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Janine Booth

Janine Booth

GUILTY AND PROUD OF IT! POPLAR’S REBEL COUNCILLORS AND GUARDIANS 1919-25

By Janine Booth

Merlin Press

In the aftermath of the First World War, thirty Labour councillors went to prison rather than accepting inequitable taxes.

With unemployment rising in 1921 in Bow, Limehouse, Millwall and Old Ford, Poplar Borough Council could not help provide relief drawing only on the limited wealth of one poor London borough. 

Poplar councillors, including future labour leader George Lansbury, demanded that rates from richer areas should help. Rich Kensington had a hugely greater rateable value and fewer jobless people; it could afford to pay more. So Poplar refused to pay over rates to the London County Council, and thus began the Poplar Revolt.

Drawing on archive research and on newspaper reports, this book tells the story of the support mobilised by Poplar Council. 

The story begins when newly-enfranchised working-class voters elected Labour to run the Council in 1919. For the next two years, it improved life for Poplar residents, coming into ever-increasing conflict with the central authorities and the local government funding system. 

The crisis came in 1921, when Poplar Council refused to levy a portion of its rates. Poplar’s fight took its Councillors to prison in September 1921. Released after one month, they continued to battle but the struggle lost momentum. The book ends with a survey of outcomes and considers how this story has meaning today. 

“In the 1920s, Poplar’s Councillors and Guardians chose to fight. Had they chosen differently, we would not even remember them.”

Booth has done Poplar proud with her immensely well researched, lively and readable account… The book is especially good at bringing to light many of the lesser known characters in the struggle. It also reflects critically on the lessons of Poplar, which still resonate today.’ — Labour Research.

ISBN. 9780850366945
2009 Paperback
Contents here …
Price:£12.95

Janine Booth

Janine Booth

Merlin Press: http://www.merlinpress.co.uk

Janine Booth lives in Hackney, east London. She is a member of the RMT trade union and of Workers’ Liberty. She contributes to the socialist feminist Stroppyblog and has been a socialist candidate for Hackney Council and the Greater London Authority.

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CRITIQUE CONFERENCE: STALINISM AND ITS DESTRUCTIVE LEGACY

Critique: Journal of Socialist History

SATURDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2011

9am-5pm, rm. H216, Connaught Housese, London School of Economics, Houghton St., Holborn tube

What is Stalinism?

Was capitalism stabilised by the end of Stalinism and the Cold War?

Why is it so difficult to defeat Stalinism?

 

Critique Conference: http://www.critiquejournal.net/conf2007.html

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Richard Greeman’s Ecosocialist Book Tour Schedule

 

UK November 2008

 

Please forward via Green and Left networks

 

Richard Greeman, the U.S. writer and longtime  socialist / social activist, will be touring Britain this November speaking to Green groups on the topic: “Capitalist and Ecological Collapse: An Eco-socialist Solution.”  He will also be presenting his new book Beware of Vegetarian Sharks, a sharp-witted collection of Radical Rants and Internationalist Essays, Illustrated (Praxis 2008). Greeman, who is based in France, is best known in Britain for his work on Victor Serge, the Franco-Russian novelist and revolutionary. Greeman’s translation with introduction of Serge’s posthumous novel, Unforgiving Years (NYRB Classics 2008) appeared this Spring.

 

Contact: eurojournalistes@laposte.net

 

Dates: (As of November 2nd.  For updates please contact eurojournalistes@laposte.net )

 

LONDON

Fri. 7 Nov:  “Victor Serge: Committed Writer” University of London, Dept. of French, room 108, Malet Place, WC1, opposite Waterstone’s Bookshop.

Sat. 8 Nov: ” From Capitalist Ecoside to Ecotopia:  A future vision based on Historical Materialism, Emergence theory and Castoriadis’ Contenu du socialisme.”  Historical Materialism Conference, Panel on UTOPIANISM. 11:45 am Brunei Building opposite main entrance to SOAS rm B 104.

Mon 10 Nov: Capitalist and Ecological Collapse: An Ecosocialist Solution” at 7.30 pm in the upstairs meeting room at “The Goose on the Green” pub in Catford. Sponsored by Alliance for Green Socialism

Fri. 21 Nov: Capitalist and Ecological Collapse: An Ecosocialist Solution” 7.30pm at the Lucas Arms, Kings Cross, sponsored by Alliance Green Socialism

 

LIVERPOOL

Wed 12 Nov: “Be Utopian, Demand the Realistic” 7:30 pm at the CASA Bistro Bar on Hope Street opposite Philharmonic Pub

 

GLASGOW: For information update contact eurojournalistes@laposte.net

 

EDINBURUGH 

Sun. Nov. 16: “Victor Serge’s Ecological Vision,” Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, 7:00 PM

Mon. Nov. 17: “The Revolutionary KIT: build your own invisible international,” Edinburgh University Chaplaincy, 7:00 PM.

 

NEWCASTLE                                

Tues. 18 Nov: “Is There Hope   After Capitalism?” (Ecosocialism versus Capitalist Ecocide) at 6:00 pm Tyneside Irish Center, 43-49 Gallowgate.

 

LONDON

Fri. 21 Nov: Capitalist and Ecological Collapse: An Ecosocialist Solution” 7.30pm at the Lucas Arms, Kings Cross, sponsored by Alliance Green Socialism

 

OXFORD

Mon. 24 Nov: Capitalist and Ecological Collapse: An Ecosocialist Solution”   7:30 pm Committee Room, Wolfson College, Oxford.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

Bibliography: To see covers, blurbs, and free downloads of Dangerous Shortcuts and Vegetarian Sharks go to www.lulu.com/content/923573For  Richard’s recent translation of Serge’sUnforgiving Years (NYRB Classics 2008) http://www.nybooks.com/shop/product?usca_p=t&product_id=7159

 

 

Biography:  Richard Greeman studied at Yale College (where he became a socialist), the Sorbonne (where he was active with Socialisme ou Barbarie) and at Columbia University (where he was awarded his PhD in May, 1968 while occupying the University as one of the radical leaders of the student strike). Along with writing and translating, Greeman has been active since 1957 in civil rights, anti-war, anti-nuculear, pro-ecology and labour struggles in the U.S., France, Latin America. He is Secretary of the Victor Serge Foundation and is one of the founders of the Praxis Research and Education Center in Moscow. www.praxiscenter.ru

 

“Ecosocialism is a bet you can’t refuse. Global capitalism in it death crisis is structurally unable to halt ecocidal productivism and the looting of the environment for quick profit. As a result, the planet is likely to become uninhabitable in two or three generations as tendencies like global warming, nuclear proliferation, endless war, flooding, epidemics, food shortages, air/water pollution and destruction of human communities increasingly combine in destructive synergy.

If there remains a marginal (say 1 in 100) chance for human society to survive, it would entail replacing the competitive profit system with a planetary network of producers — a cooperative commonwealth or democratic socialism. Against the near certainty of planetary catastrophe under capitalism, we must bet on the unlikely dream of a harmonious, healthy ecosocialist world. The `Ecotopian Bet’ is one we can’t refuse.

Let us then begin by dreaming the dream, by imagining a technically feasible, ecologically sustainable post-capitalist future and historically possible roads leading to it. One such road, based on theories of cybernetics, chaos, emergence and an idea of Cornelius Castoriadis, I call the New Archimedes Lever. It involves connecting the historically proven lever of solidarity with a philosophical fulcrum (planetary consciousness) and a global electronic platform (the Internet) in order to `lift the earth’ before it succombs to capitalist ecocide.

“Global capitalism is structurally incapable of halting ecocidal productivism and the looting of the environment for quick profit. As a result, the planet is likely to become uninhabitable within decades as tendencies like global warming, nuclear proliferation, flooding, epidemics, food shortages, air/water pollution , endless war and destruction of human communities increasingly combine in destructive synergy.

If there remains a marginal (say 1 in 100) chance for human society to surviv e, it would entail a complete break: replacing the competitive profit system with a planetary network of producers , a global cooperative commonwealth. Against the near certainty of planetary catastrophe under capitalism, we have no choice but to bet on the unlikely dream of a harmonious, healthy ecosocialist world. The `Ecosocialist Bet’ is a bet we can’t refuse.

There can be no future without a dream, no progress without the hope of Utopia. So let us then begin now by trying to imagine a technically feasible, ecologically sustainable post-capitalist future and visualizing historically possible roads leading to it. The ‘New Archimedes’ hypothesis  — based on theories of cybernetics, chaos, emergence and Castoriadis’ Content of Socialism — connects a historically proven lever of worker solidarity and a 21st Century philosophical fulcrum (planetary consciousness) and a global electronicplace to stand  (the Internet) where the billions can unite  in solidarity in order to lift the earth’ before it succumbs to capitalist ecocide.”

— Richard Greeman

 

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