Sunday, 9 October 2011

LSHG Newsletter 43 (Autumn 2011) and seminar notes

The latest LSHG Newsletter (no. 43, Autumn 2011) is now online - highlights include a debate about David Starkey, an article on the Liverpool General Transport Strike of 1911, and a book review of Tom O'Lincoln's Australia's Pacific War.

FROM THE EDITOR

The autumn 2011 term sees some changes to where we hold seminars at the Institute of Historical Research. The apparently never ending refurbishment of London University’s Senate House has now reached the North Block where we have been based since 1994. The building will be refurbished and there will be a re-arrangement of space between the IHR and London University. The whole process is estimated to take two years. We shall see.

In the meantime seminars and the core operations of the IHR are being moved across the entrance lobby of Senate House to the South Block. Opposite are details of the precise room allocations for our seminars in Autumn 2011. It is unclear as yet whether there will be a space large enough to run a 2012 conference. However there is considerable interest in running an event on the history of riots. I will be pursuing this idea both in terms of speakers and a venue. Updates will be posted on the LSHG website.

During the summer term we held a well attended memorial meeting for Ray Challinor the socialist activist and historian. One of the speakers, Stan Newens, has kindly provided a transcript of his speech and this should be available on the LSHG website shortly.
Keith Flett
 
LSHG SEMINARS Autumn 2011
 
Wednesday 12 October
JOINT MEETING WITH THE SOCIALIST HISTORY SOCIETY
RESISTANCE & EMPIRE
Robin Blackburn and Richard Gott speak on their new books
7PM AT THE LIBRARY, BISHOPSGATE INSTITUTE
230 BISHOPSGATE, LONDON EC2

Monday 17th October
Owen Jones: CLASS POLITICS: HOW THE WORKING CLASS HAS CHANGED

Monday 31st October
Marika Sherwood: MALCOLM X: VISITS ABROAD, APRIL 1964 - FEBRUARY 1965
Marika writes:
Malcolm Little, the son of a Grenada-born mother and African-American Garveyist father, was murdered in New York on February 21, 1965, after he had spent almost the whole of the previous year in Africa and the UK. After his father had been murdered by a Ku Klux Klan type organisation, his mother could not cope. Malcolm did not complete school, became a petty criminal and ended up in prison in 1946. He read every book in the library and joined the proselytising and supportive Nation of Islam.

On his release in 1952 he dropped the name ‘Little’ as being a ‘slave name’ and called himself ‘X’. He became the Nation’s best orator/presenter, developing a very powerful speaking style. He recruited tens of thousands to the Nation and was interviewed and asked to give lectures all over the USA. One phrase he used often which is recalled by everyone is ‘by any means necessary’: he used this when arguing that African Americans had to defend themselves by any means necessary against the racial violence in the USA; and again, to use any means necessary to achieve equality.

Malcolm became a very controversial figure during these years of the civil rights struggle. A hugely successful recruiter for the Nation, he began to meet some more orthodox Muslims as well as some Africans representing their nations at the UN. Malcolm began to question the philosophies  and behaviour of Elijah Muhammad, the Nation’s founder. In March 1963 he left the Nation and went to study Islam in Egypt, and to Mecca to perform the Hajj.

Remarkably, Malcolm was given permission to address the OAU (today’s African Union) in Cairo. From there he travelled to many East and West African countries, meeting presidents and political activists. These were the early years of independence when the policies of most leaders included the word ‘socialist’. It was at the OAU meeting that he began to speak about American ‘dollarism’.

Malcolm visited England a number of times, speaking at universities, Muslim forums and other venues in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford and Sheffield. He also walked around Smethwick where at the recent elections a Conservative had won, campaigning on the slogan ‘if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour’. Again he met political activists, Black, Indian and White.

Why was Malcolm murdered shortly after his return to New York from the UK? Because the Nation could not accept his criticisms? Or because of his world-wide criticism of America’s ‘dollarism’? We shall probably never know. But most certainly the people he met on his visits were leading him into new political and philosophical directions, as he acknowledged.

This book is taken mainly from Malcolm’s travel notebooks, augmented by the newspaper coverage of his visits, and some interviews with the people whom he met.Malcolm X: Visits Abroad , Tsehai Publishers 2011, ISBN: 978-1599070506
Copies of the book will be available at the seminar.

Monday 14th November
John Charlton: THE 1815 SEAMAN’S STRIKE ON THE NORTH-EAST COAST OF ENGLAND

Except 12th October, all seminars at 5.30pm in the Bloomsbury Room [room 35] South Block Institute of Historical Research Senate House, Malet St WC1
Entry is free, without ticket
 
The Newsletter
Letters, articles, criticisms and contributions to debate are most welcome.
Deadline for the next issue is 1 December 2011.

The Group
We receive no official funding and rely entirely on supporters for money for our activities. To become a member of the LSHG, send £10 (cheque payable to ‘Keith Flett’).
Contact us LSHG c/o Keith Flett, 38 Mitchley Road, London N17 9HG
Email: keith1917@btinternet.com

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