The internet connection should go down more often. Not only did it prompt me to pick up a book to read, but I also happened to stumble upon an old data CD hiding at the back of the bookcase that includes a series of audio files of economics lectures given by the late SPGB member, Edgar Hardcastle.
The talks date from the early eighties - I'm not sure of the exact date - when Hardcastle, himself, was in his early eighties, and I'm pretty certain that these Economics Education classes were organised by the old Islington Branch of the SPGB. They may or may not have been organised around about the same time as Steve Coleman's 'Socialist Thinkers' series.
To be honest, I'm not sure how many talks Hardcastle gave in this lecture series, but I do have five of the talks on the disc and I will post them on the blog over the next five days.
Maybe anyone out there with bound volumes of the Socialist Standard close at hand can fill in the gaps: (I.E.) When the meetings were held . . . Where they were held . . . In which chronological order the meetings were held . . . And which meetings have I missed in the series.
As mentioned above, Hardcastle was in his early eighties when he gave the talks. As his linked to obituary outlines, he was the:
". . . son of a founder member, he went to prison as a socialist conscientious objector in the First World War, formally joining the Party in 1922. After studying at the London School of Economics under Professor Edwin Cannan he worked all his life as a researcher in the trade union movement, first for the Agriculture Workers Union, then for a short while for the international trade union movement in Brussels, then till his retirement for the Post Office workers' union where he was chief adviser to a succession of UPW General Secretaries."
He served on the Editorial Committee of the Socialist Standard for over forty years, and represented the SPGB on many occasions in debate. His pen name, when writing articles for the Standard, was 'H', and when he spoke for the Party he was listed as 'Hardy' in the meetings pages of the Standard.
The use of 'H' as a pen name dates from time in the SPGB's publishing history when the overwhelming majority of Party writers would sign their articles with either their initials or with a pseudonym. I can only guess that he used the Party name of 'Hardy' when speaking for the SPGB because of work commitments.
To give some sense of the span of his political life, speaking as a representative of the SPGB, he debated an Economic League speaker in 1927; a New Party speaker in 1931; Dr Edward Conze (speaking on behalf of the Labour Party) in 1937; Sir Keith Joseph in 1975; Arthur Seldon in 1981; Paul Hirst in 1983; and Kelvin Hopkins in 1988. (That's from an incomplete wiki list here.)
A word of warning about the recordings: the sound quality is not the greatest. They are rips from cassette recordings, and it may be a case of having to crank up the volume to number 11 to hear the talks. And if you can hear the questions from the audience on the recordings, you're a superhero character from a marvel comic and i claim my five dollars. If you're a techno geek who can polish and improve the sound quality of these recordings, thanks in advance for any input.
DOWNLOAD LINK: Crisis and Depressions (Part 1)
FILE NAME: 27 Crises And Depressions.mp3
FILE SIZE: ~58.16 MB megabytes
DOWNLOAD LINK: Crisis and Depressions (Part 2)
FILE NAME: 28 Crises And Depressions - Part Two.mp3
FILE SIZE: ~50.87 MB megabytes