Friday, 28 March 2014

Seminar on Tony Benn

Tony Benn: Assessing his Legacy for the Left

The Socialist History Society is hosting this seminar to assess Tony Benn's contribution to British politics; speakers will look at the historical roots of his commitment to socialism; his record in and out of office; some of the key causes he championed; and his role as a populariser of history.

The event will take place on
Saturday 26th April between 2pm and 4.30pm
at Conway Hall, in London

Speakers confirmed

Keith Flett (London Socialist Historians Group) – ‘growing more radical as he grew older'

Dr Duncan Bowie (University of Westminster/reviews editor, Chartist magazine) –‘the roots of Tony Benn’s socialist commitment’

Prof Willie Thompson (Historian, former editor Socialist History) – Why regrettably the Benn project did not succeed

Stefan Dickers (Library and Archives Manager, Bishopsgate) – Benn as archivist

Jon Lansman (editor Left Futures/CLPD) - Setting the Standard - What the Left should look for in a Leader

Stan Newens (ex-MP, ex-MEP; President SHS) – Benn as a Parliamentarian

Dr Kate Hudson (CND general secretary/historian) – Benn the peace and anti-nuclear activist

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Memorial meeting for Richard Hart

Memorial Meeting for Richard Hart

A celebration of the life and times of Richard “Dick” Hart and the significant contribution he made as a scholar, historian, writer, editor and trade unionist in the development of a post colonial identity for the people the English speaking Caribbean

On 12th April 2014 From 12.30 to 4.30 p.m.
At the Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DL

Admission is free but, as space is limited, so please register in advance by emailing
Professor Gad Heuman & Professor Richard Drayton
Linton Kwezi Johnson, Jean Binta Breeze, Keith Waithe and others
Juliet Alexander
Tributes from:
The People's Progressive Party, People's National Party,
the Socialist History Society and others
 Read an obituary of Richard Hart by Luke Daniels here

The People's Charter

The People's Charter is a website about Chartism and Chartists by Stephen Roberts - full of 'musings, information and illustrations' and is highly recommended.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

CfP: Playing Politics

Playing Politics: Politics in Sport Festival
People's History Museum, Manchester
Saturday 14 June, 2014
Call for participants
14 June 2014, Playing Politics, Chile Solidarity Campaign banner @ People's History Museum

‘The cell was one of the team changing rooms… By the entrance to the tunnel where the players would go out onto the pitch, a heavy machine-gun was mounted.’
British eye-witness, imprisoned in 1973.

In 1973 General Pinochet led a military coup in Chile. Foreigners, trade unionists and anti-Pinochet protesters were rounded up and taken to detention camps. One such camp was the National Stadium in Santiago, where several detainees were tortured and executed. Others were forced into exile overseas.
Four years later, with Pinochet’s regime in place, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) arranged a friendly against Chile, which took place in the National Stadium on 15 June 1977. The SFA argued that there was no politics in sport. The issue was raised in the House of Commons, a group of Chilean exiles were refused a meeting with the SFA, a week long picket was organised outside SFA headquarters and many fans boycotted Scotland matches. Despite all of this, the game went ahead. Scotland won the match 4-2.
To commemorate the anniversary of ‘the match of shame’ and to celebrate the start of the World Cup in Brazil, we want to investigate when the worlds of politics and sport have come together. Our day long festival will bring out more of our sporting collections and visitors can get involved with lots of political fun and games.
We are looking for groups or individuals to contribute to the day, with short presentations or displays about anything related to politics and sport.
Topics covered may include:
  • How politics have influenced sport
  • How sport has influenced politics
  • Is there politics in sport?
  • Sporting boycott of South Africa during the Apartheid era
  • The controversy surrounding the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
  • Racism in sport
  • Homophobia in sport
  • Women in sport
  • Debate about the World Cup in Brazil

If you’d like to get involved, please email your name, contact details, information about yourself or your organisation and a short (250 word) proposal to by Thursday 1 May.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Dona Montefiore and World War One

Dear Comrade

A reminder that the final seminar of the Spring term is on Monday 17th March:

Dona Montefiore and World War One
Ted Crawford

Venue: Room G21A, Ground floor, Senate House 5.30pm

Can I also remind you that the deadline for the summer term issue of the London Socialist Historians newsletter is 1st April. All contributions are welcome


Keith Flett

Friday, 14 March 2014

Tony Benn and Bob Crow

The London Socialist Historians Group which convenes the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in London has paid tribute to Tony Benn as one of the too few politicians who understood the historical context in which they operated.
The historians say Benn’s Diaries are an important historical source but Benn’s life, lived in full awareness of the historical relationship between organised Labour and Parliamentary democracy provides an important guide for future activists.
Tony Benn spoke at the London Socialist Historians conference on the history of the vote and kept in touch with thoughts and pointers for research projects.
LSHG convenor Keith Flett said Tony Benn had a real sense of the importance of history and indeed in successfully renouncing his peerage made history. That is a too rare thing amongst politicians.
His real legacy in this sense must be to inspire present and future activists to have the same sense of history and its importance for current activity as he had.

See also Keith Flett's tribute to the late, great RMT leader and socialist Bob Crow - condolences for Crow can be signed here

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Ruskin College strike of 1909

News from Nowhere Club/
IWCE Network
supported by Labour Heritage

8pm Saturday 12 April

Colin Waugh on

The Ruskin College 'strike' of 1909

Independent workers' learning existed across the 20th century but can the
Plebs ideal of politically committed education be realised today?

The Epicentre,
Leytonstone, E11 4LJ
0208 555 5248
07443 480 509

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Stand up to racism and fascism on 22 March #M22

On Saturday 22 March it is UN anti-racism day and there are a number of mass rallies organised in
London, Glasgow and Cardiff to say 'no to scapegoating immigrants, no to Islamophobia and yes to diversity' organised by the TUC and Unite Against Fascism.
Please go to for leaflets and posters etc - given the current climate of
racist scapegoating and mainstream parties tailing of UKIP's racism (with Nigel Farage praising, and
trying to sound more like Enoch Powell every day) in the run up to the Euro elections - this is an important

National demonstration in London, Saturday 22 March :
Assemble 11 am,
Join us on procession from Nelson Mandela statue, Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square rally.
Speakers include: Diane Abbott MP, Natalie Bennett, Leader, The Green Party, Jerry Dammers, "Free Nelson Mandela" song writer, Farooq Murad, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain, Mohammed Taj, TUC President, Ava Vidal, Comedian

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Looking for copies of the Anglo-Soviet Journal

 From Andrew Jameson - 

I am on the Council of the SCRSS (successor to the former SCR, Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR , 1924-1992).
Would you be willing to mention in your blog that I am interested in acquiring any numbers of the Anglo-Soviet Journal that your correspondents may wish to pass on?

 The Anglo-Soviet Journal was the house journal of the SCR and I am researching the history of the Society, and writing academic articles.
Living in Malvern, it would be very, very useful for me to have my own set of the journal to refer to.
Yours sincerely,
Andrew Jameson
(willing to pay expenses and maybe more)
(duplicates will be passed on to the SCRSS)
Consultant on Russian Language and Culture
Member, SCRSS Council
Translator, Russian & German to English
Listowner, russian-teaching list