Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://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:

triangleTolpuddle festival: combative trade unionism and anticipation of general election

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

Wealth:

triangleSuper-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn

triangleSocialist nationalisation: what it is and why we need it

triangleTax Amazon movement wins in Seattle

triangleRichest worth 724bn... as 100,000 kids fall into poverty

Unite:

triangleCable makers strike against real-terms pay cut

triangleFirst coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action

triangleYork NHS workers strike against privatisation

Review:

triangleDetermined UCU strikers: We're out to win!

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

Union:

trianglePCS union: nominate Chris Baugh as Left Unity candidate for assistant general secretary

Socialist Party:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: The life and ideas of Malcolm X

Socialist:

triangleCardiff Central Socialist Party: Ten years since the crash

Capitalist:

triangleFighting for socialism amid capitalist chaos

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

17/10/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

10/10/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

10/10/18

Capitalism

The murky world of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms

3/10/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

3/10/18

Theatre

The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists: one-man show's new take on lively socialist classic

26/9/18

Welfare state

Powerful defence of the welfare state

26/9/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

26/9/18

Trains

Who wants driver-only operation?

19/9/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

19/9/18

Ireland

How Irish strikers fought apartheid - and establishment anti-apartheid leadership

12/9/18

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

12/9/18

Football

When working class women dominated football

5/9/18

privacy

GDPR data laws: Punishing workers for human mistakes

5/9/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

5/9/18

Care workers

A day in the life of a carer: "I am having trouble feeding my children on my wages"

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: 0784 114 4890

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


October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999