Archive for October, 2009


A Social Approach to Politics: Aspects of Communism in India and Britain

The Working Lives Research Institute and the Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA) present:

A Social Approach to Politics: Aspects of Communism in India and Britain

Seminar by Dr Ritwika Biswas
(University of Calcutta’s History Department)


The Working Lives Research Institute is hosting the visit of Dr Ritwika Biswas of the University of Calcutta’s History Department while she is on a visit to original archive research supported by a Charles Wallace Fellowship for her work on the interaction between the British and Indian Communist Parties, 1920-60. Professor Mary Davis of WLRI is acting as Dr Biswas’s academic host.

BASA’s interest lies in the inter-action between the two Parties, which will form a major theme of discussion after Dr Biswas’s talk.
Please make every effort to attend and forward onto anyone you know will be interested.
There will be a short 20 minute tour of this fascinating Library, with its unique Labour Movement collections, at 3pm, before the seminar commences.
The Working Lives Research Institute:
Marx Memorial Library,

Access by public transport:
Underground: Farringdon on Circle, Hammersmith & Metropolitan lines
British Rail: Thameslink, Farringdon
Buses: 55, 63, 243, 259

Flie available on request to sean.creighton(at)




Jointly organised by Labour Heritage and the Essex Country Labour Party.

Saturday, 17th October, 2009

At The Labour Hall, Collingwood Road, Witham Essex

10.30am – 4pm
Registration free: £6.

For further information and/or to register, please contact:

John Kotz on

Themes of conference will be:

1. Tom Paine, author of The Rights of Man
2. The Second Labour Government 1929-1931: its genesis and achievements; its catastrophic defeat in 1931 and the slow recovery; comparison with today.

By train – direct train from Liverpool Street to Witham, + 5 minutes walk to hall.

By car: Witham is just off the A.12


10.30 – 11.00 a.m. Conference assembles (tea and coffee will be available)

11.00 – 11.10 a.m. Chair’s opening remarks – John Kotz, Chair, Essex County
Labour Party

11.10 – 12.05 p.m. Tom Paine: the impact of his democratic and progressive ideas on eastern England and Britain as a whole, and his seminal role as a pioneer of democracy in America, France and the world at large.
Stan Newens (Labour historian and former Labour MP and MEP)

12.05 – 1.00 p.m. The Second Labour Government, 1929-31: its genesis, its achievements and downfall.
Jim Mortimer (Labour historian and former General Secretary of the Labour Party)

1.00 – 2.00 p.m. Lunch, arranged by the Essex County Labour Party

2.00 – 2.35 p.m. The Second Labour Government, 1929-31: aspects of Labour’s earlier experiences in government.
John Grigg (Treasurer of Labour Heritage and former Labour Leader of Hounslow Council)

2.35 – 3.10 p.m. The Causes of Economic Crises: comparisons between 1929-33 and today.
Andrew Fisher (Co-ordinator of the Left Economic Advisory Panel)

3.10 – 3.40 p.m. Discussion

3.40 – 3.55 p.m. Future work on Labour History in Essex

3.55 – 4.00 p.m. Conclusion of Conference


Rising from the East: A day to explore communities, culture and politics in London’s East End

Rising from the East
A day to explore communities, culture and politics in London’s East End
Sunday 15th November, Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 (Aldgate East tube)

Entrance £5 (£3 concs)

11.00 Registration

Session 1: Rebels with a cause:

11.30-12.10: East End Jewish anarchists before WW1 – lessons for the 21st century (Ben Gidley)

12.15-12.55: Minnie Lansbury, feminist, socialist and rebel Poplar Councillor (Janine Booth)

Lunch/Book signing by Bill Fishman, author of many books on East End history and a Cable Street veteran,

Session 2: The struggle for better lives

1.35-2.15: Self-help, solidarity and socialism: the Workers Circle (David Mazower)

2.20-3.00 Doctors and Politics in East London (John Eversley)

Break for refreshments

Session 3: Bengalis and the East End – a continuing story

3.15-3.55 The East India company and the silencing of East End histories (Georgie Wemyss)

4.00-4.40 Bengali politics in London’s East End
(Ansar Ahmed Ullah)

Organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group


The Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture 2009 – Making the Human Gesture: History, Sexuality and Social Justice

Bishopsgate Institute, 27 November 2009, 6,30pm

Free, no advance booking required

The 1970s saw the rise of new social movements engaged with issues of sexuality. Historians inspired by these movements began writing histories of sexual life. This talk traces the development of these histories since the 1970s and considers what they show us about changing attitudes to human rights and social justice in western society. Speaker Jeffrey Weeks will discuss the importance of sexual history to contemporary thought and ask what a history rooted in the sexual radicalism of the late 20th century can teach us about life in the 21st.

Jeffrey Weeks is a leading historian and sociologist of sexuality. His 1977 book Coming Out was hugely influential, and he has since published many other landmark works, including Sexuality and Its Discontents, Making Sexual History and The World We Have Won: the Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life. Jeffrey Weeks is now Emeritus Professor at London South Bank University.


International Trade : Who makes the rules? 13 October 2009

Bishopsgate Institute, 13 October 2009, 7.00pm.
Free, no advance booking required.
Over the last decade international trade talks have successively stalled, been deferred due to immovable impasse, seen stalemate bring meetings to abrupt ends, and finally all-out collapse.

Bringing together historical perspectives with the experience of traders and legislators, the event asks how democratic is the making of multilateral trade agreements? To whom, are international trade legislators accountable? What values underpin international trade law? How do these values resonate within the UK and around the world? 

This event brings together historians, international trade policy makers, monitors and advisors with traders and negotiators to talk about international trade law in the past and present.
Speakers include Razeen Sally (International political economist, London School of Economics), Frank Trentmann (Historian, Birkbeck) and Alan Beattie (World Trade Editor, Financial Times).
This event is part of the series, ‘Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future: History and the Making of Public Policy’, organised by the Raphael Samuel History Centre (University of East London, Birkbeck College, Bishopsgate Institute), in partnership with ‘History & Policy’ (Cambridge, Institute of Historical Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

October 2009