Big Flame



Posted by archivearchie on September 6, 2010



Back in May 2009 I posted about the US political group Sojourner Truth Organization. In it I drew attention to two websites (one a digital archive, one reporting on a research project – unfortunately silent for the last year). I then asked for sites on the internet which attempted a similar task for organisations with related politics to Big Flame. Amongst the responses were links to sites on the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, the Red Menace (a Toronto-based Libertarian Socialist Collective 1976-80), (in German) Maoist-influenced groups and (in French) the LCI (section of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International).

I would now like to broaden out the discussion by removing the “related politics to Big Flame” tag (it should certainly makes things easier by not having to worry about what “related” means), and cover any site which contains an archive of documents of the left from the middle to later 20th century. Again I hope that others will add to my list (which are all British but international suggestions would also be welcome).

Left Groups

I was inspired in this task by coming across three recent websites.

The first which started in August 2010 is For Workers Power. It mostly consists of republications of documents from Solidarity (1960-80s). The person behind the site is involved with the Commune. Solidarity was heavily influence by a French group – Socialisme ou Barbarie.  A site launched last year is gradually digitalising the journal: Projet de scannerisation: Socialisme ou Barbarie. Starting with the first issue (No1 March-April 1949) and now up to no7 August-September 1950 (as at September 2010).

The second site was also launched in August 2010. It is Red Mole Rising. The site is intended “to contribute modestly” to a history of the IMG – International Marxist Group (1960s-80s), and is produced by a supporter of Socialist Resistance (one of the three currents to emerge when the IMG disintegrated).

The last has been around slightly longer – June 2010 – and is called IS Origins. It arose out of a temporary project (centering around an intensive 6 week course of research) aiming to provide resources for discussion and historiography into the background of what is now the International Socialist Tendency. Represented today in Britain by the SWP – Socialist Workers Party. The site focuses on the 1950s when the Socialist Review Group (SRG) split from the Fourth International. Although the 6 week period is over, the author says “I hope to update this blog regularly with updates on my work, scan and digitize as much of the literature as I can, and hopefully form the focal point for new discussion arising around this topic area”.

We should not forget Libcom which has been around for seven years now and includes on its site a vast array of documents from all currents of the libertarian communist movement.

Black movement

Other sites have made available documents from Black movements of the 70s and 80s.

Tandana is a digitised archive to record the political ephemera produced by the Asian Youth Movements in British town and cities.

CLR James had a major influence on many of the Race Today Collective. Links to writings by or about James can be found at the CLR James Links page. Many of the links are to documents in the CLR James Archive at the Marxists Internet Archive.

Women movement

Good starting points for research into British Feminism in the 70s and 80s are the Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University and the Feminist Archive North now at the University of Leeds.

The internet is increasingly becoming the source of images as well as written documents. A BBC page contains some useful clips on Second Wave Feminism. The Vanessa Engle documentary series on Women shown on BBC television is currently unavailable via i-Player, but are the sort of programmes which may well be shown again sometime in the future (there are just two, not especially interesting, excerpts on U Tube). The first episode of the trilogy contained a lot of good interviews with activists from the 70s, plus contemporary footage.

Gay movement

A full set of issues (1975-80) of the jounal Gay Left are available on the internet.

Archive Archie


  1. Mark H said

    Many thanks for featuring my blog.

  2. archivearchie said

    To add an extra bit of information. Nate in a comment (#1) to the STO post cited as a source for Socialism or Barbarism and UK Solidarity texts. This site disappeared many months ago. However, an earlier version survives as, and this includes the documents Nate mentions.

  3. Charlie W said

    glad to see the blog has gained some interest! it’s been dormant for a while but i haven’t quite finished with it yet. cheers for the shout.


  4. archivearchie said

    I should not have forgetten (not only because of his frequent mentions of this site) Entdinglichung’s encyclopedic weekly list of links to internet postings from the archives of the left in German, French, English etc: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken (now approaching 50 in the series). See

  5. some of the more bizarre (or simply stalinist) stuff can be found here: … a growing collection of maoist/”anti-revisionist” stuff from the UK, USA, Canada, etc. … including an interesting article from The Leveller on the topic:

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