Convenor: Dr Robin Archer, Director of the Postgraduate Programme in Political Sociology
The Ralph Miliband Programme is one of the LSE's most prestigious public lecture series, receiving attention not only at the LSE but across London, the UK, and globally. It was set up in 1996 thanks to a generous anonymous benefaction from a former PhD student inspired by 'Ralph Miliband's contribution to social thought'. He specified that the funds be used in memory of his friend and mentor 'to advance his spirit of free social inquiry' and the diversity of thought that has always been the hallmark of LSE.
War and Peace Series, 2014- 2015
Radicals and progressives of all sorts - liberals, socialists, feminists, internationalists and peace activists - have long played a leading role in opposing militarism and war. Yet, at times, many have also recognised the necessity of resorting to arms. Our lectures in 2014-15 aim to draw on the heightened public attention accompanying the centenary of the First World War in order to examine some of these progressive approaches to questions of war and peace and of militarism and pacifism. We hope to explore these questions not only in the countries that participated in the Great War but around the world a century later.
The Establishment and How They Get Away With It
Special Ralph Miliband Programme Lecture
Speaker: Owen Jones
Date: Monday 13th October
Venue: LSE Old Theatre, Old Building
Owen Jones, one of the most prominent political voices today, sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today - and it is time they were challenged.
Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) is a political activist, bestselling author and a weekly columnist for the Guardian. He has over 200,000 Twitter followers and appears regularly in broadcast media, including BBC1's Question Time, ITV's Daybreak, Channel 4 News and BBC 2’s Newsnight. This event marks the publication of Owen's new book, The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It.
This event is free and open to all however a ticket is required, only one ticket per person can be requested. Tickets will be available from 6th October at lse.ac.uk/events. Visit the Events website for further details of availability.
Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users is #LSEestablishment
War and Moral Stupidity
Speaker: Professor Kimberly Hutchings
Date: Wednseday 12th November
Venue: LSE New Theatre, East Building
This lecture examines the ways in which the idea of just war is maintained through the association of both militarism and pacifism with moral stupidity. It uses a feminist perspective to criticise the ways in which recent arguments for just war rely on the possibility of purging war of moral stupidity and calls for the recollection and renewal of forms of pacifism and non-violent politics pioneered in feminist opposition to the First World War.
Kimberly Hutchings is a Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London.
This event is free and open to all. The suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users is #LSEWar
The War that was Lost
Speaker: Dr Robin Archer
Date: Thursday 20th November
Venue: LSE Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
This lecture commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It is motivated by the desire to both remember and learn from the failed efforts to stop it. Labour movements and their radical allies were by far the most important organised restraint on war-making. And on the eve of the Great War, they made frantic efforts to mobilize opposition. Britain’s ruling Liberal party and strong tradition of anti-militarism gave opponents the most powerfully placed allies in Europe. Yet there has been surprisingly little attention to how uncertain Britain’s entry into the war was, and how finely balanced the forces for and against intervention were. This lecture examines the role of appeals to honour in the decision for war. It pays particular attention to the role of these appeals in convincing radical liberals to accept British intervention – something which they had been successfully blocking until shortly before war was declared. But it also examines parallel appeals in the United States and elsewhere in the English-speaking world. The lecture then considers why the language of honour was effective, and whether it still plays a role a century later. It concludes by suggesting some centennial lessons for us today.
Robin Archer is Associate Professor (Reader) in Political Sociology and Director of the Ralph Miliband program at the London School of Economics. He was previously the Fellow in Politics at Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford. His works include Economic Democracy (Oxford) and Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? (Princeton). He is currently working on a new project about opposition to the First World War and conscription, especially in the English-speaking world. He has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University, Columbia University, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Sydney University, and most recently, New York University and the Australian National University.
This event is free and open to all. The suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users is #LSEWW1
A Lecture on Vera Brittain
Speaker: Lady Shirley Williams
Date: Wednesday 10th December
Venue: LSE Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth is the classic account of the haunting experiences of the 'lost generation' who lived though the horrors of the First World War. It's author emerged from the experience a convinced pacifist and feminist. Her daughter, Shirley Williams, reflects on her mother's famous memoire and experiences as well as on the changing attitudes to war from her own generation through to today.
Shirley Williams has been a leading Labour politician and minister, a founder of the Social Democratic Party, and the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. She has also been Professor of Politics at Harvard University and continues to be a powerful voice in public debate.
This event is free and open to all. The suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users is #LSEBrittain