Past Events

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An opportunity to catch up on what we've been up to

10 April 2024

Albano Nunes - former International Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party & Participant in the Portuguese Revolution of 1974

Albano Nunes, currently member of the Central Control Commission of the Portuguese Communist Party, was an active participant in the revolution.  The Revolution overthrew the fascist regime in power since 1926 and marked the culmination of two generations of illegal struggle by trade unionists, by agricultural workers in Portugal’s south, by those struggling for liberation in Portugal’s colonies and by clandestine organisation in Portugal’s conscript army.  The PCP helped coordinate these struggles. The resulting mass movement of the Portuguese people brought a socialist constitution pledging public ownership, the nationalisation of the big monopolies, cooperative ownership of the big landed estates in the south. The revolutionary government backed and assisted the process of full colonial liberation by the movements in  Portugal’s ex-colonies.

 

 

14 March 2024

The Labour Manifesto of 1974 firmly places on the agenda the challenge to the distribution of power and wealth in this country that has reverberated through every political struggle since. Its ambition was the foundation stone for the left to build upon, becoming an inspiration for the radical 2017 and 2019 Labour manifestos.

6 March 2024

Professor Mary Davis

This year marks the centenary of the first Labour Government. It was a minority government and lasted just nine months. Was it the product of a cunning Tory/Liberal plot or a wise decision by Labour to prove that it was ‘fit to govern’?

22 February 2024

Andrew Feinstein, writer, campaigner, ex-ANC MP and author of 'The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade' Andrew Feinstein was born in South Africa, worked with the ANC under Apartheid and was subsequently elected an ANC MP (later resigning in protest at a government arms deal). He has since lived in Britain. In 2011 Penguin published his Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade described by the Washington Post as ‘possibly the most comprehensively complete account ever written’

8 February 2024

Professor David Lane and discussants Andrew Murray and Radhika Desai; 

The twentieth century was an era of socialist revolutionary transformations and significant social-democratic reforms. By the twenty-first century, these socialist inspired movements have largely disappeared, their ideology had been disavowed, and their institutions dismantled. In the first part of the book, David Lane explains which social forces drove them and why, initially, they were successful. He considers how they were consequently reversed in the context of global neoliberal capitalism which became a dominant ideology driven by political and economic elites with significant social support and political legitimacy.

Underlying these developments, he describes the changing economic and social structure of capitalism and the geo-political consequences of globalisation.  He defines the key areas in which neoliberal capitalism can be faulted. In the second part of the book, he considers current social and political movements and points to alternative forms of capitalism, notably state capitalist formations, as well as its replacement.  Here he summarises the merits and limitations of proposed social-democratic reforms, or reversals of globalisation, proposals for self-sustaining autonomous communities, the limits of ecological reforms, and ideas about a globalised form of socialism.

Finally, he outlines his own proposals to move to economic and political coordination predicated on combining market socialism and statist forms of planning.

 

20 January 2024

Commemorating the the centenary of Lenin's death 1924-2024

This symposium will open with a panel on Lenin in London, followed by an opportunity to visit our 'Lenin Room' in person, or virtually if attending online.

The afternoon will include three sessions on Lenin's intellectual and political legacy including an exploration of Lenin on imperialism and the labour aristocracy, and his thinking on the state and revolution.

Speakers include

  • Bob Henderson (author of the Spark that Lit the Revolution: Lenin in London)
  • Professor Mary Davis 
  • Jonathan White (author of Making our History: A Users Guide to Historical Materialism)
  • Vijay Prashad (Indian historian & journalist, author of forty books)
20 January 2024

Three speakers on Lenin's intellectual and political legacy including an exploration of Lenin on imperialism and the labour aristocracy, and his thinking on the state and revolution.

  • Professor Mary Davis 
  • Jonathan White (author of Making our History: A Users Guide to Historical Materialism)
  • Vijay Prashad (Indian historian & journalist, author of forty books)
30 November 2023

A panel discussion convened by Gawain Little General Secretary of the GFTU


Our panel is set to deliberate on the latest surge in industrial militancy - its origins and impact - , examining challenges and opportnities in organising and sustaining collective action. The discussion will delve into the lessons gleaned from recent experiences and outline the strategic steps forward, especially in the face of escalating legal assaults on trade union freedoms. We will hear from:

Alex Gordon, President of the RMT
Helen O’Connor, Organiser at GMB
Xav Cohen, Organiser at Unison

Our panellists are speaking in a personal capacity

18 November 2023

An international symposium celebrating Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School’s 90th year

This online symposium will comprise three panels

1933 and the Founding of the Marx Memorial Library in Context

  • Meirian Jump, MML 
  • Marien Van Der Heijden, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam
  • Jürgen Schmidt, Karl Marx House Trier

1933-2023: Lessons of the Popular Front: the international struggle against fascism then and now

  • Fausto Sorini, Marx 21 and formerly International Secretary of CP Refondazione
  • Renate Koppe, International Secretary DKP
  • Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary CPIM
  • Patrick Theuret, Former Editor of Correspondences Internationales

The Forward March of Labour Resumed

  • Lord John Hendy KC
  • Fran Heathcote, PCS
  • Alex Gordon, Chair of the MML

 

16 November 2023

Join author & historian Andy Friend for a fascinating insight into the history surrounding the Marx Memorial Library's fresco.

Jack Hastings, an aristocrat with Plantagenet forbears, and Clifford Wight, son of a Swindon railway fitter and his wife, first met in October 1930 as part of Diego Rivera’s team painting a fresco in San Francisco.  Five years later their combined efforts produced ‘The Worker of the Future Upsetting the Economic Chaos of the Present’ at Clerkenwell Green.   This talk will explore how the project came about, how it was received and the artistic and political journeys that proceeded and followed from it. 


Andy Friend is the author of Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship (2017) and John Nash: The Landscape of Love and Solace (2020), both published by Thames and Hudson, and co-curated their accompanying touring exhibitions. He is currently writing a new history of the Artists’ International Association which will be published by T&H in 2025.  

25 October 2023

Michael Roberts will analyse the current phase of the world capitalist crisis and Britain’s place within it.

Michael Robert's publications include The Great Recession – a Marxist view (2009); The Long Depression (2016); Marx 200: a review of Marx’s economics (2018). He edited, jointly with Guglielmo Carchedi, The World in Crisis (2018) and this year, also with Guglielmo Carchedi, published Capitalism in the twenty first century through the prism of value.  He has worked as an economist in the City of London.    The meeting will be chaired by Nina Hilton.

5 October 2023

A panel marking 50 years since the Shrewsbury ‘conspiracy’

On the 50th anniversary of the Shrewsbury ‘conspiracy’ trial Eileen Turnbull and Terry Renshaw will detail the conspiracy between the Tory government, building contractors and the police to frame and imprison 24 pickets for their participation in the building workers strike the previous year.   The meeting will be chaired by John Hendy KC.

Eileen Turnbull is Researcher for the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and author of A Very British Conspiracy: the Shrewsbury 24 and the Campaign for Justice published this year.  A trade union lawyer, she received a doctorate for her research on the trial from the University of Liverpool in 2018.  Terry Renshaw, a convicted Shrewsbury picket, is a member of the Campaign Committee.  

14 September 2023

A panel discussion reflecting on the anniversary of General Pinochet's CIA backed coup against Chile's democratically elected socialist government in 1973

Panelists:

  • Kate Clark (former Morning Star correspondent)
  • Carlos Insunza Rojas (CC CP Chile and CUT Central Committee)
  • Carlos Patricio Gonzalez (CP Chile in Britain)    
6 July 2023

An event celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Marx Memorial Library and the 50th anniversaries of the Modern Records Centre and the South Wales Miners' Library.

22 June 2023

With Kate Hudson on the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Liz Payne on British Peace Assembly (British Peace Committee) and Andrew Murray on Stop the War. Meirian Jump in the Chair.

At a time of mounting international crisis the meeting will examine the respective roles, past and present, of Britain’s peace organisations. First, the British Peace Assembly developed at the height of the first Cold War in 1949-1950 as part of the World Peace Council which continues today as the major peace movement in the global south. Second, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament formed in 1956 and is today Britain’s major movement opposing nuclear weapons.  Thirdly Stop the War was formed to oppose the invasion of Iraq and is today the major organisation mobilising for peace. The chair, Meirian Jump, will highlight the Library’s Bernal Collection, the major documentary archive of one of the founders of the World Peace Council.

8 June 2023

With Richard Burgon MP

Richard Burgon MP examines the contemporary relevance of Labour’s 1973 programme and the role of Tony Benn in its development and in its contested implementation.

1 June 2023

With authors James Crossley and Robert Myles and Richard Clarke in the Chair

The authors will discuss their new book which, by situating the life of Jesus of Nazareth in the turbulent troubles of first-century Palestine,  provides a historical-materialist take on the historical Jesus.

25 May 2023

Jonathan White with John Foster in the Chair

This lecture will examine the current strike wave as a period of class mobilisation, looking at the extent to which we can see class consciousness emerging within it and the offering thoughts on the prospects for sustaining and building this consciousness. 

18 May 2023

John Foster with Jonathan White in the Chair

This lecture will examine the role of language in class mobilisation and why such moments are both difficult to sustain and critical for social transformation

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