Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

History

Pages from (or about) the past, including:

Women in history

 

Poplar: the Borough that Fought Back and Won

Submitted by Janine on 15 March 2022 at 13:15

… and why it matters today

By Janine Booth, published in RMT News.

The two biggest employers in the east London borough of Poplar one hundred years were the railways and the docks. Our forerunner unions had plenty of members there. Their jobs involved long hours and low pay, but they were unionised, so they were fighting for, and winning, improvements.

Us and Them

Submitted by Janine on 13 January 2022 at 08:09

A golden shovel based on the final stanza of The Mask of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

They hold us down but still we rise,
deference dies, we bite them down to size. Like
Jayaben roars, we are the lions,
Mr Manager, you'll do no more damage after
we've dealt with you. Stretching from slumber,

Flexing our muscle, exercising our minds, in
readiness for when they find that they are not unvanquishable
as they thought. They bought power but we have number.

Praise Without Pay's ...

Submitted by Janine on 05 August 2021 at 14:29

A century ago, in August 1921, Labour Councillor Jack Wooster told crowds demonstrating in support of Poplar's rebel councillors that "Sympathy without relief [the name back then for welfare benefits] is like mustard without beef".

----

Sympathy without relief
is like mustard without beef
or lettuce without leaf

Poplar's rates victory: Ten key points

Submitted by Janine on 03 May 2021 at 09:21

One hundred years ago, a big movement grew in the east London borough of Poplar, headed by thirty councillors who went to prison rather than levy extortionate rates or cut services to the working-class population that elected them. ‘Poplarism’ won.

Why did Poplar win? Here are ten key points, which contain lessons for today.

'A Terrible Betrayal': the centenary of 'Black Friday'

Submitted by Janine on 14 April 2021 at 10:52

Published in Solidarity 588, 14 April 2021

Long before ‘Black Friday’ became the name for the first day of the Christmas shopping season, it was the name that the labour movement gave to the day on which trade union leaders inflicted a defeat on their own movement. It happened exactly one hundred years ago, on 15 April 1921.