Tuesday, 19 May 2009


'If there is hope, it lies with the proles' - George Orwell, 1984

Books, talks, badges, workshops, music, culture, short films, magazines, lectures, warm atmosphere, fellowship, meet new people, education, entertainment, magazine, newspapers etc. To book a stall/more info. email us! A flyer to pin on noticeboards/distribute can be downloaded here - our venue for the day is in the City Centre and 5-10 mins from Train and Bus Stations. Directions can be found here

Includes 100th Anniversary of 1909 Ruskin College Student Strike meeting, the first radical student uprising in English history that saw students breakaway to form radical and anti-capitalist educational networks such as the PLEBS LEAGUE and CENTRAL LABOUR COLLEGES + Talks/workshops on anti-fascism and anti-racism, situationism/dada/surrealism, anti-capitalism, people's history, trade unions, war, peace & empire, radical bookselling, bash the rich marches, psychogeography, feminism & women's equality, social ecology, popular & radical education, poetry/culture/art, music etc

Speakers include -

COLIN WAUGH Radical educator/FE teacher, active on the Post 16 Educator journal, recently author of pamphlet on the 1909 Ruskin College Student Strike & Plebs League
RICHARD SEYMOUR Author of The Liberal Defense of Murder, a searing critique of the B52 liberals and pro-war left & the brains behind Lenin's Tomb, one of the best-known political blogs in Britain, listed in 2005 as the 21st-most-popular blog in the country.
IAN BONE English anarchist associated with Class War group. In 1984 he was labelled 'the most dangerous man in Britain' by a British tabloid newspaper & was involved in the legendary Bash the Rich marches on wealthier areas of England such as Kensington, Henley-on-Thames & Hampstead. He was also interviewed by Jonathan Ross, view here
TERESA HAYTER Acclaimed authour and activist on on migration and anti-racism issues. She has been active in the Campaign to Close Campsfield since the immigration prison was opened, near Oxford, in 1993. She is one of the authors of the No One Is Illegal manifesto. Before that, she was active in anti-racist and other workers campaigns. She has written seven books, including Aid as Imperialism, The Creation of World Poverty and Open Borders: The case Against Immigration Controls
JUDITH ORR Author of Sexism & The System - A Rebel's Guide to Women's Liberation
MALCOLM HOPKINS Our man from Housmans, London Town's oldest radical bookshop who boast the largest range of radical newsletters, newspapers and mags of any shop in Brtain! He also does talks on situationism, dada, and surrealism - top bloke!
Cllr JOHN TANNER Lefty Labour Councillor, supports good causes like the Palestinians and anti-fascism - top bloke!
DAVID RENTON Independent writer & historian. Written extensively on the history of anti-fascism including When We Touched the Sky a history of the Anti-Nazi League & Red Shirts & Black (Published by Ruskin College Library) the story of how the facist Blackshirts were driven out of Oxford in the 1930s.
ANDREW BURGIN Radical seller/collektor of books, badges, posters, pamphlets & other emphemera. As an officer for the Stop the War Coalition he has worked particularly closely with the Military Families against the War campaign. He has also been linked to the Public Reading Rooms in London . . .
CIARAN WALSH IWW/Wobblie Member involved in Traveller education. 'The IWW is a union unlike any other. It is a grassroots, democratic and militant union that seeks to organise ALL workers in ALL industries in ALL countries' ... Sounds like a good idea!
PETER DWYER has done many silly and good things including working with NGOs and the labour movement in South Africa and speaking at World Social Forums in Rio, Mali and Kenya. During the daytime he teaches radical economics at Ruskin College
STEVE MILLS Bristol Radical History Group, anarchist & allotment holder, Steve is also an elected Branch Chair of Bristol UNISON, representing in local government. He supports a member lead branch, and has been involved in running strikes, disputes and demos. Actively involved in his community, he is Chair of the Avon and Bristol law centre, which is still a collective & gives free legal advice and representation to those who cannot afford it; this includes employment, discrimination, and immigration. He is also 'a happy hammer, but detests what capitalism is doing to our beautiful game'.
SHEILA COHEN (To be confirmed) Author of Ramparts of Resistance - Why Workers Lost their Power & How to Get it Back, trade unionist, labour educator and a national organiser for the National Shop Stewards Network
GUY DEBORD Sadly Monsieur Debord can't make this festival, but we have received a copy of The Society of the Spectacle - The Movie that will receive a free screening and Ruskin College premier during the course of the bookfair
LUCY PARSONS once described by the Chicago police as 'more dangerous than a thousand rioters', Parsons died in 1942, she will be brought back to life for one day during the bookfair with a public reading of her infamous address To Tramps

Levellers Day Outing (Oxford Working Class Bookfair On the Road)

The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make. - William Morris, Arts&Crafts movement/socialist agitator

May 1649, the LAST STAND OF THE LEVELLERS- radical fighters for liberty & democracy - 300 soldiers herded into a church in Burford after a MUTINY against Cromwell, 3 'ringleaders' then shot in the churchyard. The Levellers had REFUSED to be sent to fight in Ireland - England's oldest colony - seeing the Irish as fighting for the same cause of freedom as them. They also felt that they had been SOLD OUT by the leaders and wanted to push the revolution further.

360 years later & our OXFORD WORKING CLASS BOOKFAIR team for a world-turned-upside-down got up early to join a busload of revolting RUSKIN STUDENTS, RANSACKERS & TRADE UNION TYPES off on a daytrip to the annual LEVELLERS DAY commemoration where we hooked up with other revellers, lefties, woodcraft folk, morris dancers, workers etc. in remembering OUR MARTYRS.

This is just the kinda event we love & OXFORD WORKING CLASS BOOKFAIR gained a very warm reception & much enthusiasm from the punters as we distributed shedloads of leaflets & literature - many folks taking whole wads of flyers to give out to friends, family & workmates. It seems in these CREDIT-CRUNCHED TIMES locals are really hungry for an event of this kind. One kid even sellotaped a flyer for the event on his skateboard!

Several of our team report waking up the next morning with sore-heads consequent from numerous toasts & drinks & much merrie-making to the blessed memory of PERKINS, THOMPSON & CHURCH, our executed LEVELLER heroes!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

1ST Oxford Working Class Bookfair!

Saturday 20 June, 11 am - 6 pm
Ruskin College, Walton Street, Oxford

We cordially invite YOU to visit the 1st ever OXFORD WORKING CLASS BOOKFAIR! There will be books, talks, workshops, short films and more books and magazines . . .

We plan to recover/reclaim some of the hidden history of Oxford, with its gallery of rogues, rebels and revolutionaries, to touch upon some topics of contemporary relevance to the man & woman on the street today, provide quality entertainment, discuss the big issues past and present & hopefully have a real good time to boot! - All in a relaxed and warm atmosphere!

The range of local groups invited includes; political groups, Trade Unions, community groups, campaign groups, booksellers and history societies. If you would like to have a stall email us at the address above!

The event will include a commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the 1909 RUSKIN COLLEGE STUDENT STRIKE, a pioneering student uprising for independent working class education, that saw students breakaway to form a radical education and self-help networks based on an alternative progressive view of what education could be. They argued that it wasn't enough for the working class to have limited extended access to higer education, but rather that they needed a fundamentally different kind of education, curriculum & pedagogy to meet their needs and the needs of the class. They were involved in the PLEBS LEAGUE (a grassroots education iniative) and set up an anti-capitalist education network of CENTRAL LABOUR COLLEGES, many of the leaders of the student uprising were miners and trade unionists who went on to be authors of THE MINERS NEXT STEP, a classic text of rank & file trade unionism and syndicalism written in S.Wales.

Along the way, we will learn the story of the RED SHIRTS, a group set up at Ruskin College to sabotage the attempts of Oswald Mosely's fascist BLACK SHIRTS to get a base in 1930s Oxford & consider how we fight against fascism & racism today.
There will also be workshops and talks on people's history, radical bookselling, situationism/dada/surrealism, popular education, music, culture, trade union & labour history, feminism/women's liberation, social ecology & climate, war & empire etc.

More information about speakers, events and other happenings planned will appear on our page shortly - watch this space! Sponsors include the local I.W.W and Oxford & District TUC

A flyer to distribute or pin on noticeboards can be downloaded here

E-mail us for more info. or to get involved!

Working class bookfair addicts in the North of England, may wish to attend a very interesting event happening in Sunderland that will include a commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Miners Strike.