Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spring Listings Renewed

JUST IN from our Hackney correspondent: 
A few things that might be of interest:-

1. Battle of Wood Green 40th anniversary event. Ducketts Common. Sunday 23rd April from noon.
Seems to be twitter based:
Sponsored by Unite The Union, Haringey TUC. Includes Jeremy Corbyn, David Lammy, Catherine West etc.
Maybe an opportunity to let people know about other radical history stuff?

2. Centerprise book launch, Sutton House, Sunday 7th May.
You are invited to celebrate the launch of A Hackney Autobiography: a mobile app and website and the publication of The Lime Green Mystery: An oral history of the Centerprise co-operative. When: Sunday 7th May, 5 - 7 pm
Where: Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ. Map here.
Booking essential. Contact: to reserve your place. 
Before the party, there's a unique chance to preview one of the audiowalks featured on the app as a group. Meet at 3:30 at Homerton station and RSVPasap as places are booking up quickly.

What: hear a roundtable of speakers who are engaged in cultural and community activities in related fields, reflect on the history of Centerprise as re-presented by a hackney autobiography and join the discussion. Receive a free copy of The Lime Green Mysterypreview the app and get help downloading it.

Speakers include: Toyin Agbetu from Ligali, Vivian Archer from Newham Bookshop, Nana Fani Kayode, teacher and radio producer, Gary Molloy from Core Arts, Marie Murray from Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and representatives from the Young Historians’ Project.

Event organised in collaboration with Pages bookshop
3. Hackney 1982: "Most Awful Place in Britain"
An overview of the borough culled from Paul Harrison's book "Inside The Inner City"
3. Riot In Dalston, 1981
Some reports on the July 1981 uprising from various sources including local radical press at the time.
Musicians for Peace & Disarmament
Spring Concert for Peace 
Thursday 2 March 2017 at 7.00 pm
Hinde Street Methodist Church 19 Thayer Street London W1U 2QJ

         Carl NIELSEN            Serenata - Invano
         Joseph HAYDN           String Quartet in C major Op.54 no.2
         Franz SCHUBERT      Octet in F major D.803
        Violin 1   SUSANNE STANZELEIT       Double Bass TIMOTHY AMHERST
        Violin 2   CELIA WATERHOUSE          Clarinet       TONY LAMB
        Viola       DOROTHEA VOGEL              Bassoon      GRAHAM SHEEN
        Cello       VANESSA LUCAS-SMITH    Horn            SUSAN DENT

          Interval speaker: Emily Johns Production Editor Peace News 
          All proceeds from Musicians for Peace & Disarmament
concerts go to organisations in the peace movement. 
Tickets: £15                   Concessions: £10
Book online (with no booking fee) or purchase tickets with cash on the door. 

All seats are unreserved.                         
Socialist History Society
 Carl Levy Professor of Politics, Goldsmiths College speaks on 
Anarchists and the City: From the Paris Commune of 1871 to the Occupy and Square movements
On Saturday 18th March, 2.00 pm. 
Venue: Marx House/ Marx Memorial Library
37A Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0DU

7 MAR - 12 MAR WOW – Women of the World festival 
at Southbank Centre 
"champions gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential.Our WOW – Women of the World festival brochure and timetable are available for download."

February and March film screenings at Three Minute Theatre
£4. All welcome.
“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it” – John Pilger
You don’t have to be in the NUJ or a journalist to come to see a film.

FEBRUARY 25: We will screen Black Power Mix Tape (2011) a unique, powerful documentary using recently unearthed archive footage shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement in the US edited together with contemporary narration.
The film is being screened to discuss and promote the national anti-racism demonstration in London on March 18 backed by the TUC to bring together people from across all walks of life to challenge racism. Tackling racism has become one of the key concerns of the last year following the spike in hate crime after the EU referendum, the election of Donald Trump as US President and the growth in support for the far-right across Eurblackpowerope.
Branch member Amitt Bhatt will also talk about his campaign in seeking asylum in the UK after fleeing India after his journalistic activities, and specifically his investigations into government corruption, put him under threat. Amitt is supported by branch and the National Union of Journalists nationally. The lack of safety for journalists in India is a serious concern to the NUJ, our sister unions in the country and the International Federation of Journalists. Amitt’s journalistic activities would make him particularly vulnerable given the current situation in India.

MARCH 25: We will screen Good Night and Good Luck (2005), directed by George Clooney, followed by a discussion From McCarthyism to Trump led by author and journalist Granville Williams.
On 9 March 1954 Edward R.Murrow broadcast one of the most powerful documentaries in the history of television on his prime-time current affairs goodnight.jpgprogramme See It Now.
Murrow devoted the entire programme to an indictment of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunting and blacklisting tactics. McCarthy built support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of division, danger and conspiracy when they didn’t exist.
The parallels between the way McCarthy operated and the US President Donald Trump today are obvious. What role should the US media play today to challenge the ‘alternative facts’ Trump and his staff promote?
All screenings are at Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG.
Doors open 13:30 – film start about 14:00
Tickets are £4 on entry (this is to cover venue and film licence costs).
Licensed bar and refreshments available.
More details via
The next meeting of the Public History Discussion Group will take place 
on Saturday March 18th 
at 11.30am (tea and coffee from 11am) 
in the Institute of Archaeology Room 209 (refreshments on 6th floor). 
 The talk is entitled:
Rethinking Urban Histories through Anti-Gentrification Struggles
By Dr Sue Pell, Richmond University

Drawing from ethnographies of activist archives in Vancouver (Canada) and south London (UK), the talk will discuss the construction of urban histories in gentrifying neighbourhoods. The focus will be on the competing discourses of City governments, private housing developers, and local low-income residents and explores how the residents use the past in their struggles to direct the potential futures of the neighbourhoods. 

Book Launch: 1956
Launch meeting for new book — 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner, edited by Paul Flewers and John McIlroy
Wednesday, 1 March 2017 at 19.00 
at Housman’s Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.
There is a £3 entry fee, which is redeemable against any purchase.
1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner contains the full text of all three issues of John Saville and EP Thompson’s magazine from 1956, The Reasoner, related Communist Party documents, and an introduction and critical essays by the editors.
Housman’s events website <
Seminars, Spring Term 2017
5.30 p.m. Room 304 
Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1. 
Free without ticket
Monday 27th February - Mike Haynes, The Peculiar Career of  Colonel John Walsh MP from the SDF and General Unionism to the Russian Counter-Revolution
Monday 13th March - CANCELLATION: Unfortunately Ian Birchall's seminar on Lenin's Moscow has had to be postponed as he remains unwell.It is hoped that he will be able to present it later in the year.
Wakefield Socialist History Group
All events start 1pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1

The forthcoming Wakefield Socialist History Group meetings are as follows:
.Saturday 11 March: THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
From the Convenor:
The military plotters against the Popular Front government in Spain didn't anticipate a "protracted confrontation" Salvado (2005) says.  They assumed they'd win within a few days.
On the afternoon of 17 July 1936 a military insurrection began in Spanish Morocco.  Local garrisons seized control of the colony.
During the next seventy two hours the armed rebellion spread to the mainland and by 20 July Spain was effectively divided into two zones that were, Salvado (2005) points out, "remarkably similar" to the electoral map in February 1936 when the Popular Front narrowly won power.  The stalemate meant both sides looked abroad for diplomatic and military support.
"Aid the heroic defenders of Madrid"
The Republic turned naturally enough to France.   Yet the French were pressurised by other Western powers.  The pressure was such that leading Radical Party members (the President of the Republic Albert Lebrun, the Senate leader Jules Jeanneney and the Speaker of the Lower Chamber Edouard Herriot) all prevailed -successfully as it turned out- on Government colleagues not to sanction aid.
As for Britain -again the formal position was one of "non-intervention."  Yet behind that façade the British ruling class was strongly sympathetic to the rebels.  The British Ambassador in Madrid Sir Henry Chilton was vehemently anti- republican and viewed Franco as a "good, prudent conservative officer."  The head of the British Navy Admiral Chatfield thought Franco a "good Spanish patriot."  And Cabinet Secretary Sir Maurice Hankey opined that the rebels were right.  Spain was "menaced by Bolshevism."
So the Republic found itself "ostracised in the international arena."  The legitimate government was being cut adrift.
Even the Russians were cautious at the outset.  Stalin was concentrating on "building socialism in one country", was wary of foreign adventures and was preoccupied anyway with ongoing Show Trials.  Granted he didn't want to see the emergence of another fascist state.  He wanted the Republic to survive.  But clearly the "revolutionary fervour" -that exuded by the CNT and POUM for instance- had to be constrained.
The rebels by contrast had open support abroad.  Portugal's dictator Salazar despatched 10,000 "volunteers", the Viriatos.  The Nazis sent guns, pilots, planes, bombs, technicians and fuel.  Fascist Italy pitched in too with arms and supplies.  El Duce was eager to "assist in the establishment of a potential ally in the Mediterranean."  All this "altered dramatically the course of the civil war", Salvado (2005) concludes." 

[RaHN Note: Some of the above assessment may be open to question; one point has already been challenged in a message forwarded by the Convenor, as follows. Much more on the topic can be found on this blog, especially under the heading "Spain and the World".]
"Not sure who wrote the information you have appended, but saying that Stalin "constrained" the revolutionary fervour of the CNT and POUM is a weak characterisation.  
It's a historical fact that Stalin and his cohorts fatally undermined the sacrifice of those who went to Spain to fight against Fascism, and thereby helped ensure the defeat of the Spanish Republic. POUM leader Andres Nin, amongst others, was notoriously tortured and killed by Stalin's secret police, the NKVD. Ken Loach's brilliant 1995 film Land and Freedom showed how the Stalinists intervened to subvert the revolutionary movement in Spain"

HOW IT WENT: ""Thirty six people packed into the Red Shed meeting room in Wakefield last Saturday (11 March) to discuss the Spanish Civil War and to remember those who so bravely fought against fascism.
The first speaker was the author and campaigner Granville Williams.  Granville noted that the Soviet Union, through the Comintern, was urging young workers to go to Spain.  However between 1936 and 1938 there were massive purges in the Soviet Union.  This "terror in the Soviet Union was projected into Spain" with the "persecution and extermination of Trotskyists."
Granville paid particular tribute to POUM which had "brilliant leaders" and activists who had led struggles including mass strikes.
The second speaker was Bob Mitchell, a former councillor and former Mayor of Wakefield.  He said the "democrats of Spain were defending an elected Government" and "defending reforms against a fascist and military coup."  All wars generated poetry, he said, but the Spanish Civil War in particular spawned an "immense body of work."  Bob then read a moving selection of poetry by John Cornford, Frank Ryan, Frank Edwards and others.

The final speaker was the environmental campaigner Tim Padmore.  Tim spoke in particular about a new production of the play, "Dare Devil Rides to {Jarama]", which tells the story of two volunteers Clem Beckett and Chris Caldwell who went to fight with the International Brigades in Spain.""

"... Townsend Productions are putting on DARE DEVIL RIDES TO [JARAMA] on Wed. 15th March, 7.30 p.m. at the Red and Green Club, 42 Bankwell Road, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield HD3 4LU.
It tells the story of the Speedway star and Wall of Death motorcycle rider Clem "Dare Devil" Beckett who joined the International Brigade to fight fascism in Spain.
Admission is £10/8." - From Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group.

AND (from the same, thanks Alan): "Ford Maguire Society in Leeds have an event "The Barcelona May Days 80 Years On" on Tuesday 2 May at 7pm in the Seminar Room LG.17 of the Michael Sadler building, Leeds University.  The speaker is Danny Evans.   He will be shedding "new light on how this civil war within a civil war came about and what was at stake."

Wakefield Socialist History Group event, "British Socialism and World War One", 
Saturday 1 April, 1.30 p.m. at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street Wakefield.  
Dr Martin Crick will be talking in particular about "Socialism and Conscientious Objection."  The other speaker, Paul Bennett, is a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and a regular contributor to their journal "Socialist Standard."
The speakers are:
Dr Martin Crick....Martin will be discussing Socialist responses to the War and looking in particular at Socialist Conscientious Objectors with an emphasis on Yorkshire.
Paul Bennett..Paul will be discussing the response of the Socialist Party of Great Britain to the war and the impact that the war had on the party (e.g. meetings were disrupted and members were sacked from their jobs). Paul will also discuss the party's attitude to members who "joined up" and the question of conscientious objection.
The chair is Charlie Plooker.

Previously on this blog: Two North London Appeals against conscription
Remembering War-Resisters in Scotland  ... and more!

UPDATE on this meeting, from Convenor: 
One of the topics that will be being looked at is conscientious objection.
It is perhaps worth making a few remarks about THE NO CONSCRIPTION FELLOWSHIP.
The No Conscription Fellowship was founded three months after the war had started by Fenner Brockway.  He was editor of the "Labour Leader" paper of the Independent Labour Party.
When the war was announced in 1914 there were plenty of volunteers but Brockway was looking towards the future.  He knew "not everyone was enthusiastic about the war."  This became "increasingly apparent as the horrors of warfare became increasingly known" (Lomax 2014).
By early 1915 the rush of volunteers became a "more cautious flow" and calls for conscription intensified.  King George V wanted it.  Lord Northcliffe, owner of the "Times" and "Daily Mail" was also vociferous (Ellsworth Jones 2008).
The conscriptionists seized on registration as a first step.  The National Registration Act was pushed through Parliament in a week in July 1915.  Men who didn't register were fined or faced jail.
So the NCF saw which way matters were heading.  They began to make their voice heard.  In addition to Brockway they had Catherine Marshall (a veteran Suffragette into non-violence) as a key organiser. They had Bertrand Russell on the their committee.  And they built links with Quakers and with the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
When conscription was actually introduced -originally for unmarried men- the NCF successfully campaigned for the legislation (the 1916 Conscription Act) to include a "conscience clause."
This clause allowed men to claim exemption from military service on conscience grounds.
Nationally about 16000 men claimed this exemption.
However they had to attend tribunals stuffed with councillors, civic leaders and military representatives.  Not surprisingly many claims were rejected!

AND HOW IT WENTThirty three people packed into the meeting room at the Red Shed in Wakefield last Saturday (1 April) to discuss BRITISH SOCIALISM AND WORLD WAR ONE.
The first speaker, historian Martin Crick, gave a fascinating account of socialist responses to World War One including the struggles of socialist conscientious objectors.
Martin noted that there were 30 conscientious objectors in Wakefield.  He also explained that Wakefield prison became a home office work centre for conscientious objectors (CO's) who agreed to do work of "national importance."  The CO's did not have to wear uniforms, had free association and were able to go out during the day.  This led to letters from residents of Wakefield to the Wakefield Express complaining that CO's were "cluttering up the free public library" and warning of the impact they might have on the "morals of Wakefield's young women ."
The second speaker was Paul Bennett from the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB).  Paul noted that the SPGB was unequivocal at the time.  It called the war a "capitalist war."  It called on workers to "join the army of revolution instead."
During the war the party itself faced many difficulties.  Its membership fell two thirds.  Outdoor meetings were broken up and speakers attacked.  Some members lost their jobs because of their opposition to the war.  The party was battered but emerged better prepared for the struggles to come.
The final speaker was Jock from the Communist Workers Organisation.  He said World War One was an "extraordinary watershed in human history" and that we are "still living with the consequences."
Jock noted in particular what one socialist, one of 16 conscientious objectors imprisoned in Richmond Castle in 1916, wrote on his cell wall --"The only war which is worth fighting is the class war....if the workers of all countries united and refused to fight, there would be no war!"

at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1. 
 It starts at 1pm. There will be a range of speakers including Robin Stocks and Alan Brooke.  Others tbc.  Admission will be free and there will be a free light buffet
Between the 1890s and 1920s in many parts of Europe, the USA, Latin American and Australia there grew a distinctive group of social movements variously called "revolutionary syndicalist", "anarcho-syndicalist" and "industrial unionist."
They had a shared aim -that of overthrowing capitalism through revolutionary industrial class struggle and that of building a new social order "free from economic or political oppression" (Holton 1976).
These movements didn't look to parliament or the state to introduce or impose that new system.  Rather they looked to working class economic organisations -particularly to trade and industrial unions- to take the lead in co-ordinating direct action and general strikes.
Granted there were differences within syndicalism.  In Europe there was an emphasis on converting existing trade unions.  In America it was more about "dual unionism" -creating entirely new revolutionary unions.  And with anarcho-syndicalists there was a stress on decentralisation and a much more hostile stance vis-a-vis the state.
But despite this there was - and is, Holton (1976) insists- still a "lot of common ground."
British syndicalism emerged in the years after 1900 in response, Holton (1976) says, to "urgent economic and political problems facing the working class."
Firstly, British capitalism was still struggling -despite the end of the "Great Depression"- and real wages fell some 10% between 1900 and 1912.
Secondly, capitalist industry was increasingly concentrated.  Businesses were amalgamating.  Employers associations were being set up.  "Federated capital" was more visible (Holton 1976).
Thirdly, technological change was displacing/downgrading certain craft skills.
And finally labour leaders were increasingly being incorporated into state sponsored collective bargaining structures and into the bourgeois parliamentary system.  Trade union officials now seemed increasingly remote from the rank and file.  And Lloyd George would boast in 1912 that parliamentary socialists were the "best policemen" when it came to managing and diffusing industrial unrest.
Face with all this -falling wages, deskilling, larger units of capitalist production and conservatism on the part of traditional labour leaders- workers began to look beyond sectionalism and reformism to class unity, direct action and industrial unionism.
This syndicalist sentiment was influenced by what had been going on in Europe, the US and Australia.  But it also drew from domestic traditions of workplace militancy and what Holton (1976) describes as "anti-State socialism."
- Summaries from Convenor (Wakefield).
With Banners Held High 2017
Tickets for the day event click HERE
Tickets for the evening event click 
"With Banners Held High" event is being held at Unity Works in Wakefield on Saturday 4 March
Wednesday 5 April, 7:30pm, Diamond Jubilee Lecture Theatre, University of Huddersfield
"This is a free event and all are welcome. The 2017 Luddite Memorial Lecture ..."
Mary Quaile Club
Business as usual? Fighting sexual harassment at work:
the Lady at Lord John dispute in Liverpool, 1983
Saturday,  8 April  2017, 1pm to 4pm.
Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade

The next Mary Quaile Club event  will  be a rare  screening of the film " Business As Usual"  on Saturday  8 April, 1pm- 4pm, at our favourite Manchester venue:  Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG.
"Business as Usual" is based in real events which took place in Liverpool in 1983. Audrey White, manager of a branch of  the clothes shop Lady at Lord John,  was sacked  after she  challenged a male manager who had been  sexually  harassing female staff.  Audrey was a member of TGWU,  but the company refused to recognise or negotiate with the union,  so Audrey and members of  TGWU  picketed the shop every day. Eventually the company caved in and  Audrey was reinstated and even paid for the weeks she had lost.
In 1987 this film version of the dispute was made,  starring  Glenda Jackson, John Thaw and Cathy Tyson. We are delighted that Audrey will be joining us for this screening to talk about the dispute, and also the differences between the film  and what actually happened.
We are also pleased to welcome Sophie Shaw from the Hotel Workers branch of Unite.
Entrance to this event  is free with a collection to defray expenses. Seating is limited at Three Minute Theatre,  so to be sure of a seat at this event,  please book in advance by emailing us:  More information about this  event  can be found on our website:
AFTER THE EVENT: Read about this successful event.

NEW from MQC, 8-3-17:
This is a link to an interview in today's Morning Star with Audrey White who will be speaking at our screening of "Business as Usual" on 8 April at Three Minute theatre.
Places are going fast for this, so If you have not already booked, we suggest doing so in the near future.

AND "In Halifax on 28 April there is an interesting history walk taking place..."
The 1842 Strike - blood on the streets of Halifax - 
Join Catherine Howe, author of Halifax 1842: A Year of Crisis - 
Guided walk of the sites where at least six workers were shot or sabred to death and hundreds injured by the military when they struck for democratic reforms in August 1842.
Friday 28 April 2017
Meet at Halifax Central Library
Free, donations welcome 
Copies of Catherine Howe’s book will be on sale after the walk.
Mary Quaile Club  event - Official launch of a  website on the history of Manchester and Salford Women's Trades Council.

This  will take place in the Mary Quaile Room at the Manchester Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester  on Saturday 29 April, 2.15pm sharp.

"During our research  into the life of Mary Quaile, (who worked as an organiser for the Council, 1911-1919) we were given two volumes, which turned out to be the complete  hand-written minutes of the meetings of the Council from 1895 to 1919.
These contain fascinating detail on how the Council encouraged low paid, unorganised women to  set up trade unions in areas such as tailoring, upholstery, box-making, cigar making and weaving and how they supported strikes and disputes. 
With the support of  trade unions, individuals and the Lipman- Milliband Trust we were able to obtain sufficient funding  to transcribe the minutes,  which have now been placed on a website, together with copies of the original hand-written minutes.
The speakers at the event will be Bernadette Hyland (Mary Quaile Club) and Lisa Turnbull (Durham Teaching Assistants).
We hope you will be able to join us for this event which is free. No booking necessary." 
For more information about the MSWTUC Minutes Project, please email:
Six of MML's stunning Aid Spain banners will be displayed at Islington Museum in our BANNERS FOR SPAIN exhibition along with highlights from our Spanish Collection 5 May - 8 July. Islington Museum and MML will be hosting events to accompany the exhibition including a film screening, workshop and lecture.
Full details for each event will be found on our website and facebook pages.

meeting on Saturday 11th March 2017
at the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ

Alice Wheeldon: convicted of conspiracy to murder Lloyd George –
100 years on, can we clear her name? 
Speaker: Chloë Mason

"100 years ago, Alice Wheeldon, Winnie & Alf Mason were imprisoned amidst international publicity that had made them instant ‘tabloid villains’ since their arrest in January 1917. They had been set up by undercover agents posing as conscientious objectors. The family argued that the murder plan was fabricated. The family’s fate was used to intimidate others striving to avoid/stop war and to bring about a better world based on peace and social justice. This compelling story, a ‘spy story’, is one of tragedy, courage & hope. Chloë, great-grand-daughter of Alice Wheeldon, will discuss the campaign to clear their names."
Free entry   7.30pm Buffet   Speaker 8pm

     Enquiries & to join our mailing list:  0208 555 5248

Comrade Morris is not Dead! (8th April)

Saturday 8th April 7.30pm buffet (please bring something, if you can!) for 8pm talk at Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E114LJ
"William Morris was active as a socialist from 1883 till his death in 1896. While remaining a designer, craftsperson, artist and poet, he travelled the country speaking to working-class audiences on topics like 'Useful work versus useless toil', 'How we live & how we might live', and 'A factory as it might be'. In 1889, his 'utopian' novel, News from Nowhere, was published. This talk will look at how Morris related to others active at the time, including Eleanor Marx and the anarchists who joined his Socialist League, and will suggest that his ideas may be more relevant now than ever. " 

"The speaker, Colin Waugh, has a long experience as a further education lecturer, including 21 years teaching Liberal Studies with industrial-release engineering students at Tottenham College. He is the editor of the magazine Post-16 Educator. In 2009, to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Plebs League by students at Ruskin College, he wrote the pamphlet ‘Plebs’: The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education. He is involved with the Independent Working-Class Education Network (IWCEN) which developed around this pamphlet."
IWCE: Trade Unions: Organising in the Workplace and the Community (Norwich)

Independent Working Class Education Day School    
Sign up at Email:

IWCE Day School on Saturday 8th April, 10.30- 4.30pm
at the Methodist Church (Youth Room, first floor), Chapel Field Road, Norwich. 

Trade Unions: Organising in the Workplace and the Community

This Independent Working Class Education Day School will be discussing the strategies adopted by trade unions to improve and develop recruitment and organising amongst migrant and hard-to-reach workers. It will include discussion and debate about how far the trade unions as a whole are engaging with migrant workers, especially in the light of Brexit ; how far models used by GMB and Unite Community have been successful in turning unions towards the community; the rise of 'new' unions such as the IWGB and their militant action in organising cleaners in London and developing new sectors like foster carers.

Speakers include: Morning session: 
                            Dave Berry reporting on recent developments in Sheffield  
                            Jenny Webber on how the unions need to step up their organising in Norfolk                          
                            Carlos Cruz on Unite's activity: Unite Migrant Workers Programme 

                                      and the Alternative Education Model 
                            Afternoon session
                            Orlando Martins (Norwich Unite and NULG) on migrant workers 
                            Henry Chango Lopez (President, IWGB) on cleaning, bicycle and motorcycle workers 
                            Sarah Anderson, (IWGB foster carers union) 

All contributions will be short to include plenty of discussion (both plenary and in smaller groups)

Lunch will be provided and a small fee charged for food and hire of the room.

The Methodist Church has very limited parking available but there is a pay and display car park next door in Bignold School playground . The church is fully accessible.

Register by Emailing Keith Venables:
or phoning Dave Welsh (07946 284089)
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX
Wonder Women 2017
Events in this year's Wonder Women Festival range from exhibitions to music, stand-up poetry to walks.
Highlights include:
a play, Angel of the House, at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, running from 27 February–2 March. Rose, a care worker from Manchester,  Angela, a WW2 spy, and Annie, a suffragette, find themselves incarcerated, with time to reflect on the events in their lives that lead them to this point;
this year's Pankhurst Lecture, by Margaret Hodge MP, at the University of Manchester on 9 March;
Suffragettes of football at the National Football Museum on 7 March. 
A couple of other events are described in more detail below.  Full details of all that's going on can be found here.
The Library's Wonder Women contribution is our International Women's Day event here on Saturday 4 March at 2pm when Marika Sherwood's talk Thank you, Claudia will put the spotlight on Claudia Jones’s remarkable life. Claudia was an outstanding communist, feminist, peace activist, orator, journalist and founder of the biggest street festival in Europe. 
Claudia (1915-1964) was born in Trinidad; her parents took her to the US as a child and she was subsequently imprisoned for her political activities and later deported to the UK.  She was an outstanding communist, feminist, peace activist, orator, journalist and founder of the biggest street festival in Europe.  She is buried next to Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.
Peggy Mulongo will also speak about her work on female genital mutilation (FMG) and women’s rights. She is a cross-cultural mental health practitioner and co-founder of the charity NESTAC, The New Step for African Community, which has been established to support Africans and immigrants, particularly those living in the North West of England
The event will also be an opportunity to remember Betty Tebbs, activist and great friend to the Library who died on 23 January at the age of 98. Betty's life is celebrated in our Object of the Month display in our hall.  The Library holds papers of Betty’s, including correspondence and reports from peace campaigns and from the National Assembly of Women, as well as her unpublished autobiography.
 Admission free; all welcome.

Everyday Austerity exhibition - and a reprise of Spirit of '45
A new exhibition, Everyday Austerity, at the Library runs until 16 March.

The exhibition is the result of two years of research with families in Greater Manchester by Sarah Marie Hall, gathering first-hand, personal accounts of everyday life in austerity.

These accounts have been turned into a series of original drawings by North West zine artist Stef Bradley, and are exhibited alongside field notes, audio extracts, and collected materials, to ‘lift the lid’ on austerity.

Showing alongside Everyday Austerity are some of the boards from the Library's
Spirit of '45 exhibition, first shown in 2015. That date marked the 50th anniversary of the time when Britain was almost bankrupt but during its six years in power the Labour government reduced inequalities, extended public ownership, set up the welfare state, improved working and living conditions and established the NHS.

On the afternoon of Friday 24 March our exhibition, We Only Want the Earth, returns until Thursday 27 April.  This exhibition was first shown last year on the centenary of the Easter Rising and explores the life of one of its leaders, James Connolly, socialist, trade unionist, nationalist and revolutionary. We Only Want the Earth reveals the life and prolific works of this enigmatic man. The free exhibition is open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

The exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm. Admission free.
Invisible Histories talks 
Our free Invisible Histories talks will start up again in March – Wednesdays at 2pm:

15 March Trevor Fisher  Reclaiming the Blanketeers
March 2017 sees the 200th anniversary of the March of the Blanketeers, probably the first attempt at a protest march from a provincial city to Westminster. Now largely obscure, the precedent once established has been used ever since, and the organisers had devised a tactic which deserves to be put into the spotlight for its continuing importance.

29 March Geoff Andrews  James Klugmann, ‘The Shadow Man’
The 2015 book The Shadow Man: at the heart of the Cambridge spy circle explores through the life of Klugmann the conflicts of loyalties faced by communist intellectuals of the period.

12 April Robert Turnbull  Book launch – biography of Noah Ablett
Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935 is the first full-length biographical study of one of the most controversial personalities to emerge from the South Wales coalfield in the era preceding WW1.

Robert Turnbull's Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935 is the first full-length biographical study of one of the most controversial personalities to emerge from the South Wales coalfield in the era preceding WW1, an era of unparalleled industrial militancy in which Ablett played a leading role. The book tells the story of Noah Ablett from his early days as a boy preacher in the Rhondda coalfield to his rise to prominence within the tight-knit coalfield communities of South Wales, and his emergence as an uncompromising agitator, not only against the coal owners but also his own union. His uncompromising brand of revolutionary class warfare brought him into sharp conflict with the moderate consensus politics of William Abraham known as Mabon, a liberal who had led the South Wales miners since 1875. The conflict with Mabon and what he represented would lead to one of the most famous pamphlets in labour history, namely the Miners' Next Step of 1912, which called for workers' control of industry. Although very much a collaborative effort, the Miners' Next Step is perhaps the most famous statement of Ablett's rejection of the parliamentary road to socialism as "No better than an ant heap on the way to becoming a dunghill".

26 April Ruth Cohen  Margaret Llewelyn Davies: socialist, feminist and co-operator
This visionary campaigner led the Women's Co-operative Guild between 1889 and 1921 -  a period in which it became an outstanding public voice for working class women, and has been described as the ‘left wing’ of the co-operative movement.

10 May Deborah Mutch,  'What I mean, my dear': The Woman Worker and the male voice
24 May Alison Ronan, The real rebels of WW1

All welcome, admission free, light refreshments afterwards.
Further details of talks in May and June are at
Frow LectureThe 7th annual Frow Lecture will take place on Saturday 6 May at 2pm at the Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford. Kevin Morgan, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, University of Manchester and Library trustee, will speak about [WCML's] founders. 'Wait while you and I get our books together': Ruth and Edmund Frow and the making of the Working Class Movement Library will draw on Ruth and Eddie's papers to tell how political comradeship and a remarkable Cold War love story gave rise to the Library as we know it today.
 Admission free; all welcome; light refreshments after.
 We are grateful to the University of Salford for hosting this event.

On Saturday 1 April there will be a special showing of items from our extensive collection relating to women's fight for the vote. Drop in between 12 and 3pm to see original material from the Library and from the People's HIstory Museum.
Some of the items have been acquired recently as part of our joint Heritage Lottery Fund project Voting for Change. There's a leaflet, Broken windows, in which Christabel Pankhurst justifies the actions taken by the 'militant suffragists' on 1 March 1912 - when they took part in a mass window-smashing demonstration.  There are a couple of novels in which women's suffrage plays a key part. Plus much more...
This is a drop in session with no need to book and a chance to get up close to these historic objects. A member of staff will be on hand with tea and discussion – neither will be compulsory.
Blackstone Edge Gathering
The 2017 Blackstone Edge Gathering is on Sunday 30 April, starting at 12.30pm - the tenth consecutive year that people have gathered there to remember the Chartists
No charge, no booking needed.  People walk up to the rocky outcrop on Blackstone Edge, picnic and sing to remember the great Chartist gathering there, 170 years ago. Then repair to the pub...
You can join in the singing or just listen. If you would like to speak at the gathering, or contribute a song or reading, or if you are willing to lead a walk up to Blackstone Edge from one of the valley towns or railway stations, please contact Gwyneth Morgan
More information at:

Irish Mancunian Film & Culture
A range of events are being put on at Chorlton Irish Club by Irish Mancunian Film & Culture, including:
Ken Loach films including I, Daniel Blake (Sunday 5 March, 2pm, £6),
and the North West Labour History Society's celebration of James Connolly including songs from Claire Mooney (Sunday 30 April, 2.30pm, £5).
Wigan talks
Two talks of interest at the Museum of Wigan Life: on Tuesday 28 February from 12 to 1pm, Charles Jepson will mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Jarama by speaking on The Spanish Civil War and Wigan.
On Tuesday 7 March from 12 to 1pm Stephen Armstrong will talk on George Orwell - The Road To Wigan Pier at 80.
Both talks are price £2.50 including tea/coffee.

Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan WN1 1NU.

Jarama play comes to Bury
If you missed the Clem Beckett play
Dare Devil Rides to Jarama when it was performed at the Library recently, there's another chance to catch it when it comes to Bury Met on Thursday 16 March at 8pm.  
The Met, Market Street, Bury, BL9 0BW.
Len Crome memorial conference
The International Brigade Memorial Trust are holding this year's conference on Saturday 18 March at the Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester M1 3BB.   The topic is Liberty's volunteers: the tireless legacy of the Spanish Civil War.
Full programme and registration details at

Charles Parker Day 2017
Booking for the Charles Parker Day 2017 has now opened.  The occasion is named after the producer of documentaries such as
the Radio Ballads. This year it takes place in Sheffield on Friday 7 April, and celebrates fifty years of local radio with the first manager of BBC Radio Sheffield (the second station to come on air), Michael Barton, who went on to become Controller of BBC Local Radio.  Further details at
Tickets (£30/£20 concessions):
October 1917 workers in power
Book launch with Paul Le Blanc
Hosted by Resistance Books
Friday 24 February, 7pm
Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Rd, N1 9DY
Drinks and snacks provided

Paul Le Blanc is Professor of History at La Roche College (USA) and author of works on the labour and socialist movements, including Lenin and the Revolutionary Party,From Marx to Gramsci, and Leon Trotsky.  An editor of the eight-volume International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, he is currently helping to oversee the Verso Books edition of The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg.


 Dates: Conference 10th-12 April Abstracts by Monday 2oth March Papers by Friday 31stMarch

From 1995 to 2016, Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a series of very successful annual international conferences on 'ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST'.
We're very happy to announce that the Twenty Second AF&PP Conference will be held between Monday 10th and Wednesday 12th April 2017.
The Conference rubric will remain as in previous years. The aim is to explore the dynamics of popular movements, along with the ideas which animate their activists and supporters and which contribute to shaping their fate.
Reflecting the inherent cross-disciplinary nature of the issues, previous participants (from over 60 countries) have come from such specialisms as sociology, politics, cultural studies, social psychology, economics,  history and geography.  The Manchester conferences have been notable for discovering a fruitful and friendly meeting ground between activism and academia.

We invite offers of papers relevant to the conference themes.  Papers should address such matters as: 
* contemporary and historical social movements and popular protests
* social movement theory
* utopias and experiments
* ideologies of collective action
* etc.

To offer a paper, please contact either of the conference convenors with a brief abstract:  
EITHER Colin Barker,  
OR Mike Tyldesley, Politics Section, HPP,  
Manchester Metropolitan University  
Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West  
Manchester M15 6LL, England  
Tel: M. Tyldesley  0161 247 3460   
Fax: 0161 247 6769 (+44 161 247 6769) 
CFP: Mobilising Militant Pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture
King’s College London
31 August – 1 September 2017

 The extent of retrospection in culture and politics is a topic oft-commented upon and lamented. Public engagements with history and heritage are frequently lumpenly categorised as ‘nostalgia’: sanitised, selective, reassuring. Yet this obscures the sheer diversity of militant pasts in the present, and of the contexts and processes that facilitate their re-manifestation. Che Guevara’s face adorns posters and t-shirts worldwide, while Garibaldi gets dunked in tea. Historic campaigns for racial and gender equality have been regularly dramatized, including in the recent films Selma (2014) and Suffragette (2015). Internecine violence is frequently documented, and its martyrs commemorated, in the fabric of the physical environments where it occurred, as the murals of Belfast and Derry testify. Such remembering and half-remembering of histories of divided societies, of protest, unrest and insurrection, is far from inherently safe, nor easily categorised. 

This conference seeks to thrust treatments and legacies of the militant past into the academic spotlight. We seek papers on retrospective representations of themes including (but not limited to):
·         Industrial action
·         Campaigns for women’s rights
·         Campaigns for gay rights
·         Campaigns for religious tolerance and freedom
·         Campaigns for racial and ethnic equality
·         Intercommunal violence
·         Protests, riots and revolutions

There exists a vast array of models available for unpicking our individual and social relationships with the past: Freud’s conception of repeating, remembering and working through; Baudrillard’s of collecting and of retro; de Certeau’s of memory and place; Hobsbawm’s of invented tradition; Boym’s of restorative and reflective strains of nostalgia. Following on from these examples, we seek papers that address the role of format-specific and contextual dynamics and accompanying motivations in shaping the way militant pasts are represented and used. When and where are different modes of representation and appropriation – such as the reproduction of imagery and motifs, re-narration, preservation of heritage, adaptation, re-enactment, anniversaries, remembrance and commemoration – employed? How are these shaped by the contexts in which they appear, whether in popular cultural forms, high politics, heritage sectors, social movements, educational institutions, biographies and autobiographies, or the internet? What purposes do they serve: nostalgia; entertainment; commodification; education; calls to action; warning or pacifying gestures? How have these narratives, images and artefacts diffuse across time and space, and across formats and forums? How have their meanings contested, and by whom?

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute presentations from all disciplines and concerned with any time-period, including those with a contemporary focus. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short CV, to conference organisers Ruth Adams, Dion Georgiou and Andrew Smith at by 31 May 2017. 
Registration now open for Wars of Position Conference
[from radicalstudiesnetwork]
International Conference: Wars of Position: Marxism and Civil Society
8-10th June 2017
People’s History Museum, Manchester, UK 
Key-note speakers: Jodi Dean, Neil Faulkner, Kevin Morgan 
This international conference brings together: analysis of the theory and practice of twentieth-century Marxist parties in relation to civil society; analysis of contemporary Left formations’ approaches to civil society; and analysis of the ‘idea of communism’ today and the relevance or obsolescence of ‘the party’ in the twenty-first century.
Full price/concession: £100/£65 (three days), 
£40/£25 (Thursday), £30/£20 (Friday, Saturday)
 Further details     Contact: