Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Marx and Engels Collected Works / Lawrence and Wishart petition

As a consequence of Lawrence and Wishart’s decision to withdraw the Marx-Engels Collected Works (MECW) material under L&W copyright from the Marxist Internet Archive (MIA) website, Marxist scholars and activists all over the world have launched a petition.

Following a first petition and Lawrence and Wishart’s response, in 24 hours 700 people signed the following petition, including many leading scholars.

They have asked Lawrence and Wishart to allow Marx’s and Engels’s writings to remain on the MIA website and in the public domain.

“We are very grateful for the work you have done, along with International Publishers and Progress Publishers, translating into English and publishing the MECW. This is an extremely valuable contribution to the workers movement and Marxist scholarship not only in the English-speaking world, but internationally.
MIA has made these works available for free on the web to an even wider public, and they have now become an essential tool for thousands of Marxist scholars and activists around the world.

We fully appreciate the efforts and difficulties that running a small independent publishing house entails. But allowing free access to the MECW on the MIA website does not hinder sales. On the contrary, the publicity it provides increases them, and we would support any attempt to further improve this aspect.

But over and above any commercial considerations, there is a crucial matter of principle at play here. Having been available freely online for ten years, the MECW have become an essential part of the shared knowledge and resources of the international workers movement. We cannot take a step backward.

There is also the real danger that the laudable contribution that Lawrence & Wishart has made in the past would be tarnished. This decision would only damage its reputation without bringing any significant economic advantage.

That’s why we call upon you to reconsider this decision and reach an accommodation which keeps these essential resources in the public domain, where they belong.”

To support this petition, link: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lawrence-and-wishart-allow-marx-s-and-engels-s-writings-to-remain-in-the-public-domain?recruiter=75221385&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_invitation

To read Lawrence and Wishart’s response to the first petition, see: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/collected_works_statement.html

To read the statement of the Marxist Internet Archive collective, see: http://marxists.org/admin/legal/lw-response.html

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Guided walk in Kinsley


In 1905 the whole of Britain became aware of the conditions faced by miners living in colliery owned housing.  In Kinsley, West Yorkshire over 100 families were evicted from their homes during a protracted pay dispute between miners and coal owners.  The labour movement -then in its' infancy- rallied in support.  Keir Hardie and the Independent Labour Party in particular backed their cause.  Clarion vans arrived.  A tented village was set up on the common to shelter those evicted. And local children were accommodated in the ballroom of the Kinsley Hotel.  Come along and hear more about these events on a Guided Walk on Sunday 8th June 2014, starting 2pm at the winding wheel by Fitzwilliam Railway Station.   The route takes in part of what is now Fitzwilliam Country Park and ends with a pint at the Kinsley Hotel.
The event is organised by Wakefield Socialist History Group.   The guide is John Gill.   There is no charge and all are welcome.
For more information call 07931927451.
Alan Stewart
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Real World War One Freeschool

Real World War One Freeschool
Sunday 18 May at No. 88 Fleet Street (entrance in St. Brides Avenue), London EC4 1DH (Blackfriars or Chancery Lane Tube)
 The official accounts and commemorations of the anniversary of World War One mask the real social history of the period. This conference is a chance for us to educate ourselves about the protests, strikes, mutinies and revolutions that preceded, provoked and, eventually, ended the war. We will also discuss how best to oppose both the official commemorations and future wars. Please bring food to share if you can.

11.30am (for 12 noon start) - 1pm
Why did the war start: Imperialism? The reassertion of masculinity? An attempt to forestall European revolution? Why did so many support the war?  Did World War One ever really end? Why does capitalism need war?
 Why were the first mass protests of the war started by women? Did politicians keep the war going to prevent the Russian Revolution from spreading? Did mutinies in the Russian, French and German armies end the war? What about the rebellions in the British army?
Was the Maidan Square uprising a revolution - or a fascist coup? Should we take sides between Putin and the West?   Will the Ukrainian crisis lead to another European conflict? 
Why is Cameron so keen to celebrate World War One?  How do we celebrate the mutinies and revolutions of the period instead? How do we counter the official commemorations without disrespecting the dead?
For information, please contact pasttense@alphabetthreat.co.uk

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Marxism 2014

Marxism 2014 is subtitled '1914-2014: A century of war, crisis and revolution', and will take place in central London from 10-14 July.  There are a whole range of speakers (including John Pilger, Darcus Howe, Janet Alder, Peter Hain, Gareth Pierce, Winston Silcott) , meetings, theatre and film (including one of the first showings in London of the new film Still the Enemy Within - about the Great miner's strike of 1984-85)  - check out the provisional timetable here but socialist historians might be particularly interested in:

Empire and Revolution: The Meaning of the First World War - book launch with Dave Sherry
Louise Raw on the Matchwomen's Strike of 1888
Henry Maitles on Marxism and the Holocaust
Ian Birchall and Paul Blackledge on 1914
Chanie Rosenberg on 1919: Britain on the brink of revolution
John Charlton on the miners strike of 1972
John Newsinger on George Orwell and socialism
Gary McFarlane on abolition and reconstruction in the US
Tony Collins on capitalism and sport
plus meetings on Tony Benn, Paul Foot, Stuart Hall and Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Summer Term LSHG seminars

All seminars take place at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1 and start at 5.30pm. Entry is free without ticket

12 May Sadism, Songs and Stolen Liberty. A working-class lad in the Navy in the 1960s
Stephen Mann
Bloomsbury Room G35 ground floor

9 June Tony Benn: history man?
Keith Flett and others
Please note: this session takes place in the Gordon Room, G34

23 June 'Revolutionary force or pressure group? The role of the British far left in British politics since 1956'
Evan Smith and Matt Worley nbsp;
Book launch of AGAINST THE GRAIN: THE BRITISH FAR LEFT FROM 1956 (edited by Evan Smith and Matthew Worley)

See here for more: http://hatfulofhistory.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/against-the-grain-the-british-far-left-from-1956-chapter-list-announcement/