The Vale of York branch is hosting a series of lectures on the history and future of socialism. The lectures will be delivered by one of our own members, Dr John Gibbins. This is an opportunity for the branch to come together to discuss what makes us believe what we do and why we behave the way that we do. Why are we socialists? What is it that attracts us to these ideas; where did these ideas come from and how did they develop? The meeting is open to all members and fellow lefties and will be advertised to the Thirsk and Malton CLP as well as York and Richmond CLPs. Please feel free to bring along anyone that you think will be interested.

John took a degree in Government and Economics at the University of London in 1966, gained an MA in Politics and Philosophy at Durham in 1968 and a PhD at Newcastle University later. His lifelong ambition has been to extend advantages from the few to the many, achieved most clearly with 25 years as a Tutor Counsellor with the Open University and as a lecturer and Principal Lecturer at the University of Teesside. He retired as the Director of Postgraduate Research at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, having worked on many national and international bodies including the ESF. He has published across the fields of politics, political theory, philosophy, ethics and history of ideas, including 3 books, has published many essays and articles in Journals, co-founded the international journal, Theory, Culture and Society (Sage), and is now a member of Wolfson College, Cambridge. His latest publication is an edited special edition of a journal on the role of Knowledge Networks (2019). John joined and has remained active in the Labour Party from 1978. You can find a full biography and more at


Session one – Socialism and its history

What is Socialism is the question for the first part of this session, and it covers: So what is socialism? What are our ideals, the unique value package? How and why are these ideals and socialism dismissed as extremist, immoral and dangerous? How can we engage in agonistic polemics and win?

The second part provides a short history of European Socialism to the Nineteenth Century: Plato’s Polis, Aristotle’s Political Animal, Cicero’s Republic; Beneficium and Feudalism, the Monastic and Christian Commonwealth, Guilds and the Commons, Thomas More’s Utopia, the Great Commonwealth, Milton, the Diggers and Levellers, Babeuf and the C18th rational ordering of things.

The Socialist Family in C19th- the very distinctive members: Utopians (Owen); Christians Socialists (Kingsley, Ruskin); Syndicalists (Fourier, Proudon, Morris); Anarcho-Socialists (Bakunin, Kropotkin); Communists (Marx and Engels); Guild Socialists (Cole, Laski); Cooperatives; Fabians (Webb’s), Democratic Socialists; Centralist Marxists; C20th – Social Democracy; Neo-Marxism (Gramsci and Hall) ; Socialist Feminists; Postmodernists (Lyotard, Leclau, Butler)

History of Socialism Lecture series

Where: Thirsk & Sowerby Institute, Flats Ln, Thirsk YO7 1LY, UK

When: Saturday 1st June at 1:00pm

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John Gibbins Lectures

Session two – The History of the Labour Party

This session cover the History of the Labour Party: Workers International; Trade Unionization; Cooperative Society; Charity Organizations Society; Organizing the Leagues:-Women’s League; Scottish LP, Independent LP, Social Democratic Federation; Keir Hardie and the Labour Representative Committee 1890-1918

History of Socialism Lecture series

Where: Parish Rooms, Tanpit Lane, Easingwold, York YO61 3HD, UK

When: Saturday 15th June at 10:00am

History of Socialism Lecture series
History of Socialism Lecture series
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