‘Every Cook Can Govern’: From Athens to the Electoral Lottery

Cheerleaders for parliamentary democracy often hark back semi-legendary ‘golden ages’ as a foundation of the modern electoral process. Do these myths have any basis in reality and what relevance do they have today? Dan Bennett uncovers the hidden history of Athenian popular democracy and proposes a modern alternative. Watch this talk: If you see this text the video has failed to play. Please let us know by emailing brh@brh.org.uk.


They Fought for it, They Starved for it: THE VOTE Using visual sources Dawn Dyer charts the struggle for Women's Suffrage in Bristol and the South West Votes for Ladies: The Suffragette Movement 1903-1914 An examination of the established narrative of the struggle for the enfranchisement of women. Anny Cullum critiques the composition and outlook of this iconic movement from a class perspective. Anny Cullum is daughter of Dave and a ledgend in her own life time. Dawn Dyer is a librarian at […]

How Protest And Riot Won Working Men The Vote

There were three main phases of extension to the male franchise in the 19th Century. The '‘Great Reform' of 1832 was preceded by a period of intense unrest in Western Europe. Roger Ball considers the impact these various social and political movements had upon the British ruling class and the first extension of the franchise. Dave Cullum analyses the popular pressure which led to the later Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884. Roger Ball is an Easton Cowboy and a West Ham United fan. He has bored his […]

Thomas Spence The Forgotten Revolutionary

Thomas Spence was one of the leading English revolutionaries of the late 18th Century. His tracts, such as The Rights of Man (Spence was, perhaps, the first to use the phrase) and The Rights of Infants, along with his utopian visions of 'Crusonia' and 'Spensonia', were the most far-reaching radical statements of the period. Although sometimes hailed as England's 'first modern socialist', Spence is not easily corralled by later ideologies. He was a mortal enemy of tyranny and what he called […]

Mills & Bone Subverting Democracy

Ian Bone relates his experiences of contemporary interventions into the electoral process including The Alarm the Swansea based forerunner of The Bristolian, the legendary anarchist tabloid Class War and the Vote Nobody campaign of 2001. Millsy will briefly analyse democracy is this country for the working classes, and describe what it means for us now. How democratic are society, our political parties, and our organisations? These two renowned local troublemakers will also provide their own […]

Mock Election Bonfire Night

To round off this series of events come and stick two fingers up at electoral politics in 2010. Write your own manifesto! Bring and burn an effigy of your most despised public figure! Join us for seditious toasting and acoustic merriment from Eirlys Rhiannon and members of Who's Afear'd and the Surfin' Turnips by the flickering flames of our pyre of politicians. Easton based singer songwriter whose repertoire contains hints of blues, folk, rock and pop, but Eirlys's musical and song writing […]

Leon Rosselson And Robb Johnson The Liberty Tree

Tickets available in advance from: Bristol Ticket Shop 26 Union Street Broadmead, BS1 2DP Tel: 0117 929 9008 Legendary protest singer Leon Rosselson celebrates his fiftieth year in music with a special performance with songwriter/activist Robb Johnson. The Liberty Tree is an evening of contemporary songs reflecting the revolutionary ideas of Thomas Paine. These were influenced by the American War of Independence and were to have a huge effect on the French Revolution and the fight for modern […]

‘Every Cook Can Govern’ From Athens To Westminster?

Proponents of parliamentary democracy often hark back semi-legendary ‘golden ages’ as a foundation of universal enfranchisement. Do these myths have any basis in reality and what relevance do they have today? Dan Bennett and Tony Dyer follow a historical path from ancient Athens via Anglo-Saxon participatory democracy through to the French Revolution. Dave Cullum poses the question, is representative democracy necessary for modern capitalism to exist? Every Cook Can Govern Daniel Bennett's talk […]

The Chartists And Their Legacy

The Chartists are commonly regarded as the first mass working class movement of the 19th Century. Their demands for the vote, secret ballots and the end of property qualifications are now standard fare in most democracies but at the time rocked the British establishment to the core, leading many to think that revolution was imminent. We bring together a panel of renowned historians to discuss the origins, achievements and the local significance of the Chartist Movement in the South West. Dorothy […]