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 for more information.
 Offers of a short presentation are welcome.
To book and/or offer a presentation
 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".

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
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 

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.

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