Saturday, April 20, 2024

Dave Morris: Tottenham community activist and anarchist - a 70th anniversary retrospective

A celebration, and a look back at some activities, groups and campaigns over the decades

Footage from event on Saturday 30th March 2024 @ Lordship Hub N17 6NU

Films, Desert Island Discs, photo-display, speeches / music, info table - Hosted by the Friends of Lordship Rec

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2-8pm   Photo display [See photos at the end of this post]     

3-4pm   Dave's Desert Island Discs -

4-5pm   Open Mic for speeches/contributions -

6-8pm   Film Show - extracts from documentaries reflecting some activities/movements involved with eg. Glastonbury 1971, Torness protests, Stop ‘The City’, Poll Tax, McLibel, Sound Bites, Kingsnorth Climate Camp, Haringey Civic Centre occupation, HFRA/Community Action/housing, Lordship Rec, National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, Spycops - -

[See recording below, and full links for each film at the end]

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Desert Island Discs interview session: 

On Vimeo* -

Contributions, thoughts and anecdotes from friends and comrades:

Piano / sax / singalong:

Film show session with Dave's thoughts:

On Vimeo* -

*You might be asked to sign up for a Vimeo paid-for account, but do not need to do that to watch the films. You may need to input your email address though.

[See below for links to the full films]

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Dave's Film Show List

The extracts used at Dave's film show session - reflecting some activities/movements involved with. Feel free to watch any of the documentary films in full.

--------  Glastonbury 1971: 

Play all to the very end (4.10s)

--------  Torness anti-nuclear power protests:   Play from 13.50secs to 15.40s    and 17.50 - 20.06secs...  

--------  Stop ‘The City’:

Play from start to 1.42s..  then 2.30-3.30s.  Then 4.30-5.50s. Then 7.20-8.45s...

--------  Poll Tax, especially Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign:

Haringey overview (Tony Wood interview)  Play all (7.06s)

--------  McLibel Trial / Campaign:

The McLibel documentary, 2005  

Film is set so it can only be watched on the YouTube site and not here, so click on this link: 

Play from start to 4.41secs..   then 1hr to 1.05.55secs     Then 1.17.20secs to end

--------  Sound Bites vegan cookery video:
Play 9m-14m  - including my son Charlie and Tottenham kids with Benjamin Zephaniah.

--------  Kingsnorth climate camp:

[Note: the first link was missed out in the film showing session at Dave's 70th]
Great overview  (total 3.40 secs)  SHOW ALL

Show - I help protestors to defy the policing operation..  Start at 1.20s and play to 3.30s

--------  HFRA/Community Action:

Community Action part 1 .. Play from start to 7.24secs....

--------  Haringey Civic Centre occupation:...

In the chamber (use this)..  Play from Start to 2mins. Then 4min to 5.30m.

--------  Give Our Kids a Future demonstration:

0-1.35s    Then 6.00-10.26 (end)

--------  Our Tottenham - the launch

The launch. Play from start up to 3.23secs...  

--------  Friends of Lordship Rec:

[Note: the first link was missed out in the film showing session at Dave's 70th]
Our film!  Play from start to 1.38s. Then 2.25 - 6.15secs.. then 13.20secs to 15.10secs...  

BBC Countryfile piece.  Play from start to 6.10sec

--------  Michelle's resilient orchards on ITV

Play all - 2.36secs..

--------  Spycops Inquiry:
Play all..  3.51secs.  Dave briefly interviewed.

Photographs of photo displays at the event:

Saturday, May 13, 2023

London Greenpeace, McLibel, Poll Tax and local Community Action - Dave Morris reflects on nearly 50 years of activism (March 2023)

Dave Morris was invited by the Co-Directors of Greenpeace UK to do a talk/discussion on 30th March 2023 at their HQ. It was attended by 30 Greenpeace office staff and at least another 25 online.  He was asked to speak about his experiences and thoughts about the McLibel case and campaign, about London Greenpeace (which had been set up in 1971, 6 years before Greenpeace UK), and about his nearly 50 years as a community activist - mainly in Haringey.  

He was invited as Greenpeace UK are reviewing their priorities as an organisation and as part of that considering the importance of community organising and action, including by their local support groups. They also want to be more involved in and supportive of current wider movements.

Dave speaks for about 15 mins, followed by 45 minutes of questions and discussion. He was able to distribute paper copies of the original, inspirational Greenpeace Broadsheet produced by Peace News in 1971, a 4pp History of London Greenpeace, and information about the Friends of Parks movement across the UK (as he is currently the Chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces). A free youtube link to the McLibel 2005 documentary was circulated beforehand: 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Alan Woodward autobiography now online

A post on this blog in January looked at where Alan Woodward's publications about past and present struggles could be found online.

Two more are now available:

Poor Boy's Tale: Alan's autobiography covering 1939-1997 is now online as a PDF at Libcom. It is a 256 page book which covers Alan's political and personal life as well as his progression from Leninism to libertarian socialism.

After Cable Street: Joe Jacobs 1940-1977 examines the period in the life of this Jewish working class militant after his classic "Out of the Ghetto" autobiography. It is now available online at Splits and Fusions archive

As Splits and Fusions say, After Cable Street:

"...contains a wealth of information on the far-left, libertarian and councilist milieu.

In this case actual biographical details of Jacobs’ life are few and the pamphlet focuses much more on the politics of Solidarity and its European co-thinkers and related groups.

There is a substantial discussion of the ICO (Informations et correspondances ouvrières) and the Echanges & Mouvement network of which Joe Jacobs was a British correspondent."

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Alan Woodward's publications online

Alan was one of the original organisers of the Radical History Network of NE London and as the RaHN Convenor he organised and wrote up summaries of dozens of local talks and meetings on a whole range of past disputes and struggles to ensure that the voices of those who took part in them would continue to reverberate and help us all in our struggles and movements today. He took RaHN stalls to many local and national events. 

He sadly died in 2012 and there is a tribute to him in a previous post on this blog by Dave Morris. Indeed, all the previous posts on this blog about Alan can be found via this link.

Alan's personal archive is stored safely at the Bishopsgate Archive in London and is available to view.

He was a prolific publisher of pamphlets and books on revolutionary history and struggles, some of which have now been scanned and made available online as PDFs by Splits and Fusions Archive, who have published two posts on the subject:

Joe Thomas, Alan Woodward and Workers Council Socialism

Workers Socialism, Libertarian Socialists and Socialist Libertarians

Publications include:

An End To War And All That?

As We See It Now

Declaration newsletter (five issues of at least eight)

Ford Visteon Enfield Workers Occupation: an eyewitness account

Life and Times of Joe Thomas: the road to libertarian socialism

The Deeper Meaning of The Struggle: an outline history of the international Shop Stewards Movement and socialism

The Path Not Taken: welfare history and libertarian perspectives

The Political Economy of Workers Socialism

Workers Control: the why, where and whens of workers councils

Workers Socialism: A short guide

Alan's autobiography, ‘Poor Boy’s Tale’ (Vol 1 – ‘the first 60 years’) is available from Housmans Bookshop.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

News From Nowhere Club: 2022 Programme

 NEWS FROM NOWHERE CLUB  Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern life and meets monthly on Saturdays. 

‘Fellowship is heaven and the lack of fellowship is hell. Fellowship is life and the lack of fellowship is death’. William Morris

The club is a real beacon of light.’    Peter Cormack, former Keeper, William Morris Gallery


St John’s Church Hall, next to the church opposite Matalan, 

High Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1HH

Free entry. Donations/Raffle/Voluntary Membership £5pa 

7.30pm Buffet (please bring an item if you can: vegetarian or vegan only.) 

No entry before 7.30pm please. 

8.00pm Talk and discussion till about 10pm

Leytonstone tube, exit left, two minute walk / Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn left, ten minute walk   / Buses 66, 145, 257, W13, W14, W15, W19 / Disabled access / car park in front of church / bikes can be brought in / Quiet children welcome / You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown / Open to all; no booking, just turn up 

We are on Facebook    Twitter @Nowhere_Club / Enquiries 0208 555 5248 / Email: / Web: / Talks are recorded and put on our website

Saturday 8th January 2022

The labour of Sisyphus: Can the Labour Party ever be a vehicle for socialism?  Speaker: Richard Price

Richard Price has been active in socialist politics since the mid-1970s. He was a trade union activist for thirty years and is an honorary life member of the PCS union. During that period, he has published over five hundred articles. Over the last fifteen years he has mainly written for the Labour Briefing Co-operative, and is currently working on a book covering the social and political history of Leyton from 1851-1951. He is Political Education Officer of Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party.

Saturday 12th February 2022 

Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Friends of Alfred  Speakers: Friends of Alfred Group 

Three new illustrated talks from Friends of Alfred, a group dedicated to promoting and preserving the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock in his hometown of Leytonstone. The hugely popular television programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents ran from 1955 to 1965 in parallel to the most acclaimed period of Hitchcock’s film-directing career. Filmmaker Dominic Stinton traces the story of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents show and how it influenced Hitchcock’s public persona, his relationship with collaborators such as actress Vera Miles and his filmic output, culminating in his greatest critical and commercial success: Psycho. Throughout his long career, Alfred Hitchcock engaged with Freudian themes in his films, none more so than in his celebrated late trio of psychological thrillers: Psycho, Vertigo and Marnie. In The Convergence of Psycho, Vertigo and Marnie: You Freud, Me Jane?, artist Rebecca Asghar takes a closer look at these three key Hitchcock films, examining Freudian motifs such as The Mother, The Uncanny, The House, The Male Gaze and Voyeurism. Finally, in Psycho at 60, guest speaker local historian Gary Lewis tells the story of Hitchcock's best known film, its conception, casting, influences and aftermath.

Saturday 12th March 2022

Hackney Downs: The School that Dared to Fight and Didn’t Deserve to Die

Speakers: Betty Hales and Jeff Davies, the last Head and Deputy Head of Hackney Downs School

In July 1995, Hackney Downs School won a prolonged battle to stay open, against a corrupt, incompetent Local Education Authority, convincing the full council to vote against the recommendation of its own Chief Education Officer: an amazing victory, yet just ten days later it was taken over by the East London Education Association, a quango set up by the then failing Tory government, desperate to put the blame for all social ills on anyone but itself.  The school was closed with unseemly haste & callous cruelty to pupils, parents & staff. This is a story of loyalty and passion against injustice which set the scene for the negative blame culture of bureaucracy, target setting & over-testing that has plagued education for the past 25 years.  The book by Betty, Jeff, Sally Tomlinson and Maureen O’Connor describes what happened: Hackney Downs: The School that Dared to Fight. 

Saturday April 9th 2022

Muse from Nowhere: The Magic of ELLSO Speaker: Chris Shurety MBE

What would constitute a music-making utopia?  And if such a thing could be described, at least in part, how could it arise? And once established, how would it survive and, indeed, thrive? Chris Shurety, founding member of the East London Late Starters Orchestra, will describe how this ‘open door’ initiative came about and the vision and practice that has maintained its course and served as a beacon for others who have themselves established community-based music-making projects based on similar principles. And he asks, is there anything such organisations can share with those tackling wider cultural, social and political issues? ELLSO has meant an enormous amount to many hundreds of East Enders.  Chris, an East London resident, is now Director of CoMA, Contemporary Music for All.

Saturday 14th May 2022

J B Priestley: A Good Companion?  Speaker: Kevin Davey 

Priestley, distinguished novelist, playwright (some fascinating ‘time’ plays), screenwriter, essayist, influential broadcaster in 1940 and founding member of CND, deserves huge celebration. ‘He flipped and flopped over the question of European unity in a way very familiar to us all today. He was also a libertarian socialist, with little time for top down state intervention, and a populist who would recoil from those claiming that title in our time.’ Kevin is the author of Radio Joan (2020), an encounter with an elderly former Blackshirt and lover of William Joyce; and Playing Possum (2017) in which T S Eliot is tracked through Kent in the 1920s and today. He was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2017. Tonight includes a reading from They Came to a City, a utopian play by Priestley, by members of the Leytonstone Library Playreading Group.

Saturday 11th June 2022 

Terraformed Speaker: Joy White 

‘Forty years of neoliberalism on either side of the Atlantic have embedded nihilistic, consumerist values as though that’s the only way for society to move forward. In this landscape, Black lives have been rendered as troublesome, perceived as having little value. Young people’s lives are increasingly informed by what it means to be poor in an affluent world, of feeling trapped and stuck in a system that appears to offer few routes out, on, or up. Terraformed is my attempt to connect the dots, locate the struggles, the wins and the losses of young Black lives within a structural, institutional and historical context.  In the UK, simmering below the surface of luxury new builds and technological advance, the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, haves and have nots, is revealed via the sonic landscape, rising levels of violence and increasingly punitive measures to contain it.  I will discuss the process of writing Terraformed; a ‘messy ethnography’ that uses a framework of hyper-local demarcation to analyse the impact of austerity, neoliberalism and racism in a specific neighbourhood [part of Forest Gate.]  While there’s little doubt that young Black lives are lived with and through levels of disadvantage, we can’t underestimate the hope that comes from creativity in all its forms. I therefore consider how hope for the future & a better world isn’t just desirable: it is essential to our survival.’ Joy’s book will be on sale tonight.

Saturday 9th July 2022  *** Vi Gostling Memorial Lecture ***

The Overlooked Palestinians  Speaker: Andy Simons 

Although the exiled Palestinian diaspora is worldwide, most of the refugees are in a dozen camps throughout Lebanon, a failing state like no other.  This talk situates these Palestinians caught in this dysfunctional country. Andy, retired British Library curator, is the DJ of Palestinian history. While not a historian, he helps researchers get the materials they seek.   He has worked in African-American archives and presented jazz on FM radio in Chicago and New Orleans. 

Saturday 13th August 2022

Quirky Songs with Humour and Mischief / Punchy Poetry: Life in Anglo-Saxon England 

Speakers/Performers: Kath Tait and Andrew Rea  

Tonight features two very talented, original performers. Kath, a singer songwriter from New Zealand, lives in London and writes about her life as a carer, hippy, itinerant bard and wholefood freak. Described as  ‘wonky and eccentric’, she’s an empathetic, intelligent lyricist who has performed at folk music and poetry venues from Dunedin to Edinburgh with her outrageous fib-telling, wacky introductions and songs combining charm and insight with melodic guitar/vocals.  Andrew, retired architect and pagan poet, is well known for impassioned performances. He investigates the lives and beliefs of the common people in Anglo-Saxon England and will reveal what we know of elves in those times and how they changed in later Saxon times, with reference to towns named after them, spells and charms referenced to them, as well as words and names based on them. His talk will be enlivened with his delightful poems. 

Saturday 10thh September 2022

Food is … More Than What You Eat!  Speaker: Leslie Barson

Most of us don’t know where our food comes from. This well suits 'Big Food', the corporate industrial producers and retailers.  We need to reclaim our food systems by taking back control in our own communities: eating seasonally, collecting seed, producing more locally, building fair economic relationships with farmers and food producers locally and abroad. It requires us to embrace agroecology and rethink our relationship with food whilst challenging land use and corporate power. We have to change what we eat, where, how and who we get it from, and organise ourselves to create new food systems. 

Saturday 8th October 2022  

‘We Live and Breathe Film’:  SANDS Films Studio  Speaker:  Olivier Stockman

SANDS Films Studio must be unique in the world. Within its c18th listed building in Rotherhithe, it has, since 1975, housed an international period costume workshop, a weekly film club (free, donations invited), film-making studio for hire, music performances, book launches, political debates, theatre productions, such as the anti-war The Good Soldier Schwejk, and made its own films featuring top actors. The Rotherhithe Picture Research Library (non-digital) is, as an educational trust, open to all at no cost. Every inch of the substantial interior is full of colour and interest. SANDS is committed to the non-commercial provision of the best in film and performance. Olivier, one of its directors, who has worked there since 1980, will tell us what it’s like to be closely involved, and show excerpts of some of their productions and events.

Saturday 12th November 2022 

Brightening from the East  Speaker: Ken Worpole

In March 1943 a group of radical Christian pacifists took possession of a vacant farm in Frating, a hamlet on the Essex Tendring Peninsula. There they established a working community, inspired by their association with The Adelphi journal, where D H Lawrence, John Middleton Murry, Vera Brittain, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell and others shared ideas for the future with European radical intellectuals and philosophers such as Nikolai Berdyaev, Martin Buber and Simone Weil. In his talk, Brightening from the East, based on his new book, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen, writer and social historian Ken Worpole reconstructs a ‘lost’ history of Frating: a kaleidoscopic history of a farm during its eleven year occupation, and an enquiry into the passionate religious and political ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in wartime and post-war rural Essex, a county with a long tradition of alternative settlements. Ken is the author of books on architecture, landscape and social history from a radical perspective. The Independent described him as ‘One of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape,’ and the New Statesman wrote of his new book, ‘Worpole is a literary original, a social and architectural historian whose books combine the Orwellian ideal of common decency with understated erudition.’ 

Saturday 10th December 2022 

Losing control of the school system in England in 2022  Speaker: Carl Parsons 

How to Dismantle the English State Education System in 10 Easy Steps (Edwards & Parsons, 2020), a satirical account of the commercialising of English schools, argues that there are strategies for passing responsibility from LEAs to independent Multi Academy Trusts which will have and are having negative effects. The ten steps: 1 Embrace the 3rd Way. 2 Rubbish LAs. 3 Cut LA budgets and broadcast that 4 Schools were/are failing. 5 Standards are what count (whatever they are). 6 Screw the vocational curriculum. 7 Pay top executives highly (as in private sector). 8 Outsource contracts for support services to friends/relatives. 9 Minimal national oversight by government agencies. 10 Forget utterly democracy and local responsibility for schools. This is edubusiness pressing forward, ever expanding as neoliberal modernity requires. Ways to resist have to be seen in the wider context of what services and agencies we think it proper for the state to control: health, transport, prisons, social care. We seek the key to revealing all the ills of privatisation across the education sector in England (not Scotland/Wales/NI) and the benefits of a national, democratically controlled service, locally managed, inclusive and responsive.