In India, my oral history has focussed on memories of Partition and of the origins of the Kashmir conflict. In Britain, the bulk of the interviews I have conducted have been with political activists of many different hues. I have compiled a list of the tapes which I have deposited at the British Library Sound Archive.
The drawing on the left is by Fermin Rocker and depicts his father, the anarchist Rudolf Rocker, addressing a political meeting. It features on the cover of Bill Fishman's East End Jewish Radicals, 1875-1914.
I interviewed Fermin for a radio programme about his father, and the audio of the programme is available on this site. The interviews deposited at the British Library include several with associates and followers of Rocker, including Nellie Dick and Leah Feldman.
A selection of these oral history interviews and related material is available elsewhere on this site, including:
The followers of Bronterre O'Brien provide a remarkable link between the heyday of Chartism in the 1840s and the emergence in Britain of an organised socialist movement almost forty years later.
O'Brien himself was one of the more intellectually stimulating Chartist leaders, sometimes referred to as the schoolmaster of Chartism. He died in 1864 and is buried in Abney Park cemetery in Stoke Newington. His followers remained active for another generation, a talented and disciplined group of artisan radicals. Their most quixotic venture was the attempt to establish a colony in Kansas, intended to realise O'Brien's political principles.
The photograph is of John Radford, one of the O'Brienites who made the journey to Kansas and, after the dissolution of the colony, became active in agrarian radicalism there. Along with Gary Entz, the historian of the Kansas colony, I wrote an article on Radford for the Dictionary of Labour Biography (vol. 12, 2005. pp.233-40).
Gary recently uncovered this photo of Radford from his great-granddaughter, Debbie Osorio. It's published here with Gary's permission. He's now writing a book about the O'Brienites' attempt to establish a cooperative colony on the Kansas plains.