Friday, April 10, 2015

Little Rebels at Alliance of Radical Booksellers Bookfair 2015

From Press Release:

The winner of both the Little Rebels and the Bread & Roses Awards will be announced at the ARB’s London Radical Bookfair & Alternative Press Takeover
 at 47/49 Tanner Street, on Saturday May 9th.

This year the event will take at a brand new venue: a 5 storey Victorian warehouse based near Tower Bridge. This is a free event, designed to champion all radical publishing. It is organised by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) in partnership with the Alternative Press Fair.
The Little Rebels winner will be announced alongside the ARB’s sister adult award, the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing. 
A total of eight titles have been shortlisted this year for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for radical children’s fiction. The shortlist includes two titles from the indie, “small but mighty children’s publisher”, Catnip Publishing Ltd. It also includes two picture books which set out to explicitly challenge gender stereotypes.    

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is now in its 3rd year. The shortlisted 2014 titles include 4 chapter books/fiction and 4 picture books; these are:
è Trouble on Cable Street by Joan Lingard (Catnip Books), set in 1936 London during the rise of Mosley’s Fascist Blackshirts.
è Girl With a White Dog by debut novelist Anne Booth (Catnip Books), exploring prejudice and discrimination and linking the Holocaust directly through to the present.
è Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press) which examines the care system and attitudes towards mental health; this is Gill Lewis’ 2nd appearance on the Little Rebels shortlist after Moon Bear was selected last year.
è Nadine Dreams of Home by Bernard Ashley (Barrington Stoke), a dyslexia-friendly book about a child who has fled the Congolese civil conflict to settle in the UK.
è Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton (Walker Books); a subtle picture book about kindness and friendship winning out over force and enmity.
è Grandma by another debut author/illustrator, Jessica Shepherd (Child’s Play); a child- friendly exploration of dementia.
è Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz, illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain (Janetta Otter-Barry Books/Frances Lincoln) about a boy who feels different from the other boys at school.
è Pearl Power by Mel Elliott, published by newcomer indie, I Love Mel (dis. Turnaround Publisher Services) about a little girl and her encounters with gender inequality.

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award recognises fiction for ages 0-12 which promotes or celebrates social justice and equality. It is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) and is administered by specialist children’s booksellers and 2015 ALMA nominee, Letterbox Library. The judges, Kim Reynolds (Professor of Children’s Lit. Newcastle University), Wendy Cooling, (Bookstart co-founder & editor) and Elizabeth Laird (children’s author) are meeting this month to discuss the shortlist.

Kerry Mason, Co-Director of Letterbox Library, said of this year’s submissions: “The award is really gathering momentum in its 3rd year. We’ve had submissions from over 30 publishers and the final shortlist highlights some wonderfully distinctive texts which will stir children to ponder big ideas such as gender stereotypes, racism, conflict and mental health”.

Speaking about the award, Kim Reynolds, author of Radical Children’s Literature (Palgrave MacMillan: 2010) said, “This prize focuses on books that help readers become the kind of ‘little rebels’ who one day will catalyse social change rather than carrying on in the same old ways regardless of the costs and consequences”.
Letterbox Library Contact:
Fen Coles
Unit 151 Stratford Workshops
Burford Road
Stratford E15 2SP
Tel: 020 8534 7502

Further Information
About Letterbox Library
Letterbox Library is a 32-year-old, not-for-profit, children’s booksellers and social enterprise. They specialise in children’s books which celebrate diversity, equality & inclusion. Further information can be found at They administer the Little Rebels Award on behalf of the ARB (below) and were nominated for the ALMA 2015.

About the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB)
The ARB is a supportive community for the UK’s radical booksellers; Members of the ARB include Housmans Bookshop, Gay’s The Word, News from Nowhere, Freedom Bookshop and Letterbox Library. The ARB runs the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing, administered by Housmans Bookshop. This independent prize for adult non-fiction ran for the first time in 2011. For more information go to .

About the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award
Full details of the award, including the shortlist and prize giving ceremony for the previous year, can be found at:

About the London Radical Bookfair

Hosted by the ARB, this fair was run for the first time on May 11th 2013. Last year the fair was held at Bishopsgate Institute and attracted over 130 exhibitors, with approx. 1500 people visiting throughout the day. Full details at:

Child with book, early 1970s

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Scottish Daily News was formed as a workers' co-operative 40 years ago...

[from message dated 7th April]

The Scottish Daily News was formed as a workers' co-operative by 500 of the 1846 journalists, photographers/engineers and print workers made redundant in April 1974 when the "Scottish Daily Express" closed its' printing operations in Scotland and move to Manchester. Some of the redundant workers -who set up the Scottish Daily News Action Committee- contributed £200,000 from their redundancy money to set it up.

The London Government , very much at the behest of then Industry Minister Tony Benn, promised a loan of £1.2 million to buy the Express building on Albion Street if the committee could raise another £275,000.  Some £175,000 of this came from the public in shares of £25 each --whilst the remaining £100,000 came from Robert Maxwell, owner of Pergamon Press.

The first edition of the paper rolled off the presses as a broadsheet on 4 May 1975.  It sold out with 300,000 copies being snapped up. However circulation was down to 190,000 by the third week; 180,000 if returns were taken into account.  And by August losses were running at £30,000 a week with a daily circulation of 80,000.

It was decided to relaunch as a tabloid.  It first appeared in its' new format on 18 August and sales did recover somewhat. 

By September however Maxwell was flexing his muscles.  He called emergency meetings on a personal whim, he undermined the existing workers' management and he pushed for an increase in the paper's price.

On 20th of October a provisional liquidator was appointed to run the paper.  The following day members of the papers' executive council met Prime Minister Harold Wilson but he refused to relax the loan conditions.

A rally on November 1st at Custom House Quay saw speakers such as the SNP's Margo MacDonald, the CP's Jimmy Reid and even Teddy Taylor from the Tories call for the papers' survival.

The paper did fold however on 8 November 1975.  Even then though the struggle went on.  A smaller group - led by women's columnist Dorothy Grace Elder - embarked on a "work in" continuing to produce and then sell the paper on the streets themselves for a further six months. But what was said to be Britain's first workers controlled mass circulation daily had foundered with substantial losses.

Ron McKay and Brian Barr wrote an insightful book, THE STORY OF THE SCOTTISH DAILY NEWS (Canongate 1976) that highlighted the challenges the workers faced from the start and the mistakes that were made.  And it highlighted also the destructive, insidious role played by Maxwell.

[Thanks to Wakefield Socialist History Group for this. See also listings, re their next meeting, Saturday 18 April 2015 1p.m. on "Democracy and the Media.."]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Events Spring Forward

This month’s listings update
UK 2014, Dir. Owen Gower. 112 min. (Speaker TBC)

Some 30 years after the end of the 1984-85 miners' strike Radical Islington are organsing a special May Day screening of Still the Enemy Within in collaboration with Reel Islington.

Date: Fri May 1 2015
Time: Doors open at 6 p.m., film starts at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: £5 / £2.50 unwaged or low wage concession.
Location: The Rocket Complex, London Metropolitan University, 166-220
Holloway Road, London N7 8DB
- - -
Still the Enemy Within is a unique insight into one of history’s most dramatic events: the 1984-85 British Miners’ Strike. No experts. No politicians. Thirty years on, this is th'e raw first-hand experience of those who lived through Britain’s longest strike. Follow the highs and lows of that life-changing year.

Using interviews and a wealth of rare and never before seen archive, the film draws together personal experiences – whether they’re tragic, funny or terrifying – to take the audience on an emotionally powerful journey through the dramatic events of that year.

Still the Enemy Within is ultimately a universal tale of ordinary people standing up for what they believe in. It challenges us to look again at our past so that in the words of one miner, “we can still seek to do something about the future”.

Radical Science and Alternative Technology: From the 70s to the Present.
at The Feminist Library meeting room, 5 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7XW.
Saturday April 11th, 1pm to 5.30pm,
Free/Donation. Venue is disabled accessible.


  * *Introductions*: Hilary and Steven Rose (BSSRS), Peter Harper
    (Centre for Alternative Technology), David King (Breaking the Frame)
  * *Energy/food politics*: Les Levidow (BSSRS), Helena Paul (Econexus),
    speaker from Anti-Fracking Movement
  * *Social control/surveillance*: Jonathan Rosenhead (BSSRS), Jim
    Killock (Open Rights Group)
  * *Work hazards*: Sue Barlow (BSSRS, women and work hazards group),
    Eve Barker (Hazards Magazine), tbc

For more information contact or visit 
Wakefield Socialist History Group: Showing of Wakefield Express (1952)

Saturday 18 April. 1 p.m.

Lindsay Anderson was a British feature film, theatre and documentary director. He developed a philosophy of the cinema which in the late 50's became known as the "Free Cinema movement."
"Wakefield Express" was commissioned by the paper in 1952 to celebrate its' anniversary. It was meant to be a film showing how the paper was printed.
But at Anderson's behest -as director- it became a much more personal study of the communal life of a group of towns in the West Riding area as the local reporters travelled around the area in search of newsworthy events.
Wakefield Socialist History Group will be showing the film as part of a DEMOCRACY AND THE MEDIA event at the Red Shed, Vicarage Road, Wakefield WF1 1QX  on Saturday 18 April. 
The event starts at 1pm and includes speakers such as Granville Williams from the Campaign for Broadcasting Freedom and Don Mort (father of NUJ chapel at Wakefield Express):
All are welcome.  Free admission and free light buffet.


David Goodway speaks on
The Chartists Were Right: George Julian Harney's Late Journalism, 1890-97.

2pm, Saturday 25 April 2015

David Goodway is the author of London Chartism 1838-1848 (CUP 1982), The
Real History of Chartism (SHS Occasional Publication No 32) and
editor of George Julian Harney: The Chartists Were Right. Selections from
the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle, 1890-97 (Merlin 2014).

Time: 2.00 pm
Venue: Tenants' Hall, Red Lion Square
[nearest Tube: Holborn]

Please note venue -
free, all welcome.

A Paperback Edition of
George Julian Harney will be available in August 2015 –
Isbn  978 0 85036 717 1    £14.95

PP  THE MERLIN PRESS Ltd. Unit 4F Talgarth Business Park, Trefecca Road,
Talgarth, Brecon, Powys, Wales. LD3 0PQ  Phone: +44 [0] 1874 713171
Twitter: @themerlinpress


Reflections on Social Change - Conference 15-16 May 2015
It is now possible to book your place for free at the graduate conference 'Reflections on Social Change: Metamorphosis or Transformation?' that will be held at Birkbeck, University of London, on 15 and 16 May.

Keynote speakers will be Cristina Flesher Fominaya (University of Aberdeen), Liz Kelly (London Metropolitan University), Illanrua Wall (University of Warwick). 
The titles of the panels are: 

- Being the Change: Anarchist and Socialist Principles in Daily Lives

- Resisting Transformation and Transforming the Resistance: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

- Damaged Goods: Democracy and Human Rights

- Subjects' Resistance: Acknowledging the Specificity of the Contexts

- Is Social Change Possible within Neoliberal Capitalism?

- Re-imagining Freedom and Equality in Democracy: What Should Change?

- Is There Life after the Squares? The Arab Spring, Podemos and Syriza

- Beautiful Resistance: Justice and Aesthetics of Social Movements

- Art and Philosophy: Tracking the Invisibility of Oppression and the Possibility of Reparation

Fire:  fundraising appeal from the US

Comrades at AK Press in Oakland are currently dealing with the aftermath of a major fire. They're appealing for donations to spread between AK Press, their neighbors at 1984 Printing, and building
residents who have lost their homes and belongings.
Details are at:

The direct link to the fundraising page is:
Please help!


Newington Green radical history Walk

Sunday 17th May 2015

Feminists and Dissenters, Anarchist printers and Squatters, Radical Clubs,
and much more

Meet 12 midday in Newington Green, London N1.
Bring your own bits of history

Programme of talks in April- May 2015 

on ‘People’s History’ at Manchester Metropolitan University,

part of the our Humanities in Public Festival.
The ‘Future Histories’ strand will see talks from Prof Sally Alexander from Goldsmiths, Prof Alun Howkins from University of Sussex/ University of East Anglia; Peter Box and Roger Ball of the International History From Below Network; and Andrew Flinn from University College London. The talks will explore the histories, practices and ideals of ‘People’s History’:
 • Monday 27 April 2015- The History of People’s History: Ideals, Meanings and Legacies
 • Monday 11 May 2015- “History is the new punk”: The International History From Below Network
 • Monday 18 May 2015- Creating and curating community histories – independent community-led archives and the ‘use-able past’
 The events are free and open to all! Further details on-line at
 All welcome. 

IWCE Weekend Course:
Just a few places left for this Weekend School - 
A World To Win: Unions Past, Present and Future.
Northern College (Barnsley) Weekend Course
29th/30th/31st May
£50.00 all in. Places very limited. [now oversubscribed]
To book a place email Keith Venables 
 And visit Barnsley's very own "The World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution"                           Barnsley Civic Arts Centre, Hanson Street, Barnsley South Yorkshire S70 2HZ

Tues - Saturday until 13th June.

IWCE Future Seminar:
Women Making History
Sat 13th June, London
Offers of short presentations are very welcome.
Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Our exhibition The Great War: myths and realities ends Friday, 24 April. It explores topics such as Salford's response to the outbreak of war, the strength of the anti-war movement locally and nationally, what happened to the campaign which had gathered momentum by 1914 to get the vote for women - and the realities of trench warfare.  Open Wednesday to Friday 1-5 p.m. 

Our next exhibition, Spirit of ‘45: from warfare to welfare, opens on Friday 1 May. Following the end of the Second World War the people of Britain elected a Labour government. It was a landslide victory. Seventy years later we recall the achievements of that government and explore what remains of its radical reforms.
Open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.

8th Apr 2015       The People: the Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 - Selina Todd
Based on first person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, Selina Todd's book The People charts the history of working class people over the last century. It has been shortlisted for Political History Book of the Year 2015.
Review of Selina's book now available at IHR Reviews.

Invisible Histories talk - Notoriously militant: the story of a union branch at Ford Dagenham
Event date : 22nd Apr 2015
Notoriously militant: the story of a union branch at Ford Dagenham - Sheila Cohen 
Sheila Cohen's book Notoriously militant, based on original research and oral history, covers the history of Ford's Dagenham plant - and its roots in Henry Ford's early US activities - from 20th century shop floor struggles to the 21st century fight against plant closure.

Invisible Histories talk - From Bilbao to Manchester: the Basque child refugees of 1937
Event date : 11th Mar 2015
From Bilbao to Manchester: the Basque child refugees of 1937 - Charles Jepson
In June 1937 a large group of Basque refugee children arrived in Manchester. They had fled their homes in Bilbao in order to escape the daily bombardment inflicted by Franco's fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. They would spend the next two years living in a number of Basque Colonies in the Manchester region.

<< There is tons going on at the Library in May >> too.

The Manchester Centre for Regional History is running a programme of talks on ‘People's History':
Monday 27 April 5.30pm Geoffrey Manton Lecture Theatre 4, Manchester Metropolitan University - The history of people's history: ideals, meanings and legacies
Monday 11 May 5.30pm Geoffrey Manton Lecture Theatre 4 - "History is the new punk": the International History From Below Network
Monday 18 May 5.30pm People's History Museum - Creating and curating community histories - independent community-led archives and the ‘useable past'.

The events are free and open to all.  Booking and further details

The 2015 Blackstone Edge Gathering will be on Saturday 2 May.  This is a gathering of choirs, individuals and small groups who walk up to the rocky outcrop on Blackstone Edge, picnic and sing Chartist and other songs to remember the great Chartist gathering there, almost 170 years ago.  All are welcome to join in the singing or just listen.  No charge, no booking needed.
Meet in the car park below the White House pub on the road from Littleborough to Halifax, ready to start walking up to the Edge at 12.30pm.  More information at 

London Socialist Historians Summer term seminars 2015

 All seminars are held in Room 102, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St WC1

 and start at 5.30 p.m.

 Monday May 18th - Mitch Abidor, 'Jean Jaures, the Last Jacobin'

 Monday June 1st – Parmjit Dhanda, 'My Political Race'

 Monday June 15th - 'History of Riots' launch; Keith Flett and others

 Monday June 30th tbc

At Bookmarks Bookshop on Tuesday 26 May, 6.30pm, £2
Polmaise: The Struggle For A Pit by John McCormack, first published by Index Books in 1989, has just been republished on line (with John's permission). John was the pit delegate at Polmaise, the last pit in Stirlingshire. Polmaise had a deserved reputation for militancy and its miners took an active part in the fight against closures from 1983 onwards. The book is unique in recording this pre-history to the miners' strike in Scotland, from an activist's point of view, and in its frank account of the differences within the miners' union about how to resist the Tory onslaught.
'Every revolutionary party, every oppressed people, every oppressed working class can claim Jaurès, his memory, his example, and his person, for our own' -Leon Trotsky 

Jean Jaurès was the celebrated French Socialist Party leader, assassinated in 1914 for trying to use diplomacy and industrial action to prevent the outbreak of war. Published just a few years before his death, his magisterial A Socialist History of the French Revolution, has endured for over a century as one of the most influential accounts of the French Revolution ever to be published. Mitchell Abidor’s long-overdue translation and abridgement of Jaurès’s original 6-volumes brings this exceptional work to an Anglophone audience for the first time. Written in the midst of his activities as leader of the Socialist Party and editor of its newspaper, L’Humanité, Jaurès intended the book to serve as both a guide and an inspiration to political activity; even now it can serve to do just that. Abidor’s accomplished translation, and Jaurès’s verve, originality and willingness to criticise all players in this great drama make this a truly moving addition to the shelf of great books on the French Revolution. 

You can read the book and/or download it free at link:
Monday 13th April, 6-8pm:


Join musicians, spoken word artists, and some very special speakers to oppose £100bn for new nuclear weapons.

Performers include:
- Beans on Toast
- Drew McConnell (Babyshambles and Helsinki)
- Potent Whisper
- Zefur Wolves (Cian Ciaran of Super Furry Animals)

[Geared to the election but still...]

Called in solidarity with the Scottish CND Scrap Trident blockade of Faslane on the same day and marking Global Day of action Against Military Spending.

Info: CND, 020-7700 2393;


Islington Against Police Spies:

Former Police Spy, Serial Liar & Exploiter of Women
Next Picket London Met

Thursday April 30th
12.00 – 2.00pm

LMU Tower, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB
Islington Against Police Spies:
Former police spy, Special Branch manipulator, abuser of women, agent provocateur, Bob Lambert is STILL lecturing at London Metropolitan University on policing and criminology... [see previous posts]
Despite increasing anger and disquiet from local residents, London Met students, and a fury of press attention around this campaign, London Met are standing by Lambert.
Surely London Met is no place for a man who has
• Built a police career on lying, spying on political groups and community campaigns;
• Stolen the name of a dead child to build a false identity;
• acted as an agent provocateur, actively encouraging people to commit crimes so they could be arrested;
• has been named in parliament as having planted a firebomb in a store in 1987;
• started several sexual relationships & fathered a child just to make his cover more convincing, (a child he abandoned with no contact for 24 years); while all the time having a ‘real’ family back home;
• encouraged other police spies working under his supervision to follow his dubious example – including sleeping with some of their targets;
• sent undercover police to spy on the families of racist murder victims and people who have died in custody;
• helped to arrange meetings between police spies and senior officers looking for ways to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence;
• passed on undercover reports on trade unionists campaigning for better working conditions on building sites, which was used to blacklist workers;

…and much more…

This campaign is being organised by Islington Against Police Spies, a group of local residents and activists:  

"We are committed to putting pressure on the University and raising awareness of Lambert’s past, until he is forced to leave London Met."