26th November 1996
Jersey Communist Party Deputy dies
Norman Le Brocq was a founder member of the Jersey Communist Party and one of 20 Jersey locals who were awarded watches by the Soviet Government and Praesidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet for aiding Soviet citizens and prisoners of war during the occupation.
He had remained on Jersey throughout the Second World War when he worked in the lending library while being secretly involved with the Jersey Democratic Movement and the Jersey Communist Party. The latter started with a handful of members but numbered around 17 by liberation day. During the occupation it had distributed leaflets across Jersey, some of which carried BBC news. According to the Communist Party of Britain’s Our History 11, which was published on 4 January 2017, these were translated into Russian for the benefit of the slave workers.
Le Brocq made contact with a sympathetic German soldier and they planned a May day mutiny of German troops stationed in Jersey. However, the events of the war overtook them and the mutiny never occurred.
Le Brocq is elected
Although he stood for election several times in the aftermath of the war, it wasn’t until the early 1970s that Le Brocq won himself a seat in the States Assembly, which he went on to hold through a further two elections. Our History 11 recounted that “This body has never known party politics and was always dominated by the successful elite, so the establishment and local media violently opposed Norman’s several unsuccessful but impressive and ultimately highly successful attempts to gain election to the States.”
Le Brocq wasn’t afraid to campaign on matters of importance to the island, including against the price of electricity (in a protest against which which JEC – Jersey Electricity Company – was rewritten as Jersey Extortion Company) and against the policy of allowing wealthy outsiders to settle in Jersey.
However, his party’s beliefs didn’t always meet with public approval. A report in the Yorkshire Evening Post of 16 August 1948 outlined how, when Le Brocq “started an address with ‘Comrades’, he was pelted with tomatoes, seaweed and gravel, and the members were chased by a crowd armed with horsewhips and water pistols. They sought refuge at the police station and police had to use batons to keep the crowd back. At party headquarters, windows were smashed and other damage done.”
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