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Larry Herman 1942-2021

March 8, 2022
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Larry Herman, photographer, member of the IMG and later the Communist League has died.

Grardian obituary here.

“Agitator”- Voice of the Socialist Club, Sussex

January 6, 2022
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A joint post with Splits&Fusions.

[7th January- amended, corrected, updated and added to!!]

The Agitator was a two page weekly news-sheet of the Sussex University Socialist Club.

The club was intended as a general forum for all revolutionary socialist students and it is clear that, at least, supporters of both the International Marxist Group and the International Socialists were involved.

We have 13 issues of Agitator which all appear to date from the 1971-1972 period.

The sheet advertised the regular weekly Socialist Club meetings, educational meetings and a variety of other campus activities, meetings and protests as well as taking up issues within the Students’ Union and campus authorities.

However, by March 1972 the International Socialists chose to leave the Socialist Club and set up their own campus society- as reported in the issue for March 21st 1972.

Agitator continued at least until May (possibly for a lot longer but the latest dated issue we have is May 25th 1972)

I am sure there will be readers of this blog who remember the Agitator and the Socialist Club…

AGITATOR- VOICE OF THE SOCIALIST CLUB Archive

Not represented in the University of Sussex Socialist Club at this time would be supporters of Militant.

Militant controlled the Labour Club and issued its own newsletter Red Letter of which we have five copies. They also date from the early 1970s with the earliest we have being from January 21st 1970.

RED LETTER- SUSSEX LABOUR CLUB Archive

Saor Eire- The Unfinished Revolution 1967-1973

November 16, 2021
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Many thanks to Mick Healy for sending us a copy of the recently published pamphlet Saor Eire- The Unfinished Revolution – The Struggle for a Socialist Republic 1967-73.

This is an A4 sized, 28 page colour magazine which pulls together a history of the short-lived revolutionary group Saor Eire which brought together republicans with members of the Irish section of the Fourth International.

The magazine includes profiles of its leading members, extracts from the SE manifesto- as published in Red Mole- and information from interviews with former members conducted in 2019.

More information at the Irish Republican Marxist History Project.

And a short video can be found in our previous posting.

To buy a copy, please contact mick.healy1@gmail.com

Remembering Noel Hibbert

November 15, 2021
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Noel Hibbert, who died recently, was branch organiser of Hull IMG in the 1970s.

Comrade Stone remembers him:

Comrades active in the revolutionary left in Hull in the 1970’s will be saddened to learn of the death of Noel Hibbert, (seen below speaking outside Barclays bank on an anti-apartheid protest), who was the IMG Branch Organiser and an activist on the local Trades Council.

Noel speaking outside Barclays Bank in Hull on an anti-apartheid protest

Noel tirelessly built support for many disputes by  working through the Trades Council, an example being how he organised pickets in support of workers at Sandersons, Skegness on strike for union recognition.

Noel is seen here standing in front of the Hull Dockers Shop Stewards banner at one of the pickets in Skegness.

Noel on on the picket line outside Sandersons in Skegness

He also helped to build a solidarity campaign for  workers at the local British Aerospace factory when they were threatened with redundancies, inviting a speaker across the Lucas Aerospace Combine.

He was instrumental in building a young and dynamic IMG branch which linked student work with various campaigns in the city. He was the election organised for the Socialist Unity Election Campaign in 1979 and was involved in every anti-fascist mobilisation and university  occupation including over disinvestment from apartheid South Africa. 

At a Troops Out demo in Barnsley

Noel was always prepared to explain the meaning of  Trotskyism to any contact and once debated Dave Aaronovitch, who at that time was in the leadership of the Communist Party, on the strategy to achieve socialism.

Noel drifted away from revolutionary politics and over the last few years suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.

We remember the comrade he was.

Peter Graham- 50th anniversary poster

October 30, 2021
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Designed by Kevin Squires for the 50th anniversary of Peter Graham’s death

IMG Revolutionary Student rally

October 12, 2021
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A picture of a nice poster recently saved by Kirstin S.

We think it is from 1974…

The Republic Of Ireland- complete book with 2021 introduction

September 19, 2021
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At last we have a full PDF reproduction of Rayner Lysaght’s book The Republic Of Ireland.

John McAnulty has contributed an introduction which we have incorporated into the book.

Be warned this is a very large file- over 110mb- hence our earlier decision to first serialise it in bite-sized chunks.

THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND by RAYNER LYSAGHT full version 2021

Eventually we will try to produce a text only version of the book.

RAYNER LYSAGHT- The Republic of Ireland book and chapters

Chapter 8- Do The Irish Want Independence?

September 15, 2021
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The 8th and final chapter of Republic Of Ireland, Do The Irish Want Independence is very short- just four pages long plus a five page Epilogue: September 1968 to July 1969 and an Appendix on a socialist programme for the Irish Labour Party.

We also include here an extensive Bibliography and Index for the whole book.

Chapter 7- The New Deal of Sean Lemass 1957-1967

September 12, 2021
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Chapter 6 of Republic of Ireland: The New Deal of Dean Lemass, 1957-1967 (35 pages)

Steve Whitley- Victory Against Victimisation

September 8, 2021
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In the process of researching some of Mick Gosling’s history, Penny Duggan sent us a couple of links to interesting materials she had received on the IMG in the North East.

Liz L writes:

“I think Mick was sent up to Newcastle for a few months when the IMG had a contact at a college of education near Ponteland, just outside Newcastle. 

Steve Whitley, a lecturer in English, faced an attempt by the college principal to sack him.  He kept his job as a result of a successful student and trade union mobilisation. 

Anyway Steve, one other lecturer, I think called Brian, and a few students joined the IMG.  So this was the basis of a possible branch and a few of us were sent to Newcastle to organise it.”

Here is the Steve Whitley story from “Muther Grumble“* (a link to the full PDF of this magazine is here.

The article is on page 8, filed under “student politics”)

Victory Against Victimisation
Steve Whitley joined the staff of Northumberland College of Education on 1st September 1972, as lecturer in English and Resident Tutor; he took up the post of Senior Resident Tutor on 1st January 1973.
On the 21st February, the first day of action in the National Union of Students Grants Campaign, Whitley joined the demonstration in Newcastle and spoke from the platform at the rally.
On Monday 12th March, two days before the next NUS day of action, the Principal, Eileen Churchill, issued a memo “to advise all members of the College staff that they were expected to be present at college on Wednesday to meet their normal work commitments”. Whitley had no teaching commitments on Wednesday morning. So he approached Mick Marston, the Students Union President, to ask how he could support the student action. Marston asked him to join the picket line which was being mounted at the entrance to the college, and Whitley was there for most of the day.
At 2.00pm on Friday 16th March Churchill told Whitley that she wanted to see him later that afternoon; he asked why but a reason was refused. About an hour later, he was summoned to her office, where Churchill read him a statement saying: “I am concerned that you did not accept my advice of Tuesday evening that you should undertake your work as a member of the teaching staff of the college on Wednesday morning of this week. I have advised the Chairman of the governors of this situation and that in view of the fact that you have shown yourself to be a person on whom I may not rely I can no longer consider you to be a suitable person to hold a post of special trust in the college. I am relieving you of all your duties as Senior Resident Tutor as from today.
“The NUT took up the case immediately, telling the Clerk to the Governors that the dismissal was “entirely improper”. The college Students Union passed a motion which read: “The union is totally opposed to the Principal’s actions in the attempted sacking of Mr Whitley and that the union continues to recognise Mr Whitley as Senior Resident Tutor”.
Militant students at once began to argue for action to reinstate Whitley. Opposition to this came from three groups: right-wing students, apolitical students and part of the Liberal wing. Many of the right-wing students welcomed his dismissal, pointing out his membership of the International Marxist Group. They and the apoliticals were also horrified at the prospect of strikes and occupations, claiming that it would get “the college a bad name” and “affect their future careers”. Some of the liberals claimed that the college Principal had acted in an unconstitutional way and thus the attempt to reinstate him should be conducted in a purely legal way.
The militants rejected these views, pointing out that Whitley’s dismissal would strengthen the hand of the Principal and encourage the most reactionary lecturers in their attempts to strengthen college discipline. They explained that by occupying the administration they would not only disrupt the college but encourage students and lecturers in other colleges to take supporting action. Furthermore, only such action could inspire any campaign amongst the unionists who were hardly likely to act in defence of Whitley if students of the college were accepting his victimisation.
The position was fully justified in practice. Even though only a minority of students occupied the administration block it evoked messages of support from over 30 colleges – the universities had already closed for the vacation – and received the support of the NUS executive, backed by a resolution at the NUS conference at Exeter. Academics throughout the country signed petitions demanding his reinstatement, many of which called on the NUT and ATTI to ‘black’ the college if his dismissal was confirmed.
Meanwhile, a Steve Whitley Defence Committee had been formed from local friends and supporters. Recognising that some members of the board of governors had connections with the trade unions and local Labour parties, the Defence Committee campaigned inside the local unions and Labour parties for support. Branches of NALGO, NUPE etc went on record for his reinstatement. The Newcastle Trades Council carried a motion of support and circulated its affiliated organisations on the case. The South Shields Trades Council not only came out in clear support but sent their banner and pickets to the Board of Governors meeting.Some people had argued that this activity might alienate some of the more ‘progressive’ members of the Board. But the Defence correctly saw that what would move these people was an open demonstration that the trade union and Labour movement would not tolerate any complicity on their part in Whitley’s projected victimisation.
By refusing to let the case be tied to legal manoeuvres alone, and thus isolated in the rooms of secret committee meetings, the Defence Committee ensured that the maximum pressure was brought to bear against the authorities and thus laid the base for Whitley’s reinstatement.The meeting of the college Board of Governors of 9th April decided to lift the suspension and to reinstate him to his former post as senior resident tutor. A fine of one day’s pay was imposed on him, presumably as ‘punishment’ for his presence on the picket line on the 14th March.
Although the dispute was resolved within the official channels, that is at the board meeting, the overwhelming support from students and workers emphasised that to take on Steve Whitley was to take on the entire student and labour movements.
This reinstatement clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of joint action between all sections of the working-class alongside students. For the staff and the students of Northumberland College – the victory is very tangible – there will be no return to Miss Churchill’s despotism; for trade unionists, who’re being attacked on all fronts, to defend an isolated teacher is to defend the rights of the labour movement at large.
Solidarity has won the day!
Brian Burke
The Steve Whitley Defence Committee

Steve Whitley is also mentioned in this oral history interview with Steve Grinter: https://nelh.net/resources-library/oral-history/oral-history-political-organisations/oral-history-political-organisations-steve-grinter/

*Muther Grumble, The North Easts Alternative Newspaper. Based in Durham City in the north-east of England, Muther Grumble survived for two years putting out seventeen issues between December 1971 and December 1973.

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