The Struggle For Democracy: How We Won It And How We Lost It
Monday April 05, 2010 11:42 by Will Simpson - Bristol Radical History Group
Three weeks of talks, lectures, debates and gigs - starting Monday April 5th and running through to Sunday April 25th
Image Caption Goes Here
With cunning timing, Bristol Radical History Group return this week to present a series of events that aim to trace the development of democracy in the UK and consider its future.
Recent British histories arrogantly claimed that the 'we' brought democracy to the Empire and ultimately the world in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Despite centuries of struggle to wrestle power from an elite, the vote in Britain is still seen as a gift from the rulers to the people to help bring 'us' into the modern age. These days, the establishment of western style 'democracy' is used by Britain as a context for invasion, war and occupation.
During our three weeks of events we will be hear of the legacy of the Chartists - the first mass working class movement in Europe, the wave of popular protest that preceded the ‘Great’ Reform Act of 1832 and the trials and tribulations of the Suffragettes in Bristol. We will also consider the roads not taken, the possible alternatives to party democracy that were discarded along the way – Athenian election lotteries, Anglo-Saxon direct democracy and the prophetic warnings of Thomas Spence, a forgotten figure often hailed as ‘Britain’s first modern socialist’.
But there’s more! If you are already suffering from election fatigue legendary local troublemaker Ian Bone will teach us how to subvert corrupt party democracy, using vehicles such as the Vote Nobody campaign and The Bristolian. We will also be holding our own mock election in the dark and satirical tradition of The Mayor of Garrett.
The Bristol Radical History Election Special comprises the usual blend of expert speakers, academics and local historians including world authority on The Chartists, Dorothy Thompson Owen Ashton from the University of Staffordshire and local author David Goldblatt. Other attractions include folk legend Leon Rosselson, who together with singer songwriter Robb Johnson, will perform ‘The Liberty Tree’, a evening of songs inspired by the ideas of Thomas Paine. The season kicks off at the Cube on Monday 5th April with a screening of the film 'US Now' and a panel discussion about democracy in the age of the Internet.
Our previous three Radical History weeks were the largest celebrations of peoples’ history yet seen in Bristol. Academics from Europe and North America joined local historians and members of the public in a series of lectures, debates, and film festivals. Those who attended are unlikely to forget the recreation of radical preacher James Nayler’s ‘blasphemous’ ride into Broadmead one Saturday morning, nor the cider-fuelled boat trips around the pirate landmarks of Bristol’s harbourside.
All Bristol Radical History events are open to all, free or of minimal cost. The events are organised by local people from Bristol and are NOT funded by Universities, Political Parties or Local Government. More specific details of the events, dates and venues can be obtained from our website at: www.brh.org.uk
| Bristol Indymedia and Bristol Radical History Group Present: US NOW | www.brh.org.uk | check Bristol Indymedia calendar |
| How To Contribute Articles - A Brief Guide | Publish an Article/Event | Help Guide | Calendar | Indycycle | Bristol Just Living - Positive Guide to Bristol | Get Involved with Bristol Indymedia | @bindymedia