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It’s hard to party in the times of COVID, so in lieu of a monthly social we will be putting on a Halloween online screening of The Masque of the Red Death. This is an admittedly rather silly 1960s genre-horror adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic tale of how the ruling classes behave during epidemics (with Prince Prospero played by Vincent Price) , and how their cruelty will lead to their ferocious comeuppance, cloaked in red. We’ll also be playing a little contribution by Anne Boyer on Poe’s tale and the current pandemic. And afterwards we will be chattering and nattering away on zoom, over a few beers. Do come and watch with us! Link here.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, we have been searching online archives for radical responses to healthcare around the world. We’ve found a wealth of materials, from the Black Panther organised Free Health Clinics, the self-organised pharmacies and clinics movement in Greece, to hospital occupations in the UK, and more! Through this material we can explore the different types of community responses to healthcare and see how self-managed organisations operate within a vacuum of adequate state provisions, how campaigns maintain and extend existing provisions of care, as well as transforming it along more radical lines. Building on these questions and using the material we’ve collected we will be running a workshop over the course of two days to discuss the archive, learn about current struggles, and try to create a public resource for future political organising.

During corona times we have been experimenting with online collaborative tools to help build archival collections and create new ways of interrogating the material. As part of this workshop we will be using collective FLOSS tools, such as Hot Glue and Etherpads, to explore how we can co-create material online together. The archival pieces in the collection and annotations will then be turned into a scrapbook and hosted as part of our digital archive leftove.rs.

This workshop is by invite only. However if you are really interested or have material you would like to contribute please email in-formation@maydayrooms.org and we’ll see if we can fit you in!

In light of the ongoing pandemic, we have been searching online archives for radical responses to healthcare around the world. We’ve found a wealth of materials, from the Black Panther organised Free Health Clinics, the self-organised pharmacies and clinics movement in Greece, to hospital occupations in the UK, and more! Through this material we can explore the different types of community responses to healthcare and see how self-managed organisations operate within a vacuum of adequate state provisions, how campaigns maintain and extend existing provisions of care, as well as transforming it along more radical lines. Building on these questions and using the material we’ve collected we will be running a workshop over the course of two days to discuss the archive, learn about current struggles, and try to create a public resource for future political organising.

During corona times we have been experimenting with online collaborative tools to help build archival collections and create new ways of interrogating the material. As part of this workshop we will be using collective FLOSS tools, such as Hot Glue and Etherpads, to explore how we can co-create material online together. The archival pieces in the collection and annotations will then be turned into a scrapbook and hosted as part of our digital archive leftove.rs.

This workshop is by invite only. However if you are really interested or have material you would like to contribute please email in-formation@maydayrooms.org and we’ll see if we can fit you in!

Social centres, info-shops, squats and collective spaces are key points of distribution and organising for radical politics. However, they are often just footnotes in archival collections, filling up the listing pages with the address of a meeting or event. We want to start building a collection around these spaces documenting their histories, processes of self-organisation and the movements they supported.

Join us for an online archival session at the Anarchist Bookfair, where we want to pool our collective knowledge around these spaces and create an archival resource. We encourage people to bring materials from their own collections and personal histories. Have a look at the list we have been compiling of spaces in the UK: https://textb.org/t/radical_spaces_edit/

During corona times we have been experimenting with online collaborative tools to help build archival collections and create new ways of interrogating the material. As part of this workshop we will be using collective FLOSS tools, such as Hot Glue and Etherpads, to explore how we can co-create material online together. The archival pieces in the collection and annotations will then be turned into a scrapbook and hosted as part of our digital archive leftove.rs.

Look out for the launch of the programme on the Anarchist Bookfair’s website. We’ll also share the link on our social media closer to the time.

Last year MayDay Rooms received an archive of Ed Emery’s translations of dramas by Dario Fo. For this session in the Antiuniversity we want to screen Channel 4’s legendary production of Fo’s ‘The Accidental Death of an Anarchist’. A 1984 film adaptation of Dario Fo’s uncompromising militant left-wing dramatization of the suspicious circumstances of the death of an anarchist railway worker. Based around the 1969 bombing of Piazza Fontana and the death of Giuseppe Pinelli.

Dario Fo was Italy’s most important post-war playwright, famous for his irreverent and outrageous political theatre. His work often delivers direct commentary on the radical politics of his time, while reviving historical forms of comedy, farce, and minstrelsy as a theatre from below.

Ed began his collaborations with Fo in the early 1980s, and has produced a large number of translations of plays.

This session will take place alongside our collective online read-through of some of this work on Wednesday 10th June, 8pm @ Antiuniversity.

Link: https://cytu.be/r/accidental_death_dario_fo

In April- May 1983 Dario Fo and Franca Rame visited London and delivered 4 workshops at Riverside Studios. Red Notes published later a pamphlet with notes from the workshops, an interview with the two militant theatre makers and four plays (three of them previously untranslated).

For this session we chose to collectively read Franca Rame’s monologue “La Madre” (The Mother) and Fo’s “Waking Up”, performed by Rame. Both plays are elaborating the notion of motherhood, the sacrifices, the loss of one’s self, the guilt, the love. We will read them together online – something like a collective participatory radio play, in which anyone can join, and give our collective voices to a monologue that belongs to all of us.

With this Antiuniversity session we are celebrating the collection Ed Emery deposited with us last year with his translations of dramas by Dario Fo. Ed began his collaborations with Fo in the early 1980s, and has produced a large number of translations of plays.

The reading will be followed by a short discussion.

This session will take place alongside our screening of the Channel 4’s legendary production of Fo’s ‘The Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ on Friday 12th June, 8pm @ Antiuniversity.

To get the texts and zoom link use go to Eventbrite.

Those most affected by COVID-19 are often unable to speak. Who else is not being heard or listened to? Historians and archivists consider what needs to be done.

History Acts is organising this online event and we are glad for having been invited to talk about our new Pandemic Notes project, militant archiving and more.. Tune in on Tuesday 9th June, 6:30pm.

The meeting is free but participants are asked to register in advance.

ACTIVISTS

Paul Dudman – Living Refugee Archive
The Living Refugee Archive is based at the University of East London’s Library at Docklands, the home of the Refugee Council Archive for over a decade. It facilitates accessibility to archival resources on the refugee and forced migration experience.

Jen Hoyer & Nora Almeida – Interference Archive
The Interference Archive was founded in Brooklyn in 2011 and explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements. Its archival collection comprises cultural ephemera produced by and for social movements worldwide. It also produces publications and hosts a study centre and public programmes.

MayDay Rooms
The MayDay Rooms collect and preserve historical materials related to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised figures and groups. Their current project Pandemic Notes works to build an archive around the Covid-19 crisis.

HISTORIANS

Dr Charlotte Clements is Senior Lecturer in History at London South Bank University. She specialises in youth, welfare and charity in Britain since 1945 and has worked on a British Academy project supporting charities and voluntary archives to preserve and use their archives.

Dr Andrew Flinn is Reader in Archival Studies and Oral History at University College London. His academic interests include documenting the activities of political movements and parties, particularly grassroots political activity and the use of history by political parties and activists.

http://www.historyacts.org/22-recording-a-crisis/

Link for the screening here.
Join us after the screening for a discussion with one of the filmmakers, Steve Sprung.

A documentary about the strike at the Grunwick film processing factory in North London, 1976-78. A film about the modern “civilised” state.

The predominantly migrant and female workforce at the photo processing plant began to strike in August 1976 against the long working hours (8am-10pm), bad pay and the permanent work stress. They found themselves on the front line against the employers, government, police and media. For the first time paramilitary organised special branches of the police were used, using extreme violence and arresting 550 people. On the other side there was lots of support and solidarity for the workers e.g. the dockers and post office employees who refused to deliver the post for Grunwick. The most important demand was for the recognition of the union APEX.

The film, which incorporates a lot of the material from the reporting happening at the time, is not only a documentary of a strike, but a portrait of the historical period undergoing a transition to Thatcherism
(Text from LabournetTV).

Last Days of Mankind: Act 5 and Epilogue

We had previously been running readt-hroughs of this amazing play. Since we have shut our premises, we are now going to skip straight to Act 5 and the Epilogue over the course of two or three nights. Join us on Zoom and we can collectively perform to each other this play for hundreds of actors, corpses, soldiers, ravens, crowds, grumblers and optimists!

Please RSVP using the eventbrite to let us know you want to attend and we will add you to the list and send out a PDF of the script and a zoom link so you can join in! No prep needed! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/collective-read-through-the-last-days-of-mankind-act-v-tickets-103976761292

“The performance of this drama, which would take some ten evenings in terrestrial time, is intended for a theatre on Mars. Theatregoers on planet earth would find it unendurable. For it is blood of their blood and its content derives from the contents of those unreal unthinkable years, out of sight and out of mind, inaccessible to memory and preserved only in bloodstained dreams, when operetta figures played out the tragedy of mankind. The action is likewise without heroes, fractured and improbable, as it picks its way through a hundred scenes and hells.”

So warns the prologue of Karl Kraus’s cosmic drama, The Last Days of Mankind. Written during the First World War, this expressionist drama charts the rise of nationalism, excoriating especially the jingoism of the press, as provincial nationalism exploded into mass slaughter. It has only recently been translated into English in its entirety. As a play it remains almost unperformable, both due to its length and its demand for hundreds of actors. Over the course of five weeks (or more if we need it) we will read through the whole of the play. A chance to get to know an extraordinary work of theatre in our own time of heightening bellicose nationalism, press cynicism and fake news, and the catastrophes of humanity.

A mass online read-through of Karl Kraus’s World War I epic!

We had previously been running readthroughs of this amazing play. Since we have shut our premises, we are now going to skip straight to Act 5 and the Epilogue over the course of two or three nights. Join us on Zoom and we can collectively perform  to each other this play for hundreds of actors, corpses, soldiers, ravens, crowds, grumblers and optimists! Please RSVP to let us know you want to attend and we will add you to the list and send out a PDF of the script!

“The performance of this drama, which would take some ten evenings in terrestrial time, is intended for a theatre on Mars. Theatregoers on planet earth would find it unendurable. For it is blood of their blood and its content derives from the contents of those unreal unthinkable years, out of sight and out of mind, inaccessible to memory and preserved only in bloodstained dreams, when operetta figures played out the tragedy of mankind. The action is likewise without heroes, fractured and improbable, as it picks its way through a hundred scenes and hells.”

So warns the prologue of Karl Kraus’s cosmic drama, The Last Days of Mankind. Written during the First World War, this expressionist drama charts the rise of nationalism, excoriating especially the jingoism of the press, as provincial nationalism exploded into mass slaughter. It has only recently been translated into English in its entirety. As a play it remains almost unperformable, both due to its length and its demand for hundreds of actors. Over the course of five weeks (or more if we need it) we will read through the whole of the play. A chance to get to know an extraordinary work of theatre in our own time of heightening bellicose nationalism, press cynicism and fake news, and the catastrophes of humanity.