The secretary of the Nantyglo branch of the National Unemployed Workers Movement, Abraham was effectively the local leader of the unemployed. He reckoned that around 60% of the unemployed in Blaina were associated with the NUWM. Thus, the work that Communist Party did within the unemployed clearly boosted support for the party in the locality.
Abraham’s grandfather had been involved in the 1839 Chartist uprising. Phil Abraham recalled asking him when he was a boy about a big blue scar he had on his head. The old man had complained about the “bloody militia” that had forced them to flee over the mountains.
Phil Abraham was elected to the Monmouthshire county council in an area where the Party now had one of its strongest Welsh branches.
The Communists had their local headquarters in an old bus set on stone pillars, and from there conducted their campaign based around the 1934 Unemployment Act which earned them a lot of support. The ‘Daily Worker’ of 4th February 1935 reported that at a rally “in Nantyglo, a village of 7,000 people, 50 new members had been made for the Party, 50 women recruited for the Working Women’s Guild and 60 for the Communist Social Club”. When he was first elected a councillor, Labour councillors unsuccessfully sought to convince him to leave the Communist Party.
Then, on 21st March 1935 Abraham and other Communists organised a demonstration against the operation of the means test in Monmouthshire. Many of the leaders were arrested and charged with “riotous assembly”. D N Pritt represented the men in court but was unable to stop people like Phil Abraham receiving a nine-month hard labour sentence. Arguably, the attempt to use the incident was a means to punish him for the sentence was enough to debar him from the council.
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