Monday, 16 April 2018

Child abuse inquiry finds former Rochdale Council leader "lied under oath."

 "SHAMEFUL" - Ex-Rochdale Council leader - Richard Farnell

The Labour Party have suspended former Rochdale Labour council leader, Richard Farnell, after he was found by the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), to have lied under oath. 

In the investigations first published report, Farnell was branded as "shameful" by the inquiry for refusing to take personal responsibility for the abuse - carried out by others, which occurred when he was first Rochdale Labour council leader between 1986-1992. The report describes Cllr Farnell as a person who "bullied and browbeat people" (which he denied) who was "bullish, self-opinionated, and unyielding." It concluded that he was a person who was "prepared to blame others without acknowledging his own failures of leadership."

The report describes how for over 30-years, children were being sexually abused at Knowl View school, Rochdale town centre, the bus station, and the "notorious" Smith Street public toilets that were situated directly across the road from the Rochdale council offices.

The report says that the former Liberal leader of the council, ex-MP, Paul Rowen, who led the council in the mid-1990s, "bore considerable responsibility" for the school too, at best being "insufficiently inquisitive" about it and at worst having "turned a blind eye" by choosing to give its problems a "low priority."

In evidence given to the inquiry, Farnell claimed that he had only become aware of these concerns in the last "two or three years". Yet, fellow Rochdale Labour councillor, Peter Joinson, told the inquiry that Cllr Farnell had admitted in 2014 to having seen a copy of a report about the issue at the time, and by Mrs Cavanagh (head of Rochdale Social Services), who said she had "no doubt" he would have seen a copy of the report in 1992. The inquiry was also told that the then chair of education, Mary Moffatt, had also been aware of the allegations. The report therefore concluded:

"It defies belief that Mr Farnell was unaware of the events involving knowl View School..."

Councillor Farnell was once employed as a press and publicity officer (spin doctor) for Tameside Council where he was nicknamed Doctor Goebbels and sometimes, Mahatma propa-gandhi, for his abilities to spin a tale. Last March (2017), The Sun newspaper reported that as Rochdale council leader, Farnell, had "treated" himself to a 51% pay rise  - up to £47,304 from 31,224, while many Rochdalians saw their living standards fall and their council tax soar. His nemesis, Cllr Joinson, was an elected Labour member of Tameside Council for seventeen years between 1987-2004. 

As a press and publicity officer, Farnell appears particularly accident prone. If he has any future left in politics, he will have to do some explaining  to pull himself out of this mess which he has created for himself. At the time of writing, we understand Greater Manchester Police (GMP), are investigating 'possible offences" relating to the findings of the inquiry.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Resetting the Clock to 1979

by Les May

CONSIDERING the amount that Simon Danczuk had to say not only about a cover up’ by Rochdale MBC about events at Knowl View, but also about how Cyril Smith was in some way protected’ by the Security Services or other agencies, you might have expected that Mr. Danczuk would have figured prominently among the witnesses at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.   

He didn’t.  In fact he did not figure at all, which of course means the claims in his book remain untested.  Perhaps he did not think he could back them up?

What is clear is that the Inquiry found nothing to give any credence to these claims.  Not only did Danczuk’s book not tell us anything about Cyril’s antics at Cambridge House which we did not know from the 1979 Rochdale's Alternative Paper (RAP) articles, nor did the Inquiry. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Benefits of 20-20 Hindsight

by Les May

OSTENSIBLY Simon Danczuk’s 2014 bookSmile for the Camera’ is about the sexual peccadillos of his predecessor Cyril Smith.  But a careful reading shows that the intent was to so closely associate Smith’s antics with the Liberal-Democrats that the party became permanently unelectable in Rochdale so securing a safe Labour seat for Danczuk for as long as he wanted it.

It is something of an irony that the major casualty from the fall out from all the hares that Danczuk set running in the book is Richard Farnell, until recently Leader of Rochdale Council and a supporter of Danczuk long after the latter had reached his sell by date’ as an MP.

Perhaps fearing that it will suffer in the May elections from the bad publicity the Labour party has suspended Farnell after the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said he had lied to the Inquiry.

It should however be pointed out that the report is quite liberal in its criticism of quite a number of the people trying to make decisions about how to deal with what was happening at Knowl View in the years around 1990.  Paul Rowen, who followed Farnell as Leader of the Council after May 1992, Ian Davey, Director of Social Services and Diana Cavanagh, Director of Education, are all criticised to varying degrees, which makes it all the more surprising that at one point the report refers to some of Rochdale Council’s beleaguered officers’.

Twenty-twenty hindsight is wonderful thing especially when viewing events from a distance of a quarter of a century or more.  The sheer volume of detail presented in the Report of the Investigation makes it appear unlikely that any one person could have grasped the complexity of the issues at the time.

No doubt we shall be told lessons will be learned’ and we shall hear even more of the new mantra of safeguarding’, which seems to be a codeword for taking even more children into care when the money might be better spent on supporting their parents in their own home. Some of the children taken into care after the Middleton Satanic Abuse panic ended up at Knowl View for a time.

Vintage Worx & Carillion - No Comparison!

 Ms. TRACY Powers mentioned below has an interest in Vintage Worx*.  She also shops at ASDA on the baked beans aisle.   Yet this interest in tinned beans doesn't prevent her from seizing the opportunity to promote the cause of her company Vintage Worx.  Especially when quisical characters like Carl Faulkner keep asking akward questions.
Hello Brian,

Was minding my own business when I was collared in Asda by Tracy Powers who had taken umbrage at the Northern Voices article, demanding to know “why have you got a problem with us?"  And why did I compare them to Carillion why are you telling people we are a private company and not a Community Development Trust etc etc etc

My response below.


Hello Tracy,

Further to our impromptu meeting close to the baked beans aisle in Asda.  I have read the Northern Voices blog and at no time do I mention Carillion. My quotes are clearly marked and highlighted. The article also goes on to state that :  “Vintage Worx describes itself as 'a community led not for profit organisation' registered at Companies House.”     Is that not a perfectly accurate description?
You said you had not read the blog, so I’ll accept that you have been very badly misinformed about its contents. It’s not hard to imagine the motives behind this misinformation. As I emphasised to you, the issue is transparency. Nothing I have been quoted as saying is either factually wrong or deviates from that core principle.

*  Meet Vintage Worx Community Development Trust

Vintage Worx Community Development Trust (CDT) is a community led not for profit organisation dedicated to removing barriers to opportunities and committed to helping people maximise their talents and realise their full potential.
Based within Falinge Park, the local park of one of the most deprived areas of the country, the team of passionate volunteers who run Vintage worx have a nine year track record of successful engagement with the local community, a record that has only been possible through the sheer volume of community involvement in the projects, activities and events that are delivered.
Throughout the pages of this site you will gain an insight into the organisation and the people involved, find out about events, activities and services, learn about the history of our beloved park and be part of the journey we are about to embark on to make Falinge Park a true community park delivering wider social benefits to the area including taking part in community surveys and how to get involved.

Seeking Facts in a Sea of Obfuscation

by Brian Bamford
CARL FAULKNER, the Independent candidate for Spotland and Falinge ward in the coming local elections in Rochdale on May 3rd, has written a letter to the Rochdale ONLINE Blog complaining about how people have been excluded from the cabinet meetings of Rochdale Council. 

Mr Faulkner writes:  'It is my belief that the authority which permits this, is being abused to prevent press and public scrutiny of contentious matters.'

He gives a local example 'discussions that have been taking place with a view to the leasing out of Falinge Park to a private organisation (Vintage Worx).  The incentive being that this organisation will then be able to apply for external funding grants of up to £2.5 million, to help maintain and improve the park (this is a claim made by the company itself).  There has been no public discussion of this proposal.'

 And he claims:  'Labour councillors and at least one senior council employee, are actively preventing public and press scrutiny of the plans to lease out the park.'

This suggests a reluctance on the part of the Rochdale Labour council to let the public know what is going on.

In his letter Mr. Faulkner tells us the '...process [to lease out Falinge Park to a private organisation (Vintage Worx)] commenced with the presentation of a report by Mark Widdup (Director of Neighbourhoods) at a Cabinet meeting held on 1 February 2017.'

And surprise, surprise, he tells us that 'at that meeting it was recommended that both he and Councillor Cecile Biant should be appointed to the board of Vintage Worx.'

But then there was no proper public scrutiny, because the press and public were not allowed to be present when the report was presented.  At the same time there has been no public discussion of this matter at any public forum before or since that time.

Now given what has happened with the basket-case company Carillion in Tameside, where the former Labour leader of Tameside MBC, Kieran Quinn, truly had his feet under the table with the Carillion bosses through his power base on Tameside Council and his seat a the head of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, it may be of some concern that the Rochdale Labour Councillor Cecile Biant is ascending to the board of Vintage Worx*.  Vintage Worx is not another basket-case giant like Carillion PLC, rather it is a pygmy development trust that could be an acorn from which great oaks grow.

Vintage Worx describes itself as 'a community led not for profit organisation' registered at Companies HouseThis development trust seems to survive by applying for grants for what can presented as good causes, and a place like the notoriously deprived Falinge presents itself as something of a honey pot for grant gathering

But what really worries Carl Faulkner, who I spoke to this morning, is the secrecy which surrounds these kind of operations and developments in Rochdale.  

He writes:  'Falinge Park was donated to the people of this town over a century ago.  It therefore belongs to the people of this town.  It is not a council purchased capital asset.  It is for the people of this town to have a say in how it is managed and whether or not its legal status should change.
Any procedure to change its status – particularly if finance is an overriding concern – should be open and transparent.'

 Is this a vain expectation given that Rochdale is virtually a one-party state with no serious opposition from the conservative councillors.

*  Meet Vintage Worx Community Development Trust:
Vintage Worx Community Development Trust (CDT) is a community led not for profit organisation dedicated to removing barriers to opportunities and committed to helping people maximise their talents and realise their full potential.
Based within Falinge Park, the local park of one of the most deprived areas of the country, the team of passionate volunteers who run Vintage worx have a nine year track record of successful engagement with the local community, a record that has only been possible through the sheer volume of community involvement in the projects, activities and events that are delivered.


Friday, 13 April 2018

Castleton Councillor Collects Stipend Top-up

Council Leader says he has 'confidence' in Aasim Rashid

CASTLETON Councillor, Aasim Rashid, found himself under attack in the Rochdale Council Chamber on Wednesday night from the Lib-Dem leader, Andy Kelly, for snatching the stipend top-up he and others in the Labour and Tory parties voted through for themselves in December 2016.

At that time the Manchester Evening News headlined a report on this decision:  'Councillors booed as they vote to accept a 34% pay rise'.

Some councillors who voted for the pay hike said at the time that they wouldn't take the money.  One such was Castleton Councillor Aasim Rashid.  Yet, on the 19th, March 2018, the Rochdale Online Blog revealed:  'Labour councillor Aasim Rashid, from Castleton, who promised, “I’m not taking even a single penny increase in my allowance”, took the increase.'.

That's why at tonight's full Council meeting a flustered Labour leader, councillor Allen Brett had to declare: 'Councillor Rashid has my total confidence, he has my backing'

Councillor Brett also said 'Councillor Rashid didn't know that he had taken the extra allowance.'

Coumcillor Rashid wasn't in the Council Chamber last Wednesday to hear this spat, so he couldn't defend himself.  Perhaps he, like many other labour councillors tonight were out on the stomp to save their own seats at the coming local elections on the 3rd, May.*

But did Councillor Rashid really overlook his extra stipend as Councillor Brett suggests?  After all innumeracy isn't something he declares in his election literature.  Quite the contrary in his declaration he boasts:  'As a business owner I am familiar with finance and hence I have also served you on the Council by being responsible for council finances during what has been an exceptionally difficult time...'

So clearly Councillor Rashid, an economics graduate, has a better basic background in accountancy than most of us, and one would have thought that with his solid familiarity with finance that he would easily be able to get his head round a simple bank balance showing that his councillor's allowances had soared by some 30% or so.

When this week I asked him to explain why he took the money, Councillor Rashid fail to respond.

Councillor Kelly said that he well remembered a local Labour MP, who had had habit of claiming too much in his expenses claims.   Perhaps it is just a necessary family trait in the Rochdale Labour Party, because black sheep like Labour Councillor Chris Furlong, who tonight attended his last Council meeting found himself deselected by the party for failing to support the super stipend boost in 2016.

* About 30 Labour councillors failed to attend last Wednesday's full Council meeting.

Liverpool Anarchists say: 'Have a happy bookfair!'

by Brian Bamford
ARRIVING at the Black-E at 11,45am for last Saturday's Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair, I was greeted by the organiser 'Maria' of the 'News From Nowhere' Radical & Community Bookshop.  She set about scolding me saying severely:  'We sent you an e-mail and you can't attend!'  

Then up pops Pablito from Salamanca, who works in 'hospitality', who asks me 'Are you going to leave!'

I comply but only after noting down their utterances and swallowing a blood pressure pill.

As I picked up the bookfair program I observe on the front page the cheerful words 'Have a happy bookfair!'

Not so happy!

One of the local activists who came to address the talk on blacklisting at 3 o'clock, ended up saying that he would never attend an event 'like this again'.  

The spokesman from the Merseyside Trades Union Council, who came in a personal capacity to speak on blacklisting told me that he was 'disappointed at (the) lack of comradeship' at the event, and that regarding 'The individual concerned from the Blacklist Support Group' it was time to 'move on and make progress'.

The blacklist talk had been broken-up after a man was asked to leave because he supported Helen Steel in her dispute with the trans community.  At this point Pablito from Salamanca, as part of the squad for the defence of safer spaces, ended up with a kick in his backside flank. 

Others at the blacklist meeting complained that the bloke had been chucked out without proper consultation about the leaflet he had been distributing, and to which some people had objected.  The justification for excluding the individual was presumably rooted in the 'Safer spaces policy' of the 'Liverpool Anarchist Book Fair' which naively claims 'aims to be a welcoming, inclusive and safe space'.

What presents itself as a 'Safer spaces policy' is a charming catechism  which innocently enunciates a programme worthy of Big Brother and his thought policemen with beautiful elegance.  What is demanded in the text of this scheme is a censorship of language and thought such as Orwell's 'Newspeak' predicted in the 1940s.  

To survive the trauma of such linguistic cesspit one would have to bleach all natural thought processes of any original ideas to sink into the realm of stunted dialogue thus squeezing out all human passions and originality, for fear of making an odd unorthodox remark or stuttering some unintended outburst.  

Conversational Analysis of 'Safer Space' & 'Thought Crime'

A conversational analyst would be delighted with the text offered by the Liverpool Anarchist Book Fair 'Safer Spaces Policy'.  The text is rich in the straight-jacket of thought control.  

The 'Safer spaces policy' states 'Abusive, violent, threatening or harassing behaviour will not be tollerated'.

It then gives some examples:  'Oppressive language, literature or attitudes that insult, express prejudices or reinforce preconceptions about a group of people that are marginalised, disadvantaged or oppressed by mainstream society are not welcome.'

Then the organisers typically offer us a list of taboo topics:  'racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and classism' .

The dogma of what can only be defined as a totalitarian epistle to the glories of  'thought crime' is delightfully documented  in the final paragraph where it says:  'Don't make assumptions (based on, for example, race, pronouns, class, sexual orientation etc.)  

One would be tempted to say all this is characteristic of medieval thinking that one might find in the Catholic Church before Martin Luther to having wayward and sinful thoughts, but it is more totalitarian than that in that it seeks to extend its bans and gags in a style of Soviet proportions in which the required terminology may change from overnight if not sooner.

The Safer spaces document says 'we refuse to normalise prejudice, reinforce oppression or recreate hierarchies' but instead on the ground yesterday Pablito and Maria engineering an good impression of a Fred Karno's Circus or the Keystone Cops* with the thought-policemen / women / transgender / creatures or whatever wading-in to exclude folk without any fair trial or due process.  Where is the justice in that comrade Pablito (the hospitality worker) or Compañera Maria (from News from Nowhere bookshop)?  

Of course, justice is not what is going on here.  

What's going on?  Anarcho-Bossism!
What's going on here is 'Malas linguas' (bad mouthing); false accusations; victimsation and yes, if you like blacklisting.  We could call this anarcho-Bossism and Blacklisting.

At one point as I stood outside looking like a drowned rat in the Liverpool rain, Compañera Maria suggested I go a cafe to warm-up.  I told her that in Manchester we were used to standing in the rain on picket lines with Steve Acheson to combat blacklisting at sites like MRI (Manchester Royal Imfirmary) or Fiddler's Ferry.  She said this is not the same kind of blacklisting!  

I asked her to please explain how this differs from the blacklisting by the bosses?

Compañera Maria didn't reply but looked very uncomfortable.

Later Maria told Milan Rai, the editor of Peace News, that the Liverpool Anarchist Collective had decided to ban me because of an obituary I wrote in 2012 about the former AF member, the teacher Bob Miller in 2011, and something about putting Simon Saunders from the Morning Star / Freedom  in a neck-lock on the 22nd, June 2016, following having been dragged out of the Freedom Bookshop by him and Andy Meinke and then being pinned to the wall in Angel Alley by Compañero Saunders and ten other comrades. 

The trouble with this argument is that the original application to do a talk on blacklisting came from me as Secretary of Tameside TUC, and by banning me they Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair is blissfully unaware that it is blocking the participation of a North West trade union body.  In short, the Liverpoll Anarchist Bookfair Collective failed to cover itself with glory yesterday.

The Keystone Cops (often spelled "Keystone Kops") were fictional, humorously incompetent policemen, featured in several silent film slapstick comedies produced by Mack Sennett for his Keystone Film Company between 1912 and 1917.


Banned on eve of branch elections

Evan Pritchard - centre  - with cloth cap

Was it fair to issue complaints just before election?

  ON Wednesday the 28th, March,  the Unite Greater Manchester Community Branch convened for its tri-annual AGM amid some consternation about the banning of two of its members.  I had just bought some hot cross buns from Booths near Media City and I thought I'd pop in to give my comradely greetings at the Community Branch meeting at the Unite Salford Quay's office. 

To my surprise, as I entered the canteen just as pandemonium erupted I was to learn during the various loud verbal altercations and banter about the suspension of two Community Branch members from the AGM.  In the commotion it became clear that on the eve of the AGM meeting that Mr. John Pearson and Mr. Chris McBride, had both been served with letters informing them that they were subject to a complaint of such magnitude that they were now under investigation, and consequently according to the union's disciplinary process under Rule 27  'should be suspended from holding any office or representing the Union in any capacity, pending the outcome of that investigation'.

Curiously they were served  with these orders, the very day before the two men were running for office at last night's AGM.  John Pearson was standing for election as chair against the present incumbent Evan Pritchard.  Last night, this ruling was interpreted as meaning that both Mr. Pearson and Mr. McBride were not allowed to attend the meeting, and thus their nominations for officer positions were not put to the branch meeting and Evan Pritchard was elected unopposed.

Why is such a heavy hand being employed to proceed with a complaint under Rule 27:4.?

Why were written notices only delivered on the very eve of the AGM?  When Rule 27:4 clearly states that
'A member shall be given written notice ...... of any such suspension as soon as is reasonably practicable.'

After all the North West Region Finance and General Purposes Committee that ruled on this complaint, met on Tuesday, 20 March 2018, and the notices to the suspending Pearson and McBride from holding office were only delivered on Tuesday, 27 March.  Oddly this was the day before the branch elections.

This is troubling coming as it does on the heels of another recent ruling by the Assistant Trade Union Certification Officer that in the case of McFadden v Unite: 'Breach of union rule decision'; where it was found that the union had acted beyond its powers in trying to legislate on the activities of individuals at a private event.  In the Pearson and McBride case under Rule 27:4 .1 'A member under disciplinary investigation may not attend: meetings of his/her own branch'.  This has been the case since the Unite Rule Book was been updated in 2015.

People of fair minds may wonder here if this additional sub-rule 27:4.1, might not be mis-applied, perhaps by people of vindictive or vexatious intent to invent complaints to ban others whom they might not take a shine to for whatever reason; political or personal?   

In the Pearson and McBride case under consideration here, one must wonder about the timing of the issuing of these notices on the brink of the elections for AGM positions for which they had been nominated for office. 

Unite's Rule 27 does not state that a member will be suspended from participating in branch elections, it merely says the 'Regional Committee may suspend a member under this rule from holding any office or representing the Union ...'.  This does not seem to prevent a member standing for office, because any complaint against the member may fail and the suspension could well be lifted.  Hence, one may ask why were Pearson and McBride prevented from standing for office at  last week's AGM of the Unite Greater Manchester Community Branch ? 


Thursday, 12 April 2018

How Spain can teach us a thing or two

Zak Garner-Purkis, news editor, Construction News - 12th, April 2018.
SPAINs construction sector was one of the hardest hit in Europe when global recession struck a decade ago.

Fuelled by cheap debt in the noughties, municipalities across the country had embarked on huge developments, until the financial rug was suddenly pulled from under their feet.
But amid the chaos and confusion of the financial crash, something very significant happened to the Spanish construction market in the form of a new law on subcontractors.
The Spanish government introduced measures to limit the number of subcontractors working a project to three, not including the main contractor.
Work could be subcontracted to self-employed workers, but self-employed workers were not able to subcontract.
The law also banned the use of subcontractors whose main task was the provision of labour, effectively removing employment agencies from Spain’s construction sector.
One of the main drivers behind this pretty stringent regulation was safety.
Prior to its introduction, Spain had been responsible for 20 per cent of all workplace accidents in the EU.
The new rules insisted companies within the supply chain be registered, with registration dependent on carrying out health and safety training.
In that regard it was successful, with Spain now ranking amongst Europe’s safest nations to work.
The change in the law a decade ago also aimed to tackle insolvencies in the sector, the results of which are harder to gauge. 
The economic difficulties of the past decade make it hard to say whether the legislation led to fewer firms going bust, or if it was just because the sector had shrunk so dramatically.
The real question though is: could such rules on subcontractors work in Britain?
Well, the UK market is certainly not in as dire a place as the Spanish market was when the last recession began to take hold, but the theory is an interesting one.
On paper, the biggest loser under such a system in the UK would be main contractors: deprived of a large supply chain, tier ones would either have to bring expertise in house or downsize the way they manage projects.
This could be a beneficial trend. If large projects were broken up into smaller, cheaper lots, the market could open up to lots of smaller contractors who could compete on price.
Labour could be sourced locally, and there would be a clear benefit to training in-house labour.
Maybe that’s imagining it in an overly optimistic way. But it’s definitely a model worth considering.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Back in 2010 Noam Chomsky discussed the parallels between the Tea-Party and the pre-Nazi period in Germany.  Chomsky noted that after the Weimar Republic failed to handle the nation's economic woes, mainstream political parties lost support and the Nazis emerged.  Chomsky warned that the Left would need to take this as a sign that much better organizing was in order to combat the likes of the Tea-Party.  Mocking and threatening the far-right group to Chomsky served no real purpose and was a severe error in principle, tactics, and philosophy.

Chomsky added that, “If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response.”

Don’t get me wrong, many of my friends on the Left admire Antifa’s resistance of neo-Nazis.  And like me they express deep concerns about our persistently fascist leaning country that has devolved in terms of climate, the economy, as well as a variety of social issues.  I am not however, a “soft-fascist,” or “typical liberal,” for supporting Chomsky’s views.  Nor are Chomsky critics all members of a Stalinist cult because they may support Antifa through and through.

Believe me, I’d love to punch Nazis and you can count me in to be an eternal member of resistance to both fringe and mainstream hate, but I’m not sure it would yield any positive result to use my progressive thought as a literal battering ram.  Despite the horrors of this nation’s past and present on so many issues, resorting to violence against a group that thrives on violence seems counterproductive.

Could it be that Chomsky is wrong and his detractors are right?  Could it be that there’s no time for supplicant MLK type resolve in 2017?  I think the broader Left has history on their side.

President Trump made dangerous and inaccurate remarks concerning the “many sides” of Charlottesville.  At the same time, Chomsky correctly asserted that Antifa’s actions served as “a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who [are] exuberant.”

He asserted that Antifa "generally [proves] self-destructive."  Furthermore, Chomsky remarked that Antifa indicates “a minuscule fringe of the Left,” and that "[W]hat they do is often wrong in principle — like blocking talks."

This positioning is very consistent with most of his career.  After taking off as a world-renowned linguist Chomsky first gained prominence as a political writer during the Vietnam Era and one of his main sources of inspiration was the famed revolutionary pacifist A.J. Muste.

Muste is famous for articulating,  “There is no way to peace for peace is the way. Peace is the starting place, and you can not end with it if you do not begin with it.”  This helps to explain why Chomsky says that the "toughest and most brutal" always win, which are of course the white supremacists, militarized police forces, government forces, and fascists.

When Chomsky recognizes that there are “opportunity costs [and a] loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism,” it doesn’t mean he is a pure pacifist either.  He holds that force is only an option after you fully exhaust peaceful means, and one must try every peaceable mean.  Any use of violence on the Left must follow this trajectory since violence in combatting fascist elements and their support networks require massive organizing efforts and highly trained insurgency techniques.  At the moment however Chomsky holds that Antifa is not even remotely related to anarchism.

He is not mistaken to ask Antifa to think through their actions along with the consequences.  This does not equate to showing any patience for the racist right. Chris Hedges, who took even more heat for his commentary, is simply asking for the same amount of introspection regarding tactics.
Tony DiMaggio has managed to stay out of the Left’s crosshairs unlike Chomsky and Hedges, but I believe he too is correct in his assertions.  DiMaggio knows that violence is a part of the real world but remarks that “violence is never something one should actively seek out.”

Fascists, neo-Nazis and right wing terrorists do indeed try to fuse first amendment assembly rights of know-nothings to justifications for violence.  In many ways the mainstream Alt-Right acts much like ISIS, another by-product of failed policies.  Of course, the Left and Antifa is not the same as the Alt-Right, for there is no such thing as an “Alt-Left.”  But this is however precisely why it’s harmful to entertain violence and the fascist playbook. Similar to Osama bin Laden wanting Bush 43 to engage in a crusade, the Alt-Right wants the Left in a violent war to destroy constructive engagement within the Left internally.

Todd Gitlin is correct when he asserts that, “In truth, there is no symmetry between the “alt-right” and “antifa.”  Antifa is the backlash to the backlash, a defensive response to the growing presence of right-wing extremism.”  Gitlin goes on to add however that, “many antifa activists do not think strategically about whom they alienate.”

John Halle is another person who took principled positions on Antifa. He agrees with the politics of the Left but sees a problem with tactics.  Halle simply states that violence, for instance on a university campus in the protest of a speaker, has boiled over when a moderator is assaulted and sustains injuries.
Chomsky told me that although he received some support for his comments on Antifa, he mostly received furious opposition.  Anarchism is of course not some vague, ill-organized and unclassifiable group like Antifa demonstrated.  Chomsky stated that Antifa might be operating on a romanticized vision of muscularity.  It’s certainly possible.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Partisan Venue Denied Donation

Cavalier attitude by Manchester Anarchists to trade unionists
by Barry Woodling

I have to inform readers that a resolution requesting a  substantial grant of £1,000 from Unite the Union was not passed at a recent meeting of the Manchester Unite Area Activists in February after issues were raised concerning the events at the Manchester Anarchist Book fair on the 2nd, December 2017.  A meeting requested on the blacklist by Tameside TUC was turned down and 2 anti blacklist campaigners were forcibly ejected from the building. This meeting was hosted by the Partisan Collective who have a duty of care to its users.   

I am still awaiting a reply to my numerous e-mails asking for a proper investigation of the shocking events at that book fair which have studiously been ignored.   It is a serious matter when members of a trade union are denied access to a public event.   I sincerely hope that in the name of natural justice I am least given the courtesy of a reply.


Barry Woodling on Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair

'I attended the LIverpool  Anarchist book fair and on entering the building my path was blocked by one of the organisers who informed me that I was banned.  The matter was resolved when another organiser quickly appeared on the scene and said I wasn't on the blacklist.  These shenanigans reminiscent of what has happened over the years at the Manchester Anarchist Book fair are destroying whatever credibility the British anarchist movement had left.   Proscriptions, bans and expulsions under the guise of "safer spaces" are a travesty of any democratic norms and natural justice.   They must be resolutely challenged!'


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Public inquiry says Mark Cassidy was police spy

Undercover police officer HN15 = Mark Cassidy = Mark Jenner 

THE undercover policing public inquiry has finally confirmed that the joiner many of us knew as Mark Cassidy was in truth an undercover police officer.  His real name is Mark Jenner and 
between 1995-2000, he infiltrated the construction UCATT (his subs were paid from a bank account set up by Special Branch) 

He also infiltrated rank and file groups including the Building Worker Safety Campaign, the meetings of which he chaired at the Colin Roach Centre in Hackney. Jenner / Cassidy also targeted RMT, Unison, CPSA, TGWU and was on numerous picketlines including Dahl Jenson at Waterloo, JJ Fastfoods at Tottenham Hale and L.B. Southwark DLO.

Mark Cassidy / Jenner was first publicly named in by an article by journalist & union activist Mark Metcalf and in Blacklisted book by Phil Chamberlain & Dave Smith.  The Met Police issued a public apology to 'Alison', the activist he lived with during the five years of his deployment. It is shameful that the Met and the public inquiry have taken so long to admit that Mark Cassidy was an undercover police officer from the Special Demonstration Squad, something that everyone has known for years.  

'Alison', Mark Metcalf, UCATT (now part of UNITE) and blacklisted workers Brian Higgins, John Jones, Steve Hedley, Frank Smith, Dan Gilman & Dave Smith (who attended meetings, protests and pickets with Mark Cassidy / Jenner) have all been granted core participant status in the undercover police public inquiry. 

This public confirmation about Mark Cassidy comes just a week after the Met confirmed that police provided information to the building industry blacklist. 

Blacklist Support Group send a huge hug to 'Alison' and all the women activist at Police Spies Out of Lives for their inspirational battle to force the authorities to tell the truth about the undercover police officers that abused them.

Full story on Mark Jenner:

Jack Stevenson Obituary

by Donald Rooum 
JACK Stevenson died on Easter Sunday.  

An electrician by trade, and a keen gardener of vegetables on his allotment, Jack was prominent among London anarchists and in the 1960s.  Among other achievements, he was the founder, treasurer, and inconspicuous donor to the Sit-Down-Or-Pay-Up fund.  Which subsidised legal expenses and fines of supporters of the Committee of One Hundred anti-bomb campaign, mostly charged with obstructing traffic.
The Jack Stevenson I knew!

by Brian Bamford 

 I first attended a meeting of the London Anarchist Group in November 1961, and that’s when I first heard Jack Stevenson speak at a meeting.  Laurens Otter was there, and I’d already known Laurens for over a year, through my acquaintance with him on the Coast-to- Coast March against nuclear weapons up North, and at other meetings and conferences associated with Ban the Bomb and the Labour Party.  During the London Anarchist meeting, as I recall, there was a disagreement between Jack and Laurens over the the latter’s willingness to court imprisonment and submit passively to the authorities during his campaign with the Direct Action Committee at Holy Lock.

Jack, as I recall, asked Laurens why he and the others imprisoned for the offences in Scotland hadn’t attempted to escape, as that, according to Jack, would have been the anarchist thing to do. Laurens said at the time that they had been asked to give their word that they would not attempt to escape, but they had refused to do so.

Both Jack and his wife, Mary, were close to the anarcho-syndicalist wing of anarchism. Consequently, Jack was among that group of anarchists and syndicalists who in late 1960 wrote a letter to Freedom calling for a conference of Rank & File workers*.  Among those promoting this conference were such figures as Peter Turner, a carpenter and later one of the editorial staff of Freedom; Brian Behan, also a carpenter; Ken Weller, a shop steward in the car industry and member of a group, initially known as Socialism Reaffirmed, which published a journal, The Agitator; Ken Hawkes the national secretary of the Syndicalist Workers Federation (SWF); Bill and Joan Christopher (see ‘A Radical Born on Bastille Day'); and of course the electrician, Jack Stevenson.

I spoke to Joan Christopher about the death of Jack Stevenson last night, and we remembered that when I interviewed her a year ago that we had reminisced about her and Bill’s friendship with Jack and Mary Stevenson. How they disagreed about how Bill and Jack Stevenson had had so many disputes over their tastes in Jazz. Peter Turner, who witnessed these disputes was always going on to me about these disagreements over music.

Joan had said ‘we all had a passion for Jazz! But when were living at Cumberland Road, we made it open-plan, and on Jack Stevenson’s advice bought a Pye Black Box. We liked Bruck, Mendelssohn, Mahler and Oscar Peterson.’ The Joan said: ‘It was through Jack Stevenson we came to know the track by Jack Teagarden called “Tribute to Sydney Bechet”.’

At that point Joan started to hum the tune, and she said movingly: ‘I want that played at my funeral’

Strangely enough the last time I saw Jack and Mary Stevenson was at Peter Turner's funeral in London, and Laurens Otter was there as well.

*  The National Rank & File Group (NR&FM) of militants had some effect in the early 1960s.   In 1961, Peregrine Gerard Worsthorne was to be appointed as the first deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph; a job with fewer responsibilities than its title implies, and he rang Jim Pinkerton, then the international secretary of the Syndicalist Workers Federation, to ask about the National Rank & File grouping.  It was in his column in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Worsthorne gave some critical coverage to the NR&FM entity at the time.  Years later, Peter Turner told me that with the dramatic rise in the 1960s of the anti-nuclear Ban-the-Bomb movement around CND and the Committee of 100, the industrial struggle was sidelined and the Nat. Rank & File groping of militant was absorbed into the C. of 100.


Bill Christopher: A radical born on Bastille Day

From South Africa to West Yorkshire

Brian Bamford peruses the politics of the 1960s, 

as he talks to Joan Christopher about her husband, Bill

THE early 1960s was a time of great expectations in radical left-wing politics.  There had just been the Campaign to Boycott South African Goods, called by the Anti-Apartheid Movement.  The boycott attracted widespread support from students, trade unions and the Labour, Liberal and the then Communist Party.  The Anti-Apartheid Movement had begun as the Boycott Movement, set up in 1959 to persuade shoppers to boycott apartheid goods.

The Campaign to Boycott South African Goods had been preceded by another single issue social movement the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which was founded in 1957 in the wake of widespread fear of nuclear conflict and the effects of nuclear tests.  In the early 1950s, Britain had become the third atomic power, after the USA and the USSR had recently tested an H-bomb.

 Joan and Bill Christopher on holiday in France
Politically this was the atmosphere of the early 1960s, especially in London where Bill and Joan Christopher were to be activist members of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) for most of their adult lives.  However, there were unofficial strikes and industrial struggles going on at that time, and in 1960 Bill had left the I.L.P. to join the Worker's Party [1] formed by Brian Behan [2], when Brian and others had broken away from the Trotskyist Socialist Labour League in 1960.  The Worker’s Party later merged with the Syndicalist Worker’s Federation (SWF).

Later together with the Freedom Press anarcho-syndicalist carpenter Peter Turner, Bill Christopher was to become joint-secretary of the Industrial Sub-committee of Committee of 100 [3], that was a time of great conflict and activity during the national campaign against nuclear weapons and the Bomb.  It was to be out of this Committee of 100 London Industrial Sub-Committee that the industrially based National Rank & File Movement (N.R&F.M)[4], an organisation of militant trade unionists and shop-floor syndicalists, developed and was founded at a conference in London in January 1961.

An article in Freedom newspaper covering this National Rank & File founding conference, of which Bill Christopher was an active member, announced:

'This week-end there is to be held in London the first Conference of the newly-formed Rank and File Movement.  Much work has been put into the preparation of this conference by liaison committees; discussion meetings have been going on in London, resolutions and amendments have been drawn up, and it may well be that this event will be a significant one for militants among the industrial workers at least.

(FREEDOM: January 28, 1961)

Joan Christopher speaking to N.V. in Todmorden, West Yorkshire

  Introduction to the interview by Brian Bamford

These were the days before Spies for Peace and before my own trip to Spain in February 1963 on behalf of the young libertarians of F.I.J.L in France, before the arrest of Stuart Christie in Madrid in 1964, well before the student sit-ins at the L.S.E. in 1967 and before the French events in 1968 and the 'Donovan Report' into the trade unions .  Back then I and my then compañera, Joan Matthews, who were staying with the S.W.F. national secretary Ken Hawkes at his home on Parliament Hill, attended this London national rank and file conference of perhaps 200 workers and activists; we were both employed at that time at the same engineering firm in the North West. At this conference we were sat in front of the Freedom Press anarchists Colin Ward, Philip Sanson and his compañera.  It was the first time that I’d met people like Bill Christopher, Brian Behan, Ken Weller of Solidarity, and Peter Turner of Freedom Press, with whom I became a close friend for the rest of his life.  

In a pamphlet authored by Bill Christopher entitled 'SMASH THE WAGE FREEZE!' (1960s), and published by the Syndicalist Worker's Federation, Bill wrote:

'It is obvious that today only a Labour Government would dare to implement a wage-freeze policy and arm it with heavy penalties for non-implementation...  The opening attack on workers' wages and conditions came with George Brown's Joint Statement of Intent on Productivity, Prices and Incomes.... shop stewards wishing to improve wages and / or conditions in their plant, are subject to the penalties of the Act.  The officials of their respective unions can also be penalised.'
The intention of the then Labour government here would be to discourage unofficial strikes, that is strikes not supported and financed by the trade unions: in the 1950s and early 1960s unofficial strikes represented about 90% of all the industrial action taking place.  Historically shop stewards were intended to be simply 'union card checkers', in the 1896 rule book of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, that later became A.U.E.W., this was stated to be the sole role of the steward.  Yet, after the Second World War the shop steward had become a key figure on the shop-floor.  Bill Christopher during his involvement with the S.W.F. and in his writings as an industrial editor on Freedom, was anxious to extend the responsibilities of the shop stewards as was the rest of us involved in the National Rank & File Movement.


Political Journey - wartime South Africa to West Yorkshire

Bill Christopher in the North of England

Bill Christopher was born on Bastille Day in July 1924, and died in January 1993.

Brian Bamford's Joan Christopher interview on Bill Christopher:
Began April 2015 and was finally completed in July 2017.

Brian Bamford: When did you and Bill first move up to Todmorden?

Joan Christopher: We came here in July 1986. I was born an Essex girl in a town called Woodford in 1928, but my family moved to Walthamstow from around 1930.

Brian:  How did you find living up here?

Joan:  We didn't know how things were going to work out. Of course, we had been up to visit Aileen and Bob (daughter and son in-law) several times. But I soon learned to drive after coming up and I began to go to college to do A-level art. Some dear friends of ours Eric and Joan Preston (in the Independent Labour Party) lived in Leeds

Brian:  Has Todmorden changed much since you came?

Joan:  There has not been a great deal of change. There is more of a hint of tourism – a bit like (nearby) Hebden Bridge, and it's more gentrified now. We use to meet people who had not been out of Todmorden all their lives.

Brian:  How does life up here compare with London?

Joan:  Bill use to reminisce about about London. He didn't seem to settle down as much as me. For me I’ve liked living up here and I find ‘Tod.’ people very friendly – I like somewhere a bit rural and countryfied.

Brian:  How did you meet Bill?

Joan:  I use to work with Bill's sister, Jean; sewing. I started working when I was 14-years-old at a dress-making factory cutting, finishing and re-drawing from the pattern book on Hudson Street, Walthamstow for about 4 months.   I then worked at Cannels Ltd dress-making. It was through his sister Jean that I met Bill and we first went out at Xmas 1942. Jean use to say Bill only liked me because I liked playing monopoly.  He had asked me to go to the pictures a week before he went into the RAF.   Bill was a volunteer and didn’t wait to be called-up, nor was he influenced by his mates at the time into his decision to join up.   At that time he was at first doing air-training in St. Johns Wood.
Later he was based in South Africa training to be a navigator, and didn't come home until 1944. After that he was in the Army in India until 1947.
While he was in India during the troubles there; that is during the Bombay riots, I remember him saying that he shot into the air,.rather risk hitting anyone.
He didn't talk much about South Africa! It was the war that influenced his later political views as well as his later (post war) experience in India (in the Army).  When he went to the war he had been a Christian and as a boy he wanted to be a missionary in the Church of England. My Mum too had been a strong believer before she met my Dad.
After he left the Army, Bill (Christopher) went back to working in the print (industry) in the 1940s up to the 1970s.  He was an Imperial Father of Chapel (Works Convenor) at the Daily Mail in NATSOPA and Sogat. After he left school he worked flat-bed printing on 'The Queen' magazine, which was a glossy.  He was doing White Chapel preparation though his grandfather had been a copy-taker.   He left the Daily Mail, went on to Teacher’s Training College, and later began teaching in the early 1970s.  He taught at Leyton County High School for Boys.  Bill was a member of the NUT (National Union of Teachers).   Bill came into teaching as a mature student and ended up teaching sociology as part of his teacher’s training certificate.

Brian:  Why did you both come up North?

Joan:   In July 1985, he decided to retire, because Bill didn't have a degree and he assumed that he wouldn't get a job in a 6th form College or High School. He was 61 (Bill was born in July 1924). We already had a daughter living in Cornholme in Todmorden. Our daughter, Aileen, has lived in the North longer than down in London. She originally lived in Cornholme, Todmorden, but is now over the border in Burnley.
When we got here Bill studied for a Master's degree (entitled) 'The women's role in the factories in World War II'. An oral history involving (research) doing interviews with workers (who had) worked in the mills and factories in the Tod(morden) area (in the War). It was a dissertation for his MA (Master's Degree), and I typed it up for him on a Word. Processor. He started studying for a Phd shortly before he died.

Brian:  What do you reckon of today's politicians?

Joan:  You can see that I am a Labour supporter (a Labour Party poster is in the window). Both me and Bill voted Labour in the 1945 and 1951 general elections: although I haven't got a lot of faith in any of them. Because they make promises and then can't deliver. I look on Labour as being the lesser evil. I always vote, because people died to get the vote. The trouble is that big business has more control, although you do get the odd MP who does a good job.

Brian:  But you were both in the Independent Labour Party (ILP)?

Joan:  (The I.L.P. merged with the Labour Party in 1975) when the I.L.P. stopped being the Independent Labour Party and became the 'Independent Labour Publications'.
Bob Galliers (Bill's son-in-law) intervene here to say that Bill had always been a syndicalist or anarcho-syndicalist, and that they (Bill and Joan) had been raided by the police in 1963 after the revelations in the Spies for Peace documents.
Joan Christopher then continued:
In the mid-1960s Bill wrote and edited industrial and labour reports for the Freedom newspaper with Peter Turner, who was a carpenter in the building trade.
I wrote for Freedom (the anarchist weekly newspaper) a piece about that raid after the 'Spies for Peace' [5] incident at Aldermaston at Easter in 1964. (At that time this 'subversive' document was being widely circulated by anarchists, independent socialists and pacifists and) at a Conference of the I.L.P. in Yorkshire [probably Scarborough] everyone were asked to reproduce the 'Spies for Peace' leaflet.  (At that time) Eric Preston, Bill’s friend in the I.L.P., was being followed by the police as he moved 'Spies for Peace' leaflets and other materials from Leeds to London, but when he his copies in the Left Luggage, the police moved in and took them. The organisation 'Solidarity'* (nothing to do with the current Solidarity Federation) started the 'Spies for Peace' campaign. (Bob then intervened to say the journalist Natasha Walter published a book on the 'Spies for Peace'): (her father was, Nicolas Walter the well-known anarchist writer, and the only member of the 'Spies for Peace' to go public on this matter).
We also duplicated a rank and file newsletter the ‘Seaman’s Voice’ in Cumberland Road, and as I recall one of the seamen ended-up stapling his own finger, but he was still enough of a gentleman to avoid swearing in front of a woman, although I’m sure that he wanted to.
Bill unsuccessfully fought the Walthamstow parliamentary seat (at different times) for both the ILP and CND.. He was a member of the (anarcho-syndicalist) Syndicalist Worker's Federation (SWF) and produced both 'Worker's Voice' (then the paper of the Worker's Party) and 'World Labour News'. Earlier in 1959, we were both involved in the 'Worker's Party'* with Brian Behan* (the brother of the play-write Brendan Behan and musician Dominic), but Brian was very mercurial.
Bill rejoined the I.L.P. around 1980ish, and the 'Friends of the ILP' are now part of the Labour Party.

Brian:  What did you do in the Miner’s Strike?

Joan:  We supported the miners! 
We had an ‘I.L.P. Miner’s Support Group’ through which we channelled our support. We were awarded a Miner’s Lamp for our efforts. I’ve still got that lamp here at the bottom of the stairs.

Brian:   I believe that William Morris was born in Walthamstow?

Joan.:  Yes, in the 1930s the house were he was born was turned into a clinic, and when I was a kid, I attended the clinic for treatment in about 1935.

Brian:  Many of those anarchists and syndicalists in London in the 1960s, I remember as having a wide variety of other interests as well as politics. Over the years from the 1960s I often stayed in London on the Peabody Estate behind Chelsea Town Hall on Kings Road with Bill’s old mate, the joiner Peter Turner and his then wife Gladys, and we often would talk about you and Bill.  Peter loved cinema, the arts and above all music.  As I recall from talking to Peter, he Bill and Jack Stevenson were all very enthusiastic about Jazz – I think Jack and Bill had disputes over their tastes in Jazz?

Joan:  Yes, we all had a passion for Jazz!  But at first I was into the Classics, and Bill was into Jazz.  When we were living on Cumberland Road we made it open-plan, and, on Jack Stevenson’s advice bought a Pye Black Box.  We liked Bruck, Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Oscar Peterson.  But it was through Jack Stevenson we came to know the track by Jack Teagarden ‘Tribute to Sydney Bechet’ (Joan at this point started to hum the tune). ‘I want that played at my funeral’, she said.

Brian:  Did you know many other people at Freedom besides Pete Turner? People like Vernon Richards, Colin Ward and Philip Sanson?

Joan:    Indeed, we were close to quite a few people at Freedom Press, and would go over for lunch on the odd Sunday to Philip Sansom and his partner’s house. We knew Tom Cowan and his Italian wife Gabrella. He was in the building trade. We were also close to Ken Hawkes, a sports journalist on the Reynolds News and the anacho-syndicalist editor of World Labour News – the journal of the Syndicalist Worker’s Federation (SWF) in the 1960s. Brian Behan, the brother of the play-write Brendan Behan, was another good friend who we knew Brian was a bit eccentric, he lived in a pre-fab with his wife and use to wear bicycle clips, and we asked him about this he turned his pockets out and showed us the holes. The bike-clips were there to catch the coins in.  His wife later went into teaching.  Brian was a carpenter in the building trade who was blacklisted and ended-up at university. I’m still in touch with Dave Picket who took over the S.W.F., when Ken Hawkes, who lived on Parliament Hill in Hampstead, left to go to work for the BBC.

Brian:  Thank you for that Joan, and please express my thanks to Aileen and Bob for all their help in producing this short rendering of the life of Bill Christopher.

[1] The Worker's Party was a breakaway from the Socialist Labour League in summer 1960.

[2] Brian Behan, the brother of the Irish play-write Brendan Behan, founded a short-lived 'Workers Party', which published Worker's Voice and was active in support of the Seaman's Strike.
In 1964, Behan wrote his first piece on his family life, With Breast Expanded. Forced to give up building work due to an arm injury, he moved to live on a boat in Shoreham-by-Sea and studied history and English at Sussex University. He then studied teaching, before in 1973 becoming a lecturer in media studies at the London College of Printing.[3] In 1972, he contested in a swearing match at the British Museum, to mark the republication of Robert Graves' Lars Porsena.[2]
[3] The Committee of 100 was set up after a difference in CND about the use of civil disobedience as a political weapon between Canon Collins and the philosopher Bertrand Russell,

[4] The National Rank & File Movement. Affiliates of SWF; the Worker’s Party; the ILP; Commonwealth; London Anarchists; Socialism Re-affirmed (publication Agitator - later Solidarity).
[5] The ‘Spies for Peace’ was a clandestine group of individuals including we now know the Freedom Press anarchist, Nicolas Walter, later admitted involvement: His Wikipeadia entry states: ‘Walter was a member of Spies for Peace, the only member to be publicly identified, only after his death. In March 1963, it broke into Regional Seat of Government No. 6
(RSG-6), copied documents relating to the Government's plans in the event of nuclear war and distributed 3,000 leaflets revealing their contents.’
In his book ‘Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow’ the historian David Goodway wrote:
The Spies for Peace were essentially this group (Solidarity), locating and entering the Regional Seat of Government (RSG) at Warren Pow, Berkshire, and circulating the pamphlet, Danger! Official Secret: RSG-6.
[6] ‘Solidarity' publication of the Socialism Re-affirmed Group edited by Christopher Pallis and Ken Weller, was originally entitled the 'The Agitator' until 1961.