Working class history in Britain
This page will contain a mix of aspects of the History of the British Working Class. It will include items of class struggle; trade unions; significant strikes and militant action; certain key individuals; social conditions; reports and studies of different aspects of life that had an effect on the working class; some successes – and some failures; some specific to Merseyside; various other ‘political movements’, e.g. anarchism; so very much a hodgepodge. But, hopefully, it will be able to provide a broad picture of working class struggle of the period – as well as providing some historical context.
These will be from various political perspectives. And that’s because much of these documents date from the 1960s to the early/mid 1980s’. During that period the organised working class in Britain were getting off their knees and fighting against the injustices that existed throughout the United Kingdom. As there was activity this meant that many organisations were able to attract members and/or supporters and the result of that was an increase in the amount of material produced.
Most of those organisations never had any money and that had an impact upon the material they produced. Little money was often available to produce the material at the level of quality that would have been desired. What was most important was getting the information out – however amateur it might have looked to the reader. Modern readers will be more aware of the low quality – it wasn’t such an issue when these documents were produced and distributed.
All these stories should be seen in the context of the other political groups that are documented on the Britain page.
Working class history
A textbook of industrial history in wartime, including a record of the Shop Stewards Movement, Wal Hannington, The Marxist Textbook Series, No 5, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1940, 119 pages.
Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Frederick Engels, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1943, 149 pages. From Project Gutenberg website.
Russia is for Peace, DN Pritt, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1951, 106 pages.
Education and the Industrial Revolution, WD Morris, National Council of Labour Colleges, NCLC, Tillicoultry, 1951?, 24 pages.
Selections from William Morris, FLPH, Moscow, 1959, 519 pages.
What’s Wrong at Fords? Published by the Joint Ford Shop Stewards Committee for the information of their fellow trade unionists on the history of the disputes at Fords, London, 1963, 16 pages.
Unity – Strength – Progress, The Story of the Transport and General Workers Union (T&GWU), T&GWU, London, June 1967, 40 pages.
Bill Feeley, Singer, Steel Erector, International Brigader, AUEW (Constructional), Progress Bookshop, Manchester, 1968, 32 pages.
Industry and Empire, an economic history of Britain since 1750, EJ Hobsbawm, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1968, 336 pages.
A Short History of the British Labour Movement, Logie Barrow, Sheed and Ward, London, 1969, 68 pages.
Re-Education, No 1 June-July 1969, no publisher, 14 pages.
Women’s Struggle, Newsletter of the Women’s Liberation National Co-ordinating Committee, Volume 1 No 3, 1970, London, 36 pages.
Productivity Dealing and the Miners’ Next Step, John Charlton, International Socialists, Pluto, London, 1970?, 16 pages.
Children’s Strikes in 1911, Dave Marsden, History Workshop Pamphlets, No 9, Oxford?, 1973, 48 pages.
The Luddites, Machine-breakers of the Early Nineteenth Century, …. the most famous of the protests against the owners of the machines and their managers, Douglas Liversidge, Watts, London, 1973, 96 pages.
British Labour and the Russian Revolution, The Leeds Convention, Report from The Daily Herald, introduction by Ken Coates, Documents on Socialist History, No. 1, Spokesman Books, 1974?, 40 pages.
Industrial Democracy, Report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) General Council to the 1974 Trades Union Congress, TUC, London, 1974, 52 pages.
Every One a Witness, The Norman Age, Commentaries of an era, AF Scott, Purnell, London, 1976, 336 pages. [Perhaps slightly out of place but has some interesting factual information.]
Liverpool 1921-1922, the classic account of life on the Dole and the struggle against the Means Test, George Garrett, introduction by Jerry Dawson, Whitechapel Press, Liverpool, n.d., 1976?, 38 pages.
The English Utopia, AL Morton, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1978, 295 pages.
The life and ideas of Robert Owen, AL Morton, International Publishers, New York, 1978, 239 pages.
The International Working Men’s Association and the Working Class Movement in Manchester 1865-85, Edmond and Ruth Frow, Working Class Movement Library (WCML), Manchester, 1979, 26 pages.
The Soldiers’ Strikes of 1919, Andrew Rothstein, Macmillan, London, 1980, 114 pages.
The Match Girls Strike 1888, Reg Beer, Labour Museum Pamphlets, No 2, London?, 1980, 69 pages.
The Railwaymen, National Union of Railwaymen, (NUR), 1980?, 12 pages.
The Poplar Story, Teachers Notes No 5, Labour Museum, London?, 1980?, 17 pages.
When the People Arose, The Peasants Revolt of 1381, AL Morton, a Communist Party pamphlet, published to mark the 600th anniversary of the great peasant uprising in south-east England, CPGB, London, May 1981, 40 pages.
Inside the myth, Orwell – views from the Left, edited by Christopher Norris, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1984, 287 pages.
Poverty in Britain
Condemned, A Shelter Report on Housing and Poverty, Shelter, London, 1971, 88 pages.
Born to Fail, Peter Wedge and Hilary Prosser, Arrow, London, 1973, 68 pages.
Unequal Britain, A report on the cycle of Inequality, Frank Field, Arrow, London, 1973, 68 pages.
Down the Road, Unemployment and the Fight for the Right to Work, Sarah Cox and Robert Golden, Writers and Readers Publishing Co-operative, London, 1977, 128 pages.
Working class struggles
Claimant’s Handbook for Strikers, Claimant’s Union, London?, 1971, 52 pages.
The Postal Workers and the Tory Offensive, Paul Foot, Socialist Worker pamphlet, London, 1971, 28 pages.
The UCS Work-in, Foreword by Jimmy Reid, Willie Thompson and Finley Hart, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1972, 95 pages.
Lessons of the General Strike 1926, Bob Dent, Millennium, Liverpool, April 1973, 28 pages.
The Fine Tubes Strike, TGWU/AEUW Official Dispute, 15.6.70 – 15.6.73, Tony Beck, Stage 1, London, 1974, 128 pages.
The Shrewsbury Three, Strikes, Pickets and Conspiracy, Foreword by Bert Ramelson, Jim Arnison, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1974, 84 pages.
Shrewsbury, Whose Conspiracy, The need for an inquiry, Des Warren, New Park, London, 1976, 36 pages.
Who Profits from Coal? The Niclas Society, Cardiff, 1980?, 15 pages.
Unemployed Demonstrations, Salford and Manchester, October 1931, Wilf Gray, Mick Jenkins, Edmund and Ruth Frow, Working Class Movement Library (WCML), Manchester, 1981, 20 pages.
Going Private, The case against private medicine – a report from Fightback and the Politics of Health Group, London, 1981?, 52 pages.
Health Leaflets, a few examples of leaflets produced in the struggle to defend the National Health Service, 1981?, 4 pages.
Coal Not Dole, National Union of Mineworkers, Sheffield, 1984, 12 pages.
‘A strike-breaker is a traitor’, poster produced at the time of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike in Britain. Reuses an image of blacklegs (scabs) from a mining dispute in the Garw Valley in South Wales in 1929. Together with Jack London’s definition of a scab. 1984/5?, 1 page.
The British Worker, May 5th – May 14th 1926, the daily newspaper produced by the Trades Union Congress during the General Strike of 1926. Reproduced by the Labour Museum, London, n.d., possibly in 1984/5 as a response to the Miners’ Strike taking place at the time, includes two version of issue No 8, 50 pages.
Response to the Lightman Inquiry, Arthur Scargill, Campaign to Defend Scargill and Heathfield, Women Against Pit Closures, 1990, 24 pages.
Who Controls Liverpool Industry? An analysis of profits and control of some large firms, Labour Research Department and the Liverpool Trades Council, Liverpool, November 1969
Government White Paper ‘In Place of Strife’ – OUT, North West [England] Shop Stewards Action Committee, Ellesmere Port, 1969, 12 pages.
Exposed, Commission on Industrial Relations, Big Flame, Birkenhead, 1970, 10 pages.
Kirkby Resistance, Fisher Bendix Occupation Special, Kirkby International Socialists, 1972, 14 pages.
Leo McCree, What a man, what a fighter, an account of Leo McCree’s part in the working class struggles in Liverpool, Jim Arnison, Union of Construction, Allies Trades and Technicians (UCATT), London, 1980, 118 pages.
50 Years On ‘Remember Birkenhead’ – 1932 The Unemployed Strike Back, Merseyside Socialist Research Group, Liverpool, 1982, 24 pages.
Campaigning for Jobs and Services, Liverpool – a Socialist Council, Liverpool’s Budget Crisis 1984: the story of the campaign, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool, 1984, 35 pages. Includes broadsheets and leaflets produced at the time of the campaign. Under the name of the city council but a document produced by the ‘Militant Tendency’.
Labour Research Department (LRD)
Wages, Prices and Profits, Preface by Sidney Webb, LRD, London, November 1921, 110 pages.
The Case Against Beeching, Foreword by SF Greene, General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR), LRD, London, 1963, 16 pages.
Privatisation, Who Loses, Who Profits, LRD, London, 1983, 55 pages.
The Miners’ Case, LRD, London, 1984, 24 pages.
Women’s Pay, Claiming Equal Value, LRD, London, 1986, 41 pages.
Racism in Britain
Black Voice, Popular Paper of Black Unity and Freedom Party, Volume 1 No 2, Black Unity and Freedom Party, London, 1970, 12 pages.
On Law, William Godwin, Freedom Press, London, 1945, 16 pages.
About Anarchism, Nicolas Walter, Freedom Press, London, 1980, 32 pages.
A ‘libertarian socialist’ grouping that was formed in the early 1960s and which last until about 1992.
Capitalism and Class Consciousness, Solidarity (Glasgow), Pamphlet No 3, 1970, 30 pages.
Labour Government vs The Dockers 1945-1951, Solidarity, London, Pamphlet No 19, 1970?, 20 pages.
The Commune, Solidarity Pamphlet No 35, Solidarity, London, 1971, 14 pages.
Strategy for Industrial Struggle, Mark Fore, Solidarity Pamphlet No 37, Solidarity, London, 1972, 32 pages.
Under New Management? The Fisher Bendix occupation, Solidarity Pamphlet No 39, 1972, 16 pages.
British Society for Social Responsibility in Science Manifesto, BSSSR, London, 1970, 12 pages.