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Life and politics and Labour

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Houses in Stewarts Lane   Houses in Stewarts Lane
Stewarts Lane - houses just before demolition in 1934 (two years after Archer's death)
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Copyright © Wandsworth Local History Service
  Stewarts Lane - houses about to be demolished Neg 571
Copyright © Wandsworth Local History Service

In 1921 John Archer began promoting the career of the Indian left-winger Shapurji. He was to be the successful election agent for Saklatvala in 1922, 1923 and 1924, brokering a deal by which his candidate was uniquely unopposed by Labour.

Archer's involvement in local politics had continued, however, with a bitter struggle over unemployment relief. Against his passionate opposition the Council reduced maximum relief to the unemployed to the level of the national scale, and accepted accommodation for young people in a Workhouse run by the Fulham Guardians in Surrey, which Archer referred to as a "penitentiary". The bitterness of the arguments continued well into 1923. In October the Chairman suspended all the Labour members. Archer was seized by the head and the heels, and dragged out of the room.

The conflicts in the Chamber were mirrored by other splits. In the early 1920s the Labour Party banned Communists from membership. Battersea, opposed the ban, which affected its MP, Archer's protégé, Saklatvala, and the local Labour Party was disaffiliated from the national Labour movement. Saklatvala sat on as a Communist MP. At the start of the General Strike he was arrested for sedition and jailed. John Archer continued to support him, until in 1926, the police, raiding the Communist Party HQ in Battersea, discovered a letter from Saklatvala outlining plans to undermine the Labour Party. Archer set up a new affiliated North Battersea Labour branch in his shop, and organised the campaign of a new candidate, William Sanders, who fought and defeated Saklatvala in 1929. Archer continued as agent for the Labour Party, and he continued to be annually re-appointed as Alderman until he was re-elected to the Council in November 1931 for the Nine Elms Ward, and became Deputy Leader of the Labour Group - although he never surrendered his links with the Nine Elms Swimming Club.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

A multitude of friends - death of John Archer Next - 'A multitude of friends" - death of John Archer'

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Dumas Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
John Archer
Background and early life
Background and early life
'Battersea and Archer's entry into local politics'
Battersea and Archer's entry into local politics
Councillor Archer
Councillor Archer
The mayoral election
The mayoral election
A victory such as never has been gained before
"A victory such as never has been gained before"
Race and politics
Race and politics
Life and politics and Labour
A multitude of friends - death of John Archer
"A multitude of friends" - death of John Archer
 
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