Three speakers in turn talked about different aspects of radical self-publishing.
A. (from past tense) Early pamphleteering culture: a rough overview of early pamphlets from the 14th century onwards, and their uses and significance; pamphlets’ specific attractions and value; some thoughts on whether the printed pamphlet is doomed in the age of the internet. [This interesting, well- informed talk is described more fully in the RaHN pamphlet resulting from the meeting, available shortly.]
There followed an open discussion on the subject. It was generally agreed that it is not a question of either internet or paper propaganda/texts/pamphlets/ etc, - i.e. that both have a role and new technology doesn’t necessarily drive out the old.
There was also some discussion about the complex reality and myth of the ‘Arab Spring’: internet communications have a powerful immediacy which is useful, maybe especially in war/revolutionary situations, but this is often based on existing ‘real world’ networks and connections.
It was suggested by several speakers that one of the main problems with internet activism etc is that people are suffering from information overload … The internet is also extremely vulnerable to control by the authorities. The satisfying reality of producing a pamphlet was contrasted with the transience of much info on the web.
It was agreed to carry on! - as North East London rather than Haringey (but not narrowly ‘local’ in any case).
Some suggestions for possible future meetings included:
• General strikes, both in reality and theory, comparing the 1926 General Strike in
• Defence/preservation of open green spaces, parks, etc, in
• Housing, housing struggles… This could also be related to squatting… (possibly following up a previous RaHN meeting.) And related to this (though maybe as a separate meeting), a suggestion of a history of spaces squatted for childcare/occupied to preserve childcare.
• A history of Broadwater Farm.
• A meeting which related more to some of the large migrant communities in the area, eg Turkish people …
A core group of volunteers was set up to co-ordinate future plans. We want to make sure that the network is run collectively and not reliant on just one or two people.
This blog is also continuing!
4. Alan’s archive Alan Woodward left an extensive personal archive of radical reading matter behind him, which he wanted to be maintained as a local archive, open for people to use, research, read, under the administration of a libertarian group… In the long term this should be used as the basis of a local radical history library.
5. Meeting of the core organising group
Next meeting: Agreed that the next RaHN meeting should be on Wednesday May 8th, on “General Strikes’… (along the terms set out at #3 above)
Venue: Wood Green Social Club.
Future publications: Agreed to put out a proposed a pamphlet on the history of Haringey parks as a RaHN publication. There was also an idea of producing a pamphlet based on tonight’s meeting on self-publishing [this is already in preparation].
Finances: Plans to reprint some of Alan’s books and pamphlets mean more cash is needed… It was suggested we launch an appeal.
General Strikes and Industrial SolidarityWood Green Social Club