Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First World War Centenary: August 4th 2014

Silent vigil 12 noon - 2.00 p.m.
Monday 4th August
on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields 
Trafalgar Square, London.
- See more at:

The vigil is organised by a number of peace groups including: Conscience, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, Peace Pledge Union, Peace News, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Similar events will take place around the country including: 

Liverpool: 12 noon - 2.00pm a silent vigil in the Peace Garden, St James Lane, Liverpool
Grassington:  11.00 am - 12.00 noon, Grassington Square.
Skipton: 2.00pm - 3.00 pm, outside the Town Hall, Skipton. 
Glasgow: 10.30 - 11.30 am, Donald Dewar Statue. Buchanan St, Glasgow
Bath: 12.30 to 12.50pm at the Amphitheatre, University of Bath
Portswood, Southampton 7 – 8 pm , Immaculate Conception RC parish, 346 Portswood Road
Wisbech, East Anglia: 8.00 -9.00 pm a silent candlelit vigil at the Clarkson Memorial.
Wokingham 12.30 - 13.30 Town Centre in the Howard Palmer Gardens

Women's anti-war actions in First World War
11am - 12 noon women will gather opposite Holborn tube station (original site of Kingsway Hall) to commemorate a peace rally held there on 4 August 1914 and the delivery of a resolution to Downing Street requesting a meeting to discuss peaceful solutions to world conflicts.  
The women will be 'joined' by Kathleen Courtney, Chrystal Macmillan, Catherine Marshall and Emmeline Pethwick-Lawrence, key organisers of the 1914 rally.

No Glory in War Manchester in association with Artists for Peace present ‘1914 Peace Rally’.
Saturday 2nd August 2014, Manchester.

On Saturday 2nd August 2014, please join us to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the mass peace rallies which took place around the country in opposition to Britain joining the war. Hear what peace activists and war resisters from 1914 had to say about the prospect of the Great War and their pleas for peace through this pop-up street theatre event. Featuring Chilean actor Marcela Hervia, newly-elected MEP for the North West Julie Ward, and theatre director Hazel Roy.

Join us at…
2pm Manchester Central Library (outside)
2.45pm Albert Square
3.30pm St Anne’s Square
4.15pm Cathedral Green

No Glory - No More War event Monday 4 August 6.30 pm
Parliament Square London
100 years since Britain declared war
Join No Glory on WW1 centenary
Wear white poppies. Use Twitter hashtag #NoMoreWar

Monday 4 August is the centenary of the day that Britain declared war against Germany. The No Glory in War campaign will hold an event in Parliament Square to commemorate the 15 million killed in the "war to end
all wars", including nearly one million British soldiers, and to say they can best be commemorated by creating a world in which there is no more war.

Join us in Parliament Square and show your opposition to further wars.
Hear the truth about the First World War and the protests against it at the time. MPs, actors, historians, campaigners, war veterans and others will be speaking and reading from anti-war authors and activists in
1914-18. German historian Juliene Haubold Stolle and Neil Faulkner, author of pamphlet No Glory - the real history of WW1, will challenge current accounts of the war.

Speakers and performers include:
Sam West actor • Jim Radford • World War Two veteran • Jeremy Corbyn MP •
Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition • Kate Hudson CND • Juliene Haubold
Stolle German historian • Neil Faulkner author of pamphlet No Glory

From WCML email newsletter 01/08/2014 
 Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, U.K. M5 4WX 
1. The Library's new exhibition, World War One: myths and realities, opens on Wednesday 6 August.  
It explores topics such as the soldiers who refused to fight, why some young Salfordians were so eager to enlist, and the strength of the anti-war movement. The exhibition is open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.

There will be a series of free Wednesday 2 pm talks accompanying the exhibition:

24 September  The art of WW1 - John Sculley

1 October  Winifred Letts, local poet - Cynthia Greenwood

8 October  British trade unions and the First World War - John Newsinger.


President: Peter Hennessy
8pm Saturday 9 August

Little Germany: Stratford and East London 1914

On Tuesday 15th December 1914 a small group of Germans were led to William Ritchie & Sons, an old jute factory on Carpenter’s Road, now to become Stratford Camp.   Interviewing decedents of the Germany Community in Newham and East London, Eastside Community Heritage launched an exhibition in July 2014 which is now open to the public.

West St, Leytonstone, E11 4LJ

Enquiries:   0208 555 5248    or

And yet more...

There's a small exhibition at the Socialist Party's premises in London of
the party's opposition to the war with various documents and leaflets from
the period. It's open all this week from Monday 4 August to Sunday 10 August
from 11 am to 5pm and also on the remaining weekends of August (16/127 and
The address is 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN. Nearest tube is
Clapham North. Even nearer is Clapham High Street station on the Overground.
Further details:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

IWCE in Edinburgh at Festival time

Independent Working Class Education Events coming up in Edinburgh, during the Festival.

1.     Tuesday 12th August at 5pm:
        In the George Washington Browne Suite at Edinburgh Central Library,
           George IV Bridge EH1 1EG - 
    "Ragged University: ‘Plebs; The Ruskin College Strike of 1909′
plus ‘The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908/1926′

2.    Wednesday 13 August 2014 at 1.00pm
    43-45 West Nicolson Street
    EH8 9DB
It's more than a hundred years ago that trade unionists in Oxford went on strike for an 'independent working class education' and set up the Plebs League. Colin Waugh, researcher and author, will tell their fascinating story and spark off a discussion on what the Plebs League means for us today

Contact Keith Venables: 

or Just Turn Up

Monday, July 21, 2014

East Enders of WWI: Exhibition and Events

(from East London Suffragette Festival Programme)

THROUGHOUT AUGUST: East Enders of WWI Exhibition
Tower Hamlets Community Housing are commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War by hosting an exhibition showing the faces and stories of many young people who lived or worked in Tower Hamlets when the war broke out, including the East London suffragettes.
See photos of the suffragettes’ activities in Bow and learn about their remarkable wartime work.
9.30am - 4.30pm Mon-Fri                Free

Tower Hamlets Community Housing, 285 Commercial Road, Stepney, London E1 2PS

Related events:-

Explore Tower Hamlets WWI Archive
A day of talks, stalls and refreshments to launch Tower Hamlets’ WWI commemoration.
·         Michael Berlin (Birkbeck, University of London) will speak on ‘Pacifism in the East End during World War One’
·         Borough Archivist Malcolm Barr-Hamilton will highlight aspects of the collections relating to World War One
·         Author Sarah Jackson will speak about the remarkable wartime work of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes
11am – 5pm          Free

Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Suffragettes, Sisters and Struggles
An exhibition of radical posters of women’s activism from various sources, including the See Red Women’s Workshop.
10am to 6pm, not open Sunday            Free
Four Corners, 121 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 OQN 

Meath Gardens History Picnic
Join us for a Sunday afternoon picnic in beautiful Meath Gardens. Learn about the history of the park (formerly Victoria Park Cemetery) and its creator Fanny Wilkinson - the first woman landscape gardener in Britain!
Meet at the entrance arch on Bullard’s Place (map: From there we’ll walk a short distance to a good picnic spot or an alternative indoor venue if it’s raining. Please bring a towel or blanket to sit on and food to share!
1pm – 3pm        Free
Minnie Lansbury
Historian Janine Booth will give a talk about local hero Minnie Lansbury: alderman, activist and one of the most active members of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes.
6.30pm – 7.45pm         Free
Bow Idea Store, 1 Gladstone Place, Roman Rd, London E3 5ES

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bristol Dockers and WW1

Should Britain Go To War with Germany?
Date: Saturday 26th July, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Outside the Arnolfini, Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA
Dress: Period, Flat caps, hobble skirts etc.
Mass meeting, debate and resolutions
With Ernest Bevin (National Organiser Dockers Union) and Ben Tillett (General Secretary National Transport Workers Federation)
On Narrow Quay by the Arnolfini, Bristol
On Sunday 2nd August 1914, tens of thousands of people demonstrated across the country against Britain's entry into what became the first World War. In Bristol an anti-war demonstration on the Downs was followed by a mass meeting of Dockers on the Grove to discuss the worrying situation on the Continent. In the preceding week, the dispute between Austria and Serbia had begun to escalate towards a major conflict between the imperial powers; France, Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Britain and the Ottoman Empire. Germany declared war on Russia and by Sunday 2nd August, Britain was on the brink of declaring war on Germany. At the height of the crisis in Bristol, Dockers Union members and their leaders met in public to debate whether to support the drive to war or not.
So come down to Narrow Quay (next to the Arnolfini) to hear the arguments, have your say and raise your hands, Brothers and Sisters, for or against.....

Saturday, July 12, 2014

East London Suffragette Festival August 2014

Festival starts in just 20 days! 

We have around ten events planned, and we're adding them to the programme page on the website as they are confirmed, and creating Facebook events for all of them too (although we have a bit of a backlog). Highlights include:
  • Women's activism film night in Bethnal Green
  • History picnic in Meath Gardens
  • Sunday lunch at G Kelly's pie and mash shop on Roman Road
  • Suffragette history walk around Bow
And of course our main event at Toynbee Hall on Saturday 9 August, with speakers including Laura Pankhurst, Louise Raw, Nimco Ali and Shahida Rahman, plus suffrage plays, poetry, workshops on creative writing and film-making, plus storytelling, crafts and facepainting for children.
Help us spread the word
Can you print and distribute a few of our flyers and posters in your neighbourhood? Here are the links to download from:
We also need stewards and helpers to come down to Toynbee Hall  for our main event and help run the cake stall and the jumble sale and encourage people to fill in feedback forms. Even if you can only join us for a few hours that would be a big help. Please email 
Our last open meeting before it all kicks off is on Wednesday 16 July from 7pm in the meeting room at the Brady Arts Centre on Hanbury Street in Whitechapel.
We're having our festival afterparty at The Culpeper pub on Commercial Street from 6pm on Saturday 9 August. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another showing of King and Country, 1964

This month's Haringey Independent Cinema screening on Thursday 31st July takes a different look back to the 'Great War' currently being commemorated. Among the finest of a long line-up of 1960s anti-war films, King and Country gives an understated but chilling indictment of the horrors of war and the inhumanity of military justice. Read more about the film below.

As is our tradition this will also be our summer social so the evening begins with free food and drink and chat! Doors open at 7pm, and as always we're at West Green Learning Centre at Parkview School, West Green Road, N15 3RB. For travel directions see our website

[from email on behalf of Haringey Independent Cinema]

King and Country, 1964. 86 minutes Dir. Joseph Losey. (Unfortunately no subtitles available)

As with several British films made in the period of 60’s realism, including ‘Look Back in Anger’ and ‘A Taste of Honey’, King and Country was adapted from the stage play, ‘Hamp’. Losey utilises the trial of Tom Courtenay’s Private Hamp to show the unbelievable horrors of war as experienced in the medieval, rat-infested trenches of the First World War. The juxtaposition of soldier and officer in this setting strips bare the glaring class divisions and injustices demanded by imperialism.

Hamp, a poor, working class Islington lad, volunteers for the ‘Great War’ in blissful ignorance of what he is letting himself in for. Unhinged by traumatising events, he is arrested whilst attempting to walk home and charged with desertion. Hargreaves, the defending officer played by Dirk Bogarde, is Hamp’s antithesis – articulate, educated, urbane and self-assured. His initial disdain for Hamp’s ‘cowardice’ is rapidly transformed into something approaching sympathy when confronted by the realisation of the shabby inadequacies of notions like duty.

However shocking the film, it is difficult to believe that humanity could, once again, slide into a similar, barbaric abyss. Think again. The battleground has changed, with millions finding themselves in that abyss, courtesy of the continuing shocks of Bush/Blair’s perpetual ‘War on Terror’.

And an event coming up in Bristol:

Title: Should Britain Go To War with Germany?

Date: Saturday 26th July, 2014

Time: 2:00 pm

Part of: Remembering the Real WWI


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

'Young Rebels: The Story of Southall Youth Movement'

[Information from an email message by The Monitoring Group]
Documentary film launch on Friday 18th July 2014 from 6.30 p.m.
at the Monsoon Banqueting Suite, 100 The Green, Southall, UB2 4BG
Young Rebels: The Story of Southall Youth Movement charts the experiences and responses of Asian young people growing up in Southall in the 1960s and 1970s, and the racial attacks and discrimination facing them and their communities.
The film captures the activism and leadership of young people during the 1970s and 1980s and particularly of Southall Youth Movement,  covers major historical events in Southall including the racist murder of Gurdeep Chagger in June 1976, the murder of Blair Peach in demonstrations against the racist National Front in April 1979 and the burning of The Hambrough Tavern in 1981, through interviews with key local and national protagonists and archive TV footage of events.

The film is developed by local young people and is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

SCREENING of the film ( including awards ceremony and  Q&A with young people involved in the film)  will be followed by a CELEBRATION which will cost £12.50 per person and includes dinner, i.e. Tickets for the preview are free - but if you wish to stay for the celebration meal you pay...
You can book to attend through this link.

Copies of the film in DVD format and of the accompanying booklet will also be available at the launch.

(The event is organised by The Asian Health Agency and is being supported by the Monitoring Group, 37 Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LQ)

Archduke’s Assassination re-enacted…

[from Remembering the Real World War 1 London group]

A hundred years later, millions of war dead later - on Saturday, June 28, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenburg, were "assassinated" for a second time, on Whitehall. 

A century (and five hours) after the original assassination in Sarajevo triggered the
catastrophe of World War 1, the ghost of Gavrilo Princip repeated his act. The opening shots that set the defining course of the twentieth century – towards total capitalist war. But also towards its opposition: the spirit of resistance to class society, to national hatreds, to the power and profit of elites at the expense of huge majorities. The spirit of refusal to fight, of desertion, mutiny, revolution. 

Before the ‘assassination’, a small group from the Remembering the Real World War 1 London group (costumed as Archduke, Archduchess, Princip, feminist-communist war resister Sylvia Pankhurst, and several unknown soldiers of WW1) visited various statues of politicians and generals around Parliament Square, Whitehall and Horseguards Parade – bloodstained memorials to the guiding spirits of the British franchise of the 1914-1918 abattoir. Some of the war crimes of Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Haig and co. were discussed; we also remembered some of the army mutineers, draft-dodgers, the networks that opposed and resisted the war effort. Unlike the official historians of the Great War we celebrated the strikes, mutinies, revolutions that the conflict produced.

We visited the cenotaph, to remember that the elites who sent millions to die were forced into commemorating their victims by popular pressure. In Horseguards we spoke up for the striking squaddies who demanded demobilization in January 1919, besieging the War office, refusing to be drafted into Britain’s intended invasion of Soviet Russia refusing to continue to die and kill in the name of imperial rivalry. 

There were only a few of us… Like the lonely voices that spoke out against the tide of patriotism and coercion in 1914. The heavy rain may have played a part… But also such ‘ancient history’, especially that which challenges the official themes, maybe seems unimportant to most folk at this time. There are more urgent struggles, like survival, in the face of massive pressures… Most of our rantings were likely only amusement for tourists. Still we did engage with some people, positively and negatively. 

We did run into the Gay Pride procession, in time to wave some placards at the lesbian & gay soldiers contingent – probably futilely, but you have to try. (Still, the Austro-Hungarian fetish gear went down well with some of the festive marchers…) Some of us remember when Gay Pride had a more subversive social meaning than celebrating the equality to sign up for the armed forces, equal rights in the repressive rigmarole. Living in the past again?  

The past? A drive towards austerity, open class war against those with the least, vicious hatred and blame leveled at ‘foreigners’, towards a militarized, rightwing society? Sound familiar?

Arms traders, warmongering politicians and unrelenting, jingoistic propaganda today, go hand in hand with a blind reverence for the ‘dead’ of World War 1, a ‘respect’ that deliberately obscures the lies and profitable balance sheets that millions died for. Capitalism gave birth to the Great War – the War that never really ended.  

With the world at war again in the Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, we intended to conduct our theatrical reconstruction of these events outside BAE systems, a small reminder of how little has changed today. In the end we didn’t make it as the downpour drove us into the pub… 

… But we carry on.  

Join us for our next action, outside the Imperial War Museum on July 19th,  as it re-opens its World War 1 exhibitions. 

The IWM was set up in 1917 by the very same generals and politicians who helped start the global conflagration. But it wasn’t victorious generals and politicians that ended the conflict, it was striking workers and mutinying soldiers. 

By autumn 1918, many German soldiers became so disillusioned with the war that they refused to fight. Earlier, there had been similar rebellions in the Russian and French armies. And, by 1919, there were even mutinies in the British Army. 

Hopefully the IWM exhibition will cover these inspiring events in detail. But, in case they need some help, we will be commemorating the real history of the war from
10am to 2pm, Saturday 19 July, near the museum entrance
(The IWM is on Lambeth Rd. SE1 6HZ, near Waterloo and Lambeth North stations.)

For more information about the ‘Remembering the Real WW1’ project see:

For useful critiques of the Imperial War Museum approach to the history of war (and relations with the current military-industrial complex), see: 

Next Remembering the real WW1 London organising meeting:

Thursday July 10th, 7.30 pm at 88 Fleet St. London EC1 1DH

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Does working-class education have a future?

IWCE  Event
A day conference for all trades unionists including Union Learn reps, trade union branch officers, TUC/ Trade Union Studies tutors, WEA/adult education lecturers, and mature students, organised by Trade Union Solidarity magazine and Bridgwater Trades Union Council
11am to 4pm, Saturday 2nd August 
GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HA
Marie Hughes South West TUC Regional Education Officer
Trish Lavelle CWU National Education Officer
Becca Kirkpatrick Co-editor Trade Union Solidarity
Shan Maidment TU studies tutor, City of Bristol College
Carole Vallelly GMB Southern Region/TUC tutor
Nigel Costley, Secretary, South West TUC
Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC
Ian Manborde, Ruskin College
Richard Ross London Metropolitan University
Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited: please register in advance if possible, make cheques  out to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU. Further details phone 07707 869 144 or e-mail
10.30am to 11am: registration tea and coffee
11am: welcome: Vicki Nash, Somerset NUT and President Bridgwater TUC
11.05am: First session: Chair, Andy Newman, GMB, White Horse (Wiltshire) TUC
Speakers: Marie Hughes, Trish Lavelle, Dave Chapple
11.50am: discussion
12.30pm: Second session: Chair, Glen Burrows, RMT, Bridgwater TUC
Speakers: Nigel Costley, Shan Maidment, Richard Ross
1.15pm: discussion
2.40pm: Third session: Chair: Richard Capps, PCS, vice-Chair South West TUC
Speakers: Carole Vallelly, Ian Manborde, Becca Kirkpatrick
3.25pm: discussion including conference follow-up
4pm: Close of conference
The last few generations have seen, overall, both a crisis and decline in the general field of what used to be called working-class education. Despite substantial government Union Learn funding, now of course under severe pressure, and some impressive internal trade union shop steward programmes, the subsidised and ‘liberal’ ‘adult education sector where many of us learned the theory and practice of socialism has almost disappeared.
This conference is a ground-breaking attempt to address this crisis, asking these questions amongst many others:  would the internet have destroyed adult ‘liberal’ education without any government cuts? Do any trade unions educate their members for socialism or merely effective trades unionism? Can a volunteer/community-led strategy restore cuts to Union Learn and adult evening courses?
What about the left-wing political parties, including Labour and the Greens? What are the strategies to restore a once-thriving Independent Working Class Education as part of the workers’ emancipation project? Do TUC courses succeed in teaching solidarity between workers in different unions? Could local trades councils play a new educational role?
These of course are only a few possible ways of approaching our conference subject: make sure you raise yours! Our speakers will all, hopefully, give us personal reflections of all their years teaching workers, as well as their own ideas for future education campaigns.
Bridgwater GWRSA/Railway Club is 100 yards from Bridgwater rail station at the east end of Wellington Rd. Car parking in adjacent station car park. Bridgwater station is served by an hourly train service throughout the day, arriving from Bristol at 40 minutes past the hour and from Taunton at 15/20 minutes past the hour. Bridgwater is also easily accessible from the M5 motorway with two junctions: north (Dunball/Junction 23) and south (Huntworth/Junction 24). The GWRSA/railway club itself is one of the national network of railway clubs which in themselves are an important part of working-class history-they were funded by the employers, and so can be understood both as social concession or dangerous palliative.  However, you will find the Bridgwater GWRSA a friendly, thriving but last-surviving local working class club. We look forw

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Anti-War 'Nursery Rhyme' discovered




Thanks for this (and the satirical ‘If’ parody below), to Alison Ronan, who found it in the papers of a local Manchester Conscientious Objector, Arthur Turtle.
Ali is a feminist historian interested in dissent and resistance. Her current research is about anti-war and pacifist women in Manchester and North-West England, 1914-1918.
Her book 'A Small Vital Flame: anti-war women in NW England 1914-1918’ is published by The Scholars' Press.

(A Pacifist’s Parody on Kipling’s “If”)

If you can talk and not get bread and water,

Or if reported take your pegging like a man;

If you can scrub like any woman’s daughter,

And eat your dinner from a rusty can;

If you can “pick that step up” every morning,

And “swing those arms” as round the ring you crawl;

If you can rise before the daylight’s dawning,

And wash your share of landing in the hall;

If you can take the daily Wormwood rumour,

With little more than just a pinch of salt;

And treat as nought the officer’s ill-humour,

But simply think his liver is at fault;

If you can bear to hear the news you be given,

Change and increase till it’s nowise true;

And though to tell it truly you have striven,

Keep calm when its new version comes to you;

If you can hope and not get tired of hoping,

For the freedom which must come soon or late;

And never let your comrades see you hoping,

But patiently and gladly work and wait;

If you can watch your shadow getting thinner,

And still with smiling face go bravely on;

If you can think of your last decent dinner,

And not complain and think you’re put upon;

Then, my brother, though all the world may scorn you,

And make your name a jest for thoughtless folk;

You’re the saviour of the country that has borne you,

You’ll surely break Conscription’s evil yoke.

Written by William Harrison.
in Wormwood Scrubs, March, [year missing from typescript]

An online search finds inter alia that the nursery rhyme was published anonymously in: THE IRON WORKER Vol.1 No 4 1928, but the 'If'' parody does not appear to have been widely distributed, if at all.(The fact that this page looks as though it was produced on a duplicator, however, suggests an attempt to make it more widely known, at some point.) See comment below with reference to William Harrison.