Humble petition or militant action?

There are two sides to Tolpuddle, argues Mike Macnair

Every year around this time there is a festival and march organised by the Trade Union Congress at Tolpuddle, Dorset, to commemorate the Tolpuddle Martyrs.[1] The martyrs were six men - George Loveless and his brother James, James Hammett, James Brine, Thomas Standfield and his son John - who were convicted in 1834 of “administering an unlawful oath” - ie, attempting to form a branch of an agricultural labourers’ union - and sentenced to transportation to Australia. Within two years a mass campaign had secured their pardon and their release. This year’s festival is taking place over the coming weekend, July 16-18, with the march on Sunday at 2pm.

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Weekly Worker 826 is also available in PDF format