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Jackson was a Glasgow bookfolder and Branch Secretary for the 141 member strong Proven Communist Party in the early 1960s. He lived on the largest council housing estate in Proven, which contained 29,000 houses, with his wife Margaret, their two daughters, Margaret and Tanya, and son Stuart.
He was well known for cycling everywhere around the estate, taking up grievances and sorting out problems in the great tradition of the Communist Party’s `shop stewards of the streets strategy’, which predated the later copying of the approach by the Liberal Party as `dustbin politics’. “I’m a greater believer in dealing with bread & butter issues,” he said in an interview in `Comment’, the internal Party journal. In one campaign, typical for him, he organised 300 rates appeal forms for the local tenants association.
Jackson had graduated from poster painting and into one of the Glasgow Communist Party’s best Daily Worker sellers, factory gate speakers, canvassers and deputation leaders, He had been arrested at Holy Loch during a 1963 protest, for which he got a £10 fine, when he stood as the Communist candidate in local elections in Proven, securing 864 votes. The Communist campaign in Proven highlights included a decorated CP van visiting local shopping centres on Saturdays and the sale of 400 copies of “Demand a future for Scotland”, as well as 7,000 rent leaflets.
A direct result of the election campaign activity was the establishment of a YCL branch, with 28 members, led by 18 year old Frank Gaffney (previously a Labour Party Young Socialist) as Secretary. Other key CP activists included NanPark, the Proven Communist Party women’s committee secretary, who stated that: “They knit all the year round and sell all the year round” and a mysterious local teacher.
John was selected by the Party to visit the Soviet Union but his employers would not allow him leave to go.
`Comment’ 14th December 1963