Wednesday, July 16, 2008

London socialist Historians Group Newsletter

I haven't been keeping up with the LSHG, for which I am sorry. Their 30th Newsletter (Spring/Lent 2008) is now quite old. Front cover has a piece by Martin Spence about his book on Penge: The Making of a London Suburb: Capital comes to Penge (Merlin 2007) - engaging, too brief, but enough to make it an attractive prospect. There are reports of LSHG events back in November 2007: Marcus Rediker talking about his very important book on The Slave Ship (paperback promised for September 2008). There are also accounts of the event to launch 1956 and All That highlighting Anne Alexander on Nasser and Suez and Neil Davidson on Alasdair Macintyre (still too expensive). There's a report on an odd-sounding symposium on the 90th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Ian Birchall reviews Marcel van der Linden's Western Marxism and the Soviet Union with typical aplomb and openness. Keith Flett reviews a book about the Tyneside radical Joseph Cowen and convinces me that it is worth-looking at. Gerd-Rainer Horn (hooray, going outside the usual company) positively reviews the LSHG's New Approaches to Socialist History. There's my blog review of as previous Newsletter with a generous and open response by Keith Flett. Oh my, that blog entry has so many typos that I am truly ashamed!

There's a review of a new and important history of the ILP, The Failure of a Dream by Gidon Cohen which make a polemical argument about the disastrous split (or car-crash as some say) in Respect. Good job I'm reading this now - I would have been much crosser when this first appeared. Must admit it's not bland. The author fails to mention the role of the SWP and presents the SWP's distorted version of events in which, here, Galloway appears as a Maxton-style anti-democratic splitter, when the actual wrecking came out of the overbearing arrogance and anti-democratic practices of the SWP. Keith in reply to me drew a line between what this Newsletter is trying to do and what goes on in the Blogosphere (posing the question of why Keith hasn't got his own blog?), but this polemic takes us directly into fractious territories of the blogosphere where the angry cry, 'lies!, it's all lies' awaits.

Overall, still got all the signs of a really worthwhile on-going project.



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