Friday, 29 August 2014

LSHG Autumn term seminars

LSHG Autumn term seminars. All at 5.30pm, Olga Crisp room (104) Institute of Historical Research, London with the exception of Saturday 29th November from 1pm - all welcome. 
For more info please contact Keith Flett at the email address above. 
Autumn term LSHG seminars

Mon Sept 29th 
'100 years of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'. Shut Out the Light film & discussion

Mon Oct 13th  
Steve Cushion: 'Killing Communists in Havana: 1947 and the start of the Cold War in Latin America'

Mon Oct 27th 
Mike Simons & others: 'The Great 1984/5 miners strike, why a film? Why now?'

Mon Nov 10 
Linda Grant:  'The New Universities. Higher Education and the social history of the 1970s'

Mon Nov 24 
Merilyn Moos 
'Siegfried Moos: a lost revolutionary? The story of a German Communist who fled to Britain in 1934.'

Sat Nov 29th 
Neil Davidson & others.  'The Scottish vote and history'

Mon Dec 8th tbc

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Book Launch: Helen Macfarlane - Red Republican

Book Launch

Macfarlane Front Cover

At 7pm on Monday 1st September, at the Cock Tavern, Chalton Street/Phoenix Road (NW1), the Association of Musical Marxists launches the latest from Unkant Publishers, David Black’s collection of Helen Macfarlane’s wildly fantastic journalism for Chartist newspapers: Helen Macfarlane: Red Republican. ... In 1850, a Scottish governess who’d experienced revolution in Vienna in 1848, left “respectability” behind and began contributing to Democratic ReviewRed Republican and Friend of the People, newspapers aimed at the revolutionary working class (‘the Chartists’). Macfarlane read Hegel better than S.T. Coleridge and wrote better prose than George Eliot; she translated The Communist Manifesto into English thirty years before the version you know. Karl Marx called her a ‘rare bird’. ...  At the Cock, Macfarlane will be reimagined by actress Helene le Bohec, by Dave Black as MC and by musicians as diverse as tape-manipulator Ian Stonehouse and bassist Mark Harvey. Please come down to a left pub-upstairs-meeting which is free, welcomes kids, includes ace improvising musicians ....

Friday, 22 August 2014

CfP: Workers' Education and Global Labour Movements

Workers' Education and Global Labor Movements
A Special Issue of 
With IFWEA: International Federation of Worker Education Associations
Issue Co-Editors: 
Dean Michael Merrill, The Van Arsdale Center, SUNY Empire State College
Dean Susan J. Schurman, School of Labor & Management Relations, Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey
Deadline for ABSTRACTS of proposed papers: NOVEMBER 1, 2014
Notice of ACCEPTED PROPOSALS: no later than DECEMBER 15, 2014
Deadline for FIRST DRAFTS of proposed papers: JULY 1, 2015
Deadline for FINAL DRAFTS of proposed papers: JANUARY 2, 2016
Proposed publication date: FALL 2016
We have learned a great deal about the history of global working class in the modern era and about the economic, political, and social struggles that accompanied its rise. But we still know comparatively little about the educational institutions, relationships and practices working class movements have used to develop the capacity for sustained struggle, not to mention the ability to survive their defeats and institutionalize their victories.
To encourage a deeper understanding of these efforts, the editors of ILWCH (International Labor & Working-Class History) invite proposals for articles, interviews, review essays, documents, conference and archive reports, photo essays, and reflections on the role of worker education, both formal and informal, in the development of the global labor movement and its base communities.
We are especially concerned to receive proposals for papers that describe both the formal and informal educational practices that working people have pioneered to advance their own struggles and those that explore the intellectual and cultural achievements of working people that have emerged from these practices.  
In every society in which workers’ movements have appeared, they have been concerned to provide their members with the knowledge, skills and perspectives required to live better lives and to be more effective advocates for themselves and their interests. In the service of these goals, the movements and their members have worked both to develop their own educational institutions and to secure access for all working people to the best educational opportunities their societies have to offer.
The following examples suggest the range of these important educational initiatives, of which there are many, and we invite proposals that explore them, and others like them, across the entire range: 
  • In Great Britain, the Worker Education Association has provided hundreds of thousands of workers with access to a wide range of post-secondary courses and programs of study, while employing several of the best known English labor intellectuals of the 20th century, including G. D. H. Cole, Karl Polanyi, E. P. Thompson, and Raymond Williams.
  • In Sweden, following labor movement’s devastating defeat in a general strike of 1909, Swedish trade unionists and members of the Social Democratic Party pioneered the use of “study circles” as part of a self-conscious “education strategy” to counteract the growing influence of anarcho-syndicalist and Bolshevik rivals, which resulted ultimately in the peace pact of 1938 between the unions and the employers and laid the groundwork for the postwar “Swedish model.”
  • In Brazil, movements of independent trade unionists and dispossessed rural workers have nourished and been encouraged by innovative educational programs, including mass literacy campaigns of the sort pioneered by Paolo Freire, indigenous schools associated with the ecclesiastical base communities of liberation theology, and even industry-sponsored trade schools, such as the one in which Luiz (“Lula”) da Silva got his start.
  • In South Africa, the International Labour Research and Information Group, together with its allied community groups and organizations, provided continuing intellectual and educational support to trade union struggles and worker mobilizations, which deserves to be more widely known, as do other popular education efforts, such as the two volumes of Luli Callinicos’s A People’s History of South Africa, the first volume of which, Gold and Workers, was used by the National Miners Union in its membership education.
  • In India, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (or SEWA) was founded initially to provide educational and other assistance to women in the so-called “informal sector.” It has since grown to become one of the largest labor organizations in the world and continues to provide a wide range of educational services to its members and to encourage their pursuit of their own learning, both formal and informal.
Abstracts and inquiries should be addressed to the Editors at:
c/o The Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies
SUNY Empire State College
325 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013


Remembering Claudia Jones walk

From The Voice:

THE WOMAN considered the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival is to be remembered as part of commemorations marking the 50th anniversary of her death.
A programme of events celebrating Claudia Jones begins with a walking tour this Sunday (August 24) led by historian S I Martin.
The community organiser and political activist was also founder of the West Indian Gazette – Britain’s first black newspaper.
Jones was born in Trinidad but found her journalist roots while living in New York.
The 'carnival mother', as she is often credited, would eventually relocate to live and work in south London from 1956 until her untimely death in December 1964.
Her commitment to activism has seen her immortalised her as one of the 100 greatest Black Britons.
"She was what I consider the Godmother of modern black Britain today," said Martin.
"There was no jocular aspect to her and there was no glamour – she was a political heavyweight but not a firebrand," he added. "She was more interested in just getting the job done. There was nothing showy about her."
The tour - which costs £10 - leaves Oval station at 2pm and promises to 'explore the world of Claudia Jones'.
For more information, call 0207582 8248 or email

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

SHS meeting on the Ukraine

Socialist History Society

Public Meeting

Russia and Ukraine: one history, two stories?

Speaker Francis King

Editor of Socialist History and lecturer in modern European history, University of East Anglia


Ukraine Astride the Geopolitical Faultlines

Speaker Frank Lee

Retired lecturer, author of 'Fabianism and Colonialism’, and 'The EU: an unfinished project'; economics editor of Chartist magazine

2pm Saturday 4th October 2014

Venue: Marx Memorial Library, Clerkenwell Green

Attendance is free – all welcome

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Featherstone Massacre Commemoration


In the summer of 1893 Yorkshire mine owners -faced with a fall in the price of coal- demanded that miners accept a 25% reduction in wages.
The miners resisted and on 28th July they were locked out.
The dispute dragged on and after seven weeks money was increasingly tight.  Miners knew they needed to step up their action so they began to stop the movement of coal.
On 6th September the manager of Featherstone's Ackton Hall colliery, a Mr Holiday, arrived at the pit to find a large picket of miners demanding that the loading of smudge for sale be stopped.  Holiday eventually agreed.
But the next day miners discovered wagons with Bradford destination tickets being loaded with smudge.  The miners felt they had been conned, so they toppled the wagons over.
Holiday, fearing widespread unrest, called for help and the military -in the form of the South Staffordshire Regiment- were soon sent in.
However the troops and the magistrate Bernard Hartley JP were confronted by a large crowd in Green Lane.  The magistrate read the Riot Act but when the crowd didn't disperse live rounds were fired. 
One man, James Gibb, was shot through the right breast.  He died in a local surgery the following day.
Another man, James Duggan, also died in Clayton Hospital, Wakefield after surgeons were unable to stop bleeding in his leg.
Many more people were also wounded.
Jurors at Duggan's inquest were instructed to return a verdict of "justifiable homicide."  Jurors at Gibb's inquest refused to acquiesce in this way and expressed regret at the "extreme measures" taken on the night in question.
The Bowen Commission later set up to inquire into events was a complete whitewash.  The Home Secretary, HH Asquith, did agree to pay £100 to each of the deceased families but still didn't admit any culpability.  Henceforth Asquith was known as "Assassin Asquith."

On Saturday 6th September the Wakefield Socialist History Group will be commemorating these events with a guided walk.  Mett 2pm at Bradley Arms, Willow Lane, North Featherstone.   There will be a graveside oration and tour of locations in Featherstone itself associated with the Massacre.
All are welcome and there is no charge.

Alan Stewart
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Great War and the Working Class Movement Library

From the Northern Radical History site:

The Working Class Movement Library’s exhibition, The Great War: myths and realities, opens on Wednesday 6 August.  It explores topics such as Salford’s response to the outbreak of war, the strength of the anti-war movement locally and nationally, what happened to the campaign which had gathered momentum by 1914 to get the vote for women – and the realities of trench warfare.
On this anniversary of the start of the First World War the Library wants to commemorate it, but to do so honestly.  The exhibition introduction states: ‘We will not remember the “lost” or the “fallen”.  We will remember 16 million dead whose lives were not given but were taken from them by politicians and generals’.
Veronica Trick, a member of the volunteer exhibition team, said: ‘By camouflaging this hideous event with heroic language we make the next war more likely.  We believe that there is only one morally acceptable way to remember WW1 and that is to look honestly at past wars to develop strategies for the prevention of future wars.’
The exhibition is open during the Library drop-in times, Wed-Fri 1-5pm, until 19 December 2014.
There will be a series of free talks accompanying the exhibition on Wednesdays at 2pm:
24 September 2014 The art of WW1 – John Sculley
1 October 2014 Winifred Letts, local poet – Cynthia Greenwood
8 October 2014 British trade unions and the First World War – John Newsinger.
The Working Class Movement Library was founded by the late Ruth and Edmund Frow in the 1950s and is now acknowledged as one of the most important collections of historical material on radical working class organisations in the country.  The Library is open to the public on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons.  At other times visitors are welcome to make appointments to view or use the collection. Admission to the library is free.
Working Class Movement Library, 51 Crescent, Salford M5 4WX
Tel 0161 736 3601

Monday, 4 August 2014

No Glory - No More War

No Glory - No More War 
Monday 4 August  
6.30pm - 8.30pm 
Parliament Square London
Monday 4 August is the 100th anniversary of Britain's entry into World War One. Britain's recent record of foreign wars, its commitment to NATO expansion and its support for Israeli aggression make it essential that there is a strong anti-war message on the day.
There are anti-war events taking place around the country to counter David Cameron's campaign to make the WW1 centenary an occasion for "celebration" and "glorification". 
In London the No Glory in War campaign will stage an event in Parliament Square at 6.30pm, just before the official commemoration, evoking the real horror of World War One, demanding that nothing like it happens again. We will be celebrating resistance to war at the time and today.
Speakers and performers at the No Glory - No More War event include actors Samuel West and Kika Markham. Jeremy Corbyn MP will read Kier Hardie's anti-war speech of 1914. Writer AL Kennedy will read Carol Ann Duffy's Last Post in honour of Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier from the First World War trenches, who said until the day he died in 2009 that war was 'legalised mass murder'
Also speaking are World War II Normandy veteran Jim Radfordhistorian Neil Faulkner and Kate Hudson from CND. Music will be performed by Sean Taylor and Gunes Cerit.
Stop the War is asking all our supporters who are able to attend, to bring white poppies and other anti -war symbols to make sure this anniversary is marked in the only way appropriate - with a loud call for an end to foreign wars.
If you are are a Twitter user, please use the hashtag #NoMoreWar throughout the day.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Hidden Histories: Little Germany

President: Peter Hennessy

 8pm Saturday 9 August

 Little Germany: Stratford and East London 1914

 On Tuesday 15th December 1914 a small group of Germans were led to William Ritchie & Sons, an old jute factory on Carpenter’s Road, now to become Stratford Camp. Interviewing decedents of the Germany Community in Newham and East London, Eastside Community Heritage launched an exhibition in July 2014 which is now open to the public. Epicentre West St, Leytonstone, E11 4LJ
 Enquiries: 0208 555 5248 or

Friday, 1 August 2014

Conference: Reparative Histories

Reparative Histories: Radical Narratives of ‘Race’, and Resistance

University of Brighton, 11-12 September 2014
An interdisciplinary conference inaugurating the Research Cluster, ‘Representation: ‘Race’, Culture and Identity’

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the role of historical representation in shaping radical cultural, aesthetic, and political meanings of ‘race’. Celebratory conceptions of identity, e.g. ‘hybridity’, ‘transnationalism’, and the ‘global’, developed within the abstracted frames of postmodernism often fail to account for the nature and complexity of contemporary processes of identity formation, or for their contested political mobilisations and contexts. The conference is interested in critical historical and cultural representations that are rooted in particular histories and cultures and their legacies in the contemporary moment.
The conference questions what it means to turn to history to appeal for recognition and redress in the present. It will address why the appeal to ‘origins’ remains such a powerful tool of oppression and of resistance, and how traditions of political struggle are currently being rearticulated. We are interested in why certain forms of resistance to oppression are often framed within the context of trauma rather than historical agency.  From the election of Obama to the increasingly effective slavery reparations movement, and from South Africa’s post-apartheid complexity to the rise of far-Right parties in Europe, and the reconfiguration of Europe as a fortress, ‘race’ remains a lightening rod telegraphing the fault-line within liberal democracies, and exposing their hidden histories.
The conference aims to contribute to current debates concerning the ethics and limits of representation in questioning constructions of 'race' and their re-workings in, for example, specifically Black and diasporic aesthetic and intellectual traditions, e.g. archival absences and traces; the politics of historical commemoration; twentieth century African American aesthetics and Communism; the legacies of transatlantic slavery; colonial legacies and postcolonial identities; 'race', agency and the politics of identity; trauma and representation; the historical and contemporary intersections of ‘race’ gender and sexuality; the politics of reparations; interracial anti-racisms and African Atlantic cultural formations.
Dates of Event
11th September 2014 – 12th September 2014
Last Booking Date for this Event
9th September 2014

Confirmed keynote speakers: Dr Priyamvada Gopal (University of Cambridge), and Dr Brian Kelly (Queen’s University, Belfast).