The Moral Economy

The transition from rural economy to the free market, and the resistance

The phrase “the moral economy” was first used by E. P. Thompson, within the essay of the same name. He explained it as was part of a long change in economic and community relations. As Britain industrialised at speed, there was a change from a paternalistic rural economy, to a free market guided by the ideology of Adam Smith. The moral economy related to part of the resistance from the labouring poor during these economic and social upheavals. This was community based, with a crowd of people […]

The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth Century North America and The Caribbean

By Gerald Horne
As you will have probably gathered from the title, Professor Gerald Horne wastes no time with mincing his words. The first paragraph of the Introduction is likewise refreshingly uncompromising about the position that the book takes: The years between 1603 and 1714 were perhaps the most decisive in English history. At the onset of the seventeenth century, the sceptered isle was a second-class power but the Great Britain that emerged at the beginning of the eighteenth century was, in many ways, […]

The draining of the mere

Story-telling by Otherstory

A storytelling that demonstrates, however benign the technology, it is who owns and controls it that matters. A narrative that recounts the conflict between the rich landowners who want to tame and exploit a marginal place and those whose subsistence is rooted in this rich wilderness. This tale of Whittlesea Mere in the Fenland starts in 1605 and ends in a few years into the future ...when the environment strikes back. Story lasts approximately 40 minutes.  

3 Acres and a Cow: A history of land rights and protest in folk song

NOTE: This event is sold out

Connecting the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with fracking, our housing crisis and Brexit via the Enclosures and Industrial Revolution, the show draws a compelling narrative through the people’s history of England. Part TED talk, part folk club sing-a-long, come and share these tales as they have been shared for generations. We expect this event to be very popular! Advance tickets are available here.  

Green Romanticism

Stephen Hunt will discuss the ecology movement’s deep roots in the Romantic era at the Dorset Radical Bookfair at the Corn Exchange, Municipal Buildings, High St East, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1HF. Industrial capitalism emerged together with the mass exploitation of fossil fuels during the Eighteenth Century. Over the next century it became increasingly apparent that accelerating processes of expansion and extraction threatened many habitats, or even the whole planet. Green Romantic […]

Green Romanticism

The roots of the ecology movement (1750-1900)

Stephen Hunt of the Bristol Radical History Group will start the day with an overview of the ecology movement’s roots in the Romantic era. Industrial capitalism emerged together with the mass exploitation of fossil fuels during the Eighteenth Century. Over the next century it became increasingly apparent that accelerating processes of expansion and extraction threatened many habitats, or even the whole planet. Green Romantic anti-capitalism was an outcome of such processes. The negative social […]

Mining Labour Wars

The Pennsylvania Coal Company and Organized Crime in the Anthracite Coalfields of Pennsylvania

miscellaneous events 2019
Based on his co-authored book, Anthracite Labor Wars, Prof. Bob Wolensky will speak about a 40-year "labour war" that resulted from the mining arrangements between the Pennsylvania Coal Company and a gang of organized criminals. Beginning in 1916, the company decided to subcontract and, later, to lease mineral rights to the mobsters in an effort to discipline the labour force, enhance productivity, and boost profits. Statistics indicated that the scheme worked quite well when it came to […]

The Sons of Belial

Protest and Community Change in the North West 1740-70

By David Walsh
This is a very good book, extremely informative. Even though the bulk of the book is set in the North West of England, there is a wider historical scope. Which would be very useful for the student or historian of the period. The book opens with an in depth examination of developing economic theories. It charts the shift from a largely agrarian, paternalistic society, to an industrialising nation, and rapid urbanisation. Furthermore, the study looks at the development of a mercantilist philosophy […]

A Brief Political And Economic Introduction To Bristol Glass

There were a number of economic and political changes during the 16th and 17th centuries which prepared the ground for the establishment of the glass industry in Bristol. In 1522 the ‘Society of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol’ was incorporated. It grew in power and influence through the 17th century during which the Society revitalised and effectively reorganised itself to allow Bristol’s maritime merchants to take the fullest advantage of the Britain’s developing colonial […]

History Walk 2: Bristol – Feeding the people

Markets, trade, transport and conflict (17th-19th Centuries)

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light
On this history walk we will discover how Bristolians were fed during the early modern era (17th-19th Centuries). Hear how a rapidly expanding urban area, without the ability to feed itself, was kept supplied. How Bristol in turn helped supply the rural hinterland and its relationship with Wales and the wider world. How the market system worked, and how it was regulated, at times by the civic authorities, or by the “moral economy” and the crowd. What happened when the chain broke, and how did […]