From British weekly Socialist Worker:
The anti-war march in Manchester this Saturday will add to the city’s radical history.
Ed Mynott and Esme Choonara look back on some of those events, many of which took place close to the route of this weekend’s march
There is a myth that the abolition of the British slave trade came about because of pressure from enlightened liberal individuals such as William Wilberforce.
In reality, impetus for abolition came firstly from slave revolts, and also from a mass working class movement in Britain.
Much of Manchester’s wealth as a city was funded by the slave trade, yet thousands of workers in the city expressed their solidarity with those enslaved by the British.
The wave of radical agitation against the slave trade that swept Britain in the 1790s started in Manchester, with the first large scale use of petitioning as a political weapon.
In 1792, some 20,000 people in Manchester, which had a population of under 75,000 at the time, signed a petition supporting the abolition of slavery.
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The office in which Frederick Engels, the long time collaborator of Karl Marx, used to work is now the first floor of up-market department store Kendals.
Engels was sent to Manchester from Germany in 1842 to be trained in business.
His father hoped that his son’s foolish romantic radicalism would be knocked out of him.
Instead, the young Engels made contact with the working class movement and collected material for his book “The Condition of the Working Class in England”, published in 1845. …
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Form the early 19th century this area was mainly inhabited by Irish immigrant workers.
It was one of the many districts of Manchester described by Engels in “The Condition of the Working Class in England”.
Factories pumping pollution into the air surrounded the district.
The streets were full of rubbish and offal, and 4,000 people lived in 200 back to back cottages with 20 people per house and one toilet for every 120 people.
Engels did not blame workers for these squalid conditions – he saw the collective power of the working class as the hope for the future and capable of overthrowing capitalism.
For that reason he dedicated his book “to the working classes of Great Britain”.
He was scathing about the capitalists who he blamed for the miserable living conditions of the poor.
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On 16 August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s Field – the area now surrounding the G-Mex where the Labour conference is being held.
They were there to demonstrate for political reform, essentially the right to vote, and to hear radical leader Henry Hunt.
The radical movement was becoming increasingly a mass working class movement.
At Peterloo, the property owners decided to go on the offensive.
They sent in the yeomanry – made up of landowners, mill owners and shopkeepers, on horseback with cutlasses to disperse the crowd.
At the same time a regular cavalry unit and an artillery unit were sent in.
Eleven people were murdered and around 400 maimed or injured.
The event was named the “Peterloo” Massacre in an ironic reference to the Battle of Waterloo.
Peterloo was a crucial episode in the education of the working class movement.
It was an early example of what landowners and industrialists were prepared to do to break the movement.
Chartism – Ernest Jones’s law firm
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Chartism was the great working class movement for political representation and rights that swept Britain in the mid-19th century.
Ernest Jones was the deputy editor of the Chartist’s newspaper, the Northern Star.
Funded by workers’ contributions, the Northern Star reached a circulation of 50,000 in 1839 – rivalling the Times.
Jones played a leading role in a wave of unrest in 1848.
He was arrested and imprisoned for “sedition” and spent two years in solitary confinement under barbaric conditions, but this didn’t break his commitment to the struggle.
In 1867 Jones was one of the barristers who unsuccessfully defended the Manchester Martyrs.
These were three Irish republicans who were framed and executed for the murder of a police sergeant.
When he died in 1869, around 80,000 people lined the route of his funeral procession through the centre of Manchester.
The day before the funeral, Engels wrote, “The fellow really is a loss…
Here in Manchester there is no one who can take his place with the workers.”
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On Brazenose Street is the statue of former US president Abraham Lincoln.
It was erected in 1986 to commemorate the support received by the North in the American Civil War of 1861–1865 from workers in Britain, especially in Lancashire.
Written on the base of the statue is a message of support from a public meeting in Manchester at the time and Lincoln’s note of thanks.
Many British workers at the time supported the North in the fight against slavery.
It was also an issue of class as most of the British establishment were openly sympathetic to the Confederate slave owners of the South.
Suffragettes – Free Trade Hall
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Women in the mills around Manchester had a long tradition of organisation and radical politics.
This was the backdrop to the founding of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) at the home of the Pankhurst family in Manchester in 1903.
The role of the organisation was to target the government in the fight for women’s right to vote.
Two years later, in October 1905, Sir Edward Grey, the Liberal shadow foreign secretary spoke at the Manchester Free Trade Hall.
As he was speaking Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, two members of the WSPU, stood up and unfurled banners saying “Votes for Women”.
They demanded to know what a Liberal government would do for the emancipation of women.
They were evicted from the hall and then arrested when they tried to hold a meeting outside.
They refused to pay fines and went to prison, Annie for three days and Christabel, who had allegedly spat at a police officer, for seven days.
Support for the women poured in, including from Keir Hardie, one of the founders of the Independent Labour Party.
The arrests sparked an explosion of direct action and agitation across the country.
This was the beginning of the movement that became known as the suffragettes.
In 1945 over 100 delegates and observers attended a Pan African congress in Chorlton Town Hall in the south of Manchester.
The conference was part of an upsurge of post Second World War anti-colonial activity.
Delegates from across Africa, the West Indies and from organisations of Africans in Britain attended the congress.
It also attracted far more trade union representatives than previous conferences.
One of the organisers was Ras Makonnen, who studied at Manchester University and raised funds for the movement through a chain of African restaurants in the city.
He said that the congress was held in Manchester because, “You could say that we had a right there, because of the age-old connections between cotton, slavery and the building up of such cities in England.”
Many young Africans who would go on to become the leaders of independent African nations were present.
They included the future president of Malawi Hastings Banda, the future president of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah who went on to become the prime minister of Ghana.
Gardner’s engineers strike
Engineers in Manchester were at the centre of strikes and occupations in the 1970s and early 1980s.
In 1980, 2,400 workers at Gardner’s diesel engine factory in Eccles voted to occupy the factory.
After seven weeks they defeated management’s plans to sack 590 workers.
2003 – anti-war protest
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Some 3,000 school students brought Manchester to a standstill when they blocked the junction at Oxford Road as the US and Britain invaded Iraq.
British soldier tortured Iraqi to death: here.
Labour party suffers under Blair: here.
TIME TO GO march at the Labour Party conference, MANCHESTER, SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER
YOU CAN STILL JOIN THE COACH FROM HAMMERSMITH TO MANCHESTER THIS SATURDAY, HIRED BY HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM STOP THE WAR COALITION
TICKETS COST £15 EMPLOYED , £5 CONCESSIONS, £3 UNDER 18s
BBC TV CAMERAS WILL BE AT HAMMERSMITH TO SEE THE COACH OFF ON SATURDAY MORNING
BUY YOUR TICKET NOW BY CALLING 07984 405 307 or 020 8237 4956
SEE YOU ON SATURDAY!!!!!!!
KILOMBO journal, published by Kilombo Community Education Project with managing editor Explo Nani-Kofi, has gained a reputation as a leading Pan Africanist journal focusing on radical activism and issues on the continent of Africa. Its tenth anniversary is coming up next year, 2007.
KILOMBO gets no funding: the journal relies entirely on sponsorship, subscriptions and sales. The cover price is £2 (¤2.90) for 40 pages, and the annual subscription is £10 (includes postage). KILOMBO comes out quarterly.
I’m writing to ask you if you’d like to become a sponsor. No amount is too small. Current sponsors contribute from £5 a month upwards, or you can send a one off amount. If you become a KILOMBO sponsor, you automatically receive an annual subscription. You will also be asked to events and meetings in the UK which KILOMBO organises.
The next issue, November/December, will be out soon. Don’t miss it.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS FILL OUT THE STANDING ORDER FORM ATTACHED AND POST IT TO PO BOX 21266, LONDON W9 3YR.
KILOMBO editorial board
A Tenant’s Guide to Renting
The first challenge every tenant faces is finding an apartment for rent that suits their individual needs. For today’s tenant, the most effective apartment search can be done using an online apartment finder. Tenants should decide what they require in an apartment or house rental before beginning their search. For example: the number of bedrooms, location or distance from public transportation and how much the tenant can afford to pay in rent, furnished or unfurnished apartment, etc. By making these important decisions first, tenants can avoid renting an apartment or house only to regret it later. Many tenants today are taking advantage of the convenience of the internet to locate apartments for rent as opposed to the traditional print publications.
Once a possible apartment or home has been found, it is the tenant’s duty to thoroughly inspect the premises making a commitment in the form of a security deposit. A tenant should not rely on the landlord or the landlord’s agent to tell the tenant if anything is wrong with the property. The tenant must inspect the property carefully and ask questions about it.
Inspecting the condition and functionality of the following areas/features of the apartment before committing yourself as a tenant is highly recommended.
1. Kitchen appliances in working order.
2. Water pressure strong, plumbing without leaks.
3. Electrical outlets and wiring working.
4. Walls and ceiling painted or papered without cracks
5. Ventilation or air conditioning accessible.
6. Floors, railings and bathrooms in good repair.
7. Fire escape easy to use.
8. Stairs safe and well-lighted.
9. No rodents or insects.
10. Heating system in working order.
11. If furnished, check and write down condition of all furniture.
12. Windows and doors operable and weather-tight; screens provided.
The tenant should also check the security of the building to find out if there is a dead-bolt lock, security chain, or through-the-door viewer.
BEWARE OF EXISTING DAMAGES: In order to avoid being blamed for damages that already exist in the rental unit, the cautious tenant should take every step for self-protection. Before moving in (or as soon as possible thereafter), the tenant should make a list of all existing damages and repairs that need to be made. A copy of the list should he presented to the landlord and attached to the lease This way the landlord cannot blame the tenant for damages caused by others and the tenant will know what the landlord intends to repair. If the tenant keeps good records the landlord will not be able to keep the tenant’s security deposit for damages that were actually caused by others. Taking pictures before moving in is also strongly recommended.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Rossano, associated with http://www.AllSpaces.com who “Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places” has been dedicated to the Real Estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 tenants with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals, feel free to visit http://www.AllSpaces.com or email him at Paul@AllSpaces.com.
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