Thursday, 31 January 2019

Socialist History in 2019 - Protest and Survive

Comment from London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter 66 (January 2019)

Socialist History in 2019: PROTEST AND SURVIVE 

With the continuing dispute at Senate House over outsourcing of support workers (see our statement here) the immediate future of the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research is under review.

However the London Socialist Historians Group will, of course, continue and will be looking to run events during the year whether at Senate House or elsewhere.

The original aim of the LSHG was not just to be socialist historians within the academy but to be activists outside it too. We have kept broadly to that perspective but I think in 2019 we do need to look at renewing the link.

Those with long memories, or access to appropriate archives, will recall that some years ago the LSHG used to have a banner. Made by the pre-eminent maker of labour movement banners, Ed Hall, it depicted the fight for women’s suffrage. It featured in several banner exhibitions as well as being a regular presence on demonstrations.

I have to report that its current whereabouts are, at best, unknown. For that reason I think it’s more than time that a new London Socialist Historians banner was commissioned. The first question of course is what should be depicted on it. Watch out for details about how this will be decided shortly! (We will obviously seek to canvass opinion widely).

Once decided, I hope we can get it done by early summer. It will be not just to gaze at but to actually carry on demonstrations and protests as well.

Given the number of those who attend the seminars at the IHR that I have seen in 2018 on demonstrations such as that against Trump in the summer and the Stand Up to Racism protests against Stephen Yaxley Lennon and Co. later in the year I’m hoping this will not be a problem.

As E.P. Thompson had it in the 1980s: PROTEST AND SURVIVE.

Keith Flett

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