Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Coming in Summer

(Our now regular Listings Round-up)

UPDATE: Another upcoming event: an exhibition of See Red's posters

at The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association,
39 Tottenham Street,

from June 25-28.

On Friday 27th at 7pm, there will be a discussion ‘Radical Silkscreen Printing Collective’ led by See Red founder members Suzy and Pru.

The exhibition will be open 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 June
and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June.


News from WCML
Working Class Movement Library, Salford
51 The Crescent,
Salford,M5 4WX 
See also "new mobile-friendly site at www.wcml.org.uk" with new Objects of the month feature - pamphlets from the Library collection, selected to mark International Conscientious Objectors’ Day which was on 15 May.

Spirit of '45 exhibition and talks
The Library's exhibition Spirit of ’45: from warfare to welfare runs until 25 September.
Following the end of the Second World War the people of Britain elected a Labour government. It was a landslide victory. Seventy years later we recall the achievements of that government and explore what remains of its radical reforms.
Open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

Free events alongside the exhibition:
Wednesday 10 June 2pm
Francis Beckett talk on Clement Attlee
Francis is an author, journalist, broadcaster, playwright and contemporary historian.  He will talk about his book Clem Attlee, which has been described as 'an engrossing personal biography'.

Wednesday 24 June 2pm
Film screening of the National Co-operative Film Archive’s Song of the People. Made in 1945, this film stars a young Bill Owen as a factory worker singing about characters and events in British history from the 14th century to recent conflicts, showing how the lesson for the future lies in co-operation.
Introduced by Gillian Lonergan from the National Co-operative Archive.

Wednesday 8 July 2pm
Pat Thane talk on the 1945 welfare reforms
Pat, who is Research Professor in Contemporary British History, Institute of Contemporary British History, King's College, London, will speak about the post-war welfare reforms.

Wednesday 22 July 2pm
Keith Flett talk - 'A History of 1945: beyond Ken Loach'
Keith is a socialist historian and a prolific letter writer in the British press.

No Redemption Songs
On Thursday 18 June at 7pm the Library hosts a film and music performance with songwriter Brenda Heslop, her band Ribbon Road and photographer Keith Pattison. No Redemption Songs marks 30 years since the miners’ strike.
Keith documented the strike at Easington Colliery through an in-depth series of black and white photographs following the striking miners and their families through the optimism of August, through the deepening pessimism of winter, to the final vote to return to work.  After meeting with Keith during 2013, Northumberland-based songwriter Brenda wrote a 10 piece song cycle, No Redemption Songs, inspired by the photographs and recent visits to Easington Colliery.
Admission £10 on the door.
A Hundred in One Hundred Minutes
On Sunday 5 July at 2pm there will be a fundraising event at the Library. A Hundred in One Hundred Minutes will offer us songs, poems and tales from 100 years of working class struggles with ballad singer Jennifer Reid and Manchester University’s Michael Sanders.
Price £10 - tickets to be booked in advance by emailing

Book launch, Northern Re-Sisters
The book launch of Northern ReSisters: conversations with radical women by Bernadette Hyland will take place on Saturday 6 June 2pm, in the Library annexe.
Women included in the book are Betty Tebbs, aged 97, a trade unionist and peace campaigner since the 1940s who recently appeared on television with Maxine Peake; Mandy Vere, who founded the News From Nowhere bookshop in Liverpool in the 1970s and still works there; Karen Reissman and Pia Feig who campaign about the NHS; and Alice Nutter, formerly in the band Chumbawamba, who now writes drama for theatre, radio and television.
Join Bernadette, meet some of her Northern ReSisters and take part in the discussion over refreshments and cake.
maryquaileclub@gmail.com.  Further information here.
The Library is open 10am-4pm on 6 June if you want to come along prior to the book launch and browse our
Spirit of '45exhibition.
Marx in Soho
The Calder Bookshop & Theatre present Marx In Soho by Howard Zinn at The King's Arms, Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN on Thursday 18 June at 7.30pm.
 In Zinn’s play Marx returns to Earth to answer his critics but due to a bureaucratic error he is sent to Soho in New York rather than his old stomping ground in London to make his case. The play aims to be a critique of our society’s hypocrisies and injustices and an entertaining portrait of Marx as a voice of humanitarian justice.
Tickets £9 from
www.wegottickets.com/event/313990 or contact B Sullivan on 07702 579278.
'Let us face the future' conference
The People's History Museum hosts a conference on Saturday 27 June marking, like our Spirit of '45 exhibition, 70 years since the 1945 general election. Topics include Labour’s courtship of the media in the 1930s and 1940s; the popular press, cartoons and the Attlee Labour government; steel, nationalisation and the Labour Party 1945-1951; and the Co-operative Party and the General Election of 1945. Further details here, including how to book tickets (£15; unwaged £10).
[still running, see previous posts...] - 
Former Police Spy, Serial Liar & Exploiter of Women
...instead of laying off 165 other staff...

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

End of Year Picket of London Met

Friday June 5th
12.00 – 2.00pm

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

Spread the Word –  tell others about this campaign, raise the issue in your networks, communities, union, etc. – the more people know about Bob, the more pressure we all put on the university, the more likely it is that he will have to go.

Email us:

(Please note our new email address).

Wakefield Socialist History Group

Guided walk round RADICAL BRADFORD is being held on Saturday 13 June
Meet 2 p.m. at the "Independent Labour Party" wall mural at the junction of Leeds Road and Chapel Street (approximately 10 minutes walk from the bus/train station). 
There will be short speech by Alan Stewart, Convenor of Wakefield Socialist History Group, at the start of the walk.

The guide for the walk itself is John Gill.  John is a socialist historian.

The walk will be about two miles and does involve some inclines.  It will go via Lister Park and end at Manningham Mills.

All welcome.  Free bottled water provided. 
The walk will be approximately 2 miles and involve some inclines.
(organised in conjunction with Ford Maguire Society)

Background history:
*Bradford began as a village by a ford.  "Brad" means "broad."
*By the time of the Domesday Book (1086) the village by the broad ford had grown large -by standards of the time- and had some 300 inhabitants.
*It was turned into a town when villagers were allowed to hold a weekly market; craftsmen then moved in.
*Medieval Bradford grew to a population of several hundred.  It had three streets -Kirkgate, Westgate and Ivegate.  The word "gate" in this context does not mean gate in a wall.  Rather it is derived from the Danish word "gate" meaning street.
*In 1642 with the onset of the Civil War, local people supported Parliament though the surrounding countryside sided with the King. Royalists sacked the town in 1643.
*The town recovered by the 17th century and was then transformed by the Industrial Revolution. The first bank opened in 1771.  The Bradford Canal was built in 1774 and in 1777 it was connected to the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
*By 1851 the population was 103,000 making it the seventh largest urban centre in England.  The town was notorious also for its' "dreadful urban squalor" (James 1990).
*Houses in particular were built in a haphazard fashion.  There were no building regulations until 1854 and most working class housing was overcrowded with neither sewers nor drains.  Many families lived in poorly ventilated cellars and in 1848-49 some 420 people perished in a cholera epidemic that hit the town.
*The Bradford Corporation was founded in 1847.  It was not until 1862 that the first mile of piping for a new sewage system was completed.  The first public park - Peel Park- opened in 1863.  The first public library opened in 1872. The first council houses weren't built until 1907. 

"As Bradford expanded in the mid 19th century there was talk of the need for additional public parks.  Indeed there was a chance to create one in Manningham.
There Samuel Lister owned the land. His estate consisted of a hall and 54 acres of parkland.  He'd allowed the public into the grounds for the annual gala and also at weekends and public holidays.
But now he'd moved away to live at Fairfield Hall near Addingham.  So Lister had plans to sell it off for a development of large villas.  Adverts appeared in the Bradford Observer from 22 April 1869.
Yet there had been a trade depression in the town.  Now was "not the time for property speculation."  Alvin (2013) says the scheme was dropped five months later.
Instead Lister offered in the spring of 1870 to sell the estate to the Corporation for £60,000.  Radical liberals on the council smelt a rat and accused him of profiteering.  Others asked why a park was being provided in relatively affluent Manningham -where many houses have gardens and outdoor space as it was- rather than more crowded working class districts such as Horton and Bowling.  However after much debate the Council accepted Lister's offer. The park opened that October.
But why on earth does the ruling class bother with public parks at all?  Alvin (2013) notes that in mid 19th century Bradford the lack of open spaces for recreation was said to be responsible for increasing numbers resorting to public houses and gambling for amusement.  It was felt parks would have a calming, civilising influence.  There the common man could mix in the open air with the "better educated" and be "influenced by their example."  Their health and behaviour would be improved.
Parks helped, in other words, with social control and with the reproduction of labour power.  There was method, after all, in ruling class madness!"

How it went

 (from Wakefield Socialist History Group)

Twenty eight people took part in a guided walk round "Radical Bradford" which the Group organised (with the support of the Leeds Ford Maguire Society) last Saturday (13 June).
 The walk started at the Independent Labour Party mural on Leeds Road and went through Little Germany and along Manningham Lane to Lister Park before finishing at Manningham Mills (site of a famous strike in 1881).
 The informative guide was John Gill.  At the end of the walk an excellent short talk was also given by Iain Dalton, who has written widely about industrial struggles in West Yorkshire.
 The group's next event is a meeting on the "The Chartists" at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield on Saturday 18 July at 1 p.m.

IWCE Seminar:
Women Making History

Sat 13th June, London

Monday 17th August Edinburgh Word Power Bookshop

    World to Win/Manifesto for IWCE 

Details from website or email Convenor at iwceducation@yahoo.co.uk

LSHG Summer Term seminars

London Socialist Historians Summer term seminars 2015

 All seminars are held in Room 102, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St WC1 and start at 5.30pm
 Monday June 15th - 'History of Riots' launch; Keith Flett and others

 Monday June 30th tbc

A launch event for A History of Riots is planned for Monday 15th June Room 102 at the Institute of Historical Research at 5.30pm. Details of the book here 

A History of Riots is the result of a conference held by the London Socialist Historians Group in early 2012, designed to look again at the historical aspects of riots in the wake of the August 2011 riots in the UK.

Many historians had thought that riots were a method of protest and revolt which had given way to more organised forms of expression, from trade unions to political parties, during the course of the nineteenth century. Events have proven this idea to be incorrect. Riots still take place around the world on a regular basis.

The contributors to A History of Riots probe various aspects of riots in order to examine the historical issues and concerns that motivate them and dictate their course and to better understand why they take place in the current day.

Sean Creighton looks at the Trafalgar Square riots in London in 1887, referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday’. Ian Birchall analyses how riots have been represented in fiction, while Neil Davidson reviews riotous activity around the Scottish Act of Union in 1707. Keith Flett looks at what is sometimes held to be the peak of British riot history, the Chartist period of the 1840s, while John Newsinger offers a different perspective: not a riot inspired by the crowd or the ‘mob’, as media commentators persist in naming protesters, but one driven by authority, a police riot in the US in the 1930s.

There are editorial introductions and conclusions that place these specific historical studies of aspects of the history of riots in a wider methodological and theoretical framework, looking at the work of some of the foremost historians of riots, including George Rude, and more recent material by Adrian Randall, Andrew Charlesworth and others.

The perspective of the book is clear. Riots are something which is an important part of history, but they also remain part of the present too. In this sense, understanding their history is an important task for historians and all those interested in how, and in what forms, protest develops.

This book represents a contribution to, and promotes, a discussion of both the history of riots and how an examination of this can help provide a better understanding of riots today.

Keith will be making some remarks as Editor and some of the other contributors will also speak briefly.

"We will then adjourn to celebrate the launch (but not with a riot - history shows Mondays are bad days for this)"


The Idea of Revolution in the 21st Century

Neil Davidson and Colin Barker are speaking on "The Idea of Revolution in the 21st Century" @ the Vernon Square SOAS campus at 7.30 on Wednesday 17th June - 

Marxism 2015: Ideas for Revolution

"The timetable for Marxism 2015 in London from 9-13 July is now available online - there are so many critical meetings on offer on a wide range of subjects..." 


Exhibition Launch Party
“They’ve Taken our Ghettos: A Punk History of the Woodberry Down Estate” 
Craving CoffeeThe Mill Co Project, Gaunson House, Markfield Road, South Tottenham, London N15 4QQ
Thurs, 2 Jul, 6-11pm, Free Entry
Food & drink available for purchase
Exhibition Runs 2-26 July
This exhibition brings together prints, illustrations, photographs and text, created by a diaspora of punks who lived as squatters on the Woodberry Down Estate in the Manor House area of London in the 80s and 90s. This show was conceived in response to the estate’s current redevelopment, which recognizes only consenting voices in its gentrification process.
This timely exhibition portrays aspects of an existence built on dissent, autonomy and communality, as an alternative to the neo-liberal values of ruthless individualism which held sway at that time. While the lifestyle was far from idyllic, at times dystopian, at its best it offered unmediated freedom and a real alternative to its participants.
Reflecting the principles of the community itself, no distinction is made between professional and amateur art and writing. And while some of the contributions are by known artists, writers and musicians, the rationale behind the exhibition is to present an expression of a life lived from those who lived it.
We will have an opening party on 2 July, with the bar also open for craft beer, cocktails, wine and food.

The Anarchist Free School in Fitzrovia:
A guided walk and talk —

12 noon Saturday 20 June 2015

Author Lydia Syson will lead a 60-minute guided walk and talk about the life of her great-great grandmother Nannie Dryhurst, a teacher at the International School — an anarchist free school — set up in Fitzroy Square in the late nineteenth century by French anarchist and Communard Louise Michel.

“My great-great grandmother Nannie Dryhurst volunteered there with her lover, the war correspondent Henry Nevinson. Discovering this, and the fact that Louise Michel spent her last years in my own neighbourhood of
East Dulwich, led me to write my new novel Liberty’s Fire, which is coming out on 7 May. The book is set during the Paris Commune but the final scene takes place in Fitzrovia,” says author Lydia Syson.

The walk will also take in other sites of radicalism in Tottenham Street and Charlotte Street, with contributions from Fitzrovia News editors.


A rare chance to see a long lost and excellent documentary on the 1981 Brixton Riots.

UPDATE: film showing of The Brixton tapes on 6th July is now sold out, seating-wise; this means you can still buy a ticket, but you might have to stand. 

BUT A second showing of The Brixton Tapes has been arranged, due to the popularity of the first night:

So, another chance to see the long lost and excellent documentary on the 1981 Brixton Riots with an introduction from our very own Alex (121/ Past Tense).

Tuesday 28th July
at Whirled Cinema,
259 Hardess St,
Loughborough Junction
SE24 0HN


Doors open 7pm. Film showing 8.30pm. There is a bar there so come early...

£5 non members £3 members.


Monday 6th July

at Whirled Cinema, 259 Hardess St,
Loughborough Junction
London SE24 0HN

Tickets: https://www.whirledcinema.com
Doors open 7pm. Film showing 8.30pm. There is a bar there so come early...
£5 non members £3 members.

About the film:
The Brixton Tapes, (1981)
Director: Greg Lanning. Television History Workshop

Filmed by a local collective based in Brixton, and consisting of footage from the April 1981 Brixton Riot, together with interviews with participants, and other local residents, The Brixton Tapes was filmed in the immediate aftermath of the uprising. It features local people'’s accounts of the widespread racist and violent policing preceding the riot, and of the events of the days of disturbances; accounts which contrast with mainstream media coverage.
The April 1981 riot was a seminal event – followed less than 3 months later by rioting in inner cities across the whole country. It led to massive changes in perceptions of policing and race relations. But the 2011 riots, together with widespread concerns about renewed Stop  and Search powers, and current uprisings against police violence in the US, show that what happened in Brixton, in April 1981 remains relevant  today.
Brixton today is also in the grip of another life and death struggle: between what remains of its vibrant community and development and gentrification…

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1587774461497768/
The film will be introduced by Alex from Past Tense, a long time Brixton resident and activist, who has taken part in, and written about, some of Brixton'’s turbulent recent past.

Past Tense is a radical history project, formed around a number of South London rebels and writers,  which produces publications, runs walks and talks, on subversive, working class and hidden history, and relates it to our own stories and present attempts to change the world for the better.
Check out past tense at: http://www.past-tense.org.uk

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