Archive for May, 2013


Symposium on Class, Identity and Immigration, University of Reading, 26th September 2013

In conjunction with the University of Reading and Socialist History, this symposium will examine communal and radical politics in the turn of the century East End of London, particularly focusing on the Jewish and Irish immigrant communities, through discussion of political, social, and comparative history, faith and minority culture. The speakers, from a variety of academic backgrounds, will provide fresh insight into the nature of identity and how it is shaped, both in the turn of the century East End and today.
With the recent statistics on the profound shift that has taken place over the last decade in the demographic make-up of London, and the political controversies over renewed immigration from Eastern Europe in to Britain, the question of minority ethnic identification and involvement in politics is as relevant as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. How the contemporary political Left should address these issues, and the viability of grass roots radical politics in minority communities, is a question beyond the remit of these papers. However, the arguments on class, immigration and identity in the late-Victorian and Edwardian period, presented here, approached from different disciplines and standpoints, and encompassing and utilising music, theatre, and poetry, may perhaps help to clarify the challenges faced today.
The following papers will be given:
‘Morris Winchevsky’s London Years: The New Poetry of Jewish Socialism, 1884-94’ – Vivi Lachs (Royal Holloway)
‘Control, Cohesion and Faith: A Comparative Discussion of Immigrant Communal Control in the Fin-de-siècle East End’ – Daniel Renshaw (University of Reading)
‘Irish Catholic Religious Processions in Early Twentieth Century East London’ – Giulia Ni Dhulchaointigh (Trinity College Dublin)
Towards a Cosmopolitan Account of Jewish Socialism: Class, Identity and Immigration in Edwardian London’ – Dr Ben Gidley (COMPAS, University of Oxford)
‘” England People Very Nice”: Multi-Generational Irish Identities in the Multi-Cultural East End’ – Emeritus Professor Bronwen Walter (Anglia Ruskin University)
The symposium is to be held in Old Whiteknights House, at the University of Reading on Thursday 26th September 2013, with registration at 12 midday. Lunch will be provided. All are welcome, but please register as places are limited. If you are interested in attending or wish to find out more please email for further details.


Call for papers:- Conference: “Workers’ Internationalism before 1914”

Conference: “Workers’ Internationalism before 1914”
15-16 February 2014, School of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

Call for papers

2014 is the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the International Working Men’s Association in 1864. It is also the 125th anniversary of the foundation of the Socialist International in 1889, and the centenary of the outbreak of the war which precipitated the collapse of that International.

To mark these anniversaries, UEA School of History, in conjunction with the journal Socialist History and the Institute of Working Class History (Chicago) are organising a conference on “Workers’ internationalism before 1914”. We are inviting proposals for papers on any aspect of the subject.

Themes might include:
• the historical experience of the internationals and their affiliated organisations
• cross-border labour organisation
• resistance to nationalist politics in multi-national states
• transnational and international solidarity
• migration and the transplantation of labour movement culture
• international causes celèbres
• political asylum and revolutionary exile
• speaking tours of socialist leaders

We are seeking papers of 5000 to 10000 words on various experiences or aspects of workers’ internationalism before 1914, to be presented at the seminar. Selected papers will be published in 2014 in a special issue of Socialist History devoted to the subject.

Enquiries and proposals for papers should be submitted by 1 October 2013 to Attendance at the conference will be free of charge.



A Bird’s -Eye-View

By Khatchatur I. Pilikian

Whenever and wherever it happened, and alas it still happens, genocide is always premeditated, conceptualised and its execution meticulously organised at the highest governmental levels.

Significantly, implementing genocide’s execution always demanded a world turbulence characterising each historical epoch.

During centuries of colonial expansions and endemic wars, genocide and slavery were the necessary masts of the pirating strategy for land and raw material conquest. All colonial powers were engaged in it. World opinion, still in its infancy, was no more than a feeble gesture.

The epoch of Imperialism of the 20th century made a World War somehow the ‘prerequisite’ for any attempt of implementing the execution of genocide as a ‘final solution’. World opinion was starting to bite. The UN was founded and ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ had finally a name—Genocide, and an International Tribunal (Nuremberg) was set to condemn and punish its perpetrators.

But, even after World War Two, another epochal turbulence, the full-fledged Cold War epoch, ‘acted’ as a ‘shock absorbent’ for horrendous genocides…

Towards the end of the 20th century and beginning the 21st, the Cold War finally melted away in the heat of the arrogance of the epoch of Globalisation, while Genocide persists to remain on the threshold of rampant conflicts in all corners of the world.

The new world turbulence is now labelled as the Long War, the latest neo-con synonym for War on Terror.

Wars were not causes but excuses for Genocides.

In the case of the Genocide of the Armenians, the crucial vicious acts were already initiated and were being executed before the Ottoman Turkey’s declaration of War,
on Nov.5th, 1914.

In a nutshell, the Armenian tragedy did not start because of the WWI in 1915 — as the Ottoman Young Turk government, then all subsequent Turkish governments were and are still keen to link the magnum historical criminal act with 1915 WWI, hence their claim of the ‘betrayel’ of the Armenians. And even, alas, our In Memoriam April 24 1915, took the date of the rounding up of Armenian intellectuals as the ‘starting’ point of our magnum tragedy, thus for sure unwittingly, albeit apparently ‘yielding’ to the criminal excuse. Here are the stages of that Man’s Inhumanity to Man before 1915.


“If we nurtured snakes in our midst in Europe, we should not repeat the same folly in AsiaticTajkastan [Turkey]. […]Thus, we must eliminate, leave behind no traces of that Armenian nation. And to accomplish this task, we are lacking in nothing; […]We can declare a religious war–waged against a nation that has no arms, no army, and no defender, whereas, in contrast, we have one of the greatest and richest states of the world as our comrade-in-arms and the guardian of our Asian world. “ Kâmil Pasha (1838-1912), the Grand Vizier or the Prime Minister of the Ottoman Empire – Sultan Abdul Hamid’s Prime Minister four times over.

During 1894-1896 at Sassun, Van, Zeitun and Diarbekir, resulting in the massacre of 300,000 Armenians, 3000 villages were burned. “It is already proven that the pillage and the massacres of Sassun is the deliberately organised act of the Sublime Porte, an act planned in advance meticulously and executed mercilessly . . .” Prof. Em. Dillon (1854-1933), the Irish linguist and journalist.


The massacres at Adana in Cilicia of April 1909 resulted in 30,000 Armenian deaths. “This massacre was more terrible than those in the days of Abdul Hamid . . . Those Armenians who had succeeded in escaping the first carnage are now destroyed. Adana has become a veritable inferno.” Helen Davenport Gibbons, an eyewitness of the Adana massacres

On July 27, 1914, the government of the Young Turks started conscripting Armenians, before the First World War broke out, to deplete the Armenian nation of its able-bodied male population who were herded into amele tabourou=labour battalions, eventually to order them to dig their own mass graves…

On August 2, 1914, the Young Turks decided to create, out of its Teshkilati makhsusa=special formation, a new structure to deal with ‘interior matters’, to start and implement their proto-Nazi party conference decisions.

On August 6, 1914, a secret agreement between Turkey and Germany promised Caucasus (including Eastern/Russian Armenia) to Turkey.

Before Ottoman Turkey’s declaration of war on the Entente powers (November 5) and until December 1914, 200,000 Armenian civilians, mostly women, the elderly and children already were uprooted and decimated, not counting the imminent tragedy, as mentioned above, prepared for the 300 thousand conscripted Armenian male population. Few thousand Armenians had managed to flee and reach Russian occupied Eastern Armenia. Many of them served in the volunteer regiments of the Tzar fighting in Western so called Turkish Armenia. An estimated 300,000 Armenians fought with the Entente powers in Europe and the Middle East including Palestine–a classic example of cannon fodder of 600,000 Armenians obliging their lives, country and all for the Imperialist appetites of both the Entente and the Central powers.

The First World War set the stage for the Final Solution.


“It is imperative that the Armenian people be completely exterminated; that not even one single Armenian be left on our soil; that the name, Armenian, be obliterated. We are now at war; there is no more auspicious occasion than this; This country must be purged of all non-Turk elements”. Nazim Bey Selanikly (1870-1926), the executive secretary of the Young Turks Central Board, early in 1915, during a Central Board meeting presided over by comrade-brother Talaat:

Starting on April 24, 1915 and until mid-May, the Armenian civic population was practically depleted of its intellectuals; 196 writers, 575 musicians, 336 doctors, 176 teachers and college professors, 160 lawyers, 62 architects, 64 actors…all arrested, deported, disappeared for good…

On June 15, 1915, twenty prominent members of the Armenian Social Democratic Henchakist Party were hanged in Bayazit square in Istanbul. The Henchakist stood in opposition to the Ittihadists. That was a mortal sin!

The culminating act of the genocidal scheme was thus set in motion; the elderly, the women and the children, nearly the entire Armenian population of Asia Minor was ordered out, southward towards the deserts of Northern Syria.

Vandalism, rape, extortion, sadistic torture, starvation, murder raids and all ad infinitum. The rest is…the scream of humanity at its most infernal.

When genocides, torture, poverty and wars are justified as “human nature” or as a historical and economic necessary evil, nay even as historical inevitability of “so called” clashing civilisations, then and there silence acquires an obscene eloquence in support of inhumanity– sheer Barbarism of Total Terror.

April 24, 2013, London

May 2013