Tetley Talks 2017: From Revolution to Reaction

Leeds Salon hosts its fourth annual series of talks in partnership with The Tetley.

From Revolution to Reaction goes back a century to examine major political and cultural movements of the time, and their resonances today. 

The talks take place over three consecutive Saturday afternoons in the City Workshop, on the second floor of The Tetley arts centre, Hunslet Road, Leeds.

Doors open 2:45pm (for a 3pm start) to 4:30pm. As usual, we'll be heading to The Tetley bar straight after each talk to drink and chat more informally.

Admission: £5 waged/£4 unwaged (cash only) to pay on the day, but please reserve your place by e-mailing us at contact@leedssalon.org.uk

 


Lenin Lives! Reimaginng the Russian Revolution

Saturday 18 November

Of all the tomes published on the centenary of the Russian Revolution, none will reckon with a key part of the story: what if the revolutionaries' dreams had come true, instead of being dashed? No tale of the Russian Revolution is complete without asking 'what if ...?' Lenin Lives! lays out a narrative account of how history might have happened differently if Lenin had lived long enough to see the global spread of the Russian Revolution to Western Europe and the USA.

In this alternative world, instead of the grim authoritarian and autarkic states of the East, socialist revolution in the world’s most advanced economies ushers in an era of global peace, progress and prosperity, with global federations substituting for nation-states and international organisations. In keeping with the hopes of European revolutionaries of the time, the early achievement of socialism leads to a drastic improvement in human progress, economic growth, democracy and freedom at the global level.

Speaker: Philip Cunliffe is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent, and author of Lenin Lives! Reimagining the Russian Revolution, 1917-2017 (2017), see more...

Readings: Review of Lenin Lives! by Douglas Lain, Zero Books, September 2017

 


Futurism: "To Sing the Love of Danger"

Saturday 25 November

At the turn of the 20th century, Italy was economically backward and politically stagnant compared with the more advanced nations of Europe. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti became a figurehead for dissidents and rebels who wanted to overthrow the existing order when he published his Manifesto in February 1909, launching the avant-garde Futurist movement. Inspired by the markers of modernity, Marinetti exalted the new and the disruptive. For the Futurists, energy and speed were the watchwords to cure Italy of its languor, and to revitalise an apathetic generation. 

Yet while Futurists welcomed modernity as an explosion of human creativity and an expansion of life without precedent in history in its militant engagement with politics, beliefs in nationalism and the violent overthrow of the old order, Futurism is often seen as a precursor to Fascism. So did Futurism have reactionary tendencies from the outset, or is there something in its spirit that is still compatible with the more progressive, humanistic aspects of utopianism?

Speaker: Penny Lewis is a lecturer in Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Dundee, and a founding member of Architecture & Education Foundation, see more...

Readings: The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism by F.T. Marinetti, 1909; The Manifesto of Futurism Revisited by Marjorie Perloff, Spiked Review, February 2016.

 


Fascism: "The Mobilization of Passions"

Saturday 2 December

‘Of all the unanswered questions of our time, perhaps the most important is: “What is fascism?”’, commented George Orwell in 1944. Over 70 years later, it appears Orwell’s question remains unanswered, even though the term ‘fascist’ has never lost its popularity.

The origins of fascism are commonly located in the rise of Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista in the 1920s; defined by its passionate nationalism, hatred of socialism and liberalism, and glorification of violence and war. Today, however, fascism is more commonly associated with German Nazism of the 1930’s, and its emphasis on ideas of racial superiority which justified the Holocaust. Fast forward to 2017 and rhetoric surrounding fascism is as prevalent as ever: whether used to describe the Ku Klux Klan and ISIS, the emergence of European far-right and ‘popularist’ parties and the US alt-right, or even the election of Donald Trump.

So, what was fascism? And are we seeing its return? Or is it, as Orwell described it, simply ‘a swearword’, ‘recklessly fl[u]ng in every direction’?

Speaker: James Heartfield writes and lectures on British history and politics, and is the author of Unpatriotic History of the Second World War (2012) and The Equal Opportunities Revolution (2017), see more...

Readings: What is Fascism? by George Orwell, 1944.

 


Event Partners

The Tetley

The Tetley is a centre for contemporary art and learning, located in the former headquarters of the world-famous Tetley Brewery on Hunslet Road. Visit their website at: www.thetetley.org/


 


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