Goss John

John Goss

John M Goss was full-time secretary of London Young Communist League (YCL) in the late 1940s.  In 1947, at the Battle of Ridley Road markets, Hackney, when the YCL stopped fascists from holding a meeting by engaging in a marathon nine hours of putting speaker after speaker on the platform, Johnny Goss was to the fore.  See: http://ourhistory-hayes.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/anti-fascist-activity-1985-in-1986.html


Goss chaired the 15th Congress of the Communist League Congress, which took place over Easter at  Islington Town Hall in 1948.  In his opening speech to Congress, entitled "The Things We Want In Life Can Be Won", he stated:

“Our Congress is meeting at a time when throughout the length and breadth of the land, young men and women are asking themselves ' What is going to happen to my life—What does the future hold?'

Gone forever is the illusion that our generation has only to wait and everything we wanted in life would be even to us.  Instead the young men and women of this country face the stark realities of our times and on every side the questions are being asked.  Are we to have peace or war? A living wage or poverty?

A job with a future or unemployment and blind-alley jobs?  A home of one's own and the chance to marry young or the building cuts and indefinite postponement of marriage? Equal opportunity for advanced education or a full stop to education at 15?  Old enough to fight at 18 but not to vote, or the rights of citizenship?  Playing fields or battle fields?

Here at this Congress we will give the answer.  There is an alternative. The things we want in life can be won.
The prophets of gloom and the madmen who howl for war can be defeated.   It is weakness and not strength which drives them on and their old, corrupt world is breaking up—it is doomed for ever.

We must and will take our future into our own hands and fight for our rights to peace and happiness."

In the later stages of his time in the YCL, he was the branch secretary of the Battersea YCL.  His replacement in the role believes Goss was a PA. or something similar, to the American actor Sam Wannamaker, who had fled McCarthyism.   He married Janet Robertson in 1954, who was also a YCL member.


Sources: Challenge 17th April 1948 (thanks to MW); Mike Squires


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply