The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

Working-class Newspaper

Category: Politics

Just before the First World War when trade unions were beginning to grow rapidly and the Labour Party had begun to win seats in Parliament a newspaper called the Daily Herald was started. It was called “the miracle of Fleet Street’’ because the other newspapers could not see how a journal that did not have big business backing could survive. It kept going and grew because of the support of the working-class movement.

But after the First World War when economic crisis hit the country and unemployment grew it became terribly difficult to keep the Daily Herald going. The leaders of the Labour Party and the Trades Union Congress decided to solve the problem — by selling the Daily Herald. This they did in 1930. Or rather, they sold a half share to a commercial company called Odhams. So the Daily Herald which once was the spokesman for working people was left with a foot in each camp,

The Communist Party which had been formed in 1920 and had a newspaper — the Sunday Worker, very popular among rank-and-file trade unionists in the mines and factories, proposed to step in to the gap left by the selling of the Daily Herald.

To start a new working-class newspaper, some thought, was impossible, as the working-class movement was too poor, the times too hard. To launch a new daily newspaper you had to have £ 1 million. And the journalists and printworkers and others who wanted to start the daily worker newspaper didn’t have even one million pence.

But they went ahead. The Daily Worker appeared in January, 1930 in the middle of the big crisis. It was born in a warehouse in East London. A Tory paper called it “a paper produced in a London slum’’. In 1989 it occupied its present premises in Farrington Road E.C. (East Cenfral London).

To meet the challenge of the new times and the new campaigns, the supporters of the Daily Worker decided after long discussions to re-launch their newspapers in larger size, with new equipment, a broader appeal under the name Morning Star. This was the name of a radical newspaper over a 100 years ago.

The Morning Star belongs to its readers. They own it, they help it with money donating sums large and small, they sell it in factories, offices on street corner s — and they do all this voluntarily. It is the daily spokesman of the Labour movement and its existence has been a continuous struggle for survival, a battle of the rebel press versus the Government and Establishment press.

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