Sunday, 14 February 2010

LSHG Conference: The Vote: What Went Wrong?

The Vote: What Went Wrong?
Saturday 27th February
Wolfson Room,
First Floor,
Institute of Historical Research,
Senate House,
Malet St
London WC1

The recent scandal over MPs’ expenses has raised major questions about parliamentary democracy and its relationship to the labour movement and the left.

Historically the left has fought for democracy and the vote, from the Chartists to the Suffragettes to those who campaigned against the disenfranchisement of black voters in the US and Catholics in the North of Ireland in the 1960s.

There has been, for at least a half-century in the UK, a link between social democracy and corruption, but the same has applied elsewhere, for example in Italy. Has the attempt to democratise parliamentary institutions led simply to a replication of the Old Corrupt practices of the past?

Finally, the conference will examine alternative strategies for democracy on the left, not least the soviets and workers’ councils that have appeared at moments in the last 140 years or so, from the Paris Commune onwards.

The conference will take place in the Wolfson Room on the first floor. Presentations will last for 30 minutes followed by discussion and response. The timetable is as follows:

Conference Programme

9.30am Opening remarks and LSHG matters

Logie Barrow, 'Enfranchisement and Stupefaction: vaccination and the vote'
Keith Flett, 'The origins of the electoral impulse in the British working class'

11.30-11.45 Break

Owen Ashton, 'W E Adams, Chartism and Republicanism'
Ian Bullock, 'Gulfs, fissures and cracks. Democracy and the British Left in the early 20th Century'

13.45-14.15 Lunch

Neil Davidson, 'Social Neoliberalism, “Regimes of Consolidation” and the Assault on Representative Democracy, 1989-2008'
Mike Haynes, 'Capitalism, crime and corruption – from the ‘old’ to the ‘new’ corruption?'

15.50-16.20 Closing Plenary

Send cash or cheque [made payable to Keith Flett] for £10 [£5 concessions] to
LSHG, 38 Mitchley Rd, London N17 9HG Email:

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