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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 November 2015

Comment: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

Robert Tressell's characters are all too real to me

Paint and brush, photo by Alan Cleaver (Creative Commons)

Paint and brush, photo by Alan Cleaver (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Adam Walker, Plymouth Socialist Party

I am fairly new to the Socialist Party. I have only been a member for a year, and have recently read Robert Tressell's classic socialist novel The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists. I was recommended the title as I am also a decorator like the characters in the book.

The sad reality is the characters are all too real to me. I see them every day on the building sites I work on.

I see older workers struggle on through ailments, trying desperately to earn enough money to live on. I see ever-decreasing standards of quality, jobs rushed just to squeeze out extra profit. I see health and safety laws and safe practices of work only applied when it suits the employers.

In general workers are made to work hard, long hours in poor conditions, to try and make a small amount of money on a tight price.

And as it is approaching winter it only gets worse. Having to work in dark, freezing cold temperatures - but still expected to produce the same amount.

Seeing as it was published in 1914 I thought it might be dated. I was completely shocked to see how it is as relevant today as it was then.

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The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 18 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

How to defend Corbyn and defeat austerity

We can defeat the Tory cuts!

Tories flog bank assets to hellhound US profiteers

Athletics doping scandal: big business profits behind global sports corruption

Councils won't spend a penny

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

The end of social housing? How can we solve the housing crisis?

How can young people organise to support Jeremy Corbyn?


International socialist news and analysis

Paris terror attacks


Workplace news and analysis

Junior doctors: first strikes in 40 years

Trade union action needed to fight for steel jobs

Historic London bus drivers' agreement

Reinstate sacked CWU reps

Pro-Corbyn mood among Usdaw members

Support for Roger Bannister in Unison election

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments and reviews

All NHS unions should join junior doctors' strike

A day in the life of a Game retail worker

Why I joined: "I already feel as if I am finally home"

Robert Tressell's characters are all too real to me

My struggle for an income I can live on


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour bans union activist

Thousands march against India premier's bloody sectarianism

Strike to save Lambeth libraries

Gaining momentum in Lewisham

Anger at care home closure


 

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Related links:

Robert Tressell:

triangleWomen workers' militancy during the 'great unrest'

triangleLiverpool: 200 march to commemorate Robert Tressell

triangleWonderful socialist play finds Edwardian poverty not in past

triangleTownsend Productions presents two critically acclaimed pieces of socialist theatre

triangleThe Great Money Trick: Another World is Possible

Socialist:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Mental health and socialism

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: 100th year anniversary of the founding of the CP in Britain

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Communist Manifesto

Socialist Party:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The 1917 Russian revolution

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The police and the state

Workers:

triangleStop NHS meltdown

triangleGreek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

Plymouth:

triangleUnions must organise throughout crisis

Jobs:

triangleSouth Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage

Health and safety:

triangleStop Royal Mail's profit-driven plans to force postal workers to share vans

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