Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Past, Present And Future Of RADICAL PAMPHLETEERING

For centuries radical activists have had to self-publish to spread radical ideas which challenge the status quo and call for a better world. Often we have had to overcome lack of funds, access to printing, or even repression. Nevertheless countless millions of informative and inspirational leaflets, pamphlets, posters and newsletters have been distributed. Throughout history groups, campaigns and movements have been determined to speak out and present an alternative. How has this been achieved, and how are the methods changing today? And what can we foresee for the future?

"Pamphlets, Libels and Rhymes: strange confused tumults of the minde"
By Axel (past tense)

- A  rough overview of early pamphlets from the 14th century onwards, and their uses and significance
- Personal relationship to radical pamphlets and their specific attractions and value
- Some thoughts on whether the printed agitational pamphlet is doomed in the age of the internet

Radical publishing in the 20th Century, particularly in Haringey since the 1980s
Some thoughts and examples/samples from Dave of Haringey Solidarity Group   

Feminist self-publishing since the 1970s
Some thoughts from Gail, Hackney activist

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


There have been some interesting replies and responses to a proposal/callout from Past Tense for a radical historical counter-program to the planned official commemorations of the outbreak of World War 1. (To read the original post, go to:
It seems that many people were already thinking along similar lines.

Some plans are already afoot:-

Saturday 20th April at Hydra Books, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
12.00 -1.00, Bristol Radical History Group
are organizing a meeting
at the Bristol @ Bookfair Radical History space
aimed at giving a brief intro to some of the 'interesting' WW1 history
and then a discussion/brainstorming about what could be done.

They are also proposing a 'planning' meeting for radical history groups
and others interested in a counter-history of WW1 ­ which could be held at
the London Anarchist bookfair in October.

Bristol RHG have also been working on collating (from secondary sources) all the incidents of strikes and mutinies of the British armed forces from
Nov 1918-Feb 1919. They hope to coordinate a research effort by radical history groups and individuals around the country. The emphasis is on the 'local' in order to make it interesting and accessible to each particular area/city/region. See

Derby People’s History are going to celebrate anti-war activist Alice
Wheeldon (who was jailed with other relatives and friends for an attempt
to poison the Prime Minister Lloyd George, and who died in prison) in
Derby 1st May and 14th September.2013. Check out:

York Alternative History have made a start by preparing for a 'day school'
to be held in October 2014 to highlight the 'uncomfortable' issues about
WW1. See

The Freethought History Research Group suggested a commemoration of the big peace demo in Trafalgar Square, two days before the outbreak of the First Word War; Kier Hardie spoke among others.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain announced that they were planning a
resolution at their Conference:
"That in order to counteract the nationalist and militarist propaganda
campaign that the government is planning on the occasion of the centenary
in 2014 of the outbreak of the First World War, the Party reprint as a
pamphlet the series of front page manifestos that appeared in the
Socialist Standard from September 1914 to April 1915."
Supporting statement: The government is planning to celebrate this event
along the lines of the queen's diamond jubilee. We need to counter this as
well as explaining what the War was really about, which these manifestos
explain eloquently. They can be found on the internet at

Further suggestions, ideas, proposals are of course welcome.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

20th April Talk in Bristol at 2 p.m.: Poor Man's Heaven: the Land of Cokaygne and other utopian visions

Omasius Gorgut will speak on the Land of Cokaygne, the subject of his 2012
book, Poor Man's Heaven... and will possibly even play some utopian

Saturday 20th April, from 2.00

**please note that the time of this talk is 2.00, not 1.00 as previously given**

Hydra Books,
34 Old Market,

As part of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Radical History Zone

“We’ll eat all we please from ham and egg trees
that grow by a lake full of beer…
The landlord well take and tie to a stake
and we won’t have to work like a slave...

In the face of a life defined by exploitation and suffering, the poor of
the Middle Ages dreamed up a fantastical land where their sufferings were
reversed; where people lived in idleness and plenty and the rich were

In a popular song, The Land of Cokaygne, rivers ran with wine and milk,
the houses were made of pasties and tarts, and animals ran around cooked
and ready to eat.

From 14th-century Europe to 20th-century USA, this dream emerges in songs,
poems, folk tales. But it wasn’t just a popular fantasy – the dream was
linked to the culture and tensions of the times, and time and again rebels
and heretics tried to turn dream into reality…

Just one event in the excellent Radical History Zone at the Bristol
Anarchist Bookfair:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Radical History film show: Sylvia Pankhurst. 23rd April 2013

Waltham Forest Radical History Workshop
23rd April 2013, 7 p.m. at the Quaker Meeting House, 1a Jewel Rd., E17
A documentary film on the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, will be introduced by one of the film-makers.
“This feature length documentary chronicles Sylvia Pankhurst’s life as suffragette and revolutionary socialist. She was imprisoned more than any other suffragette for her tireless campaigning and unlike her mother Emmeline and sister Christabel, who dropped the fight for votes for women to support the 1914 war effort, Sylvia refused to sacrifice the fight for universal suffrage until it was won. Her opposition to the war and her internationalism were and remain exemplary and her bravery in fighting for equality and opposing all misanthropic trends puts her, as one interviewee put it, ‘up there with the angels.’”

Entrance fee will be a donation to help pay for room hire, the DVD and publicity.

The organisers would like to know if possible how many are likely to attend; messages can be passed on via our email, or see more details at: .