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July at MayDay Rooms

Audio Gutter Press with Mayday Radio
Thursday 23rd July, 7-9pm

Find more info here 

Hackney Gutter Press Issue 1 was published in April 1972 at Centerprise bookshop in Dalston.

1972: “Most people in Hackney don’t like the way their lives are controlled by work, rents, councillors, police, schools etc. A lot of us are organising to fight their control – but we feel we don’t know enough about each other. For example with the coming tenants’ campaign against the Fair Rents Act we’re going to need a united fight if we are going to win – women at home, people going to work, claimants and kids together: we’re all tenants.
We want this newspaper to be used as part of getting to know each other. Organising to fight together. We want it to be used as a WEAPON TO FIGHT FOR OUR OWN CONTROL OF HACKNEY.”

2020: In this moment of unionisation in response to unemployment, millions have found themselves dependent on the state, where they might never have expected to. People stand to lose their businesses, families have spent a disgusting amount of time together, domestic violence has unsurprisingly soared, and protests around systemic racism, racial inequality and BAME deaths are a critical reality.

Substitute Hackney for wherever you live and imagine if you and the people in your area published a zine like this. Help us put together an audio collage, not unlike the Hackney Gutter Press did with words and paper in the 70s. As always we want contributions from the literal to the oblique; interviews with neighbours, soundscapes, field recordings, snippets from the streets, recordings from the tv, radio, internet, fury and resistance from the gutter looking up!

Questions to start you off:

  • Can you describe the kind of mutual aid that’s been happening around you?
  • Have you witnessed or experienced police harassment?
  • Are you negotiating with your landlord?
  • Are you going on rent strike?
  • Do you have space?
  • What kind of care work are you doing?
  • Do we need a claimants union now? How do we navigate Universal Credit together?


Send your submissions to audio@maydayrooms.org via WeTransfer or link to a google doc by 23rd July. We will be listening to all our submitted audio together at the online event.

Take a look at the Hackney Gutter Press archive from MayDay Rooms. You can also read about it at the radical history of Hackney blog.


Take over the City! with London Renters Union Library 
Tuesday 28th July, 7-9pm

Find more info here.

As part of our archive log series we have teamed up with London Renters Union Library to create a collection of materials around rent strikes to help support LRU’s current campaign Can’t Pay Won’t Pay. To build this collection we will be running an online archival session where people can look through bits of the archive, read and discuss how rent strikes of the past can help inform contemporary housing struggles. Using collective FLOSS tools such as Hot Glue and Etherpad we will be experimenting with how we can co-create material online together. We will be taking clippings, help write collective annotations to accompany the material, and much more.

The archival pieces in the collection and annotations will then be created into a scrapbook and send out as our archive log mailout. The collection will be ultimately housed on our digital archive platform leftove.rs as well as become part of the LRU Library.


June at MayDay Rooms


History Acts: Recording a Crisis
Tuesday 9th June, 6:30-8:30pm


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.. 

The meeting is free but participants are asked to register in advance.Activists Panel includes: Paul Dudman – Living Refugee Archive, Jen Hoyer & Nora Almeida – Interference Archive, Fani Arampatzidou and Chris Jones – MayDay Rooms
Historians Panel includes: Dr Charlotte Clements and Dr Andrew Flinn 

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


Dario Fo and Franca Rame in translation: A collective reading of monologues w. Antiuniversity
Wednesday 10th June, 8-10pm

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.

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

https://2020.antiuniversity.org/events/dario-fo-and-franca-rame-in-translation-a-collective-reading-of-monologues
 



Screening: The Accidental Death of an Anarchist + Discussion w. Antiuniversity
Friday 12th June, 8-10pm

As part of our Dario Fo and Franca Rame collection celebration, we are screening Channel 4’s legendary production of Fo’s ‘The Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ with Antiuniversity. 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.

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

https://2020.antiuniversity.org/events/screening-the-accidental-death-of-an-anarchist-1984-discussion


May at MayDay Rooms

Screening: The Year of the Beaver
Tuesday 19th May, 8:30pm

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).


What’s the (Lucas) Plan now? by Mayday Radio
Wednesday 6th May, 7-9pm

Facing factory closures and looming unemployment in 1976, The Lucas Aerospace Combine Committee published an Alternative Plan to produce “socially useful products” to meet community needs. Many of these products, dismissed by management at the time, are now considered mainstream sustainability technologies. Watch the short documentary on YouTube here for more information on the story.

Take a look at the Lucas Plan archive (digitised) at MayDay Rooms, to see what they designed and discussed as an alternative to mass unemployment.

Of course, our current situation is a moment in which our ideas about socially useful and ‘essential’ jobs and products have been called into question..

On Wednesday 6th May, we will host a listening session (via Zoom) to listen to and discuss audio we have collected that relates to ‘the plan’, then, now and in the future imaginings. 
We want to hear reflections on these questions from people under 14:
🎙Now the factories and shops are closed, what are people doing?
🎙What do you think factories/people should be making now?
🎙What will people do after the virus is over?
Send to audio@maydayrooms.org 

At this event we invite you to create, collect or just come along to listen to audio contributions, inspired by the resourcefulness, imagination and hope that inspired the Lucas Plan members to develop their proposal back in 1977. 
Check out the collage style format of our last session on the ‘Schooling & Culture’ archive, on our website here.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2618693988456537/


April at MayDay Rooms

Screening “Solidarity” by Lucy Parker
Thursday 9th April, 9pm

Blacklisting in the UK construction industry impacted thousands of workers who were labelled ‘troublemakers’ for speaking out and secretively denied employment. Activists uncovered alarming links between workplace blacklisting and undercover policing. Solidarity follows group discussions with activists and law students who examine the case and reveal an absolute determination to obtain justice.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1887510794726902/

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/331182945 

Website: www.solidarityfilm.com

RSVP to be sent a link if you want to watch it and join us for a discussion afterwards in the Kitchen.

The screening is free to attend but we will be collecting donations for Akwaabavolunteer-run social centre for migrants in Hackney. Please donate here.

 

Last Days of Mankind: Act 5 and Epilogue
Wednesday 29th April, 7pm


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.


March at MayDay Rooms

MDR Teachouts at UCU pickets

UCL History of Art Picket @ 11am & 
Central Saint Martins picket @ 1:30pm
Monday 9th March

Come and find us on the UCU pickets where will be taking the MayDay Rooms archive on a tour,  channeling the memories of strikes passed and thinking how we can use the archive to expand our imagination, tactics and strategy of class struggle today… 


Leftove.rs #2 
Wednesday 11th March, 6-9pm

We are holding an ongoing series of workshops around our archival platform leftove.rs during which we will be looking at the different ways we can open up this online collection material and the technical processes behind it. We want to think through what kind of strategies, queries and categories will help us navigate something that is both a database and a resource of radical history.

During this second session we will be reading texts from our online collection in order to sketch the archive from the perspective of the documents. Each document will become a node starting with the Race Today Magazine. We will use our collective reading of theses texts to start to define key terms and trace networks of materials that relate within the digital archive establishing connections, tagging and categorising as we go!

We hope that leftove.rs will become a collective endeavour and would love anyone who is interested to get involved. All welcome and please bring a laptop if you can. If you can’t bring a laptop please contact rosemary@maydayrooms.org in advance.

You can find out more information about the project at https://leftove.rs or maydayrooms.org/leftovers.


The Last Days of Mankind: Read-Through Session 2
Monday 16th March, 7-9pm

 

Come and join us to continue reading through Karl Kraus’ astonishing play, ‘The Last Days of Mankind’. Last time we got to page 80 and we will be picking up where we left off. But you can join us even if you didn’t come last time. The more the merrier (or something like that!)

“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.

Come along. No preparation needed. We’ll print out copies of things for everyone to read from! 


From the History of Propaganda to the Propaganda of History:
Radical posters and print cultures from the archive! 
Wednesday 25th March, 7-9pm

The MayDay Rooms archive has recently received some funding from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung to produce a number of educational posters using activist materials from our archive. Over the next year we will be running a series of workshops in which these posters are collectively created and designed in collaboration with Evening Class and different campaign groups . This project has taken inspiration from the history posters produced by thePoster-Film Collective, which were produced between the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1990s, and are held in our archive.

To launch the project we will run a discussion of the art of making history into propaganda. The evening will offer a chance to look at the Poster/Film Collective history posters, and an open discussion of poster and print making as a radical activity, and we will be joined by Christine Halsall from the Poster-Film Collective and Jess Baines from LCC.

***Listen out for news about our first design event in early April about the history of rent strikes***


Archive as Counter-Counter-Counter Surveillance
w/ Activist Media Project 
Sunday 29th March, 1-4pm

Join Activist Media Project for an afternoon workshop that will think about how the archive can be used as tool to counter state surveillance. Focussing on the police footage of the J18 protest we will be looking through the AMP archive to think ways way annotate footage and turning different video sources into a resource for activists. During the workshop Kevin Biderman will also be sharing his extensive research about policing and visual surveillance in the City of London.

More details about the AMP archive here: maydayrooms.org/amp/


February at MayDay Rooms

Querying the Archive
Thursday 13th February, 7-9pm

We are starting an on-going series of workshops around our archival platform leftove.rs, during which we will be looking at the different ways we can open up this online collection material and the technical processes behind it. We want to think through what kind of strategies, queries and categories will help us navigate something that is both a database and a resource of radical history.

During the first session we will be learning about the platform and mapping the collection by pooling our knowledge of radical histories of dissent to help us think about how we search, input and categorise this large volume of material.

We hope that leftove.rs will become a collective endeavour and would love anyone who is interested to get involved. All welcome and please bring a laptop if you can. If you can’t bring a laptop please contactrosemary@maydayrooms.org in advance.

You can find out more information about the project at https://leftove.rs or maydayrooms.org/leftovers.
https://www.facebook.com/events/489235231976032/


The Last Days of Mankind: A read-through of Karl Kraus’s World War I epic
Thursday 20th February, 7pm

“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.

Come along. No preparation needed. We’ll print out copies of things for everyone to read from!
https://www.facebook.com/events/2637303283220743/


Screening: People of Ireland by Cinema Action
Wednesday 26th February, 7.30-9pm

As part of our ad-hoc screening series Film is a Weapon we thought it was about time that the people of England found out about the radical history of resistance in Northern Ireland!

Cinema Action’s People of Ireland documents the self-declared autonomous area of Free Derry in 1969. It includes: interviews with militants, community leaders, a priest, a Stormont Minister and unemployed workers; footage of mass meetings behind the barricades, popular self-organisation, the Labour Home Secretary James Callaghan’s visit and long sequences of battles between republicans and the police

Before and after the screening there will be a chance to look through materials from the archive from Derry and Belfast in 1970s including People’s Democracy paper Free Citizen and material from the Troop’s Out Movement.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1671464816337909/


MDR’s Social
Friday 28th February, 7-late

Join us for our first MDR social of 2020 where we will be making full use of the extra day February has to offers us by either staying up to the early hours or recover from the night before. Come and be together during these cold winter nights- we will be cooking and drinking and following Brecht’s instructions:

“In the dark times 
Will there also be singing? 
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
― Bertolt Brecht
https://www.facebook.com/events/123104388968480/



December at MayDay Rooms

Cutting up the Archive: Zine-making workshop w/ Free University London
Tuesday 3rd December, 7-9pm

Join us for a zine-making workshop where we will be creatively exploring how archival material from past struggles can reinvigorate our political and imagination possibilities in the present (in zine form!). The session will be facilitated by the brilliant Mireille Fauchon (who is an illustrator and lecturer at Ravensbourne College) and we will be welcoming students from Free University London (http://www.freeuniversitylondon.org/).

So come and and get inspiration for your pamphlets, posters and campaign materials!
All welcome but please email rosemary@maydayrooms.org if you’d like to attend so we can get an idea of numbers.


Dissenting Ephemera Workshop
Saturday 7th December, 11am-6pm

For the last year MayDay Rooms in collaboration with 0x2620 Berlin have been working on a digital archiving platform that is attempting to aggregate various sources of radical political ephemera together on one platform (https://leftove.rs). This includes a substantial part of the MDR collection but also takes from other publicly available sources. We now have a large body of material (around 15,000 items) and have been experimenting with different ways of structuring this collection and think through different ways of distributing the archive and further integrating the materials. The purpose of this workshop is bring people together working in a similar area, learn from their experiences (be that technical set-up or theoretical contributions) and help our platform grow.

The workshop is closed but if you are particularly interested and wish to attend please emailrosemary@maydayrooms.org


MDR’s Xmas Party
Friday 13th December, 7-late

Whatever the outcome of the election, come and cry or celebrate with us at our annual Xmas Party. There will be festive fighting spirit, live music from Root and Branch, dancing, food and lots of spiced alcohol (Jacob might be making mulled Buckfast again). Bring a bottle and your comrades. 
 


November At MayDay Rooms

The Happy Hypocrite 11 + Katerina Gogou: Reinstating the Dark Side
Friday 7th November, 7-9pm 

Join MayDay Rooms and Book Works for a screening of Katerina Gogou: Reinstating the Dark Side, a documentary film portrait of Greek poet, actor and militant anarchist Katerina Gogou. The screening will be introduced by Athens based director Antonis Boskoitis, invited by artist Erica Scourti, guest editor of The Happy Hypocrite — Silver Bandage, issue 11, containing an archive of film poster reproductions representing Katerina Gogou’s roles in Greek cinema. Copies of the journal will be available.This event is now sold out but email us at fani@maydayrooms.org if you are interested in case there are any last minute cancellations.


Nightcleaners with Spanish subtitles w/ Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU)
Saturday 30th November, 6:30-8:30pm

Nightcleaners is a documentary film about the campaign to unionise the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimised and underpaid by their employers. It was made by members of the Berwick Street Film Collective, who originally intended to make a campaign film but instead were forced to turn to new forms of film-making in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaner’s Action Group and the unions – and the complex nature of the campaign itself.

Much of present day struggles in the cleaning sector are led by workers from Latin America and we are pleased to be able to commission a translation of the film into Spanish so that those in the front-line of today’s struggles can draw from this political history.

After the film there will a discussion led by CAIWU and an opportunity to hear about and get involved in their current campaigns against Google, WeWork and many more. All welcome!
Subtitles by Jake Lagnado.


October At MayDay Rooms

Riding for Deliveroo: Book Launch
Friday 4th October, 7-9pm

What is life like for workers in the gig economy? Is it a paradise of flexibility and individual freedom? Or is it a world of exploitation and conflict? Callum Cant took a job with one of the most prominent platforms, Deliveroo, to find out.

His vivid account of the reality is grim. Workers are being tyrannised by algorithms and exploited for the profit of the few – but they are not taking it lying down. Cant reveals a transnational network of encrypted chats and informal groups which have given birth to a wave of strikes and protests. Far from being atomised individuals helpless in the face of massive tech companies, workers are tearing up the rulebook and taking back control. New developments in the workplace are combining to produce an explosive subterranean class struggle – where the stakes are high, and the risks are higher.

Riding for Deliveroo is the first portrait of a new generation of working class militants. Its mixture of compelling first-hand testimony and engaging analysis is essential for anyone wishing to understand class struggle in platform capitalism.

Join the author Callum Cant in conversation with IWGB for a discussion of his research and the politics of resistance in the gig economy
https://www.facebook.com/events/1101524273374373/


Techno Activate | MayDay Radio
Friday 4th October, 6-10pm

Join MayDay Radio for an evening with the archive of the Underground Techno Scene.
As a mass popular movement that involved and united many subcultures, the rave scene gained political bite after John Major’s introduction of the Criminal Justice Act (1993). The ephemera deposited at MayDay focuses on a period from 1993 and the Dead By Dawn/TechNet/Alien Undergound/Datacide assemblage centred on Brixton’s 121 Centre. Amongst the papers are zines from the period, flyers, news cuttings, correspondence and typescripts and drafts of TechNet writings.
During the course of this evening there will be opportunity to look through the archive, make recordings, construct playlists and map the rave scene as we go.
With all this material, Poppy Tibbetts (Synaptic Island) will produce a track that we will then use as a basis for a walk, a walk through some of the abandoned sites of the rave scene. Details of this are to follow.
All this will be stored and archived on MayDay Radio’s new website, coming soon. If you want to get involved, please feel free to get in touch with us.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1360014140823335/


NO PASARAN! an information and fundraising event about the squat evictions in Athens
Friday 11th October, 6:30-11:30pm

In Athens the state is carrying out a violent campaign of frequent, organised attacks against squats and self-organised spaces. This is an attack that hits the lowest and most easily exploitable classes of Greek society hardest, the migrants and refugees, aiming to bring them under the control of detention centres and camps. At the same time it is an attack on the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement, which stands in the way of the state’s plans to fully gentrify, commercialise and touristify as many neighbourhoods as it can.
While the state attacking anarchist/anti-authoritarian spaces is by no means new (the “left-wing” Syriza government closed 27 squats), Nea Dimokratia is giving more power to police and making a more passionate effort to control the refugee population, to ‘clean up’ Exarcheia from anarchists and migrants, and bring in more opportunities for tourism.
A comrade from Athens will tell us about the situation in the Greek capital at the moment and the actions that have been taken to respond to the attack. We will then have a discussion about what can be done remotely from London to offer support, as well as about how the attacks in Athens are relevant to the movement here.
After the discussion a small party in MDR’s kitchen will follow, in order to raise funds for legal fees in Greece. There will also be t-shirts on sale so bring cash!
https://www.facebook.com/events/484729572381025/


Big Flame Scanathon
Tuesday 22nd October, 6:30-8:30pm

In this months scanathon we will be swapping our weekend newspapers for Liverpool’s favourite revolutionary socialist broadsheet, and our twitter disputes for Big Flame’s internal discussion documents. Find out what Big Flame were saying about Wages for Housework, Black autonomy, Lotta Continua, how they reported on one of our most militant periods and more. Join us as we delve into and digitise this amazing archive and uncover the history of Britain’s libertarian left.

Find out more about Big Flame at:
http://maydayrooms.org/archives/big-flame/
https://www.facebook.com/events/427208551482833/


September At MayDay Rooms

MDR @ The World Transformed Festival
21- 24 September, Brighton
https://theworldtransformed.org/

Come and find us at the World Transformed Festival in Brighton where we’ll be running the following workshops:

Political Education: From the archive to resistance
Saturday 21st September, 5:30-7pm,
Brighthelm Pelham

A practical workshop exploring what political education is, what do we mean by it, how people imagine it, and what its aims and limitations are. Through examining archival material and contemporary European case studies of social democracy, its successes and failures, we will try and find out what is needed for a political education programme to become a vehicle of resistance, and its potential to imagine the future. This session is for anyone interested/involved in political education projects.

https://theworldtransformed.org/festival/2019/programme/political-education:-from-the-archive-to-resistance
 


In and Against the State: Lessons from our recent past
Sunday 22nd September, 1-2:30pm, 68 Middle Street

To mark the 40th anniversary of the influential text ‘In and Against the State’, this workshop will draw on historical material to trace this seemingly contradictory idea as an identifiable tendency in the history of the Left. Through exploring historical relationships between autonomous social movements and their attempts to exert power through institutional and parliamentarian forms we will draw prescient lessons for contemporary practice.
https://theworldtransformed.org/festival/2019/programme/in-and-against-the-state:-lessons-from-the-archives


Film is a Weapon: Use It
Sunday 22nd September, 5:30-7pm, TWT Activities Tent

Join us for a multimedia journey of audio-visual material produced through struggles from the early 20th century and the present. We will look at how film and photography became an indispensable and important means of propaganda in class struggle. Starting with the Film and Photography League (1923-1939), we will make an excursion in to visual form and politics, propaganda and dissent, ending with how Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union’s (CAIWU) made their struggles visible in novel ways in London today. 

https://theworldtransformed.org/festival/2019/programme/film-is-a-weapon:-use-it


July At MayDay Rooms

Prison a Survival Guide
Wednesday 3rd July, 7- 9pm

Carl Cattermole’s new book ‘Prison: A Survival Guide’ has just been published by Penguin. The book was originally published as a pamphlet, created as a guide to people facing prison or already inside. The new edition expands this with contributions from a wide range of prisoners, including young people and LGBTQ* people currently serving time. As well as offering practical advice, the book serves as an important provocation against the entire carceral system, while pinpointing its diverse material brutalities, and ways of resisting them. Carl will be in conversation with John Barker, who has also written memoirs about his time inside in ‘Bending The Bars’. The discussion will consider the changing conditions of prison and prison resistance over the last half a century, as well as giving Carl a chance to tell us about the book!

We are also looking to expand our existing prison archives over the next few months, and if you have any material that might be of interest in relation to this then we can speak about it on the night!


THE FORD SLIDE SHOW – 1976
w/ Ed Emery
Friday 12th July, 7:30- 9:30pm

This will be an illustrated talk about the politics of the lay-off struggles at the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham in the mid 1970s, and its implications for class composition analysis.

The core of this presentation is 150 photographic slides illustrating the lay-off struggles at Ford. The material is drawn from the history of the Ford Workers’ Group at Dagenham, and from Ed Emery’s extensive archive of documents of struggles in the British motor industry from 1969 to 1989. That
archive is currently being digitised for storage at May Day Rooms.

The talk will locate the Dagenham experience within a broader discussion of class composition analysis, with special reference to the “operaismo” (“workerist”) and “autonomia operaia” (“workers’ autonomy”) currents of Italian Marxism. The intention is to re-launch a “workers’ inquiry” project, to study those important struggles of the 1970-80s.

Ed Emery is the founder of the Red Notes publishing venture. He is also a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS]. His occasional blog can be found here:https://notesfrombelow.org/blog


GLC Scanathon with GLC Story Project 1981-86
Thursday 25th July, 7- 9pm

Before it’s abolition by the Thatcher Government in 1986 the Greater London Council (1981-1986) was a significant experiment in municipal socialism. It’s legacy is still important today not just for understanding the history of the left in London but also the direction of the current Labour leadership. Come sift through material from: the People’s Planning Unit, City Limits Magazine, Arts and Recreation Department, Police Monitoring and Research Unit, Women’s Committee and much more, and help us digitise and catalogue this important material.

The GLC Story will be there to give content to the material and retell the history of the institution, and its relationship to communities and social movements of the time. The GLC Story is an intergenerational oral history project. Listen and see their work here: www.glcstory.co.uk


Vocabulários em Movimento /\ Vidas em resistência
Friday 26th July, 6:30- 8:30pm

Join us for a discussion on anti-gentrification initiatives in Rio de Janeiro. Cristina Ribas and Lucas Sargentelli have been involved in a research and visual arts militant work with Vila Autódromo community in Rio de Janeiro (violently evicted during the preparation for the Olympics).

The project has been developed in dialogue with networks of resistance against gentrification in Rio de Janeiro and against violent exploitation of territories and lives. Cristina will be in London for a while and will present the work they’ve done for inspiration and experience sharing.

Some of the work can be found here https://www.goethe.de/ins/br/pt/kul/sup/mem/ciu/rio.html – look at Vocabulários em Movimento /\ Vidas em resistência.


Radicals, Rebels and Rioters: A guided walk in the Fleet Street precinct w. David Rosenberg
Wednesday 31st July, 7- 9pm

(Meet outside St Clement Danes church, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice)

David Rosenberg, author of Rebel Footprints, will be giving a tour of the radical history around Fleet Street, starting at St Clement Danes church, and over the course of two hours wending its way towards MayDay Rooms (and probably a pub.)


Named after the River Fleet which now runs underground, Fleet Street itself, and the maze of alleys leading from it, have been a centre of printing and publishing from the early 1500s. During several period in the centuries since then, it has been been home to radical pamphleteers and publishers writing incendiary words, exposing injustices and inciting revolt. A number of radical organisations have had their offices and headquarters here. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries it was also home to leading bastions of reaction – the right wing press engaging in ideological warfare on behalf of the ruling class class. In the early modern period rich and poor lived cheek by jowl in and around this street and it had more than its fair share of mass confrontations and riots. The tour takes in some fascinating and unusual sites in this conflicted street and shows how the traces of its rebellious past are still present.


June at MayDay Rooms


Take over the city! A day of practical workshops on resistance to gentrification, redevelopment, and community struggles about land! w. Anarchist Festival
Saturday 1st June, 11am- 4pm

Last year Mayday Rooms created an archive of housing struggles around London during the last ten years, which includes material produced by a large number of housing campaigns, rent strikes, and a collection on the history of organised squatting. Taking this as our point of departure, we are organising a day of workshops on housing coops, squatting, and community organising as part of the Anarchist Festival 2019. We hope that this day of workshops will create a space where we’ll share practical skills and discuss resistance and alternatives, meet with others involved in similar activism, as well as explore the materials in the archival collections to get inspired.

There will be a crèche going on. Please email fani@maydayrooms.org if you’re coming with kids with details about their age to make sure we have enough people available.

Day Schedule:

  • 11-1pm Squatting in London: Publication re-launch and practical workshop

Join us for the re-launch of the publication ‘Squatting Is Part of The Housing Movement: Practical Squatting Histories from 1968 to Now’. This publication is the outcome of a residency in MayDay Rooms, and is part of our Housing Struggles Archive that we compiled last year. After an extensive research and a gathering of materials from different archives, including 56a Infoshop, there is now a three box collection of materials on squatting history in the UK. This publication will put the material in context. The launch will involve a short discussion on the issues the publication is covering and you’ll get the chance to grab a pamphlet.

The re-launch will be followed by a workshop on the practicalities of squatting, ie opening a squat, and dealing with the police and evictions.

Organised by: 56a Infoshop

  • 12-2pm: Radical Routes on Housing Coops

What’s it like to set up and to live in a housing co-op? We’ll look at types of properties and living arrangements from co-housing, to trailer parks to communes and find out what folks round the country are up to. We’ll then have a detailed look at the nitty gritty of setting up a housing coop.

Organised by: Radical Routes

  • 1-3pm: The Myth of Community: The Challenges of Organising Locally

Save the community’, ‘Support from the community’, ‘The community thinks’, ‘Community Land Trust’ are just a few of the references to ‘community’ that we us when are involved in a range of struggles such as housing, saving a library or getting access to land. However, to what extent does this ‘community’ exist? In this meeting, drawing on many practical examples of organising, we will discuss problems such as the impact of capitalism and divisions within localities. We will then hope to discuss how we can create genuine communities based on working class struggle.

Organised by: London Anarchist Communist Group

Book your ticket here

  • 2:30-4pm: Organising practical solidarity, collective support and action on housing and homelessness.

Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth celebrated our 6th birthday in April. Come along to our discussion on 6 years of organising in south London to hear and share experiences of organising together.
We support each other with housing problems including overcrowding, unsuitable temporary accommodation, high rents, dangerous conditions, gatekeeping and poor treatment at the housing office. We learn our rights together, support each other and fight for good quality council homes for everyone.

Organised by: HASL (Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth)


Exploring Radical Archives and Collections w. Antiuniversity
Saturday 15th June, 1:30- 4:30pm

This is an introduction to the Statewatch Archives and Mayday Rooms, both located in Fleet Street. We have an extensive collection of materials related to state surveillance, activism, privacy, organising and more. Come and learn about accessing and using radical archives for work, study or creativity.

Register for the event here


M’aidez! Mayday! | MayDay Radio w. Antiuniversity
Monday 17th June, 6- 9:30pm

The cry ‘Mayday Mayday’ is the international distress call which comes from the french m’aidez (help me), but it also speaks to a history radical and revolutionary radio practices from seizing the airwaves to pirate radio broadcasts.

During this workshop will be building FM radio transmitter out of a Raspbery Pi, then using communiques, radio scripts and and other transcripts from the MayDay Rooms archive and beyond to create an audio piece to broadcast on the the FM dial.

Bring a raspberry pi if you want to take your radio home, if not we will provide them for you for the workshop. If you have a laptop with MacOs or Linux operating system please bring that too.

Organised by MayDay Radio and MayDay Rooms 

Register for the event here


20 years since J18 // Carnival Against Capital
Tuesday 18th June, 6:30pm

June 18 1999 saw an eruption of protests around the world. But amongst many demonstrations it was the tumult that took place in the City of London that offered a new model for revolts that tore through many cities. That day inaugurated a global anti-capitalist movement, which lasted into the mid-2000s. The actions combined riot with theatre, and brought together activists from a range of single-issue campaigns, from rave to anti-roads, from student movements to radical unions, from hunt sabs to anti-globalisation activists, alongside all sorts of people who had never been involved in protest before. In the subsequent years similar actions took place in many cities, most often around global government summits.

This year marks 20 years since the Carnival against Capital. So on June 18 this year we are planning an event that will bring together people who played a part in these histories and those who want to learn about it. The event will let us combine people’s memories with material traces from the protest movements of that time, to look back and to reflect on what happened then from the context of today’s struggles and social movements. We will be finding ways to contextualise what happened in 1999 by thinking about the social movements and protests that led up to it, and the subsequent wave of struggles that grew from it. And we will be unearthing and presenting our multimedia archive, and opening conversations in order to collectively think through, criticise, and celebrate a riotous day in the city.
https://www.facebook.com/events/2064289800539902/


MDR Social w. The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor
Friday 28th June, 7pm

What a perfect month to meet and drink on MDR’s roof terrace, discuss agitprop theatre and sing! Together with mingling, eating and drinking, this social is accompanied by a performance by theNew Factory of the Eccentric Actor.

The Blue Blouse (Синяя блуза) theatre troupe were an influential agitprop theatre collective in the Soviet Union, created by Boris Yuzhanin under the auspices of the Moscow Institute of Journalism. Describing itself as performing a mixture of news, sketches, music and dance, the company triggered a new theatre movement now long forgotten. The movement grew until by 1927 there were more than 5,000 companies presenting “topical theatre born of the revolution” in factories, schools, worker’s clubs, and from the backs of lorries throughout the Soviet Union. The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor present their tribute to this influential theatre movement by recreating a visit of a Blue Blouse company to a worker’s club, featuring original content, and text and songs from the 1920s.


May at MayDay Rooms

Gardening Afternoon
Monday 6th May, 1pm-5pm (weather permitting)

We haven’t had new plants on our roof terrace for a long time, and many of the plants and pots we have need some love and care. So join us for an afternoon of gardening to make the roof a nicer place for everyone who uses the building. We thought it would be really great if people brought along plants or cuttings from their own gardens (or which they have stolen from their enemies’ gardens). We’ll be sat upstairs with a pile of compost and some rooting hormone to try to get them to settle in. We will also get in some seeds, bulbs, and seedlings. Things that we would particularly like: climbing plants, hanging plants, plants that smell like freedom (honeysuckle, lemon blossom, garlic?), plants with uses and colours, plants wizened by history, green shoots of all things new, and things that don’t mind growing in exposed environments. And also if you can’t come on the day but have plants you want to offer just get in touch with Jacob@maydayrooms.org


Double Book Launch: David Grundy and Samuel Solomon present ‘A Black Arts Poetry Machine’ and ‘Lyric Pedagogy and Marxist Feminism’
Saturday 11th May, 7pm

Join David Grundy and Samuel Solomon for a discussion of their new books ‘A Black Arts Poetry Machine’ and ‘Lyric Pedagogy and Marxist Feminism’.  Each author will provide a brief overview of their works and will share discoveries from their research. The presentations will be followed by an open discussion.

A Black Arts Poetry Machine: A vital hub of poetry readings, performance, publications and radical politics in 1960s New York, the Umbra Workshop was a cornerstone of the African American avant-garde. Bringing together new archival research and detailed close readings of poetry, A Black Arts Poetry Machine is a groundbreaking study of this important but neglected group of poets. David Grundy explores the work of such poets as Amiri Baraka, Lorenzo Thomas and Calvin Hernton and how their innovative poetic forms engaged with radical political responses to state violence and urban insurrection. Through this examination, the book highlights the continuing relevance of the work of the Umbra Workshop today and is essential reading for anyone interested in 20th-century American poetry.”
Lyric Pedagogy and Marxist-Feminism: What is the political potential of poetry in the contemporary era? Exploring an often overlooked history of Marxist-Feminist poetics in post-war Britain – including such poets as Denise Riley, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Wendy Mulford and Nat Raha – this book confronts this central question to debates about the value of humanities education today. Lyric Pedagogy and Marxist-Feminism demonstrates how ideas of social reproduction have been central both to the forms of post-1945 British poetry and the educational institutions where poetry is overwhelmingly encountered and produced. Combining new archival research with close readings of key poets of the period, the book charts the interrelated crises both of poetry itself and literary education more widely. Paradoxically, the very marginalisation of poetry in contemporary culture serves to offer the form new opportunities as an agent of social transformation.”


Scanathon and Cataloging Evening: Irish Struggles after 1968
Wednesday 15th May, 7-9pm

Now more than ever it is important to understand the past struggles of our Irish comrades. We invite to an evening of scanning, cataloguing and searching through our archival collection of political ephemera from post- 1968 struggles in Ireland. We will be focusing on material relating to revolutionary-socialist, national liberation, civil rights and women’s struggles, including an array of great material such as: Free Citizen: The Newspaper of People’s Democracy, Unfree Citizen, Banshee: Journal of Irishwomen United, Belfast Women’s Collective, Belfast Workers Research Bulletin, Troops Out Movement and much more… 


Full Surrogacy Now: A Conversation with Sophie Lewis
Tuesday 28th May, 7pm

Sophie Lewis will be leading a discussion on family abolitionism based on parts of her new book ‘Full Surrogacy Now’. The discussion will offer an opportunity to consider this exciting new feminist text, by thinking through some questions such as: Queer communists have contended that “All reproduction is assisted.” What technologies, surrogates and care-labors have assisted so far in manufacturing you? And, what would a world look like in which, as the Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers put it, “children will belong to all of us … children will belong only to themselves”? We will circulate more details closer to the time along with reading materials.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Jacob@maydayrooms.org and we will send texts to read in advance!


April at MayDay Rooms

Unpacking the Boxes: Eco-Anarchist Ephemera
Wednesday 3rd April, 7-9pm

A few months ago the MayDay Rooms Archive received a new deposit of 9 boxes of materials from various eco-anarchist struggles in the 1990s and early 2000s. The collection comprises American and British Earth First magazines and newsletters, as well as runs of other radical environmental and anarchist publications, including Anarchy magazine, Green Anarchist, Black Clad Messenger, Subversion, alongside many other occasional publications and pieces of ephemera. The collection documents actions from around the world that were influenced by the proliferation of eco-anarchist ideas, from the inspiration drawn from the Zapatistas in Chiapas, through to the anti-roads movement in the UK, and European summit-hopping at the turn of the millennium.


MDR Social
Friday 26th April, 7 -late
Join us for another social to eat and drink collectively. This month the social will be organised by one of our Building Collective residentsKeep an eye on our online calendar for more info.


MayDay Radio Launch
Saturday 27th April, 2-5pm

MayDay Radio is a new group that joined our Building Collective recently. It is an experiment in oral histories and sound production; it is a place to share equipment and skills; it is a platform to create new oral histories and activate existing archives, those at the MayDay Rooms but also beyond. Join us for its launch! You can find more info here.


March at MayDay Rooms

Scanathon! with Statewatch
Thursday 14th March,
Pop in any time between 6.30- 9.30pm

Come join us for an evening of scanning, Raspberry Pi libraries and lots of pamphlets from Statewatch’s magnificent archive of subversive material. From the collection will be particularly focusing on publications from the Time Out Workers Strike in 1980. Come and find out about the radical history of Time Out before it became rubbish!

Please bring a laptop if you have one, but still come if you don’t!
You can browse Statewatch’s collection here


Crispin Aubrey Archive on the ABC case is being launched by Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund and Statewatch
Thursday 28th March, 6-8pm

On Friday 18 February 1977 John Berry ex-a soldier who had worked for SIGINT in Cyprus met two journalists from Time Out magazine at his home – Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell. When Crispin and Duncan left the flat all three were arrested by the Special Branch under the Official Secrets Act. The Special Branch had placed under surveillance the National Council of Civil Liberties (NCCCL, now Liberty) – after they got a letter from John Berry – and Time Out magazine newsroom.


This seminal case eventually led to the reform Section 2 of the Act. Their trial lasted for nearly two years. The defendants and supporters were regularly followed by the Special Branch, those demonstrating were photographed and the car of the Treasurer of the Agee-Hosenball Defence Campaign was broken into twice.
You can access online the ABC case Collection here

The Speakers are:
Welcome and Chair – Ann Singleton, Co-Chair Statewatch
Kate Aubrey (CALF)
Duncan Campbell – ABC
John Berry – ABC
Tony Bunyan (Statewatch, ABC Defence Campaign)
Rajiv Menon QC (Barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Zak Suffee (Library volunteer)
Richard Norton-Taylor (Writer on Defence and Security – Guardian)

It is hoped the event will stimulate researchers and activists to visit the Archive in order that the lessons of the ABC case and can inform present struggles for openness and against official secrecy.

If you would like to come please send an email with Crispin’s ABC Archive Launch in the subject line to: office@statewatch.org


Inventory: The Counsel of Spent
Friday 29th March, 7pm

To celebrate the publication of their recent book The Counsel of Spent by Bookworks, members of Inventory we will hold a night of discussion about their work. The evening will also be a chance to view archival materials from Inventory’s past creations held at MDR, including issues of the journal that ran between 1995 and 2005, and other collectively produced objects and ephemera. The event is organised in collaboration with Bookworks.


Upcoming Events

Unpacking the Boxes: Eco-Anarchist Ephemera
Wednesday 3rd April, 7-9pm

A few months ago the MayDay Rooms Archive received a new deposit of 9 boxes of materials from various eco-anarchist struggles in the 1990s and early 2000s. The collection comprises American and British Earth First magazines and newsletters, as well as runs of other radical environmental and anarchist publications, including Anarchy magazine, Green Anarchist, Black Clad Messenger, Subversion, alongside many other occasional publications and pieces of ephemera. The collection documents actions from around the world that were influenced by the proliferation of eco-anarchist ideas, from the inspiration drawn from the Zapatistas in Chiapas, through to the anti-roads movement in the UK, and European summit-hopping at the turn of the millennium.

On Saturday 30th March we will spend the afternoon collectively unpacking the boxes, reading and discussing the material together. It will be an opportunity for people who know little of this history to get to know it, and for people who were involved to help explain some of what happened. We will be sorting the material ready for cataloguing, collectively charting some of the struggles it discusses, reading together, annotating, arguing and reminiscing, and generally to get digging through the archive to see what we find. Everyone welcome!


All events are free and open to all and usually there is no need to book, unless mentioned otherwise.