Revolt of the Unemployed : Bread or Batons in Bristol c. 1932.

As unemployment topped 3 million and the Labour government collapsed, benefit cuts and the means test sparked unrest across the country. In 1932 Bristol was briefly at the forefront of the protests which rocked the country. The mass demonstrations met brutal repression including police ambushes and the arrest of key activists. This will discuss the character of the movement, tracing its roots back to the ex-servicemen’s protests of 1919 and forward to the mass mobilisation which chased Mosley’s Blackshirts off Knowle West in 1936. Why did the working class in a relatively well off city like Bristol take to the streets in such numbers and what became of their movement?

Police attack on an unemployed demo in Old Market in 1931.
Police attack on an unemployed demo in Old Market in 1931.

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