Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Wandsworth Heritage Festival

Details of Wandsworth Heritage Festival, which began on 26 May and ends on 10 June, can be found by following the links here Highlights include: Friday 1 June 6.30pm 'Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: the life of the Black British musician (1875-1912)' Born of an English mother and African father, he became famous at an early age with his Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast which became a major work for decades of British choirs. He wrote a wide range of music, including setting poems as songs, and conducted. His tours of the USA were a major success. He was also a supporter of black rights and a friend of Battersea’s Progressive and Labour activist John Archer. Speaker: Jeffrey Green, author of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: A Musical Life (2011) Battersea Library, 265 Lavender Hill, SW11. Free. No need to book.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Opposition to Royal Jubilees - LSHG seminar reminder

London Socialist Historians Group seminar
                                       The classic 1977 Stuff the Jubilee Badge

'Opposition to Royal Jubilees from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth':
Keith Flett & Sherrl Yanowitz
Monday 28 May
Room G34
Institute of Historical Research
South Block
Senate House
University of London
Malet St WC1
All welcome
Other upcoming seminars
Monday June 11th 'Was the Chartist Movement anti-semitic?': Prof. Denis Paz

Monday June 25th 'Class, Corruption and the London Olympics 2012': David Renton

Friday, 18 May 2012

C.L.R. James's Beyond a Boundary: 50th anniversary conference

C.L.R. James’Beyond a Boundary: 50th Anniversary Conference  
University of Glasgow.  
Friday 10th to Saturday 11th May, 2013 (with an opening event on Thursday 9th May)
Confirmed keynote speakers: Mike Brearley (former England Test captain), Wai Chee Dimock (Yale) and Robert A. Hill (UCLA and C.L.R. James's Literary Executor).

Regularly cited as one of the great sports books of the twentieth century, C.L.R. James’ Beyond a Boundary (1963) is, by his own famous definition, about far more than cricket. Part-autobiography, part-historical study and part-political-call-to-arms written against the backdrop of the decolonisation struggles, James’ reflections on sport in the Caribbean reach out into a critical account of racism and imperialism, into wider questions of aesthetics and popular culture, and into the struggle for revolutionary social change which was the enduring concern of his life. Crucially, James insisted that such questions were not simply of concern to academics or to experts, but were also a central part of what drew ordinary men and women to sport.

Much loved, and widely read, James’ study has also been the subject of searching criticism: he has been accused, among other things, of a failure of critical judgement in relation to cricket’s role in the moral framework of empire, of a lack of attentiveness to gendered inequalities, and of a naïve faith in the spontaneity of popular political resistance.

This conference is convened on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Beyond a Boundary, with the intention of both celebrating and questioning, drawing out the book’s intellectual legacies and identifying the issues it leaves unanswered. 

*** Registration for this event is now open ***

We have sought to keep fees for the event as low as possible, in order to ensure that it is open to as wide an audience as possible. In order to reduce administrative costs, therefore, we are running the registration process ourselves. So, to register for the event please send an e-mail with your name and contact details to Andrew.Smith.2@glasgow.ac.uk

The cost of attendance at the event will be £30 (£10 for students or those without a wage). As we do not have administrative support, we would ask that delegates pay this when they arrive on the first day of the conference.

Already confirmed keynote speakers for the conference are Mike Brearley (former England Test captain and previously President of the British Psychoanalytic Society), Wai Chee Dimock (Department of English, Yale) and  Robert A. Hill (History, UCLA and C.L.R. James's Literary Executor). 

We have had a tremendous response to the original call for papers, and the diversity of those who have submitted papers reflects, unsurprisingly, the diversity and internationalism of James' own outlook. We are looking forward, therefore, to inviting speakers from all over the world to Glasgow in May, including academics, film-makers, sports-writers, activists and many others.

In a slight change to the originally publicised programme, we now intend that the conference will begin on the night of Thursday 9th May with a screening of Mike Dibb's film of 'Beyond a Boundary', as well as his 1984 interview between James and Stuart Hall. Mike Dibb will be introducing these films himself, and this will be followed by a drinks reception.

More details of the programme, and information about local accommodation etc will be posted on the conference website shortly:

To be added to the conference mailing list, please e-mail the address given above.

Conference organisers: Dr. Dave Featherstone (Human Geography, Glasgow); Dr. Chris Gair (English Literature, Glasgow); Dr. Christian Høgsbjerg (History, Leeds Metropolitan); Dr. Andy Smith (Sociology, Glasgow).

Edited to add: The Programme is now online.  

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

SHS meeting on Captain Swing

The Socialist History Society presents a talk in its series on the history of popular protest this Thursday:

At 7pm, Thursday, 17th May

'Rethinking Captain Swing: Rural Social Relations in 1830 and the Politics of the Parish'

Talk by Dr Carl Griffin, (Queen’s Belfast and author of The Rural War: Captain Swing and the Politics of Protest (CUP, 2012))

Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, Liverpool St

This meeting is free; all welcome.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Women's Library under threat

Save the Women's Library at London Metropolitan University - sign this petition and find out more about the campaign here

BFI Film Showing: The Spook Who Sat by the Door

African Oddysseys - The Spook Who Sat by the Door
The once effectively banned cult action film in which CIA operative Dan Freeman returns to Chicago and prepares his brothers for revolution. This fanciful conceit is both a biting satire and a razor-edged provocation in response to the urgency of its times, and features a highly charged score from Herbie Hancock. This 'not to be missed' rarity screens with a new documentary putting into context an extraordinary piece of film history: Infiltrating Hollywood – The Rise and Fall of The Spook Who Sat by the Door (USA 2011, dir Christine Acham & Clifford Ward, 57min). 26 May 2pm BFI Southbank

Political Economy Day school and Marxist theory seminar

ISJ Conference: 'Crisis, Class and Resistance'
Saturday 12 May
A one-day conference on political economy hosted by International Socialism journal
School of African and Oriental Studies (Vernon Square Campus), Central London (Kings Cross/St Pancras tube) - with speakers including Robin Blackburn, Alex Callinicos, Guy Standing, Jane Hardy and Guglielmo Carchedi

Peter Hallward (Kingston University) 'The Dictatorship of the People'
Wednesday 16th May, 5pm
King's College London, S-1.06, Raked Lecture Theatre

Thursday, 10 May 2012

SHS Meetings

The Socialist History Society presents

Saturday 12th May 2012 at 2.00pm

Freemasonry and Communism: The tortured relationship between the Communist Parties and Freemasonry

Speaker Ron Heisler

This talk is open to all and follows the AGM of the Society which is at 12.30pm.
Taking place at Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH, nearest tube: Liverpool St .
Free entry

After The Party: Reflections on life since the CPGB

Book Launch, 7pm (until 8.30pm), Wednesday 6th June

Co-hosted by publisher Lawrence & Wishart and the Socialist History Society

Twenty years after the demise of the Communist Party of Great Britain, eight former members, all of whom who stayed in the party until the bitter end, reflect here on some of the personal, political and cultural changes of the last twenty years. The paths of the book’s contributors have followed very different political trajectories since 1991 - taking them into the Green Party, the Labour Party, the CPB, SLP, Respect and no party at all. But most have remained politically active.

Combining personal and political history, analysis and autobiography, anecdote and argument, the contributors consider the consequences of the Party's dissolution for British political and intellectual life.

The event will be at Housman’s Bookshop, King’s Cross. Speakers will include: Andy Croft (Editor), Kate Hudson (General Secretary of CND), Lorna Reith (deputy leader of Haringey Council), Stuart Hill (Labour councillor in North Tyneside ) and Dave Cope (Left on the Shelf).

Book discount on the night.
For more information about the book, see www.lwbooks.co.uk/books/archive/AfterTheParty.html

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

New Book: A Peoples History of London

Lindsey German has co-authored A People's History of London with John Rees, a fellow activist involved in the Stop the War Coalition. The idea is a romantic one. In a year in which London is holding mayoral elections, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, all parading the muscle of the powers-that-be, Rees and German wanted to tell another story of London: that of its subversive forces...
From a review from the Independent here...
The LSHG will of course review this work in time in our Newsletter, and we are happy for the authors to respond to the Independent's review on this blog if they wish...
Edited to add: a link to an short extract from the book itself

Monday, 7 May 2012

1936: A Play about the Olympics

ATTIC Theatre Company presents 1936: A Play about the Olympics

Former Olympic Coach Tom McNab’s portrait of the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells 18th July – 05th August, 2012

PRESS PERFORMANCE: Friday 20 July 7.45pm

World-class athletics coach and award-winning writer Tom McNab depicts the lead-up to one of the most controversial sporting events in history. 1936 conjures up the conversations and conflicts leading up to the Berlin Olympics, as seen through the eyes of American journalist William Shirer. Juxtaposing scenes between Hitler and Goebbels with the discussions taking place in the International Olympic Committee and the American Amateur Athletics Union, the play reveals the political and cultural tensions surrounding the event and highlights the stories of the athletes involved, with Jesse Owens at the centre.

The Berlin Games were the first time that the Olympics were used as a powerful political tool for propaganda. In spite of Hitler’s treatment of the Jews and Jewish athletes, and lengthy debates amongst influential figures surrounding the Games, no boycott took place. Could the cancellation of the Games have changed world history? 1936 is a pertinent reminder of the political dimension of the Olympics, from the Civil Rights ‘Black Power’ salute of 1968, to the murders at Munich in 1972 and the human rights protests outside the Beijing Bird’s Nest, as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin.
Every performance of the play is followed by short film excerpts from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1936) and a discussion chaired by Tom McNab with a panel drawn from cast members, historians and ex-Olympians such as Peter Radford and Geoff Capes.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Socialist History at Marxism 2012

There is much of interest for socialists in general at Marxism 2012 (5-9 July, central London), with speakers including Antonio Negri, David Harvey, Samir Amin, George Galloway, Leila Khaled, Tony Benn, Tariq Ali, Gary Younge, Alex Callinicos and former Black Panther Robert King Wilkerson so on, but socialist historians might particularly take note of the opportunity to see - among others:

- Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize winner Jairus Banaji on 'Theory as history: modes of production' (there is also a course on historical materialism, ranging from base and superstructure, through to the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the Asiatic mode of production, and the question of how revolutionary were the bourgeois revolutions)

- Biographer of Alexandra Kollontai Cathy Porter and Egyptian revolutionary Gigi Ibrahim on ‘Festivals of the oppressed’: women in revolution from Russia to Egypt

- John Newsinger on the hidden history of US radicalism

-  Ken Olende on the origins of racism

- Sheila McGregor, Pete Shaw & Eddie Prevost on 'When workers brought a Tory government to its knees: 40 years since 1972'

- Leo Zeilig, Ian Birchall & Hamza Hamouchene celebrate the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence (there are separate meetings on Frantz Fanon and 'European revolutionaries and Algerian independence)

- Charlie Post and Neil Davidson debating the US Civil War and the American Road to Capitalism

- Donny Gluckstein on his new book A People’s History of the Second World War

 - Tommy McKearney - 30 years on: remembering the Irish hunger strikes

- Colin Barker on 'Patterns of revolution since 1989'

There are lots of other historical meetings, ranging from 'a history of anarchism in struggle' to 'the Luddite Rebellion 200 years on', and from John Rose on a very short history of God to Tom Hickey on Walter Benjamin's philosophy of history, to 'A People's History of Riots' - people should really go and check out the full timetable online for themselves.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Day Greetings

Richard Seymour on the history of International Workers Day in The Guardian

1968-2012: Resistance - the best Olympic Spirit

'1968-2012 - Resistance, the best Olympic Spirit'
RMT activists on the London Underground and family justice campaigns have organised a meeting with John Carlos and Doreen Lawrence. John was one of the sprinters whose Black Power salute electrified the 1968 Olympics. Doreen is the mother of Stephen Lawrence. Janet Alder and Weyman Bennett are also speaking.
 Monday 21 May 6pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road
For more information email unjummirza@yahoo.co.uk You can pick up postcards for the meeting from RMT headquarters, 39 Charlton Street, NW1 1JD (near Euston station).
Download a flyer from: http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/node/1621 http://livesrunning.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/jc1.pdf