October 2008 Diary of Events at Housmans, London:
- (Book event/talk) ‘Understanding Stalin’s Soviet Union 1929-1941’ with Paul Flewers
- (Book event/talk) ‘Radical Barcelona’with Michael Eaude
- (Book event/talk) ‘Dark Streets and Shady Places: writers and the East End’ with Ken Worpole
- (Book event/talk) ‘The Truth About Work and the Myth of ‘Work-Life Balance’’ with Sheila Cohe
- (Book event/talk) An evening with Bernard Kops
- (Social) Pre-Anarchist Bookfair Social
- (Book event/talk) East End Radicals hosted by Five Leaves DVDS & BOOKS
- Naomi Klein – discusses the rise of disaster capitalism
- Streetwide Worldwide: Where People Power Begins by Tony Gibson
- News: Housmans Peace Diary 2009
1. Book event/talk:
‘Understanding Stalin’s Soviet Union 1929-1941’ with Paul Flewers
Wednesday 1st October 2008 – 7pm
The first years of the Soviet Five-Year Plans witnessed an upsurge of interest in the Soviet Union. In hundreds of books and thousands of articles, commentators of all political outlooks expressed their opinions on the novel features of Stalin’s Soviet Union– industrial construction and agricultural collectivisation, show trials and state terror, Popular Fronts and collective security.
What was the Soviet Union? Was it a totalitarian threat to Western civilisation, or was it a utopia taking shape before our eyes? Was Stalinism the logical outcome of the October Revolution, or did it represent its betrayal? Was there anything that Western countries could learn from the Five-Year Plans? These were just some of the questions asked.
Paul Flewers’ latest book ‘The New Civilisation?: Understanding Stalin’s Soviet Union 1929-1941’ uncovers and comments on a vast range of material published in Britain, from the far left to the far right, from the well known to the downright obscure, on all aspects of the Soviet Union during 1929–1941, and draws out the impact of the Soviet experience on British intellectuals and political trends.
2. Book event/talk: ‘Radical Barcelona’ with Michael Eaude
Saturday 4th October – 5pm
Michael Eaude, author of ‘ Barcelona the City that reinvented itself’, talks about radical Barcelona, ranging from recent community struggles with developers, to the Spanish Civil War.
Michael Eaude lives in Barcelona where he is active in the anti-capitalist movement. He is fluent in Catalan, Spanish and English.
“Partly a jauntily erudite guide to the city, partly a sharply written history, Eaude’s book excels at spiking his deft snapshots of squares, bars and sites with flavoursome fragments of Catalan lore and literature. Unlike other Barcelona boosters, Eaude knows how hard the road from Franco to freedom proved, and shows us the marks of that struggle.
The city’s candid friend, but no hype-merchant, he is the kind of companion who even knows (say) that Placa George Orwell was one of the first spots to have CCTV. So Big Brother is watching you – or was, till anarchists severed the cables.” — The Independent
3. Book event/talk:
‘Dark Streets and Shady Places: writers and the East End ’ with Ken Worpole
Wednesday 8th October – 7pm
Ken Warpole talks about East End writers past and present, based on the new edition of his book ‘Dockers and Detectives’. Long unavailable but in demand, Worpole’s ‘Dockers and Detectives’ is a pioneering study of twentieth-century working-class reading and writing in Britain, and helped revive a number of literary reputations, such as those of Alexander Baron and James Hanley, as well as distinguishing distinct regional literary cultures and narrative styles still existing in Britain. ‘Dockers and Detectives’ comprises five long linked chapters on literature and politics, American influences on popular fiction, popular literature during WWII, the novels of working class writers from Liverpool, and the novels of the Jewish East End. Ken Worpole is the author of a number of books on architecture, landscape and social history, including Last Landscapes, and Here Comes the Sun. He writes regularly for the Guardian, Prospect, Times Higher Education Supplement and other papers. Ken lives in Hackney and is currently working on a book on childhood.
“For many years, Ken Worpole has been one of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape.” – The Independent http://www.worpole.net/
4. Book event/talk:
The Truth About Work and the Myth of ‘Work-Life Balance’ with Sheila Cohen
Saturday 11th October – 5pm
Sheila Cohen leads off a discussion on her recent pamphlet, which examines the largely hidden topic of work today and its increasing intensification and ‘extensification’ towards ever-longer working hours. New Labour’s rhetorical embrace of ‘work-life balance’ suggests a utopia of ever-increasing leisure – but the opposite is happening. The reality of life at work is tough, but exposing the myths doesn’t have to be. Sheila’s pamphlet ‘What’s Happening?? The Truth About Work and the Myth of ‘Work-Life Balance’’ contains lively and jargon-free accounts by workplace union activists of what’s really going on – and what they, and we, can do about it. Come along and join the debate! Sheila Cohen (NUJ/UCU) is Education and Publications Officer of the National Shop Stewards Network and author of Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power, and How to Get It Back.
5. Book event/talk:
An evening with Bernard Kops
Wednesday 15th October 7pm
Bernard Kops’ autobiography ‘The World is a Wedding’ has recently been re-issued by Five Leaves. The book marks his change from East End boy to Soho writer in the 60s, by way of mental breakdown and drug addiction. He will also be reading from his poetry, memoir and fiction in ‘Bernard Kops’ East End ’.
6. Social – Pre-Anarchist Bookfair Social
Friday 17th October – 7pm till late
It’s that time of the year again! This year will be the 27th Anarchist Bookfair, and as you would expect Housmans will be there alongside the full range of anarchist groups, publishers and activists (see link below for more info.) On the Friday night before the bookfair, Housmans will be opening its doors for a pre-bookfair social. If you’re in town and at a loose end then please pop in for a drink and a chat and a browse. http://www.anarchistbookfair.org
7. Book launch/talk/songs: East End Radicals hosted by Five Leaves
Wednesday 22nd October 7pm
From Rudolf Rocker to the Battle of Cable Street via Lenin, the Jewish East End has a radical past unique to Britain.Bill Fishman has authored such works as ‘East End Jewish Radicals’ and ‘The Streets of East London’, which bring to life the tales of the political struggles of anarchism, socialism, communism and anti-fascism. Unfortunately, due to ill health, Bill Fishman will not be able to read from his work as planned – however, colleagues from his publishers at Five Leaves will be presenting an evening of discussion sure to inform and entertain.
DVDS & BOOKS
8. Naomi Klein discusses the rise of disaster capitalism
£6.95 (Run Time 77mins Aspect16:9 Widescreen)
This DVD, produced in conjunction with Housmans, documents Naomi Klein’s talk at Friends Meeting House, Euston, on 19 May 2008 in which she discusses her most recent book ‘The Shock Doctrine’, and explains the concept of ‘disaster capitalism’. In addition the film contains extracts from an exclusive interview Naomi gave at the newly formed Public Reading Rooms in the Housmans basement. This DVD is currently only available at Housmans!
9. Streetwide Worldwide: Where People Power Begins by Tony Gibson
£14.99, Jon Carpenter, 308 pp
Review by Peace News co-editor Milan Rai.
Tony Gibson’s previous book ‘The Power in Our Hands’ (John Carpenter, 1996) demonstrated truly participatory grassroots organising using methods as open to the verbally unconfident as to the fluent. Surprisingly (to me), his follow-up book is an autobiography. But what an autobiography! Tony Gibson’s experiences in just-pre-revolutionary with the (Quaker) Friends Ambulance Unit are a wonderful description of how outsiders can truly support and empower poor people. His ingenious adventures in educational broadcasting explain the background to the famous ‘Planning for Real’ system now used by urban planners and others around the world. ‘Streetwide Worldwide’ is a highly readable treat for anyone yearning for a change and needing a dose of hope.
10. Housmans Peace Diary 2009
The 56th edition of the Housmans Peace Diary is soon to be available. Not only is it a beautifully presented, pocket-sized diary, but thanks to its World Peace Directory it serves as a unique reference tool for peace, human rights and green activists everywhere. The Directory lists almost 2000 peace, environmental and human rights organisation in 150 countries, and is the only directory of its kind.
The Diary and its Directory (both a non-profit service to fellow activists) continue to depend on much voluntary labour. We welcome help in promoting the Diary – appropriate leaflets are available from Housmans Diary Group – either call the shop on 020 7837 4473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Diary is available from Housmans and can be sent direct to any destination worldwide for just £8.95, post-free. It makes a wonderful gift, whether for your loved ones, fellow activists, or even yourself! To get your copy either get in touch with the shop by phone or in person, or email email@example.com All orders with payment received by Housmans by 1 October 2008 will qualify for a £1 discount per Diary. Please visit http://www.housmans.com/diary/index.htm for more information.
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