100,000 a year can be raised with the labour movement’s left hand as it were, what might be done if all its muscle were put to the task ? The amount could be doubled and trebled. And it must be said here – that in the same year the staff of the Morning Starcontributed nearly £40,000 from their own pay packets to keep the paper going. No other paper could possibly
match that. Such sacrifice deserves a matching response from the movement at large. Nor does the story end with the Fund. Each year Morning Star bazaars and other events in which labour and Communist people co-operate raise nearly £50,000. That strengthens both the paper and the local movement.

And of great, long-term importance, as well as great democratic meaning, is the Star’s shareholding.
Nearly 30,000 individuals and organisations hold shares in the PPPS, and the share capital totals nearly £140,000. This is the base upon which future expansion of the paper must rest. These shareholders are not the exploiting kind but they do have a voice (one vote each person) in how the paper is run.

In September last year the executive of the furniture workers’ union FTAT bought £500 shares in the PPPS. And at a meeting of the TGWU 7/8 branch in Glasgow in November 1979, delegates from council depots around the city expressed their appreciation of the way the Morning Star had stood by them during industrial disputes. They gave weight to that appreciation by sending £5 to the Fighting Fund and buying 50 shares in the society.

It needs just a little imagination to see that a capital of half a million or a million pounds could be raised by the movement at grass-roots level in such small, vital shareholdings. And with this kind of money, some of the many obstacles to the Star’s advance could be cleared out of the way.

 


 

A newspaper which is different from others, which swims against the media stream, which has no contact with millionaires, but devotes itself to fighting their grip on Britain, must keep itself going in a different way, too.

The bulk of the Morning Star revenue – over 80 per cent – comes from sales. While the ‘popular’ papers get nearly 40 per cent of their finance from advertising, the Star gets only 6 per cent from this source.

The gap between costs and sales revenue, in the teeth of mounting inflation, is met by the efforts of the Star’s readers, including a grass-roots contribution down the years from the organisers and supporters of the country-wide Star Bazaars.

50 6 cartoons funds

The Morning Star Fighting Fund

When the Daily Worker was first published a Fighting Fund was established, continuing a well-tried tradition of radical and working class newspapers. The target was £350 a month and the slogan ‘Shillings for Socialism.’ Today that fund target is 30 times greater at £10,000 a month.

On top of that fund, the readers have time and again gone deeper into their pockets and come up with special extra sums of money. In 1934 there was £2,000 to keep the bailiffs out, in 1938 £20,000 to buy new machines, in 1947, £35j°o° to launch the new-style paper for the People’s Press Printing Society, and in 1966 some £60,000 to match the needs of the enlarged Morning Star.

If the rate of monthly and special collection is maintained during 1980, and there is no doubt it will be, then the grand total of £2 million will have been raised since that famous New Year’s Day in 1930.

Giving regularly to the Fighting Fund are some 630 organisations, trade union branches and committees, Communist Party and Labour
Party branches, and some 4,000 people in groups and as individuals.

The labour movement has been generous both regularly and on special occasions. In the summer of 1979, at the TASS AUEW conference, delegates debated the Press. One delegate declared: ‘The Morning Star is the only daily paper which clearly supports the demands of the labour movement, the only paper that refutes the lies and slanders of the so-called popular press. The movement needs the Morning Star.’
The 150 delegates collected £610 for the Fighting F und. Collections at trade union conferences in 1979 totalled £7,000. TUG
delegates gave £15620 and Labour Party conference delegates £285. Donating £500 to the Star, the political committee of the London Co-operative Society put the matter succinctly: ‘Don’t hold back – help the paper that helps the movement.’

Indeed, if over £100,000 a year can be raised with the labour movement’s left hand as it were, what might be done if all its muscle were put to the task ? The amount could be doubled and trebled. And it must be said here – that in the same year the staff of the Morning Starcontributed nearly £40,000 from their own pay packets to keep the paper going. No other paper could possibly
match that. Such sacrifice deserves a matching response from the movement at large. Nor does the story end with the Fund. Each year Morning Star bazaars and other events in which labour and Communist people co-operate raise nearly £50,000. That strengthens both the paper and the local movement.

And of great, long-term importance, as well as great democratic meaning, is the Star’s shareholding.
Nearly 30,000 individuals and organisations hold shares in the PPPS, and the share capital totals nearly £140,000. This is the base upon which future expansion of the paper must rest. These shareholders are not the exploiting kind but they do have a voice (one vote each person) in how the paper is run.

In September last year the executive of the furniture workers’ union FTAT bought £500 shares in the PPPS. And at a meeting of the
TGWU 7/8 branch in Glasgow in November 1979, delegates from council depots around the city expressed their appreciation of the way the Morning Star had stood by them during industrial disputes. They gave weight to that appreciation by sending £5 to the Fighting Fund and buying 50 shares in the society.

It needs just a little imagination to see that a capital of half a million or a million pounds could be raised by the movement
at grass-roots level in such small, vital shareholdings. And with this kind of money, some of the many obstacles to the Star’s advance could be cleared out of the way.

 


Marketing a national daily newspaper in Britain is extremely expensive. The press lords spend huge sums on publicity and distribution, costly advertising campaigns, an army of circulation representatives, fleets of transport, and sale-or-return copies to get full availability at the thousands of newsagents.

50 7 first daily worker first morning star

1 Jan 1930 the first Daily Worker. 1 November 1948 the first issue to be printed at 75 Farringdon Road

 

The Morning Star has no such vast resources. But it does possess something the capitalist papers can never have, something without which it could not survive. It is the active involvement of its readers in promoting the paper they regard as their own.
That does not happen automatically, just because this paper is on the side of working people. Its readers can also be influenced by attitudes in the labour movement, which for generations has grossly under-estimated its need for a national daily paper. So if the readers of the Star do not constantly dedicate themselves to the fight to expand our circulation – that complicated task of political organisation – the sales decline. That, indeed, was the position during the 505 and 6os when the paper was in general ‘taken for granted’.

By the 70s however, two new factors had created favourable prospects for circulation advance. One was the impact of the Morning Star’s leading role in mobilising a mass movement during 1969 to defeat the anti-union white paper In Place of Strife.
The other was the decision of the Communist Party Congress in November of the same year, to give the Star top priority in all activities, and to make 1970 ‘The Year of the Morning Star’.

A bigger and more vigorous circulation campaign was assembled in the early 70s, as the paper’s clear militant leadership helped the growth of the powerful mass struggles that culminated in the defeat of the Heath government.
Even so, it took all of those four years to stop circulation decline and achieve a modest advance of 1,700 daily sales by the February 1974 general election.
Then, with the advent of a new Labour government, and the subsiding of mass struggle, old habits and illusions reasserted
themselves; the tempo of circulation campaigning was relaxed and decline set in again.

It was not revived during 1975 – even though there were some remarkable special extra sales during the Common Market referendum campaign of that year. Nor was it regained during the late 70s. Some lessons from our long experience were learned and applied in practice – but among a minority of Star supporters.
Star organisers were appointed, and in a few places Star campaign committees. More speakers were heard making the case for the paper in labour movement organisations. In Sheffield, the AUEw(Eng) district committee set up a Star circulation sub-committee.

In many workplaces sales were adversely affected by the onset of closures and the growth of unemployment. In others, great attention was given to maintaining and increasing the readership and this disadvantage was overcome. Significant among those were the London building sites, some Scottish pits, a few Rolls-Royce factories, Sheffield workplaces and several rails depots. Valiant attempts were made to resolve complex sales problems in shift workplaces like London Airport, Fords Dagenham, and the steel plants, but they had very limited success.

On weekend sales, the extra copies sold in busy centres and doorstep canvassing stuck at around 5,000 for a long time. Then from May 1979, with an extra two pages each Saturday, weekend sales began to advance to a total of 6,000, though far short of the 15,000 objective.
Concentration sales in Glasgow and some other cities on Saturdays showed what could be done with a big turnout of sellers. In one ward of the London borough of Hackney, a carefully planned, sustained weekend effort built up weekend extra sales from nil to over 70 copies.
Much more local attention has been given in recent years to getting the paper seen to be daily available at sales outlets, by Star supporters reaching agreement with newsagents that if the paper was put on display they would guarantee payment for any unsold copies.
Many new regular sales have resulted from this. In the London borough of Lambeth, a survey was carried out of over 100 newsagents and a substantial number were visited to put the Star on display, with good results. However, what should be the strongest side of the circulation campaign, but is still the weakest, is the systematic discussion with people active in struggle, to convince them why they, too, should be regular readers. The great possibilities have been demo nstrated by many examples, but they are nowhere near being seized and exploited on the scale that is possible and necessary.

The key to significant advance, here as in the other manifold aspects of circulation building, is to escalate involvement; a minority has shown, in every field of effort, that it can be done. When this minority grows into a majority, it will be done.