Saturday, 28 May 2016

Highlights for socialist historians at Marxism 2016

Marxism 2016 - Ideas for revolution runs from 30 June to 4 July in central London - it is roughly the same sort of time as the Radical Histories conference, but nonetheless includes highlights for radical and socialist historians including:

Kate Evans on her graphic biography of Red Rosa - an illustrated talk about Rosa Luxemburg

Book Launch - A Rebel's Guide to James Connolly with Sean Mitchell

Ian Birchall, Tony Phillips and John Rose debate the German Revolution, 1918-1923

Book Launch - Kieran Allen on 1916: Ireland's Revolutionary Tradition

Sheila Coleman on Hillsborough and the fight for justice

Book Launch - John Newsinger on The Revolutionary Journalism of Big Bill Haywood

Ralph Darlington on how the anti-union laws were broken in the 1970s

Book Launch - Simon Hall on 1956 - the world in revolt

Sean Sayers on Marx and progress

Book Launch - Roddy Slorach on A Very Capitalist Condition - the history and politics of disability

'Get Up, Stand Up!' Roger Huddle and Rick Blackman on the 40th anniversary of Rock Against Racism

Book Launch - A Rebel's Guide to Malcolm X with Anthony Hamilton

Alan Gibbons on Nina Simone: artist and revolutionary

Book Launch - Brian Richardson on Bob Marley: Roots, Reggae and Revolution

Hassan Mahamdallie on Five hundred years since Thomas More's Utopia

Book Launch - School's Out! The Hidden History of Britain's School Student Strike by Michael Lavalette

Ann Field, Mike Simons and Ian Taylor on Thatcher, Murdoch and Wapping - the conspiracy that broke the printers' union.

David Johnson on South African working class struggles in the 1920s

Candy Udwin on Tom Mann and the Great Unrest

Yuri Prasad on how Asians transformed the working class in Britain

Plus meetings on the Chartists, 'Karl Marx - a revolutionary for today', Eleanor Marx and the New Unionism, the history of the Labour Party,  Ninety years since the 1926 General Strike, Frantz Fanon, Forty Years since the Soweto Uprising, the Russian Revolution, 1936 and the Spanish Civil War, What Marx learned from Hegel, How to Read Capital, the Black Panthers, Engels and the origins of women's oppression, the battle of the Somme, the history of Queer theory and politics, Antonio Gramsci, George Lukacs, etc etc

Plus other highlights including Tariq Ali on the American Empire and its discontents, and other speakers including Moazzam Begg,  Matt Wrack, Judith Orr, Michael Roberts, Alex Callinicos, Ian Hodson, Weyman Bennett, Kevin Doogan, Anne Alexander, Natalie Bennett, Shahrar Ali, Stathis Kouvelakis, Ilan Pappe, Jack Shenker, Brid Smith, Dave Ward, Mark Perryman, etc etc

Plus cultural events relating to soul and the Civil Rights movement, the Easter Rising, George Bernard Shaw, the Black Panthers, the Miners's Strike,

For more information and to see the full timetable and to book see here

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Barnsley Festival of Labour History - October 2016

Barnsley Festival of Labour History - Friday 14th-Sunday 16th October 2016

The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ

Talks, discussion, music film - weekend ticket £10
Organised by Barnsley Trades Council to celebrate the 125th anniversary of our founding
Sponsored by the Society for the Study of Labour History

Highlights include

Friday 14 October - opening with gig by David Rovics (£5 entry) at The Old No. 7 Market Hill Barnsley

Saturday 15 October - Sunday 16 October

Speakers include Malcolm Chase, Dave Burland, Jill Liddington, Keith Laybourn, Louise Raw, John Newsinger, Donny Gluckstein, John Field, Anandi Ramamurthy, Ralph Darlington

On Saturday night there will be a screening of Ken Loach's film The Price of Coal.

Tickets / more info from Barnsley Trades Council c/o 33 Western Street, Barnsley, S70 2BT
Cheques payable to Barnsley Trades Council.  Tel 07594857960 for more info.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Revisiting the 1926 General Strike

1926 General Strike at 90: some outstanding issues - cross posted from Keith Flett's blog  
The 1926 General Strike took place from 4-13th May 1926. The miners lock-out which it was meant to be the central act of went on for much longer until the end of November 1926.
The British Worker, the TUC paper during the dispute did not stop publishing until May 17th 1926
It was not the only General Strike in UK history by any means. There was one in 1842 sometimes called condescendingly the ‘plug plot’ and from the 1970s onwards there have been a number of, in effect, one day national strikes on a range of issues. Given the size of the modern workforce numbers involved in these have often been equal to or larger than those who took action in 1926.
It might be questioned whether after 90 years there is much new to say about the General Strike and the general parameters of events over the 9 days are well known enough.
However the detail of what took place during the strike covers a vast range of written and photographic material some of which has only in very recent times being made accessible digitally on the internet.
For example, the MCC issued a call for cricket matches to continue as normal during the strike but one at Lords between Middlesex and Oxford University was cancelled. No doubt the Oxford students were engaged in the, to them, alternative sport of strike breaking.
Local studies have provided more details (but far from all areas are covered) and the miners lock-out remains relatively under researched as does the aftermath of the strike and the impact that it had on unions, politics and labour relations for decades to come.
Arthur Scargill for example became active in the labour movement when memories of 1926 were still relatively fresh in the 1950s and saw the victorious 1972 miner’s strike in the context of the defeat of 1926.
The wider and partly theoretical question about why there has not been an open ended General Strike in Britain since, when such events are far from unknown across the rest of the world, is also one which merits further attention.
When one looks at the detail of the strike it is possible to see many of the tensions that still exist in the labour movement today.
For example the strike meant that newspapers were not published and the only news available was through radio news broadcasts from the BBC. Then as now these reflected official Government views.
The only exception to this, no surprise to Star readers, was the Daily Mail which published a ‘continental’ edition, printed in Paris.
The Government itself produced an official paper and this was countered by the TUC’s British Worker.
The British Worker was produced from the Daily Herald’s offices in Blackfriars Rd and edited by the Herald’s then editor.
It was still published for some days after the official end of the strike on 13th May and by that stage it had reached an impressive circulation of 700,000 copies.
However distribution across the UK was uneven and poor in Scotland.
Plans were put in place to produce regional editions of the British Worker for two reasons. Firstly to address the matter of coverage. Secondly to allow local reports of strike activities which might otherwise be missed.
The nine days of the Strike were a time of considerable, often ill-founded rumours, often spread by authorities and reactionary elements.
The concern however was that regional strike papers might go beyond the official TUC ‘line’. In addition in some areas, such as Swansea, striking print workers were against the idea.
The strike was called off before these matters of official control, solidarity and so on could be resolved but the same issues would undoubtedly appear again now.

Keith Flett
The London Socialist Historians Group has organised an afternoon of discussion on new historical research into the 1926 General Strike on Saturday 21st May  from midday in the Pollard Room (301) Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1. Admission is free for more details see here

Edited to add: Ian Birchall's paper from the conference - how 1926 was seen by the French Left - is now online here 

Comment: History Workshop at 40

[From London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter 58 (Summer 2016)]

History Workshop at 40

It is 40 years since the first publication of History Workshop Journal, in Spring 1976. A major conference is planned in London at the end of June on radical histories, although it has been a while since the magazine was at the forefront of a movement of radical historians.

Even so 40 years ago the Journal could fit into a framework of more or less annual History Workshop conferences as well numerous local Workshop events and meetings. Behind it in part was the organising zeal of Raphael Samuel who sadly died 20 years ago this coming December.

I was a mere rank and file participant in History Workshop, although to be fair to Ralph he did on occasion mention me at conferences in a friendly way. I wrote critical letters to the Journal from time to time and if you have access to the online archive you can review these in all their didactic glory.

My view was that the Journal and movement were backsliding, moving into academic positions and preparing to abandon the masthead description of explicit commitment to socialism. I was mostly right of course but that didn’t really help matters.

There is no organisation or framework of socialist and feminist historians at the moment that can mobilise the interest and numbers that those early issues of History Workshop Journal and the Workshops did. That is now itself a matter for historical investigation.

There is something to be said for thinking about whether the approach to history that is to be found in the early issues of the Journal is not something that is worth returning to. The kind of long essays that Raphael Samuel produced in the early issues such as the Workshop of the World and Comers and Goers about the Victorian market (which actually appeared in a volume on Urban History) painstakingly researched in the British Library and elsewhere (I often saw him in the old North Library at Bloomsbury with a huge piles of books) and which looked at labour and the labour process, are rarely encountered nowadays.

As I wrote in a brief appreciation of the late Asa Briggs as convenor of the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, while I find no shortage of suggestions for papers those that focus on what might be termed ‘labour history’ are few in number (but not non-existent).

It is the relationship between historians and the labour movement that was symbolised by Ruskin College (and perhaps still is) that is important here. That means, and this is still at least to some extent the case, that arguably the most interesting socialist and feminist history is written not by pure academics (though research is an essential part of useful history) but by activists who are also historians.

The two inform each other as they certainly did in the early days of History Workshop Journal. The potential is there with anticapitalist and Occupy movements for the same thing to happen again, though no doubt, as the famous William Morris quote from News from Nowhere suggests, not quite in the same way.

Contributions and criticisms are welcome

Keith Flett

Registration is now open for the Radical Histories Histories of Radicalism conference from 30-June-3 July in London

Edited to add: Felix Driver has edited a special virtual edition of History Workshop Journal with a collection of articles by Raphael Samuel - see here, while for one 1981 critical reflection on the History Workshop movement by Norah Carlin, see here.

Lord Asa Briggs (1921-2016) and the future of labour history

[From London Socialist Historians Newsletter 58 (Summer 2016)]
For some reason the Guardian obituary of Asa Briggs who has died at 94 while admitting he was a bit of a lefty somehow managed to gloss over his specific relationship with labour history.
I didn’t know and never met Briggs but I certainly did know some of the Marxist historians with whom he was associated in the 1950s and 1960s including Christopher Hill, E.P. Thompson and particularly John Saville.
Briggs edited two volumes of Essays in Labour History with Saville (1960) and presided also in 1960 over the founding the Society for the Study of Labour History.
I’m pleased to say that the Society is still very much with us as are conferences organised by it and its journal Labour History Review.
Even so labour history in 2016 is hardly what it was in the 1960s.
I was in the British Library this week looking at the 1994 re-print of Royden Harrison’s Before the Socialists. Harrison was the first co-editor (with Sidney Pollard) of the SSLH bulletin. In his 1994 introduction to BFS first published in 1965, he argues that the 1960s were in effect very much the moment of labour history.
For reasons which are too obvious to bang on about (Thatcher and Blair..) labour history is not currently the most sexy of academic subjects.
As the organiser of the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research I get very few seminar proposals (perhaps a couple a year) in the broad area of labour history.
That is partly because the subject is unfashionable but also partly (see EP Thompson’s 'Homage to Tom Maguire') because radical and socialist history has broadened out and moved on itself.
Pieces about men in suits who attained high office in the labour movement are not generally in vogue.That is not a bad thing if the point is that the movement is much more than that.  On the other hand it is still useful and sometimes interesting to know and understand how they attained such a position and what they got up to while there.
On the same point it is the 40th anniversary (Spring 1976) of the first issue of History Workshop Journal itself still published and now with a lively website too.
We should at least raise a clenched fist to the role that Lord Asa Briggs played in putting labour history on the political, historical and academic map. He may have been a man of the Establishment (he wrote the official history of the BBC) but he performed some very useful things for our side too.
Keith Flett

Blanqui and his Legacy: An international conference

Blanqui and his Legacy: An International Conference

Time: 9.45am - 6.45pm
Venue: Room 0001, John Galsworthy Building, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE
Price: free but booking in advance essential
Speaker(s): Mitchell Abidor, Ian Birchall, Doug Greene, Peter Hallward, Eric Hazan, Philippe Le Goff, Dominique Le Nuz, Marisa Linton
Join the Centre of Research in Modern European Philosophy for perhaps the first international conference in the UK on Auguste Blanqui's revolutionary work and legacy, which is part of Professor Peter Hallward's ongoing AHRC Research Leadership Fellowship Project.
For more details and how to book please see here

Friday, 13 May 2016

LSHG seminar - Keith Flett on The European Referendum in 1975 and the Left

Monday 6 June - LSHG seminar

Keith Flett on 'The European Referendum in 1975 and the Left'

Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St London WC1E 7HU (Room 304 - 5.30pm)
All welcome

Rural Radicalism Conference at Anglia Ruskin University - 4 June

Rural Radicalism Conference,
Saturday 4th June 2016  at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
Helmore 251 (first floor of the Helmore Building on East Road, Cambridge)
10:00am – 4.45pm
Organised by the  Labour History Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin University and the Victorian Studies Centre, at Saffron Walden Town Library

East Anglia has a rich but often overlooked history of radicalism and this conference will introduce people to some aspects of this history and provide a focus for a renewed interest in Labour History.

Labour radicalism in East Anglia has taken many different forms, ranging from the struggle by the farm-workers to establish their own trade union and their continuing fight to earn a living wage, to the colourful Christian Socialism of the Thaxted Movement in north-west Essex. These rural struggles were not isolated from the cities but drew on them for support and sometimes inspiration, and in turn their radicalism shaped the nature of the early Labour Party.

During the day, the speakers will not simply describe the events that occurred, but will explore the ways in which people organised and sustained their struggles, often over many years.

There is no charge for attending the Conference, but people wishing to attend are requested to reserve their place by booking with eventbrite, using the link at the foot of this email. There are 50 places available.  Please note that the organisers reserve the right to change the programme without notice

10:00 - 10:15  Registration

10:15 – 11.00 
Town, gown, and farm: the early Labour Party in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire
Ashley Walsh

This paper will explore the origins of the Labour Party in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire where early activists sought explicitly to unite disparate forms of political association among light-industrial and railway workers in Cambridge who were traditionally attached to the Liberal Party, various congregations of dissenting Protestants, agricultural labourers, and academics. It will demonstrate how these groups were often difficult to hold together and, as a result, how slow  and sporadic the development of organised Labourism was in a university-oriented market town on the edge of the Fens.

Ashley Walsh is a doctoral student at Downing College, Cambridge, specialising in eighteenth-century British intellectual history. He is also Leader of the Labour Group on Cambridgeshire County Council. Along with Richard Johnson, he wrote 'Camaraderie: One Hundred Years of the Cambridge Labour Party, 1912-2012' to mark the centenary celebrations of the Labour Party in Cambridge.

11:00 – 11:20  Coffee

11:20 – 12:05
Christian Socialism in North-West Essex: A Progress Report
Arthur Burns
This paper discusses Arthur’s Thaxted work, in particular highlighting those issues which have emerged in the course of his research and which remain to be resolved, not least because of their invisibility in the standard accounts of Conrad Noel, the Battle of the Flags and the Thaxted tradition.

Professor Arthur Burns is vice-dean for Education in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at King’s College London and a vice-president of the Royal Historical Society. He has published widely on the history of the Church of England from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, and is a director of the online Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835. He has also written on nineteenth-century reform and the history of walking. He is currently working on a book on the Christian Socialist tradition in twentieth-century Thaxted.

12:05 – 12:50
Defending place as custom: rural resistance in the early 19th century ‘neighbourhood’.
Dr Katrina Navickas

Rural resistance in early 19th century England was never isolated from the concerns of town dwellers. Indeed, in this period of rapid urbanization, resistance commonly occurred in the ‘neighbourhood’ or ‘edgelands’ of urban areas: places where boundaries were challenged or changed by changing agricultural and industrial economies. This paper explores rural resistance in these areas, especially focusing on the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire, and disputes over enclosure and the Swing riots of the early 1830s. It draws from two ways of thinking about protest and place: first, the early modern historian Andy Wood’s conception of place as custom; second, the geographer Doreen Massey’s conception of protest as a ‘critique of dispossession’. It argues that, even though rural areas may not have been as responsive to national political movements such as Chartism, their protests were not backward-looking or reactionary, but connected to wider critiques of the impact of national economic change. 

Dr Katrina Navickas is senior lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire. She researches popular protest in 18th and 19th century England, and also has a developing interest in using digital methods in historical research. Her latest book is ‘Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848’, published by Manchester University Press.

12:50 – 14:00  Lunch

14:00 – 14.35
Strike and Lockout: the formation of the agricultural labourers’ union in south Cambridgeshire and north-west Essex, 1872-1874.
Martyn Everett

“The most striking labour advance of the year 1872 was to be the work, not of the town artisans, but the farm labourers; was to come not from the great centres of industry, but from the villages where squire and farmer looked invincible in their absolute dominion over the seemingly helpless, servile, and spiritless rural poor.” (Reg Groves: ‘Sharpen the Sickle!’).

Martyn Everett was formerly a librarian, and is the author of several books.  He is also a member of Unite Community Union.

14:35 – 15:10
The Burston School Strike – 100 years of Village Revolt
Shaun Jeffery

On April 1st 1914 the school children of the Norfolk village of Burston went out ‘on strike’ in support of their teachers who were being victimised from their employment by the local school managers and Parson. Tom and Annie Higdon had arrived in Burston after being forced into take a transfer from their previous posting because of Tom’s organising of the local agricultural labourers’. But rather than that outcome being repeated, the day marked the beginning of what would become known as the Longest Strike in History.

Shaun Jeffery is a horticulture worker; a member of Unite’s Food, Drink & Agriculture Region and National Committee’s, Secretary of the Burston Strike School Museum Trustees and one of the Strike School Rally organisers.

15:15  - 15:35 Coffee

15:35 – 16:20
Labour and the villages: South Norfolk 1872-1924. 
Alun Howkins

In 1921 at a by-election Labour won its first truly rural seat - South Norfolk. They lost it at the general election of 1922 and won it again in 1924. This paper will examine the long-term background to that victory in the history of rural radicalism and trades unionism in the county.

Alun Howkins is Honorary Professor in the School of History at the University of East Anglia. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Sussex where he taught for many years. He started life as a farm worker and his first book Poor Labouring Men was on rural radicalism in Norfolk.

16:20 – 16:45 Closing discussion – where next for rural labour history? 

There is no charge to attend the conference but people are requested to book in advance via Eventbrite: 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Book Review: Yealm: A Sorterbiography by Sheila Lahr

[From London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter 58 (Summer 2016)].

Yealm: A Sorterbiography
Sheila Lahr
Unkant Publishers, London 2015
524pp paperback £11.99
ISBN 978 - 0992650940

From time to time well-heeled journalists who grew up in a Communist Party home get a certain amount of publicity by lamenting their parents’ naivety in aspiring to change the world. There will be less publicity for Sheila Lahr’s “sorterbiography”, but it is a much more rewarding read, and should fascinate any socialist historian.

Sheila, born in 1927, came from a milieu well to the left of the Communist Party; as she notes “my father would never have turned me out of the house for bearing an illegitimate child, but he would have slung me out if I’d joined the Stalinists!”

Sheila is one of the few surviving members of the (Trotskyist) Revolutionary Communist Party of the 1940s, and has never lost her socialist commitment to equality and justice. Yealm (a yealm is a bundle of straw used in thatching) tells the story of her life up to the end of the Second World War.

Sheila’s mother was Jewish, the child of refugees from Eastern Europe; her father, Charlie Lahr, was German. Her parents had been founder members of the Communist Party, but her father was expelled for “levity” (making an irreverent joke about the Party). Her mother was proud of her Jewish heritage and persuaded Sheila’s father to be circumcised.

But in the 1930s, with the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain and Nazism in Europe, her mother decided that Sheila and her sister should become Catholics to make them feel that they belonged and to escape persecution. In fact both parents were atheists. This must have caused considerable confusion, and perhaps explains why Sheila became an internationalist, with no loyalty to any nation or faith.

In class terms the picture was equally confusing. Her mother had become a factoryworker at the age of thirteen, and much of Sheila’s childhood was spent on the brink of poverty. But for a time a small windfall meant the family could employ a “succession of live-in maids” and the children were sent to feepaying schools. Her father owned a bookshop, and had a circle of literary friends – but he was scarcely a successful businessman, for he seems not to have understood the basic principles of the market: “he is apt to refuse to sell a book of which he is particularly fond.” Later her father was imprisoned for receiving stolen goods – books stolen from Foyles. The British state revealed its humanity by threatening to deport him to Nazi Germany unless he pleaded guilty.

Sheila’s early teenage years coincided with the Second World War. She saw the Blitz at first hand, observing a nearby house “sliced in two” by a bomb, but also spent some time as an evacuee. Both parents were interned on the Isle of Man as “aliens”, as the government was pressured by the Daily Mail to recognise that “every German is an Agent. All of them have both the duty and the means to communicate information to Berlin.” Not surprisingly, the young Sheila was not seduced by patriotism – but nor was she embittered; she drew the conclusion that “there must be no more wars, the world must become socialist, co-operative, an international society where everyone lives in peace.”

Some of those she encountered had more ambitious aims. Sammy Marks, a socialist agitator who spoke in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, promised: “After the war we won’t need bunting. No, there’ll be no need for bunting. We’ll hang a landlord on every lamp-post.” Sheila herself made a more moderate estimate of 1945: “Not that I ever deceive myself that this is socialism, but it is a beginning – better than what went before."

Sheila was a constant rebel; her earliest direct action was as a ten-year-old at convent school, when the girls challenged discipline by wearing socks instead of heavy woollen stockings in hot weather. A little later she took pride in her mother who unionised the munitions factory where she worked. And she was deeply sceptical about educational institutions. Many years later Sheila trained as a teacher, but came to the conclusion that “children are sent to school to be made stupid”.

By the end of the war Sheila is attracted to Common Wealth, the organisation led by Richard Acland and JB Priestley which had refused to accept the wartime electoral truce. For a time she was a full-time worker for it.

Yealm is the story of one young woman’s personal and political evolution. But it is also full of detail which reminds us how the world has changed within the limits of a single – long – lifetime. Today’s politicians seem to believe that the way to win elections is by adapting to the existing state of consciousness. But Sheila reminds us just how much and how rapidly consciousness changes.

Thus Sheila gives a striking portrayal of the Shillans, a couple in Gloucestershire with whom she lodged for a time during the war. The restrictive, snobbish attitudes of this couple belong to an archaic middle-class world, one that was effectively swept aside after the Second World War. “Mrs Shillan, intent upon maintaining the social divide, makes it clear that she is opposed to us becoming acquainted with village people.” The Shillans attempt to ration reading, telling Sheila and her sister that they must not read for more than fifteen minutes a day. Mr Shillan teaches them to say:

A socialist is a man who’s willing,
To share with you his ha’penny
And collar your shilling.

Sheila causes great offence by insisting that “it was the British soldiers and not the German internees, who had smashed up the pipe organ in Alexandra Palace during WWI”.

In few areas has change over a single lifespan been more remarkable than in the position of women in society, and Sheila reminds us of this with some striking examples. She evokes the terror and distress produced by an unwanted pregnancy outside marriage – “a time when many an unmarried mother was certified as ‘morally defective’ and confined to a lunatic asylum for life, or sent to a colony for the feeble minded. Her child taken at away birth to be lost in the labyrinth of institutions.”

Likewise, before the war in the Civil Service, local authorities and industry, there was a “marriage bar” – women who got married were obliged to give up their jobs. This even applied in laundries: “those needing to work to support their families, or add to family income, on applying to wash the neighbourhood’s bedding, smalls, shirts and so on, must take off their gold bands and swear to be single.”

Sheila’s book is funny, sad, moving and full of revealing detail and anecdote, all recounted with the passion for social transformation which has animated her life.

Ian Birchall

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The 1926 General Strike at 90 - what is its relevance now?

The 1926 General Strike at 90: What is its relevance now?
London Socialist Historians Group conference
Saturday 21 May 2016 from midday
Room NB02, Lower Ground Floor
Institute of Historical Research
Senate House, Malet Street London WC1E 7HU

Special constables in Hornsey being issued with truncheons (Getty)

The aim of the conference is to look at new research and potential areas of interest in
the events of 1926 and to ask what relevance the events of 90 years ago have not only to
Britain but elsewhere in the world today.

There is a job of work to be done in making sure younger generations in particular have
heard of the General Strike and understand what the struggle was about, but the aim of
the conference is to focus specifically on new research areas and angles.

There has been one new book in the area, on the General Strike in fiction, which was
reviewed by Ian Birchall in the Spring 2016 issue of the London Socialist Historians
Newsletter. Other areas which may be worth more exploration include the miners’
lockout from 12 May to November 1926, the role of the coal owners and who they were,
and the same for the ‘volunteers’ who broke the strike.

Speakers confirmed so far include Daryl Leeworthy, who has been researching the strike
in South Wales, and Ian Birchall on how 1926 was seen in France.

There will be a roundtable including Sue Bruley, who has previously published on women
and the General Strike, and Keith Flett.

For more information contact London Socialist Historians Group:

Edited to add: Ian Birchall's paper from the conference - how 1926 was seen by the French left - is now online here