Archive for October, 2010


‘Crisis and Critique’ Historical Materialism conference 2010

‘Crisis and Critique’: Historical Materialism Annual London Conference

Central London, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th November

Registration and Provisional Programme Now Available online here


Notwithstanding repeated invocations of the ‘green shoots of
recovery’, the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008
continue to be felt around the world. While some central tenets of the
neoliberal project have been called into question, bank bailouts, cuts
to public services and attacks on working people’s lives demonstrate
that the ruling order remains capable of imposing its agenda. Many
significant Marxist analyses have already been produced of the
origins, forms and prospects of the crisis, and we look forward to
furthering these debates at HM London 2010. We also aim to encourage
dialogue between the critique of political economy and other modes of
criticism – ideological, political, aesthetic, philosophical – central
to the Marxist tradition.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht projected a journal
to be called ‘Crisis and Critique’. In very different times, but in a
similar spirit, HM London 2010 aims to serve as a forum for dialogue,
interaction and debate between different strands of critical-Marxist
theory. Whether their focus is the study of the capitalist mode of
production’s theoretical and practical foundations, the unmasking of
its ideological forms of legitimation or its political negation, we
are convinced that a renewed and politically effective Marxism will
need to rely on all the resources of critique in the years ahead.
Crises produce periods of ideological and political uncertainty. They
are moments that put into question established cognitive and
disciplinary compartmentalisations, and require a recomposition at the
level of both theory and practice. HM London 2010 hopes to contribute
to a broader dialogue on the Left aimed at such a recomposition, one
of whose prerequisites remains the young Marx’s call for the ‘ruthless
criticism of all that exists’.


The People Speak

The People Speak , a programme showing on 31 October at 9pm on The History Channel looks like it might be worth a look. According to Socialist Worker,

The People Speak promises to be an inspiring antidote to sanitised and top-down histories of Britain.

Actors play the roles of ordinary people to tell their stories in their own words.

It includes Paul Foot’s speech at the funeral of Blair Peach, who was killed by police while protesting against fascists.

Co-director and actor Colin Firth said, “Corruption, sexual deviation, rebellion, struggles for power—none of that made it into my history lessons.”

He described The People Speak as “the perfect response to the abject misery of my history class”.

The People Speak. Directed by Anthony Arnove and Colin Firth. The History Channel, 9pm, Sunday 31 October.


SHS meeting reminder

Reminder of the next Socialist History Society Meeting for those who can make it.

Tuesday 2nd November 2010 at 7pm.

Public Meeting:- ‘Dora Montefiore, Why Forgotten?’
A talk by Ted Crawford.

Ted Crawford, the editor of Revolutionary History and a member of the Socialist History Society, looks at the long and active political career of Dora Montefiore (1851-1933),variously a Suffragist, Socialist and Communist who was active in Britain and Australia, but who is today largely forgotten. Talk followed by discussion.

Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2 (opposite Liverpool Street Station).
Time: 7.00 p.m. Admittance free. All welcome


National Demonstration against Racism, Fascism and Islamophobia

From Unite Against Fascism

Union leaders, MPs and campaigners have signed up to support the national demonstration against racism, fascism and Islamophobia on Saturday 6 November in central London.

The demo has been called by UAF and our sister organisation Love Music Hate Racism, and backed by the TUC, the Muslim Council of Britain.

UPDATE: The march will assemble at
12 noon, Malet Street, London WC1 on Saturday 6 November.

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples).

Alongside this the British National Party has received unprecedented electoral support for a fascist organisation in Britain.

Despite losing many council seats in the elections this year, the BNP’s share of the vote overall continued to rise and it has two elected members of the European Parliament.

This is in the context of a wave of Islamophobia and racism in Europe and the USA, including threats to burn copies of the Qur’an, attacks on Mosques and Islamic cultural centres, bans on Muslim women’s full-face veils and the construction of minarets. In France, the Roma people have been singled out and subjected to mass expulsions.

Now, more than ever, we must unite to turn back this tide of hatred.

We stand against the rise of racism, fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism and support the demonstration on Saturday 6 November.

Supporters include:
TUC, Muslim Council of Britain, Green Party, Brendan Barber general secretary TUC, Derek Simpson joint general secretary, Unite the union, Tony Woodley joint general secretary, Unite the union, Keith Sonnet deputy general secretary Unison, Paul Kenny general secretary GMB Ed Balls MP, Diane Abbott MP, Peter Hain MP, John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Ken Livingstone Labour candidate for London Mayor, Benjamin Zephaniah poet, Michael Rosen writer, broadcaster and professor of children’s literature, Ken Loach film director, Jerry Dammers musician, Kid British band, Mumzy Stranger musician, Missing Andy band, Abbas Hasan musician, Tasha Tah musician DJ Rugrat DJ, Billy Hayes general secretary, CWU, Tony Kearns deputy general secretary, CWU, Chris Keates general secretary, NASUWT, Christine Blower general secretary NUT, Kevin Courtney deputy general secretary, NUT, Sally Hunt general secretary UCU, Mark Serwotka general secretary PCS, Hugh Lanning deputy general secretary PCS, Matt Wrack general secretary FBU, Bob Crow general secretary, RMT, Jeremy Dear general secretary NUJ, Pete Murray president NUJ, Gerry Conlon Guildford Four, Paddy Hill Birmingham Six, Runnymede Trust, Napo, POA, Musicians UnionBritish Muslim Initiative, London Muslim Centre, Craig Johnston, RMT Executive, Tony Woodhouse chair of Unite the Union executive committee, Mary Bousted general secretaty ATL, Andy Bain president TSSA, Ronnie Draper national president BFAWU, Lee Jasper 1990 Trust, Jane Loftus vice president CWU, Mick Shaw national president FBU and many more…


Wiltshire History Day – Working Class Episodes

Saturday 6 November, 2010, St Margaret’s Hall, Bradford-upon-Avon. 10.00-2.30. Organised by White Horse TUC. For further details, click this link.


Eddie Dare (1919-2010)

– remembered by Tony Atienza

Edwin Hornsby Dare
Born: 8 Aug. 1919
Died: 29 Sept. 2010.

Although Eddie Dare’s father had served at sea in the First World War, he himself followed the traditions of his ancestors who had been millers in Devonshire. He trained as a baker and as a young man worked in the sweltering basement ovens of east and south London. At first he cycled the city streets delivering bread, as well as medicines for a local doctor, to earn a bit on the side. Later he wrote a fascinating article describing the long night hours and appalling conditions in these underground bakeries during the thirties.

The eldest of seven siblings he suffered from polio as a child and experienced the tragedy of a brother’s suicide.

Towards the end of the thirties Eddie had followed his father to sea as a baker on the Union Castle Line. It was on a visit to South Africa, going ashore in Durban, that he was shocked to see the working conditions, and the apartheid on the docks. This experience determined the rest of his life – it gave him his philosophy, which was a fighting one.

Back in Britain he soon became involved in politics, joining the Labour, and eventually the Communist Party.

He came into my life sixty years ago, after the War, when he moved with his wife, Olive, and their daughters, Janet and Ann, to the L.C.C. estate at Debden, in Essex. I had just arrived in the nearby village of Theydon Bois, having also joined the Communist Party at university. (Those were the days!)

One day he knocked on my door and from then on we set out to change the world.

We built a Communist branch – he as secretary and I as chairman. What an inspiration he was! We ran meetings and walked miles round the 6,000 houses in Debden, knocking on doors and handing out leaflets.

By now, in the 1950s and 60s, I was a teacher and Eddie was at the bottom of the Civil Service ladder. Down the years he was promoted steadily, entirely through his skill as a member of the social security and health ministries. He never seems to have taken examinations, but promotion boards never turned him down.

By the time we both retired in the early 1980s we were both earning about £15,000 p.a., I as a headmaster and he as a senior executive officer.

In his union he was a brilliant organiser; for three years he was elected chairman of the Marx Memorial Library; he was a key member of the committee of the Socialist History Society where he revived and ran its lively Newsletter; he took part in several of this society’s publications, including one concerned with East End Jewish bakers. The Press often received his letters.

Sadly, Eddie and Olive’s younger daughter, Ann, died at an early age after a long illness, although happily she left him grandchildren. Strangely, Olive died early in 1998 within a week of my own wife.

Eddie took pride in all his grandchildren, Monique, Scott, Barney and Zoe, and in his great-grandchildren, Stephan, Sophie, Suzanna, and Clara. He took a great interest in all of them and was fascinated to know their futures.

Down the years Eddie and I have taken part in so many campaigns: peace movements; Trafalgar Square rallies, moved so many resolutions. We spent many holidays together, especially camping all over France. Once three of us squashed into a mini and drove through France to Madrid and Valencia.

Eddie was always fond of people, enjoying company and vigorous discussion.

After 91 years he had a fall and broke his right arm, suffering a miserable but brief stay in hospital. Back at home he had another fall but soon rallied and chatted to the ambulance crew who had been called, telling them of his ongoing campaigning and stating, just before being helped into bed by the paramedic and his daughter Janet:

“So it’s on to a hundred. I love life. The world is an interesting place and I want to see what happens.”

He passed away that night in his sleep.

Tony Atienza, October 4th 2010


Making the Tories History

With the Right to Work demonstration outside Tory conference in Birmingham this Sunday (3 October), it seems topical to let people know that on Saturday 26 February 2011 the London Socialist Historians Group will be holding their annual conference on the hidden history of the Conservative Party. Please send proposals for papers to the LSHG convenor Keith Flett [ ] The group also will be holding a number of seminars in the autumn term.

October 2010