Conference: ‘Reform Communism since 1945’

September 11, 2011

‘Reform Communism’ since 1945 in Comparative Historical Perspective

Location: Room 3.26, Arts 2, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ

Date: 22 Oct 2011 – 23 Oct 2011
Organiser: Dr Matthias Neumann
Institution: University of East Anglia
Ticket Price: Free, but with limited spaces

Conference hosted by UEA School of History in conjunction with the journal Socialist History: ‘Reform Communism’ Since 1945 in Comparative Historical Perspective’.

The collapse of the USSR and the Eastern bloc in the wake of Gorbachev’s perestroika seemed to show that communism was essentially unreformable. It could be preserved, dismantled, or overthrown, but it could not be reconstructed as a viable alternative to capitalism, free from the defects of its Leninist-Stalinist prototype.

Prior to 1989-91, however, reform communism was a live political issue in many countries. At different times in countries as diverse as Yugoslavia, the USSR, Czechoslovakia, Western Europe, Japan, and China, the leaderships of communist parties themselves sought to change direction, re-evaluate their own past, correct mistakes and so on with the aim of cleansing, strengthening and improving communism, rather than undermining or dismantling it. In countries ruled by communist parties this process usually involved political relaxation and an easing of repression, and was often accompanied by an upsurge of intellectual and cultural ferment.

The aim of this conference is to consider reform communism as a distinct phenomenon, which can usefully be distinguished from, on the one hand, mere changes of line or leader without any engagement with a party’s own past and the assumptions which underpinned it, and on the other, dissenting and oppositional activity within and outside parties which failed to change the party’s direction.

Selected papers will be published in 2012 in a special issue of Socialist History ( devoted to the subject.

Attendance of the conference will be free of charge, but we ask that anyone wishing to attend registers in advance by emailing Francis King on and/or Matthias Neumann on at School of History, UEA, Norwich NR4 7TJ. Any enquiries should be addressed to us.

Download an information poster

Download a copy of the programme

Supported by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies


Conference: ‘Local Communisms’, 1917-89

May 30, 2011

Programme and Fees: ‘Local Communisms’, 1917-89
First Annual Conference of the Journal Twentieth Century Communism

Venue: University of Glamorgan (South Wales, UK)
Date: Thursday 30th June and Friday 1st July 2011

The study of communist parties globally has, perhaps inevitably, always involved finding a balance between overarching relationships with Moscow and the specific influences of a diversity of local environments in which the individual parties functioned. While recognising the importance of the former, this conference aims to address the extent to which national and sub-nation political, social and cultural traditions and developments, crises and continuities shaped the character of ‘world communism’.

The conference programme can now be downloaded here. (Updated May 27th.)

Please register to attend the conference at our online form.

The conference fee, payable by all speakers and attendees, will be as follows:

For academic and others in employment, the fee is £20.00 for one day and £35.00 for both. The registration fee covers afternoon coffees/tea and biscuits. Lunch is charged separately at £9.50 a head.

For postgraduates, the fee is £10.00 for one day or £20.00 for both. Lunch is charged separately at £9.50 a head.

See map for the route from Cardiff Queen Street Railway Station to the Atrium.

Download further details of travel and accommodation here.

View Conference Home Page.

Contact: Lois Thomas (Conference Co-ordinator) ( / Dr Norry LaPorte (

Conference: Communism and Youth in the twentieth century

January 30, 2011

One-day conference – 5 April 2011
Old Whiteknights House, Seminar Room
Graduate School in Arts and Humanities
University of Reading


9:30-10:00 – Registration

10:00-11:00 – Opening address: Kevin Morgan (University of Manchester): From Infantile Disorders to the Fathers of the People: Youth and Generation in the Study of International Communism

11:00-11.15 – Coffee

11:15-13:15 – Morning Session: Communist education (Chair: Matthew Worley, University of Reading) Guillaume Quashie-Vauclin (Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne): Between Dance and Demonstration: the Union of the Republican Youth of France. 1945-1956; Elke Weesjes (University of Sussex – United Academics): Communist Identity: the Public vs. the Private Sphere; Leo Goretti (University of Reading): Irma Bandiera and Maria Goretti: Gender Role Models for Communist Girls in the Early Cold War Years (1945-1956)

13:15-14:00 – Lunch

14:00-14.30 – Screening : trailer of the movie The Train to Moscow (Kiné-Vez Film)

14:30-17:00 – Afternoon Session: Communism, Consumerism and Mass Culture (Chair: tba) Pia Koivunen (University of Tampere): A Dream Come True: Experiencing Socialism at the World Youth Festivals in the 1940s-1950s; Mark Fenemore (Manchester Metropolitan University): Glossy Socialism: the Youth Magazine Neues Leben, 1954-1969; Matthew Worley (University of Reading): Shot By Both Sides: Punk, Politics and the End of Consensus in Britain.

This event is funded by the Royal Historical Society and the Economic History Society. Attendance is free but registration is required. For any additional information please contact the organisers: Matthew Worley (; Leo Goretti ( More information on the Facebook event page

Eric Hobsbawm on How to Change the World

January 5, 2011

Professor Eric Hobsbawm in discussion on his latest book, How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism.

Date and time: 7pm, Friday 25th February 2011.
Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, Liverpool Street.

In his major new work, Eric Hobsbawm addresses the history of Marxism in the 162 years since the publication of Marx’s Capital and assesses its continuing relevance as a challenge to capitalism.
This event is free but places are strictly limited. As we anticipate high demand we ask that you send your details to Stefan Dickers to confirm your place.

Working class episode – Wiltshire history day

October 10, 2010

Working-class episodes
Saturday 6 November 2010 – 10.00am-2.30pm
St Margaret’s Hall
Bradford-on Avon BA15 1LH
Admission free

The ‘Trowbridge martyr’: Thomas Helliker and the Wiltshire Outrages of 1802
Prof. Adrian Randall, Birmingham University

Swing Rebellion in Wiltshire
Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary, South West Trades Union Congress

Chartism in rural Wiltshire, 1838-1842
Steve Poole, Principal History Lecturer, University of the West of England

Strikes and Socialism in Swindon in the 1960s and 1970s
Derique Montaut, Labour Party Leader, Swindon Borough Council

Phyllis and Idris Rose: Trowbridge communist councillors
Dave Chapple, CWU and Rosie McGregor, UNISON

Organised by White Horse (Wiltshire) Trades Union Council

For further details contact: Andy Newman 07764 563855

Biography and identity in the making of British radicals

April 12, 2010

Biography and identity in the making of British radicals
Saturday, 22 May 2010, Swansea Museum

A one-day conference in commemoration of the life and work of Nina Fishman, late Honorary Research Professor at Swansea University, also marking the Swansea launch of Nina’s Arthur Horner: A Political Biography (Lawrence and Wishart, 2010).

Sponsored by: The Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales, Swansea University and the Socialist History Society

1000: Coffee and Welcome by Dr Hywel Francis MP

1030: Andrew Thorpe (Exeter University): ‘Nina Fishman’s Arthur Horner and labour biography

1130: David Howell (York University): ‘“The district one calls home”: D. H. Lawrence’s writing on coalfield society

1230: Lunch

1330: Peter Ackers (Loughborough University): ‘More Marx than Methodism: Hugh Clegg and Kingswood School

1430: Angela John (Aberystwyth University): ‘Equal partners? Gender and the writing of biography

1530: Chris Williams (Swansea University): ‘Robert Owen and Wales. Wales and Robert Owen

1630: Tea and Close

Swansea Museum is located close to the city centre at Victoria Road, The Maritime Quarter, Swansea, SA1 1SN.

Coffees and teas will be available at the venue. For lunch people will need to bring their own or take advantage of nearby cafes, pubs etc.

Copies of Arthur Horner: A Political Biography will be on sale at the event throughout the day.

If further information is required please contact Prof. Chris Williams (Swansea University) on, or 07814 234403.

‘Not just Orwell’ – People’s History Museum

March 22, 2010

‘Not just Orwell’ – Saturday 8 May 2010 – 2.00pm-2.45pm

Author Chris Hall we bringing to life the experiences of British and Irish anti-fascist volunteers who fought with Orwell in the Spanish Civil War. Lecture suitable for adults. Access is free, although pre-booking required.

Peoples History Museum
M3 3ER
Tel: 0161 838 9190

For more information on the event, contact Christopher Hall [].

Roundtable discussion on Western European Communist Leaders

January 8, 2009

Roundtable discussion on Western European Communist Leaders: John Bulaitis on Maurice Thorez; Donald Sassoon on Palmiro Togliatti; Andrew Thorpe on Harry Pollitt. Discussants: Giuseppe Vatalaro, Stephen Hopkins.

Saturday 31 January 2009
Club Room, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1; 2.00-5.00p.m.
Admission £1.50
Nearest tube: Holborn.

Organised by the Socialist History Society.

A Man Between Two Worlds? Palmiro Togliatti, the PCI and the Making of Post-War Italy – Manchester

October 6, 2008

A Man Between Two Worlds? Palmiro Togliatti, the PCI and the Making of Post-War Italy

Professor Aldo Agosti (Turin)

University of Manchester, Samuel Alexander Building room A7, Friday 17 October, 3-5 p.m.

Further details from

Download a promotional flyer for this event.

A Man Between Two Worlds? Palmiro Togliatti, the PCI and the Making of Post-War Italy – London

October 5, 2008

A Man Between Two Worlds? Palmiro Togliatti, the PCI and the Making of Post-War Italy

A roundtable discussion to mark the appearance in English of Professor Aldo Agosti’s biography of Palmiro Togliatti and featuring leading specialists in the field of modern Italian history:

  • Tobias Abse
  • Aldo Agosti
  • Geoff Andrews
  • Maud Bracke
  • Carl Levy
  • Linda Risso (chair)

To be held at : Marx Memorial Library, Clerkenwell Green, London EC1 (Farringdon tube station) 2-4 p.m., Tuesday 14 October.


Download a promotional flyer for the event.