Archive for May, 2010


Socialist Historians Up North summer day school – 11 July 2010

Why are most meetings always in London?
Some of us decided to remedy this by organising Socialist Historians Up North. Details of our next Day School are below. ALL WELCOME

Summer Day School 2010

The next Socialist Historians Up North Day School has been organised for Sunday July 11th, 2010. All interested socialist historians (or if you are just keen on the topics we are discussing), are welcome to come along.

It is to be held at the Irish Club, Huddersfield, 86 Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield, HD1 5BB
(Near to bus and train stations)

Topics for July

09.45: Tea and Coffee available

10.00 to 12.15: The impact of Comintern policies on the development of the Chinese Revolution 1925-1930 (Paul Gerrard presenting)

12.15 to 1.15pm: Lunch (bring your own, but tea and coffee will be provided)

1.15 to 3.30pm: ‘The Changing State’ – aspects of feudalism and capitalism: A survey of 19th century German History (Ed Doveton presenting)

3.30pm-4.00pm: Planning and Organising the Socialist Historians; future meetings, where do we go from here

Coming Along?

If you think you might be coming along, please let us know by e-mail, so we can make arrangements for tea, coffee and room size. Note that lunch is not provided, so bring your own.

There is no fee to attend the day-school, but we will be making a collection (guide donation £3 to £5), to cover costs of refreshments, room hire, the website, and printing agenda and papers.


Levellers Association

Call for sponsors of a Levellers Association

We are currently organising the launch of a Levellers Association which would aim to popularise the history and heritage of the Levellers and other radicals in the English Revolution.

It would seek to involve students, researchers and academics with amateur historians, 17th century re-enactors, publishers, artists, battlefield preservation societies, trade unionists, and campaigners who want to deepen our knowledge of the English Revolution. The project is at an early stage but current sponsors include:

Tony Benn,
Jeremy Corbyn MP,
Geoffrey Robertson QC, author of The Tyrannicide Brief
Jim Holstun, author of Ehud’s Dagger
Ann Hughes, Professor of Early Modern History at Keele University
Neil Faulkner, editor of Military Times
Andrew Murray, Director of Communications for Unite the Union
Dr John Gurney, Visiting Fellow Newcastle University
Caryl Churchill, playwright
Rev. Hammer, songwriter
Dr Rachel Foxley, University of Reading
Philip Baker, Senior Research Officer at the Centre for Metropolitan History
Dr Ariel Hessayon, Goldsmiths, University of London
Mike Simons
John Westmoreland, Head of History, York College
Jane Shallice
Lindsey German, national convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Dr Geoff Kennedy, University of Ulster
Marcus Rediker, University of Pittsburgh, co-author (with Peter Linebaugh), The Many-Headed Hydra
Joel Kovel, Editor in Chief, Capitalism Nature Socialism
Dr Pete Woodcock, University of Huddersfield
Norah Carlin, author of The Causes of the English Revolution
The Socialist History Society
Dominic Alexander, books editor, Counterfire magazine
Rowan Wilson, Sales and Marketing Director, Verso Books
Clare Solomon, President-elect, University of London Union
Seumas Milne, Guardian columnist
Syd Fogarty
Jon France, Nottingham University
Matthew Caygill, Leeds Metropolitan University
Dr Keith Flett, London Socialist Historians Group
Andrew Milner, Monash University, author of John Milton and the English Revolution
Kate Connolly, University of Paris

This letter is being circulated on history, academic, trade union and activists lists in the hope of widening he sponsorship base of the project. Please do let us know if you would like to become a sponsor of the Levellers Association.

We are aiming to hold an initial organising meeting on Saturday 22nd May, at 1pm in Room B104, the School of Oriental and African Studies Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG (nearest tube Russell Square). If you would like to attend or if you have any ideas that you would like discussed at the meeting please do let us know.

Please respond to this email address:

We hope that people can help us establish a website, newsletter, conferences, education packs, publications, artistic events and so on…but there is absolutely no obligation on individual sponsors to do any of this.

Thanks for taking the time to look at this.

Best wishes,

John Rees, Goldsmiths College
Ben Craggs, Goldsmiths College
Tehmeena Bax, Queen Mary College


Spalpeens, Gombeens, Squireens

Spalpeens, Gombeens, Squireens: Class Relations in Nineteenth Century Ireland.

A one day interdisciplinary conference aiming to bring together researchers whose work offers an insight into the lives of ordinary people in nineteenth century Ireland. The particular focus is on class as those lives were bound up with production, domination, exploitation and conflict.

Given the relatively sparsely documented nature of this topic and the consequent challenges to research, employing the different approaches represented by different disciplines can be of great utility in giving us a fuller picture. In addition political/elite history is still the predominate focus of research on the Irish past, but a comprehensive understanding is only possible with a commensurate orientation towards the mass of the population. It is intended that the conference will attract the participation of people from different fields including post-medieval archaeology, historical geography, historical sociology, social history, and economic history (and others are welcome).

We are particularly interested in involving postgraduate students and early career scholars.

The conference will take place in N.U.I. Maynooth on Saturday the 31st of July 2010.

Persons interested in presenting should contact the conference organising committee

Eoin O’Flaherty and Terry Dunne at with the following:

• Working title of paper.

• An abstract of no more than 250 words.

• Contact details: telephone number, e-mail address, institutional affiliation.

• Audio-visual requirements (overhead projector, DVD, VCR etc.).

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Monday 21st of June 2010.

There may be a nominal registration fee (e.g. approx. €20) – further details to be confirmed, we would appreciate it if people planning on attending but not presenting also notify us by Monday the 21st of June at


Tony Benn on the Movement for Colonial Freedom

Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Serving the Next Generation – The Commonwealth in the 21st Century

The Movement for Colonial Freedom
Rt Hon Tony Benn

Wednesday 9th June 2010

Lecture to start promptly at 5.30pm and to be followed by a wine reception

Beveridge Hall, South Block, Senate House
Malet Street, University of London
London WC1E 7HU

Founded by the Labour MP Fenner Brockway in 1954, the Movement for Colonial Freedom was one of Britain’s most prominent anti-colonial pressure groups in the 1950s and ‘60s. The Movement championed the cause of nationalist movements around the world and worked to expose human rights abuses perpetrated in the counterinsurgency campaigns that preceded the end of colonial rule. It was also a fierce critic of the racist policies of Rhodesia and South Africa. As the Movement’s Treasurer, Tony Benn, witnessed these struggles at first hand. His lecture promises to provide unique insights into this fascinating chapter in the history of decolonization and to offer important lessons for today’s campaigners against racism and oppression.

RSVP to Troy Rutt ( or 020 7862 8853)


one-day conference: “Biography and identity in the making of British radicals”

Saturday, 22 May 2010, Swansea Museum

A one-day conference in commemoration of the life and work of Nina Fishman, late Honorary Research Professor at Swansea University, also marking the Swansea launch of Nina’s Arthur Horner: A Political Biography (Lawrence and Wishart, 2010).

Sponsored by: The Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales, Swansea University and the Socialist History Society

1000: Coffee and Welcome by Dr Hywel Francis MP
1030: Andrew Thorpe (Exeter University): ‘Nina Fishman’s Arthur Horner and labour biography’
1130: David Howell (York University): ‘ “The district one calls home”: D. H. Lawrence’s writing on coalfield society’
1230: Lunch
1330: Peter Ackers (Loughborough University): ‘More Marx than Methodism: Hugh Clegg and Kingswood School’
1430: Angela John (Aberystwyth University): ‘Equal partners? Gender and the writing of biography’
1530: Chris Williams (Swansea University): ‘Robert Owen and Wales. Wales and Robert Owen’
1630: Tea and Close

Swansea Museum is located close to the city centre at Victoria Road, The Maritime Quarter, Swansea, SA1 1SN.

Coffees and teas will be available at the venue. For lunch people will need to bring their own or take advantage of nearby cafes, pubs etc.

Copies of Arthur Horner: A Political Biography will be on sale at the event throughout the day.

If further information is required please contact Prof. Chris Williams (Swansea University) on, or 07814 234403.



Dont forget the AGM at 1pm on 15th May, that will be held at the Bishopsgate Institute. This will be a chance for all SHS members to influence the future work of the Society and elect its new committee.

It will be followed by a talk by Willie Thompson on the cold war.


Celebrate Vietnam 1975-2010

1975-2010: 35 Years Since the Defeat of the US
May 26, Doors Open 7.00pm for 7.30pm
Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafon Way, London, W1T 5DL (nearest tube: Warren Street)

Vietnamese food and drink
Live Vietnamese entertainment

Special guests from Vietnam to include:
Tran Quang Hoan, Vietnamese Ambassador to Britain
Leader of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour

35 years ago millions around the world celebrated the end of a brutal war when Vietnam finally removed the US from its soil.  Against all the odds, despite the terrible legacy of chemical warfare and destruction, Vietnam has survived and prospered.
A generation was made political in support of Vietnam. You are now invited to renew our solidarity with a brave people – RSVP to

* Organised by Trade Union Friends of Vietnam with the Vietnamese Embassy. Supported by the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society, Charter for Women and the General Federation of Trade Unions. For further details and information of a 2010 tour of Vietnamese trade unionist speakers please see


LSHG Newsletter online

Readers of Socialist History News may be interested to note that the latest newsletter (No. 38, April 2010) of the London Socialist Historians Group is now online, and features articles on the People’s History Museum in Manchester, Ian Birchall on Robert Service’s award-winning biography of Leon Trotsky and various archives in London concerning British Trotskyism, Alan Woodward on radical Bristol posties, and last but not least Keith Flett on ‘The Old Corruption – and the New’.


Some upcoming events in London

Saturday 15 May Socialist History Society AGM 1.00 p.m., followed at 2.00 p.m. by public lecture: Willie Thompson speaks on Cold War Liberalism and Liberals. Venue: Library, Bishopsgate Institute. Admission £1.50 to public lecture

Monday 17 May Syndicalism: Lessons for today Public Meeting organised jointly by the London Socialist Historians and the Socialist History Society, 6.00pm in the Pollard Room, the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1

Thursday 10 June – Deborah Lavin speaks on Bradlaugh contra Marx – a Public Meeting organised by The Socialist History Society, 7pm, At the Bishopsgate Institute (opposite Liverpool Street)

1-5 July Marxism 2010 ‘Ideas to Change the World’ – conference in London with hundreds of meetings, films etc and various speakers including socialist feminist historian Sheila Rowbotham, Tariq Ali and Tony Benn.


May Day Greetings to our readers

May 2010