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Raphael Samuel


Raphael Samuel and the History Workshop

Ian Gwinn has recently published a paper about Raphael Samuel and the founding of the History Workshop

History should become common property


Raphael Samuel was a founding member of History Workshop–both the Journal and the workshops that were instrumental in the Journal’s foundation.  Long before it was a journal, History Workshop was a popular movement for the democratisation of History which flourished in Britain from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s (with sporadic activity continuing into the 1990s). It emerged from Ruskin College Oxford where Raphael Samuel, the movement’s initiator and presiding spirit, taught history for many decades. While the themes explored varied widely, the events were primarily a showcase for history seen from a non-elite perspective, ‘people’s history’ as it was labelled.In the early years this meant primarily working-class history but over time, after some controversy, it expanded to include the new women’s history. Seen as a radical, left response to a ‘turbulent society’, these Workshops were a seedbed for many new histories and historiographies. At its height, these workshops saw as many as seven hundred attendees.


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Raphael Samuel, 1934-1996


Noah Ablett Biography

Robert Turnbull's Climbing Mount Sinai: Noah Ablett 1883-1935 is the first full-length biographical study of one of the most controversial personalities to emerge from the South Wales coalfield in the era preceding WW1, an era of unparalleled industrial militancy in which Ablett played a leading role.

The book tells the story of Noah Ablett from his early days as a boy preacher in the Rhondda coalfield to his rise to prominence within the tight-knit coalfield communities of South Wales, and his emergence as an uncompromising agitator, not only against the coal owners but also his own union. His uncompromising brand of revolutionary class warfare brought him into sharp conflict  with the moderate consensus politics of William Abraham known as Mabon, a liberal who had led the South Wales miners since 1875. 

The conflict with Mabon and what he represented would lead to one of the most famous pamphlets in labour history, namely the Miners' Next Step of 1912, which called for workers' control of industry. Although very much a collaborative effort, the Miners' Next Step is perhaps the most famous statement of Ablett's rejection of  the parliamentary road to socialism as "No better than an ant heap on the way to becoming a dunghill".

Biography of Noah Ablett is out in February 2017. Book launch at the WCML on April 12 at 2pm. Details on the WCML website.


Gramsci Talk-Colin Waugh in Wakefield

Gramsci Talk

Free Trade Reading

Bad Samaritans: The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and the Threat to Global Prosperity Paperback – 1 May 2008 by Ha Joon Chang


The Truth about Trade: The Real Impact of Liberalization Paperback – 11 Feb 2010

Videos and blogs from Durham Big Meeting



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