Friday, 29 March 2013

Rebuilding the Plebs Tradition

Saturday 20th April 2013- 10.30 – 3.30
Working Class Movement Library, Salford, near Manchester M5 4WX
£5.00 includes lunch.
The Independent Working Class Education Project aims to learn the lessons of history to inform current class struggle. Inspired by the Ruskin Students strike of 1909, we organise open informed discussions and look at how interesting presentations can be used in a variety of circumstances. We offer materials and contacts and always try to operate in a non-sectarian way; we are not committed to any particular political current.
Please join us at our next meeting on Saturday 20 April 2013 in Salford. The presentations will be short and include lots of vigorous non-sectarian discussion. Rob Turnbull: The Plebs League in the North East; Greg Coyne: Active Learning and the WEA; Phoebe Moore: What 'decent work' means in the crisis; Joel Lazarus: The Free Education Network political economy workshops; Joyce Canaan: Critical pedagogy within and outside the neo liberalised university; Paul Smith: Reading groups.
Our next Workshops are at London Metropolitan University (1st June), South Wales then NE England.
Please email us to book a place, please email

IWCE Network tries to
* develop a diverse range of education materials and approaches for trade union and other working class and progressive movement groups
* respect the role of the working class in making history, and in making the future .

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Eric Hobsbawm memorial

A message from Birkbeck and the Hobsbawm family...

There is to be a celebration of the life of Eric Hobsbawm on Wednesday 24 April, at Birkbeck College. There are two ways in which you can contribute.

We are gathering memories of Eric for inclusion in a memorial brochure. If you have a memory you would like to share, please email no more than 50 words to by Wednesday 8 April.

At the memorial event we are planning to launch the Eric Hobsbawm Scholarships for Postgraduate Study. These scholarships will encourage the next generation of brilliant historians and enable the brightest students to access Birkbeck’s first class post-graduate study and research opportunities. We’re sure you will agree that this is a fitting legacy for Eric.

Birkbeck and the Hobsbawm family

Unofficial Histories 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Unofficial Histories is a public conference to discuss how society produces, presents, and consumes history beyond official and elite versions of the past. The second Unofficial Histories conference is to be held in Manchester on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June 2013.
The provisional programme for Unofficial Histories 2013 is now online, and booking is open.
·         Conference website:
·         Viewable / downloadable provisional programme:
·         Registration page:
For more information about Unofficial Histories, please see the conference website at or contact Fiona Cosson, Research Associate at the Manchester Centre for Regional History and Convenor of the Unofficial Histories conference, email  .
Unofficial Histories 2013 is kindly supported by the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Defend the Sussex Occupation

Sign the statement in defence of the Sussex occupation

A petition has been launched to express our solidarity with the struggle against the privatisation of 235 jobs and express our opposition to the decision of Sussex university management to impose an injunction which bans both protest and occupations on campus until September, thus effectively also criminalising the ongoing Bramber house occupation. 

Please sign and pass on…

Edited to add: The Occupation has now been smashed up brutally by the police - protest against the charges of four students

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Making of The Making of the English Working Class

From the Northern Radical History Network:

 We are pleased to announce the next Northern Radical History Network meeting will take place on Saturday 20 April 2013 in Bradford. This year marks 50 years since the publication of E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class, and the book, its author and the book's impact and legacy will be our meeting's topic of discussion. We are delighted to be joined by David Goodway a social and cultural historian who has become increasingly known as an authority on anarchism.

Between 1969 and 2005, David worked in Continuing Education at the University of Leeds, and he as Helen Cam Visiting Fellow in History at Girton College, Cambridge, for 2006-7. His publications include London Chartism, 1838-1848 (1982), Talking Anarchy (with Colin Ward) (2003) and Anarchist Seeds beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward (2006). David will present a paper entitled The Making of 'The Making of the English Working Class' (further details to follow)

 The meeting will take place at The Equity Centre, 1 Longlands Street, Bradford, on Saturday 20 April 2013 from 11am - 3pm. ALL WELCOME. Hope to see you there!

 For further details in the interim, please contact Fiona Cosson, email f.cosson [AT]

Friday, 22 March 2013

Conference: Culture, Journals and Working-Class Movements

Culture, Journals, and Working-Class Movements, 1820–1979. Thursday, 16 May 2013.
This conference has grown out of an AHRC funded project of the same name, in which three Ph.D. studentships at the University of Salford, in collaboration with the Working Class Movement Library, analyse how culture informs and expresses the ideologies of working-class movements.
One panel of this day conference at the Working Class Movement Library comprises findings from all three Ph.D.s:
  • Jen Morgan, ‘“We need to feel to be awakened”: Raymond Williams, Percy Shelley, and the Working Class of the Chartist Period’.
  • Matthew Kavanagh, ‘Class Against Class and the Classroom: The CPGB, Schoolteachers and the Educational Worker, 1929–1933’.
  • Sally Ann Richardson, ‘Changing Political Cultures in British Trade Unionism, 1931–79’.
We will also have a key-note lecture from an expert in the field of late nineteenth-century newspapers: Dr Deborah Mutch (De Montfort University), ‘The Weapons in their Hands: Fiction, Journalism, and Change’.
This paper will consider the notion of press responsibility in socialist periodicals published between 1884 and 1914 and their ambitions to create a socialist Britain.
Other speakers:
  • Dr Kristin Ewins, ‘Leftist Middlebrow Women Writers in the 1930s’. (University of Salford)
  • Keith Gildart, ‘Dead End Streets and Dirty Jobs: Exploring Social Change in Post-War England with Ray Davies and Pete Townshend’. (University of Wolverhampton)
  • Alan Fowler: a leading member of the North West Labour History Society, will be talking about the society and its publications over its forty year history.
The conference is free to attend, but places are limited so please email to register your attendance by 15 April 2013:
Abstracts can be found on the conference blog:
Thanks to the Working Class Movement Library, the Raymond Williams Foundation, and the University of Salford for their support.

North West Labour History Society blog

The North West Labour History Society has set up a blog in addition
to our main website. This can be found at
We welcome short articles; book, film, theatre and TV reviews; news of forthcoming exhibitions, conferences and meetings and anything else connected with labour and radical history in the North West.
Please send contributions for the blog and/or news of events to Michael Herbert -

Friday, 15 March 2013

Roundtable on Eric Hobsbawm in Leeds

Leeds Cultural History seminar:

Eric Hobsbawm's work and legacy
with Professor Paul Blackledge (Leeds Met), Dr David Goodway (Leeds) and Dr Kelly Hignett (Leeds Met).

Wednesday 20 March, 5.15pm, Broadcasting Place, AG03, Leeds Metropolitan University - all welcome

Convenor: Dr Simon Morgan:

Edited to add: Paul Blackledge's obituary of Eric Hobsbawm for Socialist Review 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

LSHG update

Dear Comrade

the final seminar of the Spring term is on Monday 18th March at 5.30pm [Room G34 IHR South Block] when Terry Ward will speak on The Rehabilitation of Red Daisy, Countess of Warwick.

The podcast of the recent 1913 Dublin Lock-Out conference is now on-line at this link:

Finally a reminder that the deadline for contributions for the next issue of the London Socialist Historians newsletter is the end of March.


keith Flett

Monday, 11 March 2013

Conference: The Life and Legacy of CLR James

Update from the CLR James Legacy Project:


The C.L.R. James Legacy Project will be hosting our first conference in London in just over a month’s time and we would love to see you there. The event will be preceded the evening before with the C.L.R. James Annual lecture (the importance of the black vote) at the Dalston C.L.R. James Library. Details about this and other C.L.R James projects below.

As ever please get in touch if you have articles/news for our web-site or want to offer your services to keep the legacy of C.L.R. James thriving. We are at present working on very limited resources – both human and financial - so could do with the active help of supporters. Please email if you feel you can help. 

The Life & Legacy of C.L.R. James – London Legacy Conference
Saturday April 13 11am-6pm
Venue: WEA, 96 -100 Clifton Street EC2A 4TP

We are proud to host the first C.L.R. James Legacy Project conference on the Life & Legacy of C.L.R. James. This free conference is organised by the C.L.R. James Legacy Project in partnership with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA).

The conference takes place on Sat 13thApril 2013 (11am-6pm) and will involve a day of discussions, workshop and performance around C.L.R. James’s Life and his relevance today.
Confirmed speakers include Darcus Howe (Broadcaster, writer and civil-rights activist), Selma James, Mike Dibb (filmmaker) and Selwyn Cudjoe (Wellesley College and co-editor of C.L.R. James: His intellectual Legacies). There will also be contributions from Ngoma Bishop (BEMA) and Andrea Enisuoh (Hackney Unites) who led the campaign to keep the name of C.L.R. James on the local Dalston Library when the local Council threatened to drop it. Friends and comrades of C.L.R. James will also be presenting and contributing to the discussions on the day.

 Edited to add:
Tune in to the life and legacy of CLR James conference this Saturday
On Saturday 13th April 2013 the C.L.R. James Legacy Project in partnership with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) are hosting an exciting free conference on the life and legacy of CLR James in East London. The conference is now fully booked but will be filmed and live streamed byWORLDbytes Citizen TV volunteers for viewers across the globe. To tune in, watch and listen to an amazing line up of speakers, simply click on this link
Please note Livestream announces events in EDT (Eastern Daylight time) this event will live stream from midday on Saturday GMT.

Speakers at this important conference include: Darcus Howe (Broadcaster, writer and civil-rights activist); Mike Dibb (filmmaker); Selwyn Cudjoe (Wellesley College and co-editor of C.L.R. James: His intellectual Legacies); and Selma James (author, Women's Rights and anti-racist campaigner). Do pass these details on, share and let your friends and network know.

The C.L.R. James Lecture (The Importance of the Black Vote)
Friday 12th April 7pm
Venue: Dalston C.L.R. James Library, Dalston Square, 60 Roseberry Pl, Hackney, London E8

Organised by BEMA in partnership with: Hackney Library Services, Operation Black Vote & Hackney Unites.

A lecture followed by a panel discussion, looking at the impact, importance, patterns and relevance of the African/African-Caribbean vote in Hackney. The degree to which this community has achieved proportionate representation in terms of elected Councilors and the extent to which the boroughs cultural diversity has been reflected in the formulation and implementation of its policies will be examined. The question to be discussed is: Why vote?
The panel will include Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote, Diane Abbott M.P. and others.

This will be the second annual lecture established following the successful campaign 2011 by BEMA and its partners in the community to ensure that the name of C.L.R James was retained when the library was rebuilt.

C.L.R. James' Beyond a Boundary 50th Anniversary Conference
Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May, 2013
Venue: University of Glasgow

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.
Confirmed keynote speakers: Mike Brearley (former England Test captain); Wai Chee Dimock (Yale); Robert A Hill (UCLA and C.L.R. James’ Literary Executor)
Further keynotes to be announced; to be added to the conference mailing list or for more information please e-mail Andy Smith: or visit:
CALL FOR PAPERS: The Black Jacobins Revisited: Rewriting History
The Black Jacobins Revisited: Rewriting History
An International conference to be held at the International Slavery Museum and the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, 27–28 October 2013.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Clara Zetkin Book Launch and Talk

Socialist History Society Special Event
Clara Zetkin Book Launch and Talk
An opportunity to discuss the life and legacy of Clara Zetkin on the 80th anniversary of her death.
Speakers will include authors who have contributed to the new book on Zetkin which is the latest Occasional Publication issued by the SHS.
Venue: Housmans Bookshop
King’s Cross
Wednesday 12th June, 7pm.
Please note: entry £3.00 which is redeemable on any purchase from the bookshop on the night.

Labour Heritage AGM and meeting

LABOUR HERITAGE                                                     

Labour Heritage AGM & Meeting

Saturday 13th April 20131.30 - 5pm

At: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
(5 min.walk from Holborn station)

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

David Piachaud:
‘Beveridge & the Welfare State’

Francis Beckett:
‘The role of Aneurin Bevan &  Clement Attlee in creating the Welfare State’

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Our AGM Business Meeting will last half an hour and, from 2.15pm we will have speakers and discussion,  with a  mid-way break for tea. 

Francis Beckett is a free-lance journalist, writing regularly for the New Statesman, the Guardian and the T.E.S, whose books include Clem Attlee,  a biography.

David Piachaud is Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics.

We hope you can join us for this meeting. For more information,contact Linda Shampan: 020 8932 0165

Oliver Stone event and screening

Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick will be talking about their new documentary series and book at 5pm on 3 April at the IHR Public History seminar at Senate House, University of London.

The Untold History of the United States re-examines America's financial, diplomatic and military influence on the long twentieth century to produce a polemical account of the rise and fall of an American Empire.

The event includes the screening of one episode of The Untold History of the United States, a Q&A and a book signing. Tickets, priced £3.50, are available here:

Half the Battle: Women Fighting Racism in East London

 Half The Battle: Women Fighting Racism in East London

History talk and short film screening celebrating women’s contributions to the fight against Racism in East London. Touring four venues: 
o   Whitechapel Idea Store, Tuesday 19 March, 7pm
o   Redbridge Central Library, Tuesday 26 March, 1pm
o   Barking Learning Centre, Wednesday 27 March, 4pm
o   Hoxton Hall, Tuesday 2 April, 7.30pm 

Eastside Community Heritage is celebrating Women’s History Month (March 2013). We’ll be sharing the stories of women who’ve fought against racism in East London, in their own words.
Half the Battle will draw from oral history interviews with local activists who have been involved with groups such as Rock Against Racism and Unite Against Fascism.
East Londoners have long been on the frontline of the battle against racism. From Brick Lane to Barking, women have played a crucial role in this vibrant and continuing legacy of activism.
Lwam Tesfay, Trainee Oral Historian at Eastside Community Heritage said, “London has a strong history of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigning, and it’s important that women’s roles within that are recorded."

Notes on the organisation

Eastside Community Heritage is an oral history centre based in East London. For twenty years we have been collecting and archiving oral histories from ordinary and extraordinary Londoners. These hidden histories are available in our archive, as well as a range of exhibitions, publications, films, and more. Visit to find out more.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Film: Dorothy and EP Thompson Remembered

“Remembering Dorothy and Edward”, a film of a lecture by Sheila Rowbotham about her friends Dorothy and E.P. Thompson, will be premiered in The Hive, Worcester on Friday 8 March 2013, as part of International Women’s Day.
Date: Friday 8 March 2013
Venue: Studio, Ground Floor, The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester WR1 3PB
Start: 7.30pm, doors open 7.00pm
Admission: £3 / £1 concessions

The lecture makes reference to the past 275 years of British women campaigners: such as Mary Collier’s 1739 poem “The Woman’s Labour”, her response to the claim that housewives had an easy life; “Owd” Nancy Clayton lobbying under fire for parliamentary reform in 1819; and, Abadiah Higginbotham stating that “the voice of woman is not sufficiently heard” in 1851. Sheila talks about her own steps into feminism during the 1960s, inspired by the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Alice Clark and Simone de Beauvoir.  Sheila also recalls how Dorothy and Edward Thompson, both peace campaigners, were always able to provide her with guidance, support and humour.
The documentary was directed and edited by Hayley Moore, 21, as part of her University of Worcester film-making degree.
After the film the audience will have the opportunity to speak to the film’s producers and share their memories of Dorothy and Edward Thompson.
It will be screened in the Studio, a theatre on the ground floor of The Hive library, between 7:30pm and 9.00pm on Friday 8 March.
Entrance will be charged at £3 and £1 (concessions) payable at the door.
For further information please contact: Hil Cross,

Edited to add: CALL FOR PAPERS

The Global E. P. Thompson:
Reflections on the Making of the English Working Class after Fifty Years

To be held at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
October, 3rd – 5th, 2013

Paper Proposals are due May 15th, 2013

Fifty years ago E. P. Thompson published The Making of the English
Working Class, one of the most influential social history works ever.
Its approach to the history of common people, its arguments and its
methods came to influence several generations of historians and others
all over the world. To trace Thompson’s influences, and with it the
larger story of the varied approaches to social history that have come
out of them, the Program on the History of Capitalism and the
Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University seek to
initiate a global conversation among researchers across the humanities
and social sciences to reflect critically on Thompson's impact on the
writing of history and his enduring significance for future research.

At a time of global economic crises, as scholarship returns to themes
of class, inequality and political economy with renewed interest,
urgency, and moral purpose, the fiftieth anniversary of the Making of
the English Working Class offers a welcome opportunity to both
critically reflect on Thompson's scholarship and consider the ways in
which his ideas, methods and commitments can still inspire
intellectual frameworks and research programs that speak to present
global problems.

The conference, to be held at Harvard University from 3rd-5th of
October, 2013 invites critical engagement with Thompson's legacy. The
Making has been at the center of many controversies in the writing of
social, political, cultural, and labor history over the past decades,
and we welcome papers that trace these debates. We are also interested
in papers tracing Thompson’s influence in various fields of history,
and in various parts of the world. Moreover, we are seeking
contributors who address issues such as

-Translating E. P. Thompson: English Idioms and Traditions in Global Context
-Class Formation: An Important Category of Analysis in History?
-Moral Economies and Political Economy: Culture, Economy and Politics
-Spatially Situating Social Processes: Communities, Regions, Nations,

We are committed to making this a global conversation. With
translations of the Making into many languages, including Chinese,
Japanese, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, French and German, Thompson’s
work has had a global audience. Middle Eastern, Asian, African and
Latin American scholars are especially encouraged to apply.

Finally, we encourage graduate students to submit paper proposals. We
hope to provoke an inter-generational dialogue, involving established
scholars who have long drawn inspiration from Thompson's work as well
as aspiring practitioners starting their academic careers.

Please submit paper abstracts of no more than 500 words, along with a
CV, to Jessica Barnard at the email address: with the subject line “E. P. Thompson 2013”

Paper Proposals are due May 15th, 2013

We will notify applicants in June, 2013. If accepted, we will ask you
for a draft paper by September 1st. We will cover all (economy class)
travel costs, accommodation and meals.


Rudi Batzell, PhD Candidate, History, Harvard University
Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of American History, Harvard University
Andrew Gordon, Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University
Gabriel Winant, PhD Candidate, History, Yale University

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.

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.

4 April, room G22, ground floor)

Marika Sherwood, Institute of Commonwealth Studies

World War II: Colonies and Colonials
WWII was won by the UK. Right? Wrong! Without the manifold contributions by and from the colonies, Britain could not have won. My new book explores their contributions and political activism in the colonies and in Britain during the war.

New Book on Eslanda Robeson

Race & Class would like to invite you to the UK launch of Eslanda: the large and unconventional life of Mrs. Paul Robeson
The first biography of the bold, principled and fiercely independent woman who defied convention to make her own mark on the world.
I Barbara Ransby - Scholar-activist, historian and professor of African- American and Gender and Women Studies at the University of Illinois (Chicago), Race & Class Board member
I Colin Prescod - IRR Chair
I Plus others who knew the Robesons
Tickets are free but booking is essential, please email: to book your place.
Tuesday 16 April, 6.30pm
Firebox, 106-8 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8BZ