A message from the collective.

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We’re still hoping the bookfair will go ahead on the 8th August and you can still reserve a table without payment, pending the final say from the Corn Exchange.

Whatever the toffs may announce or advise in the meantime, we ask participants to wear face coverings (so far as is practical) in the venue, both to minimise risk and to express solidarity with the many anarchists and freedom fighters getting  stuck in right now from the US to the Philippines.

No compulsion, we’ve had enough of that, but if it catches on we might have a competition for the best one.

In Solidarity

DRB Collective

Book Launch. Justice and Race: campaigns against racism and abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand by Oliver Sutherland

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

Dedicated to the memory of John Hippolite

Nelson launch

Trafalgar Street Hall (aka Old Folks’ Hall, opposite Trailways Hotel). Wednesday 26 February, 2020, 5:30pm for 6:00pm Speaker: Rahui Katene

Auckland celebration

Auckland Central City Library, Whare, second floor. Thursday 5 March, 2020, 5:00pm for 5:30pm Speaker: Will ‘Ilolahia

RSVP for catering, specifying Nelson or Auckland, by 21 February 2020 to duvedal39 Books will be available for sale for $30 (VISA/Mastercard/internet banking/cash – no eftpos).

“Are we all to be ‘gender-critical feminists’ now, Father?”: On silencing and the article Graham Linehan doesn’t want you to read

Cautiously Pessimistic

Graham Linehan, the once-beloved writer of Father Ted and that other one that wasn’t as good as Father Ted but still had its moments, has recently been going about the place complaining about being “silenced” while also using legal threats to silence a piece of writing critical of him. Of course, there’s nothing really new here – it’s been years now since Sara Ahmed first observed that

“These views then get expressed again as if they are being stifled.  They get repeated by being presented as prohibited.

Whenever people keep being given a platform to say they have no platform, or whenever people speak endlessly about being silenced, you not only have a performative contradiction; you are witnessing a mechanism of power… The narrative of “being silenced” has become a mechanism for enabling and distributing some forms of expression.

Similarly, if I had a penny for every time someone proclaiming themselves to be in favour of free speech and against silencing debate used threats of legal action to shut their critics up, then maybe I’d have enough money to start hiring lawyers and trying to shut up everyone I disliked too.

I’m still very sympathetic to the principle that, when someone starts throwing legal threats around to silence criticisms, you should spread and reproduce that criticism as widely as possible, so people can read it and make up their own mind. In that spirit, the offending article is reproduced below, not as a full endorsement of the contents but just to give people the chance to decide what they think of it. If you want to know Linehan’s side of the story, that’s easy enough to find out; similarly, if Linehan can point out exactly which precise claims in the article are provably untrue, I’ll be happy to alter them.

If you’re concerned about the problem of people being “silenced” and prevented from exercising free speech, I would suggest that one good place to start might be by donating to support this blacklisted brewery worker here. And if, like me, you’re a massive fan of Father Ted and quite enjoyed that other one sometimes, and are feeling let down that such a gifted comedic great has descended into acting like a bit of a dick, then at least we can all take comfort in the fact that the guy who wrote the Office has always behaved in an admirably dignified and respectable manner, right?

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Fundraiser for Newcastle Ewan Brown Anarchist Bookfair

Can you help our comrades in the North East?

www.gofundme.com/f/NewcastleAnarchistBookfair


We are raising money for the Newcastle Ewan Brown Anarchist Bookfair which is taking place on the 9th of May 2020. Ewan was a comrade to many across the North East and even across the globe. We are hoping to have a great bookfair that Ewan would have been proud of… Let’s make it a good one. We are hoping to raise money to cover the costs of the bookfair. Anarchist Bookfairs sadly cost a lot, so anything anyone can contribute would be a huge help. The funds will be going towards accessibility, printing, travel, food, signage, and any other hidden costs that we will inevitably run into.

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Anarchy in the Sticks 2020!

Dorset’s fourth Radical Bookfair will take place on the 8th August 2020 at Dorchester Corn Exchange. Invitations will go out soon, if you’d like to be involved please get in touch:

dorsetbookfair@riseup.net

Please note we now have our own paypal, use the above address to pay direct to the bookfair account, but remember to select “friends and family”, or you will be making a donation to a corporation with annual net income of 2.5 billion USD, at our expense!

Fellow Worker : Barry Pateman reviews Cole, Struthers, and Zimmer, Wobblies of the World

libcom

Formed in June 1905 at a Chicago conference, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) immediately set out to break up the existing American labour landscape.

In his opening address to the conference William D. ‘Big Bill’ Haywood of the Western Federation of Miners stated that ‘We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working class movement that shall have as its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism’. The Preamble to the IWW made it clear that ‘The working class and the employing class have nothing in common’. As well as taking aim at American capitalism the conference also attacked what delegates saw as the inadequacy of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the principal American labour organization of the period. As a craft-based organisation, the AFL, by design or default, excluded the majority of American workers from its ranks – women, those who were unskilled, migrant workers, and, of course, recent immigrants. The IWW saw its mission as to go out and recruit those workers into the struggle against capitalism and to avoid all forms of conciliation with their employers. In essence this meant organising in areas that had never been organised and often working with ethnic groups in whom the AFL appeared to have no interest and whose presence in America some of its membership actively opposed.[1]

After a stuttering start the IWW grew into an impressive and, it might be argued, rather prescient organisation. It soon showed itself capable of remarkable creativity in its use of tactics. Banned from speaking at street corners in a city it would create a battle over free speech. Every time an IWW member was arrested for speaking, another would take their place with the aim of flooding jails and jamming the legal system. It employed the use of song and cartoons to rouse members and mock opposition. It practiced sabotage in all its aspects while encouraging and supporting strike action whether organised

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Introducing Working Class Literature

Working Class History

Following on from the success of the Working Class History podcast and social media pages, we recently decided to start a new sister project: Working Class Literature.

Like our history, working class literature is often neglected (or completely forgotten) within literary institutions – like publishing or the academy – that actively discourage or exclude working class people from participation. Beyond this exclusion, there also exist the various obstacles of poverty, work, time (or lack thereof) and formal education (likewise) which might stop working class writers from ever writing in the first place.

Yet, nonetheless, the working class has a rich literary history and it is the aim of Working Class Literature to help promote it.

The project will consist of a Twitter account and occasional podcast to discuss working class writers or various texts and authors in their relationship to working class politics. The first podcast episode will be about the life and work of T-Bone Slim, a poet, songwriter and columnist for the Industrial Workers of the World union who was at various points a hobo, dock worker and lumberjack. For this episode, we’ve interviewed Owen Clayton from the University of Lincoln as well as Slim’s Great Grandnephew, John Westmoreland.

More generally, we hope to expand what is generally considered ‘working class literature’ to include not only the likes of Robert Tressell, John Steinbeck and Alan Sillitoe (great as they all are) but also writers like BS Johnson, Toni Morrison, George Lamming and Djuna Barnes who, for various reasons, are usually not included under the label of ‘working class literature’.

So if you’re on Twitter, do please follow @workingclasslit, share our content and invite your friends to do the same. And feel free to give us suggestions for authors who we should be reading to help us promote the rich literary and cultural life of our class!

If you value our work please take a second to support Working Class History on Patreon!