Just Learning

Just Learning Labour and Community Education is a radical community and labour education initiative originally set up by members of the Just Books Collective in 2011. Over the years we have delivered a range of courses on topics such as community development, peoples' history, workplace organising, labour history, anti-sectarian and race and ethnicity training, oppression and exploitation.

We draw on a pool of experienced tutors and facilitators committed to promotion of education relevant to the lives of poor, socially excluded, oppressed, minority and working-class communities in Belfast and beyond. Our tutors, many of whom were previously employed by the Ulster Peoples College, have strong links to, and an unashamed focus on, working-class and disadvantaged communities across the north.




12th June 2017 Know Your Rights: The Contract our second Know Your Rights session introduced the legal obligation on employers to provide you with a written contract and look at both why this is useful and the limitations of the law. We looked at how contracts can be changed, negotiated and challenged. Knowledge is power - arm yourself.

15th May 2017 Know Your Rights: What is Exploitation? the first of our Know Your Rights seminars on rights in the workplace and beyond, kicked off by looking at exploitation and how it is fundamental to capitalism. Adopting an essentially marxist approach to exploitation in capitalist society this workshop explored: What is expolitation? How does it function? How is it maintained?

The workshop also looked at how workers can organise and resist exploitation and introduced the, albeit limited, legal rights we have won through struggle over the years.


5th October 2016 Eyewitness: The Jungle Calais Seán Byers provided a first-hand account of conditions in the migrant camp at Calais known as 'The Jungle'. The presentation and discussion focused on Sean's experience there but more importantly on the practical steps that could be taken in solidarity with the migrants facing eviction from the camp. This event led to a series of solidarity meetings and activity.

6th September 2016 1816: Belfast's First Bomb. On this date 200 years ago John McGill and John Doe were hanged for their involvement in the planting of Belfast's first bomb, in the house of Francis Johnson, an industrialist who opposed workers' combination. A talk by Jason Brannigan (Just Learning) highlighted the class motivation behind Belfast's first bomb.

1st July 2016 Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution saw Just Learning launch a series of events marking the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. The series began with a display of artefacts from the civil war and readings from extracts of speeches, contemporary reports, accounts and poems from the heroic struggle of the working-class of Spain. 5th July The Second Republic and Fascism in Spain was delivered by Jason Brannnigan (Just Learning) and on 26th July a presentation Irish Involvement in the Spanish Civil War was delivered by labour historian and International Brigade Commemoration Committee Belfast member Ciaran Crossey.

30th June 2016 Refugees Welcome? The Asylum System in Northern Ireland provided a short introduction to the experiences of asylum seekers of the system in Northern Ireland. Hosted by Just Learning at Just Books – Belfast Solidarity Centre in Belfast and addressed by migrant rights activists Fungayi Mukosera and Luke Butterly. This event was engaging and informative and followed by open discussion.

21st, 28th November and 5th December 2012 Good Relations in Hard Times (funded by Belfast City Council Good Relations Unit). This series of panel discussions were well attended throughout drawing interest from community activists, trade unionists, socialists, anarchists, loyalists and republicans over the course of our 3 week program.

The first panel consisted of Gareth Mulvenna, Peter Shirlow and Jason Brannigan (just Learning) and was themed Austerity, De-industrialisation and the 'PUL' community. The second panel saw Tommy McKearney (Republican ex-prisoner and IWU organiser) and Jason Brannigan (Just Learning) address the theme A Legacy of Disadvantage & Austerity in 'catholic' working class communities.

The final session Combating Inequality and Austerity in Northern Ireland was addressed by life-long civil rights and socialist campaigner Goretti Horgan.

19th August 2012 Jerry Levy performs Howard Zinn's Marx in Soho to a packed house at the occupied 'Peoples' Bank' on Royal Avenue, Belfast.

With nothing more than a frock coat and a few small props, Jerry Levy's energetic performance of Howard Zinn's masterful play, "Marx in Soho" brought the man up close and intimate with his audience. As Levy's Marx railed against capitalism it was not lost on the audience that they were sat in what was previously a Bank of Ireland premises currently being squatted as part of the global Occupy movement.

That Marx was addressing the audience was never in question. Not only has Levy gave a convincing portrayal in terms of his physical similarity to Marx, he also captured the honesty and integrity of a man that cared deeply about the workers of the world. In doing so he gives us a glimpse of some of Marx's warts, though not his carbuncles, in a warmly human portrayal of the man. Levy's portrayal of Zinn's Marx brought the audience back to his past. All the while keeping note of the similarities between then and now.


18th August 2012 Jerry Levy performed Wallace Shawn's The Fever in an electric performance at the occupied 'Peoples' Bank' on Royal Avenue Belfast to an audience of 30.