Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Listings: into the conference season

(Including reminders and updates from regularly featured groups)

Peace History Conference 2017: Protest, Power & Change

Protest, Power & Change is the theme of the 2017 Peace History Conference, organised by Movement for the Abolition of War in partnership with Imperial War Museums.
Friday 9 June at Tavistock Square WC1 and Oasis Hub Waterloo, 1a Kennington Rd SE1
Saturday 10 June at IWM London, Lambeth Road, SE1

Frank Cottrell Boyce, children’s novelist and screenwriter, will open the conference.  
Among topics on the programme will be 
  • ‘Fewer Bombs, More Jobs: The Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards’ Alternative Plan 1976’ 
  • and ‘Lysistrata in the Rainforest: the women’s nonviolent campaign which ended the civil war in Liberia’.
Other sessions pick up on the anniversaries of 2017:
  • 50 years since Martin Luther King’s momentous denunciation of the Vietnam War, 
  • 60 years since activists started coalescing into the movement that became CND, 
  • 150 years since the births of anti-war artist K├Ąthe Kollwitz and feminist peace campaigner Emily Greene Balch,
  • and 500 years since Erasmus published his ‘Complaint of Peace’.
PHC 2017 is timed to coincide with the exhibition ‘People Power: Fighting for Peace’ at IWM London, making a visit doubly worthwhile.  (Exhibition ends 28 August.). 
The Imperial War Museum is the venue for the Saturday conference.

[RaHN Note: The IWM has hosted previous conferences in this series, starting with the first.]

Additional events on Friday 9 June
 - an afternoon walk along the London Peace Trail (starts 3.30 pm from Tavistock Square WC1) 
and at 7.30pm the acclaimed play ‘This Evil Thing’, which tells the story of First World War Conscientious Objectors.  Written and performed by Michael Mears, the play is at Oasis Hub Waterloo, 1a Kennington Road, SE1 7QP.

Programmes/booking forms are available. You can book online at www.abolishwar.org.uk or use a form as below, making your cheque payable to MAW and return form and cheque to: 
MAW Peace History Conference 2017, 11 Venetia Road, London N4 1EJ - 
Name(s)
Address
Phone
Email
I / we would like to attend the Peace History Conference and enclose a cheque to cover the following:
Conference Registration - £20 standard £5 full-time student
This Evil Thing’ - play on Friday night £6
Additional donation
TOTAL ENCLOSED
I/we will join the Peace Trail on Friday 9 June (tick for yes)
£
Postcode
£
£
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Exhibition as above at IWM London until 28 August 2017 
People Power: Fighting for Peace
"Take a journey from the First World War to the present day, exploring how peace movements have influenced perceptions of war and conflict in this major exhibition.
From conscientious objectors to peace camps and modern day marches, Fighting for Peace tells the stories of passionate people over the past one hundred years and the struggles they have endured for the anti-war cause. 
Over three hundred objects including paintings, literature, posters, placards, banners, badges and music reveal the breadth of creativity of anti-war protest movements, reflecting the cultural mood of each era."
Admission
Price
Adult
£10
Child
£5
Concessions
£7
IWM Members
Free
Art Fund Members
£5
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Haringey Diversity Festival: Battle of Wood Green 40 years on
23rd April 2017
On Sunday 23rd April this year there will be a celebration of the diverse place Haringey today is, welcoming people whatever their background. The context is the 40th anniversary of the National Front march from Ducketts Common, Turnpike Lane on 23rd April 1977. Dubbed the ‘Battle of Wood Green’ the fascist march was broken by protesters, many shoppers out on that Saturday afternoon 40 year ago, as it entered Wood Green High Rd. Haringey has never looked back, and neither have the fascists. They never attempted a public display in the area again after that day.
Details of the history of the day and what is planned for 23rd April this year can be found via @BattleOfWoodGrn which also links to a Facebook page.The event is organised by Haringey TUC in association with Unite the Union and the two Haringey Constituency Labour Parties.
AND  'The Battle of Wood Green' 40 years on
London Socialist Historians Group Open Forum
Monday 24 April 2017, 5.30pm
Institute of Historical Research 
IHR Seminar Room N304, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
All welcome - no need to book in advance
The Battle of Wood Green took place on Saturday 23 April 1977. A National Front march left Ducketts Common to march down Wood Green High Road. They were opposed by 3000 anti-fascists and large numbers of Saturday shoppers. Although there had been street skirmishes before, this was the first serious disruption of an NF march.
All are welcome to attend and discuss the Battle of Wood Green and its effect on the future of anti-fascist struggle leading up to the present day - free / donations welcome

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News from Nowhere Club special event
Sat 13 May  7.30 for 8pm at the Epicentre
West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ

CAROLS FROM THE COALFIELDS
Speaker / Performer: Chris Harrison

A musical evening, featuring poems by Joseph Skipsey, a self-educated coal miner, set to music by his great-great-grandson, Chris Harrison.  Joseph Skipsey, ‘The Pitman Poet’, was born in Northumberland in 1832.  He began colliery work aged seven. Having taught himself to read & write, he published his first book of poems in 1859.  Chris has set 24 of Skipsey’s poems to music, calling the project “Carols from the Coalfields”, after the collection which Skipsey published in 1886.  The songs offer a rich & varied picture of life in the mining communities, while describing issues & experiences still relevant today.  His CDs, volumes 1, 2 & 3, will be on sale (£5 each.)

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TALKS AT WCML
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
SalfordM5 4WX

All welcome, admission free, light refreshments afterwards. 
26 April Ruth Cohen  Margaret Llewelyn Davies: socialist, feminist and co-operator
This visionary campaigner led the Women's Co-operative Guild between 1889 and 1921 -  a period in which it became an outstanding public voice for working class women, and has been described as the ‘left wing’ of the co-operative movement.


10 May Deborah Mutch  'What I mean, my dear': The Woman Worker and the male voice
The Woman Worker began on 1 September 1907 when it was published by the National Federation of Women Workers and edited by Mary R. Macarthur.  Although intended by its founder, Robert Blatchford, as the first workers'/socialist publication specifically for women, from the very first issue there was clearly going to be a tussle to have the female voice heard.  This talk will discuss the amount of space given over to the male voice in this female publication, and the tone of conversation between the genders across the pages.

Published by North West Labour History Society, 2015
24 May 
Alison Ronan The real rebels of WW1
A short film and illustrated talk by Ali Ronan about the Women’s Peace Crusade in East Lancashire during 1917-1918


7 June Stephen Mustchin - Strikes, workplace occupations and 'the right to share hardship': engineering trade unionism and the 1980 occupation at Gardner
This talk focuses on engineering trade unionism, workplace conflict and strikes at the famous Eccles-based engine manufacturer L. Gardner and Sons.
 
21 June Dean Kirby - Angel Meadow
Journalist Dean will take listeners on a journey through this 19th century Manchester slum which was re-christened 'hell upon earth' by Friedrich Engels.
 
5 July Bruce Wilkinson - Three Lancastrian poets of the '60s
Bruce's book Hidden culture, forgotten history looks at the 1960s publishing and political activities of working class Lancastrian poets Jim Burns, Dave Cunliffe and Tina Morris, and traces their literary and activist impact.
 
19 July Dave Randall - Sound system: the political power of music
Years of touring, playing and protesting have given Dave an insider’s view of the music industry, enabling him to shed light on the secrets of celebrity, commodification and culture.
 

Further details of these talks, plus more coming up, are at www.wcml.org.uk/events.


Also from/at WCML - 

1842 - blood on the streets of Halifax

On Friday 28 April at 5.30pm Catherine Howe, author of Halifax 1842: a year of crisiswill lead a
guided walk of the sites where at least six workers were shot or sabred to death and hundreds injured by the military when they struck for democratic reforms in August 1842. Meet at Halifax Central Library; free, donations welcome.
For more information, e-mail info@calderdaletuc.org.uk, tel 07392 852561 or 01422 885211.
Salford May Day 
On Monday 1 May the annual May Day parade is being organised by Salford Trades Union Council.  This year the theme is Unity in the Community and community groups are invited to bring banners and flags and join in the parade.
Assemble: Sacred Trinity Church, Chapel Street, 1pm.  There will be a rally in Bexley Square from 2.30pm with speakers including the Bishop of Manchester, Salford MP Rebecca Long Bailey and Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett.
Organisations are invited to have a stall at Bexley Square - to book a space mail salfordtuc@gmail.com.

The flame still burns: the creative power of coal

This year is the 70th anniversary of the nationalisation of the coal industry.  Vesting Day for the National Coal Board was 1 January 1947.
On Thursday 15 June from 7 to 9pm we host an event centred around a book, The flame still burns: the creative power of coal, which explores the sheer power of an industry which created rich, diverse cultures in the different mining communities, and continues to inspire fresh creative work today.
Granville Williams, the book's editor, will introduce a selection of films produced by the versatile and creative NCB Film Unit between 1947 and 1984. Admission free; all welcome

Alun Parry - 'Freedom Rider' gigWe look forward to welcoming singer-songwriter Alun Parry on Thursday 19 May at 7pm.  Alun describes his music as ‘indie folk meets Americana on the way to a picket line’. Come and hear him live as he plays his new album Freedom Rider, a rousing and defiant collection of songs exploring social history and celebrating the human spirit. Find out more at parrysongs.co.uk.Tickets price £8 plus 50p booking fee are available in advance here.

8th annual Frow LectureA reminder that the 8th annual Frow Lecture will take place on Saturday 6 May at 2pm at the Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford. 
Kevin Morgan, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, University of Manchester and Library trustee, will speak about our founders. 'Wait while you and I get our books together': Ruth and Edmund Frow and the making of the Working Class Movement Library will draw on Ruth and Eddie's papers to tell how political comradeship and a remarkable Cold War love story gave rise to the Library as we know it today. Admission free; all welcome; light refreshments after.

James Connolly exhibition closes soon, Marx and Engels thereafter!

There's currently another chance to see our exhibition 'We Only Want the Earth', first shown on the centenary of the Easter Rising.  It explores the life of one of its leaders, James Connolly, socialist, trade unionist, nationalist and revolutionary.  We only want the earth reveals the life and prolific works of this enigmatic man.
This exhibition closes on 27 April, and from 28 April you will be able to visit our new exhibition, The life and work of Marx and Engels.  This exhibition celebrates the truly creative partnership between Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the body of revolutionary, philosophical and economic writings that their collaboration produced.
Exhibitions open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and  first Saturday of month 10am-4pm. Admission free.

HiDDEN 'object swap' The Library is one of the eight members of the HiDDEN network of small cultural attractions in and around Manchester. From now until July HiDDEN members have done an 'object swap', and visitors can see in our hall some items from the Belle Vue collection at Chetham's Library.  There are also items on display at Chetham's from our collections here, on a Marx and Engels theme in tribute to the many visits paid by both men to study in that building.  Pop in to both libraries to see the displays - and while you're about it, why not also visit the other HiDDEN members?: Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Manchester Jewish Museum, Museum of Transport, Pankhurst Centre and Victoria Baths.

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 Marx Memorial Library Open Day
37a Clerkenwell Green
Marx Memorial Library
London
EC1R 0DU
On 1 May MML opens its doors to a Russian Revolution themed May Day Open Day
10am-3pm, featuring
- exhibition launch of 'The Impact of the Russian Revolution, 1917-1922'
               funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund
- launch of ticket sales to our International Conference onthe October Revolution on 4 Nov
               just £7 for one day only
- labour movement speakers and revolutionary songs
- stalls, tours, tea and cake

Also at MML:
The Guernica Children
 On Thursday 27 April 7pm we mark 80 years since the bombing of Guernica by Nazi Germany's Condor Legion with a screening of Steve Bowles' film The Guernica Children and a presentation from Herminio Martinez, one of the 4000 Basque Children refugees who came to Britain.

[Reminder]  Banners For Spain
Exhibition (joint with Islington Museum and with support from the Textile Society and GFTU) opens on 5 May. It showcases 6 stunning newly conserved Aid Spain banners and looks at the response to the Civil War in London and, in particular, Islington. Further details here.

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Launch of website on the history of Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Union Council 
1895 to 1919
“Any help possible will be given”: official launch of the website on the history of Manchester and Salford Women’s Trade Union Council, 1895-1919

Saturday 29th April  2017, 2.15pm,  in the Mary Quaile Room, Manchester Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD. Speakers: Bernadette Hyland (Mary Quaile Club),  researcher and political activist; Lisa Turnbull, activist in the Durham Teaching Assistants dispute

On Saturday 29th April the Mary Quaile Club will launch the website on the history of the Manchester and Salford Women’s Trade Union Council 1895-1919, a unique historical archive on women and trade unions.   This will take place at 2.15pm in the Mary Quaile Room at the Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street,  Manchester. More information: maryquaileclub@gmail.com
The MSWTUC was formed in February 1895 specifically to organise women workers, often in low paid jobs, into trade unions. The Council fostered trade unions among sewing machinists, upholsteresses, tailoresseses, cigar makers, cotton power loom weavers and many other trades. 
Christabel Pankhurst was a member of the MSWTUC, as were other prominent Manchester  woman  such as  Margaret Ashton, the first woman councillor on Manchester City Council. The Council’s paid organisers included Sarah Dickenson and Eva Gore Booth.
The two handwritten volumes of the  Minutes of the MSWTUC  came to light during the research into the life of Mary Quaile, who worked for the Council  1911-1919  as an organiser.  Her great-nephew, Martin Ennis, presented them to the Mary Quaile Club. It seems that Mary took them with her when the MSWTUC office closed in April 1919 after the Council merged with the Manchester Trades Union  Council. 
The Minutes have been transcribed by Mary Quaile Club member Bernadette Hyland, who said:
“We believe that these Minutes are a unique item of national significance and will be a major contribution to our knowledge of  women workers and trade unionism in the late C19th and early C20th. The Minutes are hand-written, cover 760 pages in total, and are the complete record of the meetings of the Council, including both the decisions reached and also often what was said by those attending. They show the daily grind of supporting and encouraging working women into trade unions and agitating  for decent pay and proper working conditions. A century later women  still face many of the same problems with cuts in pay, benefits slashed and  the growth of zero hour contracts. We  feel that the work of the Council can  be an inspiration to today’s women workers.”
The website will contain both the transcription  and copies of the original minutes. This project has been funded by donations from individuals and  from trade unions, including the General Federation of Trade Unions,  National Union of Journalists, Professional Footballers Association, PCS, RMT, Unison  and Unite. Bernadette Hyland will be speaking at the launch,  as will Lisa Turnbull,  an activist in the Durham Teaching Assistants campaign against a 23% cut in wages that Labour-controlled Durham County Council is attempting to impose. 
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On Saturday 13 May at 1pm the Wakefield Socialist History Group are holding an event: SYNDICALISM AND THE GREAT UNREST 
at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 1QX.   
There will be a range of speakers. 
Admission is free and there will be a free light buffet.
Convenor's introduction to the topic:
Challinor (1977) has described Tom Mann as the "originator of syndicalism in Britain."  But he came to syndicalism by a circuitous route.
Mann had been a longstanding, seasoned political activist travelling through a "bewildering series of organisations" including the SDF, the Socialist League and the ILP (Levy 1987).
He had been an industrial militant.  He'd been in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, had been joint leader of the 1899 Dock Strike and had been to the fore in the Workers' Union, recruiting the previously unorganised.
Tom Mann had dabbled widely therefore with various approaches.  Yet it is fair to say that when he left Britain in 1901 he was still, to all extents and purposes, a "state socialist."
The shift in his outlook towards syndicalism took place, Holton (1976) suggests, whilst he was staying in Australia and New Zealand between 1901 and 1910.
There he saw how the state behaved as an employer in the Victoria railway strike of 1904.  Nationalisation wasn't a genuine solution for workers!
He also witnessed how workers at Broken Hill mines  and the Port Pirie smelting works were conned by the promise of state arbitration in 1908.  The division of workers into a multiplicity of relatively small unions hadn't helped either!
Mann now felt industrial unionism -not sectionalism- was the way forward.  So too was the use of sympathy strikes and even a General Strike!
Back in Britain he started a publication, THE INDUSTRIAL SYNDICALIST, with Guy Bowman in July 1910.  And that December he and a "few comrades" established the Industrial Syndicalist Education League as an "all embracing propagandist body" linking "revolutionary opinion with militant thinking."
The ISEL's influence would prove considerable as it drew together "many of the hitherto disparate syndicalist groupings" into a more focused movement.
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Centerprise book launch, Sutton House, Sunday 7th May.
Celebrate the launch of A Hackney Autobiography: a mobile app and website and the publication of The Lime Green Mystery: An oral history of the Centerprise co-operative.
When: Sunday 7th May, 5 - 7 pm
WhereSutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ. Map here.
Booking essential. Contact: info@on-the-record.org.uk to reserve your place. 
Before the party, there's a unique chance to preview one of the audiowalks featured on the app as a group. Meet at 3:30 at Homerton station  and RSVP asap as places are booking up quickly.
What: hear a roundtable of speakers who are engaged in cultural and community activities in related fields, reflect on the history of Centerprise as re-presented by a hackney autobiography and join the discussion. Receive a free copy of The Lime Green Mystery, preview the app and get help downloading it.
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Friday 19 May 2017 : On the evening before Levellers Day, John Rees author of 'The Levellers Revolution' will be speaking as part of the Levellers seminar at the CWU training centre at Alvescot Lodge for the Levellers Night seminar talking about ‘Scottish Covenanters, English Levellers, and “Popular” Revolutions in mid-17thC Britain’ with Laura Stewart, author of ‘Rethinking the Scottish Revolution’.  Levellers’ Day 2017 will take place in Burford on Saturday 20 May 2017 - see here for more details
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International Conference: 
Wars of Position: Marxism and Civil Society
8-10th June 2017 at People’s History Museum, Manchester, UK
 Key-note speakers: Jodi Dean, Neil Faulkner, Kevin Morgan
This international conference brings together: analysis of the theory and practice of twentieth-century Marxist parties in relation to civil society; analysis of contemporary Left formations’ approaches to civil society; and analysis of the ‘idea of communism’ today and the relevance or obsolescence of ‘the party’ in the twenty-first century. Book (deadline 26th May): http://estore.manchester.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/faculty-of-humanities
Full price/concession: £100/£65 (three days), £40/£25 (Thursday), £30/£20 (Friday, Saturday)
 Book accommodation (deadline 10th May): https://aws.passkey.com/go/WarsofPosition2017
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London Radical Bookfair 2017
Registration for the 2017 London Radical Bookfair will be opening in a few days. For the second year running, the bookfair will be held in the Great Hall at Goldsmiths University, in South East London. Apart from a wide range of radical booksellers, authors and publishers, there will also be stalls with comix and zine makers, artists and exhibitions, plus workshops and talks. You can download the official 2017 London Radical Bookfair poster here for social media purposes. LINKS ;
Alliance of Radical Booksellers                         Alternative Press
The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing           The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award
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Assorted Festivals and Book Fairs as notified by PM Press:
Manchester Punk Festival in Manchester, UK from April 20th to 22nd

Historical Materialism in New York, NY from April 21st to 23rd

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in Los Angeles, CA on April 22nd to 23rd

Ghent Alternative Book Fair in Ghent, Belgium on April 22nd

Cambridge Radical Book Fair in Cambridge, UK on April 29th

Brooklyn Folk Festival in Brooklyn, NY on April 29th and 30th

People's Climate Rally in Washington, D.C. on April 29th

9th Annual Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair in Arcata, CA on April 29th
For the full (PM Press) schedule, please go HERE 
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Forwarded from Sparrows' Nest:
ExLibris book sale (Nottingham)
16 Vernon Avenue, Carlton, Nottingham, NG4 3FX
The sale will be opened at 10am on Friday April 28th by St Anns-born Henry Normal.  As well as being a thoroughly nice and interesting person, he has done tons of creative things in poetry, TV, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Normal   We wait with baited breath to see whether he will mask up.  (We think he will!)  Henry has written a poem specially for ExLibris, which will have its first reading at the opening.
The second half of the booksale will also have a ceremonial opening [For those who like that sort of thing...].  Councillor Sandra Barnes, the Mayor of the Borough of Gedling, has very kindly offered to open it at 10am on Friday May 5th.  Any worries that you might not recognise her because of her mask can be laid to rest – look for the Mayoral Chain of Office. [...]
Because we have so many books priced at 10p (in Saithwaite House/the shed), and are having storage problems with them, there will be an innovation this year.  You can still buy one for 10p, 2 for 20p, etc.  But you can also fill a cloth shopping bag with as many as you can cram in, and have bag and books for 30p.
These shopping bags are not to be confused with the beautiful handmade one-off pieces designed and made by Margaret which we will be selling at only £5 each, again with all proceeds going to our two charities.
We have a lot of children’s books too.  Visitors from last year may remember the ExLibris Express – the train built out of a felled tree, pallets and wind turbine tail vanes.  It will again be stopped at Adlestrop Station for young (and older) visitors to explore, and this year has beefed-up bubble supplies.  The station has had major improvements made, in the form of the addition of a ticket office, open to staff only (i.e. anyone small enough to fit in).
Again, we’ll be collecting vegetarian food for local food banks.  Tins are preferred because it doesn’t matter if they get a bit damp while they’re in the garden.  Women’s sanitary products will also be welcome for food banks.
THANK YOU EVERYONE!  These booksales can only ever take place with all the help and support we get from so many people.  So whether you are one of our volunteers, or you’ve donated books, or you’ve spread the word, or you’ve bought books: your contribution is greatly appreciated.  ExLibris Masked Charity Booksales are a community effort.
Thanks for your continuing support, and we hope to see you soon,
Your Masked Booksellers.
www.nottsrefugeeforum.org.uk/
www.schoolforparents.org/

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Greek Embassy, London, occupied: April 1967

Among several spectacular actions organised and carried out by member of Solidarity and the residual Committee of 100 in the 1960s was the occupation of the Greek Embassy in London one week after the "Colonels' coup" that inaugurated a 7-year dictatorship. 
For the 50th anniversary, this post presents a compilation of accounts of the event.

In the National Archives there are at least three relevant files:

MEPO 2/11073 Affray and forced entry into the Greek Embassy on 28 April 1967 by 42 people demonstrating ag[a]inst military coup which led to downfall of Greek leader George PAPANDREOUS 1967-1974 30-yr.-2004/5 (The Met file, seen 24-3-05).
Summary (from notes) - 
This large box-full tells the gripping yarn from the police point of view, with some extras like press cuttings and photos of the location, also a print of a picture that was on ITN News and in the Daily Express, of people surging out of a van.
There are lots of details including names, addresses, occupations etc., of those charged, how and by whom they were arrested, who stood bail for them, property they had on them, telex and phone numbers they had, and 51 charge-sheets (Form 609: nine or 10 of these seem to have been dropped, plus another later) with 'previous' where applicable.
Those charged were 30 men and 12 women. At first eleven (2 women) were designated as the 'Principals' on the basis of being political activists, 'well known agitators': famous left-libertarian/peace-movement names here included Terry Chandler*, Andy Anderson, Ron Bailey, Del Foley, Mike Randle, Heather Russell.

The file was closed for 30 years from 1974, when one of the 42 people charged was on an assault charge in Leicester and they dug up this one. (A document at the front of the file when this was seen, about a murder in 1987, name of Knowles, looks like a mis-file.) 
Background: 
* It was Terry Chandler who wrote on 13-6-63 to ask permission for Trafalgar Square to be used for a demonstration against the Visit of Greek royals,, 9-12 July 1963. The application was refused. (File WORK 20/360 Application to use Square for a public meeting by "Save Greece Now" organisation 1962-1963 seen 24-7-07).
A correspondent added with reference to the above file notes [25-3-05]Interesting memory jogger... Three of us from Glasgow... flew down on the night for 'action' (which they would not tell us about till we got to London) - as a result we were unprepared for it and acted only as 'lookouts' outside Embassy.


DPP 2/4381  Central Criminal Court Summer Session 1967.  Overy, Robert (24) and 41 others: 'closed until 2003';  'accelerated opening'. (Director of Public Prosecutions file, seen 13-8-04) 


Contains: Names; 30 m , 12 f.; handwritten notes re outcomes.
West End Central:  particulars of those arrested with address, occupation, age, d.o.b. (JN refused to disclose hers), arresting officer. All but 4 (bailed) refused finger-printing, which was then ordered; remanded to appear 6-5, Chandler in custody because no bail application [at this stage] - charge, forging US$.

Report by Dept Supt A Butler.  
Letter handed to butler, not available as immediately dispatched to Greece by embassy staff who can't or won't disclose contents. The girl with flowers asking to see Ambassador, crowd pushed passed her, up stairs; had large quantity of food etc., prepared for prolonged stay.  Au pair scared, also Ambassador's two young daughters who hid under a bed at one stage.   Secretary and cleaning woman were also on premises, police have been unable to see them, but plenty of other evidence: 

p.7 photos by NR, "also obviously a sympathiser", cine film, summonsed; had sold to ITN but they returned it; tape-recording of broadcast made by person living opposite.   

p.8 par.15. general turmoil and broken doors, but it must be admitted that most of the damage was caused by Police trying to get at the crowd; several cameras iinside but most film destroyed during general melee. Had hoped to obtain plan of interior but Ambassador unlikely to agree [did later].
par.19  charge of assault on PC Lilley - Chandler, most aggressive; PC taken to hospital, not seriously hurt (shoulder etc. - noted he was shut in a room at one point and had to break open the door. 

par.20  organisation obscure - most C100 or CND, on this occasion Save Greece Now. Some well known as Political agitators and would join anything likely to cause disorder. Principals listed.  
Question of possible charges - affray; could argue Greeks were "put in fear" but not "Queen's subjects"; note disorders have occurred whenever these individuals have appeared in court
TC bailed at £200 on own recognisance + 2 sureties of £500.     

Schedule of previous convictions, dates, including at least one harking back to the Brighton "indecent behaviour in church" action.

List of exhibits; holdalls, tools, provisions; transcript of broadcast; phone nos including venue of a 'Solidarity meeting' and that of Nicolas and Ruth Walter.

Return of personal property:  D S Franklin p.6 saw KW and returned to him his personal property, retaining 2 screwdrivers, 1 torch, 2 batteries, 2 packets of tea and an ear phone wire and Weller said "They are my working tools. I am an electrician."                    
p.7 JN was asked Why so much food? - said "I needed it"; about dollar notes, said they were hers, just had them. GW was also asked about food, said 'Didn't know when I would eat next.'

Witness statements, indexed.  
p.12 Lilley: pushed some of them away from 5th floor; saw KW on 3rd floor, told him I was arresting him, he made no reply.
pp.51-2  Hanna, re JN: description age c23, blonde hair, clothes inc grey sandals & black mini-skirt; refused name, said "You can put Mary Smith, I'll tell the magistrate".
p.55  Williams, re GW: Found her sitting on floor with others; she said 'I'm pregnant' [underlined in pencil]; with other officers, I carried her to a police van. 

Peace News carried the story with a picture of "Ken Weller's pregnant wife" being shifted down the stairs.

FCO 9/225 Deals with diplomatic and international repercussions of Greek Embassy occupation 28-4-1967, one week after the Colonels' coup. (Foreign & Commonwealth Office file, seen 13-8-04)


Several documents are dated 29-4-67 (the day following the event):
  • Greek Ambassador suggested quite unofficially, not telling Athens, that Sec of State issue statement deploring hooligan acts - told him in middle of the night that SoS greatly regretted....      message sent.
  • formal statement in advance of protest note may seem over-egging.
  • raised questions: what happened, how many got in, how they got in, what precautions to prevent similar in future; report being prepared. 42 including principal trouble-makers arrested so no further trouble likely.
  • to Athens: 1 Greek girl, others all Brits; police say they're a mixed bag including anarchists, Trotskyists and C100, and many are "professonal agitators".
  • Ambassador: said such things did not happen even in Cuba and Albania.  Story that 15 escaped from unlocked police van invention, denied by police.
  • police had been alerted to possible trouble but had no advance indication; 2 were on duty with a 3rd in reserve.  Intruders got in by a ruse.  Alleged threat to kidnap Ambassador and keep as hostage; events in Greece.
  • relationship between credibility of political evolution in Greece and effectiveness of agitation.
  • to Athens: you may wish to take precautions against possible counter-demos.   
  • only casualty was a policeman, not serious
A lingering and variegated aftermath (in approximate reverse chronological order, noted from the same file)

1-6-68 to Norwegian section Amnesty International re sentences imposed on Chandler and Randle.  Home Sec has considered.. no grounds on which he can justify recommending any special remission.    8-5-68 from Norwegian section AI: do not approve what they did but penalty unnecessarily harsh.

29-4-68  Confidential memo (PM brief) on the various organisations - Greek Committee Against Dictatorship et al. re reply to Joan Lestor MP c/o 21st April Freedom Rally. Members of Govt have expressed concern.... approach being made to European Court of Human Rights by Scand & Netherland govts., seems right way.  
21-4-68 Resolution of Greek Freedom Rally.
22-4-68  FO to Athens. Summary of impressions of rally by I T Boag: c5,000; message read, speakers inc Prof Spraos, smuggled out; quiet & well-handled, repeated appeal not to stop at Embassy and not to go to Downing St., although a delegation did hand in the resolution at No. 10;  attempts to start chants, slogans (& handouts in draft) but general apathy, lack of involvement: polite applause; students, tourists (demo part of visit to London).  Nothing to justify fears of Mr S (ambassador) as in your telegram. 

17-4-68 Telegram - Ambassador wants to know if police have plans to protect embassy; fears re Cypriot CP, London Greek Cypriots; has heard they may have lethal weapons (intelligence sources).  Sir M Stewart : said there could be no question of banning the demo but would warn police.     
8-4-68  Aide-memoire from Greek embassy re GCAD giving their address, tel no, bank account no.; Prof J Spraos; alleged contacts with Br govt.

25-1-68  Report of incident at inquiry desk.  5 men and two girls arrived about 12.15, from 'Save Greece [Now]', saw Mr Lucas who after discussion (said to be amicable, reasonable) told them to go, said receptionist must get rid of them.  Police officer came in to see if we were all right as they had had trouble at the Home Office, tried to reason with the students, then police reinforcements arrived and carried them out 'one by one'.  No abuse or rudeness from any but they were obstinate about leaving. - Phoebe Moon.   Lisa Baker: I saw the end of the incident, alerted by some of my staff; in fact the second leader called police bastards, a remark repeated several times by him and one of the young women present.
22-1-68 Reply re/to Save Greece Now (draft 18/1).          Mr Brown apologised to the Ambassador over invasion. Chandler, Foley and Randle 15, 6, 12 mths.  Home Sec (J Callaghan) has asked Mr Brown fro views re commuting sentences.  Par. 8  SGN (Save Greece Now) has strong connections with the C100 and the proscribed (footnote: by the LP) league for Democracy in Greece.                            
14-1-68  SGN letter, signed by E Rodker on behalf of himself, Andrew Papworth, Bob Overy.
3-1-68  To person in Mallorca: we can only use Royal Prerogative if fresh facts, not the case here [lies]. 

21-12-67  Home Sec considering releasing youngest (DF); has been discussed at official level, but would not wish to do so if it would cause embarrassment to the FO - actually not, might help presentationally with 'unpopular things to come' (- Rodgers) .       HO officials not inclined to recommend reduction.
21-12-67  HS's Note: in view of severity of sentences, have been wondering whether I should not as an act of clemency and considering developments with the King...
Speaking notes:  clemency only, foreign policy grounds shd not be mentioned.  Breaching immunity of diplomatic premises is an activity we all deplore.
21-12-67 'Fowley' due for release 1st Feb., HS still not sure what is the right thing to do; no question re other two, professional agitators.
2-12-67  K Struwe letter: freedom of speech, conscience-directed action.
21-12-67  Home Sec. had seen a large and impressive volume of correspondence which led him to think about reconsidering... We can advise use of the Roy Prerogative in any case but convention has grown that do so only if fresh material; perhaps we have enough to justify this; HS seemed inclined to take this course.

20-12-67  Macrae, Central Dept, to Br Emb Washington:  short account of what happened - 100-200 went to Gr Emb about 8 p.m. 28-4-67, got in and barricaded themselves on 1st floor, equipped with tools and loud-speaking equipment. 42 arrested after 10-15 mins., 38 remanded in custody, 4 [who gave fingerprints voluntarily, inc DF] bailed and bound over. Greece made formal protest, For Sec expressed regret, apologies.  41 committed for trial charged with riotous assembly, conspiracy to trespass (forcible entry charge dropped mainly because of the Ambassador's scruples about allowing the 3 prinicipal witnesses to testify); 26 conditional discharge [inc GW], 12 fined btwn £20 7 £100 [KW £40); 3 gaoled.  Appeals not upheld though beliefs recognised to be sincere; recently HS had declined to advise Roy Prer.  Correspondence columns of press esp Guardian and New Statesman have been full of protests but very few letters received at FO so no standard form of reply, might help to have a copy of the Lord Chancellor's.
15-12-67 Br Emb Washington to FO: enclosing 3 letters of protest, from different parts of US - probably WRI connection (Randle), they will have asked supporters to write so this may be the start of bulky correspondence.  11-12-67  letter 1, connecting with Vietnam - R Quick    others 9-12, 8-12 (E Deutsch)
15-11-67  House of Lords, Gardiner Chancellor?  Now that matter no longer sub judice, can reply; action obviously carefully planned etc.  £100 fine was a rich man, famer and industrialist.  List appended of Chandler's previous.  14-12-67 Hansard cols 611-2, Oral answers> Rose, Winnick.    
31-10-67  Guardian  Two refuse to pay fines as protest (A Papworth, Valerie Dickson - "all equal participants")                    16-10-67  from War Resisters in Israel.  
17-10-67  Guardian  letter from Nic & Ruth Walter. 
10-8-67 Lucas, Cent Dept. Reasons for not calling witnesses - butler Yugoslav, could be trouble.  It seems students and those who played minor part may get off with fine or even caution but ring-leaders and professional agitators could get 9 months or more. 
26-7-67 from Bridges, Athens: keep me posted re new charge etc. - Greeks taking an interest
22-7-67  Guardian editorial: making charge fit alleged crime - conspiracy to trespass an out-dated legal rarity. .           Times 6-6-67  1381 charge (f.e.) rejected.
6-6-67  from FO: Mr Secy Brown greatly regrets this intrusion...              
2-6-67 advise no ref to indemnification - Greek Note reserves right to claim compensation for damage [caused by police action - see DPP]
22-5-67  Ambassador's attitude re witnesses something of a mystery.                
17-5-67  Greek Embassy formal protest: premises invaded by raiders...

One of the "professional agitators" the authorities were out to get (and did), Michael Randle, gave his own account of what happened as he remembered it, in The Blake Escape (co-written with Pat Pottle - who was luckier on this occasion), 1989. 


p.199

p.201
The action led to a short discussion in Parliament:
Foreign Embassies (Protection)
HC Deb 22 June 1967 vol 748 cc1929-30 [col.]1929
§10. Mr. Tapsell asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he takes to protect foreign embassies in London.
§15. Mr. Walters asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present arrangements for the protection of foreign embassies in London; and if he will make a statement.
§Mr. Roy Jenkins The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is responsible for deciding the degree of protection to be given to embassies in London; he is satisfied that the present arrangements, which involve a substantial deployment of manpower, are adequate.
§Mr. Tapsell I thank the right hon. Gentleman. Does not he agree, particularly in view of the actions which have been permitted to take place in a number of foreign countries, that it is all the more important that we should set an example of civilised behaviour by protecting embassies in London? Does not he further agree that any failure in this respect should be taken very seriously?
§Mr. Jenkins In general, I agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I know that the Commissioner attaches importance to this aspect of the matter. At present, two sergeants and 111 constables are employed full-time on this duty, but clearly there has to be some limit to the amount of manpower so used.
§Mr. Walters Bearing in mind how strongly we feel, quite rightly, about demonstrations and violence against our embassies or any other embassies abroad, should we not ensure that incidents such as that which took place at the Greek Embassy—
§Mr. Speaker Order. That matter is sub judice. The hon. Gentleman may put a general question but not refer to that specific case.
§Mr. Walters —should we not make sure that incidents of any kind against any embassy in London do not take place?
§Mr. Jenkins I agree that it is very undesirable that incidents should take place.


In 1963 the Committee became involved in marches and demonstrations organised under the ad hoc Save Greece Now committee, from the Greek royal visit in summer 1963, through to the invasion of the Greek Embassy on 2 April 1967. As the decade progressed the political initiative passed to the anti-Vietnam War movement and nuclear disarmament shifted down the political agenda. The London Committee disbanded in January 1968 and the National Committee followed in the September.

And others
Greek Committee Against Dictatorship 1967-1974;
Campaign for Release of Political Prisoners in Greece

Solidarity of course also produced its own account of the event and the consequences for those who took part, in vol. 4 No.8, July 1967, pp.1-4 POLICE MOB SEIZE EMBASSY! by "Dan Thersites".

"...[I]t was only logical that a group of people should come together at the news of the recent coup in Greece, with a view to effective counter-action."

"Our reporter met with a discreet and judicious silence when probing for details
concerning the prior organisation of the demonstration."

The police were very violent... About 60 demonstrators entered the embassy...
There was a huge response to the action.
[Lessons include} that demonstrations can still have an impact,
and that internationalism is not dead...
The big stick of the police must not be allowed to deter future action.