Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Notices and Alerts for September and after

(see also previous listing)

From CND
Day of action at the ExCeL, London • 4 September 2019
Nuclear weapons manufacturers are visiting London in September.  
They will exhibit at one of the world’s largest arms fairs
the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI).
Join the No Nuclear Day at the ExCel in the Royal Victoria Dock
10 am to 4 pm on the 4 September 2019
Further details including meet-up point and map on the CND web site
Sign up and share the event on Facebook

No Nuclear Day has been called by CND and Trident Ploughshares.
It is part of a week of protest co-ordinated by Stop the Arms Fair
the campaign against DSEI, founded in 2011.
From Medact Peace and Security Campaign
Sign our DSEI letter - We are still collecting signatures from those who work or have worked in health for a letter calling on the UK government to end their support of arms fairs such as the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) - which you can find here: www.medact.org/2019/actions/sign-ons/end-the-cycle-of-violence-take-action-against-uk-dsei-arms-fair/

Come along to the letter hand-in - We will deliver this letter in person to the Department for International Trade in the first week of September - a week before DSEI begins - and would love to have as many signatories as possible join us for this. We do not have a specific date yet but it will be in the daytime of the week beginning 2 September. If you are interested and would like more information, please email reemabuhayyeh@medact.org 

Student Climate Strikes in September
On 20th - 27th September, children and young people will be taking to the streets to call for climate action in the next escalation of the Student Climate Strikes campaign --

(see BBC and other mainstream media for more news on this)

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
SalfordM5 4WX
United Kingdom

Heritage Open Days tours
The Library is marking Heritage Open Days 2019 with free 'behind-the-scenes' tours on Friday 13 and Thursday 19 September at 2pm. Book in advance via info@wcml.org.uk.

The plan that came from the bottom up

OSaturday 14 September at 2pm we are screening the 30-minute version of The plan that came from the bottom up, a film about the extraordinary story of the Lucas Aerospace engineers who 40 years ago responded to the threat of redundancy with their own plan of action, developing alternatives to the military products their company made.  Mike Sanders from Manchester University will then chair a discussion about changing not just what we produce, but how we produce it, and thinking politically about technology.  Admission free; all welcome.

Tastes of honeyTastes of honey: the making of Shelagh Delaney and a cultural revolution is Selina Todd’s new authorised biography of Salford playwright Shelagh Delaney, which tells the story of how a working class teenager stormed late 1950s theatreland, and what happened next…  Delaney helped change the 20th century cultural and social landscape, putting working class lives centre stage and redefining what art could be, thus also inspiring a new generation of writers, musicians and artists.
On Wednesday 18 September at 2pm Selina will discuss Delaney’s upbringing, life and work, while Rob Lees (MaD Theatre Company) will talk about the experience of bringing Delaney’s work to life on stage in 2019, and Jenna Omeltschenko (Touring Partnerships Manager, National Theatre) will discuss the National Theatre’s new production of A Taste of Honey, which premieres at the Lowry in September. 
This is not a ticketed event but we expect it to be very busy - please arrive early to ensure a place...

Remembering the 1969 Manchester anti-apartheid march to the Springboks match
As part of the Library's 'Not just Peterloo' series of events, looking at the policing of popular protest, a free witness event on Thursday 3 October at 2pm brings together a panel of people who were at the Manchester demonstration on 26 November 1969 against the controversial South African rugby tour. 7,000 people marched, to be met by nearly 2,000 police officers. 150 protestors were arrested, with 77 charged.
The discussion will include why the protest was so large, the second largest of the whole tour (the Anti-Apartheid Movement organised protests at all 26 matches), and why the police acted so decisively with the chief constable telling the press afterwards they could say the demonstrators were frightened.
All are welcome. 
Please contact organiser Geoff Brown via the Library on info@wcml.org.uk if you were there on the day and would like to join the panel.

Women making history: locally, here, there and everywhere [Reminder]A day school, Women making history, will run in the Library annexe on Saturday 7 September from 11am to 3pm.

Organisers Keith Venables and Ali Ronan have put out a call welcoming stories, poems, films and exhibitions - contributions in any medium lasting 15/20 minutes are invited.
The event is free but donations are welcome.  Please get in touch to register:
Ali Ronan alironan61@gmail.com or Keith Venables iwceducation@yahoo.co.uk


From LSHG 

CFP - People's History? 

People’s History? Radical Historiography and the Left in the Twentieth Century

[For conference on] Saturday and Sunday, 15 and 16 February 2020 at the School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK. Organised and hosted by UEA School of History in conjunction with the journal Socialist History and the Institute of Working Class History, Chicago.

... This conference seeks to explore all aspects of the status and uses of history in modern left imagination. We are seeking papers of 5000 to 10000 words to be presented at the conference. Conference themes may include, but are not limited to: 

  • History, Marxism and international socialism
  • History, class and class consciousness
  • History, philosophy and critical theory
  • History, gender, race, sexuality
  • History and (post)colonialism
  • History and/as activism
  • History, pedagogy and empowerment
  • National and international histories
  • Party histories
  • History and the role of the historian as public intellectual
Proposals for papers and any enquiries should be submitted here. The deadline for submitting proposals is Friday 29 November 2019. We shall inform all applicants as to whether their proposals have been accepted as soon as possible after that date. The deadline for receiving completed papers from successful applicants will be Monday 3 February 2020. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Socialist History. Attendance at the conference for both presenters and audience will be free of charge, but we ask that anyone wishing to attend registers in advance.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Letter from Germany, August 1932

From translation of an article by MPT Acharya in l'en dehors, 15-8-1932

Letter from Germany
 written before the result of the elections

Comrade Styr-Nhair asks what readers of l'en dehors think of the crisis - I answer that it's the crisis of all crises, of all the thinking of the past, including socialist and anarchist ideas, the supreme crisis of human civilissation, the birth of a new humanity and a new civilisation.

It is preferable to observe the crisis here in Germany, as a crisis of civilisation and of humanity, rather than that of any other country in the same financial or agricultural situation.

The workers are responsible for the crisis, however, because in the midst of capitalism they think in the capitalist way, as sellers of their labour power, their merchandise.

Today those who hold power and those who hold merchandise are caught in the same crisis: the difficulty, I should say the impossibility, of selling. But like the capitalists, the workers think there must be a way of selling, whereas there is none, either for the workers or for the capitalists.

That is why I am firmly convinced that the birth of a new civilisation and of a new humanity is in the offing, in spite of the workers and capitalists and of the state socialists who are trying to prevent it and striving to have them aborted.

This civilisation will involve neither buying nor selling, nor employers, nor employees, which is clearly indicated by the tendency of the present crisis.

The only possible solution, as an inevitable consequence, is to bring about this transformation consciously; but the workers, including the anarchists, think that this state of affairs is not on the way and is not possible. And all of them clamour for wages for their labour - new masters (their "comrades") who won't be that any more (Russia is reckoned to have 16 1/2 million waged workers [figures and exact meaning of statistic unclear]).

They demand insurance against unemployment, and higher wages - for some, the ones in unions - which they could only get by increased prices, when there was trade with other countries. In Germany, millions of workers who paid union dues all their lives are deprived of the expected benefits, such that only those who have worked continuously for a year can receive an allowance that lasts a few weeks and even that on condition that they will not refuse to work in whatever conditions.

The other day an old comrade told me that if he had kept all the dues paid over to the union he would have several thousand marks. Latterly, a leader of the metalworkers' union stated proudly that when business is going well, the union has plenty of money. If not, the coffers are empty. I pointed out to him in a public meeting that the interests of his union are inexorably tied to capitalist commerce (as is the case in Russia). He got angry and retorted that I was a Brahmin who exploited the Untouchables. I answered that he was the Brahmin of workers and exploited them by hiring out labourers to capitalism in the capacity of intermediary, and pocketing the surplus (i.e. the difference between the pay of unionised workers and those in the union), thanks to the combination of one set of workers against the interests of the working class as a whole. He couldn't answer me.

Unionised workers' wages are actually brought down to that of the non-unionised, once their contribution is paid. The dues are handed over to the union, in the way of an employment agency, monopolising jobs in factories and offices.

The employers use those "workers' leaders" to discipline the real workers, while the workers for their part think their interests are being served. The workers' leaders have no right or possibility of struggling to save the workers' jobs, even those of their members, since the employers have the right to put them out the door when they want to, under a pretext or for some reason or other.

The whole trade-union system is a corruption of the capitalist system, but in an idealised form. Unfortunately, the unions are being dissolved by the lack of disposability of products, work and money. At the present time German unemployed who can't pay their dues are pushed out of their old unions like outcasts - so much the better! That will make them think, and feel.

The situation in Germany is different from the description given of it by all political parties, and even by the anarchist papers, which still think in the capitalist political way. Fear of fascism and hope for Bolshevism are still held among us, even by the opponents of fascism and Bolshevism. Anarchists and syndicalists are themselves obsessed by those two fears, preferring the second as "the lesser evil". But clear-sighted observation shows that neither is possible in the situation of 1932, which is different from that of Russia in 1917 and Italy in 1922.
KPD (Spartakusbund) Poster
against militarism, capitalism and the upper class

SPD (Social Democratic Party) poster 1932:
 "The worker in the Reich of the Swastika"
The spirit of the people is too realistic and too materialist for fascism and bolshevism to satisfy it, and the situation in Germany and the world is getting worse daily, without the fascists or Bolsheviks  being able to do a thing. Just as in 1917, when everyone in Russia expected no solution but monarchy or a republic, it was a third thief that grabbed power - marxism - so in Germany where everyone is obsessed by the idea that history can have only two outcomes, fascism or bolshevism, they will find themselves side-by-side with anarchy, and that without the anarchists having even suspected or made preparation for the situation. All forms of the State will become impossible in the present crisis, which is not simply that of lack of money and commerce, but also the impossibility of getting any financial system to work in the world.

Naturally, even syndicalists and anarchists hope that capitalism can be revived by fascism or Bolshevism, via inflation and international money markets, with or without the gold standard. This shows that they have no faith in their own "isms", however certain of their realisation they were wont to appear.

With Germany in a state of impossibility of having a government, the whole of Europe will gradually fall into the crater, first eastern Europe, then Russia, then the West. There is no hope of struggling against the avalanche, however prepared all governments may be at present.

What will the anarchists do? They'll mutter against all governments and against the Marxists in particular for having led everyone into this impasse, as if the latter were responsible for the anarchists themselves refusing to prepare for the situation, refusing to make plans or to discuss what they would need to do, or to spread their ideas for fear of ridicule or of being with respectable people who can only shake their heads..!

I think the present government will be the last in Germany, the same in Britain, with or without accompanying civil war. It's not surprising that (Ramsay) Macdonald is afraid, even though he adopts an attitude of calm and certainty about the solution. - Perhaps Hitler will be thrown out? Perhaps the labour leaders will be hanged? Because neither can supply the work and cash they promise and they are sure to disappoint their supporters - when the latter ask them to fulfil their pledges.

It's a volcano with everyone putting on a dancing show on top of it; since they feel they can do nothing about the situation, they pile up crises - to divert their supporters' attention from their own inadequacies, for fear they'll be discovered to be mistaken or to promise more than they can deliver, or because they're madmen going for broke. Personally, I think all the parties are afraid that the burden will fall on them, and want to be defeated. There cannot be any union between the different workers' parties in the crisis of power, because each tries to establish its own authority over the others as is logical in the struggle to seize power.

As Marxists, they can't profess anarchism outright; even if they unite on some sort of "democratic" basis they could not by themselves supply work, or bread, or revitalise trade, or revive finances, the only condition on which their government would work. Therefore anarchy is very close to carrying the day in Germany. But what is the proletariat going to do?

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_1932_German_federal_election
 Federal elections were held in Germany (Weimar Republic) on 31 July 1932, following the premature dissolution of the Reichstag. They saw great gains by the Nazi Party, which for the first time became the largest party in parliament but without winning a majority.

Friday, August 2, 2019

"Sexual Revolution and Loving Comradeship" Discussion

Pursuing his consideration of questions of the personal as political in relation to anarchism (see previous post) MPT Acharya took issue not only with traditional morality but with some manifestations of apparent permissiveness in the prevailing customs of the mid 1930s.

From translations of articles in l'en dehors, April 1935 

Translator's Note: 
Several terms which evidently had a particular meaning in the context of the time (and/or place) are especially difficult to translate appropriately. Thus 'bon-bourgeois' - Respectable Middle-class Male, Normal Upstanding Gent - has  been retained as being largely self-explanatory.  On the other hand, the phenomenon of 'partouzisme' and its practitioners, partouzards (root partout = everywhere), has been rendered inconsistently in various ways to try to convey its apparent nuances. A fairly large French-English dictionary translates partouse/partouze as 'orgy', which doesn't quite fit; here it carries possible connotations of promiscuity, multiple partners, group sex parties... but in a semi-organised and (to and for some sections of society) borderline-acceptable fashion. All very French, as the British would no doubt have said (to invoke both stereotypes).

The Struggle Against Jealousy:
Body Ownership, Exclusivity in Love
and For an Alternative Sexual Ethic
The Bon-Bourgeois

"Sexual Revolution and Loving Comradeship" 

In the Mercure de France of 15 March, Mr Saint-Alban set down a critique of "Sexual Revolution and Loving Comradeship" which is not a critique but a rehash of the reflections that such a work can trigger in a bon-bourgeois (alias bourgeois getting past it).

For a start, he accuses me of writing, all by myself, "355 pages of ravings", which shows that this critic hasn't read the book he claims to be reviewing. More than half the volume is taken up with extracts from letters, articles not penned by my poor hand, as well as by the transcription of  an investigation looking precisely at the "loving comradeship" theory. In this investigation I see the names of Manuel Devaldès and Gérard de Lacaze-Duthiers, colleagues on the review journal in which this character set down his wafflings. Clearly not a shining example of generosity to one's co-writers. But what can you expect from a bon-bourgeois?

You'll understand I'm not going to play the game of arguing with Saint-Alban on the subjects of sexual ethics, erotic phenomenology, biology or physiology. He wouldn't understand a word, poor chap. Frankly I consider him unworthy to do up the shoelaces of the least Carpocratian, legalist or perfectionist [adherents of ancient sects]. Their members included women and men who not only ran the risk of persecution, they died under terrible torments for the sake of their ideas. This is of course beyond the comprehension of a bon-bourgeois, more likely to expire from insufficient mental capacity.

Apart from this calling to order, let's look at the four objections or propositions presented by Saint-Alban.

1) This bon-bourgeois would have liked it if instead of my "335 [sic, 355 above] pages of ravings" I had published a "handbook of pleasure". No doubt something on the lines of the "32 positions", "L'examen de Flora", or I don't know what else. An exciting, spicy, satisfying handbook. He doesn't understand that the book is purely about ideas, and he has read so little of what he purports to criticise that he takes me up specifically on something I've come back to several times, in that I can only conceive of the loving-comradeship idea being put into practice in the context of a developed, selective milieu in which "comradeship" has been raised to a very high concept and is not considered complete unless it includes the ways in which feelings and sexuality are experienced. Practice as a consequence of theory and not the other way round. Ethics before instruction. I keep trying to get across the point about loving comradeship only being comprehensible at a high level, that it can only be absorbed by those who breathe the air of the peaks and not by those creeping about in the swamps. Waste of time. You'll tell me Saint-Alban is incapable of grasping those things. Of course! But still!

2) This bon-bourgeois starts talking right away about 'houses of ill repute' and 'watching through the key-hole'. Naturally. Never having visited such a house, I don't know if one feels jealous there or not, but what I do know is that in order to write what he does, my critic must necessarily be familiar with a social scene that has nothing in common with one where you might find people capable of belonging to a loving comradeship cooperative. But for pity's sake, look at the mentality: I propose "loving comradeship" and this character's mind immediately leaps to "brothel" and "voyeur"!!

3) This bon-bourgeois offers as a basis for relationships "present-day multi-partnering" (partouzisme - pluralism, for short). Naturally. We can see how his ideal is the hypocritical, arrogant, vain pluralist male looking down from his motor-car on the comrade who, often more sensitive and educated than him, doesn't flaunt a tailor-made suit and neither has a car nor can afford sea- or sun-bathing. Not to mention that in order to look good among his own set, the pluralist will often provide himself with a companion in the form of some old bat disguised as a woman of the world, supplied by a corner meeting-house and paid handsomely. Thanks for the - "liaison".

4) And as if that wasn't enough, the bon-bourgeois suggests I might be the high priest of a sexual cult whose priestesses would share with me the gleanings from pious offerings (sic)! How's that for "healthy and new".

I also note in passing the customary stupid remarks: bringing in the "very orthodox but very old and very repulsive female companion". That reminds me of the objection made to Tolstoy a thousand times to counter his doctrine of not resisting evil with violence:  "But what if you were out walking with a little girl and a mad dog jumped at her?" Moreover, in Saint-Alban's mind, the fact that someone doesn't need the state to agree a contract and respect its clauses, or doesn't give a tuppenny damn [stronger in French] about bourgeois moral values, means that they would have no notion of personal care and hygiene, they wouldn't wash or clean themselves. Looking after one's body is only something for prostitutes and pluralists (partouzards), of course.


"Loving comradeship" or "partouzisme" [Editorial comment, l'en dehors]

Some of our readers may be surprised at first sight to find us being so hostile to "promiscuity" whereas we have sometimes referred to it under the heading of reaction against sexual conformism. If we have happened to mention sleeping around, as a matter of fact, we see it for what it is and what it's worth: an offshoot of bourgeois sexual morality. Admittedly, it seems to allow for a sort of sexual free-for-all (I'm not saying "sexual communism", which is a quite different thing) but.looking closely it quickly becomes apparent that this promiscuity is confined to a certain class, most often full of contempt and presumptions, with no ideological concept - which may be fair enough - but practising social hypocrisy in its most repellent aspects. Apart from their assignations, the pluralists behave like respectable observers of family traditions and customs and established morals... Don't try talking to them about scientists or learned research concerned with sexual matters or focused on the problem of erotic fantasies, for example. They'd laugh in your face. They have no long-term view and no perspective...  'Pluralism' is in no way aimed at reinforcing friendly connections among its participants. It's a free brothel available to "men of the world".
What a gulf between that and the idea of loving or erotic comradeship, even putting aside all ideology, in which the participants are aiming to strengthen the comradely links that already join them, by completing and making them whole....
- E.A.

"April Fool" (April 1936)

And another from the same:-

Nude Cabarets

In a recent issue of Candide, Mr. Jacques Fayard tries to show that there is nothing harmful or immoral about women displaying themselves in the attire of Eve, and that they're not doing anything different from what other women do. They're earning an honest living - at least, the vast majority of them are.

The purpose of nude cabarets is the one pursued by any cattle show or exhibition of prize animals - it's about making money from the capital invested by the owner, i.e. turning a profit. The women on display are doing it to order, taking up such and such a pose, making such and such a gesture, in return for a "fair wage". Respectable spectators go into the establishment where they are appearing, pay the set rate of entry, partake, and the show supplies the desired sensations to their overheated brains, but that's the only place where they can satisfy their desires. Furthermore, it is perfectly possible that they haven't bothered to think about what would bring them pleasure, and it's quite simply the cabaret's owner or manager who takes the trouble to imagine the sensation or pleasure to match the cost of entry.

Nude cabarets have nothing in common with voluntary associations of nudists. If the young women were showing off their bodies for their own pleasure, or even from vanity, there would be nothing corrupt in that, even if curious persons handed over an entrance fee to them or to the owner of the place where they expose themselves. Well, the shows in nude cabarets are necessarily and purely mercenary. As is the work of typists. As is the basis of our life as a whole. But then, why stigmatise prostitution as immoral or incompatible with ethics? It is in this sense that the young women showing their nakedness in the cabarets are as respectable as any wage-earning woman.

The prostitute who says she "hasn't worked today" is in the same position as the merchant or shopkeeper saying he "hasn't sold anything today". Both are trying to earn money. It is solely from this point of view that young women who display themselves naked in cabarets should be judged. To see them as happy good-time girls is incorrect, even when they are proud of their profession. To speak about morality or respectability in our communal life is purely and simply hypocritical and perverse. The same goes for immorality or depravity of anyone in the society we're working in.

- M. ACH.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Freeing Feelings (or Liberating Libido) in Soviet Russia

Freeing Feelings in Russia
From translation of an article by M P T Acharya in l'en dehors, July 1932
Pursuing an argument in the pages of the French anarchist paper l'en dehors, Indian anarchist writer M P  T Acharya (as featured on earlier post) explored questions that were to come to the fore in discussions among libertarians and others decades later, notably women's liberation  and the politics of the personal. In attempting to demystify the supposed brave new world of the Soviet Union in this regard, he may have exaggerated the positive in the pre-revolutionary situation of Russian women, but made valid points, for example about the necessarily limited capacity of the state to prescribe for personal fulfilment.
Comrade Eliézer Fournier is mistaken in thinking that liberation of women and of marriage were due to the Soviet government. Before the war, Russian women had more freedom than the women of western Europe. Being married wasn't considered necessary in order to live together, even for people of 'good reputation'. It was not held to be indecent if a person went into another's room without being fully dressed. The universities, in and outside Russia, had a higher number of women students of Russian nationality than from the countries of western Europe. The immensely significant and risky part played by women in the liberation movement is well known. Even women of the upper class had gone over to the workers, and stayed, like (Alexandra) Kollontai and Vera Figner. People from the democratic countries who came to live under the Tsarist régime had found more democracy and less prudery among men and women in Russia than in parts of Europe with more advanced ideas.
Alexandra Kollontai, in the year the article was published.
From the biography by Cathy Porter. 
   After the Revolution, it was noted that women from Muslim regions of Russia were more active in agitating for female emancipation than those of Moscow, who only cared about attending to their appearance and going dancing - just like the 'leaders' in fact.

   The communists tried to arrange their own homes in the bourgeois style current in other countries, and to keep their wives in a bourgeois frame of mind. As one communist said: 'The first act of the Revolution, for communists, was to get divorced from their proletarian wives and marry aristocrats.' (Numerous instances could be cited in support of this assertion). The sum total of women's activity is to join the public services and become bureaucrats - which is happening now in western Europe. If to become members of the police, soldiers, prison warders or torturers constitutes 'liberation', the Bolsheviks gave them the opportunity, no question. But the US and other countries do the same. China has its women's battalions too. Amanullah [Khan]'s father had female gendarmes as his bodyguards in the harem.

   Russian women were always free in the best sense of the word, and were consequently considered 'shameless' in western Europe. The number of their substantial literary productions was greater than at present; there were even more doctors pre-war than today.

   But Tatar women always had the benefit of being free of the veil and liberated from illiteracy; they were more advanced than emancipated Turkish women.

   What the Bolsheviks did in the name of liberation was to assume no responsibility as far as women's economic situation was concerned, even while invoking liberty and responsibility. It's true that their laws state all women are free to marry and divorce as they like. But they were used to doing that in the time of the Tsars. As for insurance provision for divorced mothers, the same law exists in the capitalist countries. The State does not provide for the needs of divorced mothers, but it makes the man or men indicated by the mother pay maintenance. - I recently heard of a young man who had to pay nine-tenths of his wages to feed nine children.

   As for those women who are not economically indispensable (like working women), they can do a lot of things they couldn't have done before. They can accuse four or more men of being the father of their only child and get payments for upkeep from them all. If that's freedom, it's also engendering and encouraging corruption among women - without the Russian state taking on the responsibility as it claims. Similar corruption is practised professionally with the protection of the State in all countries, including Russia.

   The only good thing the Soviet government has done is to free women from being forced to bring children into the world, but without supplying them with means of contraception. But other countries are coming round to the idea of the need for a right to abortion. In the prevailing conditions, the cost of abortion is as prohibitive in the USSR as it would be in other countries, if it was allowed. Preventive methods are cheaper and better for health, it's true. But in either case, they have to be purchased. Hence the necessity for abortion, costly and dangerous as it is, in Russia as in other countries.

   The Soviet government has not abolished prostitution, as in its original banning of it on pain of prosecution, it even derives a source of revenue from it. It has even set up 'houses of sexual satisfaction in the interests of the people's health' - based squarely on those unfortunate women. Even in capitalist countries, brothels are considered physically, morally and intellectually dangerous... We only read the Soviets' propaganda line about sexual regulation and regularising, we don't think about hunger.

   In fact, the Soviet government is like any capitalist system or the Catholic religion: it can only exist by doing business. It can authorise and legalise certain freedoms in matters of sexuality, but its business and its interest are at the same time to punish and to encourage the 'evil' as in capitalist regimes, it cannot liberate women from economic worries and harassments.

   As long as the government does not supply the means of everyone's existence, no law and no regulation in favour of liberty, health and ethics can secure those things. Poor people will have to profit from those corrupting laws, simply in the interests of their continued existence. The best laws are powerless against debauchery and poverty because decrees are the result of the misery created by the law-makers. No government, however well-intentioned, can obtain food and life for all, with or without work. It can only prevent millions of people from eating and working and punish those who infringe those limitations and restrictions (called law and order). To make generous laws without granting the means to use them is to act in a contradictory way, to neutralise and prevent the realisation of 'good intentions'. Laws and 'good intentions' (or arrangements) are mutually destructive. Laws are incompatible with freedom, but they are necessary faced with the force majeure of statist economics.

    Hence so many shameful contradictions and abolition of laws 'to make freedom stronger' such as one even finds in a soviet state. Suppress or abolish the State and no law is of any use, and liberty and the economy generally will benefit from their disappearance.

   However, there cannot be any authorised or imposed communism in sexual relations. Sexual matters are part of individual freedom, as between the partners. In this case, you cannot train people up to partake of sexual pleasures without denying freedom and pleasure. Responsibility from the sexual viewpoint cannot either be made instantaneous by 'improving' or 'regularising' sexual freedom, a system which seems to arouse the enthusiasm of Comrade Eliézer Fournier. But blind admiration for Russian Soviet marriage laws is rooted in the capitalist habit of thinking (or rather not thinking) that the Bolsheviks are going too far. That can only please the bourgeois who are blind in sexual matters, who make no difference between liberty and libertinism and condemn both. -


(From RaHN Blogger). 
Some readers may be reminded of certain preoccupations and publications of the London 'Solidarity' group in the 1970s:
"Between 1920 and about 1933 the situation gradually regressed to the point where the sexual ideology of the leading groups in the USSR could no longer be distinguished from that of the leading groups in any conservative country." - M. Brinton, The Irrational in Politics (1970). 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Some Summer and subsequent Events

See also previous listings post

Saturday 13th July 2019
  Vi Gostling Memorial Lecture

                   Why private financing of public infrastructure must end and how we can do it

Speaker: Helen Mercer

 We all now know that no new PFI contracts will be signed, following general recognition that the experiment has been inefficient, costly and otherwise disastrous for the quality of our infrastructure and services. This talk focuses on what to do with the PFIs that are being left to run their course until the 2030s, or longer for many. 

The talk first demystifies financial wheeler-dealing by providing a clear and straightforward explanation of how private profit is spun off from public services, using examples of PFIs which affect people in North East London. Understanding those financial mechanisms has informed an idea currently gaining interest and agreement: that we can end the process entirely by nationalising the ‘Special Purpose Vehicles’, the financial companies which sign the contracts with public authorities. Helen is a retired lecturer in Economics and Economic History, and a member of People vs PFI.
                                 At the Epicentre, West Street E11 4LJ
7.30pm Buffet   8.00pm Talk and discussion
Free entry, donations welcomed / raffle
Enquiries 0208 555 5248  All welcome, no need to book
News from Nowhere Meeting
Saturday 10th August
UPDATE from email:
"Our speaker from Ashiana cannot come after all, but instead we are privileged to have Dr Annie  Gray talking about
'Loneliness Amongst Seniors: Why It's Important and what to do about it'
... Usual time, usual place: 7.30 for 8 p.m. at Epicentre E11 4LJ."

Bishopsgate Institute Peace Day, 19 July 1919

Saturday 20 July

  • Time:11:00 AM - 14:00 PM
  • Days of Week:Saturday
  • Course Code:AC19301
  • Subject:Arts and Culture
  • Tutor:Dr Michelle Johansen
  • Max students:16
  • Number of Sessions:1
  • Status:Available/A
  • Cost:£22.00 to £29.00
  • Concs. :£22
World War One did not officially end on 11 November 1918. Treaty negotiations at Versailles continued into the following year and it wasn’t until July 1919 that Britain celebrated formally with processions, pageants and street parties.

This session uses original historical sources to discover at first-hand what life was like in the aftermath of war for ordinary Londoners, among them demobilised soldiers, women office workers and conscientious objectors.

A Hands-on History course led by Dr Michelle Johansen.

For more information about this course and what you will learn, see the course outline.

Have a question? Send us an email or give us a call on: 020 7392 9200
From New Anarchist Research Group

Saturday 27 July 14:00-16:00 at the MayDay Rooms* 

Paris, May 1968 - An Eyewitness Account
Peter Turner 

"In 1968 France was in melt down. There was rioting in the streets and everyone seemed to be out on strike. I was 25 years old and involved in camping at the gates of Porton Down biological warfare research station on the Salisbury Plains with CND. I thought that there might never be another revolution in Western Europe in my lifetime so if I wanted to see history being made I had better get over there a.s.a.p. Four days later I was in the Sorbonne. This account is a personal record of what one man saw and heard (and smelt) in Paris in May 1968. It is cobbled together from the pages of the diary I kept at the time, the photos I took and my memories. I worked as a translator in the students' Press Dept and I experienced the bullets and the barricades at first hand. As for interpreting what it all meant, I'll leave that to others."

"I have earned my living from teaching science, and from working as an entomologist, both in Europe and in the Caribbean, where I lived for 4 years. Most of my political activities have been in the NUT and in single-issue campaigns, particularly solidarity movements such as Anti Apartheid and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign and the Palestine Solidarity Movement. I am a member of the Haringey Solidarity Group, and I support the Catholic Workers Movement, though without being Christian.
I write 2 blogs: petersgreentubewalks.wordpress.com which publishes details of footpaths in London's green belt, while assessing their suitability for disabled walkers, and zingcreed.wordpress.com which is a 'Christian-atheist' cum 'Christian -anarchist' blog with nearly 60,000 hits so far."

*MayDay Rooms 88 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH 
Our meetings are friendly and informal.  
Please note that we hold a collection to pay for the use of the room

Thursday 15th August 2019
Doors open 6.30pm for 7pm start
Venue: LARC (London Action Resource Centre)
62 Fieldgate Street

London E1 1ES 
Entry is free, donations to LARC are appreciated.
Booking preferred but not essential.
"The international economic crisis of 2007-9 brought people in the UK within two hours from cashpoints running dry. The effects are still reverberating around the world today, causing deepening poverty and increasing international instability. This isn’t a talk about bitcoin, but deep financial reform, multiple currency systems with an emphasis on Mutual Credit, seen in part, through an eco-anarchist filter."
There will be two parts to the talk, the first part is definitions and types of money, some advantages and disadvantages.
The second part will be about radical and people owned approaches to money. Hugh will include references to technical work that has already been done, working examples elsewhere in the world, some of the controversies and speculation about the immediate future.
This is a large, complex and controversial subject, and references for further reading will be supplied.
About Hugh Barnard - Hugh has an MSc in computing from the Open University and recently finished a philosophy BA at Birkbeck. He stood for the Greens in the 2017 Municipals and his outlook is probably adjacent to Bookchin’s eco-municipalism. Hugh is currently semi-retired and working on community currencies and open-source environmental sensing.
From Medact

 End the cycle of violence: Take action against UK arms fair DSEI
As many of you will now be aware, on June 20th the Court of Appeals ruled that the UK government’s licencing of the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia that were used in the devastating war in Yemen was unlawful. Since then, the government has now been forced to suspend export licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners for weapons that may be used in the war in Yemen.
This is a positive first step, but we must go further in order to end the cycle of violence. The UK government continues to fuel the arms trade to countries that have been and are complicit in mass human rights abuses and destruction in places such as Yemen and Gaza.
Arms fairs such as the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), taking place once again this September in London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre, facilitate the sale of arms from the UK and all around the world. A number of companies who exhibit weapons and technology at DSEI have sold arms to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kazakhstan and Turkey.
Take action with us by signing and sharing our open letter to the Secretary of State for International Trade urging him to commit to not hosting or supporting arms fairs such as DSEI.


We'd like to invite you to register and create an interesting and sparkling day about:

Women Making History: locally, herethere and everywhere.
Saturday 7th September  11.00 - 3 pm

We are still inviting stories, poems, films and Exhibitions and we would really value what everyone has to offer.......

Contributions in any medium lasting.15/20 mins are invited.

It will be in the Working Class Movement Library in Salford (near Manchester) on Saturday 7th September. 11-3 pm. 
Free but donations welcome

Please get in touch to register - 
or Keith Venables iwceducation@yahoo.co.uk

We look forward to seeing you!
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX

Not just Peterloo - our evening talks on state violence continue

7pm Wednesdays is the time for our series of free talks on state violence, Not just Peterloo.  There are two more talks in what's proving an excellent series.  We are keeping the library open after our usual closing time of 5pm so you can drop in beforehand and look at our detailed and much-praised Peterloo exhibition too.

Wed 10 July 7pm Jennifer Luff State surveillance of the 20th century left
From the early 1920s through the late 1940s, the British government operated a very large programme to identify, blacklist and dismiss suspected Communists working in HMG's munitions factories, shipyards and scientific establishments. This programme was kept secret from British workers and the British public, and it has remained so to the present day. This talk tells the history of Britain's secret red purge and reflects on its implications for modern British history and contemporary politics.
  Jennifer Luff is Associate Professor, Department of History at Durham University.

Wed 17 July 7pm Joanna Gilmore Lessons from Orgreave: policing, protest and resistance
In October 2016, then Home Secretary Amber Rudd ruled out a public inquiry into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’, arguing that “very few lessons” could be learned from a review of practices of three decades ago. The policing landscape, she suggested, has “changed fundamentally” in recent years, “at the political, legislative and operational levels”. In this talk Joanna will challenge claims of a progressive shift in the state’s response to protest and dissent since the 1980s. Drawing on empirical research into the policing of anti-war, anti-fascist and anti-fracking protests, she will highlight the continuing relevance of Orgreave, and the policing of the 1984-5 miners’ strike more generally, for contemporary policing practice.
  Joanna Gilmore is Lecturer in Law at the University of York researching public order policing, human rights and community-based responses to police misconduct. She is a founding member of the Northern Police Monitoring Project.
Full details at www.wcml.org.uk/events.

Our Sam, the Middleton Man - film screening

On Saturday 3 August at 2pm we will be hosting a screening of ReelMCR’s new community film about Samuel Bamford, radical reformer, writer, handloom weaver and leader of the Middleton contingent who walked to Manchester on 16 August 1819 in a peaceful protest which turned into what we now know as Peterloo.
Admission free.
A day of women's protest at the Pankhurst Centre
The Pankhurst Centre is welcoming two projects, Greenham Women Everywhere and Remembering Resistance, to 62 Nelson Street on Thursday 15 August from 10am to 4pm.

Remembering Resistance is a project which celebrates 100 years of women's protest in the North of England. Do you have stories to tell about activism? Come and share your memories and any related objects with the project team, who will record these stories to inspire future generations. You can also take part in two guided walks from 62 Nelson Street to find out more about women activists in the local area, and to share your own stories. The walks, at 10.30am and 1.30pm, are free, but bookable via Eventbrite here

Greenham Women Everywhere - pop-up exhibition
Established in 1982, the Greenham Common Peace Camp brought women from all over the world to live together to protest peacefully and creatively about the threat to humankind from the nuclear arms race.
All set in a Greenham-inspired tent, this touring exhibition displays original photographs and archival material collated from some of the women involved. A video installation explores what political concerns and campaigns the Greenham Women are taking on today, and there will be a chance to meet some of the women themselves.
From CND
Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The world says never again
2019 is the 74th anniversary of the bombings. Memorial events are planned across the UK for Hiroshima Day on the 6th August and Nagasaki Day on the 9th August.
Please join memorial events to support efforts to remember these catastrophic events & work towards a world where this can never happen again. The following are the events we know about so far, but keep an eye out on our web site for new events and let us know about events you are planning. 

3 August  Hiroshima: Birmingham commemoration; Hiroshima vigil and ceremony, Bromley
4 August  Hiroshima Day Peace Walk – London
Hiroshima and Nagasaki event: Southampton
Hiroshima Haiku workshop at the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft,  (BSL interpreted)
6 August  (until 9th) Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days of Action
Hiroshima: Liverpool  East Midlands CND, Derby  Edinburgh  
Hiroshima Peace Picnic: Charlton, London  Hiroshima: Wimbledon, London
Hiroshima Day commemoration – Sutton for Peace and Justice
International Fast for Nuclear Disarmament
Annual floating lantern ceremony at the Peace Pagoda, Willen Lake North
7 August  Seminar: The most dangerous scientist in history, at The Royal Institution, London
11 August  Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Wimbledon picnic
Events at Housmans
Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
King’s Cross
London N1 9DX
Tel: 020 7837 4473
We’re very easy to find – just a two minute walk from King’s Cross/St.Pancras terminals. Housmans is at the bottom end of Caledonian Road where it meets with Pentonville Road.
  1. ‘Curious King’s Cross’ with Andrew Whitehead

    Wednesday August 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  2. ‘Different Class: Football, Fashion and Funk – The Story of Laurie Cunningham’ with Dermot Kavanagh 

    Wednesday August 21 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  1. ‘The Twittering Machine’ with Richard Seymour

    Wednesday September 4 @ 7:00 pm8:00 pm
  2. ‘Prison: a Survival Guide’, with Carl Cattermole and Erika Flowers

    Wednesday September 11 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  3. ‘Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century’ with Kehinde Andrews

    Wednesday September 18 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
From Marketing Manger, Open City Documentary Festival in London.

As part of the festival this year, we have an event with artist and psychogeographer Laura Grace Ford. She's curating a screening of archival television documentaries from the early 90s, exploring the poll tax riots, housing, architecture and the politics of the time
One of these will be an episode from the series 'Summer on the Estate', set on the old Kingsland estate, whilst the other is "The Battle of Trafalgar' which looks at London more generally. 

Her work is really interesting, and she'll be present to introduce and discuss the work she's chosen, placing it within an idea of these films being "catalysts for new social imaginaries." I thought this event might be of interest to you, considering the local / historical themes, hence my getting in touch.

... You can see the event details here.

At @OpenCityDocs 2019, artist and writer Laura Grace Ford (@LauraOF) will host 'An Act of Unforgetting': a programme of archival TV documentaries centred around social and political upheaval in London during the summer of 1990: http://bit.ly/LauraGraceFordOCDF
We are thrilled to announce our next event:
Many thanks to Notts Zine Library and Nottingham Contemporary for hosting the event. 
Further details TBC shortly, but please start to spread the word! 

And we would like to hear from you: 
* Were you involved in the production or distribution of these or any other titles?
* Do you have any stories or anecdotes you would like to share in relation to these or similar publications?
* Do you have a box or a folder of similar materials in your attic (beneath your bed/in the shed) and would consider to either donate them to us or loan them to us for digitisation?

If so, we would very much like to hear from you (please note that we usually respond to emails rather fast - if you do not have an answer after three days, please check your spam folder!) - sparrowsnestlibrary@gmail.com 

Follow-up to earlier notification:
The Little Rebels Award for Children's Fiction 2019 was decided at an event on Wednesday 10th July. The result and details of the winner can be found on our previous posting about the shortlist