Sunday, January 5, 2014

London Remembering the Real World War 1 group

notes from meeting held on 12/12/13 (slightly edited for blog)

Upcoming events

Some kind of national planning meeting, gathering together radical history groups and others, interested in planning oppositional histories and events around WW1 anniversaries. May 2014 was thought to be a good month.

Beyond that, a wide educational conference might be good, more of an open event, with speakers etc.…
Benefit: A band that we are in touch with are happy to play a benefit in late February. Other acts that might be interested would be good..

Future Meetings of this group

We agreed to meet regularly, on the third Thursday of each month, so:

Thurs 16th January
Thurs 20th February
Thurs 20th March
and so on

at 7.30, at 88 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH
(entrance in St Bride’s Avenue).


Remembering the Real World War One’


Some designs for stickers and posters were looked over...
A design for a sticker we liked the idea of was a black poppy with a red centre.

(If anyone comes across/knows of good and usable designs for anti-WW1 publicity, or is/has contact with an artist who could produce such, please get in touch with us).…

Slogans discussed for stickers/posters:
• ‘No War but the Class War’
• ‘Workers stopped WW1’
• ‘We Stopped the War’
• ‘Resistance Stopped WW1’.
• ‘1914-2014 – 100 years of resistance to war.’
• ‘Class War – the War to End all Wars.’

More ideas that evoke the spirit of desertion - one ~yr typist came up with later was something like:
‘Mutiny, Desertion, Refusal: The real WW1 Spirit!’

We could also subvert official WW1 posters from the time, or those that the govt sponsor now.…


We agreed to set up a Wordpress blog, which will allow us to have multiple administrators later.

The home page could also be translated into other languages.

Mainstream events and our response to them

The big events that the official national commemorations will focus around, will be
• the outbreak of war
• the battle of the Somme (beginning 1916)
• the 1918 armistice

So it would be good to organize some subversive response to them.
Hundreds of local events will also be put on, many of which would also be worth some counter-blasts. For instance, Imperial War Museum North is planning a Closer Look at the Xmas 1914 truce’.

But we should also make a list of events they will IGNORE, and that we should raise.

Actions and activities

Events, struggles and questions we Want to Commemorate -

• The run-up to war, the peace movement…
• The outbreak of War
• Jingoism and xenophobia: attacks on foreigners in the UK
• Conscription, and resistance to it
• The Russian Revolution 1917
• The first International Women’s Day
• The mutinies, all of them, but especially the ones that helped to end the war in 1918.
• Strikes and bread and butter struggles during WW1
• The 1918 police strike
• The demob riots 1919

It would be especially good to celebrate the events that transcend the national, chauvinistic focus the authorities are emphasizing, that elaborate on more than just life on the western front; and also to make
contact with younger people... An important link is between resistance to WW1 and current opposition to war, and to the ongoing attempt to integrate armed forces into all walks of life - seriously, TV especially has increasing programs normalizing army, etc, but also all the supporting our boys campaigns, press etc. There’s definitely an ideological drive to recapture what they look back and nostalge for, this  covenant of armed forces and the nation. Part of what we should be doing is pointing out that this past is much more ambiguous than they would like people to think, especially in the first world war period.
In terms of getting in touch with younger folk, an info pack for schools, and talking to history teachers, were ideas that came up.

General introductory leaflet

We agreed the need for a short introductory leaflet to announce our existence and position

Miscellaneous ideas

We had a discussion on celebrities: some folk suggested names of famous people who might be sympathetic to what we are proposing to do... Some of these have either written books or poems etc. which touch on WW1.
General feeling seemed to be that we should not tailor what we are doing to recruiting them, but do what we do and make them aware of it, and let them come if they are interested. One way of this might be
critical reviews of their books on blog etc.

Tours of WW1 sites of executions, mutinies etc.

Some people are interested in setting up some tours to visit sites, e.g. Etaples, Ypres, Calais, Wilhelmshaven. Would be good points to meet up with international comrades.…

To be discussed further. A collection was taken, for a start.

Previous meeting report and further details here.

Update on contact with the group:

Direct email:

And a 'remembering the real WW1' blog has been set up for Bristol (and the SW)... at
Pictue sent from Australia, taken on 8-9-2012


  1. See also "THE WORLD IS MY COUNTRY": A Visual Celebration of the People and Movements that Opposed the First World War.
    You can make a pledge donation here:
    Deadline for pledges: 4pm, Sunday 26 January 2014
    "[We] will break before we bend ... The world is my country" – Derby anti-war activist Alice Wheeldon, who was framed for plotting to murder the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, in a letter from prison, February 1917.
    This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, Peace News is launching a major new project: "The World is My Country": A Visual Celebration of the People and Movements that Opposed the First World War.
    At the centre of this project will be ten new full-colour posters... celebrating key figures and events from the First World War anti-war movement – including figures and events from Germany & the Global South - bringing their stories and chutzpah alive for a new generation...

  2. The International Anarchist Manifesto on the War (1915) has been posted at