Monday, 14 August 2017

Marikana Miners Solidarity Campaign Picket and Vigil

Wednesday 16th August
5th ANNIVERSARY DEMONSTRATION
AGAINST THE BRUTAL MARIKANA MASSACRE

1-2pm Picket Lonmin HQ, 1-3 Mount Street, London W1K 3NB
4.30-7pm Remembrance Vigil
SOUTH AFRICA HOUSE, TRAFALGAR SQUARE
Bring yellow flowers
Marikana Miners Solidarity Campaign


On 16th August 2012, the South African Police shot dead 34 striking platinum rock drillers, while they were trying to disperse. Ten people had died before the massacre. The government set up the Farlam Inquiry which cost the working people of South Africa R153 million. Farlam failed to ask the right questions (who gave the order to issue guns to the police? who ordered them to shoot to kill?) and failed to address the issues - better working conditions and better wages, and decent housing.
Although evidence showed clearly that it was the police who killed the miners -19 strikers were charged with murder (!) as well as with malicious damage to property. There has been no compensation for the victims’ families or for the injured mineworkers. A second 'Inquiry' found “that the National Police Commander Riah Phiyega was not 'fit for office' and should be dismissed”. Phiyega has challenged this and filed for a review.
The ANC government called the shots on mining company Lonmin’s behalf. Elsewhere in South Africa, the struggle continues against the destruction of the environment and the health and social consequences of mining that forces people to leave their land which is the source of their livelihood. The small number of jobs it generates cannot justify the destruction it would cause. Local communities receive no benefits. There is widespread violence against those opposed to mining. Activists are attacked and arrested on trumped up charges. Sikhossiphi Rhadebe, the chair of the resistance community in Xolobeni, was murdered in front of his wife and son on 22nd March 2016. This is another example that Rhodes’ racist legacy remains.
Lonmin (London Mining) used to be a subsidiary of Lonrho, the notorious London Rhodesia company headed by Tiny Rowland, which even a Conservative prime minister Ted Heath called ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’ because of its wanton profiteering and corruption.  Lonmin continues today as the corporate face of neo-colonial capitalism. Principal investors in Lonmin’s murderous exploitation of African mineworkers are London based asset management funds Investec, Majedie, Schroders, Standard Life and Legal & General who own 44% of the corporation. A consortium of banks including Lloyds, HSBC and RBS are Lonmin’s biggest lenders.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

North East Labour History Society - Fifty Years of Activism Day School

Day School: Fifty Years of Activism

September 16 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm


Venue: University of Northumbria, Ellison Building

9:30am to 4:30pm, Saturday 16 September 2017

(Exact details of location at Northumbria University will be posted here soon).

A collaboration between the Histories of Activism Group at Northumbria University, and the North East Labour History Society.

This day school will reflect on the last fifty years in the North East, and especially the great changes that have occurred in politics, culture and society.
The workshops will focus on specific subjects such as Labour Activism and Music and we believe it will revive the spirit of the History Workshop conferences. The backgrounds of the participants will be mixed, including academics presenting their research, as well as activists and historians working outside of a formal academic framework.

To book your place in this Day School, please let us know on moderator@nelh.net. Attendance is free, and coffee and lunch will be provided.

Fifty Years of Activism

9:30 – 10:00 Coffee and Registration
10:00 – 11:00 Plenary, Keynote Speaker: Dr John Charlton

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee
11:30 –   1:00 Three parallel workshops:
Culture and Music: Workshop Leader, Dr Jude Murphy
Labour Activism: Workshop Leader, Ben Sellers
Women and the Women’s Movement: Workshop Leader, Dr Liz O’Donnell. During this session Dr Julie Scanlon will be talking about her research into the 1976 Women’s Liberation Conference held in Ponteland.
1:00 –   2:00 Lunch
2:00 –   3:00 Three Parallel Workshops
The Peace Movement: Workshop Leader, John Creaby
Politics: Workshop Leader, Nigel Todd
Cooperatives: Workshop Leader, Professor Tony Webster
3:00 –   4:00 Three Parallel Workshops
Trade Unions and the World of Work: Workshop Leader, John Stirling will begin with a brief overview of the changes in work and trade unions over the last 50 years and focus on changing ideas about ‘workers control’ to illustrate developments. He will then welcome discussion from participants about how they see the past and envisage the future.
Growth of Ethnic Diversity in the North East: Workshop Leader, Dr Avram Taylor
4:00 –   4:30 Concluding Remarks: Dr Matt Perry

To book your place in this Day School, please let us know on moderator@nelh.net. Attendance is free, and coffee and lunch will be provided.

 __________________________________________

The roots of organising in UK working class history

 From John Page:

I am working with a broad range of trade union and community organisers
under the working name of the 'Ella Baker School of Transformative
Community Organising' on a project: 'the roots of organising in UK
working class history'.

In essence we are looking for examples of social movement building in
the past that might provide lessons for the present. The key for us is
the 'who, what, why, how' questions: how did these movements start, what
were their internal practices, how did they frame their issues, and how
did they mobilise/organise their constituency etc?

While the list of examples is very much open, we are looking at things
like the East London Federation of Suffragettes, the New Cross Massacre
Action Committee, inter war anti-fascism in the east end of London, the
upper Clyde shipbuilders work-in etc. We are particularly interested in
migrant struggles and organising.
 

At this stage we are not particularly looking at undertaking original research, it is more a case
of exploring what has already been written and in particular first hand
accounts.

If anyone is interested or would like to contribute (either by joining a
'reading group' or  simply by supplying a suggested reading list, then
please register their interest here:
https://goo.gl/forms/QL8EAVQgAQETGk2C2

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

SHS meeting - Thomas Spence and the Land Question

Thomas Spence and the Land Question
Speaker Professor Malcolm Chase
2pm, Saturday 29th July 2017
Venue: Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
Malcolm is Professor of Social History at the University of Leeds. He has written extensively on Thomas Spence, including a recent article ‘The real rights of man: Thomas Spence,Paine and Chartism’ and his first book The People’s Farm: English Radical Agrarianism, 1775-1840 (1988), of which a new edition was recently published. His other books include The Chartists: perspectives and legacies (2015) and Chartism: A New History (2007).
 He is Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Labour History and a member of the SHS.
Admission free, retiring collection, all welcome


http://www.socialisthistorysociety.co.uk/category/meetings/future-shs-meetings/

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Battle of Lewisham 1977 - Forty years on







darcushowe77.png (571×396)
 Darcus Howe at the Battle of Lewisham, August 1977

 The Battle of Lewisham - Reunion - How we stopped the Nazi NF

Fb event:  https://en-gb.facebook.com/events/133868593825540/
  • Saturday 12 August at 13:0016:30 UTC+01

  • Clifton Rise, London, SE14 6, United Kingdom
Forty years ago this August, thousands of anti fascists and locals from South East London stopped the fascists of the National Front from marching.  The National Front hoped that by demonstrating in Lewisham – an area with a high proportion of Afro Caribbeans – they would further intimidate minorities. The fascists, however, were to receive a rude awakening. The victory was critical in beating back the rise in racism and fascism. Saturday 13th August, 1977 helped set back the fascists for a generation.
The far right had become, pre Lewisham, mainstream in the media, in political life and often, in popular culture. In 1977, the National Front received over 100,000 votes in London elections.
The historic day in Lewisham, itself, saw trades unionists, socialists, Labour Party members, and crucially, many people from Lewisham itself, come together to say enough is enough.
Up to 10,000 people joined in to oppose the NF. All the fascists possible routes were continually blocked, NF banners were burned, and Bob Marley was played. The counter demo became a great example of black and white unity.
Nazi organizations such as the NF, believed that they could build a mass movement based upon racial prejudices and racist violence. They were wrong, and they were defeated.
Ted Parker who took part in the battle, mentions, “Thereafter the NF never again posed a serious political threat. Lewisham led directly to the formation of the Anti Nazi League (ANL) which, together with Rock Against Racism (RAR), and nowadays Love Music Hate Racism mobilised hundreds of thousands in collective expressions of solidarity between those of differing cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Organised racism was marginalised for the next quarter of a century”


Come and march and meet with some of the key individuals, who alongside many others, helped beat back the rise in racism and the fascists who fed off such poison.
People who played a critical role at Lewisham and some who helped form the Anti Nazi League (ANL), will recall the day the Nazis were stopped from marching and why it matters today. We'll assemble at Clifton Rise, a key location on the day.
The united front of socialists, trades unionists, Labour members... anyone against the Nazis, that was the ANL, was inspired from Lewisham. Alongside Rock Against Racism, the ANL was crucial in undercutting the then growing NF.
The ANL combined physically confronting the Nazis wherever they raised their ugly heads with powerful propaganda exposing the little Hitlers. It was a mass movement, that faced with the challenges posed by Le Pen, Golden Dawn and Jobbik, still reasonates. Please share this event, invite your friends, let's celebrate the victory and ensure today's fascists are defeated.


Hosted by Unite Against Fascism
http://uaf.org.uk/2017/07/the-battle-of-lewisham-1977-40-years-on-2/

See also the commemorations being organised by Goldsmiths College - here: 
 http://sites.gold.ac.uk/battle-of-lewisham/2017/01/04/remembering-the-battle-of-lewisham-40-years-on/


Remobilising militant pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture

Remobilising militant pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture

Kings College London - 31 August - 1 September 2017

For programme and registration details please see here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/remobilising-militant-pasts-histories-of-protest-unrest-and-insurrection-in-politics-and-culture-tickets-36308575928

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.

Programme
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.