Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/938/24821

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 March 2017

Fight like Poplar's women councillors to change the lives of family carers

photo Vimeo/Creative Commons

photo Vimeo/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Sue Powell Gloucestershire Socialist Party

Looking at the history of the Poplar councillors, imprisoned in 1921 for fighting the Tory government's appalling conditions, it struck me that I have only come across two real-life "Minnies".

One was the socialist suffragette Minnie Lansbury, one of the Poplar councillors. The other was my great aunt.

Both were born around the same time to families with migrant backgrounds in London, both lived hard lives and struggled to the end. The comparison ends there. While the councillor fought for political change, my great aunt spent most of her entire adult life as a carer.

When Minnie Lansbury died - probably due to ill-health brought on by appalling prison conditions - her father-in-law George said: "Minnie, in her 32 years, crammed double that number of years' work compared with what many of us are able to accomplish.

"Her glory lies in the fact that with all her gifts and talents one thought dominated her whole being night and day: How shall we help the poor, the weak, the fallen, weary and heavy-laden, to help themselves?"

It is significant that Minnie Lansbury wanted to help people fight against poor conditions and oppression. She rejected the idea of charity. Minnie Lansbury's life was short but exceptional.

My great aunt Minnie won't go down in history: she scarcely featured in my life as she devoted herself to caring for her brain-damaged son. He was severely affected by epilepsy, frequent head injuries and possibly the medication given in those days.

She and her husband went without a holiday for 40 years; few of their relatives visited. My great aunt cared for his needs, washing, lifting and dressing him with the help of her husband, struggling on without complaint.

Even in the heyday of the welfare state, parents of disabled children received little help, understanding or support. The Tories want to drive us back to the days when family care was the norm.

In my Unite Community branch, we have been hearing many stories of people struggling to care for parents with dementia, sick partners, disturbed and violent grandchildren. So many stories like these are untold.

George Lansbury, Minnie's father in law, the leader of Poplar council and later the Labour Party, said: "When a soldier like Minnie passes on, it only means their presence is withdrawn, their life and work remaining an inspiration and a call to us each to close the ranks and continue our march breast forward."

My great aunt was one of millions of kindly, hardworking women who sacrificed their own fulfilment for their loved ones. As socialists, we stand with carers, mothers and grandmothers.

My cheery, lovely aunt Minnie had an abundance of love, but I was too young and inexperienced to ask how she really felt about her life, what she had wanted from it, and how it might have been if more social care was available.

If we want women to be liberated and my great aunt's example to be a thing of the past, we must fight like Minnie Lansbury and her fellow councillors.

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


In The Socialist 1 March 2017:


Save #OurNHS

Build a movement to save our NHS

Reinstate the bursaries for student nurses now!

Grantham: 1,000 march for reopening of A&E

NHS England missing paperwork scandal

Heart centre closure consultation 'farce'

NHS v RBS


Socialist Party women

International Women's Day

Women's protests and walkouts around the world

Lessons of Russia 1917 for women's struggle today

Why I joined the Socialist Party

How black women fought racism and sexism at Nasa

Fight like Poplar's women councillors to change the lives of family carers


What we think

Byelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer


Socialist Party feature

Debates on building the anti-Trump movement


Workplace news and analysis

"I worked from 9am to 11.30pm with only one break"

Warehouse workers walk out over pay and pensions

Derby teaching assistants continue fight against 6,000 a year pay cut

Picturehouse strikers blockade Leicester Square

Ford workers demand answers to Bridgend plant sourcing questions

Hearing into alleged rule-breaking by Unison ends

Leeds: Protest against tip stealing

Mixed Fleet cabin crew announce more strike days

RMT plans protest against 'driver only' Merseyrail trains

Southern Rail strike continues

May Day greetings in the Socialist


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Unions demand that Corbyn-supporting mayor protects services

Bristol cuts: the fight goes on

Tower Hamlets: There is an alternative, Mr Biggs

Spelthorne: we need socialist councillors

York University: socialists prevent far-right hate speech

Socialist Party Wales conference report

Northern region Socialist Party conference


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

The Socialist Inbox

What we saw


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 March 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Women:

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: 100 years of votes for women

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: 100 years since women won the right to vote

triangleFighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

triangleUnison national women's conference

triangle100 years since women won the vote

Poplar:

triangleTower Hamlets anti-cuts budget lobby

triangleCable Street: When workers united and fought the fascist threat at Cable Street

triangleCouncillors must resist cuts

Family:

trianglePunishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity

triangleThem & Us

triangleProblem gambling soars by 33%

Councillors:

triangleStriking back against academies in Newham

triangleVictory for school cleaners!

Carers:

triangleOpinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

US:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Parents:

triangleNewham: school strike solid against academy

Oppression:

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

Welfare state:

triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: The fight for the welfare state

Welfare:

triangleChild poverty set to hit 5.2m - unions and Corbyn must act now

Children:

triangleTragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

14/2/18

Homeless

In Windsor none of us want to see homeless people on the street

14/2/18

Pay

I'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

7/2/18

Socialist

The Socialist inbox

7/2/18

Cinema

Darkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill

7/2/18

Revolution

Bernie's book shows need for workers' party

7/2/18

Students

GCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!

7/2/18

NHS

Tragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

7/2/18

Sexism

Fighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

31/1/18

Cricket

Capitalism v cricket

31/1/18

Film

Trump as Nixon: urgent questions about press freedom and the state

31/1/18

Sexism

Presidents Club sexism scandal: what you thought

24/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis exposes PFI chaos

24/1/18

Universal Credit

Universal credit: set up to fail

24/1/18

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

19/1/18

Carillion

Carillion and the construction industry

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999