photos of the last of our forums on 1970s class struggle

Last night (Monday 8th December) we held the last of our first series of “uncaptive minds” forums. The subject of the series was the 1970s class struggle, and we held meetings on struggles such as the Grunwick strike, the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders‘ occupation and the Leeds women clothing workers’ strike as well as discussing the organising methods of the time and focussing on debates in the movement such as the issue of workers’ control.

30 people attended the last of our seven fortnightly meetings, which was on the subject matter ‘Where did it all go?’. A few photos are featured below.

Liam comments: “earlier this evening I went along to a meeting organised by The Commune at which John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn very vividly brought to life politics and class struggle in the 1970s. John mentioned an example of a factory in his area in which the management removed the phone from the union office. The shop steward walked to the phone box at the end of the street and brought 250 workers with him. He got his phone back. Jeremy described his time as an organiser for NUPE when he would walk into school kitchens and recruit all the non members into the union. Contrast this to the contemporary situation. The young workers in my local branch of Woolworths yesterday were energetically recreating the 1974 Bulgarian retail experience. It hadn’t crossed their mind to strike, occupy the shop, hold a public meeting. Stoic acceptance that they were losing their jobs and the hope that something else would turn up seemed to be their attitude.”

A new series will begin in the New Year, looking at wider aspects of capitalism and the working class today. More information to follow shortly. Continue reading “photos of the last of our forums on 1970s class struggle”

changes to line-up for monday’s forum

PCS activist Christine Hulme has been added to the platform for Monday‘s ‘uncaptive minds’ forum on the 1970s class struggle. She will be leading off the discussion alongside John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP and RMT activist Steve Hedley.

Unfortunately, Joe Marino will now be unable to attend, for health reasons.

The meeting begins at 6:30pm on Monday 8th December. The venue is in central London – email or phone 07595 245494 to find out more details.

‘uncaptive minds’ forum on the grunwick strike, 24th november

The next of our ‘uncaptive minds’ forums on class struggle in the 1970s will take place from 6:30pm on Monday 24th November.

The subject of the meeting will be the 1976-77 dispute at the Grunwick film processing labs in North West London. It was a strike mainly involving Asian women workers and which found solidarity from other trade unionists, notably posties who refused to deliver Grunwick’s mail.

We will be showing a new film about the strike, and Pete Firmin from Brent Trades Council will also be giving a talk.

The meeting will be held in central London – email to find out the venue.

two announcements

Upcoming meetings

We have finalised the line-up for the last in the series of our ‘uncaptive minds‘ discussion series on the 1970s class struggle. Joe Marino (Bakers’ Union general secretary) and Steve Hedley (LUL regional secretary of the RMT) will be joined by John McDonnell MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP for a discussion on the subject “Then and now: where did it all go?”. The meeting takes place in London on Monday 8th December.

There are two meetings before that, however: the next is on the evening of Monday 10th November, a film showing and talk on the 1971-72 Upper Clydeside occupation. Email for more details. This will be followed by a meeting about the Grunwick dispute, taking place on 24th November.


The first issue of our newspaper The Commune will be published in the next ten days. It will feature extensive coverage of the economic crisis; articles about state intervention in the economy; about public sector pay; a piece by Gregor Gall on industrial democracy; Terry Liddle’s take on the life of William Morris; news from the class struggle in Iran; and other news from our movement. Email the above address to indicate your interest, and stay tuned.

To take a look at the pamphlets and leaflets we have already produced, click here.

film showing 10th november: the upper clydeside occupation

The next of our ‘uncaptive minds’ discussion forums on 1970s class struggle will feature a film showing about the Upper Clydeside dispute of 1971, where workers staged a fourteen-month-long work-in as a protest against the Tories’ planned shipyard closures.

As well as showing the 1971 Cinema Action film UCS 1 and sections of their 1977 film Class Struggle: Film from the Clyde (total running length: 36 minutes), we will be discussing the lessons of this important dispute in relation to the occupation and work-in tactic, trade union bureaucracy and the role of the Communist Party in the labour movement of the day.

The meeting is being held on Monday 10th November, from 6:30pm. The venue is in central London. Email to find out where it is, and to find out more information about our discussions.

If you’d like a Word file with the leaflet for the meeting, click here.

27th october meeting on 1972 building workers’ strike

In the aftermath of the 1972 building workers’ strike, police raided homes and took away men who were tried and jailed on “conspiracy” charges.

Among them were Ricky Tomlinson, now a successful actor, and Des Warren, who served his full three years and suffered from Parkinsons Disease as a result of drugs administered in prison. Des died of pneumonia on April 24, 2004, aged 66.

The “Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets” campaign is for an inquiry into the convictions, with all the official papers to be opened, and a reversal of the so-called guilt.

Chair – Mick Dooley,
Speakers – Ricky Tomlinson, Arthur Scargill, Terry Renshaw

Meeting from 7:30pm, Monday 27th October, at the Welsh Club, 157-163 Grays Inn Road, London WC1 (Russell Square/King’s Cross).

pdf of leaflet for meeting

‘uncaptive minds’ forum on workers’ control, 29th september

Our series of ‘uncaptive minds’ forums on class struggle in the 1970s continues with a meeting at 6:30pm on Monday 29th September.

The subject of the meeting will be the debates on workers’ control. Guest speaker Ian MacDonald and David Broder from the commune will be leading off a discussion on the idea of “workers’ control” of privately-owned and nationalised workplaces raised in the workers’ movement internationally in the 1970s. The issue of workers’ control and how to implement it was widely debated among trade unionists at the time, not least by partisans of workers’ self-management, a project which found particular resonance in Portugal during that country’s revolution.

The venue is in central London – contact or 07595 245494 for details.

For Chris Ford’s report on the last meeting on the 1970 Leeds clothing workers’ strike click here, or here for a report on the first meeting, which was on the subject of the 1968-74 upsurge in class struggle.

mcdonnell to speak at uncaptive minds forum

john mcdonnell mp has confirmed that he will be speaking at the last of our uncaptive minds forums on class struggle in the 1970s.

the subject of the meeting, which will take place from 6:30pm on monday 8th december, is ‘where did it all go?’ john will be speaking alongside joe marino, general secretary of the bakers’ union, and steve hedley, lul regional secretary of the rmt.

for details of other meetings in the series see ‘events‘. email for more information.

first ‘uncaptive minds’ forum tonight at 6:30pm

a reminder of the first in our series of discussions on working-class struggle in the 1970s, taking place from 6:30pm this evening (monday 1st september)

the subject of the meeting will be the upsurge 1968-74, with guest speakers sheila cohen, author of ramparts of resistance, and george shaw, a former vauxhall car worker and former member of solidarity.

we will also be showing a short film about the era, arise ye workers

the venue is in central london – contact or 07595 245494 for details