Oxford Communist, Indian Nationalist & Tibetan Buddhist

Public Meeting

The Unconventional Life of Freda Bedi
Speaker: Andrew Whitehead
2.00pm Saturday 20th May 2017
Marx Memorial Library
This meeting will be preceded by the Socialist History Society AGM, which starts at 1pm

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…

Menshevik (Mis?)interpretations of the Russian Revolution

Saturday 21 January 2017, 2.00 p.m.
Marx House, 37a Clerkenwell Green,
London EC1 Nearest tube: Farringdon

Speaker: Francis King
Editor of Socialist History, lecturer in modern European history at East Anglia, and translator of Fedor Dan’s memoir.

Across the Russian empire, the fall of Tsar Nicholas in March 1917 suddenly thrust revolutionaries and socialists into positions of power and influence. For many years before, they had worked, organised and planned for this revolution. Now the time had come to put their perspectives and programmes to the test. Working in soviets, state bodies and committees across Russia in the first six months of the revolution, the social-democrats (Mensheviks) tried to shape events in line with how they supposed the revolution must develop – towards ‘freedom’ and a parliamentary republic. Their failure allowed their rivals in the workers’ movement, the Bolsheviks, to take power in October 1917 in the name of the soviets and proclaim a socialist revolution. This talk looks at Menshevik attempts to make sense of realities which proved hard to square with theories. It marks the publication for the first time in English of Menshevik leader Fedor Dan’s memoir of the civil war period, Two Years of Wandering. The book recounts Dan’s experiences in civil war Russia, gives his observations on life and conditions, and attempts to make sense of what was going on at that time.

All welcome. Entry free, retiring collection.

“Killing Communists in Havana”

The Start of the Cold War in Latin America
by Steve Cushion

Socialist History Society Occasional Publication

The Cold War started early in Cuba, with anti-communist purges of the trade unions already under way by 1947. Corruption and government intervention succeeded in removing the left-wing leaders of many unions but, in those sectors where this approach failed, gunmen linked to the ruling party shot and killed a dozen leading trade union militants, including the General Secretary of the Cuban Sugar Workers’ Federation.

Based on material from the Cuban archives and confidential US State Department files, this SHS Occasional Publication examines the activities of the US government, the Mafia and the American Federation of Labor, as well as corrupt Cuban politicians and local gangsters, in this early episode of the Cold War.

This is a joint publication of the “Socialist History Society” and “Caribbean Labour Solidarity”

Buy a copy of “Killing Communists in Havana”
£4 including p&p [£5 outside UK]
Email s.cushion23@gmail.com
You will be able to pay by cheque or by PayPal

Steve Cushion is Secretary of Caribbean Labour Solidarity and author of
A HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION How the Working Class Shaped the Guerilla Victory” published by Monthly Review (2016)