Street Farming

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Radical History Zone 2011 Poster
Peter Crump was a member of Street Farm, a London-based collective of anarchist architects and designers working in the early 1970s. They published Street Farmer, an underground paper that, alongside mutating tower blocks, cosmic tractors and sprouting one-way signs, put forward manifestos for the radical transformation of urban living. They offered a powerful vision of green cities in the control of ordinary people (and ordinary sheep), not capitalist, statist, socialist or any other kind of […]

Italy In The 1970s: Bodies In The Street, A Tale Of A Country Like Ours

Life Before Thatcher
In the 1970s, Italy came to the brink of revolution, the most widespread assault on state power Western Europe had seen since the Spanish revolution. Every aspect of the state’s functioning was aggressively challenged. Millions of people were actively imposing their demands - workers, students, women. New ways of doing politics were developed including strikes, wildcats, student revolts, armed struggle and people having fun. These are all part of the story. The history of Italian radicalism in […]

From Recruitment To Dialogue: How Does The Radical Left Relate To Workers?

Life Before Thatcher
What lessons can we learn from how the Left related to workers and industrial struggles of the 1970s and how should the Left relate to workers today? How should our methods of relating to workers differ between a workplace which is experiencing a high level of class conflict and shop floor organisation, from one which conflict occurs within the framework of union control, from one which is non-unionised and there is little overt conflict and a fairly passive, quiescent and fragmented workforce? […]

Punk And The Pistols

Life Before Thatcher
A showing of the influential Arena documentary (1995), which takes a different angle to the more widely known 'The Filth and the Fury'. From the suburban backgrounds of the first '100 punks' to a movement which spanned the globe, Punk and the Pistols examines the anger, ideas and inspiration which led to a movement that shook Britain and spanned the globe. Includes interviews with Jordan, John Lydon, Malcolm McLaren, Siouxsie Sioux and Vivienne Westwood. Introduced by director Paul Tickell. […]

The Anti-Vietnam War Movement

Life Before Thatcher
The student rebellion in America in 1968 was fuelled by revulsion against the Vietnam War. It gave momentum to previously existing anti-nuclear and anti-racist movements on the campuses. The difference between the anti-war movement then and now is that the students were being drafted to serve as junior officers in Vietnam. Mike Levine provides an eyewitness account of the student revolt illustrated by contemporary newspaper pictures. Roger surveys the hidden history of resistance to the war […]

How We Won: Strikes In The 70s

Life Before Thatcher
The dominant idea of strikes in the 1970s is that of the 'winter of discontent' of 1979 in which workers took industrial action in support of pay claims that breached the social contract brokered between union leaders and the Labour Government. However, the highpoint of workers' militancy was in the early years of the decade when rank and file workers led successful strikes across industry. This meeting will examine the strikes of miners, builders and dockers as well as industrial action in […]

Spies, Lies And The Coup: State Repression In The 70s

Life Before Thatcher
The rise of militancy in the workplace, universities and the new left in the early 1970s Britain generated a reaction by the ‘secret state’. A major campaign was launched by Special Branch and MI5 to infiltrate and destabilise these arenas, which culminated in a plot to overthrow Harold Wilson’s Labour government in the mid 1970s. Investigative researcher Larry O’Hara will give an overview of the period, looking at the tactics and strategies of the secret state. Watch this talk: If you see this […]

Grunwick: The End Of An Era?

Life Before Thatcher
The two-year strike (1976–1978) over trade union recognition at the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in Willesden, North London is iconic in left wing history. During a decade of industrial unrest, the Grunwick dispute became a cause célèbre of trade unionism and labour relations law, and at its height involved thousands of trade unionists and police in confrontations. The total of 550 arrests made during the strike was at the time the highest such figure in any industrial dispute since the […]

The Asian Youth Movement

Life Before Thatcher
In the mid 1970s, a new generation of South Asian youth were growing up in Britain. They emerged less prepared to tolerate the racism in British society, which their parents had had to suffer. This period also saw heightened fascist and racist activity, increasing police violence and the institutionalisation of racism through discriminatory immigration laws. A racist murder in Southall was the spark for the formation of a new organisation: the Southall Youth Movement. This organisation made up […]

From The Ford Workers’ Group to ‘Made In Dagenham’

Life Before Thatcher
Ford plants in the 1970s were epicentres of worker militancy as recently depicted in the film Made In Dagenham. Carlos was a founder member of the Ford Dagenham Workers' Group and Brian worked at the Halewood plant from 1970 till late ‘77. They will discuss the reality of life in the Ford Company, the hidden history of the equal pay disputes and the changes that have taken place since that era. Carlos (Charlie) Guarita worked at the Ford Dagenham Engine Plant from 1976 till early 1980. He was a […]

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