Sunday, 29 November 2009

LSHG Newsletter Spring 2010

London Socialist Historians Newsletter Spring 2010

I am just putting together the next issue of the LSHG newsletter and so a reminder that brief articles, letters, comments and notices are very welcome to; but sooner rather than later please. The official deadline is 1st December so the later your contrbution appears after that the less chance there is of being able to fit it in the next issue

Keith Flett, Editor, LSHG Newsletter

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Phil Vasili on Walter Tull

Phil Vasili, author of Walter Tull, (1888-1918), Officer, Footballer will be speaking at Bookmarks - the socialist bookshop - in London on Tuesday 1st December at 6:30pm. Walter Tull was the second ever black footballer in Britain, and the first black army officer. Respected by some, ridiculed by others, this is his amazing story.

This event is free, but please phone
020 76371848 or email

Friday, 27 November 2009

Frederick Douglass Commemoration Project in Leeds

From the Frederick Douglass Commemoration Project in Leeds

There will be a series of lunch time and evening talks and events taking place from 30 November to 4 December 2009, to commemorate the visit of Frederick Douglass to Leeds in 1859.

Frederick Douglass, the anti-slavery activist visited Britain on a number of occasions to promote the cause of abolition. As an enslaved African who successfully liberated himself, he became a key figure in the Abolitionist movement. The week of activities commemorates his visit to Leeds 150 years ago and the inspirational speech he gave at the Music Hall on Albion Street.

"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."

Frederick Douglass

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Reminder: CFP for Conference on The Vote

A quick reminder that the deadline for the call for papers for next February's LSHG Conference on The Vote - What Went Wrong? is 1 December.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Study with Pete Alexander

Honours, Masters, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Study with the South African Research Chair in Social Change

UJ's Professor Peter Alexander has been awarded the South African Research Chair in Social Change (funded by the Department of Science and Technology and administered by the National Research Foundation). This prestigious chair will enable him to support: three post-doctoral fellows, three doctoral students, three masters students and two honours students. Applications are invited for all of these positions.

The study of social change is extensive in its spatial and temporal horizons, it is diverse in its concerns, and it works across disciplinary boundaries to grapple with inter-relationships between different dynamics. The Chair will begin to address this complexity by focussing on social change in contemporary South Africa, undertaking this in a way that recognises the importance of cross-national and historically grounded research. It has a particular interest in class and its intersections; comparative labour history; immigration, xenophobia and super-diversity; civil society, protest and democracy; and the sociology of the state.

PDFs and doctoral and masters students will be supervised or co-supervised by Prof. Alexander and honours students will be employed as research assistants. If students are not yet registered on an appropriate programme, registration will be facilitated by the Chair. Stipends for full-time students (including support from UJ and Faculty of Humanities)* are as follows:

Post-doctoral fellows: R180,000 p.a. Doctoral students: R95,000 p.a. Masters students: R55,000 p.a. Honours students: R31,000 p.a.

Students may also apply for a UJ New Generation Scholarship (applications close on 30 November) and for a Humanities Faculty Merit Bursary. All PDFs and doctoral and MA students will be provided with a lap-top and other hardware, financial support for research and conference attendance, and office space.

To apply, send your cv, the names of three academic referees and a letter of motivation to The closing date is 30 November 2009. For further information, call Ms Annelize Naidoo on 011 559 4250 or email her on

*Terms and conditions apply

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Radical thinkers and the arts since 1909

Don't look Back
Radical thinkers and the arts since 1909

Thursday 26 November 2009, 18.30–20.00

On the 100th anniversary of the Futurism Manifesto, join critical thinkers Terry Eagleton, Simon Critchley, Kate Soper, Eyal Weizman, and chair Alberto Toscano in exploring a century of radical thinking and the arts - and debating what lies ahead. The recent Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern reminds us of an age when politics and aesthetics were densely interwoven in an explosive rejection of the past. This distinguished panel will assess the legacy of modernism to ask how today's radical thinkers might understand the role of the arts at the dawn of the twenty first century and beyond.


Terry Eagleton is Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster and author of Literary Theory: An Introduction, The Illusions of Postmodernism and Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate.

Simon Critchley is Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York and author of The Book of Dead Philosophers, On Humour and Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction.

Kate Soper is a Professor in the Department of Humanities, Arts and Languages at London Metropolitan University and author of To Relish the Sublime: Culture and Self-realisation in Postmodern Times and What Is Nature?: Culture, Politics and the Non-Human.

Eyal Weizman is an architect and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London and author of Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation.

Chair: Alberto Toscano, editor of Historical Materialism, lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London and author of The Theatre of Production: Philosophy and Individuation Between Kant and Deleuze.

In collaboration with Verso to coincide with the of launch of Set 4 of Verso's Radical Thinkers series.

Supported by
New Statesman

Tate Britain Auditorium
£8 (£6 concessions), booking recommended
For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

Debate on the American Empire

Organised by the Department of Development Studies School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London Convenor: Prof. Gilbert Achcar
2009-2010 This event is cosponsored by Historical Materialism Conference 2009 (27-29 November)

Wednesday 25 November, 6:30pm SOAS, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Alex Callinicos was born in Zimbabwe. After teaching political philosophy for many years at the University of York, he is now Professor of European Studies at King’s College London. His most recent books are The Resources of Critique and Imperialism and Global Political Economy. His next book Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World will appear early next year.

Leo Panitch is the Senior Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, and the co-editor of The Socialist Register. His most recent books are American Empire and the Political Economy of Global Finance, and Renewing Socialism: Transforming Democracy, Strategy and Imagination.

Radical History Walk in Manchester

Panic on the Streets of Manchester...A Walk into Manchester's Rebellious and Revolutionary History...

This walk will take place on Saturday 28th November, beginning at 10.45am and will last 2 hours
The assembly point is the Robert Owen statue, outside the Co-operative Bank, Corporation Street.

The walk will cost £6 waged, £3 students, free to unwaged.
All proceeds from the walk will be donated to the Manchester Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers, which offers solidarity and support to asylum seekers.

We will visit places in the city centre connected with Manchester's rebellious and revolutionary past, running across Marx and Engels, Mary and Lizzie Burns, Jacobites and Jacobins, Suffragists and Suffragettes, Chartists and Clarionettes and others...

The walk will be led by Michael Herbert , who has been leading history walks in Manchester for more than 20 years. He is a Trustee of the Working Class Movement Library and former editor of the North West Labour History Journal. He has written two books on Manchester's history; Never Counted Out! The Story Of Len Johnson, Boxer and Communist and The Wearing of the Green; a Political History of the Irish in Manchester. He is a regular contributor to the Manchester Radical History website.

more information :

It would helpful if this could be forwarded to anyone you think might like to attend

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Chris Harman

From Socialist Worker

Chris Harman 1942-2009

Supporters and readers of Socialist Worker as well as socialists from around the world will be sad to hear the tragic news that Chris Harman died last night in Cairo where he was speaking.

Our condolences go out to Talat, his partner, his children and all his family and friends.

Chris Harman was a towering figure on the left in Britain and he made an immense theoretical and personal contribution to the Socialist Workers Party. He was editor of International Socialism Journal and was previously the editor of Socialist Worker for over two decades.

He was also an influential and highly respected figure on the international left.

He was greatly loved and will be sorely missed. We will let comrades know about the funeral as soon as we know any details.

There will be a full obituary in the next issue of Socialist Worker.

If you would like to send any messages of condolences please send them to and we will make sure they are forwarded to Talat and his family.

In comradeship

The SWP Central Committee

Keith Flett adds:

As a member of the IS and SWP from 1974 I heard Chris Harman, whose untimely death has been announced, speak on many occasions, but few would claim that it was his power of oratory that made him an outstanding figure on the left internationally.

Rather it was the combination of activism and a towering Marxist intellect that attracted people to his meetings and to read his articles and books.

Most of Chris Harman’s prodigious output was related to matters other than history, but not all.

His book The Fire Last Time is a masterly history of the events of 1968 and what happened afterwards from the perspective of an active revolutionary socialist. Likewise his book on Germany, the Lost Revolution looks at the reasons for the failure of revolution to spread internationally after 1917.

In the last 10 years the London Socialist Historians Group had a closer engagement with Chris particularly in the period when he became Editor of the theoretical journal International Socialism.

Chris was a keynote speaker at our conference in 2000 which attempted to draw a very preliminary balance sheet of the twentieth century and was frequently to be seen at LSHG conferences, often making incisive contributions.

More recently the LSHG hosted, at the Institute of Historical Research, a London launch for the new edition of what may be seen as Chris’s masterwork, the People’s History of the World. It is a work which demonstrates an immense breadth of knowledge and an incisive Marxist analysis of history. It has been well received critically but still deserves many more readers.

On a personal note I have also been working for some years now, along with the great cartoonist Tim Saunders, on a cartoon version of this book which appears monthly in the Socialist Review. Cartoons of course do not work as lengthy slabs of Marxist text so translating the book into the cartoon format has been a challenge, not least because, quite rightly, Chris’s work is not big on laughs, which is something a cartoon sometimes demands to engage a wider readership.

I often came across Chris in the British Library in central London and we would exchange notes on what we were researching, underlining that his quest for ideas and knowledge was very much an on-going affair.

His work on the current crisis of capitalism and his exposition of a Marxist understanding of crisis has been essential reading and listening in the last couple of years but historians will remember him as someone whose work not only informed and inspired but also provoked political activity.

We have lost one of the great socialist theorists and activists of the last 50 years but the impact of Chris’s work will certainly continue.

Keith Flett, LSHG, 7th November 2009

Edited to add: Chris Harman’s funeral will be on Thursday 26th November. It will be held at 4pm at Golders Green Crematorium.

Friday, 6 November 2009

LSHG Seminars reminder

Monday 9 November
Terry Ward - 'Class struggle in Shakespearian England'

Monday 7 December
Gareth Dale - 'Class & Revolution 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall'

All seminars are at 5.30pm Pollard Room, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St WC1. Free and open to all without ticket. For more details email Keith Flett at

Thursday, 5 November 2009

CFP: Social Movements Conference

abstracts due by Monday 22nd February 2010

From 1995 to 2009, Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a series of very successful annual international conferences on 'ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST'.

We're very happy to announce that the Fifteenth AF&PP Conference will be held, between Monday 29th March and Wednesday 31st March 2010.

The Conference rubric remains as in previous years. The aim is to explore the dynamics of popular movements, along with the ideas which animate their activists and supporters and which contribute to shaping their fate.

Reflecting the inherent cross-disciplinary nature of the issues, previous participants (from over 50 countries) have come from such specialisms as sociology, politics, cultural studies, social psychology, economics, history and geography. The Manchester conferences have also been notable for discovering a fruitful and friendly meeting ground between activism and academia.


We invite offers of papers relevant to the conference themes. Papers should address such matters as:
* contemporary and historical social movements and popular protests
* social movement theory
* utopias and experiments
* ideologies of collective action
* etc.
To offer a paper, please contact either of the conference convenors with a brief abstract:

EITHER Colin Barker, Dept. of Sociology
OR Mike Tyldesley, Dept. of Politics and Philosophy
Manchester Metropolitan University
Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West
Manchester M15 6LL, England

Public Meeting on Mulk Raj Anand Postponed

TALAT AHMED's meeting for the Socialist History Society on Mulk Raj Anand and the All-India Progressive Writers Association, 1935-37 has been postponed until the new year.

Dr Talat Ahmed teaches in the Department of History, Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and a member of the British Association for South Asian Studies. She is the author of Literature and Politics in the Age of Nationalism: the Progressive Episode in South Asia, 1932-56 (Routledge 2009). Her current research is focused on intellectual and cultural history of modern South Asia and radical literary and cultural projects in twentieth-century South Asia.