The stories of 1919 are historic struggles. But mostly, they failed. Even when they succeeded in heading off a particular attack or winning an advance, they did not succeed in remaking society.
This would be the year in which the capitalist state rigorously enforced the role of the police, purging them of rebels, ensuring their loyalty and cutting any link between them and the workers’ movement. The events of 1919 shaped the police force we have now: an obedient enforcer of the system’s interests.
1918 had ended with British women voting in a general election for the first time ever. But it was only those aged 30 or over and who met a property qualification who could vote.
After Britain and its Allies had won the war, proclaiming themselves champions of freedom and democracy, the people of its imperial possessions stepped up their democratic demand for some of that freedom for themselves.
Soldier F said he only harmed
protesters who held bombs or arms
Soldier F had truths to hide
The soldier lied
Lord Saville said
none of the dead
had posed a threat
but that did not stop Soldier F
When one-and-twenty soldiers shoot
then why no prospect to prosecute
Soldier L or Soldier M
who killed a lad who crawled from them?
In this three-minute video, Janine introduces the momentous events of 1919.