Antonio Martinez-Arboleda on ‘Spain: the Hothouse of the Left’

6pm Wednesday 20th January 2016 in Broadcasting Place BPA312 (Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Fenton), Leeds Beckett University

The evolution of the Spanish Radical Left after the 15M Indignados movement of 2011-13 has been fascinating. A number of very diverse organisations, old and new, now live together in a demanding and blurring electoral space. Podemos, the new main actor of the Radical Left, has moderated its revolutionary language, discourse and programme, whilst the rest of the Radical Left forces are rapidly adapting to the new scenario. Is the Radical Left in Spain liquidated or simply liquefied?

Antonio Martinez-Arboleda, Principal Teaching Fellow in Spanish at the University of Leeds, will discuss the transformation of the Spanish Radical Left in the last 2 years. He will examine the December general election results, identifying the challenges that the different parties and movements of the Radical Left face.antonio

Check out the Left Book Club


Everyone at the Left Book Club wishes you a happy 2016. If you subscribed to the LBC before Christmas, you should by now have received your first book, Kevin Ovenden’s Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth. More recent subscribers will receive this book soon, and all will receive the second book Being Red at the end of February. Meanwhile, we hope you enjoyed Heathcote Williams’  docu’ poem The Red Dagger, emailed to you before Christmas. If you haven’t received the PDF, or you have any questions regarding your subscription, email us at

Other LBC titles for 2016 include:

Being Red: A Politics for the Future by Ken Livingstone

How should the left govern? In the wake of a huge surge of interest in the Labour Party, Ken Livingstone serves up an insider’s account of the party and its future, at a pivotal moment in its history.

The Rent Trap: How We Fell into It and How We Get Out of It by Samir Jeraj & Rosie Walker

Jeraj and Walker offer the first critical account of what is really going on in the private rented sector and expose the powers conspiring to oppose regulation.

Cut Out: Living Without Welfare by Jeremy Seabrook

Britain’s welfare state, one of the greatest achievements of our post-war reconstruction, was regarded as the cornerstone of modern society. Today, it is wilfully being dismantled by a succession of governments, with horrifying consequences.

For more details on these books, and to subscribe to the LBC, visit our website at

As a non-profit, independent organisation, every single subscription supports our ability to create a platform for writers dealing with the most important issues facing us today. So it would be terrific if you could persuade a friend or colleague to sign up. We are also keen to establish local LBC reading groups. If you are interested in convening one in your area please get in touch at


In case you missed these articles, catch up here:

Ian Jack writes in the Guardian on the Left Book Club’s launch at Conway Hall in November

Jan Woolf, chair of the Left Book Club, writes about the reasons for relaunching the organisation

Neil Faulkner on Deselection, Momentum, and Labour Democracy

In this piece from 2001, Paul Daily reflects on the original Left Book Club and remembers its many achievements 

Paul Mason, who wrote the introduction to the LBC’s Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth, presents This Is A Coup, four films on Syriza’s struggle to save Greece, all of which can be found in this article from The Nation




Opposing terror – article and slides

Following the presentation and lively discussion at the Taking Soundings event on 3.12.15, here are the slides that Max Farrar showed (with a couple extra ones added in at the end)

Islamist terror-dilemmas PDF

The article on which the talk was based was published by openDemocracy on 3.12.15 and is available here

Islamist terror: some dilemmas for the left in countering Islamism AND Islamophobia (3 Dec)

We’ve had to postpone the advertised talk on 3rd December with Dr Katy Shaw. Please accept our apologies.  Instead we offer this talk:

Islamist terror: some dilemmas for the left in countering Islamism AND Islamophobia

With Max Farrar, Emeritus Professor at Leeds Beckett University

6pm Thursday 3rd December in Leeds Beckett University’s Broadcasting Place BPAG10 (on Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Fenton, Leeds LS2 3ED, UK)

After 13th November’s atrocities in Paris, with global elites increasingly turning their dreams to a military solution to the ‘existential threat’ posed by terrorism that claims an Islamic Caliphate as its goal, leftists find themselves in a quandary. How to oppose this simplistic militarism — explaining that alienation, caused by the depredations of capitalism combined with the West’s effort to bomb an ideology out of existence, is the real problem to be addressed — while agreeing with those elites that the violent jihadi strain of Islam is utterly inimical to everything we stand for? Max Farrar will make suggestions on how the left can oppose violent Islamism without contributing to Islamophobia.  This talk is based on this article in openDemocracy by Max Farrar and Rumana Hashem and will refer to the threats made on Rumana’s life by Bangladeshi Islamists.

Max Farrar is a sociologist and Emeritus Professor at Leeds Beckett University. He is a committee member of Taking Soundings, secretary to the charity RememberOluwale and a Board member of Together for Peace and UK Friends of Abraham’s Path. His PhD thesis about black-led and multi-ethnic social movements in Chapeltown, Leeds, was published at The Struggle for ‘Community’ (Edwin Mellen, 2002). His more recent work on multiculturalism and Islamism appeared in Farrar, Robinson, Valli and Wetherly (ends) Islam in the West (Palgrave 2012). More here

ALL WELCOME.  FREE, but a collection will be taken.

LUCSAS lists lots of good stuff in Nov and Dec

Please see details of a film showing at Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds that may be of interest on Tuesday 1 December at 6.30
‘Refugee: The Eritrean Exodus’ – with Q and A session afterwards from the director and organised in association with PAFRAS:
There is also a list of some upcoming events around refugee solidarity in Leeds via Leeds City of Sanctuary here:
Other upcoming LUCAS / LUCAS sponsored events:
LUCAS Seminar (co-hosted with RiDNet and CGD): Sam Spiegel (Edinburgh) on ‘Resource Politics and Advocacy Struggles in Zimbabwe:
Encountering Power at Multiple Scales’
Monday 30 November, 4pm, School of Earth and Environment Seminar room 8.119
LUCAS Seminar – Naomi Haynes (Edinburgh) ‘Learning to Pray the Pentecostal Way: Language and Personhood on the Zambian Copperbelt’.
Tuesday 8 December, 4–5.30pm (Michael Sadler LG10)
School of English seminar – Prof. Jane Taylor (Leeds),  ‘Ubu and the Truth Commission: Transitional Justice and Theatre’.
Tuesday 8 December, 5pm,  Studio One of the Workshop Theatre (behind the Laidlaw library)
LUCAS Seminar – Prof. Jane Plastow (Leeds) ‘From Research to Activism: Making Theatre and Anthropology in Walukuba’
Wednesday 9th December, 5 pm in Studio One of the Workshop Theatre (beside Laidlaw Library)
Christian Hogsbjerg
LUCAS Administrator
Leeds University Centre for African Studies
School of Politics and International Studies
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
Tel: 0113 343 5069

Katy Shaw speaks about the Culture Crunch

Apologies: this event has been postponed. Check Our Events for the meeting that will replace this one.

Thursday, December 3rd, 6PM in Broadcasting Place BPAG10 (Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Fenton)

In the wake of the financial crisis, cultural critics were quick to ask ‘what […] is the best “narrative of the meltdown”?’

In the weeks and months following the crash, literary representations entered into a competitive exchange to tackle the subject of the credit crunch across musical theatre, stand-up comedy, television and film.

This talk will examine how writings for stage and screen have forged new understandings of the credit crunch in performance. Critiquing the impact of risk and crisis on twenty-first-century life, it will argue that new writings representing the events of 2007–2008 offer a significant critical space for consideration of the various pathways to, and the lived reality of, financialisation in the neoliberal contemporary period.

Katy Shaw is Principal Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Subject Lead for English Literature at Leeds Beckett University. Her publications include: David Peace: Texts and Contexts (Sussex Academic Press, 2010); Mining the Meaning: Cultural Representations of the 1984-5 UK Miners’ Strike (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012); and Crunch Lit (Bloomsbury, 2015).

katy shaw

Palestinian Film Festival in Leeds (November)

We hope you will be able to come along to some of the films that we are showing at venues around Leeds, including the Town Hall, Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton, Heart in Headingley, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds Beckett University and the Hamara Centre in Beeston.

At Heart and Hyde Park Picture House we will be selling Zaytoun food products (including olive oil and dates), Hadeel crafts and Recipes of Resistance cookery books, all of which make great Christmas presents!

Welcome to the first Leeds Palestinian Film Festival

We are proud to bring you a selection of films from and about Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora. Ranging from documentaries to dramas to our favourite – a Claymation – we hope these will illuminate the darkness of troubled times.

We are pleased to have Richard Burgon (MP for East Leeds and newly appointed Shadow Treasury Secretary) opening the festival on 15thNovember, given his longtime interest and commitment to Palestine.

Our screenings are:

The Wanted 18: Sunday 15th November 8.30 pm, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall, Headrow, LS1 3AD.

This winning mix of documentary and clay-animation offers an unexpectedly humorous account of a West Bank town’s experience of the first Intifada, a subject that doesn’t usually generate a lot of laughs in cinema. It recounts the true story of how the Palestinian neighborhood of BeitSahour near Bethlehem acquired a herd of 18 dairy cows and then had to hide them from the Israeli security forces when their existence was absurdly deemed a threat to national security.

Screened in collaboration with Leeds International Film Festival

Directors: Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan, released: 2014, running time: 75 minutes

Tickets £5 / £6

If you want to recommend this to or let a friend n Sheffield know about this film, it is also showing at the Showroom on Saturday 28thNovember.


Amreeka: Tuesday 17th November 7.30 pm, Seven Arts Centre, 31A, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, LS7 3PD

This lighthearted film chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. Told with heartfelt humor, “Amreeka” is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home.

Director and writer: Cherien Dabis, released 2009, running time: 96 minutes, cast includes Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem and Alia Shawkat

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


Two Blue Lines: Monday 23rd November, 6.30 pm, Beckett Studio, LBU Headingley CampusLS6 3QS

Shot over a period of 32 years, this documentary examines the human and political situation of Palestinian people from the years prior to the creation of Israel to the present day. By primarily featuring the narratives of Israelis whose positions run counter to their country’s official policy, Ohio-based filmmaker Tom Hayes provides a portrait of the ongoing conflict not often depicted in our mainstream media.

Director: Tom Hayes, released 2015, running time: 98 minutes

Free entry, donations welcome, free parking and a bar on campus


Film and Food Night: Friday 4th December, 6 pm onwards, HEART Centre, Bennett Street, Headingley, LS6 3HN screening Divine Intervention

The lovely folk at HEART Café will have some delicious Palestinian and middle eastern mezzes on their menu, especially laid on for the evening from 6 pm onwards.  There will also be lovely Zaytoun Palestinian products and Palestinian crafts available for sale (great for Christmas Presents).

Divine Intervention will be introduced at 7pm by Keith Withall, local film enthusiast or who has a keen interest of film by and about oppressed peoples fighting neo-colonialism.

This film (which will start at around 7.20pm) is made by Palestinian director Elia Suleimanand is a surreal black comedy.  The film records a day in the life of a Palestinian living in Nazareth, whose girlfriend lives several checkpoints away in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

One lyrical section features a beautiful sunglasses-clad Palestinian woman (played by Manal Khader) whose passing by not only distracts all eyes, but whose gaze causes Israeli military checkpoint towers to crumble. The director features prominently as the film’s silent, expressionless protagonist in an iconic and powerfully moving performance that has been compared to the work of Buster Keaton, Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Tati.

Director and writer: Elia Suleiman, released 2002, running time 92 minutes, cast include Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader and George Ibrahim.

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


On the side of the road: Thursday 8th December 7 pm, Hamara Centre, Tempest Road, Beeston, LS11 6RD.

This documentary by Israeli journalist Lia Tarachansky examines the collective Israeli denial about the expulsion and displacement of Palestinians in the wake of the 1948 war for independence. Referred to by the Palestinian people as the Nakba, or “the catastrophe,” the destruction of villages resulted in generations of refugees and, as parks and new cities were built on the ruins of those villages, years of violent history were swept under the rug.  Tarachansky interviews several former soldiers who participated in the destruction,. The film refrains from dehumanizing either side, instead making the simple request that the region’s history never be forgotten.

DirectorLia Tarachansky, released 2013, running time: 82 minutes


Open Bethlehem: Tuesday 15th December, 6.30 pm, Hyde Park Picture House, 73, Brudenell Road, Hyde Park, LS6 1JD

When film-maker Leila Sansour returned to Bethlehem in 2005, she planned to make a documentary about the Palestinian city she couldn’t wait to leave as a teenager. However, her cousin Carol convinces her to stay and build upon the legacy of her father, who founded the local university in 1973. Realising that the “Separation” wall erected by the Israelis is isolating a once-thriving destination for pilgrims and tourists, Leila and Carol devise a campaign to encourage visitors to return to the birthplace of Jesus Christ and apply for passports giving them honorary citizenship.  Distilled from 700 hours of footage shot over several years and with rare archive material, the film is potent and poignant.

There will also be lovely Zaytoun products  and crafts for sale before the screening (perfect ethical Christmas Presents!).  There will also be a short update from Ghada Elkhatik …………..on life in Bethlehem.   You are welcome to leave before this or to stay if you would like.

Director:  Leila Sansour, released 2014, running time 90 minutes

Tickets £5.50 /£4.50 concessions / £6 balcony / Friends of HPPH £4

We would like to thank Leeds International Film Festival,  the Beckett Studio, Hyde Park Picture House, 7 Arts Centre and HEART for supporting the LPFF.

Organised by the Leeds Palestinian Film Festival Committee.


Doreen Massey on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour

One of the founders of Soundings journal, Doreen Massey, writes here on why we should support Jeremy Corbyn’s effort to re-orientate the Labour Party.

>> From the Lawrence and Wishart blog . . .

Guest blog by Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the Open University, founding editor of Soundings and editor of After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto 

Doreen Massey discusses Jeremy Corbyn’s break from the leadership of the past and his attempt to challenge the dominant terms of debate, instead of accepting that he has to operate on the established political terrain.

She questions how, exactly, we can seize the moment and begin to subvert the dominant common sense, and how the energy and arguments of the emergent politics can filter out into, and give confidence to, wider sections of society.

Read Doreen’s blog here

PLAN C has plans for Leeds (13, 14 Nov 2015)

Plan C events coming up soon:

On Friday 13th November 7pm, there is a book launch, discussion and gig. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams discuss their new book: Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work. The discussion will be followed by the band F.A.L.C.O performing the songs of 80s futurist Oi band Red Plenty and a performance by the band War Lass.

The 1 in 12 Club, Albion St, Bradford
On Saturday 14th November 7pm another discussion with Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams about the book Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work. Following the discussion will be the social for the Plan C national congress taking place in Leeds that weekend. All invited.
LAB (Live Arts Bistro) Regent Street, LS2 Leeds.

Facebook event page: