Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wed. 28 January: Local film showing: McLibel in N17

UPDATE - Link to film and leaflet

The victorious McLibel Campaign, 1985-2005 
The film described below was shown on BBC2 soon after being made; before that it was shown in some cinemas. It has also been shown on TV in many countries…

You can now see the full film online:

and also find the 2005 LEAFLET here 

- The Tottenham postman & gardener who took on the McDonald’s corporation. And won. 
Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, London N17 8NU
Entry free. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts 7.30pm.
Special guests: The 'McLibel Two'

February 2015 marks 10 years since this infamous and historic marathon of a legal battle concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. The McLibel case had been a David and Goliath story of two people, Tottenham residents Helen Steel and Dave Morris. The defendants refused to be silenced by libel threats, and had to represent themselves throughout what became the longest trial in English legal history. At the same time a grass-roots global defiance campaign turned the spotlight on junk food, exploitation of workers, unethical targeting of children, environmentally-unfriendly business practices, the cruelty of factory farming - and attempts at censorship. The leaflets that the corporation tried to suppress became probably the widest circulated in history.

This documentary film made during the case tells the incredible story.. the filmed testimony of witnesses and experts, exposure of controversial practices, revealing footage of secret meetings with McDonald's US Board members, McSpies unmasked, the growing protests, McProfits down...

Helen and Dave - the McLibel Two - introduce the film and look back on the case and the victorious campaign....

The award-winning full-length documentary was shown on BBC and has been seen by over 20 million people around the world
More info on the film: www.spannerfilms.net More info on the case/campaign: www.mcspotlight.org

See also: RaHN Pamphlet
 'McWorld On Trial' - by Helen Steel and Dave Morris (the 'McLibel' defendants)
The inside story of the inspirational global campaign against McDonald's 1985-2005, including the titanic legal battle during the longest trial in English history.

And previously on this blog: 

McDonald's and McLibel - the successful humiliation of a multinational [1985-2005] - by the McLibel Support Campaign.

McLibel police spies revelations: defendant speaks out

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Undercover Policing campaign: Further update

BBC London News TV item on the campaign to force former police spy/spymaster out of London Metropolitan University can be viewed at:

A campaigner comments: 
"It is not everything we might have wanted but it does ramp up the pressure on London Met some; they were at least forced to put someone up from the John Grieve Centre for the Study of Policing to defend themselves (although they focussed on issues of their international links, a small thing I mentioned which they seized on to the detriment of more important issues.) 
Anyway together with other coverage it does help create a buzz for IAPS picket of London Met next Friday, January 30th, 12-2pm... " * [see below]

"This week we have also launched our campaign on twitter; you can follow us:

created a blog

and a very basic facebook page:

"Please spread the word/like us/re-tweet and do all those things that people do in the age of social media.. But it's vital that people DO complain to London Met, and also get on down to the pickets to make us too annoying to ignore.

"This issue is much bigger than just Bob Lambert, but we are trying to hold him to account for his actions, in the course of which we are also raising the whole history of police infiltration of radical movements as a wider pattern. 
So please also visit 

 - two sites which put Lambert's actions in context.

Keep up the pressure".

Former Police Spy, Serial Liar & Exploiter of Women

Join us to demand the removal of Bob Lambert from London Metropolitan

Picket London Met

Friday January 30th
12.00 – 2.00pm

LMU Tower, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB

Bring placards, banners, anything to make noise…

In November Islington Against Police Spies (IAPS) held a lively picket of London Metropolitan University in Holloway, launching our campaign to demand the sacking or resignation of Bob Lambert. Former police spy,
Special Branch manipulator, abuser of women, agent provocateur, Lambert is now lecturing at London Met on policing and criminology.

As local residents we feel it is totally inappropriate for London Metropolitan to be employing a man with Lambert'’s record in such a position; where he has influence and power over the lives of students, who may be young or vulnerable. Most particularly Lambert has shown he cannot be trusted not to abuse and lie to women.

Islington Against Police Spies have committed ourselves to holding events every month at least, to keep putting pressure on the University and raising awareness of Lambert'’s past, until he is forced to leave London Met. We know this CAN be done – but it'’s not necessarily going to be easy.

Hopefully this campaign will get stronger until it'’s irresistible. BUT WE NEED HELP – we call on anyone who thinks Bob Lambert should not be working in a supposedly progressive university to support our campaign.


Come down and join the picket on January 30th. The bigger and noisier our protest, the more notice London Met will have to take of us. [More ideas available from the campaign]. >>

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

News International Dispute exhibition

Exhibition 9 January - 13 February 2015
St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ
0207 353 3331
Friday-Monday 10am-5.30pm; Tuesday-Thursday by appointment

Further information: 07831 676587; info@wapping-dispute.org.uk; www.wapping-dispute.org.uk

<< The exhibition is on display again this time at St Bride Institute, Bride Lane, just off Fleet Street. It is an historic location for all of us from the Fleet Street era of national newspapers and the print and media industry.  And not just for proximity to Fleet Street: countless chapel (workplace union branch) meetings were held there – starting disputes and ending them, setting up campaigns and declaring solidarity with other workers in struggle.
In addition to the exhibition, the print workshop  and the library which are entirely devoted to the history of printing and allied crafts are also well worth seeing.
The leaflet is at this link gives details of opening times.  Please note that the exhibition is open at weekends. Individual and group visits during mid- week (Tuesday-Thursday) but please check for availability. >>

Contact us on info@wapping-dispute.org or 07831676587.

Previously on this blog:

Memories of the Wapping print dispute - some Haringey support experiences [1986-87] 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oral History Project: memories of Centerprise

A Hackney Autobiography will be launched on Saturday 24 January 2015 at a relaxed gathering with refreshments and poetry. This free public event will bring people together to discuss Centerprise and share memories of the time. All are welcome.
Please RSVP to On the Record, info@on-the-record.org.uk .
2–5 p.m. at Bishopsgate Institute,
230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH. (station: Liverpool Street)
Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For all those who remember Centerprise, a community centre, bookshop and publisher that hosted ground-breaking work in oral history, literacy, community history, life story writing and much more. Bring photographs, publications, documents from the time and your memories.

Oral history organisation On the Record  has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise. On the Record are looking for people who remember Centerprise – or who want to help with the project – to join the project steering group, be interviewed or volunteer.
For more information about volunteer opportunities visit: 

Centerprise was open from 1971 to 2012. It hosted a bookshop, publishing project, reading centre, café, youth club, crèche and more all under one roof in Dalston. It not only sold books, it made it possible for local people to write and publish their own works of poetry, autobiography and history. It conducted oral history interviews and published the books created by oral and local history group and Workers Educational Association class the ‘People’s Autobiography of Hackney’, including their two-volume chronicle of working life in twentieth century Hackney: Working Lives.
The project will not only reflect upon Centerprise and Hackney’s past, it will work with young people and adults living in Hackney today to set this history in the context of the borough’s rapidly changing landscape.
A Hackney Autobiography is running from December 2014 to July 2016. It will remember Centerprise, in particular its work in the 1970s and 1980s, through oral history, gathering a public archive at Bishopsgate Institute and by running free workshops and events. A Hackney Autobiography will culminate by curating a digital map showcasing some of the material collected and publishing an in-depth history of Centerprise.

<< On the Record Community Interest Company is a not-for-profit cooperative, established in May 2012. Our mission is to create and improve opportunities for a broader range of people to discover and participate in heritage and cultural activities. Previous projects run by On the Record include an oral history of Speakers’ Corner [http://soundsfromthepark.org.uk] and a volunteer research project about the arms trade and the First World War [http://armingallsides.org.uk
Read more here: http://on-the-record.org.uk >>  
For further information please contact info@on-the-record.org.uk

For details of a similar sort of project in South Tottenham, see http://www.bridgerenewaltrust.org.uk/

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Action East End Radical History Walk: this Sunday

Action East End Radical History Walk Sunday January 11th 11am.

Meet outside Spitalfields Church, Commercial Street, London E1 6LY



Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street, Aldgate East


A Radical History Tour around the East End, raising funds for the East End Howler – The radical voice of East London Let a seasoned anarchist veteran introduce you to all the rich and unknown history of the East End. Take a trip around the “narrow, crooked streets”, by-lanes and alleys of the East End. THRILL as we visit the site of the Sugar Loaf pub, famed for its weekly anarchist meetings which tempted “poor flies into the trap”. GASP as we visit the sites of the first organising attempts among Jewish workers and the scenes of mass strike meetings. SOB as we see the soup kitchens which fed the poor and hungry.

Your pulse will race when we come upon the site of the Russian Social Democratic Party Congress, where the split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks first emerged. You will gaze in wonder at the door through which Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin all went. Your heart will beat loudly when you gaze upon the place where two Latvian revolutionaries held off armed police and Guardsmen for many hours. You will be awestruck by our visits to the two great Anarchist clubs of the East End, home of many speeches, plays and musical diversions and you
will mutter in outrage when you hear about the brutal attacks by the police on the Anarchists there. You will wonder at the streets which were squatted lock stock and barrel in a confrontation with the authorities and you will be intrigued by the building which housed one of the several free schools in the East End dedicated to enlightened education.

So down your tools, pick up your red and black flag, and dive into the inspiring world of East London’s Radical History.

Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street, Aldgate East

Action East End
For Community and Solidarity

Friday, January 2, 2015

Some Dates for 2015 Calendars

Events of the radical-history persuasion, more or less, coming up in the next couple of months:-

World War One talk in Salford: Conscientious Objectors
On Monday 26 January at 2pm Salford Museum and Art Gallery hosts a free talk by Steve Illingworth highlighting the story of WW1 conscientious objectors with a focus on stories from the region.
Date and time
Monday, 26 January 2015 - 2:00pm
Cost: Free!
No booking required
Suitable for:  All
Talk by Steve Illingworth highlighting the story of conscientious objectors with a focus on stories from the region. 
Please meet in the museum reception.
No Glory Plans for 3 exhibitions in Manchester throughout 2015
Talk: Sisters with mourning hearts: a forgotten story of radical Manchester women in 1915 
Thursday 22 January 6-7pm
Performance Space

Central Library
No booking necessary - just come along!

One hundred years ago a group of Manchester women signed an open letter to the women of Germany and Austria sending their solemn greetings and declaring that they wished for peace. They received warm and heartfelt thanks from the German and Austrian women. The letter is an important part of the international women's movement for peace.

Join Dr Alison Ronan for an illustrated talk on the letter, its historical context and the stories of women who signed it. The event will feature a short film by Sue Reddish.

The letter is held by Manchester Central Library. A copy of the document and an interactive display telling the story of the women who signed it will be on display in Archives+.
Exhibition 1
During the first winter of the First World War, in December-January 1914/1915, 101 pacifist and suffragist British women including a group of women from Manchester and North-West England and with international and European connections, woven in the pre-war activities of the International Suffrage Alliance, wrote an Open Letter to the women of Germany and Austria declaring that:
‘The Christmas message sounds like mockery to a world at war, but those of us who wished and still wish for peace may surely offer a solemn greeting to such of you who feel as we do.’
And the reply from the German and Austrian women was then published in the international newspaper Jus Suffragi [Suffrage, the right to vote] two months later:
‘To our English sisters, sisters of the same race, we express in the name of many German women our warm and heartfelt thanks for their Christmas greetings, which we only heard of lately.
‘This message was a confirmation of what we foresaw—that women of the belligerent countries, with all faithfulness, devotion, and love to their country, can go beyond it and maintain true solidarity with the women of other belligerent nations, and that really civilised women never lose their humanity’
The original letter, signed by a number of women from Manchester and the NW and women with strong links to the NW, is in the City Archives as part of the Suffrage Collection donated by Margaret Ashton. It is an important document which heralded the emergence of the international women’s peace movement and it is here in Manchester!
More to come in April. Exhibition 2, The Hague Congress: “Several leading  members of Manchester Suffrage Society established a break away branch of the newly- established  British Committee of the International Congress of Women in order to elect delegates for the proposed Congress planned for The Hague in late April 1915.”
and Exhibition 3, October 2015
Plus ongoing plans for
  • day out to Macclesfield where there is a memorial to soldiers shot for desertion
  • the arboretum in Staffordshire
  • a creative day making banners
  • a day for CO researchers to compare notes
(Watch this space…)

[Update] Also in Manchester - 

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the People’s History Museum, Manchester, are hosting a talk by David Goodway about George Julian Harney, historic Chartist leader.   

"It would be great if you could let any who may be interested know about the talk.  It would be great to see any and all there."

 [7th Feb., 2.30 – 4 p.m.]

IWCE Day School in Leeds
Saturday 31st January, 11.00 - 3.00
for Independent Working Class Education
The day will discuss the IWCE Network Manifesto and ask how we can work together to enrich working class education and class struggle.
Have a look at http://iwceducation.co.uk/ for more information.
 Offers of a short presentation are welcome.
To book and/or offer a presentation
email: iwceducation@yahoo.co.uk
 Swarthmore Centre,
2 - 7 Woodhouse Square,
Leeds LS3 AD

[Update] Provisional programme: 
The main focus of this IWCE Network meeting will be
"Developing  and using the IWCE Manifesto".

ALL COMMENTS TO COLIN WAUGH : cwaugh1@btinternet.com
before 24th January, please.

We are also delighted to have contributions from Ian Richards (General Federation
of Trade Unions), Dave Berry (Today's issues on employment practices), John Illy (Land Tax),
Phil Guy (Participate, enquire and collaborate), and Frances Thorp (Looking at Art
and IWCE).

All presentations are short, and there will be lots of discussion.

Network for Peace

There will be a meeting on 19 February in London at 1.30. Friends House in Euston.

We will have a short NfP business meeting followed by a discussion on where we are with WW1 Campaigning.

We also hope to have a guest speaker, an academic who will report on her research (just waiting for a confirmation).

No need to confirm your place, or send your apologies. But if you cannot come and have something interesting to report please send something to me in good time for me to distribute before the meeting if at all possible. 

Here’s a link to the event on the NfP website: 

On Saturday 28th February at 1pm, the Wakefield Socialist History Group will be holding an event HOUSING AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.
Entrance is free and there will be a free light buffet.
We are looking for speakers for the event.  If you would like to speak or can recommend a speaker please get in touch.
At the start of the 20th century 90% of Britain's population lived in private sector rented accommodation.  The sector was subject to minimal regulation and with the coming of the First World War -and the attendant pressures on housing- landlords began to hike up rents.
This was at a time when many working class men were at the front fighting.  Women saw it as a betrayal and began to organise tenant groups to resist the rises.
In Glasgow in particular the women got the support of the Independent Labour Party and were championed by socialists such as John Maclean.  They also won backing from workers in the factories and shipyards. Their agitation forced the government to take action.  Rent controls were introduced.  So too was security of tenure which made it more difficult for landlords to evict tenants.
Then in 1972 rent strikes broke out across Britain in response to the Heath Government's notorious Housing Finance Act.  That legislation aimed to force council rents up to market levels.  Whilst Labour Councils -even those that originally resisted- eventually caved in one by one Clay Cross stood firm to the end.  Eleven councillors risked prison because of their refusal to implement the rises.
And in Liverpool in the mid 80s the then socialist council -in the face of massive opposition from Whitehall- embarked on a huge house building programme.  It built 5000 new homes and froze council rents.
So housing has been and still remains a focus for class struggle.

[Update/Reminder] The next meeting of the Wakefield Socialist History Group is on 
Saturday 28 February 2015, 1-4pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield.
The event will be focusing on HOUSING AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE.
The speakers confirmed so far are:
*Cllr Hilary Mitchell
*Karen Fletcher (Secretary, Barnsley Against the Bedroom Tax)
*Alan Stewart (Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group)
*Kevin Feintuck (rank and file housing worker in Sheffield)
The chair is Kitty Rees.
Admission is free and there will be a free light buffet.
Hope to see you there!

PROGRAMME 2015 now available.
VENUE  Epicentre, West St. Leytonstone London E11 4LJ
TIMES 7.30 Buffet: please bring something              8.00 Talk and questions/discussion
TRAVEL Leytonstone or Stratford tube, 257 bus or Leytonstone High Rd overground, short walk
All welcome, just turn up. Free. Donations welcome. Car park. Quiet kids [sic] welcome.              
Enquiries: 0208 555 5248 or 07443 480 509; info@newsfromnowhere club.org
Beginning on Saturday 10 January 2015 with “Bollington: Utopia in Cheshire?and “Letchworth Garden City: Health of the Country, Comforts of the Town   Speakers: Jim Hoyle & William Armitage.
Then: Saturday 14 February 2015  The Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster Speaker: Joy Puritz- “This talk is a description of the circumstances which led to the worst civilian disaster of WWII in this country, whether it could have been avoided & if anyone was to blame.

Saturday 14 March 2015  The Life of Bees Speaker: Ian Nichols
Saturday 11 April 2015 'The most lovable figure’: George Lansbury and East End politics   Speaker: Professor John Shepherd 
and more in subsequent months.

LSHG Spring Term 2015 seminars

London Socialist Historians Seminars for early 2015 have also been announced and start with:
Monday January 19th        Marika Sherwood, Black Soldiers in World War One
Monday February 2nd      Matthew  Burnett-Stewart,  Arming both sides. The Armaments industry in World War One.
These take place in Room 102 at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, WC1 and start at 5.30 p.m.
For more details and subsequent events see londonsocialisthistorians.blogspot.com 

Next RaHN meeting:

Wednesday 25th February 7.30 p.m.

Wood Green Social Club 3 Stuart Crescent, N22 5NJ

  (off the High Rd, near Wood Green tube)

Free to attend, all interested people welcome.

The last meeting agreed on a theme of "Out and Proud in North London"
focusing on Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender struggles.
Details to follow.