Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for May, 2013

The ephemeral can get to the heart of the matter – why we like donations of political leaflets and campaign flyers

Posted by wcmlibrary on May 14, 2013

We’re always interested in receiving material from radical political campaigns people are involved in.  We don’t have much capacity here to be pro-active in going out and getting it, so it’s great when people think of us.  Leaflets, flyers and correspondence may seem ephemeral, but they can tell future researchers such a lot about how it really felt to be part of an activist campaign, or about the political feel of the time.  That sort of thing is what our readers always get excited about when they find it here!

Programme of 2013 Chesterfield May Day galaLast week, for instance, volunteer Stuart brought us in the programme of the Chesterfield May Day gala he’d been to over the Bank Holiday – and a nice badge to go with it.  We’ve got a great collection of May Day programmes from 1920 onwards, and this is a welcome addition.  Cheers Stuart.

We’ve also been sifting through the papers and books of activist and WCML reader Keith Hodgson, which were kindly sent across to us from Liverpool by his partner Janice after the sadness of his death in February.

Keith packed a lot into his 50 years – he was part of the Liverpool Anarchist Groups of the 1980s and early 1990s, was a founder member of Liverpool Anti-Fascists, and was  involved in the Troops Out Movement and the Phoenix Support Group for Irish Republican prisoners amongst many other campaigns.

A couple of random snippets to show the flavour of the papers from Keith which we’re adding to our collection:

* an interesting exchange between Merseyside anarchists in a squatted building and a representative from the Labour council on the question of getting building insurance to legitimise their presence;

* an anarchist critique of the Provisional IRA, discussing historical associations with Franco and the Nazis;

* a range of Troops Out movement material,  including delegation papers and benefit concerts, correspondence and attempts to reach across the sectarian divide.

Thanks for thinking of us, Janice.

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Hope and action – anti-apartheid campaigners join the myriad stories of activist lives here in the Library

Posted by wcmlibrary on May 10, 2013

We’re just cataloguing a donation from Eddie Adams – a Merlin Press book edited by Ken Keable, ‘London recruits: the secret war against apartheid’.  It tells the story of anti-apartheid activists in the UK in the ’60s and ’70s.

The foreword states: ‘They were drawn from different backgrounds and political formations on the left. What they shared was a readiness to risk life and limb in the struggle of another country. Working in self-contained cells that were unaware of each other, under the guidance of a small unit operating out of London, these dedicated women and men helped the liberation movement to rebuild its capacity inside South Africa at a time when repression had all but extinguished the embers of resistance’.

Interesting in itself, of course. But made into proper ‘history from below’ by the signatures on the title page, garnered by Eddie, of many of those activists –

London RecruitsAs one of the attendees at Owen Jones’s Frow lecture last Saturday tweeted, ‘Hope + Action. I’m in’.  Cheers to Eddie and all the signatories.


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