Stop,Look,Listen…my weekly selection of favourite films, books and events to get you out of the house

Watch...Utopia..a new film by John Pilger; a journalist committed to telling stories about people without power. In this film he returns home to Australia and tells the story of the First Nations people ( the Aborigines), a story he has been following for the last forty years. theirs is an appalling history of genocide, imprisonment and the theft by the state of their children. Pilger asks how this has happened and why it continues to happen in a seemingly rich and developed nation. Many people compare the way the Aborigines have been treated with the apartheid regime of South Africa; the shocking statistics of state murder and suicide confirm their status as second class citizens. But this is not a film about victims. Pilger shows how Aborigines have a proud history of standing up for themselves as workers and as members of an ostracised people. Utopia is a compelling and compassionate film which is typical of John Pilger, a man with a true sense of justice. Highly recommended.See it at Cornerhouse

Remember…before the Miners Strike in 1984-85 Thatcher pushed through a series of anti-trade union legislation to stop workers defending their rights at work and their ability to act in solidarity with other strikers. In 1983 the Stockport Messenger group in Warrington broke a closed shop agreement with the trade union, the National Graphical Association, and when six trade union members took strike action they were sacked. I worked in Liverpool at the time and members of the local government union, Nalgo, travelled to the picket line to support the workers. They came back with stories of how the police viciously attacked the pickets, a scene that became a common experience throughout the 80s as trade unionists tried to defend their jobs and conditions. It is thirty years since the dispute and, even though we had a Labour Government for 13 years, all the anti-trade union legislation is still the law in this country. The Manchester and Salford NUJ have organised a meeting to remember the strike on Thursday, 12 December, 7pm, Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD.
The Messenger, the State and the NGA: what lessons can we learn for today

Find out about… northwest painter Charlie Shiels. Local filmmaker John Crumpton has made a short film about Charlie as he travelled down to London for his first exhibition.See

Support local theatre.Over the Garden Fence by Haylo Theatre on Friday December 6th at Three Minute Theatre. A two woman show exploring memory, life and family.”Join Annabelle as she rediscovers her Grandmas past, meet gossiping neighbours and listen to tall tales of the “escaped turkey” and “the runaway dog”. Doors open 7pm, for further details see

Read... A Celebration of Kersal Moor by Alice Searle. Kersal Moor is on the edge of Salford and this book is a fascinating history of this part of the northwest. For me, Kersal Moor, is the place where in 1838 over 30,000 met to listen to Chartist leaders calling for the right to vote. But Alice reminds us that the moor also important for a history that goes back to Neolithic man, that it is a local nature reserve and has an interesting and varied vegetation. In this small book, with only 39 pages, we are taken on a stroll through history, poetry and nature. It is well written, with many interesting photos and maps, as well as poems and copies of historical documents. Alice traces an important part of our history, reminding us that we need to protect this hidden gem. As Alice says;”May it continue to be a place to walk, to dream and relax away from the stress and the noise that surrounds it. May the people of Kersal remember its history and forever protect this unique patch of land.” It costs only £3!! Buy it from Alice at

About lipstick socialist

I am an activist and writer. My interests include women, class, culture and history. From an Irish in Britain background I am a republican and socialist. All my life I have been involved in community and trade union politics and I believe it is only through grass roots politics that we will get a better society. This is reflected in my writing, in my book Northern ReSisters Conversations with Radical Women and my involvement in the Mary Quaile Club. .If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
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