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

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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!

Bookfair 2020 – an update

Bookfair 2020

On the 10th of August we held out first organisation meeting in the heart of London. It was attended by a number of Anarchists from diverse backgrounds with various fields of interest. The majority of whom had decided to help organise the bookfair after reading our launch statement. Our primary order a business was to discuss the nature of the bookfair, tho we have fourteen months to go we wanted to make it clear the foundations on which everything else would be built upon, these are;[] We want bookfair to be diverse and inclusive; we will make a point of inviting black and minority ethic networks as well as those with a focus on queer identity, sex work and other issues which sometimes take a back foot at these events. […]

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