Michael Rustin on Labour’s failure

Taking Soundings is pleased to have Michael Rustin speaking at our event in Leeds on 16th July 2015. He’s one of the founders of Soundings journal (with Dorren Massey and the late Stuart Hall) and one of the authors of the Kilburn Manifesto which we’ve featured here before.

Rustin and Massey have recently summarised their views on why Labour failed in this article for Il Manifesto, published here in English, as Post Election Blues in Britain 


Please join us at the meeting with Michael Rustin on Thursday July 16th, at 6PM. Sometimes we meet at The Tetley, but this meeting will be back at our old venue in Broadcasting Place (opposite the Fenton on Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9EN).

For more details contact Matthew Caygill at m.caygill@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.


Trevor Griffiths at Ford-Maguire shindig (29 Jan)

Dear friends,

In the 1880s the radicals in Leeds used to gather in Angel pub off Briggate to toast Tom Paine’s memory on his birthday, the 29 January. For several years the Ford-Maguire Society has tried to copy this event without much success.

However this year we have booked Fairuz’s Lebanese restaurant for the 29th January from 6 pm.  There will be a buffet with a wide variety of tasty Lebanese dishes including several vegan dishes plus a meat  dish.  The cost will be £15.

Trevor Griffiths the well known playwright and script writer has agreed to be our guest of honour. Trevor has written a brilliant and successful play about Tom Paine which was performed at the Globe Theater.

At the end of the meal we will toast Tom Paine. And perhaps some of us will go one to the Angel for further toasts.

Please please  could you email Garth [garthfrankland@gmail.com] or Shaun [scohen0113@gmail.com] (particularly between the 6-21 January when Garth will be out Leeds) if you are coming. We need to do this for the numbers for the buffet .

This promises to be a great evening.

See you there.

Garth Frankland and Shaun Cohen

Ford-Maguire Society

0797 1933 512


Fairuz Restuarant

Merrion Street

Leeds LS2 8JU

England (Fairfax House)

Lynne Segal revisits ‘Beyond the Fragments’ on 18.9.2013

Taking Soundings event on Wednesday 18th September at 6pm (venue details below)

Lynne Segal, one of the writers of  Beyond the Fragments – Feminism and the Making of Socialism, will be speaking at the September 2013 meeting of Taking Soundings in Leeds. First published in 1979 with contributions from Lynne, Hilary Wainwright and Sheila Rowbotham, a second edition was recently published, containing the original essays, plus three new ones from the same authors. Lynne’s talk in Leeds will take up the themes of her new essay, as she outlines here:

Even as times change, most of us remain stamped by the first moments we consciously enter politics – the moments of our greatest activism or fiercest dreams of different futures. For me, returning to Beyond the Fragments, that means asking what lessons, if any, can be drawn from the spirit of Seventies feminism. It was a politics premised upon equality and democratized resources, which kept most of us firmly part of the Left, attentive to class and anti-colonial struggles, alongside our more distinctive feminist concern with questions of care, culture, the sharing of skills, imagination and more – noting our interdependence, while cherishing autonomy and personal life, knowing we are never outside the social. Given our formidable defeats in worsening economic times for the majority, all the old questions return, but with even greater force. Is it still possible to create modes of resistance that can reach out, beyond the heat of action, to build movements and coalitions that survive and, somehow, impact upon those determining or trying to influence government policies? Can ‘democracy in action’ be preserved to form a coherent and forceful opposition to corporate capital, with its hollowing out of democracy, and the wars, inequalities and oppression it produces or tolerates? These questions are familiar, but the answers get harder to envisage, given that it is now easier, some say, to imagine the end to the world than the end of capitalism.

Lynne’s talk will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 18th September 2013 at Leeds Metropolitan University’s city centre campus: Broadcasting Place, A building, Room GO2, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9EN (opposite the Fenton Pub).

Copies of the book, at a discounted price, will be on sale at the meeting.

Brief comment on the book – and how to get a free copy by subscribing to Red Pepper –  here

Cynthia Cockburn’s interesting critique of the ‘Beyond the Fragments’ version of feminism was published  in openDemocracy in May 2013