Thursday, 23 September 2010

The 1911 Railway Strike in South Wales

The next meeting of the Socialist History Society is this Saturday, 25 September, 2pm at the Bishopsgate Institute, London EC, just opposite Liverpool Street station. Rob Griffiths will be talking about his book, 'The Railway Strike in South Wales, 1911'.

Those nearer to Glasgow than London on Saturday 25 September might consider attending instead an International Socialism journal conference on Imperialism and Austerity

Friday, 17 September 2010

Autumn LSHG seminars

Monday 18th October
Sabby Sagall 'The Nazi and Armenian Genocides: A Comparison'

Monday 1st November
Paul Pancras 'Notwithstanding rights & freedoms. Pierre Trudeau & Constitutional Renewal' - now postponed

Monday 15th November
Steve Cushion(Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London)'The working class in the Cuban Revolution, 1952-59'

Monday 13th December
Jessica Fenn, 'The abolition of the dock labour scheme in London 1989: Industrial relations theory and practice'

All at 5.30pm, the Pollard Room, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, London. All welcome.

Hydrachy: Power and Resistance at Sea

18 September – 7 November. Exhibition
Hydrarchy: Power and Resistance at Sea.
Gasworks Gallery, 155 Vauxhall St. London

Mathieu K. Abonnenc, Goldin+Senneby, Laura Horelli, Melanie Jackson, Anja Kirschner and David Panos, Paul McCarthy, Uriel Orlow, Femmy Otten, Christodoulos Panayiotou, and João Pedro Vale.

Group exhibition that approaches historical and contemporary examinations of the sea and the offshore as contested cultural, political, legal and socio-economic territories. Focusing on specific events, situations and mythologies attached to past and recent maritime history, the works address power relations at sea and the forms of resistance and survival developed as a response. Works in the exhibition include:

(1) Polly II: Plan for a Revolution in Docklands (2006) a satirical fictional video loosely based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. The work is set in the near-future where London has been flooded, high-end high-rises are being looted, financial speculation is spiralling and the dispossessed are literally adrift. In this context, a revolution against the ruling class led by lower class Londoners and dissidents is under way.

(2) The Middle Passage (2006) by Mathieu K. Abonnenc refers to the forcible journey of African people to the New World from the 16th to the 19th century, using a sequence of extracts from a range of Hollywood movies.

(3) Christodoulos Panayioutou's (Untitled) Act II: The Island (2008) is part of a triptych made of folded theatre backdrops about a ship possibly departing to and returning from the European colonies.

Further details on: (See Note 4 – Editorial.)

18 September. 10am-5pm. Hydrarchy Conference. University College London. A one-day conference brings together speakers from the fields of theory, history, geography, politics and contemporary art to discuss the themes behind the exhibition, based on their own research and perspective. Offering a historical and theoretical framework, while expanding on the artistic propositions presented in the exhibition, the conference aims to further delve into the zone of exception and liminality that constitutes the sea and the offshore. With Amy Balkin (artist), Angus Cameron (human geographer), Lisa Le Feuvre (curator and writer), Marcus Rediker (historian, writer and activist), Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran of CAMP (artists). Further details on:

Henryk Grossman Project

Henryk Grossman project: assistance sought

Henryk Grossman was a major figure in the development of Marxist social and economic theory, and economic history during the 20th century. There has recently been a resurgence of interest in his contributions. But a large proportion of his work remains untranslated into English or is hard to find. It is time that his writings were brought together in an accessible form and that all his important work was made available in English.

A project is underway to publish selected works by Henryk Grossman in the Historical Materialism Book Series. Unfortunately we have no financial backing for this substantial undertaking. So we are seeking two kinds of assistance: suggestions about how we might obtain funds, without danger to life and limb, would be very much appreciated. Are there any cultural institutions, university translation offices, government funded academic research programs or philanphropic institutions which we could tap into?
we are also looking for experienced translators who are prepared to donate their efforts to the project. The translations will be from German, French, Polish and Yiddish into English. The contribution of translations of short (a few hundred words) as well as longer texts would be appreciated.
If you can help, please get in touch.

In solidarity

Rick Kuhn
School Politics and International Relations tel +61 (2) 612-53851
Building 22 fax +61 (2) 612-52222
ANU ACT 0200

Save the CLR James Library in Hackney

The CLR James Library in Dalston in Hackney is under threat of being renamed 'Dalston Library and Archives' - those wanting to help pay tribute to the public memory of the great Trinidadian socialist historian and writer can sign an online petition of protest here.

Tom Behan 1957 - 2010

Tom Behan the socialist activist and academic who specialised in matters Italian has sadly died far too young. There are full obituaries by Chris Bambery in Socialist Worker [11 September] and, a mark of Tom Behan's stature as an academic in the Times Higher Education Supplement [18 September].

I want to write something briefly here about Tom as a socialist historian.

He spoke on several occasions about research projects and books he was engaged on to meetings of the London Socialist Historians Group at the Institute of Historical Research. But I'll remember Tom not as a dry academic enveloped in his subject - not that there is anything wrong with that - but as a great enthusiast for Italian history and politics.

On more than one occasion he cajoled me into funnelling socialist historians whose interests might well have been a long way from Italy towards events he had energetically organised. He was invariably right that they were not only interesting in themselves but carried wider lessons.

He brought to historical study what in my experience is a rare quality - the eye and mind of the socialist activist on the past struggles of ordinary men and women. In this way he could explain as other academics could not why decisions about protests and demonstrations were made or not made. It was a robust historical view informed by a deep understanding of the choices and dilemmas that crop up again and again for socialist activists.

He will be missed. His work stands as a tribute to one of the finest socialist historians of our generation.

Keith Flett.