Thursday, 28 February 2013

Reminder of LSHG conference on the 1913 Dublin Lock-Out

Saturday - 12noon onwards, 2 March - Stewart House [the new wing of Senate House facing Russell Sq], Institute of Historical Research

New Beacon Book Club

Dear All,
New Beacon Books and the George Padmore Institute are pleased to announce the start of a new book club as part of the GPI’s current Bookman Research Project into the early years of New Beacon Publishing.
This will be an open forum bringing together different generations to talk about important or influential books published by New Beacon. All will be very welcome, regardless of previous knowledge of these books and their histories. Extracts from the texts will be circulated for you to read before each session and the conversations will be guided by someone with specialist knowledge of each book and its historical context.
All sessions will take place at the George Padmore Institute. Attendance is free and refreshments will be provided.
Numbers will be limited in order to allow everyone to participate, so if you would like to take part, please email us as soon as possible at We will then send you a PDF file of the text for the first session. If you would prefer a printed copy to be posted to you, please include your mailing address in your email.
Our programme is as follows:
Session 1. Foundations and the poetry of John La Rose
Thursday March 14th, 6.30 – 8pm
Facilitator: Linton Kwesi Johnson

Session 2. Criticism at New Beacon (
New Beacon Reviews and Tradition, the writer & Society, Wilson Harris)
Wednesday April 10th, 6.30 – 8pm
Facilitator: Rachael Gilmour (Queen Mary, University of London)

Session 3. 
How the West Indian Child is made educationally sub-normal in the British school system, Bernard Coard
Wednesday May 15th, 6.30 – 8pm
Facilitator: Roxy Harris (Kings College London/George Padmore Institute)
Session 4. Poems of succession and the poetry of Martin Carter.
Wednesday June 12th 6.30 – 8pm
Facilitator: Gemma Robinson (University of Stirling)
We look forward to seeing many of you and sharing ideas at these gatherings.
Ruth Bush, Sarah White, Sarah Garrod, Kate Duncan
George Padmore Institute
76 Stroud Green Road
N4 3EN
Edited to add: See also this event - 

Monday, 25 February 2013

CfP: Little Britain's Memory of Slavery

Little Britain’s Memory of Slavery: The local nuances of a ‘national sin’ 

A partnership conference organised between University College London, 
University of York and the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery 
and Emancipation (WISE) Hull 

UCL, London September 13th and 14th 2013

Keynote Speakers: Catherine Hall (UCL), Madge Dresser (UWE)
Plus ‘Artists in conversation’ interview session chaired by Professor Alan Rice (UCLAN)
Welcome Address from Professor John Oldfield (WISE, University of Hull)

Call for Papers

In recent years there has been an explosion of interest around the history
of the transatlantic slave trade fuelled largely by public, academic
and institutional activities and projects undertaken for the national
marking of 2007 as the Bicentenary of the Abolition Act in Britain.
Alongside this there has been a greatly heightened academic and
scholarly consideration of the way Britain has remembered this
history through museum exhibitions, memorialisation and cultural
representations in media, film and literature. Further large scale
research initiatives have been set in motion to assess and explore
the legacies of this history such as the ESRC funded Legacies of
British Slavery Project at UCL and the recently initiated European-wide
project combining genetics, archaeology and public history (EUROTAST).
Numerous postgraduate and early career researchers across the country
have also embarked upon individual projects of their own in a variety of
disciplines across the humanities, including the organisers of this conference.
Much of the research currently being done is turning away from the national
picture and increasingly focusing on the smaller scale specifics of British
involvement in transatlantic slavery, on the memory and legacies of individual
people and places in their specific contexts and we are honoured to welcome
some of the people pioneering these research strands from Catherine Hall’s
work on nineteenth century biography, Alan Rice’s research into Lancaster’s
memorial project, and Madge Dresser’s consideration of Bristol’s ‘obscured’
links to its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

This two day conference aims to facilitate a dialogue across institutions, disciplines
and subject areas between people whose work addresses the smaller-scale specifics
of Britain’s memory of slavery in more ‘local’ projects,
looking at case studies of places, the lives and memory of individuals,
networks and organisations across a broad span of time, from the 18th century
to the present day. Through this intellectual exchange we aim to correlate
the micro with the macro and probe the extent to which the literature on
Britain’s national memory of slavery holds true for more nuanced case
studies and specific research currently being carried out. The dialogue will
thereby explore the interactions of 'levels of memory' in relation to this
history whilst giving focus to individual and local agency and aiding a more
complex understanding of the workings of memory in line with history.

 Potential panel areas could cover though are by no means limited to:
 • People and memory: enslaved and free black people living in Britain,
black and white abolitionists in Britain and their contexts; merchants and
the legacies of individual and family wealth; politicians (pro and anti-slavery),
historians and authors – writing slavery, artists and performers – contesting
and creatively engaging with memory
• Place and memory: towns and cities - the urban landscape of slavery
memory; ports and the ‘maritimization’ of slavery; country houses and the
elaborate display of excessive wealth; parks and gardens – open public spaces;
local art exhibitions and artist interventions; walking tours and history trails
• Organisations and Networks: public and private institutions (schools,
banks, high culture) and remembered/forgotten connections; charitable
organisations and people – the paradox of philanthropy; religious
organisations and campaigning
• Memory Work: local museums, galleries and the exhibition of memory;
local memorials – creating tangible memory; heritage projects and the communal
• Education: teaching slavery in schools, informal learning and adult
 • Engaging with communities and conducting outreach: token gestures or
meaningful encounters?
• Reparations, social justice and apologies: where are we now?
• The (contemporary) slavery question: the drive to highlight
contemporary global human rights abuses –natural succession or diversion tactic?

Papers are invited from postgraduate students, early career researchers, established academics and independent researchers from any discipline including History, English, Museology, Archaeology, Heritage, Geography, Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Women’s Studies, Film, Theatre and History of Art.

Please send abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers along with a 50 word biography to the organisers: Kate Donington, Jessica Moody and Ryan Hanley via email by May 31st 2013.

Defend the London Met Three!

Suspension of Trade Unionists at London Metropolitan University

Dear colleagues,

You may be aware that in addition to the suspension of the London Met UNISON Chair, Max Watson, and the London Met Staff Governor, Jawad Botmeh, Steve Jeffreys from London Met's widely respected ‘Working Lives Research Institute’ (WLRI) has also now been suspended. Steve is a UCU member and has made the statement provided at the end of this email.

Further to Steve's statement please also note that an online petition has now been created demanding the immediate reinstatement of Max, Jawad, and Steve. The petition was launched on Saturday 23 February and had attracted 350+ signatures by Sunday afternoon. Please add your name to the petition and circulate the petition  link to your branch members:

In addition a new campaign blog for the reinstatement of Max, Jawad, and Steve, that provides all the latest campaign news has been set up at:

In solidarity

Mark Campbell
London Metropolitan University UCU (Chair)
UCU National Executive Committee


Dear Trade Union Friends,

I'm writing to let you know that I was suspended on Wednesday by Londonmet after a 45 minute investigation into the WLRI because I appointed a former prisoner who had served 13 years imprisonment to a part-time, casual three month maternity cover job in our social justice Institute.

Did I know that his conviction in 1996 was for conspiracy to blow up the Israeli embassy? Yes. I also knew that he had been refused parole for 6 years because he maintained his innocence, and that Paul Foot and Robert Fisk had campaigned for him. And I saw his CV which included his having completed an OU degree in sociology and an MA in Peace and Reconciliation (with merit), as well has having been prisoners' rep on equality issues.

But actually, although this all made him an ideal person to work with us, I felt there was also a basic human rights issues involved. Do we give people a second chance?

The inference involved in my suspension and possible disciplinary action is that either I was involved in some highly sophisticated conspiracy to place a Palestinian terrorist 'sleeper' in a position where he could influence young minds and eventually get elected as staff governor (which five years after Jawad Botmeh started work has now triggered three suspensions), or that I was criminally stupid.

Everyone who knows me or my work knows that I am a principled socialist. But for me, my decision not to discriminate against this applicant whom I had never met, and whom Max Watson (a now very active UNISON trade unionist who is also suspended) had met once at a party is actually the survival of a liberal approach to others in my university. If a Research Institute dedicated to the promotion of social justice in a public institution will not give someone like Jawad the chance to work, who else will?

You'll realise that we are all in a state of shock. Three of the 13 WLRI staff are now suspended. Two others are still under investigation. I fear for our future - just weeks after celebrating our tenth anniversary.

The UCU and UNISON are united in supporting the three of us who are suspended - and your protest, and those you can encourage others to take, will strengthen their hands in the 'informal contacts' that are taking place in the hope of preventing the university from taking the next step of firing those it has suspended.

thanks in advance

all the best


CfP: The Black Jacobins Revisited: Rewriting History

The Black Jacobins Revisited: Rewriting History
International conference to be held at the International Slavery Museum and the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, 27–28 October 2013


To mark seventy-five years of pioneering anticolonial and historiography-shifting work, C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins, we are organising a major international two-day conference at the International Slavery Museum and Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool. Ever since The Black Jacobins transformed the way colonial history was written, this single work has for seventy-five years dominated all studies of the Haitian Revolution and decolonization. Yet, uncharted areas of this standard reference work still remain. Key aims of the conference are to break new ground and explore new approaches where this classic history is concerned. Papers will be considered on any aspect relating to The Black Jacobins and its legacies, but possible topics could include:
  • Discussion of The Black Jacobins in relation to James’s own evolving political practice and activism, including his collaborations as political organiser.
  • The making and remaking of The Black Jacobins as the famous work morphs through major generic transformations, both beginning and ending life as a play.
  • Contributions made by The Black Jacobins to problems of writing Caribbean history: gaps and perspectives in official historical records housed in metropolitan archives.
  • Processes of rewriting history throughout the work’s evolution: revolutionizing previous historical interpretations of the Haitian Revolution; provincializing the French Revolution; engaging with processes of silencing and un-silencing stories of the Haitian Revolution, and of slavery-generated wealth in French and British cities.
  • James’s rethinking of key relationship between leaders and masses; the progressive refiguration of Haitian Revolutionary Toussaint Louverture, and foregrounding of alternative protagonists.
  • Caribbean identity as evolving theme of The Black Jacobins, and the related question of representation, e.g. James’s contributions to representations of slaves as principal actors of revolution in their own right, and to Caribbean ways of seeing the Haitian past and what constitutes the Caribbean from the Caribbean’s own perspective, and not that of others.
  • Progressive reframing and historicizing of the work through a range of prefaces, appendices, epilogues
  • James’s evolving use of source materials and alternative historical models
  • Assessments of the work’s afterlives as founding text and key point of reference for all interpretations of the Haitian Revolution; issues of key editions, translation and mistranslation; and the work’s centrality to a range of political situations across Africa, the Caribbean and North America.
  • Links between The Black Jacobins and other key Marxist, Caribbean, African works, including those of James’s own wider corpus.

Abstracts of 250 words should be sent to Dr Rachel Douglas, by 15 April, 2013. Keynote speakers will include: Professor Nick Nesbitt (Princeton) and Dr Matthew J. Smith (University of the West Indies). Further keynote speakers to be announced.

This event is organised in partnership with the International Slavery Museum and the Bluecoat, Liverpool, and supported by the University of Glasgow Knowledge Exchange Fund, the Society for the Study of French History, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

CfP: The Future of Atlantic, Transnational and World History

Subject: CFP: Future of Atlantic, Transnational & World History
“The Future of Atlantic, Transnational, and World History”

We announce a conference to be held May 1-3, 2014 at the Department of History, University of Pittsburgh. The conference will explore four related themes in Atlantic, transnational, and world history, each introduced by a keynote speaker:

 Labor: Marcel van der Linden (International Institute for Social History)
 Race: Lara Putnam (University of Pittsburgh)
Empire: Richard Drayton (King’s College London)
Resistance: Vincent Brown (Harvard University)

Each keynote session will be accompanied by a panel session on the same theme. We therefore solicit papers on labor, race, empire, and resistance in Atlantic, transnational, and world historical contexts. Our goals are to push the boundaries of boundary-less history and to imagine new ways to explore perennial subjects of historical investigation. We are especially interested in original approaches and research strategies that link small units and large processes, the local and the global, and that propose innovative ways to think about those connections. We seek paper proposals from both established and more junior scholars. Preference may be given to those proposing to report on major work in progress. Proposals should include a title, a 250 word abstract, and a short CV. Abstracts should foreground the nature of the paper’s historiographical and methodological intervention.

Please submit all queries and materials by email attachment by June 1, 2013, to:

Marcus Rediker Conference organizer
Department of History
3508 Posvar Hall
University of Pittsburgh
PA 15260 USA

Saturday, 23 February 2013

LSHG conference on the Dublin Lock-Out of 1913

Dear Comrade

A reminder about next Saturday's conference on the Dublin Lock-Out. Details are below and attached.

Registration is from midday and the room is in Stewart House [the new wing of Senate House facing Russell Sq].The room is STB 3/6 in the basement which I am assured is a conference style facility..

I hope to see you there


Keith Flett

Dublin Lock-Out 1913 Half day event at the Institute of Historical Research on Saturday March 2nd

The Dublin Lock-Out from August 1913 to January 1914 is one of the most momentous events in Irish and British Labour History.

The 100th anniversary is being widely marked in Ireland and with some events in the UK.

The London Socialist Historians Group is holding an afternoon event at the centre of UK research history, the Institute of Historical Research in London, to both recall the Lock-Out one hundred years on and to review the current state of historical research on it.

The event is on Saturday March 2nd 2013 from Midday at the Institute of Historical Research

Areas covered may include the role of James Larkin and James Connolly in the Lock-Out; the importance and impact of the ideas of revolutionary syndicalism; The formation of the Irish TGWU and the Irish Labour Party; Links between socialists in Ireland and the UK and the role of the British TUC; The successful organisation of impoverished and unskilled Dublin workers in trade unions; The short and longer term impacts of the end of the Lock-Out

Admission is free though donations towards costs are welcome

Monday, 18 February 2013

Final CFP: Social Movements Conference

Reminder: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS CONFERENCE - 'ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST' - Monday 25th March and Wednesday 27th March 2013 at Manchester Metropolitan University - FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS - abstracts due by Monday 25th February 2013

Friday, 15 February 2013

LSHG Seminar on William Cuffay

Dear Comrade

a reminder that the next seminar in the Spring term series is on Monday 18th February, Room G34 South Block Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St WC1 at 5.30pm
Martin Hoyles will speak on his new book on the black Chartist William Cuffay.
The book contains important new research on Cuffay and it should be an interesting paper. It wont be podcast so you'll need to be there to hear it!
Meanwhile the first seminar of the Spring term Sue Bruley's paper on Women's Liberation 1968-1982 an oral history is now available as a podcast on the IHR site. A link is below.
Keith Flett

Sunday, 10 February 2013

1913-2013 - Upcoming Centenary Events around the Dublin Lockout

From the 1913 Committee Events page:

February 11th: ‘Labour History and the Academy’ lecture by Dr Emmet O’Connor, Moore Institute, NUI Galway, 1pm

February 23rd: “Who fears to wear the blood red badge?” Dublin Dock workers and their Trade Unions. An illustrated talk by Francie Devine ( Labour historian and author) . Sean O’Casey Community Centre, St Marys Road, East Wall, 2pm

March 1st and 2nd: Cork Studies in the Irish Revolution – ‘The Cause of Labour: 1913 and beyond’ . This will be accompanied by the joint launch of the Lockout Chronology by UCC and SIPTU. The Chronology will be a major research tool for academics, teachers, students and the general public – more details to follow

March 2nd: A Century of Workers Struggle 1913-2013, Liberty Hall, hosted by senator David Cullinane, Sinn Fein Workers Rights Spokesperson, details to follow

March 2nd: Dublin General Strike and Lockout 1913 - The London Socialist Historians Group is holding an afternoon event at the centre of UK research history, the Institute of Historical Research in London, to both recall the Lock-Out one hundred years on and to review the current state of historical research on it. The event will begin at Midday. Areas covered may include the role of James Larkin and James Connolly in the Lock-Out; the importance and impact of the ideas of revolutionary syndicalism; The formation of the Irish TGWU and the Irish Labour Party; Links between socialists in Ireland and the UK and the role of the British TUC; The successful organisation of impoverished and unskilled Dublin workers in trade unions; The short and longer term impacts of the end of the Lock-Out. Speakers include: Professor John Newsinger,Terry Ward and Terry McCarthy. For more information contact Keith Flett at

March 8th: International Women’s Day: Commemorative Plaque to the Irish Women Workers’ Union by Sculptor Jackie McKenna to be unveiled at Liberty Hall, 6pm.

March 8th-9th: ‘The British Labour Party and Twentieth Century Ireland’, Speakers include Dr Kevin McNamara, Joan Allen Gearoid O Tuaghaidh, Emmet O’Connor, Henry Patterson and Steven Howe, Moore Institute, NUI Galway and Harbour Hotel

March 9th Irish Women Workers Union and the Lockout Conference. Venue: Liberty Hall Session 1 Prominent Personalities of the IWWU (9.30 am -11.00) •Nell Regan – Helena Molony •Rosemary Cullen Owens Louie Bennett •James Curry Delia Larkin •Francis Devine Jenny Shanahan Chair: Suzanna Griffin Session 2 Events of the Time (11.30-13.00) • Leann Lane Cultural events at this time • Theresa Moriarty IWWU and The Lockout •Brendan Byrne Jacobs during the Lockout •Mary Mc Auliffe The Early Years •Chair: Helen Murphy Session 3(After Lunch)(14.00 to 15.30) Hedge School: Mary Jones; Padraig Yeates; Francis Devine; Theresa Moriarty; Mary McAuliffe; Rosemary Cullen Owens Chair: Tommy Graham (History Ireland) Session 4 Modern Times and the Role of Women in Trade Unions Speakers: SIPTU General Officer 16.50 Close of Conference 17.00 Launch of Mary Cullen’s book. ’Telling It Our Way: essays in gender history’. Publisher, Arlen House

March 21st: Mechanics Institute, Galway: ‘Locked out: 1913 in Dublin and Galway’ – John Gibney, Mary Muldowney, Francis Devine, James Curry, John Cunningham (History Ireland Hedge School with Centre for Labour and Class)

March 21st – ’Class Conflict or Social Compact? 1913-2013′ John Lovett Memorial Lecture by Padraig Yeates, University of Limerick, 7.30pm

March 26th – Launch of One City One Book, ‘Strumpet City’ in Liberty Hall at 10.30 am by Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Naoise O Muiri. Members of Plunkett family and actors from the cast of the RTE adaptation of ‘Strumpet City’, including Bryan Murray will attend

Friday, 8 February 2013

CfP: Anarchists, Marxists, and Nationalists in the Colonial and Postcolonial World

Call for Papers: ESSHC 2014 Panels: Anarchists, Marxists, and
Nationalists in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870s-1940s:
Antagonisms, Solidarities, and Syntheses

*Papers dealing with Africa and Africans are strongly encouraged

From its inception in the First International, the anarchist and
syndicalist movement played a significant role in the colonial and
post-colonial world as an influential force in revolutionary, national
liberation, and anti-imperialist movements. While this role has received
increasing attention in a growing scholarship, the literature remains
underdeveloped and rather limited. The intersections between anarchism
and syndicalism, and other Left oppositional currents, including Marxist
and nationalist movements, are understudied and lack systematic
examination especially with respect to the global South. Such
intersections provide an important index of anarchist and syndicalist
influence by drawing attention to their role in larger coalitions as
well as their imprint on other movements and ideologies; conversely, to
properly understand the history of other Left and labor currents it is
necessary to take into account their interactions with anarchism and
syndicalism. These interactions assumed a wide range of forms:  although
historical antagonisms between anarchism and Marxism often shaped their
relations, there were also many instances of solidarity and
collaboration; while anarchism generally opposed nationalism in
principle, it cooperated with a surprising number of nationalist
movements; finally, anarchism and syndicalism contributed key elements
to a broad spectrum of oppositional currents that reflected syncretic
ideologies, organizational forms, and practices.

We invite papers that examine examples of antagonisms, solidarities, and
syntheses between anarchism and syndicalism on one hand, and Marxist and
nationalist currents on the other. The papers should address historical
movements, rather than intellectual history, narrowly conceived; they
should analyze intersections, not parallels or apparent similarities
between different currents; and explore the complex relations and
overlaps between anarchist, Marxist, and nationalist movements. Case
studies should focus on the colonial and post-colonial world (Africa,
Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean).

Possible lines of enquiry include interactions in the following areas:
- national liberation and anti-colonial struggles
- anti-imperialist networks and alliances
- agrarian struggles
- international labor solidarity, trade unionism, as well as activities
in state-run unions
- struggles against colonial and neo-colonial racial oppression
- interracial, multiethnic, local/diasporic solidarities
- student and worker alliances
- underground networks and struggles

This CFP is for two planned panels to be held at the European Social
Science History Conference in Vienna, Austria, April 23-26, 2014.

Please send abstracts (250 words) to the panel organizers, Steven Hirsch
( or Lucien van der Walt
( by March 1, 2013.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

LSHG seminar: Peter Dwyer on African struggles today

Dear Comrade
a reminder that the next London Socialist Historians seminar is on Monday 11th February 5.30pm at the Institute of Historical Research, South Block, Senate House, Malet St, WC1.
For this seminar only we are in the Holden Room, Room 103.
The speaker is Peter Dwyer [Ruskin] on African Struggles Today- Social Movements since Independence.
I hope to see you there!
keith Flett

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Black and Asian Britain seminars

Institute of Commonwealth Studies, in conjunction with the Black & Asian Studies Association

Black and Asian Britain seminars

Senate House, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1 
6 to 7.30 pm,
Everyone is welcome. You do not have to pre-book/register.

26 February (Court Room, first floor)

Dr Rina Arya, University of Wolverhampton (Court Room, first floor)

The 1980s: Black art and socio-politics
I shall look at black visual art in the 1980s in Britain to examine the collaborations that occurred and the work that was being produced in reaction to the socio-politics of the day. 

5 March (room G35,  ground floor)

Julian Simpson, University of Manchester

Racism, heterophobia and the structural impact of South Asian doctors on the development of British General Practice (c. 1948 - c. 1983)' 
This talk will outline how the actions of South Asian doctors working within a discriminatory environment facilitated the delivery of one of the key aims of the NHS when it was established: the provision of primary care to those who could least afford it.
Edited to add: Mary Seacole: The Black Florence Nightingale?

A panel discussion on the life and work of Mary Seacole and her relevance today. Mary Seacole was a Jamaican born nurse who fought prejudice to care for British soldiers during the Crimean War. Come and hear why she was voted by the public one of the greatest Black Britons of all time. This will also be an opportunity to discuss wider issues around the school National Curriculum.
Led by TUC Race Equality Officer Wilf Sullivan.
Panelists include Hackney Councillor Patrick Vernon OBE, Poet and Trade Union activist Zita Holbourne & Operation Black Vote Director Simon Woolley.
Where: Dalston C.L.R. James Library, Dalston Square, Dalston, E8 3BQ
When: Tuesday 12th February, 7.00-9.00pm
Info & booking:

Debate: Tom Sibley responds on Bert Ramelson


It is good to see Comrade Birchall going back to primary sources to correct some of the errors made in his original review of the Ramelson biography.  But on some points he remains annoyingly obtuse. It is clear from my previous posting that the proof reading error refers solely to a failure to delete a small sub-clause containing a wrong date and clearly out of place in the text.  It has nothing to do with the context of the Ramelson article referred to which in our judgement is an all round critique of the Labour left in 1958, not simply or mainly a comment on the “obsession with unilateralism”.  Of course by 1960, in self-criticism, the CND leadership conceded that it had underemphasised the importance of multi lateral measures such as Britain’s membership of NATO, US bases and Test Ban Treaty.

On the CND marches it is clear that the Daily Worker (as Birchall now concedes), the British Peace Committee, the CP (particularly in the unions) and the YCL, with youth and students, played important parts in the mobilisation for Aldermaston.  But as Birchall says this should not underplay the role played by other organisations and social forces.

On the Pentonville 5 Birchall misunderstands the arguments made in the book and by Darlington and Lyddon.  In such situations, as the book makes clear, it is the immediate actions taken by stewards at workplace level which are crucial.  The CP and LCDTU were able to use their extensive networks in a broad range of industries to generate a speedy response.  The LCDTU letter calling for solidarity was, in this context, a formality.