Friday, February 12, 2016

A Salford WW1 conscientious objector at WCML

From WCML ebulletin 

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX
United Kingdom

Join a Salford WW1 conscientious objector as he tells his story

We are so looking forward to the 30-minute free performances of our Living History play about WW1 conscientious objector James Hudson, commissioned as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund WW1 project.

Please come and join us at one of our public performances of No Power on Earth, a monologue telling the story of an ordinary Salford school teacher at the start of the First World War who finds himself at odds with the popular mood:
Sunday 21 February at 2pm at Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Wednesday 2 March at 1pm here at the Library
Saturday 5 March at 12.30pm, again here at the Library.

The performances accompany the Library's current exhibition To End All Wars.

[And a new book from Ali Ronan]

Come along to the Library a bit earlier on Wednesday 2 March if you can and join the North West Labour History Society at 12.15pm for the launch of Alison Ronan's book Unpopular resistance: the rebel networks of men and women in opposition to the first world war in Manchester and Salford 1914-1918.  And then stay on to hear our free talk at 2pm about rapper dance! - see below.

And if you're coming on Saturday 5 March bring your butties, because once you've watched the play you can stay on for our International Women's Day talk which is at 2pm that day...  See details below.

Rapper dance - its creation and what it meant to working communities
On Wednesday 2 March at 2pm our free Invisible Histories talks series starts up again with a talk by Tom Besford.
Rapper sword dancing is a form of traditional dancing from the North East of England. The dance was most often performed around the pubs and bars of mining towns and at competitions in the towns and cities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

This talk will be given in the context of the Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT) which is coming to Manchester on Saturday 12 March.

DERT is based on local competitions held in the rapper heartland of North East England in the early twentieth century. Since its modern inception in the mid-1990s, DERT has become an international stage for rapper dancing. Comprising a number of different classes - youth, open, championship, premier and traditional dance - DERT 2016 will see hundreds of rapper dancers take to the venues of Manchester to show off their skills. For more information go to

The other talks in the series are as follows (click on the links for full details):

16 March 2pm Chloe Mason Justice for Alice Wheeldon!

30 March 2pm Cyril Pearce Communities of resistance: patterns of dissent in Britain during the First World War

13 April 2pm Robin Stocks Manchester volunteers in the Easter Rising

27 April 2pm Richard Milward – Luddites’ Nightmares

Remembering Mary Barbour - International Women's Day event

On Saturday 5 March at 2pm the Library's IWD event welcomes Catriona Burness who will give a talk, 'Remembering Mary Barbour - social reformer, rent strike leader, women's peace crusader and pioneering woman councillor'.
Mary Barbour worked tirelessly to change laws to help families in poverty.  Her capacity to mobilise working class families, especially women, to challenge the power of landlords and the state during the 1915 Govan rent strike led to the passing of one of Europe’s first rent restriction acts.  She also fought for free school milk, children’s playgrounds, municipal wash-houses, and an end to slum housing.

The Mary Barbour statue group in Govan, Glasgow, June 2018.
(A rare example of statuary commemorating collective action as well as an individual).
We will also hear from Karen Bosson, North West Regional Women’s Secretary of the Communication Workers' Union and member of the TUC NW Women's Committee, on current women trade unionists' campaigns in our region.

Admission free; light refreshments afterwards.

This event is part of Wonder Women, Manchester’s annual feminist festival. From 3-13 March 2016, from Street Art a_ction to a symposium on women in the First World War, there is a vast range of talks, film, art, music, walking tours, gallery takeovers, comedy and debate. Visit - and browse the full events listings at

Jarama remembered
The International Brigade Memorial Trust is holding its annual commemoration of the Battle of Jarama which took place in February 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The event takes place at Manchester Town Hall on Sunday 14 February from 11.30am to 1pm.  The involvement of International Brigaders from the Greater Manchester area in the battle will be commemorated through readings and song.  All welcome.

 Call for papers: British Communism and Commitment day school, 9 June

Bringing together academics from a wide range of disciplines and former party activists, this day school analyses the complexities of commitment in the British Communist Party over its 70-year history (1920-1991). Papers (20 minutes) might cover, but aren’t restricted to:

The motivations and trajectories of party ‘hardliners’ who dutifully observed party discipline and the party line, regardless of misgivings;

Communism as a way of life;
Expulsion and the fear of it;
Autobiographies written by former Communists;
Figures who struggled to reconcile vocational, professional or artistic commitments with their Communism;
‘Loyal dissidents’ who remained fundamentally committed to the party while often challenging and seeking to enlarge its assumptions, procedures and priorities;
Those who challenged what they saw as dominant party perceptions that ‘race’, gender and sexuality were secondary to class as sites of oppression;
Activists who considered their ultimate commitment as being to Communist principles from which they believed the party to have deviated, and who challenged the party on those grounds;
Those who transferred their abiding Marxist commitments to different currents or organisations - Trotskyist, New Left, Maoist - and the complex relations with the CPGB that followed.

Part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Wars of Position: Communism and Civil Society’, the day school will be held in the Labour History Archive in the People’s History Museum, Manchester, and will include a tour of the CPGB archive holdings. It will mark the opening to researchers of a new tranche of significant CP archive material relating primarily to the 1950-91 period (the papers of John Attfield, Monty Johnstone and Paul Olive). The event will conclude with a round-table discussion about Communism, commitment and the archive chaired by Professor Kevin Morgan and featuring Francis King (historian, former CP activist and archivist, editor of Socialist History), and John Attfield (historian and former secretary of the Communist Party History Group).

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be e-mailed to Ben Harker ( by 1 April 2016.

Our mailing address is:

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX
United Kingdom


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