[see Canary Wharf]
An eighteenth- and nineteenth-century political movement, whose aim was the liberation of enslaved people and the end of the Atlantic slave trade.
[see Canary Wharf]
An eighteenth- and nineteenth-century political movement, whose aim was the liberation of enslaved people and the end of the Atlantic slave trade.
The origin of alchemy seems to have been in the union of the practice of Egyptian metal workers with the theories of matter of Alexandrian Gnostics and Neo Platonists which, apart from a Timaean conception of materia prima, was fundamentally Aristotelian. The earliest alchemists, such as Zosimus and Synesius in the 3rd century A.D., who were Gnostics, thus combined descriptions of chemical apparatus and practical laboratory operations with an account of the visible universe as an expression of figures and symbols and a belief in sympathetic action, action at a distance, celestial influence, occult powers beneath manifest qualities and the powers of numbers. These ideas permeated chemistry from the 3rd century A.D. to the 17th and very often even practical laboratory operations were described in obscure symbolic language, perhaps to deceive others and keep the secrets hidden. It was Zosimus who first used the word chemeia, the Art of the Black Land, Egypt or Khem, which gave rise to the Arabic alchemy and the modern English chemistry. The main object of alchemy was the production of gold from base metals.
—A.C. Crombie, Augustine to Galileo, The History of Science A.D. 400-1650 (1952)
The Anchor Stone Blocks (Anker Steinbaukasten) was a popular learning game patented in Germany by Friedrich Richter in 1884 and manufactured in Rudolstadt. At that time Germany was famous for the manufacture of toys. Following World War II, when the country was divided in two, the factory was based within communist East Germany, or the GDR. It was subsequently reorganised as a state-owned company in 1953.
[see Prince Hoo Hoo Hoo]
A land situated on a floater in the eyeball of a dog, somewhere to the north of The Other Kingdom. Formally known as Animal Kingdom, prior to the ‘age of discovery’ known as The One and Only Kingdom. The population is for the most part made up of various types of chicken (Cream Legbar 43%, White Leghorn 45% and Redcap 11%), while the elite are historically drawn from different bird species (1%). The political leader is Prince Hoo Hoo Hoo. The Hoo family claim descendance from a dark age clan, which ruled over Animal Kingdom approximately a thousand years ago. According to the exiled historian J.F. Duck, Prince Hoo – grandfather to the current reigning monarch Prince Hoo Hoo Hoo – ascended the throne after a military coup 75 years ago and actually comes from a line of itinerant owls [needs citation]. The political system of Animal Kingdom was, until recently, an absolute monarchy, but after a series of rebellions the country now has a constitutional monarchy and maintains a representative democracy. Elections are held every five years. The economy has traditionally been agricultural, although following recent political changes a comprehensive modernisation programme has led to growth in the financial sector.
[see Sylvia Pankhurst]
A stone monument sculpted by artist Eric Benfield, situated in front of the former site of Red Cottage, in the London suburb of Woodford Green, which was the home of Sylvia Pankhurst and her partner Silvio Corio. It was commissioned by Pankhurst in protest against the brutality of aerial warfare. The sculpture is a stone replica of a 1930s torpedo and an inscription on the plinth ironically dedicates it to the politicians who upheld the right to use aerial bombing at the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva in 1932. Pankhurst had been outraged when Britain bombed rebels from the air in Burma and north-west India in 1932. Ethiopia suffered aerial bombardments during the Italian fascist invasion in 1935, when mustard gas was dropped on both soldiers and civilians. Subsequently, Pankhurst invited the secretary of the Imperial Ethiopian Legation, R.P. Zaphiro, to unveil the monument later that year. It immediately became a target for fascist sympathisers and was vandalised on the first night it was in place. The monument was unveiled for a second time in 1936.
[see Community Arts Movement]
An experimental moment in the history of art education, Art and Environment was a course which ran from 1976 until 1985 and was delivered by the UK’s Open University.
A nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century movement in the decorative and fine arts, which emphasised traditional craftsmanship and often used medieval, romantic or folk styles. One of the key figures within the Arts and Crafts movement was the socialist William Morris, who sought to unite all the arts in the decoration of the home and replace the ‘useless toil’ of the factories with dignified labour, so that workers could engage in creative occupations instead. In Britain, the movement was associated with dress reform, ruralism, the garden city movement and the folk-song revival.
Image: Sylvia Pankhurst, Illuminated Scroll Presented to Elsa Gye by the WSPU, circa 1909, print on paper.
[P]reoccupation with the magical and astrological properties of natural objects was, with the search for moral symbols, the chief characteristic of the scientific outlook of Western Christendom before the 13th century. There was a wealth of magic in the works of Pliny and one of its characteristic ideas, the doctrine of signatures according to which each animal, plant or mineral had some mark indicating its hidden virtues or uses, had a profound effect on popular natural history. St. Augustine had to bring all the skill of his dialectic against the denial of free will which astrology implied, but had not been able to defeat this superstition. Isidore of Seville admitted that there were magical forces in nature, and though he distinguished between the part of astrology which was natural, since it led man to study the courses of the heavenly bodies, and the superstitious part which was concerned with horoscopes, he yet admitted that these heavenly bodies had an astrological influence on the human body and advised doctors to study the influence of the moon on plant and animal life… An example of this astrological interpretation of the world of nature as a whole is the conception of the correspondence between the universe, or Macrocosm, and the individual man, or Microcosm… The classical medieval expression of this belief is given in the 12th century by Hildegard of Bingen who thought that various parts of the human body were linked with special parts of the Macrocosm so that the ‘humours’ were determined by the movement of the heavenly bodies.
—A.C. Crombie, Augustine to Galileo, The History of Science A.D. 400-1650 (1952)
I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg
An American lawyer and jurist who was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, from 1993 until her death in September 2020.
‘Bankers Arrested’, newspaper clipping from Morgunblaðið, Iceland, 7 May 2010.
The word bank derives from Old Italian banca, meaning ‘table’. The genesis of modern banking can be traced to Renaissance Italy, where it was dominated by the Medici family – also remembered for their patronage of the arts. In Britain the credit system emerged in the seventeenth-century. Following the ‘bloodless’ Glorious Revolution of 1688 when the Dutch protestant William of Orange was invited to invade England, he oversaw (as king) the importation of the Dutch system of a national public debt and founded both the Bank of England and the London stock exchange. With these new financial innovations long-term bonds could easily be bought and sold. It was then possible for the government to raise large sums, kick starting the era of British colonial expansion.
[See Cooperation, Freemasonry]
In nineteenth-century Britain, the beehive was a popular symbol of industry and co-operation. The image of the beehive is still used on trade union banners, masonic regalia and by the Co-operative movement – for whom it represents the ideal of working together for the good of the whole. Cruikshank’s famous print The British Beehive (1867) depicts the hive as a hierarchically organised society, in which everyone perfectly fulfils an allotted role.
English poet, painter, printmaker and mystic, active in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
The bohemian myth – the idea of the artist as a different sort of person from his fellow human beings – is founded on the idea of the Artist as Genius developed by the Romantic movement in the wake of the industrial and French revolutions. The romantic genius is the artist against society. He or she embodies dissidence, opposition, criticism of the status quo; these may be expressed politically, aesthetically or in the artist’s behaviour and lifestyle. Components of the myth are transgression, excess, sexual outrage, eccentric behaviour, outrageous appearance, nostalgia and poverty – although wealth could contribute to the legend provided the bohemian treated it with contempt, flinging money around instead of investing it with bourgeois caution. The raw material for this identity was provided by the many creative individuals who lived out the role, but this in itself did not suffice for the creation of a myth. Bohemia as a recognized concept – a way of life encompassing certain forms of behaviour and a particular set of attitudes towards the practice of art – came into existence only when writers began to describe it and artists to depict it. From the start this was a myth created in literature and art, often when these artists fixed their own transient circumstances as permanent or archetypal examples of how an artist ought to live. Bohemia, therefore, could never be separated from its literary and visual representation.
—Elizabeth Wilson Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts (2000)
[see Consciousness-Raising, Feminism, Our Bodies Ourselves, Women’s Liberation]
The Boston Women's Health Book Collective began in 1969, when a small group of women gathered after a workshop on women and their bodies at a Boston-area female liberation conference, to talk about some crucial health issues and to confront a medical establishment that they viewed as paternalistic and condescending. They are best known for their handbook Our Bodies, Ourselves (1971), which continues to be updated and adapted around the world today.
[see Dictionary of Received Ideas]
An unfinished novel by Gustave Flaubert, first published in 1881 after his death.
Held in the West London suburb of Wembley in 1924, the purpose of the British Empire Exhibition was to educate the general public about Britain’s trading relationships with its colonies. The pavilions were filled with theatrically displayed commodities produced by the countries Britain ruled over. One of the most elaborate examples was a life-sized refrigerated statue of the Prince of Wales riding a horse, carved in butter, which occupied the Canada pavilion. At that time butter was one of Canada’s main exports to the UK.
The Burton Pynsent Monument in Somerset, UK, was commissioned by William Pitt, an eighteenth-century British Prime Minister, in memory of an unpleasant aristocrat. Pynsent bequeathed Pitt his entire estate as thanks for opposing a ten-shilling tax on a hogshead of cider. The monument was designed by Capability Brown and built in 1767.
Palestinian medical doctor based in Jerusalem, who is better known as an ethnographer and anthropologist. Canaan studied the folk beliefs of Palestine, in the decades before the 1948 Nakba, and amassed a collection of Palestinian amulets, which today is held at Birzeit University, Palestine.
One of London’s two financial centres, Canary Wharf is situated in an area of the city formerly called the West India Docks. This series of three docks, the first of which opened in 1802, was built by slave-owning merchants with plantations in the West Indies in order to transport cargo to Britain. West India Docks was once part of one of the busiest ports in the world, which closed in 1980.
Aristotle tells us that the high-pitched voice of the female is one evidence of her evil disposition, for creatures who are brave or just (like lions, bulls, roosters and the human male) have large deep voices... High vocal pitch goes together with talkativeness to characterize a person who is deviant from or deficient in the masculine ideal of self-control. Women, catamites, eunuchs and androgynes fall into this category. Their sounds are bad to hear and make men uncomfortable... Putting a door on the female mouth has been an important project of patriarchal culture from antiquity to the present day. Its chief tactic is an ideological association of female sound with monstrosity, disorder and death.
—Ann Carson, ‘The Gender of Sound’, in Glass, Irony and God (1995)
[see Encyclopaedia, Index]
The word first appeared in English in the early fifteenth century and derives from Old French, meaning to list or index. Today to catalogue can mean to recount something at length, to reckon up, or, more commonly, to make an inventory of individual items, described and placed in a specific order.
[see Krazy Kat, World Turned Upside Down]
A sub-genre of the World Turned Upside Down theme, related to Mice Burying the Cat.
A game played with string, popular with children around the world.
[see Suffrage Atelier, Urania]
An artist, suffragist and occultist best known for illustrating the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Many of the androgynous figures that Colman Smith drew for the cards are modelled on friends and lovers in the women's suffrage movement. She often reversed gender roles: theatre director and suffragist Edith Craig, for example, appears as The Magician and the King of Pentacles, while Craig’s mother, the famous actress Ellen Terry, represents the more traditional female roles of the Queen of Wands and the Nine of Pentacles. The naked woman that appears on the card titled The World is based on actress and director Florence Farr, who was also a leader of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Colman Smith became a member of the Isis-Urania Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1901. She was also part of the Suffrage Atelier.
[see British Empire Exhibition]
During the time of the colonies we were given the rose-coloured view. Of course the colonist worked hard. Persecuted in his own country before setting forth, he had gone to settle down in a place to which he had been led by the Almighty. There he intended to cultivate the land, to grow and blossom, and there to multiply. However, to this end ‘he had to defend himself against aggressors, rebels and other such swine’. How great was his glory! How meritorious it was to suffer in order to be a conqueror! Today the tune has changed. A guilty conscience has taken over… History is called upon to judge, in turn, the terrible misdeeds of the slave trade, the tragic toll of forced labour and God knows what else besides! Drawing up a final balance of French, Dutch and British presence, one cannot find a single orange that was not defiled, a single apple that was not rotten. Thus with unsurpassed intransigence and as the final prerogative of pride, the European historical memory has retained for itself one last privilege: that of painting its own misdeeds in dark colours and evaluating them on its own terms. However, this audacity raises some questions. For instance, when the anti-colonialist tradition claims that no rickshaw was shown at the Exhibition of 1931 ‘thanks to’ the action of the League of the Rights of Man, one wonders. A few years earlier, at the Marseille Fair, had not the Annamese vowed not to play the role of coolies and that, if forced to do so, they would set fire to the Exhibition Park? The histories of colonization have traditionally been told from the different points of view prevailing in the mother country. As Franz Fanon puts it, ‘because colonization is the extension of this mother country, the history which the colonist writes is not that of the despoiled country, but the history of its own nation.’
—Marc Ferro, Colonization: A Global History (1994)
[see Commons Enclosure, Self-Defence, Margaret Thatcher, Women’s Liberation]
Individuals’ political imaginations are shaped by what they know about the movements and ideas of the past. Those who take part in social movements are usually highly reflexive actors, consciously seeking to make a difference to the world and with a strong sense of their place in history. The collective memory practices of a movement – the creation of a shared understanding of the past – are a central part of its activities. They both build collective identity, and act as a form of cultural and political intervention against the hegemonic history of the powerful… At Greenham Common women performed the making of these connections in songs and the enactment of dress – the wearing of witches’ hats and black coats during actions; the use of suffragette colours (purple, green and white) in ribbons on badges and in their choice of clothes.
—Sasha Roseneil, Common Women, Uncommon Practices – The Queer Feminisms of Greenham (2000)
Between 1981 and 2000, women continuously occupied common land at Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, outside the gates of an American nuclear missile base in Berkshire, England, in protest against the fact that nuclear weapons were held there. The camp residents had to deal with harassment from both the military stationed at the base and the police – who practised techniques of control and dispersal on them that they later used during the British miners’ strike of 1984–85. According to sociologist Sasha Roseneil, non-violence was the main political principle at Greenham, ‘to be consciously chosen and actively pursued, which challenged the widespread legitimacy and the use of force and violence in society.’ At Greenham Common women were modelling the kind of society that they wanted to live in, in contrast to the military on the other side of the fence, which they perceived as being part of patriarchal structures of power.
There was no coercion, we are assured. True, when the big landowner or landowners to whom four-fifths of the land of a village belonged wanted to enclose, the wishes of the majority of small men who occupied the remaining twenty per cent could be disregarded. True, Parliament took no interest in the details of an enclosure bill, referring them to be worked out by its promoters, who distributed the land as they thought best. But the poorest cottager was always free to oppose a Parliamentary enclosure bill. All he had to do was to learn to read, hire an expensive lawyer, spend a few weeks in London and be prepared to face the wrath of the powerful men in his village. If he left his home after enclosure, this was entirely voluntary: though the loss of his rights to graze cattle on the common, to pick up fuel there, the cost of fencing his own little allotment if he got one, his lack of capital to buy the fertilizers necessary to profit by enclosure, the fact that rents, in the Midlands at least, doubled in consequence of enclosure – all these might assist him in making his free decision. But coercion – oh dear no! Nothing so un-British as that. There was a job waiting for him, either as an agricultural labourer in his village or in a factory somewhere, if he could find out where to go and he and his family could trudge there.
—Christopher Hill, Reformation to Industrial Revolution (1967)
[see East London Federation of the Suffragettes]
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes…[M]odern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of some by others. In this sense, the theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
—Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848)
[see Art and Environment]
[T]he recurrent characteristics of the movement can be summarised as follows: it was positioned against the hierarchies of the international art world and its criteria of success founded upon quality, skill, virtuosity, etc., since these conceal class interests; it advocated participation and co-authorship of works of art; it aimed to give shape to the creativity of all sectors of society, but especially to people living in areas of social, cultural and financial deprivation; for some, it was also a powerful medium for social and political change, providing the blueprint for a participatory democracy… In the UK, the first community arts groups were formed in the late 1960s: professional artists took equal roles alongside members of the community in the collaborative production of a politicised artistic project: murals, street theatre, festivals, film and video collectives, etc. For many organisations, the collectivist ethos extended into squatting, communes and a self-sufficient lifestyle...
—Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (2012)
For more information, see Su Braden, Artists and People (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), and Owen Kelly, Community, Art and the State: Storming the Citadels (London: Comedia, 1984).
[see Women’s Liberation]
Since 1967, consciousness-raising has become one of the prime educational, organizing programs of the women’s liberation movement... an ongoing and continuing source of theory and ideas for action... The only ‘methods’ of consciousness-raising are essentially principles. They are the basic radical political principles of going to the original sources, both historic and personal, going to the people – women themselves, and going to experience for theory and strategy.
—Kathie Sarachild, at the First National Conference of Stewardesses for Women’s Rights in New York City (12 March 1973)
This approach is summed up by the feminist slogan ‘the personal is political’, which is usually credited to Carol Hanisch, as it was the title of an article she published in Notes from the Second Year: Women’s Liberation, edited by Shulamith Firestone and Anne Koedt (Radical Feminism, 1970). For a detailed account of consciousness-raising within the Women’s Liberation movement see Sarachild’s essay ‘Program for Feminist Consciousness-Raising’, in the same volume. She notes how she and other female activists had originally learnt the practice through involvement in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s.
[Co-operative Movement, see Commonweal, Kibbo Kift, Robert Owen]
Image: fabric banner, displayed at New Lanark, Scotland.
I genuinely believe that the UK is not remotely a corrupt country, nor do I believe that our institutions are corrupt.
—former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (2021)
In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing. Projecting an absolute ignorance onto others, a characteristic of the ideology of oppression, negates education and knowledge as processes of inquiry.
—Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968)
[see Political Satire]
Nineteenth-century British caricaturist and political satirist.
[see Harmonialism, Summerland, Modern Spiritualism]
Nineteenth-century American mystic known as the ‘Poughkeepsie Seer’. Author of A Stellar Key to the Summerland (1868).
[see Austerity, Banking]
[see Fogelstad Women’s Citizenship School]
Swedish artist. Derkert attended the Fogelstad Women’s Citizenship School in 1943. The members of the Fogelstad Group – which founded the school – are represented on the walls of Östermalm underground station in central Stockholm, alongside other feminist pioneers, in a public artwork by Derkert from 1965.
[see Bouvard et Pécuchet, Encyclopaedia]
A satirical encyclopaedia of common platitudes in use during the Second French Empire, collated by Gustave Flaubert in the 1870s. The original title is Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues, which is usually translated in English as the Dictionary of Received Ideas or Dictionary of Accepted Ideas. Serves as appendix to Flaubert’s unfinished novel Bouvard et Pécuchet.
[see Commonweal, World Turned Upside Down]
A seventeenth-century English Nonconformist Protestant sect, led by Gerrard Winstanley, who cultivated common land and practised communalism. For more information see Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radial Ideas During the English Revolution (1972); and Winstanley (1975), a film by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo.
Usually done with a spade or shovel.
[see Dreams, Prophecies]
Newspaper clipping from the Financial Times, May 2010.
[DIY, see Quilts, Recipes]
[see Divine Portents, Prophecies]
[see Ectoplasm, Witchcraft]
A Scottish materialisation medium and notorious as the last women in Britain to be tried under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. She was imprisoned in 1944 for holding a séance in Portsmouth.
[see Helen Duncan, Modern Spiritualism]
Sometimes this is of greyish-white colour, sometimes of a dead whiteness, sometimes slightly luminous, becoming more so as it appears to condense, till it sheds a faint radiance on surrounding objects. To the touch it at first appears of a light fleecy character, resembling combed, finely drawn cotton wool, but quickly, even under the fingers, it seems to assume the character of a textile fabric.
[O]rganic matter already familiar to cell biologists as the complement of endoplasm, but appropriated to the language and culture of Spiritualism and psychical research…Its physical properties were those of gases, liquids or solids, depending on how spiritual intelligence directed it; but, Spiritualists and scientists never agreed quite what it was, or what it was not in composition. Undoubtedly there was something seminal and ovarian about it. Sitters were sometimes advised to uncross their legs so as not the impede the imperceptible flow of reproductive matter joining the stream emanating from the medium’s body, usually from some orifice: the mouth, nose, ear, navel or genitals – an act which might produce the signs of orgasm or labour in the medium. Some believed that ectoplasm picked up dust and fibres in the séance room, either by accident or to increase its substance. But the type or quality varied depending on the medium…Victorian bloomers could conceal several metres of tightly packed diaphanous cloth; but there were some places which were closed to investigation even in the name of science.
—Malcolm Gaskill, Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches (2001)
[see Suffragette Movement]
The original lodge was established by friends of the celebrated suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, shortly after her death in 1913, in order to ‘perpetuate the memory of a gallant woman by gathering together women of progressive thought and aspiration, with the purpose of working for the progress of women according to the needs of the hour.’
[see The Enlightenment, Google]
This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought – our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography – breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camel hair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that.
—Michel Foucault, The Order of Things – An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1966)
An encyclopaedia is a compendium of knowledge, usually divided into entries arranged in alphabetical order. In eighteenth-century France, many of the philosophers of the French Enlightenment came together to categorise ‘all’ the knowledge of the world in their Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. They included Diderot – who was also one of its editors – Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu.
We class the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries as ‘the Renaissance’ even though, as social psychologist Carol Tavris points out in her 1991 book The Mismeasure of Women, it wasn’t a renaissance for women, who were still largely excluded from intellectual and artistic life. We call the eighteenth century ‘the Enlightenment’, even though, while it may have expanded ‘the rights of man’, it ‘narrowed the rights of women, who were denied control of their property and earnings and barred from higher education and professional training’.
—Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women: Exposing Date Bias in a World Designed for Men (2020)
The Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or the Age of Enlightenment) was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Enlightenment values included the right to human happiness, the pursuit of knowledge obtained by means of reason and separation of church and state. However, despite the importance of ideals such as liberty, progress and tolerance to the Age of Enlightenment, this era also saw European colonial expansion around the world.
Since the time of Aesop stories about animals had been used to illustrate various human virtues and vices, and this tradition was continued in the 1st century A.D. by Seneca in his Quaestiones Naturales, and by later Greek works, culminating in the 2nd century with a work of Alexandrian origin known as the Physiologus, which was the model for all the medieval moralising bestiaries. In these works facts of natural history collected from Pliny were mixed with entirely mythical legends to illustrate some point of Christian teaching. The phoenix was the symbol of the risen Christ. The ant-lion, born of the lion and the ant, had two natures and so was unable to eat either meat or seeds and perished miserably like the man who tried to follow God and the Devil.
—A.C. Crombie, Augustine to Galileo, The History of Science A.D. 400-1650 (1952)
[see Henry Ford]
[U]ntil recently Fahlström was considered a minor player in the drama of pop art. He was perceived by the champions of pop as, at best, somewhat naïve, and, at worst, a mere throwback to surrealism or agitprop. Why? Well, because he allowed the ‘political’ to enter his work, because he was interested in issues of narrative, and because his work was compositionally ‘busy.’ His deviation from pop standards was explained away by the fact that he was European. In America the battle lines were drawn: any hints of the old abstract expressionism, and its distant father, surrealism, would be excised from the serious artwork. Psychoanalytic references were taboo, and social concerns were something quaintly old-fashioned, antiquated matters that concerned Grandpa in the 1930s… Fahlström’s use of the comic book is not an exercise in high/low displacements (as in Lichtenstein, for example); instead, he plays with temporality and narrative. For Fahlström the comic strip was a narrative form situated halfway between the novel and the film, and he was interested in it for this reason, not because it represented kitsch in general. Comic books offered a potentially rich pictorial source reflecting contemporary mythologies, values, and belief systems in clear visual tropes comprehensible to the culture at large.
—Mike Kelley, ‘Myth Science’, in Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism (2003)
[see Consciousness-Raising, Suffragette Movement, Women’s Liberation]
Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.
—bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984)
[see Siri Derkert, Alexandra Kollontai]
The Fogelstad Women’s Citizenship School (Kvinnliga medborgarskolan vid Fogelstad) was a radical educational experiment established in Sweden after women gained the right to vote in 1921. The school was self-organised by a group of women, including Honorine Hermelin, Kerstin Hesselgren, Ada Nilsson, Elisabeth Tamm and Elin Wägner, many of whom had fought for female suffrage, and was active from 1925 until 1954. The courses offered aimed to educate women to participate in politics and inhabit their new roles as voting citizens. Alongside lectures by invited speakers on history, democracy and sexual health, the school’s pedagogical methods foregrounded embodied knowledge and collective experience through role play, singing and eurythmics.
[Fordism, see Post-Fordism]
American industrialist who invented the factory assembly line. The first mass-produced car was the Ford Model T. His name is synonymous with Fordism, a manufacturing system that couples higher wages for workers to the mass-production of standardised goods, so that the product is affordable to the workers who make them.
[see Communes, Feminism, Utopia]
French nineteenth-century utopian socialist. His ideas inspired a whole movement of intentional communities, many of them in the United States, including Utopia, founded by Josiah Warren in Ohio. He is credited with inventing the word feminism in 1837.
[see Modern Spiritualism]
Nineteenth-century mediums, who founded the Modern Spiritualist Movement in 1848 with the so-called Hydesville Rappings in New York State. The two sisters claimed to have established intelligent communication with a ghost – an incident that quickly attracted enough press attention for them to set themselves up in the nearest big city as professional seers. From the very beginning, Modern Spiritualism, as the movement became known, was intertwined with radical causes, from Utopian Socialism to feminism and the abolition of slavery.
[see Modern Spiritualism, New Age, Victoria Claflin Woodhull]
The term ‘free love’ was coined by John Humphrey Noyes who founded a Utopian community called Oneida in 1848, in New York. The free love movement viewed marriage as slavery for women, proposing that relationships should entered into freely and be based on ‘affinities’, which might change over time.
[see Margaret Thatcher]
The regalia used in the Freemasons’ elaborate rituals are modelled on the working tools of the craft of stone masonry. Their secret ceremonies are alleged to be akin to allegorical morality plays, which revolve around the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon and its chief architect, Hiram Abiff. Though they claim that theirs is an ancient order and deliberately shroud their origins in mystery, masonic practices actually ritualise the working conditions and hierarchies found in the apprenticeship system in early modern Europe.
[see Anchor Stone Blocks]
Nineteenth-century German pedagogue and educational reformer. Inventor of the Kindergarten and a series of educational toys known as ‘gifts’.
The Game of the Goose is the first recorded game in Europe played with dice, in which pieces representing the players race around a board. Reports exist of it being enjoyed by Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, as early as the sixteenth-century.
A fictional businessman and main character in Oliver Stone’s film Wall Street (1987).
A lizard. A genus of southeast Asian geckos belonging to the infraorder Gekkota.
I am drawn to peoples in revolt. And this is very natural for me, because I myself have the need to call the whole of society into question.
—Jean Genet, in an interview about Un Captif Amoureux, published in 1986.
[see Encyclopaedia, New Games, Silicon Valley]
The corporate mission statement of Google is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ But what of those many areas of knowledge which fall outside of their definition of information?
[see Constance Markievicz, Esther Roper, Urania]
Campaigner for women’s suffrage, trade unionist and pacifist. She established the magazine Urania in 1915, with her romantic partner Esther Roper, as well as Thomas Baty (whose pen name was Irene Clyde). Sister of Constance Markievicz.
An English poet and author, best known for the lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, first published in 1928.
[see Andrew Jackson Davis]
A philosophy developed by American mystic Andrew Jackson Davis in the nineteenth-century.
[see Animal Kingdom]
Ruler of Animal Kingdom. His titles include: The Most Excellent, Captain of the Night Guard, The Epitome of True Nobility, Knower of Some Things, Chevalier de Croissant, Prince of Lower Saxon Sausage, Elect of the Gods, and Supreme Leader of the Church of Animal Kingdom. He is also known as the Duke of Horse Shit when at his summer residence in the Borgon region of Per, and Majesty Protector of No One when he is in the Upper Lands.
[see Commonweal, Kibbo Kift]
An outlaw popular in English folk law. He is known for robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.
[see Catalogue, Encyclopaedia]
Middle English, originally referring to the ‘index finger’ with which one points. In the late sixteenth century it came to mean ‘pointer’, and figuratively something that serves to point to a fact or conclusion, hence a list of topics in a book ‘pointing’ to their location.
[see Milton Keynes]
A British economist. He was also part of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals, a patron of the arts and an art collector. Keynes was founding chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1946. He was married to Lydia Lopokova, a Russian ballerina, although his early romantic and sexual relations had been exclusively with men, including the painter Duncan Grant.
[see Arts and Crafts, Cooperation, Life Reform, Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, Social Credit]
The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift were a fringe British youth movement active between 1920 and 1951. Inspired by the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton, as well as the life reform and Arts and Crafts movements, the Kibbo Kift were opposed to the ‘useless toil’ of the factory, adopting William Morris’s ideal of a return to a pre-industrial golden age. Originally part of the Boy Scouts, the Kibbo Kift split off in order to establish a more democratic organisation along with veterans of the Co-operative Movement and the campaign for women’s suffrage. Relations between adults and children, men and women were to be equal in this new educational movement, which advocated such causes as clothes reform, pacifism, vegetarianism, environmentalism, nudism, theosophy and the democratisation of the arts. However, as camping was elevated to a ritualised spiritual activity, the charismatic leadership style of artist John Hargrave led to a further split with the Co-operators. The Kibbo Kift were later radicalised in response to the economic crisis of 1931 and became a uniformed group, promoting a monetary reform system called Social Credit.
[see Communism, Feminism, Fogelstad Women’s Citizenship School]
Russian revolutionary and key figure in Marxist feminism. Kollontai was People’s Commissar for Welfare in Vladimir Lenin’s government in 1917–18, but during the Stalin era became a de facto exile from Russia, occupying various diplomatic roles abroad. She was appointed Soviet ambassador to Sweden in 1943.
[see Cat’s Castle Besieged by Rats]
A serial newspaper comic strip by George Herriman, which first appeared in 1913 in the New York Evening Journal.
[see Women’s Liberation]
A phrase coined in 1969 by American feminist Betty Friedan, who claimed that outspoken lesbians were a threat to Women’s Liberation and that stereotypes of ‘mannish’ and ‘man-hating’ lesbians would provide an easy way to dismiss the movement. Friedan was famous in the USA as the author of The Feminine Mystique (1963) and a leader of the National Organization for Women (NOW). In response to their homophobic exclusion from the American feminist movement, lesbian members of NOW, who were also involved in the Gay Liberation Front, resigned and started a group called the Lavender Menace.
[see Kibbo Kift]
A serial newspaper comic strip by Winsor McCay, which first appeared in the New York Herald in 1905. In each episode the eponymous hero takes a trip to Slumberland, where despite the fantastical setting, he finds the capitalist system impinging on his dreams.
[see Eva Gore-Booth, People's Army]
Constance Markievicz (née Gore-Booth) was an Irish republican and the first woman to be elected to the British parliament in the general election of 1918, on behalf of Sinn Féin – although she did not take her seat, in line with the party’s abstentionist stance. She was a founder member of the Irish Citizen Army, took part in the Easter Rising in 1916, and held a cabinet position as Minister for Labour from 1919 until 1922, in the newly formed Republic of Ireland. In her earlier life, Markievicz had trained as a painter at the Slade School of Art in London and it was there that she became active in politics, joining the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. She was the sister of Eva Gore-Booth.
[see Dreams, Surrealism]
A strange marriage of the social sciences with surrealism. It was founded in England in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, poet and communist Charles Madge, and documentary film-maker Humphrey Jennings, who was also the British representative of the Surrealist movement. Together with Kathleen Raine and others they created a network of radical amateur anthropologists all over the UK. In their diaries, day surveys and directive replies, these ‘respondents’ documented areas as varied as the importance of coincidence as a way of ordering experience, dreams, religious beliefs and superstitions, popular culture, working conditions, as well as attitudes to democracy and education, in order to create a ‘poetics of the everyday’.
Unique one-off artwork produced by an individual artist ‘genius’ and generally sold at a high price to a member of society’s elite. A novel written by Émile Zola (first published in 1886) originally titled L’Oeuvre, usually translated into English as The Masterpiece. It is a Bildungsroman about a painter named Claude Lantier, who leaves his countryside home in order to seek his fortune in the bohemian world of Paris. Forming part of Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, L’Oeuvre was based on his childhood friend Claude Cézanne, who after the book’s publication never spoke to him again.
A weekly journal devoted to the history, phenomena, philosophy and teachings of Spiritualism. It was founded in 1869 by James Burns and published in the UK until his death in 1895.
[see Art and Environment, John Maynard Keynes, New Towns]
Milton Keynes is the largest of a wave of new towns built in Britain in the decades after World War II, influenced by the early twentieth-century garden city movement. It was planned in the 1960s to relieve London’s urban overcrowding and is characterised by modernist architecture and roadways constructed on a grid pattern. The Open University is based in Milton Keynes.
[see Ectoplasm, Kate & Maggie Fox, Summerland, Victoria Claflin Woodhull]
The Modern Spiritualist movement is a religion that originated in New York in 1848 with the ‘Hydesville rappings’ and spread to the UK shortly afterwards. It was initially popular in northern British industrial towns among working-class communities, where it became associated with a variety of progressive causes, including the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and the Co-operative Movement. Modern Spiritualism is based on the belief in the continued existence of the human soul and their services usually include a demonstration of spirit communication by a medium, the aim of which is to provide empirical proof of life after death. The first British Spiritualist churches were organised as a network of Lyceums, where working people could meet and communicate directly with the spirits of philosophers and political thinkers, including Emanuel Swedenborg and Thomas Paine.
[See British Broadcasting Corporation, Ken Russell]
Monitor was the first arts programme to be broadcast on the BBC in the 1950s and 1960s. Under the auspices of producer Huw Wheldon, the Monitor series comprised documentaries about cultural subjects.
[See Free Market, Games]
The exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service. A board game derived from The Landlord’s Game, which was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904, with the aim of demonstrating the injustice of the housing system.
[see Dreams, Surrealism]
British surrealist painter and official war artist during both World War I and II.
[see Communes, Free Love]
[see Games, Google, Silicon Valley]
The first New Games tournament took place in California in 1973. Around 6,000 people came together in a valley outside San Francisco to play new games that, unlike traditional sports, promoted cooperation rather than competition, along with intense physical interaction between players. The New Games Foundation was initially the inspiration of counterculture tech pioneer Stewart Brand, along with Esalen Institute head George Leonard, and was subsequently led by community organiser Pat Farrington, among others. Its roots were in two movements from the 1960s – the anti-Vietnam-War movement, and the Human Potential movement. Many of the games repurposed military equipment, such as parachutes, and a type of rubber push-ball used in army boot-camp training, which was painted with the continents and oceans and renamed the Earth Ball. Stewart Brand is better known as the instigator of the Whole Earth Catalog, a DIY consumer directory that provided the ‘access to tools’ needed for a countercultural lifestyle, emphasising self-sufficiency, alternative education and ecology. In his famous Stanford commencement address of 2005, Apple founder Steve Jobs compared the Whole Earth Catalog to an Internet search engine.
[see Milton Keynes]
In the decades after World War II, many new towns were planned and built in Britain as a means of relocating urban populations away from poor quality or bombed housing. The largest of these is Milton Keynes.
[see Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Consciousness-Raising, Feminism, Women’s Liberation]
The history of this book is lengthy and satisfying. It began in 1969 in a small discussion group called ‘Women and Their Bodies’ at a Boston Women’s Conference. For many of us, talking to women in this way was a totally new experience and we decided to go on meeting as a group to continue the discussion. We had all experienced frustration and anger towards specific doctors and the medical maze in general, and initially we wanted to do something about this. As we talked we began to realize how little we knew about our own bodies, so we decided to do further research, to prepare papers in groups and then to discuss our findings together. We learned both from professional sources (medical textbooks, journals, doctors, nurses) and from our own experience… The results of our findings were used to present courses for other women. We would meet in any available free space, in schools, nurseries, church halls, in our own homes. As we taught, we learned from other women, and as they learned, they went on to give courses to others… After teaching the first course we decided to duplicate our papers for other women to use. This led to the first inexpensive edition of the book, which was published by the New England Free Press.
—Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves, quoted in the first British edition (1978)
[see Cooperation, Communes, Harmonialism, Modern Spiritualism, Utopia]
Utopian socialist credited with being one of the founders of the Co-operative Movement. Robert Owen was a cotton-mill owner from Wales, who made his wealth in the first wave of the industrial revolution. Observing the misery of wage slavery that followed that momentous period of technological development, he began to experiment with cooperative ideas at his cotton factory in New Lanark, Scotland. There he established a model community, where many of the ideas that later underpinned the British welfare state were first tried out. Owen introduced a cooperative shop, advocated shorter working days, sick pay, childcare and a progressive education for his worker’s children, based on the rational theories of Swiss educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. He later established a utopian community in the US, in 1825, called The New Harmony Community of Equals. Before his death in 1858, Owen converted to the Modern Spiritualist Movement and declared ‘socialism until united with spiritualism: a body without a soul.’
[see East London Federation of the Suffragettes, Suffragette Movement, Communism]
Socialist feminist activist, best known for her involvement with the campaign to win votes for women in the UK, alongside her mother and sisters, via the establishment of the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) in 1903. Less celebrated, however, is that Pankhurst was also an artist, who trained at the Manchester School of Art and then the Royal College of Art in London. She went on the found the East London Federation of the Suffragettes, a democratic organisation that changed its name in 1918 to the Worker’s Socialist Federation, becoming the first communist party in Britain, and participated in the Third International. She later campaigned for anti-fascist and anti-colonial causes, particularly Ethiopian independence, following Mussolini’s invasion of that country in 1935. She died in Ethiopia in 1960, having moved there towards the end of her life at the invitation of Haile Selassie.
[see East London Federation of the Suffragettes, Constance Markievicz, Sylvia Pankhurst]
A self-defence group established by the East London Federation of the Suffragettes (ELFS), in order to protect themselves from police violence and assaults by hostile members of the public at protests and outdoor political meetings.
I saw that the police now shrank from attacking us in the East End; I wanted that shrinking accentuated... I had urged the people to take sticks to parry police truncheons, I was now prepared to rise to the circumstances and phraseology of the time by calling for the formation of a ‘People’s Army; an organization men and women may join in order to fight for freedom. And in order that they may fit themselves to cope with the brutality of Government servants.’ The term ‘Army’ was in our case rhetorical rather than militarist.
—Sylvia Pankhurst, The Suffragette Movement: An Intimate Account of Persons and Ideals (1931)
[see Kibbo Kift, Suffragette Movement]
Political activist and a leader of the early twentieth-century British militant campaign for women’s suffrage. Along with the Pankhurst family, she ran the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), advocating votes for women until her expulsion in 1912. She founded the Espérance Club for girls with Mary Neil – who was also a member of the WSPU – and a dress-making cooperative called Maison Espérance. Both Pethick-Lawrence and Neil later joined the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a British youth movement existing between 1920 and 1951. In their early phase, the Kibbo Kift encompassed a range of emancipatory ideas, including a belief in the importance of ‘play’ for adults and children alike, equality between the sexes, folk revivalism, pacifism, theosophy, vegetarianism and the democratisation of the arts.
[see Dreams, Divine Portents, Prophecies]
Written by the evangelical preacher John Bunyan in 1678, The Pilgrim’s Progress is delivered in the similitude of a dream. In the text, the eponymous pilgrim progresses through an allegorical landscape on his journey to heaven. En route he undergoes many trials, starting by falling into the Slough of Despond, and being persuaded off the Straight and Narrow Way by characters such as Mr. Worldly Wiseman.
[see George Cruikshank]
[see Henry Ford]
A cheap and primitive form of communication which persists in the modern world, despite predating the telephone, email and social media.
[see Helen Duncan]
A British psychical researcher best known for his investigation of the haunted house Borley Rectory, in Essex, England. Price was a member of The Society for Psychical Research and later established his own rival organisation, the National Laboratory of Psychical Research in 1926. In 1931 he paid the medium Helen Duncan £50 to examine her under scientific conditions. Today, his books are housed in The Harry Price Library of Magical Literature at University College London.
In Europe the invention of the printing press is credited to Johannes Gutenberg around 1440. His movable type made it possible for all words to be constructed from a small a set of letters and that – combined with his other inventions, such as the wooden screw press – allowed for the mass production of books. In China a movable type printing press was invented by Bi Sheng around 1040, using porcelain pieces, and then in Korea around 1377, during the Goryeo dynasty, using metal pieces. Prior to the printing press, books were laboriously copied by hand and were owned exclusively by the rich.
[see Dreams, Divine Portents]
[see Abolitionism, Temperance, Quilts]
Known officially as the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers were founded in seventeenth-century England by George Fox following the English civil war, as a dissenting Protestant group which broke with the established Church of England. Quakers repudiated the elaborate rituals and hierarchies of the traditional church, believing that an individual can have a direct relation with God, without the need for clergy. There are also Nontheist Quakers, whose spiritual practice does not rely on the existence of God. Quakers practise pacifism and believe in spiritual equality for men and women. They have been associated with many social justice issues, including women’s rights movements, the abolition of slavery and prison reform.
[see Do It Yourself]
Patchwork and quilting are distinct crafts, although the two skills are so often used in combination that their separate nature can be forgotten. Patchwork is specifically the sewing together of small patches of different fabrics to create a multicoloured design. Quilting is the sandwiching of a piece of wadding between two pieces of fabric, the three layers then being held together with often decorative stitching… In both Britain and America, the ‘golden age’ of patchwork and quilting came between the late 18th and late 19th centuries. After this, industrialization began to take its toll, and by the mid-20th century ready-made clothes and bed linen were the norm. However, a revival did begin in the late 20th century, when, in America in particular, quilts and patchwork began to be recognized as important artefacts of women’s history.
—Una McGovern, Lost Crafts: Rediscovering Traditional Skills (2008)
A word with theological and spiritual connotations – from Latin regenerare ‘make over, generate again’ – which today is more commonly used to describe city development and has become a synonym for gentrification.
[see Cooperation, Kibbo Kift]
Title of a book written by Leslie Paul in 1938. He founded a left-wing British youth movement called the Woodcraft Folk with fellow members of the Co-operative Movement, following a split from the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift. His ideas about children were partly drawn from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book Emile, or On Education (1762).
No revolution can ever succeed as a factor of liberation unless the MEANS used to further it be identical in spirit and tendency with the PURPOSES to be achieved.
—Emma Goldman, in her essay ‘My Further Disillusionment in Russia’ (1924)
A militant suffragette famous for slashing Velázquez’s painting of Venus in the National Gallery, London, in 1914, in protest against the imprisonment of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and the torture and forced feeding of suffragettes in British prisons. She later joined the British Union of Fascists.
[see The Enlightenment, Revolution]
When and where did this cultural movement originate?... For much of the eighteenth century European cultural life had been dominated by an ideal of Enlightenment… But in the second half of the century it was increasingly realized that it denied huge areas of human experience. Like a great tide on the turn, the focus of philosophical enquiry began to change from the objective to the subjective, and a new generation began to explore the potential of emotion and instinct… Romanticism emphasized individual experience, feeling and expression… Romanticism was born in opposition and sorrow, in social or national crisis and in individual trauma. Often associated with the revolutionary spirit of the time, it was really the consequence of its failure – a compensating revolution in hearts and minds, an alternative empire of the imagination. Its adherents were as often conservative or even reactionary as they were radical or liberal.
—David Blayney Brown, Romanticism (2001)
[see Eva Gore-Booth, Urania]
Campaigner for women’s suffrage, trade unionist and pacifist. She established the magazine Urania in 1915, with her romantic partner Eva Gore-Booth, as well as Thomas Baty (whose pen name was Irene Clyde).
Film director Ken Russell gained a reputation in the 1960s for the experimental documentaries and biopics about artists that he made for the BBC’s arts programme Monitor, but over the years he moved into making feature films in a variety of styles and genres, including science-fiction and musicals. Several of his works were considered controversial in their time, including The Devils (1971) and Women in Love (1969). Russell was often described by the media as the enfant terrible of British cinema.
[see Arts and Crafts, Colonialism, Communism, Feminism, New Age, Urania]
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
—George Orwell, in The Road to Wigan Pier (1936)
Introduced to Britain by Edward Carpenter, the nineteenth-century political radical and advocate of sexual freedom, after he was sent a pair by a friend in India. Carpenter was an admirer of Eastern mysticism and began making his own sandals at his house at Millthorpe, outside Sheffield, where he lived with his lover George Merrill, whom he referred to as his ‘Uranian comrade’. Carpenter was a member of the Socialist League, along with William Morris and Eleanor Marx, and a feminist. He campaigned against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and was also a vegetarian and pacifist, opposing the Anglo-Boer war – a brutal imperialist escapade in what is now South Africa. In his 1908 book The Intermediate Sex, he refuted the gender binary and outlined his view that homosexuals were actually a third sex, which he called Uranians, or Urnings.
[Sapphism, see Urania]
Sappho of Lesbos was a lyric poet popular in ancient Greece, whose songs about her desire for women bequeathed us the adjectives ‘sapphic’ and ‘lesbian’.
[see Colonialism, Feminism, Revolution]
Early twentieth-century Egyptian feminist and nationalist. Sha’arawi advocated for Egyptian independence from Britain in the Egyptian Revolution of 1919.
[see Google, New Games]
A region in Northern California close to San Francisco, which serves as a global centre for the technology industry.
[see Feminism, Modern Spiritualism]
[see Banking, Kibbo Kift Kindred]
Social Credit was a monetary reform theory, developed by engineer C.H. Douglas in the early twentieth century, which outlined a plan for a universal basic income in order to free people from the necessity to work. In 1935, the introduction of a Social Credit government was voted for in Alberta, Canada, while in Britain the artist and former leader of the Kibbo Kift Kindred, John Hargrave, founded the Social Credit Party. They unsuccessfully fought for a seat in the British General Election of 1935 and again in 1950. Douglas has been accused of antisemitism, as he propagated theories about an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers within his critique of the financial system.
[see Pamela Colman Smith, Sylvia Pankhurst]
Artist and occultist who studied at the Royal College of Art, London, where he befriended fellow student Sylvia Pankhurst. Spare and Pankhurst kept in touch for the rest of their lives.
A medieval literary genre of self-help books for princes, providing instruction on correct conduct and manner of ruling. The best-known example is Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513).
The refusal to work or perform, usually undertaken to pressure an authority, such as an employer, into agreeing to a set of demands, such as improved labour conditions and wages. Other forms of strike can include hunger strike – a tactic often used by imprisoned suffragettes, in protest against the British government denying them the status of political prisoners – or rent strike, which involves the withholding of rent payments by tenants.
[see Arts and Crafts, Pamela Colman Smith]
A poster studio based in London that made visual propaganda for the early twentieth-century campaign for women’s suffrage in Britain. The Suffrage Atelier formed in 1909 and described itself as ‘An Arts and Crafts Society Working for the Enfranchisement of Women’. Unlike other organisations, such as The Artists Suffrage League, the Atelier was not limited to those who were professionally trained and gave a percentage of any profit to artists who submitted work. They also provided classes in design and print-making.
[see Feminism, Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, Suffrage Atelier, Sylvia Pankhurst, Theosophical Society, Urania]
Refers to the militant wing of the early twentieth-century British campaign for women’s suffrage, and in particular the activities of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), which existed between 1903 and 1917. The organisation was founded by the Pankhurst family and, unlike other women’s suffrage groups at that time, used militant tactics, including the destruction of private property. Along with the struggle for the vote, the WSPU advocated for the opening up of education and professions to women. Many suffragettes were critical of the institution of marriage due to the manner in which it enshrined the inequality between the sexes in law and were openly lesbian. They included the composer Ethel Smyth and Vera ‘Jack’ Holme – a frequent cross-dresser and chauffeur to Emmeline Pankhurst. For more information see Emily Hamer, Britannia’s Glory: A History of Twentieth Century Lesbians (1996). A large number of artists were also among the members of the WSPU, the most prominent being Sylvia Pankhurst.
[see Communism, People’s Army, Suffragette Movement, Sylvia Pankhurst]
A democratic organisation based in East London, whose original purpose was to campaign for votes for women. In 1918 they changed their name to the Workers’ Socialist Federation, becoming the first communist party in Britain, and participated in the Third International.
[also known as Kanno Sugako, see Feminism]
Among the many annoying things in the world, I think men are the most annoying… when I hear them carrying on interminably about female chastity I burst out laughing.
—Kanno Suga, in her essay ‘Rebuff’, published in 1906 and quoted in Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World (2016)
Japanese anarchist, feminist and journalist who was executed for treason by the Japanese government in 1911.
[see Colonialism, Andrew Jackson Davis, Kate & Maggie Fox, Modern Spiritualism]
A name given by Modern Spiritualists, Theosophists and Wiccans to the afterlife.
[see Dreams, Mass Observation, Paul Nash]
Surrealism was a cultural and artistic movement led by French poet André Breton after he published the Surrealist Manifesto in October 1924. It was politically aligned with communism and anarchism. Inspired by Freud’s work with free association, dream analysis and the unconscious, along with Marx’s dialectic, Surrealists intended to liberate imagination and free people from false rationality, restrictive customs and structures. The movement influenced the fields of poetry, painting, film, choreography and the social sciences, including anthropology. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire originally coined the term Surrealism in 1917.
[see Dreams, Enlightenment]
Eighteenth-century Swedish philosopher, scientist and mystic.
Image: the artist’s father presenting the Business Programme, for Channel 4, 1987.
[Teetotalism, see Modern Spiritualism, Quakers]
Abstinence from alcohol. The temperance movement campaigned against the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, maintaining links with Protestant Nonconformist churches.
[see Free Market]
She may be a woman but she ain’t no sister
—slogan used on badges during the British miners’ strike of 1984–85
Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s first female Prime Minister (from 1979 until 1990) but had no interest in women’s rights, publicly stating that she was not a feminist. A follower of neoliberal economist Milton Friedman, Thatcher launched a process of privatisation of Britain’s public services. She was famous for aphorisms such as ‘There is no alternative’ (TINA) and that mantra of individualism, ‘There’s no such thing as society’. In March 2020, 33 years later, Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared the era of individualism over – in a message released while self-isolating after contracting the Covid-19 virus. Surprised by the necessity for collective action because of the pandemic, he stated ‘there really is such a thing as society’.
[see Colonialism, Modern Spiritualism, New Age]
An offshoot of the Modern Spiritualist Movement, founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (known as Madame Blavatsky) in New York, in 1875. Following her death in 1891, the Theosophical Society was led by Annie Besant, a Fabian and socialist, who advocated women’s rights along with the anti-colonial causes of Irish and Indian independence from Britain. Besant became a Theosophist after meeting with Madame Blavatsky in Paris in 1889. Once she was appointed president of the Theosophical Society, Besant moved its headquarters to India, where it is still based today. There she ‘discovered’ Krishnamurti, who became her protégé.
[see Pamela Colman Smith, Sandals, Eva Gore-Booth, Esther Roper]
TO OUR FRIENDS
URANIA denotes the company of those who are firmly determined to ignore the dual organization of humanity in all its manifestations. They are convinced that this duality has resulted in the formation of two warped and imperfect types. They are further convinced that in order to get rid of this state of things no measures of ‘emancipation’ or ‘equality’ will suffice, which do not begin by a complete refusal to recognize or tolerate the duality itself. If the world is to see sweetness and independence combined in the same individual, all recognition of that duality must be given up. For it inevitably brings in its train the suggestion of the conventional distortions of character which are based on it. There are no ‘men’ or ‘women’ in Urania.
—Urania Magazine, published in Britain between 1915 and 1940.
A term first coined by Sir Thomas More in his book Utopia, a satirical work of fiction published in Latin in 1516. The book describes the religious, social and political customs of an island society in the south Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of South America.
Loss of voice owing to damage to the laryngeal nerve (sometimes following a virus). Voicelessness can also result from muscle tension dysphonia, the cause of which is often unclear. In some instances, it may be related to underlying stress and anxiety or a significant emotional event.
A pioneering American electronics engineer, whose ‘bohemian’ lifestyle earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of Silicon Valley.
[H]ow to account for the execution of hundreds of thousands of ‘witches’ at the beginning of the modern era, and how to explain why the rise of capitalism was coeval with a war against women. Feminist scholars have developed a framework that throws much light on this question. It is generally agreed that the witch-hunt aimed at destroying the control that women had exercised over their reproductive function and served to pave the way for the development of a more oppressive patriarchal regime. It is also argued that the witch-hunt was rooted in the social transformations that accompanied the rise of capitalism. But the specific historical circumstances under which the persecution of witches was unleashed, and the reasons why the rise of capitalism demanded a genocidal attack on women have not been investigated… the relation between the witch-hunt and the new sexual division of labour, confining women to reproductive work. It is sufficient, however, to demonstrate that the persecution of witches (like the slave trade and the enclosures) was a central aspect of the accumulation and formation of the modern proletariat, in Europe as well as in the ‘New World.’
—Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation (2004)
[see Consciousness-Raising, Feminism]
Women’s Liberation was a feminist movement that emerged from the political left in the late 1960s, mainly in Western industrialised countries, and continued until the 1980s. The aim was to liberate women from the status of being second-class citizens and achieve full equality with men, by challenging sexual discrimination and the patriarchal structures underpinning society. Consciousness-raising circles were one of the main educational and organising tools of the Women’s Liberation Movement.
[see Abolitionism, Communism, Free Love, Free Market, Modern Spiritualism]
An American medium and spiritualist, who was also a prominent campaigner for women’s suffrage and labour rights. In 1872 Woodhull stood as the first female candidate for President of the United States – although at that time women in the US did not have the vote – nominating the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass for Vice President. More controversial, though, was the fact that she was a part of the ‘free love’ movement. They viewed marriage as slavery for women and proposed that relationships should be based on ‘affinities’, which might change over time. She founded a newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, which published The Communist Manifesto in the US, and was briefly a member of the First International, although she was despised by Karl Marx and later expelled. The contradictory Woodhull was also the first woman to establish a Wall Street brokerage firm exclusively for female clients.
[see Diggers, Utopia]
The world turned upside down was a popular theme in the broadsheets and ballads of early modern times, used to represent a society in which all hierarchies and social norms are turned on their head.