News From Nowhere Club – Programme 2018

Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern life.
‘Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’.  William Morris

Venue
At the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ
7.30pm Buffet (please bring something if you can)
8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm & back to buffet

Travel and Access
Stratford stations & 257 bus, Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus
Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn right, short walk
Disabled access, Car park / Bikes can be brought in
Quiet children welcome.
You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown
Meetings open to all – just turn up
Enquiries 0208 555 5248
Free entry: voluntary donations welcome

PROGRAMME 2018

Saturday 13th January 2018
Radical Routes Speaker: Emily Johns
Here we are in twenty-first-century Britain, in a world not of our making but one that has been moulded over thousands of years of exploitation and injustice. Radical Routes is a network of housing & worker co-ops stretching from Scotland to Cornwall seeking to change all this through positive social change. Imagine collectively taking control of our housing, work, education, health and play.  Imagine a horizontally organised, mutual aid network using consensus decision making to loan out a million pounds, to move property into common ownership, to make anarchy in action. Emily Johns is a member of Walden Pond Housing Co-op, an artist and Peace News production editor.

Saturday 10th February 2018
George Orwell, the Labour Party and the Left Speaker: Professor John Newsinger
George Orwell was a lifelong socialist. As far as he was concerned, socialism was involved in the achievement of a democratic classless society, a society in which the rich had been altogether dispossessed. His experiences in Spain in the 1930s convinced him that this would require a revolution and he held to this belief through the Second World War, even hoping that the Attlee government might go down a revolutionary road. This talk examines the trajectory of his political thinking and his changing attitudes towards the Labour Party. John Newsinger is Professor of Modern History at Bath Spa University and the author of several books, including the graphic novel, 1917: The Red Year. He is co-editor of the journal George Orwell Studies and has a new book on Orwell, ‘Hope Lies in the Proles’: Orwell and the Left, coming out in March 2018.

Saturday 17th March 2018 ***NB THIRD Saturday***
Wounded Leaders: Why British Politics Is So Flawed Speaker: Nick Duffell
In the 19th century, the British industrialised boarding schools for the mass production of officers and administrators for their growing Empire by engineering privileged abandonment and normalised neglect – a context in which abuse readily flourishes. The resulting entitlement attitude still operates today and can be seen in our Brexit stuckness. Psychologically, it is a compensation for terrible, unrecoverable loss that has been taken for granted in the UK, rather like gun use is in the US. Psychotherapist, psychohistorian and author Nick Duffell will speak about his 30 year research into this problem.

Saturday 14th April 2018
The Cinema Museum: Keeping Alive the Spirit of Cinema from the Days before the Multiplex
Speaker: Martin Humphries
Martin is the director & co-founder of The Cinema Museum. Set in historic surroundings in Kennington, close to the Elephant & Castle, the outstanding museum houses a unique collection of artefacts, memorabilia & equipment that preserves the history & grandeur of cinema from the 1890s to the present day. His illustrated talk will cover the founding of the museum, the collection, its activities & events. ‘The Cinema Museum is culturally very important to the history of movies & gives insight into how things have changed. It was the workhouse where Charlie Chaplin went as a child. It is a monument of great importance to anyone interested in cinema.’ Sylvia Syms

Saturday 12th May 2018
A Lancashire Miner in Walthamstow: Sam Woods and the By-Election of 1897 Speaker: Professor John Shepherd
The Walthamstow by-election of 3 February 1897 was the most remarkable result of over 70 similar contests during the 1895-1900 parliament. Sam Woods, a 50 year old miner from Wigan, defeated Thomas Dewar, the wealthy director of Dewar’s Whiskey and unexpectedly became Walthamstow’s first Labour MP. A complete stranger to the district, he was adopted shortly before polling day for an extensive constituency that usually returned Tory politicians. Late Victorian Walthamstow also comprised Leyton, Leytonstone, Harrow Green and Woodford. The by-election campaign unexpectedly attracted large crowds of working class women and men, although it took place alongside a similar by-election in neighbouring Romford. Sam Woods’ impressive victory represented a swing of over 11%. He became Walthamstow’s first Labour member many years before Valentine McEntee, Clem Attlee and Stella Creasy. John’s illustrated talk provides fascinating insights into the birthplace of William Morris, socialist, artist and author of News from Nowhere, during a significant period of working class politics in suburban Walthamstow. John is Visiting Professor of Modern British History at the University of Huddersfield. His publications include books on George Lansbury and James Callaghan. He is currently finishing a study of Jon Cruddas MP and the Labour Party for Manchester University Press.

Saturday 9th June 2018
Allotment Gardens: A Surprising History Speaker: Dr Lesley Acton
Think allotments are just about growing vegetables? Think again. Allotments have a long history and are reflective of the times in which we live. This talk will explore the many sides of allotment history: growing food, intrigue, lawsuits, government, politics, wars, land grabs, art, culture, recreation and not least of all, want and plenty. Lesley Acton PhD is the author of Growing Space: A History of the Allotment Movement. She has worked for many years in the heritage industry as well as researching cultural history, urban agriculture, food security and culinary history.

Saturday 14th July 2018
The Vi Gostling Memorial Lecture (part of the Leytonstone Festival)
Radical Hospitality, Personalism and Freedom of Movement: A Catholic Worker Perspective Speaker: Nora Ziegler
Nora is a community member of the London Catholic Workers’ house of hospitality in North London. The London Catholic Worker is an ecumenical Christian community living together with 20 men who have no recourse to public funds and would otherwise be homeless. The community members work full time as volunteers running this inspiring house. They also take part in protests and non-violent direct action against war & arms trade and in solidarity with migrants. Nora will speak about freedom of movement from the perspective of the Catholic Worker movement and her own experiences of “radical hospitality” as resistance to border violence.

Saturday 11th August 2018
Is Local Press All Over? Speaker: James Cracknell, Waltham Forest Echo
James has worked as a local news reporter for 11 years & filed copy for several publications over this time, including the Bristol Post, Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, Uxbridge Gazette, Harrow Observer, South London Press, Enfield Advertiser & of course Waltham Forest Echo. Two of the aforementioned local rags have since closed down, victims of an industry in seemingly terminal decline. But is it really all over for the local press, or does Waltham Forest Echo, a community paper (est. 2014), demonstrate that it still has a viable future? James talks about his experiences in journalism, as editor of the excellent WF Echo & what the future of the industry might look like.

Saturday 8th September 2018
I Ain’t F***ing Doing That! Working with People No One Wants to Work With Speaker: Charlie Weinberg
Charlie is Executive Director of Safe Ground, the award winning national charity using arts education & therapeutic group work to challenge people in prison, professionals & policy makers to do relationships differently. She will talk about how working with people who struggle to trust is a life time’s mission. She has performed as a poet, holding a 2009 residency at Iniva, has been part of a film-making programme for the Equalities & Human Rights Commission, worked on an award winning social soap opera in Nicaragua for 6 years & has been designing & delivering therapeutic group work for 25 years. As well as bringing extraordinary wit & dazzling social commentary, she is likely to involve the audience in a conversation about social change.

Saturday 13th October 2018
Paupers, Priests & Progressives: A Personal History of the Salvation Army Speaker: Captain Josh Selfe
Josh, Captain of the Leytonstone Salvation Army, reflects on 150 years of his family’s links with the movement.  From Auxiliary-Captain John Strong ‘The Cornish Devil Driver’, one of the Army’s first officers in the 1870s, to the alcoholic coal miners & tanners of the Selfe family raised from poverty by the charity’s work in Bristol’s slums.  From Commissioner Cooper, a progressive reformer of the organisation in the 1960s through to the modern day work of Salvationists throughout the world.  The talk will
finish by contemplating how the principles & aims of the Salvation Army, its DNA so to speak, should manifest themselves in the 21st century, especially in Leytonstone.

Saturday 10th November 2018
Lest We Forget: Cycling the Iron Curtain – The Borders of a Divided Europe Speakers: Katherine and Tom Marshall
The 20th century was dominated by the divisiveness of two world wars, culminating in the East/West division of the Iron Curtain. To keep the memory alive, the German Green MEP, Michael Cramer, created a cycle trail that follows the path of the Iron Curtain for nearly 8,000kms through 20 countries from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea. Tom and Katherine Marshall have been riding sections of this route each year since 2014 and will share their experience of the pain the wall caused, how different countries contributed to its fall and the museums, art and monuments erected to keep the memory alive. They will show many vivid slides of their remarkable journeys.

Saturday 8th December 2018
How Far Away Are We from a World Free of Nuclear Weapons? Speaker: Stephanie Clark
The world has lived with the threat of nuclear war for over 70 years. A historic breakthrough was achieved in 2017 with the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Confronted, meanwhile, by global instability and nuclear-armed superpowers vying for control, where does our common security lie? Do our nuclear weapons keep us safe? Do those of other countries keep them safe? Or do they risk Armageddon for all on our planet? And what should we do about them? But it’s coming up to Christmas so Stephanie will be approaching this most serious of subjects, opening up discussion & challenging our thinking through a festive quiz. An opportunity to have some fun together and also consider the prospects for a world free of nuclear weapons. Stephanie is secretary of Tower Hamlets CND and a volunteer school speaker for CND’s Peace Education programme.