Wednesday, 19 October 2016

LSHG Rosmer seminar postponement

Unfortunately Ian Birchall is unwell at the moment and the seminar on Lenin's Moscow on 24th Oct will have to be cancelled. It will be re-arranged for the Spring term 2017. Apologies for any inconvenience caused - we hope Ian gets well soon. 

SHS meeting - William A Pelz on A People's History of Europe

Socialist History Society PUBLIC MEETING

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William A. Pelz (Institute of Working Class History, Chicago) speaks on A People's History of Europe (also the title of his latest book, Pluto, 2016).


 Venue: Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

Conference on the 40th anniversary of the Lucas plan

BOOK NOW for a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Lucas Plan!

Veteran trade unionists and younger activists see Nobel prize-nominated plan as inspiration for the future
November 26th, Birmingham
The Lucas Plan was a pioneering effort by workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. It remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change. Read the Plan here.
Today, in 2016 — 40 years after the Lucas Plan — we’re facing a convergence of crises: militarism and nuclear weapons, climate chaos, and the destruction of jobs by automation.
These crises mean we have to start thinking about technology as political, as the Lucas Aerospace workers did.
Our conference will aim to re-open the debate about industrial conversion and democracy. 

Leading figures from the left, trade union, environmental and peace movements are coming together at a conference on November 26th with a fresh perspective on tackling current crises, using the ideas of socially useful production pioneered in the Lucas Plan. The Plan, produced by workers at the Lucas Aerospace arms company, showed how jobs could be saved by converting to make products that answer a social need, rather than weapons. To book for the conference, visit  See, or the notes below for more information on the Lucas Plan.

The conference will focus on 5 key themes:

  • The Lucas Plan and socially useful production.
  • Arms conversion and peace.
  • Climate change and a socially just transition to sustainability.
  • The threat to skills and livelihoods from automation.
  • Local/community economic and industrial planning.

Linking all these issues is the need to rethink how we can produce what people and society actually need and overcome corporate domination through their control of technology.

Highlights of the conference will include:

  • Talks by Phil Asquith, Brian Salisbury and Mick Cooney (Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine).
  • Screening of a new film on the Lucas Plan by Steve Sprung.
  • Contributions from: Chris Baugh (PCS), Suzanne Jeffery (Million Climate Jobs Campaign), Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper), John McDonnell (tbc), Natalie Bennett and Molly Scott-Cato (Green Party), Romayne Phoenix (People’s Assembly Against Austerity), Mary Pearson (Birmingham Trades Council), Jim Wyke (Young Scots for Independence), Philippa Hands (Unison), Stuart Parkinson (Scientists for Global Responsibility), Dave Elliott (Open University), Dave King (Breaking the Frame), Tom Woolley (Rachel Bevan Architects), Simon Fairlie (The Land magazine), Karen Leach (Localise West Midlands), plus more speakers to be announced.

The conference on the Lucas Plan 40th anniversary will be held at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR) on November 26, 2016. See The conference is being organised and sponsored by: former members of the Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine, Breaking the Frame, PCS, UCU, Million Climate Jobs Campaign, Green Party, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Campaign Against Arms Trade, and Red Pepper.

Tickets are £10/£5 concessions: To book for the conference, visit For more information, email

BACKGROUND INFO: The Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan (‘The Lucas Plan’) was launched in 1976 and became famous worldwide, sparking an international movement for socially useful production and workers’ plans. Facing the threat of redundancies, the Combine collected 150 ideas from shop floor workers about alternative socially useful products that could be produced by the company, instead of relying on military orders. Many of the innovations in the plan, such as hybrid car engines, heat pumps and wind turbines were commercially viable and are now in widespread use. Although the Alternative Plan was rejected by Lucas Aerospace managers, it was instrumental in protecting jobs at Lucas in the 1970s. The Combine was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and Mike Cooley received the Right Livelihood Award in 1982. More information about the Plan, including the 53-page summary of the five 200 page volumes, can be found on the conference website,

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture 2016

Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture 2016
Alison Light: 'Between Private and Public: Writing a Memoir about Raphael and Myself'
7th December 2016, 7.00pm - 8.30pm
Wine reception to follow
This event is free of charge, but please reserve your place
Venue:    Arts 2. Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
To locate the venue, please click on this campus map:
Alison Light is a writer and Honorary Professor in the English department of University College, London.  As the widow of Raphael Samuel, she helped establish the archive and research centre in his name.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Richard Hart Memorial Lecture

Richard Hart Memorial Lecture
Hosted by Caribbean Labour Solidarity
November 5th - 12:30 - 3:30pm
Bolivar Hall - 54-56 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DL
Free admission, but registration is essential:


     Arrive 12:30 for refreshments [£5 for curry and roti]
     Poem read by Linton Kwesi Johnson
     Welcome and update on Tivoli Gardens massacre by CLS President Luke
     Professor Richard Drayton will deliver the Richard Hart Memorial
     Closing; Kaiso by Tobago Crusoe

Bookstalls food and artists

Struggle - people's festival in Hastings on 23 October

Struggle - festival in Hastings, 23 October

A festival to celebrate the People's fight for justice with music, speakers and poetry. Topics include The Free University, Legal Aid, attacks on education, Momentum, the campus at Hastings, Socialism and the Labour Party and the role of trade unions. Speakers include Jackie Walker, Louise Raw, Gloria Whittaker, Terry McCarthy, Gill Knight, Natasha Le Roc, Maggie Lloyd and many more. Sponsored by Unite the Union, Hastings TUC and the Labour History Movement Publications. 2pm-8pm, the Printworks - attendance free.
For further details e-mail Terry at

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter #59 (Autumn 2016)

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The new autumn 2016 edition of the London Socialist Historians Group Newsletter #59 is now online - it features a comment piece by LSHG convenor Keith Flett on Labour MPs past and present and John Newsinger, author of classic work The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire writing on The Easter Rising and the Left. There is also a statement by the LSHG on MI5 and EP Thompson (it might also be noted that many other members of the Communist Party of Great Britain's Historians' Group including Rodney Hilton and Eric Hobsbawm were also under state surveillance). Ian Birchall reviews two books in this Newsletter - The Cleaner of Kastoria - a novel by Jacqueline Paizis - and Australian Marxist Tom O' Lincoln's The Expropriators Must Be Expropriated, in which he discusses the Australian Minority Movement among other matters. The deadline for contributions to the next edition of the Newsletter is 1 December 2016 - for more details and on how to join the LSHG please contact Keith Flett at the email address above. Our Autumn Seminar Series at the Institute of Historical Research begins on 10 October with Steve Cushion talking about women workers and the Cuban Revolution - for details of the seminars see here. For details of other events etc etc please follow us on twitter - @LSHGofficial.