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William Gee, was born in
Aged 19, entirely self educated, reading all he could of Marx, he joined the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) and was a listed as a lecturer and speaker. Gee was the Social Democratic Federation organiser in
“He was by universal recognition the outstanding street corner and market place exponent of Marxism in
The first contact Harry Pollitt had with Gee, then known as the “Socialist Dreadnought”, was in 1908 when he spoke at Openshaw Socialist Society at the ILP Hall in
In 1911 Gee was lecturing in
In his prime, Gee was “tall, well built, with a bluff manner”. In later years ne was “somewhat corpulent”, according to Ted Ainley. Gee depended for his living on a share of the collections and the hospitality of the organisations who booked him, which clearly grew better as his reputation soared. An undated photograph of him, in Harry Pollitt's collection, taken at Rossendale shows a well developed head, the “cerebrum capacious, the hair thinning, forehead broad and high, aquiline nose, firm chin and trimmed moustache, an expression of strength and resolution, shoulders sturdy, a chest broad”.
In 1920 Gee was a member both of the BSP and the Scottish based Socialist Labour Party (SLP), which had `The Socialist’ as its journal printed in
Gee signed the manifesto on Communist Unity along with those in the SLP who helped found the Communist Party, amongst twenty two signatures were William Gee (Coventry) and Arthur MacManus, William Paul, Tom Bell, T A Jackson (Newcastle), Bob Stewart (Dundee) and W.J Hewlett (Abertillery, South Wales). Gee joined the Communist Party but opposed the united front and affiliation to the Labour Party in such a manner that he ended up being expelled from the Party early. However, these political differences did not prevent Pollitt from remaining friends with him.
By December 1941 Gee was living in
Pollitt organised an annual appeal for Gee, organising the statement of accounts personally. But, by 1951, Gee’s health was failing and he died in May 1954. Harry Pollitt concluded the funeral oration with the words: “When our Socialist cause shall have triumphed in
Source: "Harry Pollitt - a biography" 1976) by John Mahon