First MQC publication: Northern ReSisters by Bernadette Hyland

Originally posted on Mary Quaile Club:

Northern ReSisters front cover

The Mary Quaile Club is pleased to announce its first publication,  Northern  ReSisters:conversations with political women, written by Bernadette Hyland,  published  on 1 May  2015. ISBN 978-0-9932247-0-06 £5.95

In the book Bernadette speaks to nine women  from the north west  who have been active in radical  movements over the pasty forty years, including trade unionism, Women’s  Liberation, radical  bookselling,  anti-racism, the peace movement, Ireland  and Palestine.

Bernadette says: “In this book I ask the question; what does it mean to be an activist; how does it affect your life and how do people keep going at a time of increasing attacks on all the aspects of this society that has made it a decent place for people to live? 

  My conversations  with these women cover many of the important issues of the post war era including; the peace movement, trade unions, women’s  rights and issues around sexuality, anti-fascist…

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Conference: “Before ’68: The Left, activism & social movements in the long 1960s”

Call for papers


Conference: “Before ’68: The Left, activism & social movements in the long 1960s”


13-14 February 2016, School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK


Organised and hosted by UEA School of History in conjunction with Socialist History and the Institute of Working Class History, Chicago.


The events of 1968, particularly those in France, have achieved a mythical status in both the memory and the historiography of the 1960s. For some, 1968 marked the end-point of a realignment of the European ‘New Left’. For others 1968 represented a student generation in revolt, and many of the first accounts which sought to explain the history and meaning of ’68 were written by that generation.


More recently historians have tried to demythologise ’68, looking both at less ‘glamourous’ locales and at the deeper histories of anti-colonial struggles and worker activism prior to the events of that year. The aim of this conference is to explore the diverse histories of social activism and left politics in Britain and elsewhere, and how they prepared the ground for and fed into ‘1968’. Themes might include, but are not limited to:



• Anti-nuclear & peace movements

• Civil Rights struggles

• The Black Power movement

• Anti-colonial politics

• The activities of the Labour movement and the ‘traditional’ Left

• The grassroots activism of the ‘New Left’

•Far Left challenges: Trotskyism & Maoism

• Campaigns around housing and the built environment

• Campaigns around race and discrimination in the workplace and housing

• Solidarity movements with struggles abroad (e.g. South Africa, Vietnam)

• Campaigns for Homosexual Equality

• Second Wave Feminism




We are seeking papers of 5000 to 10000 words on any aspects of left activism and social movements in the period preceding 1968 to be presented at the conference. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Socialist History. Attendance at the conference will be free of charge, but we ask that anyone wishing to attend registers in advance. Proposals for papers and any enquiries should be submitted to Ben Jones at UEA.




Deadline for proposals for papers: 31 October 2015




Saturday 1st November 2014

Venue: Conway Hall

11am to 4.00pm Admission free


‘Class cohesion and spurious patriotism: trade

union internationalism in the First World War’

Professor Kevin Morgan

Kevin is a historian of British Communism and the left whose latest book is ‘Bolshevism,

syndicalism and the general strike: The lost internationalist world of A.A. Purcell.

(Lawrence & Wishart 2013)

‘Imperialist Rivalries and the Origins of the First World War’

Stan Newens

Stan, a former MP and MEP, is President of the Socialist History Society and a keen

historian who recently published his autobiography, In Quest of a Fairer Society.

‘So Bloody Much to Oppose – grassroots opposition to World

War One’

Keith Flett

Convener of the London Socialist Historians Group, Keith is a prolific letter writer and

author of Chartism After 1848: The Working Class and the Politics of Radical Education

(Merlin 2005).

German Women and the First World War

Dr Helen L Boak

‘Down with the war! We don’t want to starve any longer’: German working-class women

and the First World War

Dr Boak will discuss working-class woman’s perspectives on the war covering attitudes to

the outbreak of war, their experiences during the war and the ramifications of the war

for women in the early 1920s. Author of Women in the Weimar Republic.




The SHS has joined with Conway hall for a seven-session lecture series “Stop the First World War” on Oppositions to the Great War which starts Tuesday 30th September with Professor Martin Ceadel on “Norman Angell – Liberal, Radical, Socialist, Pacifist or Patriot?”

Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL. Starting at 7pm.

Further information:



Ukraine and its neighbours: a fractured history? 2pm, Saturday 4 October 2014

SHS public meeting:

2pm, Saturday 4 October 2014

Ukraine and its neighbours: a fractured history?

Speakers: Francis King on Russia and Ukraine: one history, two stories?;

Frank Lee on Ukraine Astride the Geopolitical Faultlines.

Venue: Marx House, 37 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1



the levellers – shs meeting 5th july

SHS public meeting 5th July

Stan Newens
(SHS president, former MP and MEP)
speaks on The Levellers – Britain’s First Democrats.

Talk followed by discussion. Venue: Marx House, 37A Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU. Time: 2.00 pm. Admission free, retiring collection.


NOT OUR WAR – book review

Book review –
Not Our War: Writings against the First World War
Edited by AW Zurbrugg (Merlin Press, 2014)

Among the plethora of publications and opinions issued by all and sundry in the run up to the anniversary of the First World War, this book must be one of the more outstanding to appear so far. It consists of a comprehensive anthology of voices against war, the famous and the obscure, from Britain and around the world; the more famous being James Connolly, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, Keir Hardie, Alexandra Kollontai, Lenin and Malatesta to name but a few.
Were it simply a collection of anti-war speeches and writings from leading political opponents of the ‘imperialist war’ the book would make a handy volume; but it is much more than this. It contains contributions from workers and rank-and-file activists as well as extracts from newspapers, diaries and letters of men and women who were opposed to the war as political radicals, trade unionists, socialists, anarchists, feminists, disenchanted soldiers and pacifists.
The book recovers these various dissident voices who courageously spoke out against the rising mood of patriotic fervour that marked the onset of the war in 1914. Their passionate arguments and urgent warnings against militarism, imperialism and needless carnage are still ignored to this day as contemporary politicians and historians rush to embellish the truth of what happened a century ago in order to claim the “Great” war as part of the nation’s heritage of supposed glory and unalloyed heroism.
The hundreds of short extracts that make up the volume have been painstakingly selected by editor Tony Zurbrugg and are linked together by an informed commentary that gives the context for writings that have been chosen to illustrate the diversity of opposition to the war and the richness of the anti-war arguments.
Not Our War is a powerful antidote to the incessant jingoism and nationalistic rewriting of history that characterises much of the official discussion of this horrific episode in the breakdown of modern civilisation. An essential read as we approach the official anniversary jamboree.
David Morgan

September 2015
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