Monday, 13 April 2015

CfP; Before '68: The Left, activism and social movements in the long 1960s

Call for Papers
Before ’68: The Left, activism & social movements in the long 1960s
Dates: 13 and 14 February 2016
Venue: School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
and hosted by UEA School of History in conjunction with the journal Socialist History and the Institute of Working Class History (Chicago).
The events of 1968, particularly those in France, have achieved a mythical status in both the memory and the historiography of the 1960s. For some, 1968 marked the end-point of a realignment of the European ‘New Left’. For others 1968 represented a student generation in revolt, and many of the first accounts which sought to explain the history and meaning of ’68 were written by that generation.
More recently historians have tried to demythologise ’68, looking both at less ‘glamourous’ locales and at the deeper histories of anti-colonial struggles and worker activism prior to the events of that year. The aim of this conference is to explore the diverse histories of social activism and left politics in Britain and elsewhere, and how they prepared the ground for and fed into ‘1968’. Themes might include, but are not limited to:
  • Anti-nuclear & peace movements
  • Civil Rights struggles
  • The Black Power movement
  • Anti-colonial politics
  • The activities of the Labour movement and the ‘traditional’ Left
  • The grassroots activism of the ‘New Left’
  • Far Left challenges: Trotskyism & Maoism
  • Campaigns around housing and the built environment
  • Campaigns around race and discrimination in the workplace and housing
  • Solidarity movements with struggles abroad (e.g. South Africa, Vietnam)
  • Campaigns for Homosexual Equality
  • Second Wave Feminism
    We are seeking papers of 5000 to 10000 words on any aspects of left activism and social movements in the period preceding 1968 to be presented at the conference. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Socialist History. Attendance at the conference will be free of charge, but we ask that anyone wishing to attend registers in advance. Proposals for papers and any enquiries should be submitted to Ben Jones. Email:
    Deadline for proposals for papers: 31 October 2015

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Chartists Were Right

Socialist History Society meeting: 
2pm, Saturday 25 April 2015
David Goodway speaks on 'The Chartists Were Right: George Julian Harney's Late Journalism, 1890-97'. 
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

George Julian Harney: The Chartists Were Right. Selections from the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle, 1890-97 (Merlin 2014).

Harney is a key figure in the history of English radicalism. His long life witnessed the Chartist movement from 1830s through to the beginnings of socialism from the 1880s. He wrote about literature, foreign affairs and politics, subjects that should interest anyone with an interest in Victorian Studies.

In his youth Harney was an admirer of the most radical figures of the French Revolution. The youngest member of the first Chartist Convention, he was an advocate of physical-force Chartism in 1838-9. His interest to historians has tended to be as the friend of Marx and Engels, the publisher of the first English translation of the Communist Manifesto and leader, with Ernest Jones, of the Chartist left in the early 1850s. Yet his finest period had been 1843-50, when he worked on the Northern Star: for five years he was an outstanding editor of a great newspaper. Almost everyone will be astonished to discover that not only did he live until as late as 1897, but also that in the 1890s he was producing a weekly column for the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle edited by W.E. Adams, another old Chartist and his younger admirer. The column was superbly written, politically challenging, and vigorously polymathic.

This is the first selection of Harney's writings to be published.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Mitchell Abidor and Ian Birchall present Jean Jaures's Socialist History of the French Revolution

At Bookmarks Bookshop on Tuesday 26 May, 6.30pm, £2

'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.

About The Author
Jean Jaurès (3 September 1859 – 31 July 1914) was a French Socialist who became the leader, in 1902, of the French Socialist Party, which opposed Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France. The two parties merged in 1905 in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). An antimilitarist, Jaurès was assassinated at the outbreak of World War I, and remains one of the main historical figures of the French Left.

Mitchell Abidor (Translator) books include anthologies of of Victor Serge, the Paris Commune, the left of the French Revolution, as well as the novella A Raskolnikov by Emmanuel Bove. He lives in Brooklyn.

Ian Birchall is a Marxist historian and translator, and author of numerous articles and books, particularly relating to the French Left and the Rebel's Guide to Lenin.

Friday, 27 March 2015

LSHG Summer Term seminars

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 5.30pm

 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

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

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Edward and Dorothy Thompson website

This website has been set up by the Thompson family as a resource page for anyone with an interest in the lives and works of Edward and Dorothy. There are also pages with information about Edward John Thompson and Frank Thompson, Edward's father and brother.

The Struggle for a Pit

Dear friends,

This is to let you know that 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.

You can read the book and/or download it for free at the link below. If you could pass this on to others who might be interested, I would be grateful.

Best wishes,
Simon Pirani

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Marcel van der Linden on global labour history

Dear Comrades

a reminder of the final event of the Spring term.

On Monday March 23rd at 5.15pm in Room 204 at the Institute of Historical Research  we are co-sponsoring with the Imperial History seminar:

Global Labour History: Provisional Results and Further Prospects
Marcel van der Linden (International Institute of Social History and Amsterdam)
It should be a very interesting seminar.
A reminder too that any contributions for the summer 2015 LSHG Newsletter should ideally be with me by 1st April
Keith Flett