Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Working Class Movement Library: Update on WW1 events

[From WCML email newsletters]
Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, U.K. M5 4WX


The Library's new exhibition, World War One: myths and realities, open from Wednesday 6 August.  
It explores topics such as the soldiers who refused to fight, why some young Salfordians were so eager to enlist, and the strength of the anti-war movement. The exhibition is open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.

There is to be a series of free Wednesday 2 pm talks accompanying the exhibition:

24 September Art and symbolism of WW1 - John Sculley
Using a range of examples from painting, sculpture and architecture, Salford's Director of Museums and Heritage will show how visual art was used to communicate the country's national attitudes during and after World War One. This illustrated talk will offer insights into the creative and critical thinking of a time that will be forever remembered for the carnage of its ‘war to end all wars'.

1 October Winifred Letts, Salford poet - Cynthia Greenwood
Winifred Letts was born in 1882 in Broughton. She had a prolific writing career producing plays, poetry, short stories, children's books and an autobiography. She was a nurse during World War One and also worked as a therapeutic masseuse. She was not afraid of confronting people with worrying aspects of the First World War such as those who deserted from the army and those sent mad by the conflict.
This event also marks National Poetry Day

8 October British trade unions and the First World War - John Newsinger Professor in History at Bath Spa University. 
When the war began Britain was in the middle of a great strike wave that the Establishment regarded as of potentially revolutionary significance. In the first six months of the year over half a million workers had taken strike a_ction for union recognition, for the closed shop and for increased pay. The war changed this. In the second six months of 1914, the number of workers taking strike action fell to 21,000. However the unequal sacrifices that were demanded with profits rising while workers' living standards were squeezed still provoked resistance, from protests over rising food prices to South Wales miners striking for more pay, and engineering workers striking to protect their pay and conditions and in the process creating the First Shop Stewards Movement. By the end of the war the government was again worried about industrial unrest having potentially revolutionary significance.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wakefield Socialist History Group events

The Wakefield Socialist History Group has organised a programme of events for the remainder of this year.

On Saturday 6th September the Featherstone Massacre Commemorative Guided Walk will start at 2 p.m. at the Bradley Arms, Willow Lane, North Featherstone.  
The walk will include a graveside oration and a tour of places in Featherstone itself associated with the massacre.
In the summer of 1893 Yorkshire mine owners -faced with a fall in the price of coal- demanded that miners accept a 25% reduction in wages. The miners resisted and on 28th July they were locked out.
The dispute dragged on and after seven weeks money was increasingly tight.  Miners knew they needed to step up their action so they began to stop the movement of coal.
On 6th September the manager of Featherstone's Ackton Hall colliery, a Mr Holiday, arrived at the pit to find a large picket of miners demanding that the loading of smudge for sale be stopped.  Holiday eventually agreed. But the next day miners discovered wagons with Bradford destination tickets being loaded with smudge.  The miners felt they had been conned, so they toppled the wagons over.
Holiday, fearing widespread unrest, called for help and the military -in the form of the South Staffordshire Regiment - were soon sent in.
However the troops and the magistrate Bernard Hartley JP were confronted by a large crowd in Green Lane.  The magistrate read the Riot Act but when the crowd didn't disperse live rounds were fired. 
One man, James Gibb, was shot through the right breast.  He died in a local surgery the following day.
Another man, James Duggan, also died in Clayton Hospital, Wakefield after surgeons were unable to stop bleeding in his leg. Many more people were also wounded.
Jurors at Duggan's inquest were instructed to return a verdict of "justifiable homicide."  Jurors at Gibb's inquest refused to acquiesce in this way and expressed regret at the "extreme measures" taken on the night in question.
The Bowen Commission later set up to inquire into events was a complete whitewash.  The Home Secretary, HH Asquith, did agree to pay £100 to each of the deceased families but still didn't admit any culpability.  Henceforth Asquith was known as "Assassin Asquith."

On Saturday 1st November at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield at 1p.m. there will be a meeting, WW1: From World War to World Revolution. The speaker will be Stephen Wood.  A free light buffet will be provided.

Then on Saturday 6th December again at the Red Shed at 1p.m. there will be a meeting, Eco-Socialism: Green Socialist Ideas Past and Present.  The speakers will be Adrian Cruden (eco-socialist, Green Party member and blogger) and Mike Davies (Alliance for Green Socialism)  Again there will be a free light buffet.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Radical History Network meeting: Resistance to World War One

Wednesday 10th September, 7:30 p.m.

Wood Green Social Club, 3 Stuart Crescent, N22 5NJ
(off the High Rd, near Wood Green tube)

In the build up to the first world war and throughout the war years there
were strikes and industrial disputes, anti-war campaigns, conscientious
objections and mutinies. These are the stories of resistance to the war
that the official commemorations will not tell you.

What can we learn from those inspirational struggles which might help us
to oppose and prevent the obscene wars for profit and power throughout the
world which governments and military blocs are continuing to wage 100
years after the so-called 'war to end all wars'?


Nick Heath (Anarchist Federation) "Resistance to World War One"

Jennifer Bell (Hornsey Historical Society / Haringey First World War Peace
Forum) "We will not fight! -  Conscientious objectors in North London"

PLUS: Discussion on all aspects of local (NE London) resistance to the war
as well as the wider national and international context.

STOP PRESS: the famous Central London squat history walk

a reprise ... featuring edited highlights of the walk, including

• housing saved by squatting from developers
• buildings that housed hundreds of people and would otherwise have been left
to rot
• protest squats from 1946 to date...

This version of the walk has been hastily cobbled together because someone
at BBC World Service expressed interest and will be recording it (to be cut
down to a mere couple of soundbites of course). She also wants to talk to
current squatters, in their homes, in case there are any sensible current
squatters willing to talk to media (the two rarely go together).

Tuesday August 12th

meet 6pm in Tolmers Square
(off North Gower Street NW1)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First World War Centenary: August 4th 2014

Silent vigil 12 noon - 2.00 p.m.
Monday 4th August
on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields 
Trafalgar Square, London.
- See more at: http://www.ppu.org.uk/nomorewar/a_general/vigil.html#sthash.pRjIdYwA.dpuf

The vigil is organised by a number of peace groups including: Conscience, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, Peace Pledge Union, Peace News, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Similar events will take place around the country including: 

Liverpool: 12 noon - 2.00pm a silent vigil in the Peace Garden, St James Lane, Liverpool
Grassington:  11.00 am - 12.00 noon, Grassington Square.
Skipton: 2.00pm - 3.00 pm, outside the Town Hall, Skipton. 
Glasgow: 10.30 - 11.30 am, Donald Dewar Statue. Buchanan St, Glasgow
Bath: 12.30 to 12.50pm at the Amphitheatre, University of Bath
Portswood, Southampton 7 – 8 pm , Immaculate Conception RC parish, 346 Portswood Road
Wisbech, East Anglia: 8.00 -9.00 pm a silent candlelit vigil at the Clarkson Memorial.
Wokingham 12.30 - 13.30 Town Centre in the Howard Palmer Gardens

Women's anti-war actions in First World War
11am - 12 noon women will gather opposite Holborn tube station (original site of Kingsway Hall) to commemorate a peace rally held there on 4 August 1914 and the delivery of a resolution to Downing Street requesting a meeting to discuss peaceful solutions to world conflicts.  
The women will be 'joined' by Kathleen Courtney, Chrystal Macmillan, Catherine Marshall and Emmeline Pethwick-Lawrence, key organisers of the 1914 rally.


No Glory in War Manchester in association with Artists for Peace present ‘1914 Peace Rally’.
Saturday 2nd August 2014, Manchester.

On Saturday 2nd August 2014, please join us to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the mass peace rallies which took place around the country in opposition to Britain joining the war. Hear what peace activists and war resisters from 1914 had to say about the prospect of the Great War and their pleas for peace through this pop-up street theatre event. Featuring Chilean actor Marcela Hervia, newly-elected MEP for the North West Julie Ward, and theatre director Hazel Roy.

Join us at…
2pm Manchester Central Library (outside)
2.45pm Albert Square
3.30pm St Anne’s Square
4.15pm Cathedral Green

No Glory - No More War event Monday 4 August 6.30 pm
Parliament Square London
100 years since Britain declared war
Join No Glory on WW1 centenary
Wear white poppies. Use Twitter hashtag #NoMoreWar

Monday 4 August is the centenary of the day that Britain declared war against Germany. The No Glory in War campaign will hold an event in Parliament Square to commemorate the 15 million killed in the "war to end
all wars", including nearly one million British soldiers, and to say they can best be commemorated by creating a world in which there is no more war.

Join us in Parliament Square and show your opposition to further wars.
Hear the truth about the First World War and the protests against it at the time. MPs, actors, historians, campaigners, war veterans and others will be speaking and reading from anti-war authors and activists in
1914-18. German historian Juliene Haubold Stolle and Neil Faulkner, author of pamphlet No Glory - the real history of WW1, will challenge current accounts of the war.

Speakers and performers include:
Sam West actor • Jim Radford • World War Two veteran • Jeremy Corbyn MP •
Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition • Kate Hudson CND • Juliene Haubold
Stolle German historian • Neil Faulkner author of pamphlet No Glory

From WCML email newsletter 01/08/2014 
 Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, U.K. M5 4WX
1. The Library's new exhibition, World War One: myths and realities, opens on Wednesday 6 August.  
It explores topics such as the soldiers who refused to fight, why some young Salfordians were so eager to enlist, and the strength of the anti-war movement. The exhibition is open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.

There will be a series of free Wednesday 2 pm talks accompanying the exhibition:

24 September  The art of WW1 - John Sculley

1 October  Winifred Letts, local poet - Cynthia Greenwood

8 October  British trade unions and the First World War - John Newsinger.


President: Peter Hennessy
8pm Saturday 9 August

Little Germany: Stratford and East London 1914

On Tuesday 15th December 1914 a small group of Germans were led to William Ritchie & Sons, an old jute factory on Carpenter’s Road, now to become Stratford Camp.   Interviewing decedents of the Germany Community in Newham and East London, Eastside Community Heritage launched an exhibition in July 2014 which is now open to the public.

West St, Leytonstone, E11 4LJ

Enquiries:   0208 555 5248    or

And yet more...

There's a small exhibition at the Socialist Party's premises in London of
the party's opposition to the war with various documents and leaflets from
the period. It's open all this week from Monday 4 August to Sunday 10 August
from 11 am to 5pm and also on the remaining weekends of August (16/127 and
The address is 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN. Nearest tube is
Clapham North. Even nearer is Clapham High Street station on the Overground.
Further details: