Two cracking events coming up right now from the excellent Bristol Radical History Group’s spring programme, both organised in conjunction with Bristol Indymedia. The two events are both on at The Cube Cinema, Dove St South, Bristol BS2, and cost £3/4 but nobody turned away for lack of money.
Both events focus on recent history, and provide an opportunity to listen, learn, and debate the ways ahead. Both events also focus on POWER, but in two different, if related, meanings. Firstly on political and social class power, and the role of the state and the fifth estate (thats the media). Secondly on power as resource, who controls it, who should benefit from it, and indeed what types of energy power are acceptable and sustainable as we teeter on the climate change precipice? Dont’ just read on…go!
Speakers: Dave Douglas (NUM), Nicholas Jones (BBC) & Glen Burrows (miners’ support)
The year-long Miners´ Strike of the 1980s was a defining moment in 20th Century British history, the impact of which is still being felt economically, politically and culturally. Twenty-five years on we bring together a panel of participants, representing the strikers, the miners´ support groups and the media to discuss the anatomy of the strike, its reporting and the history that was left untold at the time.
Speakers in a panel debate on contemporary struggles over energy and labour include:
Robin Sivapalan (Workers Climate Action); John Cunningham (writer for Metamute magazine, tbc); Emma Stone (Carbon Capture Expert); Tyrone O’Sullivan (Ex miner and union, Tower Colliery); Will Brown (Kebele Economic Group)
The last place you might expect to the find the leader of the National Union of Miners, Arthur Scargill, is at an eco-protest camp where people were trying to keep the coal firmly in the ground. Yet at last year’s climate camp, that’s exactly what happened… Looking at the apparently contradictory issues of coal and climate, we delve deeper into the subject to search for answers to the questions of energy, community and class and what they meant during the 1984/5 strike and what they mean today and tomorrow.
Bristol Radical History Group are also producing a series of highly informative, and sometimes provocative, pamphlets. Full details and previews of all the pamphlets are here. As a taster we reproduce here a review of one pamphlet by the mysteriously monikered E2W:
We Come for Our Own and We Shall Have It: Smuggling in Poole and Dorset
(By Kevin Davis, Bristol Radical Pamphleteer no.2)
“If your knowledge of West Country smuggling is limited to Jamaica Inn, Moonfleet and those wily old bumpkins the Moonrakers, this pamphlet will help to look at the reality beyond the mythology. In the spirit of radical history, Kevin Davis reclaims a past either ignored or told in the memoirs of the ‘preventive men’ whose purpose was to suppress the enterprise. He reveals the huge scale of smuggling in coastal counties such as Dorset and Devon during its ‘Golden Age’ from 1689-1815 after which the ‘gentlemen’ involved needed to use ever more inventive forms of subterfuge to survive greater repression by the authorities.
This pamphlet provides evidence that smuggling represented ‘an element of choice and freedom to otherwise impoverished communities’. Were the smugglers anti-authoritarian folk heroes or a rural mafia operating as a state within a state? The final political distinction is whether smuggling developed into a kind of gangsterism, organised to protect the interests of a few or whether smuggling profited by mobilising the wider community to avoid taxes, otherwise levied to finance militarism and a notoriously corrupt political system. Probably the truth lay somewhere between. What is certain is that smugglers should not be simply discounted as the ‘violent, immoral mass’ that official history would have us believe.”