Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Spring Listings Renewed

February and March film screenings at Three Minute Theatre
£4. All welcome.
“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it” – John Pilger
You don’t have to be in the NUJ or a journalist to come to see a film.

FEBRUARY 25: We will screen Black Power Mix Tape (2011) a unique, powerful documentary using recently unearthed archive footage shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement in the US edited together with contemporary narration.
The film is being screened to discuss and promote the national anti-racism demonstration in London on March 18 backed by the TUC to bring together people from across all walks of life to challenge racism. Tackling racism has become one of the key concerns of the last year following the spike in hate crime after the EU referendum, the election of Donald Trump as US President and the growth in support for the far-right across Eurblackpowerope.
Branch member Amitt Bhatt will also talk about his campaign in seeking asylum in the UK after fleeing India after his journalistic activities, and specifically his investigations into government corruption, put him under threat. Amitt is supported by branch and the National Union of Journalists nationally. The lack of safety for journalists in India is a serious concern to the NUJ, our sister unions in the country and the International Federation of Journalists. Amitt’s journalistic activities would make him particularly vulnerable given the current situation in India.

MARCH 25: We will screen Good Night and Good Luck (2005), directed by George Clooney, followed by a discussion From McCarthyism to Trump led by author and journalist Granville Williams.
On 9 March 1954 Edward R.Murrow broadcast one of the most powerful documentaries in the history of television on his prime-time current affairs goodnight.jpgprogramme See It Now.
Murrow devoted the entire programme to an indictment of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunting and blacklisting tactics. McCarthy built support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of division, danger and conspiracy when they didn’t exist.
The parallels between the way McCarthy operated and the US President Donald Trump today are obvious. What role should the US media play today to challenge the ‘alternative facts’ Trump and his staff promote?
All screenings are at Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG.
Doors open 13:30 – film start about 14:00
Tickets are £4 on entry (this is to cover venue and film licence costs).
Licensed bar and refreshments available.
More details via
Book Launch: 1956
Launch meeting for new book — 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner, edited by Paul Flewers and John McIlroy
Wednesday, 1 March 2017 at 19.00 
at Housman’s Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.
There is a £3 entry fee, which is redeemable against any purchase.
1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner contains the full text of all three issues of John Saville and EP Thompson’s magazine from 1956, The Reasoner, related Communist Party documents, and an introduction and critical essays by the editors.
Housman’s events website <
Seminars, Spring Term 2017
5.30 p.m. Room 304 
Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1. 
Free without ticket

Monday 27th February - Mike Haynes, The Peculiar Career of  Colonel John Walsh MP from the SDF and General Unionism to the Russian Counter-Revolution

Monday 13th March - CANCELLATION: Unfortunately Ian Birchall's seminar on Lenin's Moscow has had to be postponed as he remains unwell.It is hoped that he will be able to present it later in the year.
The forthcoming Wakefield Socialist History Group meetings are as follows:
Saturday 11 March: THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
All meetings start at 1pm and are held at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 1QX.
Admission is free; free snacks are provided and there is bar with excellent real ale.
All events start 1pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.

With Banners Held High 2017
Tickets for the day event click HERE
Tickets for the evening event click 
"With Banners Held High" event is being held at Unity Works in Wakefield on Saturday 4 March
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX

Everyday Austerity exhibition - and a reprise of Spirit of '45
A new exhibition, Everyday Austerity, at the Library runs until 16 March.

The exhibition is the result of two years of research with families in Greater Manchester by Sarah Marie Hall, gathering first-hand, personal accounts of everyday life in austerity.

These accounts have been turned into a series of original drawings by North West zine artist Stef Bradley, and are exhibited alongside field notes, audio extracts, and collected materials, to ‘lift the lid’ on austerity.

Showing alongside Everyday Austerity are some of the boards from the Library's
Spirit of '45 exhibition, first shown in 2015. That date marked the 50th anniversary of the time when Britain was almost bankrupt but during its six years in power the Labour government reduced inequalities, extended public ownership, set up the welfare state, improved working and living conditions and established the NHS.

The exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm. Admission free.

International Women’s Day
Sat 4 March 2pm
International Women’s Day
Talk by Marika Sherwood on Claudia Jones’s remarkable life.  
Claudia (1915-1964) was born in Trinidad; her parents took her to the US as a child and she was subsequently imprisoned for her political activities and later deported to the UK.  She was an outstanding communist, feminist, peace activist, orator, journalist and founder of the biggest street festival in Europe.  She is buried next to Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.
Peggy Mulongo will also speak about her work on female genital mutilation (FMG) and women’s rights. She is a cross-cultural mental health practitioner and co-founder of the charity NESTAC, The New Step for African Community, which has been established to support Africans and immigrants, particularly those living in the North West of England.
Admission free; all welcome.
This event is part of Wonder Women, Manchester’s annual feminist festival. From 2-12 March 2017, we celebrate the women’s movement born in our area through a radical programme of cultural events, asking how far we’ve come in 100 years – and how far we have yet to go. Visit

Invisible Histories talks
Our free Invisible Histories talks will start up again in March – Wednesdays at 2pm:

15 March Trevor Fisher  Reclaiming the Blanketeers
March 2017 sees the 200th anniversary of the March of the Blanketeers, probably the first attempt at a protest march from a provincial city to Westminster. Now largely obscure, the precedent once established has been used ever since, and the organisers had devised a tactic which deserves to be put into the spotlight for its continuing importance.

29 March Geoff Andrews  James Klugmann, ‘The Shadow Man’
The 2015 book The Shadow Man: at the heart of the Cambridge spy circle explores through the life of Klugmann the conflicts of loyalties faced by communist intellectuals of the period.

12 April Robert Turnbull  Book launch – biography of Noah Ablett
Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935 is the first full-length biographical study of one of the most controversial personalities to emerge from the South Wales coalfield in the era preceding WW1.

26 April Ruth Cohen  Margaret Llewelyn Davies: socialist, feminist and co-operator
This visionary campaigner led the Women's Co-operative Guild between 1889 and 1921 -  a period in which it became an outstanding public voice for working class women, and has been described as the ‘left wing’ of the co-operative movement.

All welcome, admission free, light refreshments afterwards.
Further details of talks in May and June are at

Irish Mancunian Film & Culture
A range of events are being put on at Chorlton Irish Club by Irish Mancunian Film & Culture, including:
Ken Loach films including I, Daniel Blake (Sunday 5 March, 2pm, £6),
and the North West Labour History Society's celebration of James Connolly including songs from Claire Mooney (Sunday 30 April, 2.30pm, £5).
Wigan talks
Two talks of interest at the Museum of Wigan Life: on Tuesday 28 February from 12 to 1pm, Charles Jepson will mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Jarama by speaking on The Spanish Civil War and Wigan.
On Tuesday 7 March from 12 to 1pm Stephen Armstrong will talk on George Orwell - The Road To Wigan Pier at 80.
Both talks are price £2.50 including tea/coffee.

Museum of Wigan Life, Library Street, Wigan WN1 1NU.

Jarama play comes to Bury
If you missed the Clem Beckett play
Dare Devil Rides to Jarama when it was performed at the Library recently, there's another chance to catch it when it comes to Bury Met on Thursday 16 March at 8pm.  
The Met, Market Street, Bury, BL9 0BW.
Len Crome memorial conference
The International Brigade Memorial Trust are holding this year's conference on Saturday 18 March at the Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester M1 3BB.   The topic is Liberty's volunteers: the tireless legacy of the Spanish Civil War.
Full programme and registration details at

Charles Parker Day 2017
Booking for the Charles Parker Day 2017 has now opened.  The occasion is named after the producer of documentaries such as
the Radio Ballads. This year it takes place in Sheffield on Friday 7 April, and celebrates fifty years of local radio with the first manager of BBC Radio Sheffield (the second station to come on air), Michael Barton, who went on to become Controller of BBC Local Radio.  Further details at
Tickets (£30/£20 concessions):
October 1917 workers in power
Book launch with Paul Le Blanc
Hosted by Resistance Books
Friday 24 February, 7pm
Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Rd, N1 9DY
Drinks and snacks provided

Paul Le Blanc is Professor of History at La Roche College (USA) and author of works on the labour and socialist movements, including Lenin and the Revolutionary Party,From Marx to Gramsci, and Leon Trotsky.  An editor of the eight-volume International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest, he is currently helping to oversee the Verso Books edition of The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg.
Robert Turnbull's Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935 is the first full-length biographical study of one of the most controversial personalities to emerge from the South Wales coalfield in the era preceding WW1, an era of unparalleled industrial militancy in which Ablett played a leading role. The book tells the story of Noah Ablett from his early days as a boy preacher in the Rhondda coalfield to his rise to prominence within the tight-knit coalfield communities of South Wales, and his emergence as an uncompromising agitator, not only against the coal owners but also his own union. His uncompromising brand of revolutionary class warfare brought him into sharp conflict with the moderate consensus politics of William Abraham known as Mabon, a liberal who had led the South Wales miners since 1875. The conflict with Mabon and what he represented would lead to one of the most famous pamphlets in labour history, namely the Miners' Next Step of 1912, which called for workers' control of industry. Although very much a collaborative effort, the Miners' Next Step is perhaps the most famous statement of Ablett's rejection of the parliamentary road to socialism as "No better than an ant heap on the way to becoming a dunghill".


 Dates: Conference 10th-12 April Abstracts by Monday 2oth March Papers by Friday 31stMarch

From 1995 to 2016, Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a series of very successful annual international conferences on 'ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST'.
We're very happy to announce that the Twenty Second AF&PP Conference will be held between Monday 10th and Wednesday 12th April 2017.
The Conference rubric will remain as in previous years. The aim is to explore the dynamics of popular movements, along with the ideas which animate their activists and supporters and which contribute to shaping their fate.
Reflecting the inherent cross-disciplinary nature of the issues, previous participants (from over 60 countries) have come from such specialisms as sociology, politics, cultural studies, social psychology, economics,  history and geography.  The Manchester conferences have been notable for discovering a fruitful and friendly meeting ground between activism and academia.


We invite offers of papers relevant to the conference themes.  Papers should address such matters as: 
* contemporary and historical social movements and popular protests
* social movement theory
* utopias and experiments
* ideologies of collective action
* etc.

To offer a paper, please contact either of the conference convenors with a brief abstract:  
EITHER Colin Barker,  
OR Mike Tyldesley, Politics Section, HPP,  
Manchester Metropolitan University  
Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West  
Manchester M15 6LL, England  
Tel: M. Tyldesley  0161 247 3460   
Fax: 0161 247 6769 (+44 161 247 6769) 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Spies for Peace: the (inside) story continued

Noting from our London Rebel History calendar that it is 55 years since the Official Secrets Act (OSA) Trial of anti-nuclear activists began, it seems a good enough time to post this rediscovered article from Inside Story no. 9, May/June 1973 on a famous episode in the later history of direct action in the same context. In summary, it assesses the impact of the 'Spies for Peace' revelations in the mainstream media and in the left-libertarian and peace movements.

The Ones That Got Away...

"The Spies for Peace set out to rouse the nuclear disarmament movement and to spread the theory of do-it-yourself mass action against the Warfare State. There is no doubt that this aim was achieved for a time ... "
"... But the Spies for Peace had aimed at something more than merely discrediting the Civil Defence system, and by the autumn of 1963 they resumed their work... "
("Fallex system" in the top line should read "Fallex exercise")

"... The implication was that in the event of nuclear war London would be virtually abandoned to its fate - but this was no news for anyone who had read the original Spies for Peace pamphlet..."

"... During all this time [1963-64] a parallel but completely independent response to the situation in the Committee of 100 had taken place in Scotland..."
Singer Julie Felix at Warren Row a.k.a. RSG6, on Easter Saturday 1968 (as above)
"... Their only regret is that they were unable to do more work, and that their example was not followed - as it has been in the United States. The radical left has tended instead to turn towards symbolic confrontation and petty violence, forgetting the double lesson of 10 years ago: if you think something should be done, do it yourself;.but do something which is worth doing and which can be followed by others."
Part of a letter dated 15 May 1973 sent with a copy of the mag,
(Nicolas Walter was posthumously outed as a Spy for Peace.)
Front cover of the magazine...

... and back, with details and covers of previous issues

Introductory page to the article above: what it was all about.
Spies for Peace 1963: An Example of Libertarian Direct Action 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


This year's HARINGEY LOCAL HISTORY FAIR will be held on
Saturday 18th February, 11am – 4.30pm 
at Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane N17 
Discover more about Haringey’s history at our Fair – you can visit the Search Room and talk to Archive Staff, enjoy our all-day talks programme or browse stalls from local organisations showcasing our heritage.

The Old Kitchen will have a café for teas, coffee and cake all day.
We look forward to seeing you.

Deborah Hedgecock
Haringey Council
Haringey Archive and Museum Service, 
Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, London N17 8NU
T. 020 8808 8772

As usual there will be a RaHN stall at this event.

There will also be a talk at 2 p.m. about the 1977 'battle of Wood Green' when 2-3,000 antifascists confronted and tried to disrupt a National Front march. 
A pamphlet on the subject is available here.
If you were there on that day 40 years ago please come and help with the recollections, or if you were involved with any other anti-fascist mobilisations from this period (eg Lewisham) as part of the wider context. 

Also at the fair, a new book will be on sale:
Tottenham Walks
by Mareeni Raymond and Edward Richards

"Follow the four walks in this book to discover things about the Tottenham you thought you knew, including important history, architectural surprises and incredible people, that shaped Tottenham then and now. With simplified maps and colour photographs to guide you, explore Tottenham's many green spaces, changing streets and some of the great places to eat and drink along the way."

Walks cover:
1. Parks and Marshes: A pretty walk which takes you to Markfield Park’s beam engine and the urban garden of the Lea Valley.
2. Hidden Tottenham: From Northumberland Park to Bruce Grove, a short walk for those curious about the history of the High Road.
3. Bruce Grove to Seven Sisters: A walk through the beautiful village-esque Bruce Castle area to the Broadwater farm estate, with stops along Tottenham’s historical High Rd and Bruce Grove.
4. Seven Sisters to St. Ann's: A short stroll exploring some of the main historical sites of Tottenham High Road and the residential West Green area.

The authors say:
"We wrote the book because we are huge fans of the area we live in, and believe it is an understated place with a lot of hidden history in its buildings and residents past and present. It is a fascinating place to explore, a brilliant place to live in and so, with our daughter in tow, we’ve developed four guided walks highlighting some of our favourite places and interesting facts. There are of course plenty of things we have left out, as there just isn’t enough space to include everything, but we hope interest will be piqued enough to do some further exploring yourself!"

The RRP of the paperback is £9.99.

Featuring among other places and people:

Markfield Park beam engine
Tottenham marshes; Friends of the Marshes
Tottenham trees
7 Bruce Grove (Luke Howard's home)
Bruce Castle
Bernie Grant arts centre
Town Hall
Holy Trinity Church
The former Palace Theatre of Varieties
Lordship Rec community hub 

Haringey Archive and Museum Service
Friends of Lordship Rec 
Friends of Bruce Castle Park
Haringey Friends of Parks 
Radical History Network of North East London
Haringey London Borough Council
Summerhill Roads website team 
Hornsey Historical Society
Edmonton Hundred Historical Society
Tottenham Civic Society 

See the covers here.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

LGBT History month: some events and resources

1. From the National Archives:
Gay and lesbian history in our collection 
We have a range of records in our collection that can help you study gay and lesbian history. Our research guide is full of information on using our records and those of other archives in your research.Gay and lesbian research guide
LGBT history podcasts

Queer city: London club culture 1918-1967 
 2-26 March 2017 )
"2017 marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. This March, we are joining with the National Trust to re-create The Caravan, ‘London’s most bohemian rendezvous’, a queer-friendly members' club of 1934. The recreation will take place at the now well-known Freud Café-Bar – in almost the exact spot of The Caravan’s original location.
"Photographs, court reports, police papers and witness statements on The Caravan and other clubs of the era will be used to re-create the striking bohemian interior of the underground club. Selected from our extensive collection, these documents reveal great detail and insights into club culture and the everyday prejudices facing the homosexual community at the time."
Find out more about this project and book tickets 
for daytime tours of Soho and very special evenings at The Caravan.

Find out more about the National Trust's LGBTQ programme

2.  At the National Maritime Museum
"Royal Museums Greenwich will be running a season of events, activities, workshops and talks throughout February. Join us for an evening of speakers talking about gender in the armed forces, a family festival, arts and crafts workshops and much more!"

            (Dated 2016 but no doubt still useful)

The LSE Library has a spring exhibition which runs from 9 January to 7 April:
 'Glad to be Gay: the struggle for legal equality'. 
"It draws on the unique Hall-Carpenter Archives and the Women’s Library collection to mark the 50th anniversary of a pivotal piece of legislation: the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. Before that, homosexuality was a criminal offence. With the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, homosexuality in private was decriminalised, but genuine parity still was not achieved. The struggle for legal equality continues and has only made progress by the sustained efforts of committed activists."
See photos from the exhibition here

5. From Lives of the First World War team at IWM
"February is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and to mark this we have created a Community of LGBT men and women who made a contribution in the First World War – including Howard’s End author EM Forster.
"Do you have any stories to share?"

RaHN note: Lives of the First World War includes Conscientious Objectors (as listed on the Pearce Register) but so far a search using the keyword 'homosexual' finds just one record among 17,426 COs, that of Scottish writer Edward Gaitens, 1897-1966 (born 120 years ago this month), who was sentenced to two years in Wormwood Scrubs and wrote of his experiences there in his 1948 novel Dance of the Apprentices. Evidently there is work to be done on LGBT opposition to the war.
Stonewall was established in 1989 to combat discrimination and prejudice.
Previously on this blog: