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 4:45pm. 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 & 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 Manifesto of Futurism Revisited by Marjorie Perloff, Spiked Review, February 2016.


Fascism: "The Mobilization of Passions"

Saturday 2 December

Fascism began with Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista in the 1920s. Italian fascism mobilized passionate nationalism, hatred of socialism and liberalism, and glorification of violence and war. Nowadays, however, fascism has come to mean German Nazism in the 1930s, along with Hitler’s ideas of racial superiority – ideas that justified the Holocaust.

In 2017, passions about ‘fascism' are mobilised as never before. From the US alt-right to ISIS, from the new ‘populist’ parties of Europe to Donald Trump, everyone has recently been described as ‘fascist’. Yet in fact, as George Orwell commented back in 1944, one should use the term fascist ‘with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword’.

So what, historically, was fascism? Since Hitler came to power in an election, doesn’t that warn us against the popularity of ‘strongmen’ national leaders today – Trump, Erdogan, Putin and others? Or do some too easily and arbitrarily bandy about the term ‘fascist’ in 2017?

Speaker: James Woudhuysen is visiting professor of forecasting and innovation at London South Bank University, and for over 40 year has written and lectured on 19th and 20th-century history and politics, with a particular interest in the First and Second World Wars, see more...

Readings: What is Fascism? by Matthew N Lyons, 1997 republished by Political Research Associates 2016; Toward a Definition of Fascism by Norman Pollack, Counterpunch August 2013.


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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