While there are many academic studies of workers’ resistance and consciousness during the 1970s and 1980s, few accounts relate the personal-political experiences of the activists involved. Tremors of Discontent, however, explores how Mike Richardson’s individual consciousness came to change during that period. It shows how gradually his participation in trade union and left politics broke through his boyhood reserve, intensified by the external political, economic and social circumstances. By following the growth and development of his convictions and beliefs, Mike’s autobiographical account contributes to a greater understanding of how militant social and political views came to be held by thousands of rank-and-file trade unionists in the 1970s and 80s.
Huw Beynon, who with Ray Hudson co-authored The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain (Verso, 2021), commented that he was:
taken up by Mike’s account [ in Tremors of Discontent ] of his reluctant activism and its trajectory into a determined and principled trade unionism then ridiculed as ego tripping. On the one hand it provides an important document of events in that period [1970/80s]. More importantly though it is suggestive of the kinds of taught and buffeted commitments necessary to the construction of a labour movement and how with more support, particularly from the bureaucracy, things could possibly have taken a different turn, even in the face of the Thatcher onslaught.
Huw Beynon, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at Cardiff University
An extraordinarily powerful and candid testimony that captures the elusive dynamic between lived experience, trade union activism and political consciousness.
Professor Sian Moore (FHEA), Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Director, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and Co-Director, Centre for Research on Employment and Work (CREW) Co-Editor Work in the Global Economy Greenwich Business School
Personally, intensely honest; politically, thoughtfully radical. This timely memoir is of historic importance. It is also an excellent read.
Hilary Wainwright, Editor Red Pepper and author of A New Politics from the Left (Polity, 2018)
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