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Join the growing Marx Memorial Library

 

MEIRIAN JUMP explains how the MML is continuing in the proud tradition of Marxist education – and how supporters can benefit if they take out membership

THE Marx Memorial Library’s reach has grown exponentially in the last three months as we have turned to digital delivery of our education and collections work.

Now we seek to build on this, launching a new eight-week membership drive over the summer.

Members have always been at the heart of what we do — financially supporting our core work, acting as ambassadors, linking us with communities across the country and assisting as volunteers.

In our first-ever bulletin, printed in November 1934, the year of our foundation, a 700-strong membership gets a mention.

The editor elaborates: “Already the members are realising that the lectures and classes are equipping them with an understanding of Marx’s techniques of their correct application in the day-to-day struggle against capitalism.”

This year, more than 85 years later, we’ve added to our offer to our members.

From August, Liverpool University Press (LUP) will ensure that digitised copies of all MML’s previous bulletins and newsletters produced since 1934 are available free of charge for all members.

As a member you’ll be free to delve into this unique historical resource, including articles by historians, Marxists and commentators including John Williamson, Andrew Rothstein, Desmond Greaves, Yvonne Kapp, Ruth and Edmund Frow and Eric Hobsbawm.

This, on top of a new member pack, discount booking of our main hall and invitations to launch events.

Not forgetting Theory & Struggle, which for the past four years has been produced by LUP.

The 2020 edition includes pieces on artificial intelligence, the environment and the struggle for equal pay, from Leonardo Impett, Richard Clarke and Jennifer McCary.

Contributors Andrew Murray, Mary Davis and Maxine Peake — our vice-president — spoke at our online launch, streamed on Zoom and Facebook.

The current crisis has not meant a slowing down of our work. Far from it. Our energies have been channelled into the digital.

Our livestreamed lectures and events have brought in more than 100 a time across nation and globe.

These included discussions on historical memory 75 years since the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, and marking Lenin’s 150th two months previously.

Subscriptions to our online courses have doubled. We now have 60 engaging on online forums discussing the role of the trade-union movement today.

We’ve mobilised digitised collections in innovative ways, with three new online exhibitions: Banners for Spain, showcasing solidarity textiles from the Spanish civil war (1936-39), a News International Dispute Archive exhibition drawing on our Print Workers’ Collection, and one on our newly catalogued peace collection: JD Bernal: Science, Peace and International Collaboration.

Our website has become a go-to for anyone with an interest in Marxism and the history of the working-class movement.

Now we have a library of 12 recorded recent events uploaded, plus new digital resources including copies of Justice, the organ of the first British socialist party, the Social Democratic Federation.

We’ve responded quickly to these unprecedented times doing what we do best: using a Marxist analysis to engage with the past through our collections, and with today’s world as we look to the future.

We want to build on this. Three additional events are scheduled for the coming weeks — a discussion the impact of Covid-19 on workers’ rights with Keith Ewing on July 23, a book launch on Lenin in London with author Robert Henderson on August 6 and a panel on race, class and education with Claudia Webbe MP, Unison assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie and Alan Kunna of Newham Sixth Form College.

With your support we can do much more. Our plans are ambitious.

Following last September’s flood we raised more than £50,000 to fund vital repair and remedial work. This work is under way and will be completed by the end of August.

Lockdown has enabled us to take stock and to plan further development work through fund-bidding.

This, twinned with policy development and the refining of our management of finance, membership and collection care, means we will hit the ground running when we are in a position to open our doors again this autumn.

The necessity of moving to online education has given us a real impetus to expand our offer, develop more online courses and aim to realise our ambition of being a national and international provider of Marxist education.

Membership income will help us to ensure that we can reach all parts of the working-class movement.

Meirian Jump is archivist and library manager at the Marx Memorial Library.

Join the library’s growing membership today. You can now sign up by direct debit here www.marx-memorial-library.org.uk/support Membership is just £25/15 per annum.

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