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
37a Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU nearest tube Farringdon

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

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

Launch of a Socialist History Society Occasional Publication

Jesús Menéndez, General Secretary of the Cuban Sugar Workers’ Federation

Speaker: Steve Cushion
Socialist History Society Public Meeting
Saturday 26th November 2016 2.00pm
37a Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU nearest tube Farringdon

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 will examine 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.


Goddesses, Empresses, Sphinxes: Matriarchy at the Crossroads to Patriarchy

Saturday 11th June 2016 2.00pm
37a Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU nearest tube Farringdon
The Socialist History Society AGM will take place at 1pm in the same venue before the public meeting

In his recent book ‘Work, Sex and Power’ Professor Willie Thompson comments: ‘The history of civilisation is also the history of misogyny’. Greta Sykes will take up Willie Thompson’s thread from the age of Antiquity to explore current narratives about Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. How did early humans experience the male-female competition for power and social control? What is the role of sexuality in this struggle? What can mythologies add to our understanding of this process and how did early historians and poets, such as Ephorus of Cyme, Herodotus and Aeschylus inform the Classical World about life at the beginning of civilisation?

Greta Sykes is a child psychologist who is currently an Associate Researcher at UCL.
She is a poet (see March 2016) and her novel about the Weimar Republic ‘Under Charred Skies’ came out recently.