Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Listings: into the conference season

(Including reminders and updates from regularly featured groups)

Peace History Conference 2017: Protest, Power & Change

Protest, Power & Change is the theme of the 2017 Peace History Conference, organised by Movement for the Abolition of War in partnership with Imperial War Museums.
Friday 9 June at Tavistock Square WC1 and Oasis Hub Waterloo, 1a Kennington Rd SE1
Saturday 10 June at IWM London, Lambeth Road, SE1

Frank Cottrell Boyce, children’s novelist and screenwriter, will open the conference.  
Among topics on the programme will be 
  • ‘Fewer Bombs, More Jobs: The Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards’ Alternative Plan 1976’ 
  • and ‘Lysistrata in the Rainforest: the women’s nonviolent campaign which ended the civil war in Liberia’.
Other sessions pick up on the anniversaries of 2017:
  • 50 years since Martin Luther King’s momentous denunciation of the Vietnam War, 
  • 60 years since activists started coalescing into the movement that became CND, 
  • 150 years since the births of anti-war artist K├Ąthe Kollwitz and feminist peace campaigner Emily Greene Balch,
  • and 500 years since Erasmus published his ‘Complaint of Peace’.
PHC 2017 is timed to coincide with the exhibition ‘People Power: Fighting for Peace’ at IWM London, making a visit doubly worthwhile.  (Exhibition ends 28 August.). 
The Imperial War Museum is the venue for the Saturday conference.

[RaHN Note: The IWM has hosted previous conferences in this series, starting with the first.]

Additional events on Friday 9 June
 - an afternoon walk along the London Peace Trail (starts 3.30 pm from Tavistock Square WC1) 
and at 7.30pm the acclaimed play ‘This Evil Thing’, which tells the story of First World War Conscientious Objectors.  Written and performed by Michael Mears, the play is at Oasis Hub Waterloo, 1a Kennington Road, SE1 7QP.

Programmes/booking forms are available. You can book online at or use a form as below, making your cheque payable to MAW and return form and cheque to: 
MAW Peace History Conference 2017, 11 Venetia Road, London N4 1EJ - 
I / we would like to attend the Peace History Conference and enclose a cheque to cover the following:
Conference Registration - £20 standard £5 full-time student
This Evil Thing’ - play on Friday night £6
Additional donation
I/we will join the Peace Trail on Friday 9 June (tick for yes)
Exhibition as above at IWM London until 28 August 2017 
People Power: Fighting for Peace
"Take a journey from the First World War to the present day, exploring how peace movements have influenced perceptions of war and conflict in this major exhibition.
From conscientious objectors to peace camps and modern day marches, Fighting for Peace tells the stories of passionate people over the past one hundred years and the struggles they have endured for the anti-war cause. 
Over three hundred objects including paintings, literature, posters, placards, banners, badges and music reveal the breadth of creativity of anti-war protest movements, reflecting the cultural mood of each era."
IWM Members
Art Fund Members
A review of the exhibition is now available online.
Saturday 27 MAY 13:00–15:00 
City Square Leeds
Public · Hosted by West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs
City Square, Leeds, LS1 2, United Kingdom
An emergency protest called in light of Theresa May's recent pro-fox hunting comments and her threats to repeal the Hunting Act.
The Hunting Act needs strengthening, not repealing!
This is a family friendly event and we encourage people to bring placards and musical instruments - let's make a noise for the foxes, and other wild animals, who suffer persecution by thugs on horseback!
Join us and say NO to bloodsports!
Afterwards. there will be a vegan barbecue and drinks at Wharf Chambers in Leeds to raise money for West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs.

NHS Roadshow 11am-1pm Saturday 27th May 
at Aldi Car Park, Mason St, Horwich BL6 5QP
Please join us. Come and tell people - Your Vote can save the NHS
The NHS cannot take 5 more years of cuts. £22 billion cut. 20% of NHS beds have closed in the last 8 years. STPs plans even more. We are 31st out of 33 OECD countries for number of beds per 1000 population.
In Bolton our STP locality is explicit. It wants a "Smaller Bolton Hospital". Bolton CCG explicitly speak of 50 unneeded beds threatened with closure.
This election people face a real choice. we intend to tell people what is going on. Encourage them to think of the consequences of their vote.
We have Vote#NHS newspapers, leaflets comparing policies, cardboard cut out of Theresa May "Strongly and steadily cutting your NHS", play your cards right, celebration NHS cakes. 
Haringey Diversity Festival: Battle of Wood Green 40 years on
23rd April 2017
On Sunday 23rd April this year there will be a celebration of the diverse place Haringey today is, welcoming people whatever their background. The context is the 40th anniversary of the National Front march from Ducketts Common, Turnpike Lane on 23rd April 1977. Dubbed the ‘Battle of Wood Green’ the fascist march was broken by protesters, many shoppers out on that Saturday afternoon 40 year ago, as it entered Wood Green High Rd. Haringey has never looked back, and neither have the fascists. They never attempted a public display in the area again after that day.
Details of the history of the day and what is planned for 23rd April this year can be found via @BattleOfWoodGrn which also links to a Facebook page.The event is organised by Haringey TUC in association with Unite the Union and the two Haringey Constituency Labour Parties.
AND  'The Battle of Wood Green' 40 years on
London Socialist Historians Group Open Forum
Monday 24 April 2017, 5.30pm
Institute of Historical Research 
IHR Seminar Room N304, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
All welcome - no need to book in advance
The Battle of Wood Green took place on Saturday 23 April 1977. A National Front march left Ducketts Common to march down Wood Green High Road. They were opposed by 3000 anti-fascists and large numbers of Saturday shoppers. Although there had been street skirmishes before, this was the first serious disruption of an NF march.
All are welcome to attend and discuss the Battle of Wood Green and its effect on the future of anti-fascist struggle leading up to the present day - free / donations welcome

Why The Battle of Wood Green was published:

LSHG Summer Seminars

London Socialist Historians Group summer seminars 2017 

Monday May 8th  - Robespierre and the Politicians’ Terror in the French Revolution -  Marisa Linton 

"A revolutionary committee under the Terror"

Decree setting up the Committee of Public Safety
Monday May 22nd  The Making of the Russian Revolution (why Lenin should have said ‘I’m not a Leninist') - Neil Faulkner

Institute of Historical Research 
IHR Seminar Room 304, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London.
All welcome - no need to book in advance.

Time: 5.30 p.m.

The future of UK labour law

24 June 2017 - 11:00 am - 15:00 pm
King's College London

(History & Policy Research Group)
"With the triggering of Britain's departure from the EU, it is surely time to revisit this entire framework of law. The TUF is therefore initiating a 'root and branch' examination of the origins of British Labour law from the repeal of the Combination laws (1824/5) through to the strengthening of union rights (1870s to 1906) and on to the severe restrictions of those rights in the 1980s. We will then be looking forward with ideas/proposals for a fairer and more balanced scenario in a future post-Brexit Britain."
To book and find out more about the event, please visit here

News from Nowhere Club special event
Sat 13 May  7.30 for 8pm at the Epicentre
West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ

Speaker / Performer: Chris Harrison

A musical evening, featuring poems by Joseph Skipsey, a self-educated coal miner, set to music by his great-great-grandson, Chris Harrison.  Joseph Skipsey, ‘The Pitman Poet’, was born in Northumberland in 1832.  He began colliery work aged seven. Having taught himself to read & write, he published his first book of poems in 1859.  Chris has set 24 of Skipsey’s poems to music, calling the project “Carols from the Coalfields”, after the collection which Skipsey published in 1886.  The songs offer a rich & varied picture of life in the mining communities, while describing issues & experiences still relevant today.  His CDs, volumes 1, 2 & 3, will be on sale (£5 each.)


35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road
London E1 6LA

A day-long festival of zines, artist books, comics, talks, films, and workshops.

DIY Cultures is an annual day festival exploring intersections of art and activism, running since 2013. The programme consists of a zine fair, exhibitions, workshops, contemporary craft, panel discussions, comic illustration, video art and digital animation exploring DIY practice. The event has established itself as a leading national forum for artists-run initiatives and alternative publishing. The event distinguishes itself by by its commitment to Black and people of colour empowerment and centralising marginalised histories and subcultures such as neurodiversity, diaspora stories, prisoner solidarity, radical mental health and Muslim communities under the War on terror.

This year’s event is bigger than ever with more than 90 stalls showcasing the best in independent publishing and stands as Rich Mix’s most-attended event of the year. The festival extends to a 4 week exhibition DIY Knowledge running from 3 May until 2 June in Lower Cafe Gallery. The curators have commissioned outdoor art, interactive animation and architectural collective Involve to make a communal table.

This year's highlights include:
+ New film commission on how zines helped Hillsborough justice before the mainstream media (with archival collection.of Liverpool zines under under Thatcher)
+ Zines East Africa showcase how DIY Culture influence spread to Africa with Zines from Tanzania & Uganda exhibition display
+ OOMK Malaysia self-publishing project
+ Book launch of Shy Radicals : the Antisystemic politics of the militant introvert - described as “the Black Panthers of the introvert-class” by DIY Culture co-founder Hamja Ahsan
+ Life-size clay sculpture of Theresa May by May Ayres
+ Longtable on Neurodiversity with Daniel Olivier & Guiliane Kinouni 
Chicago as DIY Cultures twin city with a collection
+ Artist taxi driver on new BREXIT movie BREXSHIT
+ Kevin Sampson of Hillsborough Voice on learning from the Thatcher era 
Reclaim Holloway on turning criminal justice into social justice + a live broadcast soapbox run by Clapham Film Unit
+ Autism arts reconsidered with Paul Wady’s Guerilla Aspies & Shaun May

Produced and curated by Hamja Ahsan & Helena Wee of Other Asias, and Sofia Niazi of OOMK magazine.

For the full programme go to
facebook: /DIYCultures
twitter: @diyculturesfair #DIYKnowledge #DIY2017

Suitable for all ages
Open 12pm – 7pm
This event is wheelchair accessible.

Rich Mix is located in the heart of Shoreditch with great transport links to the rest of the city.

By Bicycle 
There is a Santander Cycle hire point at Shoreditch High Street station.

By Overground 
We are right around the corner from Shoreditch High Street station. 
Turn left as you exit, then right. You can’t miss us!

By Tube
The nearest tube stations are Liverpool Street (Central, Hammersmith & City, District and Metropolitan lines), Old Street (Northern line), Bethnal Green (Central line) and Aldgate East (Hammersmith & City, District lines).
Rich Mix is a 13 minute walk from Liverpool Street station (via Bishopsgate), 14 minutes from Old Street station (via Great Eastern Street), 15 minutes from Algate East (down Commercial Street), and 16 minutes from Bethnal Green station (straight down Bethnal Green Road!).

By Bus
The numbers 8 and 388 stop near building and can take you to the West End or towards Bow, Hackney and Cambridge Heath.
From Shoreditch High Street and Liverpool Street you can catch buses numbers 26, 35, 47, 48, 67, 78, 135, 149, 242 and 243.

By Train 
Our nearest mainline station is Liverpool Street. It has frequent suburban and national services, as well as the Stansted Express for Stansted Airport.

By Car
Rich Mix does not have a car park, but there is limited pay and display parking available on Bethnal Green Road and street-metered parking on Club Row and at Arnold Circus.
Euro Car Parks can be found on Shoreditch High Street, and there is an NCP on Great Eastern Street. Both are closed in the late evening.
Disabled parking bays for Blue Badge Holders may be found on Club Row and at Arnold Circus.

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
SalfordM5 4WX

All welcome, admission free, light refreshments afterwards. 
26 April Ruth Cohen  Margaret Llewelyn Davies: socialist, feminist and co-operator
This visionary campaigner led the Women's Co-operative Guild between 1889 and 1921 -  a period in which it became an outstanding public voice for working class women, and has been described as the ‘left wing’ of the co-operative movement.

10 May Deborah Mutch  'What I mean, my dear': The Woman Worker and the male voice
The Woman Worker began on 1 September 1907 when it was published by the National Federation of Women Workers and edited by Mary R. Macarthur.  Although intended by its founder, Robert Blatchford, as the first workers'/socialist publication specifically for women, from the very first issue there was clearly going to be a tussle to have the female voice heard.  This talk will discuss the amount of space given over to the male voice in this female publication, and the tone of conversation between the genders across the pages.

Published by North West Labour History Society, 2015
24 May 
Alison Ronan The real rebels of WW1
A short film and illustrated talk by Ali Ronan about the Women’s Peace Crusade in East Lancashire during 1917-1918

7 June Stephen Mustchin - Strikes, workplace occupations and 'the right to share hardship': engineering trade unionism and the 1980 occupation at Gardner
This talk focuses on engineering trade unionism, workplace conflict and strikes at the famous Eccles-based engine manufacturer L. Gardner and Sons.
21 June Dean Kirby - Angel Meadow
Journalist Dean will take listeners on a journey through this 19th century Manchester slum which was re-christened 'hell upon earth' by Friedrich Engels.
5 July Bruce Wilkinson - Three Lancastrian poets of the '60s
Bruce's book Hidden culture, forgotten history looks at the 1960s publishing and political activities of working class Lancastrian poets Jim Burns, Dave Cunliffe and Tina Morris, and traces their literary and activist impact.
19 July Dave Randall - Sound system: the political power of music
Years of touring, playing and protesting have given Dave an insider’s view of the music industry, enabling him to shed light on the secrets of celebrity, commodification and culture.

Further details of these talks, plus more coming up, are at

Also from/at WCML - 
[Due to short-staffing the Library will not be open on Friday 26 May. Apologies for any inconvenience.]
1842 - blood on the streets of Halifax
On Friday 28 April at 5.30pm Catherine Howe, author of Halifax 1842: a year of crisis will lead a guided walk of the sites where at least six workers were shot or sabred to death and hundreds injured by the military when they struck for democratic reforms in August 1842. Meet at Halifax Central Library; free, donations welcome.
For more information, e-mail, tel 07392 852561 or 01422 885211.
Salford May Day 
On Monday 1 May the annual May Day parade is being organised by Salford Trades Union Council.  This year the theme is Unity in the Community and community groups are invited to bring banners and flags and join in the parade.
Assemble: Sacred Trinity Church, Chapel Street, 1pm.  There will be a rally in Bexley Square from 2.30pm with speakers including the Bishop of Manchester, Salford MP Rebecca Long Bailey and Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett.
Organisations are invited to have a stall at Bexley Square - to book a space mail

Conscientious Objectors DayThe Friends of Manchester Peace Garden are holding a short ceremony at 5pm on Monday 15 May 'to mark the quiet heroism of those who followed, not the drumbeat of war, but their own consciences, by refusing to take part in any killing'.
Friends will gather in Lincoln Square (Brazennose Street, Manchester M2 5LN) which is the announced site for the future Peace Garden. There will be words, music and silence and names of local conscientious objectors will be read out.

The flame still burns: the creative power of coal

This year is the 70th anniversary of the nationalisation of the coal industry.  Vesting Day for the National Coal Board was 1 January 1947.
On Thursday 15 June from 7 to 9pm we host an event centred around a book, The flame still burns: the creative power of coal, which explores the sheer power of an industry which created rich, diverse cultures in the different mining communities, and continues to inspire fresh creative work today.
Granville Williams, the book's editor, will introduce a selection of films produced by the versatile and creative NCB Film Unit between 1947 and 1984. Admission free; all welcome

Alun Parry - 'Freedom Rider' gig
The Library marks Museums at Night with a live gig at 7pm on Friday 19 May by Alun Parry, the radical singer-songwriter who’s been called ‘an incurable champion of ordinary people’.
Alun describes his music as ‘indie folk meets Americana on the way to a picket line’. Come and hear him live as he plays his new album Freedom Rider, a rousing and defiant collection of songs exploring social history and celebrating the human spirit.  A great match with the Library’s inspiring collections!  Find out more at
Tickets price £8 plus 50p booking fee are available in advance here.
This event is part of Museums at Night - the UK-wide festival of Lates in museums, libraries and galleries, produced by the arts charity Culture24.

8th annual Frow LectureA reminder that the 8th annual Frow Lecture will take place on Saturday 6 May at 2pm at the Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford. 
Kevin Morgan, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, University of Manchester and Library trustee, will speak about our founders. 'Wait while you and I get our books together': Ruth and Edmund Frow and the making of the Working Class Movement Library will draw on Ruth and Eddie's papers to tell how political comradeship and a remarkable Cold War love story gave rise to the Library as we know it today. Admission free; all welcome; light refreshments after.

James Connolly exhibition closes soon, Marx and Engels thereafter!

There's currently another chance to see our exhibition 'We Only Want the Earth', first shown on the centenary of the Easter Rising.  It explores the life of one of its leaders, James Connolly, socialist, trade unionist, nationalist and revolutionary.  We only want the earth reveals the life and prolific works of this enigmatic man.
This exhibition closes on 27 April, and from 28 April you will be able to visit our new exhibition, The life and work of Marx and Engels.  This exhibition celebrates the truly creative partnership between Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the body of revolutionary, philosophical and economic writings that their collaboration produced.
Exhibitions open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and  first Saturday of month 10am-4pm. Admission free.

HiDDEN 'object swap' The Library is one of the eight members of the HiDDEN network of small cultural attractions in and around Manchester. From now until July HiDDEN members have done an 'object swap', and visitors can see in our hall some items from the Belle Vue collection at Chetham's Library.  There are also items on display at Chetham's from our collections here, on a Marx and Engels theme in tribute to the many visits paid by both men to study in that building.  Pop in to both libraries to see the displays - and while you're about it, why not also visit the other HiDDEN members?: Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Manchester Jewish Museum, Museum of Transport, Pankhurst Centre and Victoria Baths.

An evening of international political songRISE! explores and celebrates the idea of the epic political song, drawing on traditions ranging from Turkey to the Americas, from Northern Italy to Russia, featuring songs by Mikis Theodorakis, Ennio Morricone, Berthold Brecht, Hans Eisler, Brendan Behan, Joan Baez, Aidan Jolly and many more. A six-piece band built around the voice of Greek singer Iris Mavraki will deliver songs against war, for peace, for human rights, and songs against racism and fascism. 
RISE! - also featuring Open Voice Community Choir - comes to Oldham Baptist Church at 7pm on Friday 12 May and St Margaret's Church, Rufford Road, Manchester M16 8AE at 7pm on Saturday 13 MayMore information at

Just An Ordinary Lawyer“The British Empire was trying desperately to hold on to its colonial possessions by any means…and the foul would often override the fair.”   Tayo Aluko follows his Call Mr Robeson with a new one-man musical stage play. Just an Ordinary Lawyer tells the story of Nigerian Tunji Sowande who quietly breaks through multiple barriers to become Britain’s first Black judge in 1978. Also a fine concert singer and keen cricket lover, he muses on international politics and history as they affect the Black world from Africa to the USA and Britain, from the point of view of one who would rather watch sports, and spread love and peace through the medium of song.
The play comes to Manchester Central Library at 6pm on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 May. Tickets price £8 are available here.
Tayo's Call Mr Robeson is back in our area on Saturday 13 May at Crich Glebe Field Centre, and in July as part of the Buxton Fringe Festival. More details here.

Call for papers - Fake news!’: an historical perspective

Is 'fake news' necessarily a new phenomenon? The control, presentation and manipulation of news has played a key role in the history of Anglo-Irish relations, and a similarly important role in the assertion and subversion of power in colonial, totalitarian and radical societies throughout history worldwide.

The Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland seeks to investigate this phenomenon and its historical application in the print media at its tenth annual conference at Newcastle University this November. Papers are invited which interrogate and/or challenge these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The focus of papers should be on print media.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31 May 2017.  For further information about submitting proposals please email James O’Donnell at
 Marx Memorial Library Open Day
37a Clerkenwell Green
Marx Memorial Library
On 1 May MML opens its doors to a Russian Revolution themed May Day Open Day
10am-3pm, featuring
- exhibition launch of 'The Impact of the Russian Revolution, 1917-1922'
               funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund
- launch of ticket sales to our International Conference on the October Revolution on 4 Nov
               just £7 for one day only
- labour movement speakers and revolutionary songs
- stalls, tours, tea and cake

Also at MML:
The Guernica Children
 On Thursday 27 April 7pm we mark 80 years since the bombing of Guernica by Nazi Germany's Condor Legion with a screening of Steve Bowles' film The Guernica Children and a presentation from Herminio Martinez, one of the 4000 Basque Children refugees who came to Britain.

[Reminder]  Banners For Spain
Exhibition (joint with Islington Museum and with support from the Textile Society and GFTU) opens on 5 May. It showcases 6 stunning newly conserved Aid Spain banners and looks at the response to the Civil War in London and, in particular, Islington. Further details here.

Launch of website on the history of Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Union Council 
1895 to 1919
“Any help possible will be given”: official launch of the website on the history of Manchester and Salford Women’s Trade Union Council, 1895-1919

Saturday 29th April  2017, 2.15pm,  in the Mary Quaile Room, Manchester Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD. Speakers: Bernadette Hyland (Mary Quaile Club),  researcher and political activist; Lisa Turnbull, activist in the Durham Teaching Assistants dispute

On Saturday 29th April the Mary Quaile Club will launch the website on the history of the Manchester and Salford Women’s Trade Union Council 1895-1919, a unique historical archive on women and trade unions.   This will take place at 2.15pm in the Mary Quaile Room at the Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street,  Manchester. More information:
The MSWTUC was formed in February 1895 specifically to organise women workers, often in low paid jobs, into trade unions. The Council fostered trade unions among sewing machinists, upholsteresses, tailoresseses, cigar makers, cotton power loom weavers and many other trades. 
Christabel Pankhurst was a member of the MSWTUC, as were other prominent Manchester  woman  such as  Margaret Ashton, the first woman councillor on Manchester City Council. The Council’s paid organisers included Sarah Dickenson and Eva Gore Booth.
The two handwritten volumes of the  Minutes of the MSWTUC  came to light during the research into the life of Mary Quaile, who worked for the Council  1911-1919  as an organiser.  Her great-nephew, Martin Ennis, presented them to the Mary Quaile Club. It seems that Mary took them with her when the MSWTUC office closed in April 1919 after the Council merged with the Manchester Trades Union  Council. 
The Minutes have been transcribed by Mary Quaile Club member Bernadette Hyland, who said:
“We believe that these Minutes are a unique item of national significance and will be a major contribution to our knowledge of  women workers and trade unionism in the late C19th and early C20th. The Minutes are hand-written, cover 760 pages in total, and are the complete record of the meetings of the Council, including both the decisions reached and also often what was said by those attending. They show the daily grind of supporting and encouraging working women into trade unions and agitating  for decent pay and proper working conditions. A century later women  still face many of the same problems with cuts in pay, benefits slashed and  the growth of zero hour contracts. We  feel that the work of the Council can  be an inspiration to today’s women workers.”
The website will contain both the transcription  and copies of the original minutes. This project has been funded by donations from individuals and  from trade unions, including the General Federation of Trade Unions,  National Union of Journalists, Professional Footballers Association, PCS, RMT, Unison  and Unite. Bernadette Hyland will be speaking at the launch,  as will Lisa Turnbull,  an activist in the Durham Teaching Assistants campaign against a 23% cut in wages that Labour-controlled Durham County Council is attempting to impose. 
UPDATE The website is now live at at  :
It includes the whole of the transcribed minutes in date order  and pictures of the original  minutes. It also includes some biographies of leading personalities. We would welcome more information on some of these where we could not find out much about them.

Eddie Frow 1906-1997
Mary Quaile Club member, Bernadette Hyland, has written a memoir of Eddie Frow, founder of the Working Class  Movement  Library, who died 20 years ago today [14th May]. This is on her blog Lipstick Socialist.
You can read it here
From MQC:NUJ social for Exiled Journalists Network
The Manchester branch of the National Union of Journalists have organised a fundraising social  for journalists forced to flee to Britain because of persecution. This  will take place  at 7.30pm,  Saturday 13 May, upstairs at the Waldorf pub, 12 Gore Street Manchester M1 3AQ.
Music from Kirsty MacGee, The Quiet Loner and Weimar
Comedy from Trev Meaney and Genevieve Walsh
Tickets £10/5/3
If you cannot attend but would like to buy a ticket to support this cause you can do so here.
On Saturday 13 May at 1pm the Wakefield Socialist History Group are holding an event: SYNDICALISM AND THE GREAT UNREST 
at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 1QX.   
There will be a range of speakers. 
Admission is free and there will be a free light buffet.
Convenor's introduction to the topic:
(1) Challinor (1977) has described Tom Mann as the "originator of syndicalism in Britain."  But he came to syndicalism by a circuitous route.
Mann had been a longstanding, seasoned political activist travelling through a "bewildering series of organisations" including the SDF, the Socialist League and the ILP (Levy 1987).
He had been an industrial militant.  He'd been in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, had been joint leader of the 1899 Dock Strike and had been to the fore in the Workers' Union, recruiting the previously unorganised.
Tom Mann had dabbled widely therefore with various approaches.  Yet it is fair to say that when he left Britain in 1901 he was still, to all extents and purposes, a "state socialist."
The shift in his outlook towards syndicalism took place, Holton (1976) suggests, whilst he was staying in Australia and New Zealand between 1901 and 1910.
There he saw how the state behaved as an employer in the Victoria railway strike of 1904.  Nationalisation wasn't a genuine solution for workers!
He also witnessed how workers at Broken Hill mines  and the Port Pirie smelting works were conned by the promise of state arbitration in 1908.  The division of workers into a multiplicity of relatively small unions hadn't helped either!
Mann now felt industrial unionism -not sectionalism- was the way forward.  So too was the use of sympathy strikes and even a General Strike!
Back in Britain he started a publication, THE INDUSTRIAL SYNDICALIST, with Guy Bowman in July 1910.  And that December he and a "few comrades" established the Industrial Syndicalist Education League as an "all embracing propagandist body" linking "revolutionary opinion with militant thinking."
The ISEL's influence would prove considerable as it drew together "many of the hitherto disparate syndicalist groupings" into a more focused movement.

(2) From September 1910 until August 1911 there was considerable labour unrest in the South Wales coalfield.  At its peak some 30000 were out.
The first point to make is that the grievances were varied.
At the Cambrian combine the main issue related to "abnormal places."  The miners were on piece rates. When they were working on unproductive seams where there were difficult geological conditions they obviously lost out.  The miners wanted special compensation payments.  At Aberdare the unrest related in particular to the withdrawal of the customary rights to waste woods (Holton 1976).
The second point is that the disputes had an "unofficial" character.  The South Wales Miners Federation was for conciliation in this and in previous disputes.  But this "softly-softly" approach was increasingly rejected.  Three members of the Cambrian Strike Committee - Noah Rees, WH Mainwaring and Tom Smith- had close links to the syndicalist movement.  And rank and file members were already taking matters into their own hands.  Trains carrying scabs were intercepted.  Mining installations were rendered inoperable.
Miners even rioted in Tonypandy targeting a draper's shop by a chief magistrate T P Jenkins, who had suggested the strikers "live on kippers and tea."
In the aftermath of the 1910-11 strikes a new syndicalist inclined body, the Unofficial Reform Committee (URC), sought to reconstruct the SWMF on "fighting lines."
To that end Noah Ablett drafted a pamphlet, THE MINERS' NEXT STEP.  He was assisted by Will Hay and WH Mainwaring.  It was a scathing attack on the SWMF's "conciliatory politics" and "reformist leadership."  It called for rank and file initiative, for industrial democracy and for one industrial union for all mine workers.
Holton (1976) calls the pamphlet a "reasonably coherent expression of the syndicalist philosophy." Published late in 1911, it represented, Pelling (1963) adds, a high water mark when it came to syndicalist influence in British trade unionism.

(3) The decision of the miners' union to call a national strike in 1912 over the issue of a national minimum wage followed prolonged radical agitation from below by rank and file militants who were unhappy with the slow progress of formal negotiations and who were unhappy also with the labourist/"Lib-Lab" politics of the union leadership.
This was particularly the case in South Wales.  There the "dissidents", influenced by the Miners' Next Step, clambered for more direct action.  And some of them -dubbed "missionaries"- went off to other coalfields to argue the case.  Amongst them was WH Mainwaring, the Welsh syndicalist.
There was unrest also in the North east coalfield -in Northumberland and Durham- where the mine owners had moved to a "round the clock" 3-shift system.  George Harvey, a checkweighman at Follonsby colliery, was very much to the fore there. Challinor (1977) notes that he was a "small man" and "not an impressive speaker."  But he belonged to the Socialist Labour Party, the de Leonist branch of syndicalism.  He edited their paper, THE SYNDICALIST, and was able to win over many by the force of argument.
Also in the north east -in the "red" mining village of Chopwell- was the influential Will Lawther.  Like Harvey, Lawther was in the Plebs League.  He'd been to the Central Labour College.  He was still radical -indeed at this stage he was even inclined towards anarcho-syndicalism.
The strike itself began in March 1912 with massive support. The Government soon realised it would have to settle. So a Minimum Wages Act was quickly pushed through parliament.
The Act did recognise the principle of the minimum wage.  However it did not fix specific wage rates for the different coalfields.  That would be left to District Boards, chaired by "independent" arbitrators.
Many miners were still unhappy and they rejected this as a basis for a deal (by 244,000 to 201,000).  However the national miners' leaders overturned the ballot decision and called for a "general return to work."
Rank and file anger now got worse.  Holton (1976) notes that W.Poole, a Wakefield miner, articulated their disgust.  Mass protest meetings were called at Featherstone, Rotherham and Middleton where there were calls for national union leaders to resign.  Only at the end of April did all the miners go back.
Centerprise book launch, Sutton House, Sunday 7th May.
Celebrate the launch of A Hackney Autobiography: a mobile app and website and the publication of The Lime Green Mystery: An oral history of the Centerprise co-operative.
When: Sunday 7th May, 5 - 7 p.m.

WhereSutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ. Map here.
Booking essential. Contact: to reserve your place. 
Before the party, there's a unique chance to preview one of the audiowalks featured on the app as a group. Meet at 3:30 at Homerton station  and RSVP asap as places are booking up quickly.
What: hear a roundtable of speakers who are engaged in cultural and community activities in related fields, reflect on the history of Centerprise as re-presented by a hackney autobiography and join the discussion. Receive a free copy of The Lime Green Mystery, preview the app and get help downloading it.
Friday 19 May 2017 : On the evening before Levellers Day, John Rees author of 'The Levellers Revolution' will be speaking as part of the Levellers seminar at the CWU training centre at Alvescot Lodge for the Levellers Night seminar talking about ‘Scottish Covenanters, English Levellers, and “Popular” Revolutions in mid-17thC Britain’ with Laura Stewart, author of ‘Rethinking the Scottish Revolution’.  Levellers’ Day 2017 will take place in Burford on Saturday 20 May 2017 - see here for more details
International Conference:  Wars of Position: Marxism and Civil Society
8-10th June 2017 at People’s History Museum, Manchester, UK
 Key-note speakers: Jodi Dean, Neil Faulkner, Kevin Morgan
This international conference brings together: analysis of the theory and practice of twentieth-century Marxist parties in relation to civil society; analysis of contemporary Left formations’ approaches to civil society; and analysis of the ‘idea of communism’ today and the relevance or obsolescence of ‘the party’ in the twenty-first century. Book (deadline 26th May):
Full price/concession: £100/£65 (three days), £40/£25 (Thursday), £30/£20 (Friday, Saturday)
 Book accommodation (deadline 10th May):
‘Chelsea Manning's Freedom Celebration’Wednesday 17th May, 7pm
Free entry

Housmans, Peace House, 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London N1 9DX

Join us to mark the day the U.S. whistleblower Chelsea Manning walks free from military prison. Speakers from Veterans for Peace to be confirmed. Wine, soft drinks and snacks provided.

Chelsea Manning is a whistleblower who was working for the US military as a data analyst during the US-led coalition war in Afghanistan. She is currently serving a 35-year sentence in military prison for leaking classified US government documents to the Wikileaks website, and revealing to the public that the US army, the CIA and Iraqi and Afghan forces committed human rights violations.
Chelsea has always claimed that she released information in the public interest. The crimes she exposed have never been investigated.

In one of his final acts before leaving office, US President Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence; the 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, will be freed on 17th May, instead of her scheduled 2045 release.

London Radical Bookfair 2017

Registration for the 2017 London Radical Bookfair will be opening in a few days [from early April]. For the second year running, the bookfair will be held in the Great Hall at Goldsmiths University, in South East London. Apart from a wide range of radical booksellers, authors and publishers, there will also be stalls with comix and zine makers, artists and exhibitions, plus workshops and talks. You can download the official 2017 London Radical Bookfair poster here for social media purposes. LINKS 
Alliance of Radical Booksellers                         Alternative Press
The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing           The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

Assorted Festivals and Book Fairs as notified by PM Press:
Manchester Punk Festival in Manchester, UK from April 20th to 22nd

Historical Materialism in New York, NY from April 21st to 23rd

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in Los Angeles, CA on April 22nd to 23rd

Ghent Alternative Book Fair in Ghent, Belgium on April 22nd

Cambridge Radical Book Fair in Cambridge, UK on April 29th

Brooklyn Folk Festival in Brooklyn, NY on April 29th and 30th

People's Climate Rally in Washington, D.C. on April 29th

9th Annual Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair in Arcata, CA on April 29th
For the full (PM Press) schedule, please go HERE 
Anti-Internment Protest 12th May
Forwarded from Sparrows' Nest:
ExLibris book sale (Nottingham)
16 Vernon Avenue, Carlton, Nottingham, NG4 3FX
The sale will be opened at 10am on Friday April 28th by St Anns-born Henry Normal.  As well as being a thoroughly nice and interesting person, he has done tons of creative things in poetry, TV, etc.   We wait with baited breath to see whether he will mask up.  (We think he will!)  Henry has written a poem specially for ExLibris, which will have its first reading at the opening.
The second half of the booksale will also have a ceremonial opening [For those who like that sort of thing...].  Councillor Sandra Barnes, the Mayor of the Borough of Gedling, has very kindly offered to open it at 10am on Friday May 5th.  Any worries that you might not recognise her because of her mask can be laid to rest – look for the Mayoral Chain of Office. [...]
Because we have so many books priced at 10p (in Saithwaite House/the shed), and are having storage problems with them, there will be an innovation this year.  You can still buy one for 10p, 2 for 20p, etc.  But you can also fill a cloth shopping bag with as many as you can cram in, and have bag and books for 30p.
These shopping bags are not to be confused with the beautiful handmade one-off pieces designed and made by Margaret which we will be selling at only £5 each, again with all proceeds going to our two charities.
We have a lot of children’s books too.  Visitors from last year may remember the ExLibris Express – the train built out of a felled tree, pallets and wind turbine tail vanes.  It will again be stopped at Adlestrop Station for young (and older) visitors to explore, and this year has beefed-up bubble supplies.  The station has had major improvements made, in the form of the addition of a ticket office, open to staff only (i.e. anyone small enough to fit in).
Again, we’ll be collecting vegetarian food for local food banks.  Tins are preferred because it doesn’t matter if they get a bit damp while they’re in the garden.  Women’s sanitary products will also be welcome for food banks.
THANK YOU EVERYONE!  These booksales can only ever take place with all the help and support we get from so many people.  So whether you are one of our volunteers, or you’ve donated books, or you’ve spread the word, or you’ve bought books: your contribution is greatly appreciated.  ExLibris Masked Charity Booksales are a community effort.
Thanks for your continuing support, and we hope to see you soon,
Your Masked Booksellers.

(Also from Sparrows' Nest)
Over the next few weeks you can meet us at two bookfairs:
Saturday, 13th May
Nottingham Mechanics Institute

Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair
Saturday, 20th May
Showroom Workstation
It would be lovely to meet you at those events. We will also sell off books we have multiple copies of to raise funds for new materials from publishers like PM Press, AK Press etc.
Please have a look at the all new singing and dancing website with its brilliant new search function, making it easier and more convenient than every to enjoy the recent additions to the Digitial Library, including a few years worth of Freedom newspapers! Visit the Sparrows' Nest website: 
Call for papers from Medact Conference Organiser

The Health Through Peace conference is back - 
4th-6th September 2017, at the University of York.

Medact and the IPPNW are bringing together health professionals, students and peace activists to debate, discuss and discover how we can confront global insecurity as an international health community.

This is a call for papers. We’re inviting researchers, speakers and organisations to present on a range of topics, from militarisation and violence to the refugee crisis and climate change.
Submit an abstract by 31st May for the chance to present your research.

At this stage, we’re particularly looking for papers that explore the public health link across:
•             Climate change and conflict
•             Racism, misogyny and the rise of the Right
•             Gender, violence and conflict
•             Arms control and disarmament

Any enquiries can be directed to our selection committee via

POSTSCRIPT (19 May 2017): Medact is looking for a full-time Director.

After the event:-
Some of the c450 delegates from about 40 countries at the Medact conference in York