Friday, 16 March 2018

Finding Albert - Graphic novel crowdfunder appeal

Dear London Socialist Historians Group,

I am writing for your support - I am crowdfunding the production of a graphic novel telling the story of my great-grandfathers life in the first half of the twentieth century. He was German Communist Historian who had to flee Nazi Germany. He was involved in the November Revolution of Germany in 1918, a founding member of the Spartacus League, leading member of the Rote Frontkämpferbund and Chief of Staff for one of the International Brigades in Spain. His daughter came to England as a refugee before World War II where she remained, becoming a Labour Councillor in Harlow New Town until her death in 1998.

Although a personal research project his life touches on themes that I think are very relevant to contemporary politics and social history. 

Funding for the campaign is going well and been mostly promoted through my own networks on Twitter and Facebook. However, I am hoping now to expand this to other interest groups. This is where I hope you can help.

I was wondering whether you would be able to share this campaign with your membership and/or support the campaign by tweeting or posting on Facebook a link to the campaign itself.

More information on the campaign can be found on Kickstarter at 

I have also have created a short, shareable URL for the project at

Additionally, I have prepared some pictures and promotional material which can be downloaded from Dropbox at 

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you can help in some small way to promoting and supporting the project.

With all best wishes,

Cole Henley


LSHG Workshop - Treason: Internationalist renegades and traitors

London Socialist Historians’ Group Workshop on 
Treason: Internationalist Renegades and Traitors
Saturday 19th May, 12 – 5pm
Wolfson Room, Institute of Historical Research
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.  
Entry is free without ticket although there will be a collection to cover expenses, but please register via the eventbrite link here if possible
The Levellers who refused to support Cromwell’s war in Ireland, the Polish troops who rebelled against Napoleon and sided with the Haitian Revolution, the Irish-American “St Patrick’s Battalion” who rejected American imperialism to fight with the Mexicans, the British people who joined the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Confederate deserters who opposed slavery, the German anti-Nazis who deserted and joined the Red Army or fought with the French Resistance and the French anti-colonialists who sided with the independence fighters in Algeria and Vietnam. There have been some rare but truly inspiring and heroic examples of internationalism throughout modern history, when those being drafted into fighting for unjust wars rebelled to side and fight against imperialist oppression. This workshop will try to recover the lives and often hidden histories of these true ‘citizens of the world’, as well as considering moments in history where the potential for anti-imperialist internationalism did not materialise.

  • John Newsinger
  • Merilyn Moos
  • Ian Birchall
  • Jonathan North
  • Steve Cushion

For more information please contact Keith Flett at the address above.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

LSHG seminar on 1848 cancelled in solidarity with UCU strike

The next LSHG seminar was due to take place on Monday 5 March and discuss the anniversary of the revolutionary year of 1848 - this has now been cancelled out of solidarity with the UCU strike taking place that day and will be rescheduled for later in the year - for more details see here

Monday, 26 February 2018

History Acts on Strike - how to win?

History Acts on Strike: How to Win?

Can history help us win this dispute? Can we link our struggle over pensions to the struggles against casualisation of teaching and outsourcing of university staff? In an emergency History Acts teach-out, historians of trade unionism discuss strategies and tactics with union officials and activists.

Wednesday 7th March, 6pm to 8pm
MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

Free entry. No need to book in advance. For information contact Steffan Blayney or Guy Beckett

History Acts workshops are led by activists, who give a short talk or presentation about their work. Historians working on a relevant topic will then respond, before opening it up to group discussion.

Our panel


Mike Berlin is joint-President of Birkbeck UCU and a historian specialising in the social history of early modern London. UCU members are currently on strike to defend their right to a fair pension.

Catherine Oakley is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds and co-founder of The Academic Precariat (TAP), a new activist platform for research and teaching academics, and other categories of staff in the Higher Education sector united by the material and psychological conditions of precarity.

Dr Laura Schwartz is Associate Professor in Modern British History at the University of Warwick. Her main research interests are the history of feminism and radical movements in Britain, and she is completing her third monograph on ‘Feminism and the Servant Problem: Class Conflict and Domestic Labour in the British Women’s Suffrage Movement’.

Dr Jack Saunders is a historian of work and workplace culture in post-war Britain. Having previously worked on workplace culture and labour militancy in the British motor industry, he is now a Research Fellow on the University of Warwicks’s ‘Cultural History of the NHS project’. His current research looks at how working for the NHS has shaped the cultural values of health workers, particularly their attitudes towards work, efficiency and productivity.

Both Laura and Jack have been involved with Fighting Against Casualisation in Education (FACE), a network aiming to bring together casualised academic workers involved in struggles around the country, to organise for better labour conditions.
Twitter: @HistoryActs

Saturday, 24 February 2018

1968-2018 A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance, Campaigning and Alternatives for A Better World

1968-2018: A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance, Campaigning and Alternatives for A Better World

- despite 50 years of police opposition, spying and repression
Sat 7th / Sun 8th July 2018  

Sat 7th: Anniversary Roll Call / Commemoration / Celebration in Grosvenor Square, London W1 @ 1pm - 3pm

Sun 8th: London Gathering and Exhibition

1st to 8th July  -  week of local events and activities around the UK 

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Next planning meeting for the above
Sunday 11th March, 5pm @ Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX

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In 1968, following demonstrations against the Vietnam War in London's Grosvenor Square, the police set up a Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Since that time, 50 years ago, over 1,000 groups campaigning in the UK for a better world have been spied on, infiltrated and targeted by political policing. Their protests and demonstrations are also subjected to ongoing police opposition and control to try to limit their effectiveness.
This targeting has included groups campaigning for equality, justice, the environment and international solidarity, for rights for women, LGBTQ, workers and for animals, for community empowerment, and those campaigning against war, racism, sexism, corporate power, legal repression and police oppression and brutality. Such groups have represented many millions of people throughout the UK who want to make the world a better, fairer and more sustainable place for everyone.

Yet almost any group of any kind that stood up to make a positive difference has been or could have potentially been a target for secret political policing.
We now know this because of campaigners' recent efforts to expose and challenge the SDS and other similar secret units, and their shocking and unacceptable tactics. Individuals within those campaign groups have been spied on, subjected to intrusions in their personal lives, been victims of miscarriages of justice, and many deceived into intimate and abusive relationships with secret police, ie people that who were not who they said they were. In July 2015 we succeeded in forcing Theresa May (now Prime Minister) to set up the current Undercover Policing Public Inquiry, which was tasked with getting to the truth by July 2018, and insisting on action to prevent police wrong-doing in future. Now, 3 years on, the public inquiry has achieved very little due to police obstruction.
When the SDS was formed they stated that they would 'shut down' the movements they were spying on. But despite disgusting police tactics, movements for positive change are still here and growing, and have had many successes on the way.


This planned two-day event in London, backed up by a call for a week of actions all around the UK, is in support of those campaigning for full exposure and effective action at the Undercover Policing Inquiry, and against police attempts to delay and undermine it. We aim to encourage more groups to find out about the Inquiry and how they can get involved and support each other, and to unite the many different groups and organisations who have been victims of our police state because of their efforts to improve society. 

 Backed by the Campaign to Oppose Police Surveillance [C.O.P.S.] -

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

No Platform Book Project - appeal for sources

From Evan Smith over at Hatful of History -  I am very excited that my book project on the history of the NUS policy of no platform in the UK is moving forward. At the moment, I am on the lookout for further primary sources from no platform campaigns from the 1970s to the present (particularly from the 1980s and 1990s). So if anyone has any material relating to specific campaigns, please send an email to  I am especially interested in any material relating to campaigns to prevent Enoch Powell and representatives of the apartheid regime in South Africa from speaking on university campuses in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Monday, 15 January 2018

London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter #63 (Spring 2018) online

The latest issue of the London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter #63 is now online, with a comment piece by Keith Flett on the royal wedding, and a book review of Origins of Collective Decision Making by Andy Blunden which discusses the Chartists' view of democracy.  Other pieces include an obituary of William Pelz, and book reviews by Ian Birchall and Merilyn Moos.  With respect to the LSHG Newsletter, letters, articles, criticisms and contributions to debate are most welcome - please contact Keith Flett on the address above for more info, and on how to be a member of the LSHG. The deadline for the next issue of the Newsletter is 12 March 2018. The LSHG Spring seminar programme is listed below:


All seminars take place in Room 304 (third floor) at 5.30pm in the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU and entry is free without ticket although donations are welcome.

Monday 22 January
Steve Cushion
‘By Our Own Hands’: A People’s History of the Grenadian Revolution

 Monday 5 February
Kevin Morgan
Communism and the Cult of the Individual: Leaders, Tribunes and Martyrs under Lenin and Stalin

Monday 19 February
 Marika Sherwood
 ‘They were not Communists they were Independistas!’ The Beginning of the Cold War in Ghana and Nigeria in 1948

The seminar originally scheduled for Monday 5 March with Keith Flett on 1848 Revisited has now been cancelled in solidarity with the UCU strike and will take place at a later date.