Red week sit-in

28 October 1969

Guild Gazette reports today on last week’s Socialist Week, organised by the Socialist and Communist Societies, which culminated in a sit-in at the U.S. Consulate at Pier Head:

A sit-in at the American Embassy in Liverpool last week was organised by the Socialist and Communist Societies.   The sit-in was part of the Socialist Week.  A signed letter was written to President Nixon, deploring his policy in Vietnam and handed to the Ambassador.

After an hour, the group of 30 students was moved on by police.

The primary aim of Socialist Week was to bring to the attention of the University the plight of the Vauxhall workers and to rouse support for them.

Mr Marc Kahn, a socialist French film producer, showed some films he had made on the situation for Cinema Action […]

Footnote from the future (2010)

There wasn’t a US Embassy in Liverpool – it was a Consulate, established in 1790 and closed some time in the 1980s.

Cinema Action was among several left-wing film collectives formed in the late sixties.

I haven’t been able to discover more about ‘the plight of the Vauxhall workers’. Does anyone reading this recall?


Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

2 thoughts on “Red week sit-in”

  1. The Consulate occupation was the inspiration of no less a worthy than Roger Lyons, later Secretary General, but then lowly officer of ASTMS, in Peter Kavanaghs and after a curry at the New Moon.

    We did not tell anyone where we were going, assembled at the Student Union entrance, caught a 6C bus to the Pier Head and just stormed into the office. We were not moved on by the police, but of our own volition after embarrassing the Consul who came in from lunch to find us sitting in his chair and office and asked us to leave. We asked him to leave Vietnam as I recall, and having made our point left after an hour so.

    Vauxhall was in a perpetual state of strike at the time… Now Cinema Action, that sets slow currents moving in the deep sludgy recesses of the grey matter…

  2. Funnily enough, yesterday evening, after reading this, I bumped into Roger Lyons, now retired from the union but still working as a consultant. He both recalled and confessed to his role in this occupation.

    My own recollection is that I had the job of staying at the Student Union and then tipping off the press once you had breached the US security. I fear I probably waited too long and you had all made your excuses and left by the time the press arrived.

    I also recall a meeting with a Vauxhall shop steward and some rather ‘difficult’ French films presented by a rather wild anarchist who spent some time around the Student Union, which I suspect were all part of our Socialst Week

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