Davis Day

From the Forest of Dean to Canadian labour history

When Thomas Davis and his wife Annis and their family from Pillowell in the Forest of Dean decided to emigrate to Canada in 1890 they could not have known that their choice would have tragic consequences or that their personal tragedy would be remembered in Canada to this day. One of their boys, Thomas, would be killed in one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian mining history and another, William, would be shot dead by the police in one of the most violent strikes in Canadian labour […]

A ‘night of infamy’: Black Friday, 1892

History Walk

Bristol was rocked by two major strike waves in the late 19th Century, the first (1889-90) marked the emergence of ‘new unionism’ representing male and (significantly) female unskilled and semi-skilled labourers. Victory in these strikes improved pay and conditions for workers but led to an organised counter-offensive by employers in the autumn of 1892. The response of workers was a second strike wave which united miners, dockers and female confectionary workers, culminating in 'Black Friday' on […]

Central Labour College

A Chapter in the History of Adult Working-class

By W.W.Craik
Written by William Craik a railway guard who got kicked out of Ruskin College, Oxford and was then the principal of the CLC in the early 1920s The Central Labour College schooled a whole generation of the brightest workers mainly from the mines and railways of Britain between 1909 and 1929. It was formed by the dissident students who had been thrown out of Ruskin college following a strike (see Colin Waugh ‘Plebs’ ISSN 0459-2026). The CLC was housed initially in Oxford until the University […]

Babies in unmarked graves

Eastville Workhouse, BRHG research project There is rightly scandal in the press at the 800 babies buried in unmarked graves in Galway. But this was not a unique occurrence. Bristol Radical History Group BRHG has established that 3,300 adults, children and babies were buried in unmarked graves in an old cemetery (now a piece of open ground) behind the Eastville Workhouse on Fishponds Road in Bristol. The workhouse death records from 1855 to 1895 establish these burials took place. Some human […]

Bristol and the Labour Unrest of 1910-14

Bristol and the Labour Unrest Front Cover
1910 saw a renewed outbreak of industrial strife as significant sections of the trade union rank-and-file began to express their frustration at the lack of progress made in their struggle for better working conditions and a new social order. Strikes reached levels not seen since the ‘new unionism’ upsurge of 1889-92. Worker unrest combined with clashes over Home Rule for Ireland and the militant tactics of suffrage campaigners added to the problems of the ruling class who, confronted by these […]

Book Launch: In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism

Karl Marx remarked that the only way to write about the origins of capitalism is in the letters of blood and fire used to drive workers from the common lands, forests, and waters in the sixteenth century. In this collection of essays, George Caffentzis argues that the same is true for the annals of twenty-first-century capitalism. Information technology, immaterial production, financialization, and globalization have been trumpeted as inaugurating a new phase of capitalism that puts it beyond […]

Supply Chains in Capitalism Today: From Foxconn to Wal-Mart

Date: Thursday 27th June Time: 7.30-9.30pm Location: Hydra Books, 34 Old Market St, Bristol, BS2 0EZ Price: Donation Speaker: Gifford Hartman Supply Chains in Capitalism Today: From Foxconn to Wal-Mart One of the forms in which the working class exists today is at the various nodal points along global commodity chains. Global production is based on a system of "factories without walls," where increasingly components are manufactured using an inventory-less subcontracting system that races around […]
Section: Blog
Subjects: Class
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Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier

Black Adder Goes Fourth
Tommy Atkins' hidden tactics to avoid combat on the Western Front in WW1 or why ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ could have been a lot funnier (and more subversive)… A young Army, but the finest we have ever marshalled; improvised at the sound of the cannonade, every man a volunteer, inspired not only by love of country but by a widespread conviction that human freedom was challenged by military and Imperial tyranny, they grudged no sacrifice however unfruitful and shrank from no ordeal however […]

Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power

Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Race, Class and Gender in the 60s U.S. This talk is based upon a series of books that have recently appeared covering the hidden history of the white working class radical community groups who formed the 'Rainbow Coalition' with the Black Panthers, Young Lords, Native American and Japanese American revolutionary groups in 1969. The white radical organisations comprised displaced 'Southern' white working class people who were challenging […]

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