Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Must Britain Travel the Moscow Road? The British Left and the Russian Revolution

 As well as Marxism 2017, in central London from 6-9 July, tickets are now on sale for ‘Must Britain Travel the Moscow Road? The British Left and the Russian Revolution’, taking place on Monday 10th July at the British Library. More information, including the programme of the day is available at: https://www.bl.uk/events/must-britain-travel-the-moscow-road-the-british-left-and-the-russian-revolution

What did H G Wells and Sylvia Pankhurst find on their visits to the first Communist state? What was it like being brought up in a Communist family in Britain following the events of 1917? Join writer and broadcaster David Aaronovitch alongside historians and archivists to uncover the effect of the Revolution on British socialists.

The Russian Revolution and the birth of the Soviet state had a deep and enduring impact on the British Left, which continues to shape socialist politics to this day. Socialists in Britain watched the unexpected events of 1917 with amazement and confusion, and struggled to draw lessons for themselves. The Bolsheviks, meanwhile, saw the nations of the British Empire as key targets through which their revolt could spread, hoping to spark a world-wide revolution. At this packed day of talks, historians and archivists uncover stories and records of their responses at home, and visits made to witness the new state at first hand.  Writer and broadcaster David Aaronovitch concludes the day with an account of his upbringing in a loyal Communist family in Britain.

09.00 - Registration and coffee                 

09.30 – 10.15  - Dr Jonathan Davis (Anglia Ruskin University) opening keynote: ‘A new star of hope has arisen over Europe’: British Labour and the Russian Revolutions

10.15 – 11.00 - Dr Billy Kenefick (University of Dundee): The Scottish Radical Left and the impact of the Russian Revolution

11.00 – 11.20 - Coffee/tea break

11.20 – 13.00 - Dr John S. Partington (University of Reading): One Russia, Two Reflexions: H. G. Wells and Clara Zetkin on the Soviet Experiment, 1917-1934
Professor Mary Davis (Visiting Professor of Labour History, Royal Holloway, University of London): Sylvia Pankhurst and the Russian Revolution; Pioneering Solidarity

13.00- 14.15 - Lunch (not included)

14.15 – 15.30 - Short introductions to British Left archives and resources with Ralph Gibson (Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies), Jeff Howarth (TUC Library), Meirian Jump (Marx Memorial Library) and Katya Rogatchevskaia (British Library)

15.30 – 15.50 - Coffee/tea break 

15.50 – 16.30 - David Aaronovitch concludes the day with an account of his upbringing in a loyal Communist family in Britain – a life filled with picket lines, militant trade unions, solidarity rallies for foreign Communists, the Red Army Choir, copies of the Daily Worker, all underpinned by a quiet love of the Soviet Union. He is the author of the recent autobiography Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists.

A temporary display The Russian Revolution and its impact on the course and outcome of WWI will be available to view at this event. This Heritage Lottery funded exhibition on the impact of the Russian Revolution 1917-22 looks at the two revolutions of 1917, their effect on WW1, the ensuing Wars of Intervention and Labour Movement responses in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

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