Friday, 23 April 2010

George Barnsby - socialist historian - RIP

George Barnsby 'a local legend who did so much for Black Country', has sadly died - see below for a letter to the Morning Star:

I was saddened to hear of the death of our great friend George Barnsby. He was a lifelong communist and an important historian of the working-class movement in the Black Country.

All his life he was a socialist, historian, teacher and profound anti-racist. He wrote over 30 histories and pamphlets on the radical and socialist history of Birmingham and the Black Country from his adopted home of Wolverhampton.

As a Black Country bloke in the words of EP Thomson he rescued my working-class history from "the enormous condescension of posterity." George also worked hard for racial equality and in a town that was the political home of Enoch Powell this was no small challenge.

He made a huge contribution to the understanding of the early working-class movement in our region from the Owenites and Chartists right through to modern political parties, trade unions and co-operative societies.

He will be greatly missed by his comrades and friends. Deepest condolences to his wife Esme and his two sons, William and Robert and all his family.

Nick Matthews

Monday, 19 April 2010

Republic's Annual Conference

Republic Annual Conference - Saturday June 5 in London.

Includes a panel on "Britain's republican heritage", noting Britain has a rich tradition of radicalism and democratic reform and asking 'What can the contemporary republican movement learn from its forebears - and how can we challenge the idea that British history is nothing more than kings and queens?'
Featuring Edward Vallance (author of 'A Radical History of Britain') and Geoffrey Robertson QC (author of 'The Tyrannicide Brief', TBC). Edward and Geoffrey will be joined by many other prominent republicanwriters, academics and campaigners. See for more information.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Conference: New insights into Gramsci

New Insights into Gramsci's Life and Work
Friday, May 28th, 2010
Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, London

A one-day conference organised by Alessandro Carlucci (Royal Holloway, University of London) in association with the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies (School of Advanced Studies, University of London)

Sponsored by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust, and by the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The main aim of the conference is to disseminate the results of recent, specialised research on Gramsci. Significant novelties will be presented by leading experts with the aim of overcoming disciplinary boundaries and helping to reduce the gaps between: a) widespread, conventional understandings of Gramsci and up-to-date specialised research; and b) the work on Gramsci’s writings and biography and the use of Gramsci’s theories for understanding current social, political and cultural issues.

Confirmed contributors: Derek Boothman (SSLMIT, University of Bologna), Craig Brandist (University of Sheffield), Fabio Frosini (University of Urbino), Carl Levy (Goldsmiths, University of London), James Martin (Goldsmiths, University of London), Anne Showstack Sassoon (Birkbeck, University of London), and Peter Thomas (member of the editorial board of Historical Materialism).

Entrance: FREE

For further information please contact the organisers at or

Chartism: new perspectives conference

Le chartisme (1838-1858): nouvelles perspectives/Chartism: new perspectives (1838-1858)
The annual international Chartism Conference is organised by the Society of Labour History, the Chartist Study Group, Société d'histoire de la révolution de 1848 et des révolutions du 19e siècle, and the South Wales Centre for History and Interdisciplinary Research (SWCHIR). It will be held at the Sorbonne, Paris.


Vendredi 2 juillet 2010/Friday, 2 July 2010

1.30-2.00 Accueil/Reception


Fabrice Bensimon (Université Paris IV-Sorbonne): Accueil à l’Université Paris IV-Sorbonne/Welcome to the Université Paris IV-Sorbonne

Joan Allen (Newcastle University): Présentation du colloque/Introduction to the Conference


Malcolm Chase (University of Leeds): 'What next for Chartist Studies'?

3.10 Coffee Break


Benoit Agnès (Université Paris IV-Sorbonne): 'A Chartist singularity? Mobilising for democratic petitions in Britain and France, 1838-1848'


Iorwerth Prothero (Manchester): 'Chartism and contemporary French Radicalism: a comparison'

5.30 pot/drinks

Samedi 3 juillet/Saturday, 3 July 2010

9.30 Registration.


Greg Vargo (Columbia University, New York, USA): 'Outworkers of the citadel of corruption': The Chartist press reports the Empire'

11.00 Coffee Break


Eugenio Biagini (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge): 'Chartism, Reynolds's Newspaper, and the enduring relevance of Chartism, 1848-1906'.

12.30 Déjeuner libre dans le quartier/Buffet Lunch


Michael Sanders (University of Manchester): 'Chartist Hymn Books Lost and Found: The case of the "National Chartist Hymn Book"'

2.30 Coffee Break


Joan Allen (Newcastle University): 'George Julian Harney and the Democratic Review'


Ian Haywood (Roehampton University, London): 'Illuminating Propaganda: W. J. Linton and Chartist visual culture'

Dimanche 4 juillet/Sunday, 4 July 2010


Promenade sur les traces du Paris révolutionnaire avec Louis Hincker (Université de Valenciennes)/'Revolutionary Walk' with Louis Hincker

Fin du colloque/End of Conference Proceedings

Spring author events at Bookmarks

Bookmarks Bookshop is pleased to announce our Spring 2010 programme of author events. Most events are free to attend. You can have a glass of wine, listen to the authors introduce their books, and ask questions. Afterwards, you can browse our selection of radical books, DVDs, t- shits, gifts and cards. To book a place at any of the events below, email

The Imperial Controversy: Challenging the Empire Apologists
Andrew Murray (Chair of Stop the War Coalition)
Tuesday 20 April 6.30pm, Free
Andrew Murray meticulously uncovers the intimate links between the war on terror and the history of empire, between colonialism and Nazism, between the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and Britain's bloody imperial record - and shows why the cheerleaders for today's western military interventions now want to rehabilitate it. (Seumas Milne)

My Father Was a Freedom Fighter
Ramzy Baroud
Friday 23 April, 6.30pm, Free
Ramzy Baroud's new book provides a deeply personal account of his family's experiences, across three generations, of the theft and occupation of Palestine by the Israeli state. The book places Baroud's experiences within the context of the broader political events of the conflict, in such a stark and moving way that this account evokes an understanding of what it is to be a Palestinian in a Gazan refugee camp.

The Enigma of Capital: And the Crisis of Capitalism/Companion to Capital
David Harvey
Tuesday 27 April, 6.30pm, Free - NB Now at Kings College London
Capitalism will never fall on its own. It will have to be pushed.The accumulation of capital will never cease. It will have to be stopped. The capitalist class will never willingly surrender its power. It will have to be dispossessed. David Harvey is the world’s most cited academic geographer and his course on Marx’s Capital has been downloaded by well over 250,000 people since mid-2008.

Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists
Danny Dorling
Monday 10 May , 6.30pm, Free
"Beliefs which serve privilege, elitism and inequality, infect our minds like computer viruses. But now Dorling provides the brain- cleaning software we need to begin creating a happier society. " Richard Wilkinson author of "The Spirit Level"

Night of the Golden Butterfly
Tariq Ali
Wed 12 May, 7.30pm, £4/£2 concessions
Political campaigner, novelist and historian Tariq Ali will be talking about the fifth and concluding book in the Islam Quintet. Bloomsbury Church, 235 Shaftesbury Ave, WC2H 8EP, 2 mins from Bookmarks

Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World
Alex Callinicos
Tuesday 18 May , 6.30pm, Free
The crisis of 2007–9 is an event of historic importance that has affected economy, society and politics. Callinicos analyses its causes within the broader development of capitalism in recent decades. Particularly relevant is his stress on ‘financialisation’ as well as the implications he draws regarding the balance of imperial power across the world.

Bookmarks: The Socialist Bookshop
1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
020 7637 1848

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Appeal for information on English Jewish socialist who fought and died in the Easter 1916 Rising


Hi - My name is Sam. I'm a 2nd Year History student in University College Dublin (UCD).

I'm currently trying to research the life of an illusive English Jewish Socialist who was killed in action in the Easter 1916 Rising. I'm hoping some of your members might be able to help.

Name: Arthur Weekes/Weeks/Wicks (c. 1886 - 1916)
Nickname: Neale/Neil/O'Neill

The Irish Worker (No.43. Saturday, May 3rd 1924) states that he was "a Jewish comrade who joined on Easter Monday and died in action”

The Records of the Republican Soldiers' Casualty Committee (1928) states that he was from "Norwich, U.K" and joined the Irish Citizen Army (I.C.A) in November 1915. It also says that he was German by birth, worked as a chef in The Shelbourne Hotel (and) belonged to the the German Communist Party (sic) and the Irish Socialist Party.

The Irish Workers Voice (April 19th, 1930) states that was a son of a bootmaker and born in Norwich. A prominent role in the "London hotel strike in 1913" led to his victimisation and so he moved to Dublin. "Instrumental" in running arms and ammunition for the I.C.A. in the months preceding the Rising.

I've lots of information on his activity in Easter Week 1916 but I'm trying to find out more about his early life.

Where do you think I should start? London 1913 trade union records? Perhaps socialist publications made note of his death in 1916?