Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Update on 1968-2018: A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance...

...  Campaigning and Alternatives for A Better World - London 7/8th July

(From Past Tense)
Past Tense are taking part with many others groups and individuals, in planning the following program of events for July 2018, celebrating 50 years of resistance since 1968, but specifically focussing on groups spied on by undercover police from units like the Special demonstration
Squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and others...

There will be many '50 years since 1968' events this year - but one element we and others targetted by spycops are hoping to push high on the agenda is that it was the demos against the Vietnam War in March and October 1968, the size and combativity of which which caught the
Metropolitan Police on the hop, that led directly to the creation of the Special Demonstration Squad. The SDS and its successor units targetted thousands of UK activists in hundreds of groups, from peace campaigners to trade unionists, from anarchists to MPs, from the families of people
murdered by racists to environmentalists; they abused women, acted as agent provocateurs and passed information to blacklisters.

We hope people will support this event among the many others going on; but although this is initially called to take place in London, we would encourage everyone out there to also take part and hope people will be inspired to create your own spycop-related events; to include links to the repressive measures used against those of us fighting for social change in the debates, commemorations and discussions taking place in this important anniversary.

In particular, we encourage radical history groups and networks to get involved, either supporting the COPS event, or creating your own to coincide...

Spread the word!

Get in touch with past tense or the event email contact point below if you are interested.

One idea we are asking for help with: for the Sunday 8th event, we are putting together an exhibition of material from struggles, campaigns, movements of the last 50 years. This could include posters, leaflets, papers, magazines, pamphlets, books…
If you have anything you think we could use for this exhibition that we could borrow, please get in touch with us. We would return any items to you after the event.
 1968-2018: A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance, Campaigning and Alternatives for A Better World - despite 50 years of police opposition, spying and repression
Sat 7th / Sun 8th July 2018 

Sat 7th: Anniversary Roll Call / Commemoration / Celebration in Grosvenor Square, London W1 @ 1pm - 3pm

Sun 8th: London Conference and Exhibition
This will include meetings/discussions: including 5 discussions based on events and struggles of five decades since 1968, a discussion of a People’s Public Inquiry into pilice spying, and a workshop on spycops with Undercover Research Group.
Reel News will be showing films.
There will be space for some shared stalls, and a Parents/kids room.


[Leaflet here]
Well-known spycop at work (right), from "Undercover" by Rob Evans


In 1968, following demonstrations against the Vietnam War in London's
Grosvenor Square, the police set up a Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).
Since that time, 50 years ago, over 1,000 groups campaigning in the UK
for a better world have been spied on, infiltrated and targeted by
political policing. Their protests and demonstrations are also subjected
to ongoing police opposition and control to try to limit their

This targeting has included groups campaigning for equality, justice,
the environment and international solidarity, for rights for women,
LGBTQ, workers and for animals, for community empowerment, and those
campaigning against war, racism, sexism, corporate power, legal
repression and police oppression and brutality. Such groups have
represented many millions of people throughout the UK who want to make
the world a better, fairer and more sustainable place for everyone.

Yet almost any group of any kind that stood up to make a positive
difference has been or could have potentially been a target for secret
political policing. We now know this because of campaigners' recent
efforts to expose and challenge the SDS and other similar secret units,
and their shocking and unacceptable tactics. Individuals within those
campaign groups have been spied on, subjected to intrusions in their
personal lives, been victims of miscarriages of justice, and many
deceived into intimate and abusive relationships with secret police, ie
people that who were not who they said they were. In July 2015 we
succeeded in forcing Theresa May (now Prime Minister) to set up the
current Undercover Policing Public Inquiry, which was tasked with
getting to the truth by July 2018, and insisting on action to prevent
police wrong-doing in future. Now, 3 years on, the public inquiry has
achieved very little due to police obstruction.
When the SDS was formed they stated that they would 'shut down' the
movements they were spying on. But despite disgusting police tactics,
movements for positive change are still here and growing, and have had
many successes on the way.


This planned two-day event in London, backed up by a call for a week of
actions all around the UK, is in support of those campaigning for full
exposure and effective action at the Undercover Policing Inquiry, and
against police attempts to delay and undermine it. We aim to encourage
more groups to find out about the Inquiry and how they can get involved
and support each other, and to unite the many different groups and
organisations who have been victims of our police state because of their
efforts to improve society.

Backed by the Campaign to Oppose Police Surveillance [C.O.P.S.] -

Full info:

 *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *  


YES we broadly support the proposal. Please add our name to the list of
supporting organisations.

Name of organisation ........................

Name of contact/rep ..................       Position in group

Contact details:   Email: ..................................... 
Phone: ............................................

We can:

___ Attend the Grosvenor Square Rally

___ Publicise the event(s)

___ Identify/loan/donate a 'historic' item for the exhibition

___ Organise a local celebration/commemoration event that week, and let
you know the details when finalised

___ Help with planning the London event(s)


• Affiliate to the C.O.P.S campaign yourself here:

• Donate to the C.O.P.S campaign yourself here. (you can add a note
specifying its for 50 yrs events if you wish):

• Subscribe to the C.O.P.S. campaign newsletter yourself here

• Solidarity and thanks from the 50yrs events planning group!

 Return form to:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Listings Update: Summer 2018

Chartism Day 2018

at University College London
Start: Jun 09, 2018 10:00 AM
End: Jun 09, 2018 07:00 PM
Location: IAS Common Ground, South Wing, UCL

On Saturday 9 June, UCL will host this one-day conference on the Chartist movement (1838-1858) for workers' rights and democracy.


10-10.45: Rhian E. Jones, “The Rebecca Riots: Gender, Culture and Popular Protest in Early Victorian Wales”

10.45-11.30: Emma Harris, “Bartłomiej Beniowski, the London Polish émigrés and the early Chartist movement”

11.30-11.45: Break

11.45-12.30: Peter Cox, “Transcribing the Land Company share register”

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.15: David Kennerley, “Strikes and singing classes: The politics of sound in 1842 and after”
14.15-15.00: Mike Sanders, “Redemption Songs: From Charter to Rasta”
15.00-15.15: Break
15.15-16.00: Alison Denham, “A whirlwind of ideas in 1840s London”
16.00-16.45: Jacob Dengate, “From Euphoria to dismay: a closer look at Chartist responses to the Revolutions of 1848”
17.45: Meet at Kennington* tube station
David Goodway on 10 April 1848
Richard Galpin on the Kennington Chartist Project
Steve I. Martin on Black involvement in working-class movements in London and in Chartism
19.00: Drinks

Fees: £10 registration fee, including tea and coffee breaks and lunch.
Organisers: Joan Allen, Richard Allen, Malcolm Chase and Fabrice Bensimon
Contact: Fabrice Bensimon,
Please register via the UCL online store.

*Kennington Common, scene of the great mass meeting in 1848
"Will You Fight For it?": A Radical History walk… 
from Camberwell Green to Kennington Park

A snapshot of Chartism in South London 
And other radical wanderings in the local rebellious past…

Thursday 14th June 2018 
Meet 6pm, Camberwell Green, London SE5
Completely free... all welcome

Join Alex from past tense on a ramble through some of South London’s Chartist past… and digressions into other related elements of the area’s subversive undercurrents…

Come along and contribute to the discussions as we investigate Chartist demonstrations, riots and revolutionary plots… discover some of the groups who preceded Chartism… the culture that Chartism inherited and built on… some of the movements that arose from the ruins of the Chartist movement.

For more info @_pasttense_
facebook: pasttensehistories

Part of the 1848 Kennington Chartist Project

The First Annual Dave Gibson Labour History Lecture
Organised by Barnsley TUC and Barnsley College UCU
'Orwell and the Workers' 
With Prof John Newsinger (Bath Spa University) and author of 'Hope Lies In the Proles': George Orwell and the Left
Saturday 16 June 1pm The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ

"The first annual Dave Gibson labour history lecture will focus on George Orwell. Orwell visited Barnsley while researching ʻThe Road to Wigan Pierʼ and his collected works contain shocking details about the state of housing in Barnsley at the time of his visit. Dave Gibson used this information in his contribution to a Workers Educational Association course on labour history in Barnsley and Graham Mustin will give a short presentation based on Dave's lecture notes.
"The main talk, entitled ʻOrwell and the Workersʼ will be by John Newsinger, professor of history at Bath Spa University and an acknowledged expert on Orwell. John has written the highly acclaimed ʻOrwell's Politicsʼ and most recently ʻOrwell and the Proles: George Orwell and the Leftʼ a critical account of Orwell's politics exploring his anti-fascism, criticism of the USSR and enduring commitment to socialism."

FOR FURTHER DETAILS CONTACT: Email: | Mobile: 07985 02800
 invites you to our next meeting on
 Saturday 9th June 2018

7.30pm Buffet (please bring something veggie if you can) 8.00pm Talk
At the Epicentre, West Street E11 4LJ                       Enquiries 0208 555 5248

Allotment Gardens: A Surprising History. Speaker: Dr Lesley Acton PhD
"Think allotments are just about growing vegetables? Think again. Allotments have a long history & are reflective of the times in which we live. This talk will explore the many sides of allotment history: growing food, intrigue, lawsuits, government, politics, wars, land grabs, art, culture, recreation & not least of all, want & plenty. Lesley is the author of Growing SpaceA History of the Allotment Movement.She has worked for many years in the heritage industry as well as researching cultural history, urban agriculture, food security & culinary history."

                 Free Entry    All welcome    Raffle
German Historical Society Annual Lecture
German Historical Institute 
"The German Historical Institute London (GHIL) is an academically independent institution and part of the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad. It promotes research on medieval and modern history, in particular on the history of Britain, on the British Empire and the Commonwealth, and on Anglo-German relations. Its public library specializes in German history."

21 June
Ulrich Herbert (Freiburg)
The Russian October Revolution and the German Labour Movement
New Anarchist Research Group

The next meeting of the New Anarchist Research Group will be held (as usual) on the fourth Saturday of the month, which this month is 23 June
We will be having an open discussion on the ideas of Murray Bookchin,
in the MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH 
2:00pm to 4:30 pm

“What has often been missing in contemporary anarchist thought is a vision of how an anarchist or libertarian socialist approach might transform society in practice. Bookchin proposes an alternative to two unpromising approaches that are common in recent anarchism. One is to focus almost entirely on resistance and oppositional work, while leaving constructive counter-institution building for possible future consideration. The second is to put one’s efforts into a variety of constructive but basically marginal projects, hoping that somehow this will transform the world. Bookchin’s crucial contribution was to help revive debate within anarchism and libertarian socialism concerning the possibility of a realistic program that had a meaningful and reasonably concrete vision of how society could be deeply transformed in the foreseeable future.” (John P Clark)

If you have time before the meeting, please read one or more of the four online summaries of Bookchin's ideas about Libertarian Municipalism listed below, or anything else by or about Bookchin.

Our meetings are friendly and informal. [ We do ask everyone who comes to make a small contribution to the cost of hiring the room.]

Murray Bookchin: Libertarian Municpalism: an overview

John P Clark: A Critical Introduction to Bookchin's Theses on Libertarian Municipalism

Damian White: Murray Bookchin's new Life

Joris Leverink: Murray Bookchin and the Kurdish Resistance
Ella Baker School of Transformational Organising
Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools
Thursday 21st June 6-8pm

National Education Union (NEU), Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD
We are delighted to announce that Dr. Aziz Choudry will be discussing his new book, Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements, and thereafter facilitation a discussion on the relevance of historical materials in political education. This event fulfils the tradition of the school in helping facilitate inter-movement dialogue in shaping activist education.

We are grateful for colleagues at the NEU for providing a room for this event.
Please register here if you can attend.
Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools
 Edited by Aziz Choudry, Salim Vally

"How do educators and activists in today’s struggles for change use historical materials from earlier periods of organizing for political education? How do they create and engage with independent and often informal archives and debates? How do they ultimately connect this historical knowledge with contemporary struggles?"
Aziz Choudry is associate professor and Canada Research Chair in social movement learning and knowledge production in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University, and visiting professor at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg. He is author of Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements (2015), and co-editor of Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools (2017), Just Work? Migrant Workers’ Struggles Today (2016), Unfree Labour? Struggles of migrant and immigrant workers in Canada (2016), NGOization: Complicity, Contradictions and Prospects (Zed Books, 2013), Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), among other books.

The Sparrows’ Nest presents:
A talk by Iain McKay

The Revolutions of 1848 remain the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history. While remembered as essentially liberal in nature, aiming at ending the old monarchical regimes they were also note-worthy for the advent of the industrial working class as a factor in social struggle. So as well as political change, the social question was raised while the events of 1848 shaped the ideas of Marx and Proudhon. So on their 150th anniversary, we look at the 1848 revolutions and their lessons for today.

Saturday June 23rd 3pm at The Sparrows’ Nest, Nottingham.

Email if you need directions, hope to see you there! - 
Also remember, this weekend, Sunday 3rd, we are remembering and celebrating the 1968 Revolts from midday at Broadway Cinema.
Visit the Sparrows' Nest website:

If you wish to contact the Sparrows' Nest please email:
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX

"We are a charity and we rely hugely on the generosity of your donations to keep the Library running. The support of you all, individually and collectively, is vital to our long-term survival."  
Annual individual membership is still just £10 (unwaged £5). More information here

Manchester Histories Festival
This year's festival, the fifth edition of the Greater Manchester-wide biennial event, has as its theme protest, democracy, and freedom of speech.  It runs from 7 until 11 June, and includes a TUC Day on Friday 8 June to mark the 150th anniversary, incorporating a radical Salford walking tour which starts at the Library giving participants a chance to see our TUC exhibition The Power of Unity (walk starts 10.15am, arrive at the Library any time from 9.30am), and Dave Haslam interviewing TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady.
The Manchester Histories Celebration Day returns on Sunday 10 June from 12noon till 4pm at its new venue for 2018: Manchester Central Library. There will be choirs, talks and crafts as well as stalls from over 60 different groups.  Come and say hello to us at the Library stall!  We'll have a brand-new pop-up banner highlighting acquisitions we've been making as part of our Voting for Change project.

Walking tours
On Thursday 14 June there will be two anti-fascist, radical and working class history tours as part of the 0161 Festival.  Woven within the walk will be stories about Peterloo, the Spanish Civil War and the role of the International Brigades, the birth of the vegetarian movement, Chartism, women’s suffrage and Manchester’s links to Engels and Marx, as well as Manchester anti-fascists. This will all be depicted alongside ordinary Mancunians living their lives in historic and contemporary Manchester.
Tours will run at 12 noon (this tour finishes at the Working Class Movement Library, with time for a browse of our ground floor displays) and 4pm. Tickets £5, limited to 20 per tour. Approx. time 3 hours.
More information and online ticket booking at

Invisible Histories talks

Our next free talk is on Wednesday 6 June at 2pm when David Swift will speak on The war and the workers: the labour movement and the home front during WW1.
"The First World War brought with it many trials for the working men and women of Great Britain: from food prices to rent increases, disability and bereavement, the war exacerbated existing difficulties and created fresh challenges. Nonetheless the labour movement, under the auspices of the Workers' National Committee, came together to try and protect the position of the working class, and fought to ensure that the country which emerged in 1918 was different from that of 1914. This talk will reveal how the Left put sectionalism aside and was able, against the odds, to win important victories for the workers of Britain."

Further talks in the series are:
20 June Film - Socialists, suffragists, pacifists and cyclists!: the last Clarion House
4 July Invisible Histories digitisation project - Seeing the hidden, hearing the unheard

Full details at

Anne Scargill in conversation with Maxine Peake

On Tuesday 3 July at 2pm, coinciding with Maxine's new play Queens of the Coal Age at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre, we are very pleased to welcome Anne Scargill talking to her about the Parkside Pit occupation of 1993.
Tickets are available via Eventbrite here from 1pm today.  They are free and we know they will go very fast - please only book tickets if you know you can definitely come.  If you find nearer the time that you can't make it please let us know so that we can allocate your tickets to someone on the waiting list? Many thanks.

Exhibition booklet now on sale
A booklet has been produced alongside our current exhibition The power of unity - 150 years of the TUC, which celebrates 150 years of the Trades Union Congress and looks at the continuing need for unions now.  The booklet contains the information researched by our volunteer exhibition team to go on the display boards.  So if you can't make the exhibition (which runs until 27 September), you can at least read what you're missing!  Price just £2, it is available here.
There are similar booklets linked to our previous exhibitions on the Russian Revolution, and on Marx and Engels - go to to purchase these.
 And a reminder too that travelling versions of our past exhibitions are available on loan from us - email for details.

White poppy installation
There is an installation of white poppies at Manchester's Friends' Meeting House until 22 June as part of the Collateral Damage 1918 to 2018 project, a project supported by the Peace Pledge Union and commemorating war victims and building peace.  Visitors are encouraged to make their own textile white poppies to honour any victims of wars in the century since World War One. Open during office hours Monday to Friday.
More information at 
From:Sparrows Nest
Document of the Month feature
showcasing some of the awesome documents in our collections.

2018 is a year of big anniversaries: 170 years since the 1848 Revolutions (we have an event coming up about those uprisings on June 23rd), 50 years since the summer of 1968, 100 years since the end of WW1 and the beginning of the brief German Revolution of 1918-19, etc. 

We shall focus on 1968 for now, especially in the run-up to the event this weekend [2-3 June] remembering and celebrating the 1968 Revolts, organised with a number of other groups, notably People's Histreh.

So our Document of the Month for May is an issue of Anarchy from July 1968 about the "Maydays in France".Anarchy is a fascinating and beautiful publication, which ran through a couple of incarantions in the 1960s and 1970s. This issue is from the first run of this journal, published by Colin Ward et al, once more featuring a memorable cover design. There are quite a few more issues of Anarchy in the Digital Library, more than enough to pass a rainy afternoon.

Anarchy 089 Vol:08 #07; July 1968 

Visit the Sparrows' Nest website:
 Listings will be updated from time to time

Friday, May 18, 2018

More about the First World War, in Haringey

The Lost Files
Al Johnson
Artist’s Talk: Monday 21 May 2018, 12.15pm
Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, N17 8NU

Al Johnson will talk about creating her new sculpture, 
‘The Lost Files’, currently exhibited at Bruce Castle Museum.

The sculpture explores the experience of the conscientious objectors: individuals who could not participate in World War One for moral, religious or political reasons. ‘The Lost Files’ focuses on the 350 conscientious objectors and their families 
who lived in Haringey, and the exhibition is part of 
Conscientious Objection Remembered
a series of events developed by the Haringey First World War Peace Forum.
Exhibition Opening times: 
Saturday 5 May to
Sunday 23 September 2018
Wednesday to Sunday 1 – 5pm

Al Johnson website:
Haringey First World War Peace Forum Email: 

And in Salford:

WCML - Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX

Invisible Histories talks

Our next free talk is on Wednesday 6 June at 2pm when David Swift will speak on The war and the workers: the labour movement and the home front during WW1.
"The First World War brought with it many trials for the working men and women of Great Britain: from food prices to rent increases, disability and bereavement, the war exacerbated existing difficulties and created fresh challenges. Nonetheless the labour movement, under the auspices of the Workers' National Committee, came together to try and protect the position of the working class, and fought to ensure that the country which emerged in 1918 was different from that of 1914. This talk will reveal how the Left put sectionalism aside and was able, against the odds, to win important victories for the workers of Britain."

Further talks in the series are:
20 June Film - Socialists, suffragists, pacifists and cyclists!: the last Clarion House
4 July Invisible Histories digitisation project - Seeing the hidden, hearing the unheard

Full details at

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More about May in June and after in Liverpool and elsewhere

Date: FRIDAY, 8TH JUNE 2018 (9am-6pm)


F*ck May ’68, Fight Now: Exploring the Uses of the Radical Past from 1968 to Today
All Power to the Imagination! A workshop about the protests of 1968 and the movements that followed in its wake, with people who were there then, people who came after, and people who are doing it now! Come along. It's FREE!!!

and to register:


And some reminders from earlier listings:

1968-2018: A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance, Campaigning 
and Alternatives for A Better World 

- despite 50 years of police opposition, spying and repression. Full details here.

Saturday 7th July, 1-3pm   Roll Call / Commemoration / Celebration: Grosvenor Sq, London W1
Sunday 8th July, 10-4pm    Conference / Exhibition: Conway Hall, Red Lion Sq, London WC1
1st to 8th July   Week of local events and activities around the UK - please organise!
Flyer available for download/copying/distribution.  

  Contact for planning:


Remembering the 1968 Revolts - Nottingham
Join us for a film screening, an exhibition of original sources and a panel session of people sharing their memories of struggles fought here in Nottingham during that iconic year, which saw deeply-rooted conflicts erupt into open revolts all around the globe. 

Sunday, 3rd June 2018
From Midday at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham.

Midday-2pm film screening of “if....” (ticketed)
2-3pm browse our exhibition (free)
3-5pm panel session (free)
Please note that spaces for the panel session are limited (first come, first served).

From Midday to 2pm there will be a screening of “if….”, followed by an hour (2-3pm) to browse our exhibition of fantastic source materials (pamphlets, newssheets, posters, unpublished correspondence, etc.) documenting the 1968 Revolts in Paris, Berlin, Prague (etc.), and of course events here in Nottingham. At 3pm we will get together for a panel session with people sharing some of their memories of the struggles fought in Nottingham in 1968 (spoilers: the struggle for equal pay and anti-racist work were already high on the agenda five decades ago!). 

The film screening is ticketed. You will be able to purchase tickets from Broadway Cinema at their usual rates from early May. We have a very limited number of discounted tickets available. If you would like us to reserve you one of these tickets, please do get in touch (please note, if you do not get a response email confirming your reservation before Sunday 6th May, you are not on the list and will have to purchase a ticket from the Broadway Box Office). The exhibition and the panel session are of course free of charge.
Students vs. CRS (riot police) in Latin quarter

Mass meeting of workers at Renault-Billancourt
Workers and Students en masse:
Defining images of May 1968 from Solidarity vol.5, no.4, October 1968,between. pp. 14 & 15 in (review) article "France: the theoretical immplication", by M.B. (Maurice Brinton). 
See also the celebrated Solidarity pamphlet: