Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Liz Willis

Liz Willis (born Elizabeth Ann Smith) has died in hospital in London with family around her, age 72, following diagnosis of pancreatic cancer last year.

Liz was born in Stornoway, daughter of Margaret (Peggy Flett) and Calum ‘Safety’ Smith, joined four years later by sister Alison. Her early childhood is recollected as a time of street games and unsupervised freedom on long summer days and it was this vision of Stornoway that stayed with her in later years. Her parents, large extended family, the wild landscape and stifling social mores of the island provided an ongoing source of inspiration and rebellion. An outstanding and prize-winning student, she developed a facility for languages and history in particular. The family moved to Dingwall in 1959, where younger sister Marjory arrived just as Liz was preparing to go to Aberdeen University to study history in 1964 at age 16.
It was in Aberdeen that her interest in politics crystallised, as she became an active member of Youth CND and left-wing societies, attending regular meetings and hops. She developed her lifelong internationalist, libertarian socialist outlook, joining Faslane protests, a peace march to Paris, and hitch-hiking across Europe to an anarchist camp in Italy in the summer of 1967. After attaining her MA in History, she chose Belfast to pursue a course in library studies, because it "seemed like an interesting place to be in 1968" and found herself on her second day in the province helping Bernadette Devlin up during a civil rights march. It was in this heady atmosphere that she met her future husband, Roy Willis. They married in 1969 and Janetta was born in 1970.
As the political situation deteriorated, the young family moved to London, where Mark was born in 1972. Roy’s social work course took them to Muirhouse housing scheme in Edinburgh, where Liz found time to get involved with tenants’ rights and demos in support of the miners and other causes. Returning to London in 1974, they settled in the borough of Ealing, where she spent the majority of her life. She found her political home in the shape of Solidarity for Workers’ Power, remaining an active member until its demise in 1992. Amongst her many contributions was the pamphlet ‘Women in the Spanish Revolution’, which remains a key text on the subject.
While looking after young children she stacked shelves in Sainsbury’s before finding a position at the Medical Research Council library at Hammersmith Hospital. Some of her most treasured memories were family holidays in Europe, allowing her to practice her proficiency in several languages and absorb her interest in the history and culture of places that she could still recollect clearly 40 years later. Her thirst for knowledge continued as she collected four diplomas and her activism was undimmed as she took on new causes such as the Polish Solidarnosc movement and provided support to an Iranian refugee friend. In the 90s, divorce and grown-up children allowed her more time to concentrate on her writing, research and book reviews, joining Medact’s Medicine, Conflict and Survival journal editorial board in 1991, which she served on until her final year, and for which she wrote well over 100 items. She also participated in the London Socialist historians’ group, Anarchist Research Group and other radical history forums. As grandchildren appeared in the new century, she proved to be a devoted grandmother, from knitting baby clothes to excavating archive materials to help them in their studies.
She started the ‘Smothpubs’ blogspot in 2011, (so named after a mix-up when helping police with their enquiries), with articles on a range of subjects including local and family history and including a mine of material on conscientious objectors. When diagnosed with cancer last year, she carried on through chemotherapy and a clinical trial, taking it as an opportunity to learn about the latest medical research and the state of the NHS, for which she was always committed but for most of her life never had much cause to use. She was appreciative of the NHS staff’s efforts to treat and support her in this time. Over the past year living in Walthamstow, she showed little sign of slowing down, continuing her trips to the British Library, Housmans bookshop and local libraries. She continued to collect material for her blog and the Radical History Network blogspot, and even found time to do translation work for an anarchist research project and take part in the E17 Art Trail. She managed regular trips to Scotland, including a flying visit to Stornoway to see her uncle Donald Smith’s retrospective exhibition and retrace childhood footsteps. It was only in the last month or so that the disease took hold, but she remained a ‘free rebel spirit’ to the end.
Liz Willis (21.10.47-10.11.19)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Selection of Onward Events

LSHG seminar - David Edgerton 'Some reflections on the rise and fall of the British Nation'
Socialist History Seminar Autumn 2019
Monday October 28th 5.00pm 

David Edgerton, 'Some Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the British Nation',
Room S 8.08, 8th Floor, Strand Building, Kings College, London.

Hosted by the London Socialist Historians Group.
No need to book in advance. 
Map of building:

A recent Guardian article by David Edgerton

CLS/Ella Baker School Conference: 
Organising 2019 Innovations and reflections

Saturday, November 02, 2019  10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

At: Unite the Union  33 - 37 Moreland Street, London, EC1V 8BB

Host Contact Info: ellabakerschooloforganising@gmail.com

To register.

We now have an exciting programme and already a diverse group of organisers from many different backgrounds have signed up to attend. 

There is a cost to attend the event, (ranging from £5 to £15 if you are paying yourself, and £40 if your employer is paying for you), but it does include tea and coffee throughout the day, as well as lunch and an early evening meal before the informal social (details to be announced). We simply could not do it any cheaper, and we are certain you will find it a inspiring day. 

Places are limited, so please do sign up now, and while you are about it, share details of this amazing conference with your networks.

Working Class Movement Library

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

Invisible histories talks

Our next free Wednesday 2pm talks are:

6 November - Kenny MacAskill 'Glasgow 1919'

20 November - Mike France 'The Reform Act scrapbook, an amazing new WCML acquisition'

4 December - Sam Edwards 'Troublesome Tom: the memory and legacy of Thomas Paine in Britain' (part of our Bones of Paine project)

Full details at www.wcml.org.uk/events.
Engels Lecture - Willi Münzenberg
On Saturday 2 November at 2pm the Library hosts the second Engels Lecture, with John Green speaking on the topic In the footsteps of Marx and Engels - Willi Münzenberg, a forgotten giant of the working class movement.  Münzenberg became one of the key figures in the European socialist movement during the inter-war years. He was a leader of the European anti-war movement, vehement anti-fascist, and initiator of the first worldwide anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist organisation. This talk will relate his achievements to the Marx-Engels legacy, and discuss them in the context of the Comintern, the German Communist Party, the 1918 German revolution, and Stalin with whom he broke shortly before his death in 1940.  John will argue that Münzenberg and his achievements should be better known and celebrated. 

John Green has been a journalist for most of his working life. He has written several biographies of political figures, including a well-received biography of Friedrich Engels. He was co-editor of the Marxist arts magazine Artery (1970 -81) and, after studying in the GDR, a documentary film maker for twenty years, covering social and political issues throughout the world.

This is WCML’s first hosting of this annual event, which was inaugurated last year at the Marx Memorial Library and will alternate between us.  Admission free; all welcome.
Bones of Paine

This autumn we mark the bicentenary of the bizarre moment when the bones of radical Thomas Paine were brought to Salford (dug up from their original resting place in New York by campaigning journalist William Cobbett), only to be refused entry to Manchester by the authorities, with the horrors of Peterloo still fresh.  To commemorate this and to celebrate Paine’s revolutionary writings and ideas, the Library and Salford outdoor arts organisation Walk the Plank are working together to deliver a project which mixes the traditional with the contemporary, and the unusual with the familiar.

There are many aspects to the project including creative writing workshops, and a public reading of Paine's Common Sense, when American Studies students from the University of Manchester will read aloud perhaps the most effective political pamphlet that has ever been written.

The most unusual and eye-catching part of our project however involves our giant processional puppet.  It's already made several appearances, and one of the few bonuses of the evenings drawing in is that we'll be able to see it in its full illuminated glory...  Here are the dates to catch it:
Fri 25 October, 4pm, 5pm, 6.15pm and 7.30pm   Witches Walk, Buile Hill Park, Eccles Old Road, Salford M6 8GL. Tickets here.
Fri 1 November, 6.30pm-7.30pm    Irlam Fireworks, Princes Park, Liverpool Road, Irlam M44 6BR. Free.
Sat 30 November, 4pm-6pm    Parade – join the processional puppet plus musicians & dancers as together we create a new and artistic ending for this 200 year old story, to coincide with the anniversary of Cobbett bringing the bones to Salford in 1819. Starts from the Library at 4pm and moves down the Crescent and across the bridge to finish up at the People’s History Museum.  The Library will be open from 2pm for people to see the Paine exhibition; PHM will stay open until 6pm so folk can view Paine's writing desk and other items.
Louise Michel, a French anarchist in London 
with Constance Bantman and Martyn Everett
Friday November 1st, 7pm start
Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX
Free, no booking required
In 1891 Louise Michel started an anarchist school in London. Using this event as a focal point, Constance and Martyn explore aspects of the life and ideas of Louise Michel that lead to a better understanding of both Louise and her anarchism.
Louise Michel was one of the most influential French political figures in the second half of the 19th century plus one of the most powerful women political theorists of her day.
If you have never heard of Louise Michel before, or are merely curious about anarchism, then this is also an ideal way to get into the topic. You have two excellent speakers who really know their subject area.
This is one talk you can’t afford to miss!
Dr Constance Bantman is Deputy Head of School, Director of Learning & Teaching, Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Surrey. Her research focuses on the history of French political exiles in Britain and anarchist transnationalism between 1880 and 1914, with a focus on ideological and political transfers, experiences of political exile, the asylum question in the long nineteenth century as well as the history of terrorism. These questions were the focus of her doctoral research and 2013 monograph, ‘The French Anarchists in London (1880-1914): Exile and Transnationalism in the First Globalisation (LUP, 2013)’, as well as a number of journal publications.
Martyn Everett was a founder member of the Anarchist Research Group, which is affiliated to the History Workshop, the collective of professional and community-based researchers which has made the most sustained and substantial contribution to the writing of history ‘from below’. For 2 years he was editor of the Anarchist Research Group newsletter. He has published many articles and reviews in the academic and in the popular press.
Martyn Everett’s life and work is informed by his anarchist philosophy. He is committed to promoting change ‘from below’ by giving people free access to information which affects their communities: he is an active campaigner for community radio. For over 20 years he has worked to protect the natural environment and to preserve historic buildings and ancient monuments.
To be continued...

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Bibliography: Cornelius Castoriadis and/or Socialisme ou Barbarie

Further to previous posts on the origins of Solidarity (for Workers' Power) and Socialisme ou Barbarie, we post here extracts from a recent email giving details of where to find a vast amount of material on the latter group and the foremost influence within it, Cornelius Castoriadis (a.k.a. Paul Cardan et al.)

Recent Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website 
Agora International
27, rue Froidevaux
75014 Paris FRANCE 
Tel: 33 (0) 

We now have bibliographies and/or webographies of writings by and/or about Castoriadis and/or Socialisme ou Barbarie in Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish as well as news items, a Castoriadis obituary, a videography, and a Table of Contents for all Socialisme ou Barbarie issues.  Castoriadis webographies have begun to be posted in several of these languages, and additional ones are anticipated.
For any entries that appear under your name or for which you otherwise have direct information, please be so kind to let us know if there is anything there to change, correct, or add.  We would also appreciate it if you could send to the relevant bibliographer (see the e-addresses and postal addresses listed on each bibliography) any other references to texts written by yourself or by others, in any language, that would concern us.  For information regarding bibliographies in languages not yet posted, please send this information to the bibliography project coordinator, David Ames Curtis .  To confirm new or revised entries, we would require copies of the title page (with publication date), indications of the inclusive pages of the article or chapter, and photocopies of the relevant pages and notes.  These copies will be conserved in the Agora International Archives for the use of researchers.
Please also note that, as they go about their research, the bibliographers often compile on the side a list of "brief mentions" (passing references, mere footnote citations, etc.) of Castoriadis and/or Socialisme ou Barbarie and his/its work.  Even though these "brief mentions" have not yet been compiled in any systematic way, it would be appreciated if you would also bring such "brief mentions," by you or by others, to the attention of the respective bibliographers or of the bibliography project coordinator.
These bibliographies are only as good as we can make them through our ongoing collaborative work.  Our sincere apologies if there are any mistakes or omissions.  General comments about the bibliographies on the site can be sent to the bibliography coordinator for consideration by the bibliographers' collective.
The purpose of this continuing bibliographical project is to let people know what has been published by and about Castoriadis and/or Socialisme ou Barbarie so far, to keep track as new material becomes available, and to encourage people worldwide to use these bibliographies as tools for building an international agora that will contribute to the advancement of the project of autonomy.
Thanks for your ongoing interest, assistance, and support.

WE HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT: Annual Symposium: Cornelius Castoriadis in the Antipodes, November 29th, 2019, the University of Sydney, AAIA Rm 480 Madsen Building. CALL FOR PAPERS: AUTONOMY AND PHILIA (ΑΥΤΟΝΟΜΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΙΑ) IN CORNELIUS CASTORIADIS' LIFE AND THOUGHT. Drawing from Aristotle's suggestion that "…cities are held together by philia [friendship] and legislators should study it more than justice," we want to explore philia as found in Cornelius Castoriadis' theoretical thinking and understanding of politics. Since his youth Castoriadis established life-long friendships with many individuals whose life, ideas and practical engagement had a permanent presence in his own work. The symposium wants to bring together the abstract and the concrete, the life of the philosopher with the social ontology of his theory. During the one-day meeting, we would like to explore the concept of political or civic friendship especially within the overall Castoriadis project to restore democratic politics to the immediacy and radicalism of their origins in classical Athens. After the recent death of the philosopher and friend Agnes Heller, papers are invited to address friendship as political virtue in contemporary anti-political societies. Key-Note Address: Professor John Rundell, The University of Melbourne, "Celebrating Imagination: Elective Affinities between Agnes Heller and Cornelius Castoriadis." Entrance Free. All Welcome. Sponsored by the Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies; School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Sydney. N.B.: The above message arrived electronically at Agora International via the following e-address: vrasidas.karalis@sydney.edu.au Despite a follow-up query, no final deadline for this "Call for Papers" about "friendship" has been communicated to us.

Castoriadis Videography
At the suggestion of some of our subscribers, we begin here a new section of the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website: "Castoriadis Videography." 
Any and all videos available online that concern Cornelius Castoriadis and/or Socialisme ou Barbarie will be listed here in alphabetical order by URL, regardless of language. The principal language(s) of each videographical reference will be indicated after the URL by the two-letter language code abbreviation: "EN" for English, "ES" for Spanish, "FR" for French, "PT" for Portuguese, etc. 
We ask our free CC/AI Website subscribers and any other CC/AI Website readers/viewers to bring additional Castoriadis/S. ou B.-related videos to our attention. This webpage will be updated regularly 
The 2004 Castoriadis Video Marc Guignard kindly created for the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website remains available here http://www.agorainternational.org/video.html

  Interview with Cornelius Castoriadis (English Subtitles) by Chris Marker

EN1994l# Pierre Lanneret. Pierre Lanneret, Alias Camille : A Biography. Followed by Third Camp Internationalists in France During the Second World War. London : Phoenix Press, [1994]: ##, ##, ##.

EN1994p# "Decadence: The Theory of Decline or the Decline of Theory? Part Two." Aufheben 3 (Summer 1994): ##-##.


EN1996l# Anthony Elliott. Subject to Ourselves : Social Theory, Psychoanalysis, and Postmodernity. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press: 1996: ##, ##.

  • # 2nd ed. New Foreword by Zygmunt Bauman. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2004: ##, ##.
  • London and New York: Routledge, 2016: xv, xxi, xxiv, 10, 23, 29, 33, 38, 39, 79-80, 94, 102, 118, 130, 157nn6-9, 158n28, 161nn13-14, 162n32, 163n9.

EN2006e Simon Tormey and Jules Townshend. Key Thinkers from Critical Theory to Post-Marxism. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2006: 7, 9, 13-37, 40, 55, 64, 80, 155, 157, 166, 220, 224.


EN2008i Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 4:1-2 (2008).

EN2009j Anthony Elliott. Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction. London and New York: Routledge, 2009: 107-108, 182, 349-51.
  • 2nd Edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2014: 129, 203, 375-77.

EN2010c The Routledge Companion to Social Theory. Ed. Anthony Elliott. With the assistance of Daniel Mendelson. London and New York: Routledge, 2010: 237-38, 278.

EN2012f Anthony Elliott and Bryan S. Turner. On Society. Cambridge, UK and Malden, MA: Polity, 2012: 101, 116, 120-23, 153, 178n1, 180nn33-34.

EN2014o Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert. Introduction to Contemporary Social Theory. London and New York: Routledge, 2014: 168, 281, 430–431.

EN2016h Anthony Elliott. Identity Troubles: An Introduction. London and New York: Routledge, 2016: vi-vii, 15, 69, 73-78, 83-86, 132, 144, 190.
EN2016g The Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalysis in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Ed. Anthony Elliott and Jeffrey Prager. London, England and New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • EN2016g1 Anthony Elliott and Jeffrey Prager. Introduction. Ibid.: 1-9; see: 8.
  • EN2016g2 Matt Ffytche. "Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious." Ibid.: 13-42; see: 27.
  • EN2016g3 Sean Homer. "Jacques Lacan: Freud's French interpreter." Ibid.: 97-114; see: 109.
  • EN2016g4 Anthony Elliott. "Contemporary European Psychoanalysis." Ibid.: 169-84; see: 169-73, 181, 183.

    EN2019b Misty Sailors. "Re-Imagining Teacher Education." Theoretical Models and Processes of Literacy. Seventh edition. Donna E. Alvermann, Norman J. Unrau, Misty Sailors, Robert B. Ruddell. Eds. New York: Routledge, 2019: 430-48; see: 441, 443, 446.

    EN2019d Max Haiven. "The Art of Unpayable Debts: Poisoned Reproduction, Financial Sovereignty and Settler Colonial Bonds." The Sociology of Debt. Ed. Mark Featherstone. Bristol: Policy Press, 2019: 195-230; see: 196.


        EN2019e Martyn Hudson. Visualising the Empire of Capital. Abingdon, England and New York: Routledge, 2019: vi, 4-5, 10, 14-15, 24, 33, 87, 136.

        EN2019f Dimitri Courant. "Sortition and Democratic Principles. A Comparative Analysis." Legislature by Lot: Transformative Designs for Deliberative Governance. John Gastil and Erik Olin Wright. Eds. The Real Utopia Project Series. London/New York: Verso, 2019: 229-47; see: 237, 383n33.

        EN2019j Evangelos Papadimitropoulos. "Beyond Neoliberalism: Digitization, Freedom and the Workplace." Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization Forum, 19:3 (2019): 565-89; 566, 576-79, 583.



        • Kent Palmer. "Mathematical Meaning: Looking into Higher Dimensionality Exploring the Meta-anomaly in Mathematics and its Relation to Pascal's Triangle as Information Infrastructure for Levels of the Realms of Experience." 27pp. See: 12.

        • Kent Palmer. "Mathematical Meaning: Looking into Higher Dimensionality Exploring the Meta-anomaly in Mathematics and its Relation to Pascal's Triangle as Information Infrastructure for Levels of the Realms of Experience." 27pp. See: 12.
        • Kent Palmer. "The Necessity of Nothingness." 2019: 8, 34 (Carlos [sic] Castoriadis).

        For other languages, see Agora International Website as above.