Thomas Spence and the Land Question

Speaker: Malcolm Chase
at: 2.00 p.m., Saturday 29 July 2017
Marx House, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU

Malcolm is Professor of Social History at the University of Leeds. He has written extensively on Thomas Spence, including a recent article ‘The real rights of man: Thomas Spence,Paine and Chartism’ and his first book The People’s Farm: English Radical Agrarianism, 1775-
1840 (1988), of which a new edition was recently published. His other books include The Chartists: perspectives and legacies (2015) and Chartism: A New History (2007).
He is Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Labour History and a member of the SHS.

download a leaflet…
Admission free, retiring collection, all welcome

The historian Jorge Ibarra Cuesta has passed away

Jorge Ibarra Cuesta, one of the most influential and lucid researchers in the field of Cuban history has died at the age of 85. He was the author of a large body of work that is essential to understanding the process of construction of the Cuban nation.

In 1996 he was was honoured by the Ministry of Culture with the National Prize for Social Sciences and in 2008 he was awarded the national History Prize by the Cuban National Union of Historians, in both cases for his life’s work.

Born in Santiago de Cuba on the 11th August 1931, he began his studies there before moving to the USA. On his return, he trained as a lawyer at the University of Oriente. During the 1950s, he was active in the underground struggle against the dictatorship.

After the triumph of the Revolution, he was a member of the National Council for Culture, served in the armed forces and worked in the Institute of Cuban History where he was particularly noted for his contribution to the Manual of Cuban History for the Revolutionary Armed Forces. He was awarded a doctorate by the University of Havana in 1997. He was an active member of the writers union.

Best known in the English speaking world for his “Prologue to Revolution, Cuba 1898-1958”, his prodigious output in Spanish included works on the 10 Years War, the Cuban War of Independence, Marxism and Slavery, the Neo-colonial Republic and much, much more.

He rather modestly said of himself: “I have only tried to sketch the problems, revising conceptions of the past and discussing everything. I do not pretend to have created a new school or way of seeing things. If I have made some contributions it has been to stimulate discussion and criticism among my colleagues. It is true that, like every historian, I have brought to light some unpublished facts, but the interpretation I have given them is still under consideration.”

The 18th Havana International Book Fair was dedicated to him in 2009. At the presentation ceremony, his comrade Fernando Martínez Heredia, who shared Jorge Ibarra’s history of academic achievement and underground militancy against the Batista dictatorship, summed up his legacy: “Jorge has followed the long and difficult road of both a social scientist and an intellectual militant, with unshakable honesty, ever growing prestige, and a fighting spirit

Woman’s Struggle In Iran – A Prison Memoir by Nasrin Parvaz

Iranian women struggle for freedom and equality and their resistance in prison.

Nasrin Parvaz is a member of the Socialist History Society

A crowd-funding appeal…

Woman’s struggle in Iran is the story of my imprisonment for eight years by the Islamic government of Iran.

In 1979, at the age of 20, I returned from England, where I had been studying. I became a member of a socialist party fighting for a non-Islamic state in which women had the same rights as men. In 1982, while waiting to meet a fellow comrade, I was exposed and arrested by the regime’s secret police. In prison, under torture, I refused to reveal my contacts’ names and addresses.

In prison I was brutally and systematically tortured, threatened with execution, starved and forced to live in appalling, horribly overcrowded conditions. Many of my fellow prisoners were executed; some were driven insane by torture and what we had to endure. Others repented their political beliefs only to find they remained in prison for years before their release. I became seriously ill, and was only saved from dying by the help of a fellow prisoner who was a doctor.

Although I was imprisoned and in the hands of my enemies, they could not arrest my resistance, and neither could torture vanquish my struggle. In resisting the Islamic regime, I was not alone, all the other men and women, imprisoned like me, we were all part of the ultimate victory of humanity.

Historical Controversy in Cuba

Jesús Menéndez

Recently there has been a controversy in the Cuban press over the murder of the General Secretary of the Cuban Federation of Sugar Workers in 1947. The journal of the Catholic diocese of Havana, Espacio Laical, published an article by Newton Briones Montoto arguing that he was not murdered by an army officer but was killed in self defence as he fired on the officer first while resisting arrest. Given that the Socialist History Society has recently published an Occasional Paper, Killing Communists in Havana, at the urging of comrades from the Institute of Cuban History and the history commission of the CTC trade union confederation, we wrote a reply based on the research for the SHS Occasional Publication and, to our surprise, the Espacio Laical published it. For those who read Spanish, the article can be found here…

LETTERS OF SOLIDARITY AND FRIENDSHIP Czechoslovakia 1968–71

by David Parker

The  eloquent and powerful letters that make up this volume tell the extraordinary story of how two men who never met or spoke to each other became the closest of friends. It was all the more extraordinary given that Leslie Parker was a veteran member of the British Communist Party while Paul Zalud was a disillusioned former communist struggling to cope under the Stalinist regime imposed on his native Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion in August 1968. The relationship began inauspiciously when Leslie saw a letter from Paul in The Times and wrote to berate him for it. The unexpected result was an epistolary journey, conducted in defiance of the censors and concluded only by Leslie’s death, through which in Paul’s words they ‘became friends by wrestling with each other’.

This remarkable collection presents two very different yet complementary minds. Paul’s letters offer an incomparable insight into the processes of ‘normalisation’ whereby an entire country was disciplined; Leslie’s reveal his efforts to sustain his friend’s morale with humour and domestic reportage as well as incisive political commentary. Both men had an instinctive flair for juxtaposing the personal and political, blending the mundane and the philosophical in a literary discourse as moving as it is instructive.

ISBN 978-1-5262-0603-9
Published by Bacquier Books

May be obtained from Waterstones or Blackwells

Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935

Socialist History Occasional Publication 40
by
ROBERT TURNBULL

Noah Ablett has been described as the ultimate organic intellectual. An accomplished autodidact, scholar, polemicist, orator and teacher; he was one of the most outstanding, but controversial labour activists to emerge from the period of unprecedented industrial, political and social turmoil which convulsed the South Wales coalfield in the years preceding the First World War. One of the authors of The Miners’ Next Step, Ablett’s premature death robbed the labour movement of one of its ablest advocates.

About the author
Robert Turnbull is a writer and historian. He is a graduate of Ruskin College, Oxford, and the University of Northumbria. He has written for the TLS and BBC History Magazine. He is married with three sons and lives in the North East of England. Rob has a longstanding interest in the history of the South Wales coalfield, where he lived for many years.
He is also the author of Left for the Rising Sun, Right for Swan Hunter: The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908-1926, Five Leaves Publications, 2014

Anarchists and the City

From the Paris Commune of 1871
to the Occupy and Square movements
Speaker: Professor Carl Levy
Professor of Politics, Goldsmiths College

Socialist History Society Public Meeting
Saturday 18th March 2017 2pm
MARX MEMORIAL LIBRARY
37a Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU nearest tube Farringdon
FREE TO ATTEND – ALL WELCOME

Since the emergence of anarchism as an ideology and and a self-declared movement in the nineteenth century, the city and the urban commune have been central to the anarchist imagination and to anarchist socio-political action

Spycops and Strikers

Spycops and Strikers is part of a series of Grunwick 40 memorial events, organised in co-operation with the Special Branch Files Project, the Undercover Research Group and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance.

Wed 15 February 2017 19:00 – 21:00

more details and registration…