SWINE

Not far from Queen’s Square stands the statue of Edmund Burke. Had he lived to witness the 1831 Reform Act uprising and a protestor astride the statue of one of his beloved royals all his anti-democratic bile that led him to write his Reflections on the Revolution in France would have been reinforced. It was in that book that he wrote: Along with the natural protectors and guardians, learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude Now as the Saint-Just […]

The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and The Cultural Revolution

By Mobo Gao
This 2008 book is a significant contribution to an ongoing process whereby Chinese radicals are reappraising dominant narratives on revolutionary China and in particular on the ‘Cultural Revolution’ (CR) period of 1966-76, thereby challenging the official Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dismissive verdict over Mao’s later policies and the so-called ‘Gang of Four’. While most of us on ‘The Left’ in the West know a fair bit about the 1917 Russian Revolution for example, our knowledge of China’s […]

State Surveillance after the French Revolution [Postponed until further notice]

Government Surveillance in Peacetime: Home Office Spies, c.1800 (David Worrall) Government surveillance, using networks of spies and informers, were active both before and after the Napoleonic War (1793-1815). In the case of the Anabaptist, William Winterbotham, although in 1792 the country was still at peace, a spy was in place to intercept him on a West Country highway and lure him into seditious conversation. In the late 1810s and 1820s, when Britain was engaged in no major conflict, spies […]

Ireland in 1919

'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity'

'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity': How Irish Nationalism responded to the Great War Joe Mooney (East Wall History Group, Dublin) This talk will outline the difficulties of the 'Irish question', the movement towards Home Rule and the rise of armed bodies in 1913/1914. How did these conflicting groups react to the outbreak of war - and why did some Nationalist support the war effort while others opposed it? The Irish rebellion of 1916 saw revolutionary nationalists, radical Trade […]

Radical Culture

Discourse, Resistance and Surveillance, 1790-1820

By David Worrall
Worral's book concentrates on the period of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. The narrative is based mainly in London, and looks at those who wanted to replicate the French Revolution in Britain. The main thread looks at those who believed in the work of Thomas Spence, who has largely been ignored in the mainstream history books. Spence was an ultra-radical, who saw the main problems with British society in land ownership. He wanted common land ownership, on a corporate basis, but […]

Behind the Myth of Peter the Painter

Separating the fact and fiction of anarchist violence

Bristol Radical History Group is excited to host the UK book launch of "A Towering Flame: The Life and Times of the Elusive Latvian Anarchist Peter the Painter" (published by Breviary Stuff Publications). The author, anarchist historian Philip Ruff, will present and talk about his book. There will then be a Q&A and discussion. BRHG last hosted Philip Ruff when he gave a talk on 'Political Assassins' during Off With Their Heads - Bristol Radical History Week 2008. At that point he had been […]

Wales

Epic Views of a Small Country

By Jan Morris
Clevedon-born author and historian Jan Morris describes herself as ‘by loyalty Welsh’, and writes about her subject with warmth and eloquence. As a book that captures the spirit of place, Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country, cannot be bettered. Morris gives a brusque sense of intimacy so that you feel you’ve been grabbed by the arm and are being led across the bridges and down the valleys of Wales in your wellies, while she confides everything that she is passionate about. Far from being a dry […]

How did World War One end?

And how is this remembered?

The centenary of the end of WW1 in 1918 will be widely commemorated across the country on Remembrance Sunday this year. However, the military style parades and ceremonies send a mixed message. On the one hand they are a moving display of mourning for the dead. On the other they tend towards a celebration of British military virtues, the heroic defeat of Germany and recent claims that WW1 was a 'just' or 'necessary' war. The popular memory in the UK of an allied 'victory' in 1918 leaves many […]

1968 events in 2018

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Dark Large
As the second Bristol Radical History Festival rapidly approaches, it is also worth doing a shout out for several other 1968 events happening in the coming weeks. Remember-Discover-Research-Critique-Celebrate-Commemorate-Repeat and Exceed the <événements> of May 1968! Here’s a quick round-up, but there will be others.   National and international events (Tuesday 1st May 2018 onwards) Film screenings: ‘1968 Festival. A festival inspired by ‘1968’ and organised by the Radical Film […]

Level 2: Exhibition: Political posters of 1968

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light
We are very pleased to be hosting an exhibition of political posters from the 1968 movements created our friends at the Interference Archive in New York. From the Atelier Populaire (print collectives) of France’s insurgent 1968 to the radical posters of the Prague Spring and the university occupations in the United States and Mexico City. This exhibition is an an entry point into the cultural production of the global '68 moment and its continued influence on politics, art, and design today.