The Making of a Revolutionary, Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen, 1881-1918

May 22, 2008

Maurice Carrez, 2008. La Fabrique d’un Revolutionnaire, Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen (1881-1918): Réflexions sur l’engagement politique d’un dirigeant social-démocrate finlandais. (The Making of a Revolutionary, Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen, 1881-1918. Reflections on the Political Engagement of a Finish Social-Democrat Leader). Vol. 1: 466 pages – Vol. 2: 396 pages. ISBN: 2-912025-39-7 – Vol. 1 : 2-912025-40-0 – Vol. 2 : 2-912025-41-9. €40.

Otto Wilhelm Kuusinen is especially known as having been a Kommintern secretary and, later on, a member of the Polit-bureau of the Soviet Union Communist Party. Historians have often centred their studies on his activity as leader of the Finish Communist Party in the pre-war years and on his role as a reformer under Krustchov.

But before his career outside Finland, O. W. Kuusinen was one of the most well-known leaders of the Finish Social-Democratic Party for twelve years and outright leader between 1911 and 1913. Furthermore, his influence on political life was particularly important from March 1917 to March 1918. From this angle, he can be considered as one of the major protagonists of the road towards independence ant the revolution that followed.

The aim of this book, that arose from research from a work destined for the ‘Habilitation à diriger des recherches (HDR)’ qualification, is to come to understand how an upwardly mobile young man, at first under the influence of conservative nationalism, a man who came from humble origins, entered Socialism at the beginning of the 20th century and then went on to construct between 1905 and 1918 a relatively original political and intellectual career.

This work is no a mere biography of an individual, albeit a brilliant individual, it is a study that strives to relate the personal elements of his life with the social and cultural framework of the age, taking equally into account the political upheavals that shook Finland and the Russian Empire. Readers of this book will become familiar with the history of the Baltic region, at the extreme ends of the Scandinavian and Slav worlds before and during the First World War. They will find in these pages important representatives of the Nordic political world as well as the workers’ mouvement during the so called Belle Époque.

€40 (plus €5 post and packing) – Payable to: l’Agent Comptable de l’UTM / FRAMESPA

Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail – FRAMESPA CNRS-UMR 5136 –
5, allées Antonio Machado – 31058 Toulouse Cedex 9
Tél. : 05 61 50 44 17 – Fax : 05 61 50 49 64
Mel :


Book launch: ‘Syndicalism and the Transition to Communism’

May 20, 2008

To celebrate the launch of his new book ‘Syndicalism and the Transition to Communism’, Ralph Darlington will appear at the Salord University branch of the Blackwells bookshops on Thursday 19 June between 1.00pm-2.00pm. Wine and light refreshments will be provided. To confirm that you would like to attend please contact:

Salford Crescent railway station (with links to Oxford Road and Piccadilly) is just around the corner from the bookshop; car parking is available at Irwell Place, just off The Crescent (A6) and the main University campus/reception.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, amidst an extraordinary international upsurge in strike action, the ideas of revolutionary syndicalism developed into a major influence within the world wide trade union movement. Committed to destroying capitalism through direct industrial action and revolutionary trade union struggle, the movement raised fundamental questions about the need for new and democratic forms of power through which workers could collectively manage industry and society.

This study provides an all-embracing comparative analysis of the dynamics and trajectory of the syndicalist movement in six specific countries: France, Spain, Italy, America, Britain and Ireland. This is achieved through an examination of the philosophy of syndicalism and the varied forms that syndicalist organisations assumed; the distinctive economic, social and political context in which they emerged; the extent to which syndicalism influenced wider politics; and the reasons for its subsequent demise.

The volume also provides the first ever systematic examination of the relationship between syndicalism and communism, focusing on the ideological and political conversion to communism undertaken by some of the syndicalist movement’s leading figures and the degree of synthesis between the two traditions within the new communist parties that emerged in the early 1920s.

Front cover of 'Syndicalism and the Transition to Communism'

The Public Intellectual and the Left in the 21st Century

May 20, 2008

The Public Intellectual and the Left in the 21st Century:
A conference to celebrate Shelia Rowbotham’s intellectual and political contribution

Helena Kennedy, Peter McMylor, Shelia Rowbotham, Lynne Segal, Hilary Wainwright

Saturday 7th June 2008


Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester M2 1NL (opposite Ann Street)

Admission free

Sponsored by the Lipman Miliban Trust; Sociology, Cultural Theory Institue and Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, University of Manchester

Gareth Stedman-Jones speaking on his biography of Marx

May 11, 2008

Gareth Stedman-Jones will be speaking on his biography of Marx at 2.00pm on Saturday 17 May 2008 at Marx House, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London EC1 (nearest tube: Farringdon). Admission to the public meeting: £1.50.

The meeting follows the AGM of the Socialist History Society which convenes at the same venue at 1.00pm.

1968: Turning Point – call for conference papers

May 11, 2008

Multi-disciplinary Postgraduate Conference

1968: Turning Point

10th – 11th October 2008
Queen’s University, Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies


1968 was a crucial year in the history and politics of Northern Ireland as the civil rights movement took to the streets, but this agitation was, if anything, defined as much by its global as local character. Across the world the year witnessed scenes of mass street protests and demonstrations, confrontation between states and their citizens, and calls for revolutionary action and social change. 1968 would prove to be an epoch-making year not just for Northern Ireland.

Forty years on, Queen’s University has organised a series of events to reflect upon and re-evaluate the events of 1968 both within and beyond the Northern Irish context. As part of this commemoration Queen’s is planning a two-day postgraduate conference entitled “1968 Turning Point.”

We invite scholars to give 20-minute papers on the political, social and cultural significance of 1968 from a wide range of disciplinary and international backgrounds, including anthropology, history, film studies, political science, sociology, social movement theory, literary studies and cultural theory.

Topics to address may include:

  • The Northern Ireland civil rights movement and other civil rights movements; movements for social change; anti-Vietnam and CND demonstrations;
  • The New Left and the Old Left;
  • The role of women and women’s rights movements;
  • Student agitation and demonstrations (both specific case studies and comparative analyses);
  • The literature, culture and media representations of 1968 and ’68ers; the legacies and influences of ’68;
  • State responses and the role of counter-demonstration groups (both specific case studies and comparative analyses)

* This should not be viewed as an exhaustive list. Papers will be considered on related themes. *

Please send a 300-word abstract in Microsoft Word format to the following e-mail address: Abstracts should be submitted by no later than Friday, 4th July 2008.

We are planning to publish a volume of selected papers presented at this conference.

Eric Hobsbawm and Dai Williams In Conversation

May 6, 2008

To celebrate the Launch of the new biography Raymond Williams: A Warrior’s Tale, The Raymond Williams Society present ‘Eric Hobsbawm and Dai Williams In Conversation: Welcomed by Merryn Williams’, on Saturday 10th May At 2pm at Birkbeck University London Room 532. To be followed by book signing and buffet in the student bar on the fourth floor extension.

For further details please contact Steve Woodhams []. Entry is free but places are limited so please contact Steve.

This biography of Raymond Williams reveals the intensely private and conflicted man behind such hugely influential critical works as Culture and Society (1958), The Long Revolution (1961), Keywords (1976) and Marxism and Literature (1977). With unlimited access to never-before-seen papers, Dai Smith shows how the making of the work for which Williams is famous was inextricably bound up with the relentless writing and rewriting of his fiction, both published and unpublished, which includes the Border Country trilogy.

A Warriors Tale