Book Launch – All Knees and Elbows of Susceptibility and Refusal: Reading History From Below









Book Launch, Film Screening and Discussion

(Refreshments provided)

Saturday 24th November 2012

Transmission Gallery, 28 King Street, Glasgow, G1 5QP

The book All Knees and Elbows of Susceptibility and Refusal: Reading History From Below began as a discussion between two friends,  Anthony Iles and Tom Roberts, about the politics of writing history. Neither are trained historians. They have assembled a critical and necessarily partial picture of the practice of ‘history from below’: historiographical tendencies which sought to uncover the agency of ‘ordinary people’ in challenging capitalism and developing different forms of social organisation. All Knees and Elbows surveys the work of a number of British and international left historians and groups, including Silvia Federici, History Workshop, Eric Hobsbawm, C.L.R James, Peter Linebaugh, Sheila Rowbotham, Jacques Rancière and E.P. Thompson.

“The completed study is not intended to be comprehensive. We’ve veered towards the subjects, areas and materials which interest us. These include questions of sources and their uses, working class education and self-education, welfare and the wage, language, historical authenticity and literary inventiveness, and contemporary political instrumentalisations of radical history. The book attests to the importance of reading history critically against the present.”

Film Screening & Introduction – 4.00pm

The Luddites (53 mins) is a film directed by Richard Broad for Thames TV in 1988 as if it were a contemporary documentary. The Luddites were a social movement of textile artisans from around Northern England and the Midlands, who banded together in 1812 in secret societies and destroyed the machines which were putting them out of work.

Discussion – 5.30-6.30pm

A discussion of The Luddites led by authors Anthony Iles and Tom Roberts informed by some of the All Knees and Elbows themes, including: The definition and redefinition of the working class in History from Below • Critical re-examination of ruptures in the social relation • Techniques developed within struggles to control and convey their own history • Struggles over the marketisation of research • Critical struggles over authenticity • The market for working class memoirs and hardship porn • Determinism and/ or the potential for action.

Book launch – 7.00pm

Authors Anthony Iles and Tom Roberts will give a short introduction to their new book All Knees and Elbows of Susceptibility and Refusal: Reading History From Below critically appraising tendencies and debates in history from below.

A sample chapter is available here: Members_Unlimited

Copies of the book are available in shop and to purchase online at AK Press and Word Power Books.

Publicity Flyer

Visit online bibliography


Stefan Szczelkun, Access and Repulsion, Mute, 25th June, 2013

Dave Featherstone, Reclaiming the Past, Red Pepper, Issue 91, Aug/Sep 2013


Co-research : part 1; upcoming two remaining discussions (6 & 13 November)

This project (in three parts) is organised by The Strickland Distribution as part of its knowledge is never neutral programme with Transmission Gallery. The project revolves around cultural and knowledge workers concerned with understanding more about our working conditions and practices. The proposal is that we might do so through a project of three complementary parts: a reading/discussion group; a co-research inquiry; a workshop on the inquiry’s findings. Click here for a fuller outline of the project.


6 November 2012 : The researcher as subject and object in focus with forms of self-inquiry

Colectivo Situaciones, 2003, On the researcher-militant, Transversal (

download PDF : Reading 6 Nov Colectivo Situaciones 2003


13 November 2012 : Co-research into arts and culture as labour in the UK

A discussion based on a series of materials of the Precarious Workers Brigade (PWB)

As preparation, take a look/ read some or all of the following (the links will take you to the respective pages)

Ethics Code (Draft, April 2012), link here

Training for Exploitation? Towards an Alternative Curriculum. A Resource Pack (May 2012), PDF available here, and

Interview with Carrotworker Collective, published in FUSE, January 2012, read the interview here

There are various other resources and materials on the PWB’s website too


Time: 5.30-7.30pm

Place: Transmission Gallery, 28 King Street, Glasgow G1 5QP

Space may be limited, please confirm if you intend to participate: