Debate: Reigniting Radicalism
|24 September, 2015||Filled under Previous Events||
Ullet Road Unitarian Church, 57 Ullet Rd, Liverpool L17 2AA York Street entrance.
Friday 5 November at 7.30pm
The Liverpool Salon and Ullet Road Unitarians invite you to join them to debate the nature of radical politics today in the historical light of ideas of ‘spiritual freedom’, freethinking and tolerance for dissent. We ask, who are today’s political radicals, how do they connect to the history of radicalism and what are the challenges for reigniting radicalism in the contemporary world?
When Parliament abolished the Court of Star Chamber in 1640, it established the principle of defending individual liberties and freedom of conscience against the arbitrary power of governments to silence political opposition and religious dissent. In the words of John Milton, freedom of conscience meant that ‘no man ought to be punished or molested by any outward force on earth whatsoever because of a belief or practice in religion according to conscientious belief’. Religious dissent and radical politics often went hand in hand; as people like eighteenth-century Unitarian radical John Cartwright argued, it was not enough to hope and pray for a ‘better world’ to come, but that ‘we should mend the world we are in’. The concept of ‘spiritual freedom’ became key to Enlightenment understandings of tolerance and freethinking, which advocated robust engagement with others over matters of principle, opening the door to radical political movements that advanced the cause of universal suffrage, equality and individual and collective freedoms.
From ‘counter extremism’ legislation, to fears of ‘radicalisation’, censorship and speech codes that restrict what we can say, Britain appears to be straying a long way from Enlightenment principles of tolerance and freethinking. What are the links between radical politics, political freedoms and tolerance for dissent? Are these historical concepts still relevant today? Or are some forms of radicalism simply beyond the limits of tolerance? If there are limits ontolerance, where do we draw the line and what are the implications for reigniting radicalism today?
Reigniting Radicalism is a Battle of Ideas 2015 satellite event. The Battle of Ideas is a weekend of high level, thought provoking public debate taking place on 17 & 18 October at the Barbican, London. For more info and tickets visit Battle of Ideas 2015
Guided Tour of historic Ullet Road Church: 7pm
Pauline Hadaway has worked in arts and education since 1990 and is co-founder of The Liverpool Salon, a new forum for public debate on Merseyside. In her doctoral research at the University of Manchester, Pauline is currently exploring different uses of arts, heritage and culture as tools for peace building in Northern Ireland. Pauline has been published widely including: ‘Policing the Public Gaze’ (2009), a report for campaign group, The Manifesto Club; ‘Escaping the Panopticon’ (2012) and ‘Re-imagining Titanic, re-imaging Belfast’ a chapter in ‘Relaunching Titanic: Memory and Marketing in the ‘Post Conflict City’ (2013)
John Fitzpatrick worked for many years in community law centres in Brixton and Hammersmith in London and joined the University of Kent in 1991. He is Director of the Kent Law Clinic and teaches human rights law at Kent. The Law Clinic provides free legal representation to those who can’t afford it – in employment, housing, welfare benefits,immigration, asylum, public rights of way and other cases, while teaching students in the process.
Rev. Philip Waldron is a Unitarian District Minister for Merseyside. His principle churches are Ullet Road Church, Wirral and Southport Unitarians. This is Philip’s first Ministry. Philip graduated from Luther King House (Ecumenical College) in 2015, studying Contextual Theology. Philip also attended Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln, gaining a BA in Community Theatre. Philip has been published contributing to ‘Liverpool Unitarians: Faith & Action’ (2014). Philip ran a community theatre company in Liverpool from 2005 – 2010, producing original plays which explored themes of social class, The Duel (2006), The Vindictive Duchess (2007).
Pete North is Reader in Alternative Economies at the University of Liverpool. He gained his BA in History and Politics in 1984. After a few years working for the Departments of Employment, Trade and Industry, and Environment, he gained his MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford (1993) and his PhD from the School for Advanced Urban Studies at the University of Bristol (1997). He was a post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield (1996-7). Between 1997 and 2002 he was Senior Research Fellow at the Local Economy Policy Unit at South Bank University. He joined the University of Liverpool in 2002.
His research focuses on: (1) the transition to a low carbon economy that combines prosperity and equality with what we need to do to avoid dangerous climate change and economic crisis; (2) the politics of climate change and ecologically-focused social movements engaged in struggles about the implications of anthropogenic climate change and resource constraints for both humans and the wider ecosystems upon which we depend; and, (3) given that after the upheavals of 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union we seem to have some consensus that a purely state-controlled economy is both bureaucratically sluggish and destructive of individual freedom, how can we get the balance between state and market right? What forms of market-based economic activities can provide prosperity with justice in the anthropocene? Can we envisage and create new social and solidarity economies that rethink markets working to new, more socially just rhythms, that include those capitalism leaves behind. Indeed, are markets always ‘capitalist’, and exploitative?