Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/961/26098

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 September 2017

Non-fiction review: Six for the Tolpuddle Martyrs

'Six for the Tolpuddle Martyrs' by Alan Gallop

'Six for the Tolpuddle Martyrs' by Alan Gallop   (Click to enlarge)

'Let the producers of wealth unite - and what can withstand them?'

Sean Brogan, Exeter Socialist Party

Every year thousands of trade unionists descend upon the small village of Tolpuddle in Dorset to commemorate the struggle in 1832 of farm workers to form a union.

These were times of change and unrest, of 'Captain Swing' and the Luddites, falling wages, poverty and a cruel class establishment in transition from the old aristocracy to the rising capitalist class.

Alan Gallop uses original materials and imagination to paint the struggle to organise.

Initially the 'Tolpuddle Six' farm workers, having formed a union, were arrested for swearing "illegal oaths." The ruling Whig party, with Lord Melbourne as home secretary, even contemplated trying them under the 1797 Mutiny Act.

Local landowners had used spies to infiltrate the movement and then testify against the organisers. They were tried by a hostile judge and jury who had decided their guilt in advance.

The illegal oaths they were charged with were of the sort taken by the Orange Order and Masonic Lodges for decades. It was rightly seen as one law for the rich and another for the poor.

The Tolpuddle labourers were sentenced to seven years' transportation - manacled and worked in Australia in slave conditions for wealthy landlords. Their wives and children were denied poor relief.

At home there was a massive reply from the organised workforce. Thousands demonstrated and organised petitions all over the country - until they were pardoned under pressure from below.

What is striking about those times is how similar the tactics are to those used today by employers and governments. The dirty tricks used in the Shrewsbury Pickets trial. The undercover police spies in Youth against Racism in Europe and the Socialist Party.

And although this is about conditions in 1830s England it foreshadows the repression and jailing of trade unionists in Iran, Kazakhstan, Belarus and elsewhere today.

George Loveless was an inspirational Tolpuddle leader, living in the same conditions as his members. He showed an important shift in consciousness, groping towards socialism - although not an understanding of the ruthless nature of the capitalist state - when he wrote:

"I believe that nothing will ever be done to relieve the distress of the working classes unless they take into their own hands...

"Nothing but union will or can accomplish the great and important object, namely the salvation of the world. Let the producers of wealth firmly and peaceably unite their energies - and what can withstand them?"

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 September 2017:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight council cuts - back the Brum bin strikers!

Historic McStrike: if we don't get it, shut it down!

Problem gambling soars by 33%

UN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin

Them & Us


What we think

Tories weak: time for the TUC to act


Schools and teaching

Schools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike together for better pay

RMT fighting for passenger safety, accessibility and security

Merseyrail strike over safety: Labour mayor and councillors must reverse their decision

Three week Argos strike ends

Fawley refinery canteen strikers tell their employer: "pay up"

College workers ballot for action in Nottingham


International socialist news and analysis

Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

Extreme weather events and global warming


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Determined protest against Chatsworth Ward closure

Young people are searching for an alternative - find it at Socialism 2017

Huddersfield A&E closure goes to judicial review

Three thousand attend Burston strike commemoration rally

Bristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!

Demonstrators see off far-right in Keighley

Anti-fracking campaigners' legal fight


Socialist Party comments and reviews

How the Single Market blocks socialist policies

Bosses' pensions robbery

Magic money tree

Warts-and-all account of class war and the struggle for LGBT+ rights

'Let the producers of wealth unite - and what can withstand them?'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 September 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Tolpuddle:

triangleLarge and upbeat Tolpuddle event

triangleMood to defeat the Blairites

triangleBristol North East Socialist Party: The Tolpuddle Martyrs & trade unionism

triangleDetermined mood to defend the unions

triangleBristol North and East Socialist Party: Tolpuddle Martyrs - How to fight attacks on trade unions?

Wealth:

triangleCapitalism and human progress

triangleMarx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis and critique of capitalism

triangleThe have-yachts and the have-nots

triangleCity bosses' £40m bonuses as Number of food banks hits 2,000

Unite:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

Review:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleHuddersfield A&E closure goes to judicial review

Union:

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

Socialist Party:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

Socialist:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

Capitalist:

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

11/10/17

Theresa May

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

11/10/17

Docks

Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks

11/10/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

11/10/17

TV

Shocking insight into Isis

2/10/17

Sexism

Hugh Hefner's exploitation of women

27/9/17

Football

Women's football - Sampson allegations

20/9/17

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

20/9/17

Socialist

Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"

20/9/17

Women

Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

13/9/17

Women

New documentary asks women how their bodies are sexualised and policed

13/9/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

13/9/17

Che Guevara

Intimate insight into a revolutionary icon

6/9/17

Pensions

Bosses' pensions robbery

6/9/17

EU

How the Single Market blocks socialist policies

6/9/17

Tolpuddle

'Let the producers of wealth unite - and what can withstand them?'

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2