Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year, New Listings

Even NEWER Emergency Demo call from CND:
... about Trump’s latest action, to ban citizens from specific countries to enter the United States.
 Our General Secretary Kate Hudson will be speaking at this evening’s protest, and CND will also be attending another demonstration on Saturday. Can you join us?
Outside 10 Downing Street

Saturday, February 4th
US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

[Plenty happening in Scotland too!]

Monday 20th February, 6-8pm
On the 20th, Theresa May’s invitation to President Trump to make a “State Visit” to the UK ’s state;
Trump's visit is being debated in parliament, following a petition against the visit being signed by almost two million people. "
NEW event for February 15th:
Public meeting on Strikers and Spycops
Undercover Policing at Grunwick 
(historic strike by mainly Asian women in NW London in 1977)
Malet Suite, Student Central, 2nd Floor, Malet Street London WC1E 7HY

Here's the facebook event - 
Eventbrite link - 
And a flyer is available (front and back).

"We don't have a lot of time to promote this and get a decent audience so
please help by sharing as widely as you can."

Spycops and Strikers is part of a series of Grunwick 40 memorial events, organised in co-operation with the Special Branch Files Project, the Undercover Research Group and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance.
Wakefield Socialist History Group
"Thankyou for all your support during 2016. We had five well attended events on the Levellers and the Diggers, William Morris, The 1820 Rebellion, James Connolly and - most recently - Antonio Gramsci.
Look forward to seeing you in the New Year."
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

All events start 1 p.m. at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.

Saturday 28 January: A SORT OF BURNS NIGHT* 

Saturday 11 March: THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR

[*Previously on this blog: For A’ That
*UPDATE on event (from Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group) - 
On Saturday 28 January 1-4pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 the Wakefield Socialist History Group are holding A SORT OF BURNS NIGHT: ROBERT BURNS AND OTHER RADICAL POETS.  Admission to the event is free. There will be free haggis (and vegetarian haggis).  Plus there is a bar with excellent real ale.  Below some comments about the real, radical Burns.... 
Robert Burns was the son of a working gardener. He had only a basic education and worked the land from an early age.  After his father -who had strong Jacobite sympathies- died prematurely Burns and his brothers were left, Woods (2009) says, with a "poor, undercapitalised farm."
Indeed the family tried, unsuccessfully to make a living out of apparently unprofitable holdings.  As Burton (2001) points out this was an age of rural change.  Peasants were finding themselves unable to maintain their debt bondage to landowners.  Many farms were failing and peasants were being squeezed out because of enclosures and "improvements."
Burns even had a stint as a dresser of flax and contemplated emigrating to the West Indies.  What changed his mind was literary success.  The publication of his poems in the form of the Kilmarnock Edition in 1786 saw him move to Edinburgh instead.
After a year enjoying adulation he returned to the soil at Ellisland near Dumfries before becoming an exciseman.  He was now a paid government officer.  It was slightly ironic given that Burns had republican sympathies.  Indeed he was accused of having joined in a rendition of the French revolutionary song "Ca Ira" in a Dumfries theatre.  He was also alleged to be in league with a local grouping of the radical "Friends of the People" in Dumfries.
Certainly Burns had written political poetry all his adult life.
HOLY WILLIE'S PRAYER attacks Calvinist ideas and religious cant.
IN ADDRESS TO BEELZEBUB clearly alludes to the Highland Clearances.
WHY SHOULDNA POOR FOLK MO was written against the background of a national seamen's strike.
And SCOTS WHA HAE, about Bruce and Wallace, also had coded attacks on the ongoing repression of the Pitt Government.
Morris (2009) confirms moreover that Burns remained a "staunch republican" until his death in 1796.
How shocking then that after his death he should be "incorporated into service for the empire."  His poetry would be sanitised and his imagery would be used as a tawdry decorative element in tourism/light entertainment.

An edited version of the Convenor's speech on "Robert Burns, the republican"  is now available.
Seminars, Spring Term 2017
5.30 p.m. Room 304 
Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1. 
Free without ticket

Monday 16th January  - John Lindsay, Alan Turing’s Apple. Towards a history of ‘data science’

Monday 30th January - Geoffrey Bell, Hesitant Comrades: the Irish Revolution & the British Labour Movement. {On this speaker and his book , see previous post on this blog.]

Monday 13th February - Daniel RachelWalls Come Tumbling Down. From Rock Against Racism to Red Wedge

Monday 27th February - Mike Haynes, The Peculiar Career of  Colonel John Walsh MP from the SDF and General Unionism to the Russian Counter-Revolution

Monday 13th March, - Ian BirchallLenin’s Moscow by Alfred Rosmer​

Public History Discussion Group 
Saturday 28 January 2017
Institute of Archaeology,
UCL 31-34 Gordon Square,
London, WC1H 0PY
11 am tea and coffee, room 619 11:30 talk, room 209

The next meeting of the Public History Discussion Group will take place on Saturday January 28th at 11.30am (tea and coffee from 11am) in the Institute of Archaeology Room 209 (refreshments on 6th floor).

 The talk is entitled: 

Local Roots/Global Routes: the Legacies of Slavery in Hackney

By Katie Donington, Kirsty Warren, Lucy Capes, and Emma Winch

This talk will discuss the 'Local Roots/ Global Routes' partnership project between the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project at UCL and Hackney Museum and Archives. The presenters explore some of their research findings, the process of working across academic and public history institutions, and what it means for young people to discover global histories embedded in the streets they call home.

The Public History Group sees public history broadly as the making of histories not created for the academic seminar room as such but as the creation of histories by families, communities and nations as a way of creating a useful past in the present. Our emphasis is upon the process of creating meaning rather than a specific subject content. We hope to provide a platform for presentations from a wide range of speakers, from those who are leaders in their field, to those who are just setting out on their research.
 The group started 18 years ago at Ruskin College, Oxford, initiated by the first graduates of the Public History MA there, and formed the base for subsequent conferences. The group now meets about six times a year at UCL and welcomes new speakers and new ideas from people who are interested in diverse aspects of public history.

UPDATE 20-2-17
"Due to unforseen circumstances we have to cancel Stefan Moitra's talk on "History from below? Memory politics and long decline of German coal mining", apologies for that.

Our next meeting of the Public History Discussion Group will take place [on] Saturday March 18th at 11.30am (tea and coffee from 11am) in the Institute of Archaeology Room 209. 
 The talk is entitled:
Rethinking Urban Histories through Anti-Gentrification Struggles

By Sue Pell (Richmond University, London)
This talk is drawing from ethnographies of activist archives in Vancouver (Canada) and south London (UK), and will discuss the construction of urban histories in gentrifying neighbourhoods. Sue will focus on competing discourses between City governments, private housing developers, and local low-income residents, exploring how they use the past in their struggles to direct the potential futures of the neighbourhoods.
All welcome."
Public History Discussion Group 
Institute of Archaeology,
UCL 31-34 Gordon Square,
London, WC1H 0PY
Patron: Peter Hennessy
Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern life. 
We meet monthly on Saturday evening.
 ‘Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’.  William Morris
At the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ
7.30pm Buffet (please bring something if you can)
8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm & back to buffet
Travel and Access
  • Stratford stations & 257 bus
  • Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus
  • Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn right, short walk (from about Feb 2017 – best to check)
  • Disabled access
  • Car park  /  Bikes can be brought in
  • Quiet children welcome.
  • You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown
  • Meetings open to all - just turn up
  • Enquiries 0208 555 5248
Free entry: voluntary donations welcome
 The club is a real beacon of light.’  Peter Cormack, former Keeper at the William Morris Gallery

Saturday 14th January 2017  Leytonstone Playreading Group
Speakers: Alaisdair Preston, Nicolaus Mackie & Margaret Winniak

‘79 years of performing staged play readings for free to people of Leytonstone & beyond. A unique group presenting monthly unrehearsed staged play readings in costume & with props, performing to an audience. Our catalogue of plays includes old & new classics from  heyday of repertory theatre, through Maugham, Coward, Shaw, Rattigan to Pinter. Also to encourage new writers to workshop their plays in front of an audience. We are a regular participant in the Leytonstone Drama Festival & welcome new audience members young & old, plus those wishing to try out acting & skills such as stage management, script editing & costume design. Some of our members, e.g.  Sir Derek Jacobi, Frank Muir & Sheila Collings, have gone on to successful careers in theatre & the media.’ There will be a mini-playreading to the audience on the night.

Saturday 11th February 2017
More Anglican than Anarchist: Christian Socialism and the Labour Movement
Speaker: Canon Steven Saxby
Waltham Forest's very own Red Vicar will speak on the role Christians, including Anglicans, played in the formation of the Labour movement & the Labour Party. The Church Social Union, the Guild of St Matthew & the Church Socialist League all made important contributions to Labour. Steward Headlam & Conrad Noel, notorious radical clerics, were leaders of a movement which challenged the Church & challenged the Party & was hugely important to George Lansbury, sometime Labour leader. With reference to how the churches related to other Labour strands, including those inspired by William Morris, Canon Saxby will consider how the churches helped transform the UK at the turn of the last century & how they might again contribute to the social movement politics required to bring real change to Britain today.

Saturday 11th March 2017
Alice Wheeldon: convicted of conspiracy to murder Lloyd George - 100 years on, can we clear her name? Speaker: Chloƫ Mason
100 years ago, Alice Wheeldon, Winnie & Alf Mason were imprisoned amidst international publicity that had made them instant ‘tabloid villains’ since their arrest in January 1917. They had been set up by undercover agents posing as conscientious objectors. The family argued that the murder plan was fabricated. The family’s fate was used to intimidate others striving to avoid/stop war & to bring about a better world based on peace & social justice. This compelling story, a ‘spy story’, is one of tragedy, courage & hope. ChloĆ«, great-grand-daughter of Alice Wheeldon, will discuss the campaign to clear their names.
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX

James Connolly exhibition extended
The WCML exhibition exploring the life of one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, James Connolly, socialist, trade unionist, nationalist and revolutionary, has been extended until Friday 27 January We only want the earth reveals the life and prolific works of this enigmatic man and marks the centenary of his death. Exhibition open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm. Admission free.  A travelling version of this exhibition is now available for loan - please contact enquiries@wcml.org.uk if you want to find out more about borrowing it.
A new exhibition, Everyday Austerity, by Sarah Marie Hall, with drawings by zine artist Stef Bradley, will begin on 4 February.  In the meantime you have a further month to catch our current James Connolly exhibition, 'We Only Want the Earth', which runs until 27 January.
 Exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm. Admission free.
Early 2017 events at the [WCML] Library
Friday 27 and Sat 28 January 7.30pm
Dare Devil Rides to Jarama
Dare Devil Rides to Jarama is a new play focused on Oldham's Clem Beckett, star of the speedway track, who joined the International Brigade to defend freedom and democracy during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
This extraordinary story will be presented for two nights only at the Library.  Tickets price £12 (£10 concessions) are available 
here (27th) and here (28th).  Further information from 07949 635910.
UPDATE: Clem Beckett play - a few tickets left for Saturday
The Library is hosting the play this coming Friday and Saturday, 27-28 January, at 7.30pm.  It is completely sold out for Friday but a few tickets remain for Saturday 28th, price £12 (£10 concessions) - click here (28th). Further information from 07949 635910.

Our Object of the Month display for January relates to Clem Beckett - more details at
http://www.wcml.org.uk/object-of-the-month. You can find out more about his story, and the stories of many other men and women who travelled to Spain to fight fascism, by visiting the Library.

LGBT History Month
Sat 4 February 2pm
Journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher Julie Bindel will speak.  Julie has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1979, and has written extensively on topics such as rape, domestic violence, prostitution and trafficking. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at Lincoln University.
Julie's 2014 book on the state of the lesbian and gay movement in the UK, Straight Expectations, has been praised for being thought-provoking and challenging.

UPDATE: Given the high profile now attached to the Julie Bindel talk, 'Growing up as working class and lesbian in the North of England', on Saturday 4 February, and in view of the limited numbers of people that can get into the annexe where the talk will be held, the Library Trustees have decided to make it an all-ticket event (still free of course).
Supporters of the Library have an opportunity to apply for tickets (maximum of 2 per application).
If you would like tickets then please apply, with your name and the address to which we can send your tickets (they are going out by post) by emailing trustees@wcml.org.uk as soon as possible quoting the reference EB1.
Sat 4 March 2pm
To mark International Women’s Day WCML are hosting a talk by Marika Sherwood, Thank you, Claudia, on Saturday 4 March at 2pm.

Claudia Jones (1915-1964) was born in Trinidad; her parents took her to the US as a child and she was subsequently imprisoned for her political activities and later deported to the UK.  This outstanding communist, feminist, peace activist, orator, journalist and founder of the biggest street festival in Europe is buried next to Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.

Peggy Mulongo will also speak about her work on female genital mutilation (FMG) and women’s rights. She is a cross-cultural mental health practitioner and co-founder of the charity NESTAC, The New Step for African Community, which has been established to support Africans and immigrants, particularly those living in the North West of England.

All welcome; admission free.The event is part of the Wonder Women stream of events across Greater Manchester.

(Keep an eye on http://www.wcml.org.uk/events.for more details).
Our free Invisible Histories talks will start up again in March –
 Wednesdays at 2 p.m.:
15 March Trevor Fisher  Reclaiming the Blanketeers
29 March Geoff Andrews  James Klugmann, ‘The Shadow Man’

12 April Robert Turnbull  Book launch – biography of Noah Ablett
Robert Turnbull's Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935 is the first full-length biographical study of one of the most controversial personalities to emerge from the South Wales coalfield in the era preceding WW1, an era of unparalleled industrial militancy in which Ablett played a leading role. The book tells the story of Noah Ablett from his early days as a boy preacher in the Rhondda coalfield to his rise to prominence within the tight-knit coalfield communities of South Wales, and his emergence as an uncompromising agitator, not only against the coal owners but also his own union. His uncompromising brand of revolutionary class warfare brought him into sharp conflict  with the moderate consensus politics of William Abraham known as Mabon, a liberal who had led the South Wales miners since 1875. The conflict with Mabon and what he represented would lead to one of the most famous pamphlets in labour history, namely the Miners' Next Step of 1912, which called for workers' control of industry. Although very much a collaborative effort, the Miners' Next Step is perhaps the most famous statement of Ablett's rejection of  the parliamentary road to socialism as "No better than an ant heap on the way to becoming a dunghill".

26 April Ruth Cohen  Margaret Llewelyn Davies: socialist, feminist and co-operator
Further details at http://www.wcml.org.uk/events
A ten-week Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) course, People Make Their Own History, starts 16 January between 1 and 3pm at the People's History Museum, Manchester.  The course will cover Peterloo and the Chartists; the struggles over jobs, against Fascism, and for access to the countryside in the1930s; fighting Section 28 and for LGBT rights in the 1980s; to Stop the War, and the protests against the Bedroom Tax, and at the Conservative Party Conference in 2015.  More details here.
 Booking required by contacting WEA on 0151 243 5340 or booking online via WEA’s Web site.  Please quote course ref C3839457.. Cost: £65.10 or free (please enquire).
Hunger strikes and hunger striking: Irish contexts
 The Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester will hold an event on Wednesday 25 January at 2pm which will revisit experiences of, and enduring legacies associated with, the 1981 Long Kesh/Maze hunger strikes. It will bring together two key talks and a screening of the 2014 film We were there: women of Long Kesh and the Maze prisons.
 Admission £8, including refreshments on arrival and before the free screening. Further information at http://www.iwhc.com/hunger-strikes-hunger-striking; email culture@iwhc.com.  
  Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way, Manchester M8 0RY.
Everyday Austerity exhibition

A new exhibition, Everyday Austerity, will begin at the Library on Wednesday 8 February, and will run until 16 March. The exhibition is the result of two years of research with families in Greater Manchester by Sarah Marie Hall, gathering first-hand, personal accounts of everyday life in austerity.

These accounts have been turned into a series of original drawings by North West zine artist Stef Bradley, and are exhibited alongside field notes, audio extracts, and collected materials, to ‘lift the lid’ on austerity.  The exhibition is now on a tour of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, and we are very pleased to have it visiting Salford and specifically our Library.

The exhibition will be open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm. Admission free.
A 10 week  history class on Radical Women 1914-1979 
will begin on Tuesday  14th February 2017 
at the Working Class Movement Library, 11am to 1pm.   
It will end on 25 April. (No class on 21st March). 

This course will be taught  by Michael Herbert, MA,  who is the author of  “Up Then Brave Women”: Manchester’s Radical  Women 1819-1918.
This  course will  be an introduction to  some of the key movements and events which changed women’s lives in the C20th. It is open  to all, no previous knowledge is necessary. 

  The course will include the following:
  • Women’s anti-war movements in the First World War
  • Women  councillors in the 1920s
  • Campaigns for birth control in the 1920s
  • The General Strike of 1926
  • Women Hunger Marches in the 1930s
  • Women volunteers in Spain in the Spanish Civil War
  • The Women’s Parliament in Manchester during the Second World War
  • The work of Joan Littlewood and Shelagh Delaney in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Peggy Duff and  the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
  • The emergence and influence of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the  1960s and 1970s
The course will make use of some of the resources of the WCML, as well resources available on the internet and on DVds etc. 

The course costs £60 for 10 classes.  
For more information and/or  to book a place on the course: please email 
Michael Herbert redflagwalks@gmail.com
SSLH annual lecture
The Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH) and University of Leeds are holding the 2017 Annual SSLH Lecture at 6.30pm on Thursday 2 February in the Great Woodhouse Room, University House, University of Leeds, LS2 9JS.

Rachel Reeves will be delivering a talk about her new book, Alice in Westminster: the political life of Alice Bacon.  This will be followed by a panel discussion and a Question and Answer session.  At the end of the event, Rachel will be doing a book signing.

Places are limited so please contact k.laybourn@hud.ac.uk or neilpye2015@gmail.com by 1 February to book.

Neville Smith retrospective at HOME
Throughout January, Manchester's HOME continue their annual retrospective of British screenwriters with the work of writer and actor Neville Smith. Renowned for sharply humorous scripts containing a hefty dose of left-wing politics and depicting working class life in 1970s and '80s Britain, today Smith is perhaps best known for his screenplay for the Albert-Finney-starring Gumshoe.
More information at http://www.homemcr.org/neville-smith.

NEW: Manchester.
February and March film screenings at Three Minute Theatre. £4. All welcome.
“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it” – John Pilger
You don’t have to be in the NUJ or a journalist to come to see a film.

FEBRUARY 25: We will screen Black Power Mix Tape (2011) a unique, powerful documentary using recently unearthed archive footage shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement in the US edited together with contemporary narration.
The film is being screened to discuss and promote the national anti-racism demonstration in London on March 18 backed by the TUC to bring together people from across all walks of life to challenge racism. Tackling racism has become one of the key concerns of the last year following the spike in hate crime after the EU referendum, the election of Donald Trump as US President and the growth in support for the far-right across Eurblackpowerope.

Branch member Amitt Bhatt will also talk about his campaign in seeking asylum in the UK after fleeing India after his journalistic activities, and specifically his investigations into government corruption, put him under threat. Amitt is supported by branch and the National Union of Journalists nationally. The lack of safety for journalists in India is a serious concern to the NUJ, our sister unions in the country and the International Federation of Journalists. Amitt’s journalistic activities would make him particularly vulnerable given the current situation in India.

Book Launch
(From History & Policy group)

21 February 2017 - 17:30 pm - 19:30 pm

 King's College London
Tristram Hunt MP
Professor Peter Ackers
Dr Alastair Reid
Professor Peter Ackers and Dr Alastair Reid introduce their edited collection of essays challenging traditional narratives of twentieth century British labour history. The collection explores neglected aspects of working class experience and political awareness over the twentieth century - including religious Nonconformity, self-organisation and left libertarianism - and shows how this diversity has been quashed by a narrative focussing on trade unions, nationalisation, class cohesion and secular state-socialism.
Tristram Hunt, historian and Labour MP, Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta and the editors will provide commentary over drinks.
RSVP on Eventbrite. From 5.30pm for a 6pm start.
[Yes, MPs and everything, but at least it mentions "left libertarianism".]
And a reminder to:
check out the past tense blog
"This month on the past tense blog, we talked about

armed Chartists,
disorderly women,
enclosure and resistance to it,
parties in prison,
anarchist newspapers,
restaurant workers organising,
revolting Lollards,
Leveller printers,
hanged fascists
Digger pamphlets

& cake...

Check it out:"

As usual, this page will be updated from time to time as new notifications come in.