Sunday, 31 October 2010

CFP: Social Movements Conference

abstracts due by Monday 14th March 2011

From 1995 to 2010, 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 Sixteenth AF&PP Conference will be held, between Monday 18th April and Wednesday 20th April 2011.

The Conference rubric remains 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 also 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, or for details of conference arrangements and costs, please contact either of the conference convenors (with a brief abstract):

EITHER Colin Barker, Dept. of Sociology
OR Mike Tyldesley, Dept. of Politics and Philosophy
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)
(Wherever possible, please use email, especially as Colin Barker is a retired gent. Surface mail and faxes should only be addressed to Mike Tyldesley)

Those giving papers are asked to supply them in advance, for inclusion on a CD of the complete papers which will be available from the conference opening.
* Preferred method: send the paper to Colin Barker as an email attachment in MS Word. Any separate illustrations etc. should be placed at the end of the paper, in .jpg format.
* if this is impossible, post a copy of the text to Mike Tyldesley on a CD disk in MS Word format
* Final date for receipt of abstracts: Monday 14th March 2011
* Final date for receipt of actual papers: Monday 28th March 2011

'Crisis and Critique': 2010 Historical Materialism annual conference

'Crisis and Critique': Historical Materialism Annual London Conference

Central London, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th November*

Registration and Provisional Programme Now Available online here.


Notwithstanding repeated invocations of the ‘green shoots of
recovery’, the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008
continue to be felt around the world. While some central tenets of the
neoliberal project have been called into question, bank bailouts, cuts
to public services and attacks on working people's lives demonstrate
that the ruling order remains capable of imposing its agenda. Many
significant Marxist analyses have already been produced of the
origins, forms and prospects of the crisis, and we look forward to
furthering these debates at HM London 2010. We also aim to encourage
dialogue between the critique of political economy and other modes of
criticism – ideological, political, aesthetic, philosophical – central
to the Marxist tradition.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht projected a journal
to be called ‘Crisis and Critique’. In very different times, but in a
similar spirit, HM London 2010 aims to serve as a forum for dialogue,
interaction and debate between different strands of critical-Marxist
theory. Whether their focus is the study of the capitalist mode of
production's theoretical and practical foundations, the unmasking of
its ideological forms of legitimation or its political negation, we
are convinced that a renewed and politically effective Marxism will
need to rely on all the resources of critique in the years ahead.
Crises produce periods of ideological and political uncertainty. They
are moments that put into question established cognitive and
disciplinary compartmentalisations, and require a recomposition at the
level of both theory and practice. HM London 2010 hopes to contribute
to a broader dialogue on the Left aimed at such a recomposition, one
of whose prerequisites remains the young Marx’s call for the ‘ruthless
criticism of all that exists’.

Themes discussed by the Conference include: Activism * Adorno:
Philosophy, Aesthetics, Politics * Aesthetics of Crisis * Art and
Activism * Althusser and the Aleatory Encounter I: Conceptual Aspects
* Althusser and the Aleatory Encounter II: Philosophical Contrasts *
Applying Value Theory * Approaching Passive Revolutions * Art in
Neoliberalism * The Arts and Capitalist Triumphant: American Culture
in the 1940s * Between Political Economy and Political Struggles *
Beyond What Is and Isn’t to Be Done: The Question of Organisation
Today * Biocapitalism * Bolshevik History * Book Launch: Jairus
Banaji's Theory as History * Capital and the Crisis of Nature *
Capitalism, Labour, Photography * Centenary of Hilferding’s Finance
Capital * China: Internal Struggles and External Perceptions * Class,
Gender, Crisis: The Attack on Public Services and Welfare * Class and
Nation in the Middle East * Climate Change and Ecological Crisis: Law,
Gender, Technology * Commodities, Labour and Space * Conjuncture,
Contingency and Overdetermination * The Contemporary Global Economy
(Marx and the ‘Global South’ 1) * Crisis and Accumulation in Asia *
Crisis of Representation: Philosophy, Politics, Aesthetics * Crisis in
Greece, Crisis in the Eurozone * The Crisis this Time * Commons and
Commonwealths * Commons and Communism, Past and Present * Confronting
the Right * Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism * Death and Utopia:
Bloch and Benjamin * Dependency and Exploitation in Latin America *
Dimensions of the Crisis: History, Finance, and the Labour Process *
Energy and Crisis * The End of Old and New Labour: What's Left?*
Eurozone Crisis: Causes and Ways Out * Feminism and the Critique of
Political Economy * Financial Capital Before and After the Crisis *
Financialisation: Theory and Practice * Forgotten Space: Capitalism
and the Sea * Forms of Working-Class Resistance * From Crisis To
Crises: Marxist Perspectives On Latin America In The Global Economy *
From Crisis of Capitalism to Crisis of the Public Sector * Gender,
Labour and the Future of Feminism * Geographies of Crisis and Critique
I * Geographies of Crisis and Critique II * German Crises * Georg
Lukács and the Aspiration Towards Totality * Gramsci * Historical
Materialism, Universal History, and East Asia * Histories of Workers’
Struggles * The Ideology of the ‘Big Society’ * Imperialism: History
and Theory * Intellectuals, Public Discourse and Education *
International Relations, Militarism and Modes of Foreign Relations *
Japanese and Western Marxism * Korsch, Lefebvre and Hegelian Marxism *
Labour and Migration * Labour Power and the Marxian Analytics of
Crisis * Latin America, Resistance and Political Economy * Legacies of
Bolshevism * Lenin, Luxemburg and the Russian Revolution * Limits of
Citizenship and Democracy * Managing Crisis: Fair Trade, Cooperatives,
Degrowth * Marx Against Eurocentrism (Marx and the ‘Global South’ 2) *
Marx and Critique * Marxian Investigations * Marxism and Geopolitics *
Marxism and International Law * Marxism and Politics Today * Marxism
and Theories of Politics * Marxist Theories of Finance and Risk *
Marxist Theory and Cultural Politics * Marx for Our Times * Marx,
Normativity, Justice * Marx’s Capital and the Development of
Capitalism Today * Music and Resistance * Neoliberalism and World
Cinema: A Double Take * Palestine and Global Justice: Current and
Historic Challenges for the Left * Poetics, Painting, Politics *
Political Ecology in a Time of Crisis * Political Economy and Value
Theory * The Politics and Political Economy of the Media * The
Politics of Housing * Profit and the Crisis * Radicalism in
Contemporary Art and Literature * Red October: Left-Indigenous
Struggles in Modern Bolivia * Rethinking the State * Rosa Luxemburg
and the Critique of Political Economy * Screening: Comuna Under
Construction * Servicing the Crisis * Sex in Crisis * Slavery and
American Capitalism * Stasis, Contradiction, Hostility * Strategies
for Art Today I * Strategies for Art Today II * Theorising the Crisis
I * Theorising the Crisis II * Theorising the Crisis III * The
Transformation of Chinese Marxism * Ultra-Leftism, Insurrection, and
the City * Useless But True: Economic Crisis and the Peculiarities of
Economic Science * Value and Struggles in China * Varieties of
Capitalism I * Varieties of Capitalism II * Violence and Non-Violence
* Walter Benjamin and Anthropological Materialism * Walter Benjamin
and the Critique of Violence * Whither Feminism? * Who Rules the
World? Contemporary Views on Ruling and Capitalist Classes * Workers,
the Union Movement and the Crisis * Workers’ Self-Management and
Alternative Work Organisation I * Workers’ Self-Management and
Alternative Work Organization II * The Working Class after
Neoliberalism: From the World to the East End of Glasgow * The Work of
Daniel Bensaid *

Speakers include: Greg Albo * Bueno Aldo * Görkem Akgöz * Idris Akkuzu
* Donatella Alessandrini * Anne Alexander * Jamie Allinson * Elmar
Altvater * Marko Ampuja * James Anderson * Kevin Anderson * Alex
Anievas * Caroline Arscott * Sam Ashman * John Ashworth * Tara Atluri
* Maurizio Atzeni * Antonio Azevedo * Dario Azzellini * Abigail Bakan
* Jeff Bale * Jairus Banaji * Laurent Baronian * Luca Basso * Amita
Baviskar * Wesley Baxter * Dave Beech * Riccardo Bellofiore * Aaron
Benanav * Marc Berdet * Janis Berzins * Beverley Best * Brenna Bhandar
* Alain Bihr * Cyrus Bina * Robin Blackburn * Paul Blackledge * Joost
de Bloois * Iain Boal * Roland Boer * Armando Boito * Patrick Bond *
Bill Bowring * Chris Boyd * Umut Bozkurt * Honor Brabazon * Craig
Brandist * Pepijn Brandon * Lutz Brangsch * Colm Breathnach * Peter
Brogan * Heather Brown * Sebastian Budgen * Jonah Butovsky * Alex
Callinicos * Liam Campling * Bob Cannon * Thomas Carmichael * The
Carrot Workers Collective * Warren Carter * Noel Castree * Aude de
Caunes * Maria Elisa Cevasco * Giorgio Cesarale * Sharad Chari *
Matthew Charles * François Chesnais * Danielle Child * Christopher
Chitty * Joseph Choonara * John Clegg * Perci Coelho * Sheila Cohen *
Alejandro Colás * Nathan Coombs * John Cooper * Luke Cooper * Gareth
Dale * Neil Davidson * Chuck Davis * Tim Dayton * Shane Deckard *
Radhika Desai * Li Dianlai * Katja Diefenbach * Angela Dimitrakaki *
James Dunkerley * Bill Dunn * Cedric Durand * Nick Dyer-Witheford *
Caroline Edwards * Steve Edwards * Evie Embrechts * Katsuhiko Endo *
Theresa Enright * Adam Fabry * Mauro Farnesi Camellone * Sara Farris *
David Featherstone * Romain Felli * Oliver Feltham * David Fernbach *
Michele Filippini * Ben Fine * Eoin Flaherty * Paul Flenley * Keith
Flett * Kirsten Forkert * Des Freedman * Alan Freeman * James Furner *
Nicola Fusaro * Jin Gao * Lindsey German * M.A. Gonzalez * Sara
Gonzalez * James Goodman * Jamie Gough * Nicolas Grinberg * Agon Hamza
* Adam Hanieh * Bue Rübner Hansen * Jane Hardy * Lea Haro * Barnaby
Harran * Barbara Harriss-White * Johan Hartle * Dan Hartley * Mike
Haynes * Amrit Heer * Paul Heideman * Christoph Hermann * Chris
Hesketh * Andy Higginbottom * Jan Hoff * John Holloway * Charlie Hore
* Nik Howard * Peter Hudis * Ian Hussey * Michel Husson * Ursula Huws
* Anthony Iles * Ozlem Ingun * Robert Jackson * Dhruv Jain * Sang-Hwan
Jang * Anselm Jappe * Olivier Jelinski * Heesang Jeon * Seongjin Jeong
* Jonny Jones * Jyotsna Kapur * Rémy Herrera * Marina Kaneti * Ioannis
Kaplanis * Elif Karacimen * Rebecca Karl * Ken Kawashima * Alexander
Keller Hirsch * Mark Kelly * Anneleen Kenis * Paul Kellogg *
Christiane Ketteler * Sami Khatib * Jim Kincaid * Don Kingsbury *
Stathis Kouvelakis * Sam Knafo * Juha Koivisto * Stathis Kouvelakis *
Michael R. Krätke * Clarice Kuhling * Alexi Kukuljevic * Anne E.
Lacsamana * Mikko Lahtinen * Ishay Landa * Costas Lapavitsas * Amanda
Latimer * Nick Lawrence * Philippe Lege * Emanuele Leonardi * Esther
Leslie * Alex Levant * Les Levidow * Iren Levina * Norman Levine * Ben
Lewis * Aiyun Liang * Lars Lih * Jacob Carlos Lima * Por-Yee Lin *
Duncan Lindo * Nicola Livingstone * Alex Loftus * Domenico Losurdo *
Nikos Lountos * David Mabb * Denis Mäder * Yahya Madra * F.T.C.
Manning * Paula Marcelino * Fábio Marvulle * Pierre Matari * Paul
Mattick * Patricia McCafferty * Daniel McCarthy * Andrew McGettigan *
David McNally * James Meadway * Eileen Meehan * Antigoni Memou * Zhang
Meng * David Michalski * China Miéville * Owen Miller * Seamus Milne *
Andrew Milner * Dimitris Milonakis * Gautam Mody * Simon Mohun * Kim
Moody * Colin Mooers * Michael Moran * Vittorio Morfino * Adam David
Morton * Avigail Moss * Sara Motta * Tadzio Mueller * Sara Murawski *
Douglas Murphy * Mary Jo Nadeau * Yutaka Nagahara * Immanuel Ness *
Susan Newman * Michael Niblett * Stephen Norrie * Benjamin Noys *
Sebnem Oguz * Francisco Ojeda * Chris O’Kane * Kosuke Oki * Ken Olende
* Ozlem Onaran * Ahmet Öncü * Ozgur Orhangazi * Judith Orr * Reecia
Orzeck * Ceren Ozselcuk * Leo Panitch * Giorgos Papafragkou * Rose
Parfitt * Mark Paschal * Jody Patterson * Laurie Penny * He Ping *
Simon Pirani * Charles Post * Nina Power * Gonzalo Pozo-Martin * Lucia
Pradella * Tim Pringle * Toni Prug * Muriel Pucci * Besnik Pula *
Thomas Purcell * Sam Putinja * Uri Ram * Gene Ray * Jason Read * John
Rees * Oliver Ressler * Felicita Reuschling * Larry Reynolds * John
Roberts * John Michael Roberts * William Roberts * Ed Rooksby * Sadi
dal Rosso * Christina Rousseau * Devi Sacchetto * Giorgos Sagriotis *
Spyros Sakellaropoulos * Gregory Schwartz * David Schwartzman * Ian J.
Seda-Irizarry * Allan Sekula * Ben Selwyn * Richard Seymour * Greg
Sharzer * Greg Shollette * Jan Sieber * Mark Silverman * Oishik Sircar
* Murray E.G. Smith * Jason Smith * John Smith * Jeffrey Sommers *
Panagiotis Sotiris * Michalis Spourdalakis * Kerstin Stakemeier *
Julian Stallabrass * Guido Starosta * Engelbert Stockhammer * Robert
Stolz * Ted Stolze * Kendra Strauss * Bronislaw Szerszynski * Jeff Tan
* Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor * Kampagiannis Thanassis * Tzuchien Tho *
Martin Thomas * Peter Thomas * Peter Thompson * Hillel Herschel
Ticktin * Vladimir Tikhonov * Oxana Timofeeva * Bruno Tinel * Tania
Toffanin * Massimiliano Tomba * Stavros Tombazos * George Tomlinson *
Samo Tomsic * Jan Toporowski * Alberto Toscano * Nicos Trimikliniotis
* Ben Trott * Pei Kuei Tsai * Alan Tuckman * Deborah Tudor * Lori
Turner * Alexej Ulbricht * Steve Vallance * Giovanna Vertova * Marina
Vishmidt * Keith Wagner * Hilary Wainwright * Gavin Walker * Andrew
Warstat * Ben Watson * Michael Watts * Mike Wayne * Alexis Wearmouth *
Jeffery R. Webber * John Weeks * Brian Whitener * Evan Calder Williams
* Frieder Otto Wolf * Xinwang Wu * Wu Xinwei * Galip Yalman * Faruk
Yalvaç * Eddie Yuen * Rafeef Ziadah * Mislav Zitko *

William Morris and Arsenic

Dear Friend,

The William Morris Society would like to invite you to attend our upcoming lecture by Professor Andrew Meharg, entitled “Poisonous Mines, Wallpapers and Seamstresses: William Morris and Arsenic.”

As well as art and design, William Morris was known for being an outspoken socialist and an environmentalist. He was a co-founder of the Arts and Crafts movement and is described by art historians as someone who sought to ‘shift workers out of numbing factory jobs into uplifting crafts where a healthy mind, body and spirit could be achieved.’

While Morris was a progenitor of the modern environmental movement, Professor Meharg reminds us that Morris was also a man of his time. His fortune was based on some of the most polluting mines in Britain and his widespread fame on interior decor constructed from toxic salts. He also employed the most notorious murderesses of the 19th century. Professor Meharg will explain how the element arsenic links all these activities and explore the contradictions involved.

Professor Andrew Meharg, University of Aberdeen, is a Chair in Biogeochemistry and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The talk will take place at Kelmscott House on Saturday 13 November at 2.15pm.

Tickets: £6 for members, £8 for non-members, £4 for students.

The pre-booking of tickets for events at our premises is required, as our historic Coach House lecture room has limited seating capacity.

For tickets please contact the office: William Morris Society, Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, W6 9TA, Tel: +44 (0)208 741 3735, email:

We look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks.
Best regards,
The William Morris Society

Saturday, 30 October 2010

National Demonstration against racism, fascism and Islamophobia

Statement from Unite Against Fascism, urging support for the national anti-racist demonstration on Saturday 6 November in London:

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples).

Alongside this the British National Party has received unprecedented electoral support for a fascist organisation in Britain.

Despite losing many council seats in the elections this year, the BNP’s share of the vote overall continued to rise and it has two elected members of the European Parliament.

This is in the context of a wave of Islamophobia and racism in Europe and the USA, including threats to burn copies of the Qur’an, attacks on Mosques and Islamic cultural centres, bans on Muslim women’s full-face veils and the construction of minarets. In France, the Roma people have been singled out and subjected to mass expulsions.

Now, more than ever, we must unite to turn back this tide of hatred.

We stand against the rise of racism, fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism and support the demonstration on Saturday 6 November.

Supporters include...
TUC, Muslim Council of Britain, Green Party, Brendan Barber general secretary TUC, Derek Simpson joint general secretary, Unite the union, Tony Woodley joint general secretary, Unite the union, Keith Sonnet deputy general secretary Unison, Paul Kenny general secretary GMB Ed Balls MP, Diane Abbott MP, Peter Hain MP, John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Ken Livingstone Labour candidate for London Mayor, Benjamin Zephaniah poet, Michael Rosen writer, broadcaster and professor of children’s literature, Ken Loach film director, Jerry Dammers musician, Kid British band, Mumzy Stranger musician, Missing Andy band, Abbas Hasan musician, Tasha Tah musician DJ Rugrat DJ, Billy Hayes general secretary, CWU, Tony Kearns deputy general secretary, CWU, Chris Keates general secretary, NASUWT, Christine Blower general secretary NUT, Kevin Courtney deputy general secretary, NUT, Sally Hunt general secretary UCU, Mark Serwotka general secretary PCS, Hugh Lanning deputy general secretary PCS, Matt Wrack general secretary FBU, Bob Crow general secretary, RMT, Jeremy Dear general secretary NUJ, Pete Murray president NUJ, Gerry Conlon Guildford Four, Paddy Hill Birmingham Six, Runnymede Trust, Napo, POA, Musicians UnionBritish Muslim Initiative, London Muslim Centre, Craig Johnston, RMT Executive, Tony Woodhouse chair of Unite the Union executive committee, Mary Bousted general secretaty ATL, Andy Bain president TSSA, Ronnie Draper national president BFAWU, Lee Jasper 1990 Trust, Jane Loftus vice president CWU, Mick Shaw national president FBU and many more...

The People Speak

The People Speak. Directed by Anthony Arnove and Colin Firth. The History Channel, 9pm, Sunday 31 October

The People Speak promises to be an inspiring antidote to sanitised and top-down histories of Britain.

Actors play the roles of ordinary people to tell their stories in their own words.

It includes Paul Foot’s speech at the funeral of Blair Peach, who was killed by police while protesting against fascists.

Co-director and actor Colin Firth said, “Corruption, sexual deviation, rebellion, struggles for power—none of that made it into my history lessons.”

He described The People Speak as “the perfect response to the abject misery of my history class”.

From here. On the American version, see here

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Seminar postponement

The LSHG seminar on November 1st has had to be postponed because the speaker is indisposed. The next seminar in the autumn series will now be on 15th November - apologies.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

SHS meetings

The next meeting of the Socialist History Society will be on Tuesday 26 October

Black History Month public talk:

Stephen Bourne will speak about Black People on the Home Front during the Second World War. This is the subject of Bourne's latest book, "Mother Country - Britain's Black Community on the Home Front 1939-1945" published by The History Press in August.

Mother Country includes chapters on Dr Harold Moody, Learie Constantine and other community leaders, Esther Bruce, evacuees, Civil Defence, Adelaide Hall, Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson, cinema, Una Marson and the BBC, the Home Front in African and the Caribbean colonies, and what would have happened to Black Britons if Hitler had invaded Britain.

Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2 (opposite Liverpool Street Station). Time: 7.00 p.m. Admittance free.
All welcome. Retiring collection

There is also a Socialist History Society Public Meeting on ‘Dora Montefiore, Why Forgotten?’ with Ted Crawford

Tuesday 2nd November 2010 at 7pm

Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, Liverpool Street, London

Ted Crawford, the editor of Revolutionary History and a member of the Socialist History Society, looks at the long and active political career of Dora Montefiore (1851-1933), variously a Suffragist, Socialist and Communist who was active in Britain and Australia, but who is today largely forgotten.

Talk followed by discussion.

Admittance free. All welcome. Retiring collection.

London Trades Council Records 1860-1974


2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the London Trades Council, the fore-runner of the Greater London Association of Trades Councils. The Trades Council coordinated organising activities across the capital and, before the formation of the TUC in 1868, was also the focus of many national campaigns. The early secretaries of the Trades Council, for example George Howell, George Odger and George Shipton, also played key roles in the leadership of the national trade union movement. They campaigned for the right of working people to vote, for legislation to improve working conditions, and always took an active interest in international affairs.

The records of the London Trades Council, now held in the TUC Library Collections at the London Metropolitan University, detail this vigorous activity and reflect the history of trade union activity in London over 100 years.

This archive is open to the public Monday-Friday 9.15-16.45. If you would like to visit, please phone or email us to make an appointment.

TUC Library Collections, London Metropolitan University, Holloway Road Learning Centre,
236 Holloway Road, London N7 6PP . tel: 020 7133 3726 // email:
TUC Collections web page
The Union Makes Us Strong : TUC History Online at
Winning Equal Pay at
The Workers War: Home Front Recalled at

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Cold War America conference

Institute for the Study of the Americas Postgraduate Conference, 6th December 2010

Venue: Stewart House (Basement Room STB9)

The Institute for the Study of the Americas is hosting a postgraduate conference on 6th December 2010, entitled “The Americas and the Cold War”. The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for postgraduate students working on the Americas to share their work and to stimulate debate on developments in the hemisphere during the Cold War.

For details and an up-to-date programme, please visit:

Institute for the Study of the Americas
Senate House, Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Black History Month at Glasgow Uni

In celebration of Black History Month, Glasgow University's Caribbean Discussion Group is presenting a series of free talks. These meetings are open to the general public and all are welcome to attend.
The meetings are as follows:

1. Colour and Prejudice in British Cinema in the 1950s
Dr. Christine Geraghty,
Wednesday 20th October, 6-7.30pm
Gilmorehill Cinema, 9 University Avenue

2. The Archaeology of the Slave Ship
Dr. Jane Webster,
Friday 22nd October, 6-7.30pm
Room 433, St. Andrew’s Building, 11 Eldon St.

3. C.L.R. James: Marxist, anti-imperialist… and Test Match correspondent for The Glasgow Herald?
Dr. Andrew Smith,
Monday 25th October, 6-7.30pm
Room 433, St. Andrew’s Building, 11 Eldon St.

For up-to-date information please email

Michael Morris at
Please see

Sunday, 10 October 2010

LSHG Newsletter online

The latest issue of the LSHG Newsletter (No. 40, Autumn 2010) is now online here, and features among other things an editorial suggesting the role historians can play in the fight back against Tory cutbacks, a book review of 'Breaking Their Chains', more from Tim Evans on the 1911 railway strike in Wales. The deadline for contributions to the next issue is 1 December 2010, and letters, articles, criticisms and contributions to debate are as ever most welcome.
The LSHG receive no official funding and rely entirely on supporters for money for our activities. For details on how to contact us, or if you want to become a member (£10 membership) contact our convenor Keith Flett at 1 December 2010 is also the deadline for abstracts for those wanting to contribute to the annual conference in February on 'Making the Tories History'. Our forthcoming seminars are as follows:

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.

North East Labour History Society news

North East Labour History Society
The Society in conjunction with the WEA has made a
successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to
support a project entitled Mapping popular politics
in north east England through communities,
archives, libraries and museums
These are the primary objectives of the project.
􀂍 To map the incidence of popular political events (drawn
widely) and persons in the region’s communities, archives,
libraries and museums.
􀂍 To find, record and transcribe the personal narratives of
living participants in political parties, movements and
􀂍 To find relevant material in private hands and encourage
its owners to donate it to the appropriate archive.
􀂍 To collect the material and package and display it to
make it widely available to the community.
To involve the maximum number and variety of volunteers
possible to undertake the work.
To potential volunteers:
The project has a number of potential
supplementary & supporting activities
􀂍 A lecture programme
􀂍 A regular research seminar to help ‘new’ writers
􀂍 Training sessions for volunteers
􀂍 A travelling exhibition
􀂍 Collaboration with a youth theatre
􀂍 A concert
This is the first enquiry of its type in Britain and may
act as a model for future regional projects. These
are ways in which you might help.
􀂍 Sign up as an archive researcher and/or oral history
􀂍 Assist in helping in any of the supplementary activities
􀂍 Make a financial donation from your trade union, local
history society or business
Additional funds will enable us to extend the
research data bank (especially to digitise records).
There will be a page on the society website devoted
to the project:
Special note for those interested in north east
labour/working class history but not living in the
We want to make links with people elsewhere with a view to
following up resources held elsewhere. (for example the TUC
Library and the National Archives). It might be possible to
start a little London research group.

Workshop Proposal

The Great Unrest: Workshop proposal
Mike Squires' editorial on the Great Unrest and Paul Burnham's
article on the High Wycombe strike in 1913 in the current issue
of Socialist History Society's newsletter stimulated me into
thinking about what I could be doing on the Great Unrest in
Battersea and Wandsworth. Email discussion with Terry
McCarthy prompted me to think of a London wide event on the
model of the former History Workshops.
I drafted an idea which has been amended in the light of
comments from Terry and Stefan Dickers at Bishopsgate
Institute which could well be the venue for a London wide
event. I have drafted a proposal for discussion by a number of
labour movement history groups I have sent it to. I will revise
it in the light of their comments. Those interested can then
meet to finalise a detailed proposal for circulation widely
around all our networks, and local and community history
groups across London.
With the right organisation and publicity, and if we can tap
into some funding, this could be an exciting project, with
relevance to today's needs as suggested by Mike in his
editorial. I discuss the proposal on my blog:
I would be pleased to hear from LSHG members.

Sean also emails with an appeal from the
African Heritage and Educational Centre in London:

Did you once work for
Temple Mills Works and Depot
Berger Paiint Factory
Tellffers Meat Factory?
If so, The African Heritage and Educational Centre would
like to hear from you!
The charity is running the PAST project, which aims to
preserve the heritage of Caribbeans, Ghanaians and
Nigerians who have lived in the Boroughs of Newham,
Hackney and Waltham Forest and who worked (or
associated with people who worked) for these three
We would like to record your memories, to ensure there is
a living record of this important time in East London’s
history. These memories will be documented, archived
and exhibited as part of the London 2012 Olympics
Games, as the area is changing face. There will also be a
London-wide touring exhibition of the project.
Any individuals or public or private bodies who would like
to contribute memories to this project should contact
AHEC:: 020 8558 6811

In memorium: Tony Judt 1948-2010

From LSHG Newsletter No. 40, Autumn 2010

Tony Judt: 1948-2010
In place of an obituary
The socialist historian Tony Judt died in August, aged just 61. He was perhaps the most well known socialist historian currently writing, his books actually appearing in bookshops and selling large number of copies. Obituaries appeared in a range of places dealing with his career and key historical works. This piece however is about something else he wrote: an article which appeared over 30 years ago in a low circulation radical history journal  ['A Clown in Regal Purple: Social History and the Historians', History Workshop Journal No. 7,].
Yet I would argue that it was this 1979 article, and perhaps particularly the reaction to it, ‘A Clown in Regal Purple’ that shaped Judt’s historical work for the remainder of his historical career. At the same time the piece (now so forgotten that it did not merit a mention in any of his obituaries except in a letter from the author in the Guardian) retains an importance that is worth revisiting as a tribute to Judt.
The overriding irony of the piece was that while Judt attacked a range of developments in social history from a left and broadly Marxist perspective, the reaction from the left drove him away from an overtly socialist standpoint and towards being the more mainstream historian who was to become a well known public intellectual.
With a small number of exceptions such as his criticism of Charles Tilly it is not worth revisiting the specific points Judt makes about individual pieces, mostly now long since forgotten. However, his general approach still has a relevance which needs to be seen in the context of what the left was like in 1979.
The Stalinist States of Eastern Europe were still in place and the Communist Parties a considerable force to be reckoned with. That formed one boundary or obstacle to developing an orthodox Marxist approach. The flowering of left ideas after 1968 was still a strong presence which in the academy led to a range of often obscure positions. In this sense Judt was constrained in arguing for a Marxist history and frustrated by those who claimed to be following that approach wandering into areas sometimes far removed from it in practice.
His article noted that social history was ‘suffering a severe case of pollution’. It had become a ‘gathering place for the unscholarly, historians bereft of ideas and subtlety’. He complained that ‘stereotyped’ models were often to be found where ‘theoretical insight or careful research’ was required.
In his sights was the modernisation theory of Charles Tilly, but what he was getting at was a mechanical approach to history that left out the point that it developed and progressed through a series of messy struggles involving real people rather than by some pre-defined pattern. Judt sees social history 30 years ago as obsessed with numbers and models whereas he urges that historical research should ‘begin with problems’.
He also argues that economic history had been by-passed allowing ‘social historians to construct historical
explanations from their own experience’. The point that Judt is making and in criticism of sections of the late 1970s left is that instead of trying to understand historical problems in their own context, they take the ‘enlightened’ perspectives of the moment as a given and apply these retrospectively as a given.
Again Charles Tilly is particularly in Judt’s frame here. He is described as an ‘intellectual magpie’. Tilly later hit back, in essence arguing that Judt was obsessed with historical detail at the expense of a bigger picture and was rather robust in his language to boot ['Linkers, Diggers and Glossers' in Social History 1986]. Tilly had a point but Judt’s insistence on historical research before not after conclusions are reached is as valid and important now as it was 30 years ago.

More on 1911 and the Great Unrest in a Welsh Town

From LSHG Newsletter, No. 40, Autumn 2010
Following on from Tim Evans’ piece in the last Newsletter, we print an article by him, a version of which appeared in the Guardian in July this year.
Author’s note: Just to let you know there are inaccuracies in the Guardian's edited version of my
article. They cut one of my sentences to read "Llanelli in 1911 - hard hit by de-industrialisation" - obviously not true and not what I wrote in the original.

A rifle shot rings out. The men standing by the garden wall stand their ground. “It’s OK,” one shouts out.”It’s
only a blank!” There is laughter. “It’s all right – they’ve only got blank cartridges,” someone else yells.
Suddenly a live round smashes into the throat of a man sitting on the wall, knocking him backwards onto the
grass. Everybody runs. Another man cries out as a bullet strikes his hand and glances off, felling the man
behind him.
Three men are down, bleeding badly. The two most seriously hurt are carried into the house and laid out on
a table, where they die. On the railway line below the major in charge of the detachment of soldiers orders them to withdraw to the railway station.
These events took place nearly a hundred years ago in the town of Llanelli in South West Wales, at the time a world centre for tinplate production. On Thursday 17 August 1911 crowds of striking railwaymen and their supporters had taken control of the railway line entering the town.
The first ever national railway strike had begun and all five hundred Llanelli railway workers, union and non-union, had walked out. The picket, numbering several thousand, remained in place through the
night, with singing, tapdancing and a mock election to  keep spirits up.
At 7.45 the following morning a hundred and fifty seven soldiers of the North Lancashire regiment arrived at the station and made several unsuccessful attempts to clear the crossings. At midday Llanelli magistrates sent
a telegram to the then Liberal Home Secretary Winston Churchill: ”Troops unable to cope with mob. Desire augmentation of force by nightfall.” At 6pm a hundred soldiers of the Devonshire Regiment arrived, together
with a hundred and fifty of the Worcestershire Regiment, known as the ‘Vein-Openers”, and twenty five police from Cardiff. They finally succeeded in recapturing the crossing. From 9pm until morning trains
were able to pass through Llanelli, attracting only verbal abuse and stones.
From 9am onwards the next morning - Saturday August 19 - the number of pickets grew rapidly, made up not only of railwaymen but also tinplate workers, eager to show solidarity. Just after 2.30 pm, an engine on the way from Cardiff to Fishguard was chased down the track by protestors, boarded and immobilised about
250 yards from the station. After failing to persuade the crowd to stop throwing stones Major Brownlow Stuart ordered his men to open fire, killing John ‘Jac’ John, 21, a mill-worker at the Morewood Tinplate Works and Leonard Worsell (a 19- year old labourer.) After the killings there was an uprising.
The railway company's property and the shops of the magistrates who read the riot act were attacked and
looted, and workers fought hand-to-hand battles with troops who struggled, bayonets fixed, to clear the streets. Four more townspeople died when a truck containing detonators was torched and exploded. One
soldier refused to fire on the workers, was taken into military custody, escaped and went on the run. The funerals of the shot men were huge affairs, with thousands on the streets. Factories closed as their workers walked out to pay their respects.
Yet these remarkable events – part of the wave of industrial conflict from 1910 to 1914 that became
known as ‘The Great Unrest’ - have been air-brushed out of local and national history. Because of the rioting
and especially the looting local media and the local establishment tried to call this "Llanelli's shame", and
to expunge it from consciousness. There has never been a public apology for the killings. The graves of the men are untended and crumbling. Yet here were events in which people had the courage to stand up and fight for their rights. As we come to the centenary year, we call on the Home Office, especially in the light of the
Saville enquiry into Bloody Sunday, to make an official apology for the judicial murder of these two innocent men, victims of a great injustice.
Tim Evans

Web links: Stories on planned Llanelli 2011 commemoration: (with video)
Killing No Murder: South Wales and the Great Railway Strike of 1911 by Robert Griffiths is published by Manifesto Press in
association with the RMT union. ISBN 9781907464010 Paperback £12.95

Book Review: Breaking Their Chains

From LSHG Newsletter, No. 40, Autumn 2010

By Tony Barnsley
Bookmarks, 2010, £ 5.00
ISBN 9781905192649

It is 50 years since the formation of the Society for the Study of Labour History, and there have been a
number of pieces this year on its development and where it might be going in future. It remains in general a deeply ‘unsexy’ subject in the academy.
If I promote a seminar on British Labour History at the Institute of Historical Research in central
London I can guarantee a low attendance. It might be argued—correctly—that it underlines the progress that has been made that such a seminar can take place at all. Even 20 years ago it would not have done. Even so, there remains much work to be done and research to be carried out in the area, and people are working away on it. Not least of the tasks for labour historians is to bring before new generations of socialist activists some of the labour history of the 1960s and 1970s which is now out of print and fast receding from
There remains a huge amount which we don’t know about our history. For example, with the anniversary of the Great Unrest of 1910-14, how many of those active in that period went on, less than 10 years later, to become founder members of the CPGB? What was their journey, and what did they bring to the Party? There has been no comprehensive work on this.
Fortunately, there is work being done on the Great Unrest. Tim Evans has been running a project around West Wales, and Sean Creighton plans something for London. An important addition is Tony Barnsley’s study of the 1910 chainmakers’strike in the Black Country. Perhaps 30 or 40 years ago this might have been published as a monograph in an academic history journal, giving it respectability but a small readership. It would be lucky to find such a space now, so it is fortunate that the socialist publisher Bookmarks has recognised the value of the work.
The core of the book relates the conditions of the Black Country chainmakers in the early years of the last century and in particular the very low and unequal pay they received. As with the Match Girls’ strike 20 years earlier, the largely female chainmakers were not the obvious candidates for taking militant action. They had no tradition of doing so. However, the context of the Great Unrest, where workers across the country were taking on the employers, was infectious.
That in itself, however, would not have provided the spark for action, which is why the book also focuses on the organising and leadership role of Mary MacArthur. MacArthur was a national leader of the chainmakers’ union and a member of the ILP. Pressure on employers and the middlemen centrally involved in much of the small scale production first forced them to set up the Trades Board to regulate wages. This, in itself, did not
make them concede, but it provided a key opening whereby pressure could be applied. In the end, it took a strike led by MacArthur to force the employers to shift. The strike, which received international support, eventually forced the employers to give way, and the women got a 100% pay rise, though still not equal pay.
The Union was built, and MacArthur went on to stand as a Labour candidate in 1918. She had been
against the war, however, and lost narrowly. She died too young, aged 40, in 1920, arguably rather
similarly to that other great socialist union organiser of the period, Tom Maguire.
A very worthwhile book. One to learn about a hidden episode of our history and one which hopefully will inspire both further research and activism.
Over 2000 people, some in period costume, were on the centenary march
for the Chainmakers' dispute at Cradley Heath in the Black Country

LSHG Newsletter No 40

From the LSHG Newsletter No. 40, Autumn 2010

Time again to demand:A continuing supply of history

The New Labour Governments of 1997-2010 were
hardly the most friendly to the subject of history
in history but it might be argued that some modest
advances were made. A limited Freedom of
Information Act opened a little more space
amongst the official files for historians, for
example. On the other hand we might note that the
activities of Blair & Co. did a lot to destroy very
important historical records and artefacts in Iraq.
The present Con-Dem Government seems very
unlikely to offer us any chance to ponder such a
balance sheet. At one level the profile of history in
the UK does look positive. Tristram Hunt has
managed to get elected as Labour MP for Stoke,
while Education Secretary Gove has hinted that
Niall Ferguson may be a Government advisor on
history in schools. A lot could be said but, no
question, both individuals are genuine practising
Yet the level of cuts in public spending which is
proposed suggests big problems for historians and
in particular big tasks for socialist historians.
The activity of socialist historical research and
writing by committed historians and activists will
continue well outside of the reach of anything the
Government can do, but if research requires
access to libraries or archives there will be
problems ahead. The British Library has already
circularised readers about cuts in funding and
pondered whether a reduction in hours could be an
acceptable way of saving money.
Likewise while those who write about the
institutions of the rich and powerful can expect
sponsorship from industry for their efforts, I’m not
aware that such funding options are open to
socialist historians. We rely on grants and other
funds—rarely huge but always making an essential
difference between a research project happening
or not—from a variety of public sources.
Details of specific cuts related to the Con-Dem’s
bogus austerity programme are few as this
Newsletter goes to press. It has been reported that
a museum dedicated to artefacts related to Mrs
Thatcher faces closure, and while not a top
priority, it would be unfortunate to lose any
historical resource.
Our duty is twofold. Firstly to demand continuing
access to libraries and archives for historians and
hence to oppose any cuts that are proposed that
impact on them for alleged reasons of short term
expediency. That will mean involvement in many
specific campaigns as well as backing for national
initiatives such as those planned by the Right to Work
campaign and others to defend jobs and services
It will also require us to expose and publicise cuts.
The aim will be for the LSHG to publicise on our
website threats of cuts in jobs, courses and
resources and, of course, all attempts to oppose
these. The Con-Dems have claimed some historic
purpose in their plans to break public services. It is
the role of historians to oppose that, to defend
historical research and crucially to add historical
perspectives to the fight as well.
Keith Flett

Victory in CLR James library campaign

Good news!

Dear friend

Following a short meeting between representatives of BEMA and Members and officers of Hackney Council, an in principle agreement has been reached that the name of the new facility will carry the name of CLR James Library as per our campaign demand. A formal statement will follow shortly. Many thanks to the thousands who have supported our successful campaign online and in other ways.

Bema will be playing an ongoing role in the development of a permanent CLR James exhibition at the new library as well as the establishment of an annual event commemorating his life and work.

Ngoma Bishop & Andrea Enisuoh

Campaign co-ordinators

Friday, 1 October 2010

Making the Tories History

After the Right to Work demonstration outside Tory conference in Birmingham this Sunday (3 October), make a note in your diaries for Saturday 26 February, when the London Socialist Historians Group will be holding their annual conference on the hidden history of the Conservative Party. Proposals for papers welcome at the usual address.

CLR James Library campaign open letter

Open letter to the Council of the London Borough of Hackney

The decision to lose the name CLR James library when the proposed new facility is built as part of the Dalston Square Development is nothing short of scandalous. It is a scandal that no individual seems prepared to take responsibility for, but one for which someone needs to be held accountable.

The Council says that the name of the library should reflect its geographical location. Why? Dalston Station is less than a hundred metres from the proposed location of the new library and Dalston Kingsland Station almost as close, so it is inconceivable that many users (most of whom will be local) will wander into the library not knowing where in the world they are. It is also perhaps worth noting that those in other parts of the borough, throughout London, nationally and internationally are more likely to be aware of the facility because it is called CLR James Library than because it is in Dalston. What will follow, changing the name Ridley Road Market to Dalston Market? Another reason put forward is that as the library will house the borough archives, the name should perhaps also reflect this. Then why not call the new building, ‘The C.L.R. James Library & Archives - Dalston’? This is not an overly long name and would satisfy the stated requirements of the Council as well as the demands of the campaigners; both parties would be seen to be acting in the interest of the community and of common sense.

The African Caribbean community in Hackney make very few demands (or even requests) of its Council and it would understandably be perceived as a huge insult if this modest and reasonable request was denied. It would be an insult not just to its African Caribbean residents and staff, not only to the family and memory of this great intellectual, literary figure and humanitarian. It would also be an insult to all those in the borough and beyond who are aware and proud of Hackney’s long history of taking a principled stand with regards to matters of public interest and its positive approach to community members from all cultural backgrounds.

The library was so named after members of Hackney’s staff and community made a sound case for honouring a legendary figure, acknowledged by forward thinking academics, writers and even cricket lovers. As has been pointed out by the campaign organisers and by many on line petitioners; the decision to name the facility ‘the CLR James Library’ was seen as Hackney making a public statement and commitment regarding the literary contribution of African Caribbean people to world literature. This was appropriate in a borough with such a high percentage of African Caribbean people. It would be just as profound a statement if this recognition was now rescinded.

This is an issue that rather than become a much bigger problem than it currently is, can be made to go away just by the taking of a rational and correct decision. It should not require a petition, deputation to the Council, judicial review or demonstrations.

Signed by:

Selma James (widow of CLR James)

Professor Gus John, Founder Trustee of the George Padmore Institute and former Director of Education and Leisure Services in Hackney

Judith Jacob, Actress (Eastenders, No Problem & the Real McCoy (Yabba Yabba)

Cllr Patrick Vernon, Queensbridge Ward (London Borough of Hackney)

Professor Richard Drayton, Department of History Kings College London

Cllr Carole Williams - Hoxton (London Borough of Hackney)

Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Vicar of Westminster, Chaplain to the House of Commons & Hackney resident

Linton Kwesi Johnson, poet

Ngoma Bishop, Chair of the Black & Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA), House of Arts & Music Promotion Services (H-AMPS) and Save the CLR James Library Campaign Coordinator

Andrea Enisuoh, Hackney Unites & CLR James Library Campaign Administrator

Edited to add: This campaign has since been victorious, after a mass petition which was online here