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Jayaben Desai and the ILP Tradition

August 30th, 2016

Saturday 20 August 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of the day when Jayaben Desai walked out of the Grunwick photo-developing company in London, igniting a strike which drew support from thousands. GRAHAM TAYLOR remembers the woman whose dignity in dispute recalled the ethical traditions of the ILP.

For Jayaben Desai, the Grunwick strike was about low pay, compulsory overtime, trade union recognition and the inferior social status of women and immigrants – but it was also about human dignity. Tired of being humiliated, she said: “I want my freedom.”

Ada Salter and the Origins of Ethical Socialism

May 19th, 2016

In writing his lauded biography of ILPer Ada Salter, GRAHAM TAYLOR began to wonder about the ILP’s ethical socialism. In a recent lecture to the Socialist History Society, he traced the history of those ideas and values which the Salters epitomised through their lives in south east London.

I must start with a confession. When I began to study Ada Salter I was not fully aware of ethical socialism and I learned about it as I went along. What I have to say therefore is only a product of three years researching the book.

Ada Salter: Pioneer of Ethical Socialism

February 8th, 2016

Graham Taylor’s fine biography of Ada Salter provides a vivid account of the ILP’s ethical socialism as she lived it, says BARRY WINTER.

Ada Salter’s hands-on approach to making the world a better place is told with clarity and passion in Graham Taylor’s new biography of the pioneering ILPer. Moreover, Ada’s busy life is explored without subordinating her to her husband, Alfred Salter, who became MP for West Bermondsey (1922 and 1924-45). Indeed, having become a Quaker herself she converted him, for theirs was a creative partnership, personally and politically.

Ada Salter’s Story Out Now

January 14th, 2016

Graham Taylor’s new biography of pioneering ILPer and ethical socialist Ada Salter has been published by Lawrence & Wishart. Salter played a key part in the ‘Bermondsey Revolution’ in south east London and had a major influence on the development of socialist politics nationally.

New Pamphlet: Homage to Tom Maguire

January 3rd, 2016

The ILP have re-published EP Thompson’s celebrated 1960 pamphlet on Leeds ILPer, poet, propagandist and photographer Tom Maguire with a new introduction by Labour historian David Howell and an additional profile by former Labour MP, John Battle.

Maguire was, according to Howell’s introduction, “the personification of the marginalised”, a radical organiser who played a vital role in the Leeds gas strike of 1890 but died in poverty five years later at the tragically young age of 29.

The Alf Mattison Collection

January 3rd, 2016

The life of 19th century ILPer and Leeds local historian Alf Mattison will be put under the spotlight by Professor Malcolm Chase during a lunchtime talk at Leeds Central Library on 14 January.

Living for That Better Day

January 3rd, 2016

Keir Hardie dedicated himself to ‘constant agitation’ and left a singular political legacy in the form of the Labour Party. David Connolly reviews What Would Keir Hardie Say?, a book of essays published last September to coincide with the centenary of Hardie’s death.

Keir Hardie is an iconic figure in the history of the Labour Party. He was a political visionary and an outstanding organiser, a socialist radical who recognised the need to build a bridge to the wider working class even if that meant some compromises along the way, most notably in the broad nature of the Labour alliance itself.

Brown Hails Hardie’s Moral Courage

September 10th, 2015

Former Labour leader Gordon Brown traces the life of the Party’s first figurehead in a half-hour documentary broadcast on BBC Radio4 this morning (Thursday 10 September), a programme to be repeated this evening at 21:30 and available via BBC iPlayer.

Keir Hardie Centenary Celebrations

August 26th, 2015

‘The Keir Hardie Factor’ at the Edinburgh Festival tomorrow (Thursday 27 August) is the first of a series of events being held across the country over the next month to mark the centenary of the Labour Party founder’s death on 26 September 1915.

Remembering Bristol’s Anti-War Hero

April 30th, 2015

Until recently Walter Ayles was almost a forgotten figure in Bristol. But a new group is reminding the city of a man who opposed the First World War from its jingoistic beginning to its bitter end. COLIN THOMAS explains why the group is campaigning for a blue plaque to honour his memory.

Bristol’s Remembering the Real World War One group came into being in 2014. Working closely with the Bristol Radical History Group, it has organised well-attended public meetings; re-enacted a quayside meeting of the Bristol dockers who voted against the war; screened films about its impact on a Somerset town and local opposition; and has been reminding the city of the one Bristol councillor who opposed the war from its jingoistic beginning to its bitter end.