A talk illustrated with six musical interludes on Eduard Soermus, an Estonian violinist who lived in Merthyr Tydfil at the end of the First World War but was expelled from Britain in 1919. The concert in Bargoed that led to his expulsion was chaired by conscientious objector Morgan Evans (later an MP) and the debate at the concert between Bolshevik-supporting Soermus, the Independent Labour Party pacifist Evans and an outraged soldier in the audience dramatically illustrates the division of […]
A film about the Nelson Independent Labour Party Clarion House and its role in the struggles of suffragettes and conscientious objectors. The Clarion Cycling Club was formed in 1895 after a group of like-minded individuals got together in Birmingham in 1894. It took the Clarion name from Robert Blatchford’s socialist newspaper (20 minutes).
This will be the last chance to see the Refusing to Kill exhibition at the Bristol Archives and an opportunity to see the excellent Otherstory puppet show 'Taking a Holiday' and take part in a research workshop. From 1.00 pm – the opportunity for a guided viewing of the exhibition 2.00 pm – ‘Taking a Holiday‘ puppet show by Otherstory Puppetry In 1916, a man of conscription age who “took a holiday” was probably on the run from the military autorities. The show tells the amazing story of how a […]
The 'Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors' exhibition has been at Bristol Archives since June 5th. Just as when it was shown elsewhere in the city, it has attracted lots of interest. It runs until July 14th. While including much of the material displayed previously there is plenty that is new – both from local archives and CO relatives. See Bristol Archives website here for opening hours and how to get there. Alongside the exhibition there are a number of events […]
The exhibition ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ which was in Bristol Cathedral and the Central Library from September 2017 until February 2018 is in Bristol Archives from June 5th until July 14th. The exhibition tells the story of the almost 400 men from Bristol and the surrounding area who, for moral, religious or political reasons, refused to fight in World War 1. Alongside most of the material displayed previously, there will be new exhibits. These include […]
In Russia in October 1917 the Bolsheviks could rule only in coalition with LEFT SOCIALIST REVOLUTIONARIES who's charismatic leader MARIA SPIRIDONOVA was the equal of Lenin. Till April 1918 they maintained a fragile alliance but by June an uprising was inevitable and the outcome uncertain. SPIRIDONOVA maps those few months as tension grows and the divide between Leninism and a more libertarian socialism becomes starker........and fixed in history. Spiridonova is awash with assassins, plotters, […]
Tony Benn was a great chronicler of his times and in this final chronicle of his life he reflects on the moments that defined his political and personal life experiences. This programme uses interviews recorded over time and an exclusive wide ranging final conversation in his later years together with unique, unseen family and personal film archive to chart the defining moments in his long political life. The programme is introduced by its producer, David Parker.
Journal Review: “Left Intellectuals after 1956” may not sound like the most exciting of titles but the latest edition of Socialist History (no 51) contains a lot of fascinating material, especially for older Bristol Radical History activists. Michael Shatz’s opening sentence sets the tone – “Why did so many intellectuals tolerate the sterile and stifling culture of the Communist Party (CPGB) during the decade following the Second World War?” He provides his own answer in his article on “The […]
Socialism, which presented itself as a new and exciting ideology in the Britain of the 1880s, was essentially universalist in nature. It proposed a set of solutions to the problem of capitalism that were in theory applicable to all societies, and it derided what it saw as divisive particularisms such as nationalism. In reality, though, socialists had to apply their universalist ideas to particular situations wherever they presented their ideas. The growth of socialism in Wales from the 1880s to […]
This talk places John Maclean's pamphlet The War After The War in its broader international and political context. Exploring connections (and differences) between the various international socialists fighting against World War One. These include James Connolly, Eugene Debs and Lenin. In the context of Brexit, Scotland's independence referendum and Trump, with political events increasingly viewed through the prism of nationalism at home and abroad we ask what now for Maclean's working class […]