Saturday, August 30, 2014

Film about Rudolf Rocker



London'’s Anarchist Image
Thursday 11 September, 7pm - 9pm
Booking essential.
£8.50/£6.50 concession (£4.25 Whitechapel Gallery Members)

Two film essays explore the capital'’s overlooked histories, politics, movements and sites.

 Adam Kossoff’'s ‘The Anarchist Rabbi’ tracks the ghost of Jewish radical Rudolf Rocker (voiced by Steven Berkoff)

 Suzy Gillett'’s ‘Epiphany’ remembers English civil war anarcho-mystics through contemporary re-enactment. 

Followed by director Q&A.

An essayistic film about Rudolf Rocker and the forgotten history of Yiddish East End anarchism at the turn of the last century, The Anarchist Rabbi explores the politics of urban space and how urban development destroys collective memory.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Helen Macfarlane: Red Republican

At 7pm on Monday 1st September, at the Cock Tavern, Chalton Street/Phoenix Road (NW1), the AMM [Association of Musical Marxists} launches the latest from Unkant Publishers:
David Black’s collection of Helen Macfarlane’s wildly fantastic journalism for Chartist newspapers: Helen Macfarlane: Red Republican.

No-one has heard of Macfarlane [except readers of this blog *], and this omission hurts you – and all the things you think you know about feminism/marxism, personal/political, potential/actual etc.

In 1850, a Scottish governess who’d experienced revolution in Vienna in 1848, left “respectability” behind and began contributing to Democratic Review, Red Republican and Friend of the People, newspapers aimed at the revolutionary working class (‘the Chartists’). Macfarlane read Hegel better than S.T. Coleridge and wrote better prose than George Eliot; she translated The Communist Manifesto into English thirty years before the version you know. Karl Marx called her a ‘rare bird’. Macfarlane’s neglect by ‘Marxists’, ‘feminists’ and ‘progressives’ since is a historical crime only the AMM, with its obstinate reappraisal of subject-object relations, can imagine.

At the Cock, Macfarlane will be reimagined by actress Helene le Bohec, by Dave Black as MC and by musicians as diverse as tape-manipulator Ian Stonehouse and bassist Mark Harvey. Please come down to a left pub-upstairs-meeting which is free, welcomes kids, includes ace improvising musicians and still has not made up its mind (entirely) on the Big Political Issues bearing down on you.

* Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - ANTIGONE in VICTORIAN ENGLAND - Helen Macfarlane, Revolutionary and Feminist in the Year 1850. By David Black.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Working Class Movement Library: Update on WW1 events

[From WCML email newsletters]
Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, U.K. M5 4WX 

The Library's new exhibition, World War One: myths and realities, open from Wednesday 6 August.  
It explores topics such as the soldiers who refused to fight, why some young Salfordians were so eager to enlist, and the strength of the anti-war movement. The exhibition is open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.

There is to be a series of free Wednesday 2 pm talks accompanying the exhibition:

24 September Art and symbolism of WW1 - John Sculley
Using a range of examples from painting, sculpture and architecture, Salford's Director of Museums and Heritage will show how visual art was used to communicate the country's national attitudes during and after World War One. This illustrated talk will offer insights into the creative and critical thinking of a time that will be forever remembered for the carnage of its ‘war to end all wars'.

1 October Winifred Letts, Salford poet - Cynthia Greenwood
Winifred Letts was born in 1882 in Broughton. She had a prolific writing career producing plays, poetry, short stories, children's books and an autobiography. She was a nurse during World War One and also worked as a therapeutic masseuse. She was not afraid of confronting people with worrying aspects of the First World War such as those who deserted from the army and those sent mad by the conflict.
This event also marks National Poetry Day

8 October British trade unions and the First World War - John Newsinger Professor in History at Bath Spa University. 
When the war began Britain was in the middle of a great strike wave that the Establishment regarded as of potentially revolutionary significance. In the first six months of the year over half a million workers had taken strike a_ction for union recognition, for the closed shop and for increased pay. The war changed this. In the second six months of 1914, the number of workers taking strike action fell to 21,000. However the unequal sacrifices that were demanded with profits rising while workers' living standards were squeezed still provoked resistance, from protests over rising food prices to South Wales miners striking for more pay, and engineering workers striking to protect their pay and conditions and in the process creating the First Shop Stewards Movement. By the end of the war the government was again worried about industrial unrest having potentially revolutionary significance.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wakefield Socialist History Group events

The Wakefield Socialist History Group has organised a programme of events for the remainder of this year.

On Saturday 6th September the Featherstone Massacre Commemorative Guided Walk will start at 2 p.m. at the Bradley Arms, Willow Lane, North Featherstone.  
The walk will include a graveside oration and a tour of places in Featherstone itself associated with the massacre.
In the summer of 1893 Yorkshire mine owners -faced with a fall in the price of coal- demanded that miners accept a 25% reduction in wages. The miners resisted and on 28th July they were locked out.
The dispute dragged on and after seven weeks money was increasingly tight.  Miners knew they needed to step up their action so they began to stop the movement of coal.
On 6th September the manager of Featherstone's Ackton Hall colliery, a Mr Holiday, arrived at the pit to find a large picket of miners demanding that the loading of smudge for sale be stopped.  Holiday eventually agreed. But the next day miners discovered wagons with Bradford destination tickets being loaded with smudge.  The miners felt they had been conned, so they toppled the wagons over.
Holiday, fearing widespread unrest, called for help and the military -in the form of the South Staffordshire Regiment - were soon sent in.
However the troops and the magistrate Bernard Hartley JP were confronted by a large crowd in Green Lane.  The magistrate read the Riot Act but when the crowd didn't disperse live rounds were fired. 
One man, James Gibb, was shot through the right breast.  He died in a local surgery the following day.
Another man, James Duggan, also died in Clayton Hospital, Wakefield after surgeons were unable to stop bleeding in his leg. Many more people were also wounded.
Jurors at Duggan's inquest were instructed to return a verdict of "justifiable homicide."  Jurors at Gibb's inquest refused to acquiesce in this way and expressed regret at the "extreme measures" taken on the night in question.
The Bowen Commission later set up to inquire into events was a complete whitewash.  The Home Secretary, HH Asquith, did agree to pay £100 to each of the deceased families but still didn't admit any culpability.  Henceforth Asquith was known as "Assassin Asquith."

On Saturday 1st November at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield at 1p.m. there will be a meeting, WW1: From World War to World Revolution. The speaker will be Stephen Wood.  A free light buffet will be provided.

Then on Saturday 6th December again at the Red Shed at 1p.m. there will be a meeting, Eco-Socialism: Green Socialist Ideas Past and Present.  The speakers will be Adrian Cruden (eco-socialist, Green Party member and blogger) and Mike Davies (Alliance for Green Socialism)  Again there will be a free light buffet.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Radical History Network meeting: Resistance to World War One

Wednesday 10th September, 7:30 p.m.

Wood Green Social Club, 3 Stuart Crescent, N22 5NJ
(off the High Rd, near Wood Green tube)

In the build up to the first world war and throughout the war years there
were strikes and industrial disputes, anti-war campaigns, conscientious
objections and mutinies. These are the stories of resistance to the war
that the official commemorations will not tell you.

What can we learn from those inspirational struggles which might help us
to oppose and prevent the obscene wars for profit and power throughout the
world which governments and military blocs are continuing to wage 100
years after the so-called 'war to end all wars'?


Nick Heath (Anarchist Federation) "Resistance to World War One"

Jennifer Bell (Hornsey Historical Society / Haringey First World War Peace
Forum) "We will not fight! -  Conscientious objectors in North London"

PLUS: Discussion on all aspects of local (NE London) resistance to the war
as well as the wider national and international context.

STOP PRESS: the famous Central London squat history walk

a reprise ... featuring edited highlights of the walk, including

• housing saved by squatting from developers
• buildings that housed hundreds of people and would otherwise have been left
to rot
• protest squats from 1946 to date...

This version of the walk has been hastily cobbled together because someone
at BBC World Service expressed interest and will be recording it (to be cut
down to a mere couple of soundbites of course). She also wants to talk to
current squatters, in their homes, in case there are any sensible current
squatters willing to talk to media (the two rarely go together).

Tuesday August 12th

meet 6pm in Tolmers Square
(off North Gower Street NW1)