Wednesday, 28 March 2012

CFP: Fifty years of EP Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class

Call for Papers
50 years of EP Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class

A day conference with strands to be held at People’s History Museum, Manchester
Saturday 13 April 2013

Edward Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class appeared in 1963 and has become one of the most influential history texts of the twentieth century. It is still in print fifty years on, having survived challenges from Marxist, feminist and postmodern historians. This day conference celebrates Thompson’s classic, and considers its reception, its critics, and why it endures. Speakers will include Neville Kirk, Emeritus Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University

This day conference will bring together papers from scholars for whom The Making has been a major influence. We welcome papers, and suggest the following subjects:
The Making and the new social history
The politics of The Making
The legacy
‘We are all Thompsonians now’
Challenges to The Making: Marxist, feminist
The Englishness of The Making
The Making and the crisis of Stalinism /the New Left

We welcome offers of contributions relating to these and other themes from researchers and students. Please send a proposal of no more than 200 words to Dr Craig Horner on by 31 May 2012.
The conference will also include displays from the Working Class Movement Library and the Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the People’s History Museum. Organised by People’s History Museum Working Class Movement Library

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Historical Materialism Ninth Annual Conference, London 2012

The Ninth Annual Historical Materialism Conference  will take place in Central London from 8-11 November 2012

Weighs Like a Nightmare
Historical Materialism Ninth Annual Conference

Has Marx been reanimated once again? From mainstream media to academia, this question hangs in the air. The old ghosts of revolution appear to be shaking off their shackles and getting agitated. What is this spirit? Who are the militants haunting this ramshackle capitalism? Are these new spectres - stalking the streets of Syria, Tunisia and Egypt, Athens, Spain and Wall Street and beyond - or direct descendants of socialist and communist ones? How does the past haunt the present? How might the present haunt the future?

As new conflicts and struggles emerge, the old questions refuse to go away: What type of organisation is needed to sharpen the conflicts, if any? Who are the agents of history and change? Is the scope of political action national or international? What is the political value of alliances and fronts? Does history cunningly work a progressive path through and around the contingencies of struggle? Are the same mistakes to be made, the same failures repeated?

The ninth HM annual conference focuses on the returns and the persistence of political forms and theoretical problems, on the uses and abuses of the history of Marxism in this turbulent present and on the ways and forms in which an inheritance of various Marxist traditions can help us to organise and to act in contemporary struggles.

HM London conference *provisional* programme online
  Please note: this will change over the next few weeks so please be sure to check the final version posted 24 hours before the start of the conference
Online registration for the HM conference now available!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Seminar: Colin Grant on Jamaica at 50

Institute of Commonwealth Studies, in conjunction with the Black & Asian Studies Association
Black and Asian Britain seminars

Senate House, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1
6 to 7.30 pm,
Everyone is welcome. You do not have to pre-book/register, but to ensure adequate space, it would be helpful if you would confirm attendance to Chloe Pieters

25 April, 2012, room 349, Third floor, Senate House

Colin Grant, “Too long have others spoke for us”
Marking Jamaica’s 50th year of independence, I will discuss Bageye at the Wheel, the final part of a trilogy of books examining African Caribbean life in the 20th century. The first, Negro with a Hat, my biography of Marcus Garvey, echoes Bageye’s Jamaican Bella Figura.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

LSHG Seminar on Mary Wollstonecraft

Dear Comrade

A little a late [but the blink of an eye in historical terms] on Monday 19th March, 5.30pm at the Institute of Historical Research [Room G34, Ground Floor, South Block, Senate House] we have a seminar to mark International Women's Day.

Roberta Wedge will speak on 'Mary Wollstonecraft: from journalist, socialist to somewhere else on the political spectrum'

Do come if you can.

If not its the last socialist history seminar of the Spring term. We'll be back in the Summer term with seminars on the history of Royal Jubilees [stuffing of] and the Olympics [politics of].

The summer issue of the LSHG Newsletter should be out in good time for May Day [designer and printer allowing]


Keith Flett

Friday, 16 March 2012

Richard Hyman and Industrial Relations

Dear All

Myself and Ralph Darlington have edited a special edition of Capital and Class (36/1, 2012) on the contribution of Richard Hyman to industrial relations. It's called 'A celebration and critical reassessment' and it's available at the Sage webite (

The running order of the special edition is

Gregor Gall and Ralph Darlington - Introduction
Graham Taylor, Andrew Mathers, and Martin Upchurch - Beyond ‘political economism’: New identities for unions in Western Europe?
Miguel Martínez Lucio - Union politics, purpose and democracy: To be or not to be? Optimism, pessimism and the continuing importance of Richard Hyman’s early contributions
John McIlroy - Strikes and class consciousness in the early work of Richard Hyman
Ralph Darlington and Martin Upchurch - A reappraisal of the rank-and-file versus bureaucracy debate
Melanie Simms - Imagined solidarities: Where is class in union organising?
Heather Connolly - Union renewal in France and Hyman’s universal dualism
Gregor Gall - Richard Hyman: An assessment of his Industrial Relations: A Marxist Introduction
Richard Hyman -Will the real Richard Hyman please stand up?


Professor Gregor Gall,
Research Professor of Industrial Relations,
Director of the Work and Employment Research Unit (WERU),
University of Hertfordshire,
Hatfield AL10 9AB

For a review of 'Trade Unions and Revolution' see here

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Brian Manning Internet Archive

Brian Manning was a British historian specialising in the English Revolution of 1632-49. One of the few non-CPGB members in the Communist Party History Group, among whose members were Edward Thompson, Christopher Hill and Eric Hobsbawm, he later moved further to the left and joined the Irish SWP during the 1980s. He died in 2004 - the Brian Manning internet archive is being constructed here

Conference: Sir Thomas Fairfax at 400

The Fairfax 400th Anniversary Conference
Centre for English Local History,
University of Leicester
30 June - 1 July 2012
This two-day interdisciplinary conference will investigate the impact of Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612–1671) upon his time and contemporaries.

It will combine the approaches of historians and literary scholars to examine afresh his multiple roles as a general, politician, landowner, husband and literary figure. His memory, image and reputation in art, literature, media and film will also be assessed.

The conference also includes a guided tour of Naseby battlefield.

To register for the conferenc please send your name, address, email and contact details in an envelope marked ‘Fairfax 400 Conference’ to Lucy Byrne at the address below, no later than 1 June 2012.

Please enclose a cheque payable to ‘The University of Leicester’ for £40 per person. This will cover registration, buffet lunches, refreshments and transport to Naseby for a battlefield tour (please bring waterproofs and sturdy footwear in case of poor weather).

Ms Lucy Byrne
Centre for English Local History
Marc Fitch Historical Institute
5 Salisbury Road
Leicester LE1 7QR

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Black British Rebels

Black British Rebels: Figures from working class history
by Hassan Mahamdallie
Published/Distributed by bookmarks
ISBN-13 No: 9781905192977
ISBN-10 No: 1905192975
£ 3.00
At key moments in the British working class struggle for rights and freedom black leaders have emerged. This pamphlet is an introduction to that hidden but unbroken thread running through our history. Spanning the centuries from the 1750s to the 1970s, Hassan Mahamdallie brings to life six of these inspiring figures, from Olaudah Equiano and the fight against slavery to Jayaben Desai and the trade union struggles of multicultural Britain.

Black British Rebels by Hassan Mahamdallie is available for £3 from Bookmarks,
the socialist bookshop, phone 020 7637 1848
Booklaunch: Monday 19 March at Bookmarks

SHS seminar series

The Socialist History Society presents:
A series of talks followed by Q and A
Popular Protest and its Relevance for Today’s Struggles

Tuesday 13th March 2012 at 7pm
'From Radicalism into Socialism
Working Class Politics in London 1860-1900'
Speaker Duncan Bowie (Chartist Magazine)

Thursday 5th April 2012 at 7pm
'The Squatters Movement 1946'
Speaker Paul Burnham

Thursday 19th April 2012 at 7pm
'The Real History of Chartism'
Speaker David Goodway

Thursday 17th May 2012 at 7pm
'Captain Swing'
Speaker Carl Griffin

All meetings held at Bishopsgate Institute
at 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH,
nearest tube: Liverpool St. Free entry but an
Exit Collection.

Luddites Poetry competition

Dear Friends,

As part of our festival in Huddersfield on April 28th/29th ( Luddites200 is launching a poetry competition. We are really looking forward to seeing who can rival Lord Byron in their appreciation of the Luddites, so please do send us your poems it's free! Please also forward the details and/or the attached press release to friends, family and fellow writers.

Best wishes,

Huddersfield Luddites 200 Festival Poetry Competition

2012 is the 200th anniversary of the uprising by Luddite machine breakers, which inspired great poetry by Byron, Shelley and others. The defeat of the Luddites by thousands of soldiers led to two centuries of industrialism. It's ugliness and beauty, its wealth and its poverty have all been inspiration for truly brilliant pieces. Now we live in a world dominated by science and technology, but on the brink of environmental disaster. What do the Luddites and their mythical leader, General Ned Ludd mean to you?

Luddites 200 is launching a poetry competition, with prizes to be awarded by Andy Croft at our festival in Huddersfield on April 28th/29th. Poems can be in any style, with a maximum length of 40 lines.

Categories 1st Prize

Under 16 £40
Over 16 £40

There will be second and third prizes of books and/or merchandise, to be confirmed on the day.

There is no entry fee, but we would appreciate donations to cover the costs of running our festival. This can be made by visiting and using the donate button on the right, or on the day.

Poems, which should not previously have been published, should be sent to, or by post to Luddites200 Organising Forum, c/o Flat 5 The Old Warehouse, Henry Street, Huddersfield, HD1 4AA. Please remember to also include your name, age and contact details or we won't be able to include your submission! The deadline is April 14th. We may subsequently post your poems (with your permission) on the Luddites 200 website.

For more information on the festival, visit:

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Paul Robeson

The George Padmore Institute has pleasure in inviting you to

This Little Light of Mine
Paul Robeson: Keeping the Light Shining Through the Darkest of Times

a talk on the life, ideas and songs of Paul Robeson with musical illustrations
by Tayo Aluko

on Monday 12 March 2012 at 7.00pm

Tickets £5.00

Paul Robeson’s (1898-1976) international achievements as a singer and actor in starring roles on stage and screen made him the most celebrated black American of his day. However, his outspoken criticism of racism in the United States, his strong support of African independence, and his fascination with the Soviet Union placed him under the debilitating scrutiny of McCarthyism.

This amazing man, this great intellect, this magnificent genius, with his overwhelming love of humanity was a devastating challenge to a society built on hypocrisy, greed and profit-seeking at the expense of common humanity – New York Times

Since being introduced to the ideas and work of Paul Robeson, some 15 years ago, Nigerian born Tayo Aluko has been bringing this great man’s remarkable story to new audiences across the UK, North America, the Caribbean and Africa. In this presentation, Tayo Aluko talks about Robeson’s refusal to separate his music from his international activism, and plays some relatively rare recordings from that darkest period of Robeson’s life, when American recording studios joined the rest of USA in turning their backs on him.

The George Padmore Institute (GPI) is an archive, educational research and information centre housing materials relating mainly to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe. One of its main current activities is its HLF-funded project ‘Dream to Change the World’, which is cataloguing and archiving the papers and other materials of the late John La Rose, founder of New Beacon Books and the GPI.

George Padmore Institute, 76 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3EN
(nearest station Finsbury Park – underground and British Rail)

For more information or to book a place, please contact the George Padmore Institute at or call tel. 020 7272 4889

Labour Heritage AGM

11 Aylmer Road, London W12 9LG; 020 8743 4189
Chair: Stan Newens.
Secretary: Linda Shampan
Treasurer: John Grigg

Labour Heritage AGM & Meeting

Saturday 17th March 2012 – 1.30-4.30pm

At: Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate London EC2 4QA
(5 min.walk to British Rail/Underground – Liverpool Street)

Our AGM should last half an hour 1.30pm – 2pm, and will be followed by two speakers and discussion and a guided tour of the Bishopsgate collections:

‘Thirty Years of Labour Heritage’ – Barbara Humphries

‘The Rise of Labour in London: why the delay?’ –Stan Newens

‘The Bishopsgate Collections – a guided tour’ – Stefan Dickers

Barbara Humphries is the Bulletin Editor of Labour Heritage, and a Specialist Academic Support Librarian at the London School of Economics.

Stan Newens is Chair of Labour Heritage. He was MP, first for Epping and then Harlow, from 1964 to 1983 and a London MEP from 1984 to 1999. Stan is a Labour historian & an authority on the history of the Co-op Movement.

Stefan Dickers is the Library & Archives Manager of the Bishopsgate Institute, and in particular has developed its collections on the history of London and the Labour movement.

We hope you can join us for this meeting. For further information, please contact Linda Shampan: 020 8932 0165,