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Dates for your diary (details on these to follow soon)......

DemFest at Gladstone's Library, Fri-Sat 13/14th May 2016


Report on this very successful event here Thanks to Rose Kay for providing the notes to make this report possible. How does she do it?!!

Feedback on this event here

Residential course open to all at
Wortley Hall, Wortley Village, near Sheffield
S35 7DB

EU mapThe Future of the EU and Europe

Friday to Sunday 15 – 17, April 2016
From 4.00pm onwards on Friday to 2.00pm Sunday

Key-note Lecture,  Friday evening: 
Raymond Williams' Resources of Hope:
From radical compensation to ecosocialist emancipation
by Derek Wall,
Economist,  Writer, International Co-ordinator for The Green Party.

  Raymond Williams pioneered many of the aspects of radical social critique that give us the most hope in the 21st century.  He wrote about 'Socialism and Ecology' published in 1982, helping to promote a green left and ecosocialist politics.  'Socialism and Ecology' was part of a collection of his essays entitled  'Resources for Hope.'  He argued that 'To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.'  So how in 2016 can Raymond Williams subtle and complex ideas about culture and politics, help us achieve necessary change.  While the right in the form of David Cameron and other neoliberal leaders appear strong, movements for change from the Latin American left to new forces in Europe are growing.  How can Williams' thought be renewed to strengthen these challenges, with special reference to the EU debate?

There will be another plenary session, a forum with speakers from participants on the weekend giving the case for ‘In’ or ‘Out’ inc. a review of DiEM25.  In addition seminar discussion of relevant YouTube viewings:  Varoufakis;  Chomsky and others.

The EU Referendum – an up-date and views on this;  Displacing Neoliberalism – The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (or DiEM25);  Migrant Communities – the European challenge;   In ‘Towards 2000’ (1983) Williams saw the  feminist, peace and ecology ‘new social’ movements as agencies for social and revolutionary change – a review of the potential now for each in selected European countries;   Nations, nationalism and regionalism;  Podemos and Syriza;  KW workshop/s: ‘Internationalism’,  Ecology& ‘Socialism’;  Co-operatives working…;  Isolating the extreme-right through tactical voting and other strategies;  Radical informal education across the Continent, for example PiPs and IWCE;  Extending digital democracy; Transnational TU collaboration… 
Cultural issues – readings and performance.

Plus late night music and poetry...
The RWF AGM will take place on Saturday Detailed programme available in February, sent to all participants and available on RWF website.


Provisional Programme here

Discussion Notes

DiEM25 - the Democracy in Europe Movement - notes for discussion circle

Europe at a crossroads - Corbynism and its futures - notes for discussion

Prostitution, and the law in the EU - notes for discussion

The European Union and NATO - notes for discussion

PiPs/DiPs and other Pub Discussion Methodologies - notes for discussion

Digital Democracy - notes

European Poetry - notes

Migrant Communities - the European Challenge - notes

International Trade Unionism - notes

"Representative" -notes for discusion

Recommended Advance Reading......

Democracy in Europe Manifesto by Anthory Barnett

"One very simple, but radical, idea: to democratise Europe." An interview with Yanis Varoufakis

Swiss Parliament decides to withdraw the application to join the EU by Swiss National Councillor (ie Swiss MP) Lukas Reimann

Brexit Divisions: What you ought to know about EU referendums and the UK debate

Diagram showing the complexity of European intergovernmental bodies

Keywords of Crisis in Europe

Corbynism and its Future

Corbyn says we should decriminalise prostitution. Here’s what the women on the front line think
- for the Feminist Issues discussion

The making of an open and democratic Europe: reading Brexit through E.P. Thompson


All-in (subsidized) fee  -  only £105.00pp,  includes en suite bedroom, all meals, refreshments and all sessions.   

If you prefer deposit £30 with Balance of £75 at least 3 weeks before the event

There will be several bursaries available at £25 for those in receipt of benefits, and younger adults (16 – 24).

 Non-residents welcome.  Fee:  £25.00 for all sessions plus tea/coffee but note meals paid for in the Bar;  or pro rata, depends when you come and go..    Any queries or questions:    Phone:  0161 4779376


TO BOOK BY POST and cheque, print off this form and follow the instructions

This event organised in partnership with or links to:   Philosophy in Pubs (PiPs),   WEA;  Discussions in Pubs (DiPs);    Sci-bars;  openDemocracy,     38 degrees

demfest banner

What is DemFest?

DemFest is a new festival of democracy taking place 13th - 14th May 2016

in the beautiful surroundings of W.E. Gladstone's library at Hawarden in North Wales. It is being organised by Gladstone's Library in partnership with The Raymond Williams Foundation and The Democratic Society.

We are living in tumultuous times. The UK may be on the brink of fracturing and leaving the European Union, power and resources are increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and the gulf between the UK's main political parties is rapidly widening.

Meanwhile, many possibilities for new forms of democratisation are opening up. Whether through experimentation at community level, developments in online tech or as a result of the growing public appetite there are now more collaborative and less hierarchical ways of living.

DemFest is about getting together in this context to reflect on current democracy and consider new ways of doing things - its aim is to contribute to the larger-scale and increasingly urgent project of collectively re-making democracy for our times.

You won't hear a party line; DemFest is non-partisan, independent, and not-for-profit.

For more information and to book to go to this event

pile of booksWMC LITERATURE WEEKENDS 2015-16

Continuing a long tradition of Literature weekends, WMC Literature draws people from far and wide for weekends of discussion and study under the guidance of a tutor.

A typical weekend will focus on one or two books which we have read in advance. The tutor brings information about authors, context and themes, and a tutor-led discussion follows. Each weekend may be attended as a stand-alone course.

We meet at Shallowford House, a pleasant rural location, 5 miles from Stafford and 3 miles from Junction 14 on the M6. There are 25 bedrooms, mainly en suite, meeting rooms and a bar. (Shallowford House, Shallowford, Stone, ST15 0NZ)

You can find the programme here

You can find the booking form here

Residential rate: £98 (but see SPECIAL OFFER below) – includes tuition and full board.
Non-residential rate: £76 – includes tuition and all meals except breakfast.
Deposit: £30 per weekend, non-returnable. Balance due 4 weeks in advance.

Please send deposits for the 2015 weekends by 1st August and for the 2016 weekends by 6th December.

A number of places are available for £40 for those aged 18 to 40 thanks to the Raymond Williams Foundation. The Raymond Williams Foundation will also look favourably on anyone outside this age range who applies for a grant to enable them to attend. To apply, contact Jean Lowthian (Phone: 07952 799783 e-mail:

If you have any questions, contact Maggie Washington,
phone: 01538 751848, e-mail:


Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation & isolation of modern life.
We meet monthly on Saturday evening.

‘Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’. William Morris


At Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ 7.30pm Buffet (bring something if you can) 8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm

Travel & Access

Stratford stations & 257 bus Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus Overground: Leytonstone High Rd, turn right, short walk

Disabled access, car park, bikes can be brought in, quiet children welcome. You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown. Meetings open to all - just turn up. Enquiries 0208 555 5248 Free entry: voluntary donations welcome

‘The club is a real beacon of light.’ Peter Cormack