In a word, the bourgeoisie creates a world in its image.Comrades! We must destroy that image!A spectre is haunting Britain: the spectre of communism. All the forces of the old and new imperialism have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: British Petroleum and pop music, the Eurodollar and anti-trade union laws, Elizabeth the dunce and Wilson the traitor.

Eurodollars are time deposits denominated in U.S. dollars at banks outside the United States, and thus are not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve. Consequently, such deposits are subject to much less regulation than similar deposits within the U.S., allowing for higher margins. The term was originally coined for U.S. dollars in European banks, but it expanded over the years to its present definition: a U.S. dollar-denominated deposit in Tokyo or Beijing would be likewise deemed a Eurodollar deposit. There is no connection with the euro currency or the euro zone.

The continued relevance of industrial nationalisation (a centerpiece of the post-War Labour government’s programme) had been a key point of contention in Labour’s internal struggles of the 1950s and early 1960s. Wilson’s predecessor as leader, Hugh Gaitskell, had tried in 1960 to tackle the controversy head-on, with a proposal to expunge Clause Four (the public ownership clause) from the party’s constitution, but had been forced to climb down. Wilson took a characteristically more subtle approach. He threw the party’s left wing a symbolic bone with the renationalisation of the steel industry, but otherwise left Clause Four formally in the constitution but in practice on the shelf.


With public frustration over strikes mounting, Wilson’s government in 1969 proposed a series of changes to the legal basis for industrial relations (labour law) in the UK, which were outlined in a White Paper “In Place of Strife” put forward by the Employment Secretary Barbara Castle. Following a confrontation with the Trades Union Congress, which strongly opposed the proposals, and internal dissent from Home Secretary James Callaghan, the government substantially backed down from its intentions. Some elements of these changes were subsequently to be revived (in modified form) during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher.


A number of liberalising social reforms were passed through parliament during Wilson’s first period in government. These included the abolition of capital punishment, decriminalisation of sex between men in private, liberalisation of abortion law and the abolition of theatre censorship. The Divorce Reform Act was passed by parliament in 1969 (and came into effect in 1971).


According to one historian, “In its commitment to social services and public welfare, the Wilson government put together a record unmatched by any subsequent administration, and the mid-sixties are justifiably seen as the ‘golden age’ of the welfare state”.


Wilson’s approach of maintaining close relations with the US while pursuing an independent line on Vietnam has attracted new interest in the light of the different approach taken by the Blair government vis-a-vis Britain’s participation in the Iraq War (2003).

Activist frustration with Labour governments is not new. Hundreds of members threw away their party cards in disgust over Harold Wilson’s anti-trade union laws and support for the US in Vietnam. But the Wilson government’s shift to the right was of mainly internal importance – a betrayal of conference decisions. And there was enough democracy left in party structures for a strong core of activists to feel confident that they could hold the leadership to account, which they did in the 1970s.

The bourgeoisie have destroyed all human relationships except those of naked self-interest and the callousness of cash on the line on the never-never.

Masses of labourers herded into factories and offices are organized like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army, they are put under the command of a hierarchy of sergeants and officers. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class and the bourgeois state, they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overseer, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer and his representatives.

The more openly this despotism claims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful, and the more embittering it is.

But does wage labour create any property for the labourer? Of course not: it creates capital – that is, that kind of property which exploits wage labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of obtaining a new supply of wage labour for fresh exploitation. In bourgeois society, human labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In communist society, accumulated labour is but one means to widen, enrich, and promote the existence of the worker.In bourgeois society, the past dominates the present. In communist society, the present dominates the past. For the worker, labour and the expression of the power of his labour is his own vital energy, his way of making his life meaningful to himself. And this, his vital energy, is sold to a stranger in order to obtain his necessary means of subsistence. Hence, his vital energy is transformed into no more than a means to exist. He labours in order to live. Work is not part of his life; it is a sacrifice of his life. It is merchandise sold to the highest bidder. This is why what he produces is not the aim of his labour. What he produces for himself is not the car he assembles, the oil he extracts from a well, nor the luxury hotel he builds. What he produces for himself is the wage, whilst the MG, black gold, and the Hilton dwindle to a precise quantity of essentials, whether a bicycle, two gallons of petrol, ten cigarettes or a room in a council flat. To claim that the worker has an interest in the speedy growth of capital only means that the more the worker rapidly increases the riches of the capitalist, the more substantial the leftover he receives. The more workers one engages and makes them reproduce, the more one multiplies the mass of slaves under the yoke of capitalism. Hence, as the satisfaction of work decreases and loathing for work increases, competition between workers grows and wages fall. Workers try to maintain their relative wage either by working longer hours or by increasing the rate of productivity. Driven by fear, they multiply the disastrous effects of the division of labour. The result is the more one works, the less one receives, for the simple reason that, by competing against his workmates, the worker turns them into competitors who will sell themselves into conditions equally as onerous as his own. For when all is said and done, he, as a member of the working class, is only competing against himself. In 1368, peasants led by Tyler and Ball rose against feudal oppression.

[Excerpt from John Ball’s speech at Blackheath: “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.”]

In 1648, peasant soldiers called Levellers fought for the new cooperative commonwealth.

From the “postscript” to the above text, by the author, Dudley Edwards, a self-described “trade unionist”: “I wrote this pamphlet in 1947-48 when, after the honeymoon with Stalinist Russia during the Second World War, the mass media were once again portraying communism as everything that was alien to the “true spirit” of the British nation a purely foreign importation. As a passionate young follower of the history of British socialism I was convinced that the insinuation that the communist idea had no roots in our own history was essentially false.

“Therefore I felt the need to show that when those emotive words ‘our national heritage’ are used by the representatives of capitalist society, the aim is to blot out that other heritage the heritage of the common people. I wanted to show that for hundreds of years, indeed, from the days of Wat Tyler’s peasant revolt, the labouring masses have always fought against the establishment of the day.

“As a matter of fact communist ideas were prevalent among the common people long before the USSR or even Karl Marx were heard of. I believed therefore that it is this heritage that must be revived. The story of the Levellers is just one incident in the age-long struggle of the rank and file to change society. The official historians have buried such incidents as the battle at Burford under great files of dry-as-dust manuscripts. The uncovering of these revolutionary struggles will become an inspiration to the working-class movement to realise those ideas which were seen by the old pioneers as ‘through a glass darkly.’” The Diggers were an English group of Protestant agrarian communists, begun by Gerrard Winstanley as True Levellers in 1649, who became known as Diggers due to their activities. Their original name came from their belief in economic equality based upon a specific passage in the Book of Acts. The Diggers tried (by “levelling” real property) to reform the existing social order with an agrarian lifestyle based on their ideas for the creation of small egalitarian rural communities.

“Winstanley, The Diggers,” an excerpt from Kenneth Rexroth, Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century

Workers must understand that existing society, with all the misery it heaps upon them, also gives rise to the material conditions and social forms necessary to its economic transformation. They must replace the conservative slogan, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” with the revolutionary slogan, “Abolition of the wage system!”

In 1791, artisans formed a free association to forward the ideas of the French Revolution. In 1844, [a weavers’ revolt?].

In June 1844 disturbances and riots occurred in the Prussian province of Silesia, a major center of textile manufacturing.Crowds of weavers attacked homes and warehouses, destroyed machinery, and demanded money from local merchants. In response, the Prussian army was called to restore order in the region. In a confrontation between the weavers and troops, shots were fired into the crowd, killing 11 people and wounding others. The leaders of the disturbances were arrested, flogged, and imprisoned. The uprising was a result of severe social and economic distress in the region. Due to competition from overseas markets, the Silesian textile industry was in decline. This, combined with the impact of population growth, threatened to force the income of the Silesian weavers to below subsistence levels. In many ways the Silesian weavers’ revolt was a traditional response to poverty and hunger. However, some of the weavers’ words and actions seemed to indicate a changing understanding of their position in society. Because of this the event has gained enormous significance in the history of the German labor movement. In particular, Karl Marx regarded the uprising as evidence of the birth of a German workers’ movement. The weavers’ rebellion served as an important symbol for later generations concerned about poverty and oppression in German society.

The relationship of man to man is imparted through the relationship between man and woman.There is a science of the image. Let’s begin to build it. Here are some pointers.Materialism, dialectics, documentary, fiction, war of national liberation, people’s war.We get less pay for the same work as men. We’re less likely to get jobs […] We’re less likely to be educated, less likely to be unionized.The present setup of the family puts great strains on us. Either we’re struggling to combine badly paid work with bringing up a family or unable to do work for which we’ve been trained.Ideology and beauty.The area of taboo on our sexuality is much more extensive, and the double standard is still pervasive. Some women still never experience orgasm.Hitler and Hollywood.When we complain, it’s about little things. We want to drive buses and play football. We don’t want to be brought with bottles or expensive wines.Exploitation of women.We don’t want to be wrapped up in cellophane, sent off to make tea or shuffled into the social committee.And when you complain about the little things, you get stuck in the little things. It’s difficult to get out of them. It’s difficult to get beyond them.The jungle of sex.And there’s no way they can be dismissed because people say, “Well, you’re just trying to be as men.”But it’s the little things which happen to you all the time…Virgin land.…every day, all the time, wherever you go, all your life, which make revolutions. Revolutions are about little things.It’s here that the subordinated relates to the dominated. It’s here that discontent focuses.The problem of women. The problem of the farm labourers.…it’s here the experience is felt, is expressed, articulated, resisted through the particular.Man. City. Woman. Country.…the particular pummels you gently into passivity, so that you can’t even see beyond the little things, beyond the particular.We don’t how to find one another or ourselves. Freudian revolution. Marxist sexuality.Thus we are divided like all oppressed groups, divided by real situations and in our understanding and consciousness of our condition.We’re in different classes, as we devour and use one another.Emancipation is often only the struggle of the privileged to improve and consolidate its superiority.The women of the working class remain the exploited of the exploited, oppressed as workers and oppressed as women.We’re divided, too, because sometimes we’re with families and sometimes we’re without them. This makes us distrust one another, because the woman with a home and children…In 1919, Lenin refused four days of rest to women workers during their periods.…is suspicious of the women with no ties; she sees her as a threat, a potential threat to her territorial security.And the single woman feels the married woman is being subtly critical of her because she’s not fulfilling her role as homemaker, her function as child bearer. She feels that she’s being accused of being unable to be a woman.They tell us what we should be.Marxist-Leninist analysis of the most natural position to fuck.As we grow up, especially from puberty, we’re under intensive pressure to be acceptable, not to put ourselves outside the safety net of marriage. We’re taught from small girls that failure means not being selected by men. It’s the same as being…Sexuality and surplus value.The sign of intelligence and subtlety is being able to secure the contractual bargain, handing over your virginity for a marriage document. Orgasm is a matter of merchandise. They don’t like us to be too clever. Remember: you might go to university, but men want someone who can cook. The emphasis in our education tends to be much more on integration. The encouragement of active criticism, of intellectual aggression, is very rare. It’s the cautious virtues which predominate.This is difficult when you find yourself in an intellectual confrontation with men, because there’s a double bind…Proletarian eroticism: for a family to love a woman profoundly.…it’s assumed you have nothing to say, or it’s difficult to assert that you want to say something to say, or you’re observed to say nothing.Bourgeois eroticism: to sleep with as many women as possible.They assume you’ve got nothing to say.It’s very difficult to stray from the definition of what they want because there’s a danger of being rejected in a double sense. You’re not only rejected as a rebel, but you’re rejected for a moral reason, too. It’s much more difficult to cope with the moral thing. There’s still the whole dirty frightened patronizing world behind “slut,” “tart,” “old slag,” “nymphomaniac,” “dolly,” “bird,” “chick,” “bit of stuff,” “bit of crumpet,” “old bag,” “silly cow,” “bluestocking.” These words have got no male equivalents because there are no male equivalents.The body, private property, and jealousy. Production and reproduction.In 1841, the first mining unions [are] founded.…limited liberated areas. You give up struggling on every front and you ease into a niche of acceptance. You become the educated housewife with your cooking recipes. Or the image of the suffragette, which is a distorted image: tweedy, [with an air of authority, short hair] and a deep voice, advancing aggressively on the male world, in the boardroom.– The educated housewife with her recipes. You know, that’s the only place that you get to, sort of […] making the kitchen more efficient.The sexual oppression of this […] is a profound distaste for the male: emancipation simply becomes doing without men.Sexuality is another retreat. Because you haven’t had the choice, the free choice, of what to do with your bodies because they’ve been part of somebody else’s belongings. You prove that you have got control, that you are liberated, simply by fucking. But if you can’t extend the definition of your constraint beyond this, you’re in an even worse hang-up. Because you’re just caught: you’re reacting…– Well, she says, that’s not emancipated enough just to go around fucking. That’s the first thing that a chick thinks about……you’re reacting not because you’re trying to say, “I want to be something else.” You’re just reacting to…1911: Liverpool town hall is stormed by strikers and their wives.

They forget that you’re trapped within a system. You’re trapped fundamentally, through your class.Conceal your sex. [The] Times, Pravda, Figaro.And you’re trapped because you’re still reacting to the definition that somebody else has of you.Keep the existence of workers councils a secret. BBC, Radio Moscow, [Radio] France Inter[national].Marxists have always stressed, when they talk about the subordination of women, that it’s part of the total, mutual devouring process called capitalism. They’ve said that capitalism forces people to eat each other…Miniskirt and counterrevolution.…and that the false relationships between men and men, and women and men, are part of this process. But sometimes this has been twisted into a rather glib distinction.The revolutionary silence of lovers. Bureaucratic verbiage.They’ve said, “It’s just an economic thing.” They’ve said, “Wait until we get the revolution, then we’ll deal you actual equality. We’ll give you equal pay, and we’ll give you nursery schools.”Another thing they’ve said is that the way that women are subordinated is through the family…Solitary pleasure and fascism.…through a particular kind of historical process which developed along with capitalism. And therefore they’ve said, “When we’ve abolished capitalism, we can then go on to abolish the family…”Sexual perversion and Stalinism.“…but people are attached to the family now, so you can’t do anything about it.” And in a way you can’t do anything about any of the situations of capitalism, ultimately. But in every other area – in the situation of the working class or in the situation of Negroes – where there’s an idea of struggle…Neurosis and revolution.…there’s always been the idea that you work firstly for reforms, and then you put forward strategic demands. These are kinds of reforms which cannot be granted in the system, but they lead on to new kinds of possible alternatives. And it seems that it would be a good thing to apply this to women: that is, by asking certain things, you not only get a better condition, but you expose the inadequacies and the contradictions within the system.

Rowbotham wrote an essay recited in Godard’s British Sounds which is very good and quite right still (which is temporally depressing, but hardly her fault). In fact, what she says about British Sounds and Godard is so intriguing I’m typing it up:

‘His idea was to film me with nothing on reciting words of emancipation as I walked up and down a flight of stairs – the supposition being that eventually the voice would override the images of the body. This made me uneasy for two reasons. I was a 36C and considered my breasts too floppy for the sixties fashion. Being photographed lying down with nothing on was fine, but walking downstairs could be embarrassing. Moreover, while I didn’t think nudity was a problem in itself, the early women’s groups were against what we called ‘objectification’…Why on earth did the pesky male mind jump so quickly from talk of liberation to nudity, I wondered…

Godard came out to Hackney to convince me. He sat on the sandied floor of my bedroom, a slight man, his body coiled in persuasive knots. Neither Godard the man nor Godard the mythical creator of Breathless were easy to contend with. I perched in discomfort on the end of my bed an announced ‘I think if there’s a woman with nothing on appearing on the screen no one’s going to listen to the words’, suggesting perhaps he could film our ‘This Exploits Women’ stickers on the tube. Godard gave me a baleful look, his lip curled. ‘Don’t you think I am able to make a c*** boring?’, he exclaimed. We were locked in a conflict over a fleeting ethnographic moment.

In the end a compromise was settled. The Electric Cinema had recently opened in Notting Hill and needed money. A young women (with small breasts) from there agreed to walk up and down the stairs and I did the voice over. When British Sounds was shown in France…the audience cheered as I declared ‘They tell us what we are…One is simply not conscious of “men” writers, of “men” film makers. They are just “writers”, just “film-makers”. The reflected image for women they create will be taken straight by women themselves. These characters “are” women.’ As for Godard’s intention of making a c*** boring, I cannot say except that a friend in International Socialism told me that his first thought had been ‘crumpet’ – until the shot went on and on and on, and he started to listen.’ (From Shelia Rowbotham, Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties, quoted in Colin MacCabe, Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy)

Sometimes the class struggle is also the struggle of one image against another image, of one sound against another sound.Recently, this country has not been paying its way.In a film, this struggle is between images and sounds.1926: General Strike.

The miners maintained resistance for a few months before being forced by their own economic needs to return to the mines. By the end of November most miners were back at work. However, many remained unemployed for many years. Those that were employed were forced to accept longer hours, lower wages, and district wage agreements. The strikers felt as though they had achieved nothing. The effect on the British coal-mining industry was profound. By the late 1930s, employment in mining had fallen by more than one-third from its pre-strike peak of 1.2 million miners, but productivity had rebounded from under 200 tons produced per miner to over 300 tons by the outbreak of the Second World War. The Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act of 1927, among other things, forbade sympathetic strikes and mass picketing.

Workers have come to expect too much: high wages, short hours, the whole lot. We’ve got to produce them cheaply. That means keeping workers’ wages down until we, the employers who really run the country, decide that higher wages can be afforded….bad industrial relations. Productivity and trade are being sabotaged by unofficial strikes, go-slows, work-to-rules. It……very bluntly to these wreckers and shirkers that there’s no place in this country anymore for saboteurs who are out to prevent their fellow workers from serving their employers. From now on, collective agreements between unions and employers will become enforceable by law. Those who refuse to play the game, those who are intent on disrupting the economy, will be dealt with by industrial courts and will pay the price like any other common criminals.Organize!…the capacity of British business to hold its own in the world. If families have to wait a few years before finding somewhere to live, then they’ll just have to wait. And as for education……the nation’s youth need to be trained to play their part in industry. This is the age of the specialist, the technologist, germ warfare expert, graduate policeman, and management in industry. These people have to be trained.Aren’t they filling their heads with a lot of fancy ideas that only give them an exaggerated idea of their own importance? They behave as if the world belonged to them, as if the world owed them a living.Organize!What about respect for their elders and betters? All these young hooligans seem to think about is sex and drugs and running wild in the streets.Unite!We must call a halt to this so-called permissive society. The students don’t only want a bigger slice of the cake, they want the whole…Most students are glad to be at university and are willing to do some work in return for the money the country pays them….many of them foreigners here at the taxpayer’s expense who are not at university to study, but to disrupt and undermine British institutions. These academic thugs, these window smashers, these policemen baiters, we will deal with them very severely. Those who attack our institutions, who destroy respect for authority, who spread discontent and anarchy, who claim that they should control the places of education they’re lucky enough to attend – as if these pipsqueaks could run anything! –all of these communist rabble must be swept out of the universities and out of the headlines they love to hog so dearly. Let’s repress these longhaired sex perverts and make room for decent, respectable, clean-living young people who understand that politics and education have nothing whatever to do with each other. Send the offenders to labour camps: they’d soon learn how to work there. And as for the war in Vietnam they’re always going on about…Organize!…step by step as this war has gone on, we’ve agreed with what the Americans have done…Unite! Unite!…a magnificent sacrifice of men and money in the defence of freedom……they want a fight……so let’s give them one. War’s a nasty business: people are going to be killed. But I believe we must take this risk. In this kind of game, it’s necessary to shoot and bomb. Sometimes it is necessary to burn women and children. Sometimes, to torture people. Sometimes, to slice their stomachs open and cut women’s breasts off. Let’s not kid ourselves: you fight wars to win them, by whatever means are necessary. And we don’t like coloured people, and I’ll tell you why…Organize!…money and materials into their primitive homelands because they simply can’t handle their own affairs…If the people of India breed too fast, it’s no concern of ours. We’re supposed to feel sorry for them because they’re starving. Well, some of us don’t feel sorry: we feel glad. Let them starve, let them die. Let them starve at least, or…Strike! Strike!…built factories, sent them tanks and tractors, helped them build and run their governments. And in return we don’t just take the raw materials we need; we buy their shoddy clothes and trinkets, too……perhaps in the house next to you, with their laziness, promiscuity, and sordid homes. Now, we’re not racialists, but the way these people live is filthy, as you’d see if you went to look at the backstreets of Wolverhampton today. These people just don’t accept our standards of civilization. They live in filth and squalor. They breed like rabbits, and they suck our social services dry. Unless we put a stop to the influx of this horde, our cities will soon be so full of aliens that we won’t recognize them…… seeing whole areas of our land transformed into alien territory…

Enoch Powell, “Rivers of Blood” speech (full text)

The “Rivers of Blood” speech was a speech criticising Commonwealth immigration, as well as proposed anti-discrimination legislation in the United Kingdom made on Saturday, April 20, 1968 by Enoch Powell (1912–1998), the Conservative Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West. Though Powell referred to the speech as “the Birmingham speech”, it is otherwise known as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, a title derived from its allusion to a line from Virgil’s Aeneid. Although the phrase “rivers of blood” does not appear in the speech, it does include the line, “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'”


Powell recounted a conversation with one of his constituents, a middle-aged working man, a few weeks earlier. Powell said that the man told him: “If I had the money to go, I wouldn’t stay in this country… I have three children, all of them been through grammar school and two of them married now, with family. I shan’t be satisfied till I have seen them all settled overseas.” The man finished by saying to Powell: “In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” Powell went on:

Here is a decent, ordinary fellow-Englishman, who in broad daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament, that the country will not be worth living in for his children. I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else. What he is saying, thousands and hundreds of thousands are saying and thinking – not throughout Great Britain, perhaps, but in the areas that are already undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.

Powell quoted a letter he received from a woman in Northumberland, about an elderly woman living in a Wolverhampton street where she was the only white resident. The elderly woman had lost her husband and her two sons in World War II and had rented out the rooms in her house. Once immigrants had moved into the street she was living in, her white lodgers left. Two black men had knocked on her door at 7 am to use her telephone, but she refused and was subsequently verbally abused. She had asked her local authority for a rates reduction, but was told by a council officer to let out the rooms of her house. When the woman said the only tenants would be black, the council officer replied: “Racial prejudice won’t get you anywhere in this country.” The next part of the letter that Powell quoted went:

We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancées whom they have never seen.


The Times newspaper declared it “an evil speech”, stating “This is the first time that a serious British politician has appealed to racial hatred in this direct way in our postwar history.” The Times went on to record incidents of racial attacks in the immediate aftermath of Powell’s speech. One such incident, reported under the headline “Coloured family attacked”, took place on Tuesday 30 April in Wolverhampton itself: it involved a slashing incident with 14 white youths chanting “Powell” and “Why don’t you go back to your own country” at patrons of a West Indian christening party. One of the West Indians who was cut, a Mr Wade Crooks of Lower Villiers Street, was the child’s grandfather. He had to have eight stitches over his left eye. He was reported as saying “I have been here since 1955 and nothing like this has happened before. I am shattered.”[19] An opinion poll commissioned by the BBC television programme Panorama in December 1968 found that 8% of immigrants believed that they had been treated worse by white people since Powell’s speech, 38% would like to return to their country of origin if offered financial help, 47% supported immigration control, with 30% opposed.


Earlier that day, 1,000 London dockers had gone on strike in protest at Powell’s sacking and marched from the East End to the Palace of Westminster carrying placards saying “Don’t knock Enoch” and “Back Britain, not Black Britain”. 300 of them went into the Palace, 100 to lobby the MP for Stepney, Peter Shore, and 200 to lobby the MP for Poplar, Ian Mikardo. Shore and Mikardo were shouted down and some dockers kicked Mikardo. Lady Gaitskell shouted: “You will have your remedy at the next election.” The dockers replied: “We won’t forget.” The organiser of the strike, Harry Pearman, headed a delegation to meet Powell and said after: “I have just met Enoch Powell and it made me feel proud to be an Englishman. He told me that he felt that if this matter was swept under the rug he would lift the rug and do the same again. We are representatives of the working man. We are not racialists.” On 24 April, 600 dockers at St Katharine’s Docks voted to strike and numerous smaller factories across the country followed. 600 Smithfield meat porters struck and marched to Westminster and handed Powell a 92-page petition supporting him. Powell advised against strike action and asked them to write to Harold Wilson, Heath or their MP. However, strikes continued, reaching Tilbury by 25 April and he allegedly received his 30,000th letter supporting him, with 30 protesting against his speech. By 27 April 4,500 dockers were on strike. On 28 April, 1,500 people marched to Downing Street chanting “Arrest Enoch Powell”. Powell claimed to have received 43,000 letters and 700 telegrams supporting him by early May, with 800 letters and four telegrams against. On 2 May, the Attorney-General, Sir Elwyn Jones, announced he would not prosecute Powell after consulting the Director of Public Prosecutions. Whilst a section of the white population appeared to warm to Powell over the speech, the author Mike Phillips recalls that it legitimised hostility, and even violence, towards black Britons like himself.

The Gallup Organization took an opinion poll at the end of April and found that 74% agreed with what Powell had said in his speech; 15% disagreed. 69% felt Heath was wrong to sack Powell and 20% believed Heath was right. Before his speech Powell was favoured to replace Heath as Conservative leader by 1%, with Reginald Maudling favoured by 20%; after his speech 24% favoured Powell and 18% Maudling. 83% now felt immigration should be restricted (75% before the speech) and 65% favoured anti-discrimination legislation.

Powell defended his speech on 4 May through an interview for the Birmingham Post: “What I would take ‘racialist’ to mean is a person who believes in the inherent inferiority of one race of mankind to another, and who acts and speaks in that belief. So the answer to the question of whether I am a racialist is ‘no’—unless, perhaps, it is to be a racialist in reverse. I regard many of the peoples in India as being superior in many respects—intellectually, for example, and in other respects—to Europeans. Perhaps that is over-correcting.”

Three Beatles songs reference Powell’s speech: “Get Back” and the unpublished songs “Commonwealth” and “Enoch Powell”.

In November 2010, the actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar recalled the fear which the speech instilled in Britons of Indian origin: “At the end of the 1960s, Enoch Powell was quite a frightening figure to us. He was the one person who represented an enforced ticket out, so we always had suitcases that were ready and packed. My parents held the notion that we may have to leave.”[29]

Workers, strike! Strike!…people who very often don’t even speak our language, who are unable to adapt to our way of life, who persist in maintaining their native customs……the immigrants themselves suffer from the racial bitterness that is created when they swamp our houses and our jobs. In their interest as much as ours, let’s send them packing. Let’s sterilize them. In fact – and this is really the simplest solution of them all – let’s exterminate them. Let’s kill these people, too: like the old-age pensioners, like the Vietnamese, like anybody who interferes with the democratic progress of big business and capital. Thank you, and good night.…to analyze what it has discovered, just as Lavoisier analyzed oxygen, discovered by Priestley, and Marx analyzed the theory of value, discovered by Ricardo.

Several extended scenes, such as those where Dagenham car factory workers discuss workplace relations, are crisp, simple and also an invaluable record of industrial rhetoric.

– We had a system where, on the moving line, the quicker you worked, the more space you had in hand. The more space you had in hand, the more time you would have to do your job. But if you got the bad job, if you were doing a job where, we’d say, you had a cross-threaded nut, it mean you were knocked straight back down. In other words, it meant you were at a point where, if you went further than that, it meant that you were in trouble then, because you had to work twice as hard to get back to the original position of where you started. So consequently, two bad jobs would knock you right back down the line, so it was constantly a question of advancing or retreating. And the one dread you had was that if you did get a bad job, you were going to be knocked back down the line, and consequently all the rest of the fellows to your left were on your back and would have to wait to do their operations. Consequently, this was nightmarish.In 1650, Cromwell announces the new Enclosure Acts, driving them off the land into poverty.

Marxist historians have focussed on enclosure as a part of the class conflict that eventually eliminated the English peasantry and saw the emergence of the bourgeoisie. From this viewpoint, the English Civil War provided the basis for a major acceleration of enclosures. The parliamentary leaders supported the rights of landlords vis-a-vis the King, whose Star Chamber court, abolished in 1641, had provided the primary legal brake on the enclosure process. By dealing an ultimately crippling blow to the monarchy (which, even after the Restoration, no longer posed a significant challenge to enclosures) the Civil War paved the way for the eventual rise to power in the 18th century of what has been called a “committee of Landlords”, a prelude to the UK’s parliamentary system. The economics of enclosures also changed. Whereas earlier land had been enclosed in order to make it available for sheep farming, by 1650 the steep rise in wool prices had come to an end. Thereafter, the focus shifted to implementation of new agricultural techniques, including fertilizer, new crops, and crop rotation, all of which greatly increased the profitability of large-scale farms. The enclosure movement probably peaked from 1760 to 1832; by the latter date it had essentially completed the destruction of the medieval peasant community.

– …nobody else could do it at thirty an hour: there wasn’t a man made [who could do it]. This bloke had grown up with the job, and he could do it. But there wasn’t a man made who could do this job at thirty an hour. To this day they’ve got about three people doing this job, which one man used to perform before, because they couldn’t find another man. They couldn’t slow the line down enough to teach him. They couldn’t teach him at thirty an hour. – There’s a perfect example in the mine itself, where you’ve got a senior steward who, when at night he’s called into the office to take up a case, it takes three and forty men on sick leave to cover him, and that’s half his job, because he’s the only one who’s used to it.In 1834, workers from Dorchester are shipped into bondage for being members of a trade union. – You can never overcome this problem because as far as industry is concerned… You can never overcome industrial problems whilst they belong in the hands of the employing class. The only way that you can ever overcome any industrial problems, indeed, in this country is the question of the property relationship of the industries concerned.– I think that management realizes the hardships that night work puts on workers because they’re prepared to pay their own staff… Their own staff gets eight pounds a week for night work, while the workers get four pounds nine and eight.The fraternity of hostile classes, proclaimed in the speeches of industrial magnates, inscribed on the blackboards of grammar schools and universities, and transmitted by television networks, is based upon the exploitation of one class by the other. Its genuine, authentic and prosaic expression is civil war in its most hideous form: the war between capital and labour.– One of them used to reach inside the car like this, and the other bloke used to reach in the car like this, and when they used to shake hands they used to stand about ten feet apart. Because their arms would stretch: this is an absolute fact! And if you go in Morris Motors, what it is, is piecework, because you’re moving the same arm…In 1872, a dockers’ strike broken by gunboats and troops.

In 1872 the dockers and a number of unions had tried to flex their muscles and went on strike. They obtained 5d an hour – up from 4d – and an overtime rate of 6d.14 For the casual, the victory was a hollow one: the dock companies now made even greater use of the ‘hire-by-the-hour’ method. This left many casuals working shorter stretches and therefore substantially out of pocket. In the meantime, the dockside aristocracy increased its power by making sure that those jobs now needing to be filled with permanent employees – ones that had previously been done by using sets of semi-skilled casuals – came under the control of their unions.

The atmosphere of depression now is really awful.– My daughter said to my wife, “Mum, is daddy dead?” “No,” she said, “he just works at BMC [British Motor Corporation].”– You can get [that] effect from a person actually working on the [Austin] 1100 [automobile]. He puts window winders on. He has ten screws to put in each door. He makes up two thousand two hundred screws a night himself and puts them in. He’s got just over two minutes to do one car. And [this is his job]: two thousand two hundred screws a night. That man goes home in the morning, he goes straight to bed. But even when gets up, that’s all he can think on; he can’t do anything else. He has to use his breaks, which he should have for his lunch, he has to use that to make up screws and prepare for the next job.In 1888, Bloody Sunday in Hyde Park.

The next fall a protest of socialists and radicals was called for Trafalgar Square for 13 November 1887. This time, still smarting from the riot of the previous January, political and police officials had committed a massive body of personnel to the Square, including some 4,000 constables, 300 mounted policemen, 300 soldiers from the Grenadier Guards, and 350 members of the Life Guards. This body of police and military forces used horses, batons, and rifle butts against an estimated 20,000 demonstrators out of the square, injuring hundreds and killing two in the process. Some 200 demonstrators were taken to the hospital, 150 of whom needed surgical treatment. Three hundred demonstrators were arrested and 112 police officers injured. This demonstration and its forcible suppression became known as “Bloody Sunday” to a generation.

The next week, 20 November 1887 the popular mood of protest continued to expand. Some 40,000 demonstrators turned out at Hyde Park to voice their outrage over the “Bloody Sunday” killings, while an additional large crowd gathered in Trafalgar Square. For a second straight week, mounted police charged the crowd, supported by volunteer “special constables. One demonstrator, Alfred Linnell, was crushed by the horses and died of his injuries 12 days later. A massive demonstration of 120,000 Londoners turned out for his funeral.

The London Riot Re-enactment Society will stage re-enactments of noted riots from London’s history, with some attempt at historical accuracy. You are no doubt aware of the widespread popularity of historical re-enactment societies, you may also be aware of moves to re-enact more recent events in history. The London Riot Re-enactment Society was inspired by the idea that we can re-enact not the distant past, but events that we remember and may actually have taken part in. We have chosen define our re-enactment society not by choosing a period of time, but by choosing a theme. We will tap London’s rich history of rioting, and make these riots live again, in our re-enactments.


Bloody Sunday 1887

A peaceful group of re-enactors will gather in Trafalgar Square and be attacked by police on horses. Dozens of re-enactors will be injured.

– Ah, you’re a lazy car worker!– I go off then to the pub, have a drink. I don’t even bother to change: I’m too tired for that…– Your senses are dulled.– Just dulled, yeah.Street demonstrations lead to a tumult, which inevitably affects the most forlorn and timid sections of society. Many are the times we will be bludgeoned in the streets. Many are the times when the government will be the victor. But the more they triumph, the more certain their defeat. Victory today prepares their final defeat.– The point about the psychological effect of piecework on human beings can be seen very easily in the conflict between human beings when they’re on piecework. I know of a case where the mildest, most non-aggressive man you’d ever meet in your life, after having worked seven hours piecework, hit one of his mates over the head with a pump screwdriver because he’d tripped over the air line. This sort of thing that continues, and the tension is enormous! There’s one point on the 1100 line where five men get into a car at once. There’s arms and legs everywhere, there’s men lying on their backs, standing on their legs, almost leaning across.In 1901, the Taff Vale decision almost destroys the trade union movement.

Taff Vale Railway Co v Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants [1901] UKHL 1, commonly known as the Taff Vale case is a formative case in UK labour law. It held that at common law, unions could be liable for loss of profits to employers that were caused by taking strike action.

Taff Vale was met with outrage by the labour movement, was a central cause in the establishment of the UK Labour Party and was soon reversed by the Trade Disputes Act 1906. It was reversed at common law in Crofter Hand Woven Harris Tweed Co Ltd v Veitch.

– For them, they’ve got to make their choice: whether they continue with this job or lose the job. Because it’s a reasonably high-paid job, but it needs to be because of the effort that goes in. The point I’m making is that the dehumanization in the factories concerned…In 1915, the first shop steward committees were set up.– We’re simply against the process under this system of society of capitalism, where all wealth is in the hands of a few individuals, and production…In 1919, Luton town hall is burnt down by the vets and workers.

– If the boss wants to automate it and make it easier, the workers resist it because they know it throws them out of a job. While [the boss and the capitalist] could bring in completely automated plants, which could release all us for more productive work and to spend a better life, what it means is that they haven’t got any people to sell the cars to. So you’ve all got to be stuck in the blasted places, hammering on things, and all you do is produce it for profit. I mean, you take 1960: we were all put on three days [a three-day workweek]. And in 1966 there were thirteen hundred people sacked. And I wanted a car, and dozens of other people wanted a car. Yet, because we didn’t have the money to buy them, and nobody could buy them, everybody is sacked. This is capitalism. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got to have a socialist world. We got have a world where the production is planned for the benefit of all the people who live in the world.– “The Times” has produced figures, not so long ago, of the idle rich and the profits that they’re living on. [They’re] just purely living off the interest. They’re going to the racecourses and that while we’re slogging our guts out in the factories. It’s about time that we had a distribution of the wealth in this country and there’s a fairer share for all. It’s not fair that we should be working our fingers to the bone day in and day out while these people are at the racecourses and elsewhere.The basic error of modern social democracy is to suppose that all one has to say is that there is a place to speak for that place to exist. Whereas the problem is to create the conditions for that speech – speech as the expression of a power. Everyone may agree to allow the right to speak, but no one – no one – will allow it to be taken.– So capitalism surely is much more even than this. Capitalism is far more than just the inequality of wealth within a capitalist nation-state. It’s far more than this. Capitalism is that. Capitalism to exist must have millionaires, and it must have people who are impoverished. It must have this, but more than that, it must internationally have whole sections of the world which are impoverished.My sympathy for the solitary terrorist halts where tactics begin. But where ten men gather together in the cause of creative violence rather than of the painful agony of survival, their despair ends and tactics begin.– The workers in this country thought that Labour would be putting into power a socialist government that would implement… Every man that voted Labour is suddenly awake to realize that it is not a socialist government. It is a capitalist government!– It’s a better capitalist government!In 1916, the government threatened to send striking workers to the front. – Perhaps they’re trying to solve this economic crisis at the expense of the working class as they always have done. Ramsay MacDonald done it: he cut the dole in 1931. You’ve got the Tory party that is swinging rapidly to the right, which will be under the leadership of Enoch Powell, which will be a right wing, racialist government of the type that Hitler had in Germany. So what’s before the working class? Do we carry on supporting these tired old traitors? No, we can’t. What is needed in this crisis is the building of a new political party for the working class. A political party that is committed to Marxism, that is committed to communism, that is prepared to lead the working class in their struggles to overcome all these other parliamentarians.The Vietnamese people’s struggle is the first wave in the tide of world revolution, the culminating point of the common struggle of all labouring men.– …for eighteen months. And without any previous knowledge of what was going on, I was tapped on the shoulder one day. This, mark you, was after eighteen months and, as I say, having drawn out a mortgage on a 4000-pound house. They tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Would you go to the office. Collect your cards. Take a week’s pay in lieu of notice.” And I was out on the road, believe you me, before you could say Jack Robinson: I didn’t know what hit me, actually.To break with the Hollywood system induces a radical change of aesthetics. Is the Marxist concept of surplus value the best weapon with which to unmask the bourgeois concept of presentation? The first task of the anti-imperialist cinema is to answer that question.– If you want to replace… Look, the whole point of the song is that I say “high,” and you say “low” – two opposites. So if you want to replace it, you’ve got to put it with something that is opposite. – What are you trying to change it round to anyway, exactly?– From what it is to… I mean, you can put some very nice things like “Ho Chi Minh” and “Castro” and things at the end of the lines. Somebody got a fag [cigarette]?– It’s got to be opposites all the way through. “You say US. I say Mao. You say… You say war…– No, you can even say, “Say US. I say Mao.” – Let’s think of the right bit with war, then. – You’ve got to say, “Look, I’m a fascist, and you’re a revolutionary. I’m a reactionary, and you’re a revolutionary.” So: “You say US, I say Mao. You say war…”– I think, actually, that if I say “Ho” instead of “no.” – “You say Vietnam, and I say…” something that compels.– But it doesn’t fit in, because “stop” is a very short syllable. You’ve got to have something that fits in with…– Hang on! “You say Nixon, I say Mao.” – “You say Nixon, I say Mao. You say…”– No, that doesn’t go.– “Say US, when I say Mao.”In 1947, [the] Labour government end[s] a dock strike.Television and films do not record moments of reality but simply dialectics, areas of contradictions. Let us illuminate these areas with the blinding light of the class struggle.In 1947, workers [go on strike] in protest against lack of housing.Good!

Self-evident truths belong to bourgeois philosophy. There are neither self-evident images nor images that speak for themselves in the way the Russian revisionist films and the mass-circulation magazines in the west pretend. There is only a fabric of contradictions, whose pattern comprises the whole of society. To make a film is to penetrate this fabric by following the correct line.In 1949, the government decided to spend money on arms and not on housing. – If you say, “You say you want a revolution, well, we know: you never want to change the world. You say it’s evolution. Well, we know you don’t want to change the world.”– It’s a good idea to insert “the constitution” in somewhere.– Yeah! – “You say you’d change the constitution.”– It comes further down, actually.– We don’t want a constitution.1968: Bill Locker and the trawler men.1968: LSE [London School of Economics], Hull, Hornsea, Guilford, Cambridge, Essex, Bristol.Good!Photography is not the reflection of reality. It is the reality of that reflection. Photography was not invented by chance but on the day the bankers of reaction, financing railways and telegraphs, invented modern means of mass communication. That is, when the bourgeoisie found they needed, by other means than painting and the novel, to disguise reality to the masses. 1968: no job and still no job.The Party controls the gun. Production controls consumption and distribution. If a million prints are made of a Marxist-Leninist film, it becomes “Gone with the Wind.” 1888: General Strike.During the projection of an imperialist film, the screen sells the voice of the boss to the viewer. The voice caresses and beats into submission. During the projection of a revisionist film, the screen is the loudspeaker for a voice delegated by the people which is no longer the voice of the people. In silence, people see their own disfigured face. During the projection of a militant film, the screen is no more than a blackboard, the wall of a school offering concrete analysis of a concrete situation. In front of that screen, the living soul of Marxism, the students criticize, struggle, and transform. 1911: tanks and gunboats are used against women and children.– The history of mankind is one of continuous development from […] to the realm of freedom.– In a small way, I think it’s very reactionary. They’re putting over an ideology, putting over a capitalist ideology.– Actually, look, just to show that this song could be quite revolutionary, we could rewrite it properly, and put over completely different ideas. It could be putting over a completely different ideology… to the million-dollar songs.– You’re not making me crazy!– You’re not even a money pie: you’re just crazy.– No, you’re not crazy. She’s not making him crazy.– Honey pie, your position is tragic, you’ve lost all the rest of the person you were.– This is fucking awful!Seizing the revolution with one hand and production with the other: what does that mean for militant filmmakers? It doesn’t mean bringing films to the people, but making films from and through the people. But there is only one way to eliminate war, and that is to oppose war with war, to oppose counterrevolutionary war with revolutionary war, to national counterrevolutionary war with national revolutionary war, and to oppose counterrevolutionary class war with revolutionary class war. Wherever there is struggle, there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. People all over the world are now discussing whether or not a world war will broke out. On this question, too, we must be mentally prepared and do some analysis. Of course, the atom bomb is a weapon of mass slaughter, but the outcome of a war is decided by the people, not by one or two new types of weapons. Ideological education is the key link to be grasped in uniting the whole Party for great political struggles.In any society in which classes exist, class struggle will never end. In classless society, the struggle between the new and the old, and between truth and falsehood will never end.The oppressed peoples and nations must not pin their hopes for liberation on the sensibleness of imperialism and its lackeys. They will only triumph by strengthening their unity and persevering in their struggle. We have the Marxist-Leninist weapon of criticism and self-criticism. We can get rid of the bad style and keep the good. Fight, fail, fight again, fail again, fight again till their victory: that is the logic of the people.The people’s democratic dictatorship needs the leadership of the working class, for it is only the working class that is most far-sighted, most selfless, and most thoroughly revolutionary. The masses are the real heroes. The masses have boundless creative power.Solidarity with the wildcat strikes of Ford’s workers at Dagenham against the fascist laws of Barbara the Scab.;,_Baroness_Castle_of_Blackburn

Solidarity with the struggle of the revolutionary students and teachers at the London School of Economics against the Gestapo of the humanist university.’_Union

LSE Students’ Union made international headlines in the late 1960s during the well documented LSE student riots in 1966-67 and 1968–69. In 1967, David Adelstein, president of the Students’ Union, and Marshall Bloom, president of the Graduate Students’ Association (that then existed as a parallel Union for postgraduates), were suspended from the School for taking part in a protest against the appointment of Walter Adams as Director of the School, in which a porter died of a heart attack. Adams had previously been in Rhodesia and was accused of complicity in the regime’s white minority rule. The suspensions were reversed five days after students began a hunger strike in opposition to the move. An American citizen, Bloom committed suicide in 1969 when he was called up to fight in Vietnam.

The Union once again made the news during 1969 for its student activism when students closed the School for three weeks. The protests were again against the appointment of Walter Adams as Director of the School and his installation of security gates at LSE. These initial security gates were removed by students.

On the 24th October 1968, Adams, fearing an occupation and growing support by the students for the anti-Vietnam War demonstration on 27 October, decided to close the LSE for the weekend. As this questioned the right of the administration to close LSE against the wishes of lecturers and students, the move led to 3,000 students occupying. During the occupation, the School was policed against intruders, and cleaned; teach-ins and discussions were organised; and medical services were set up and staffed. The occupation ended that Sunday night.

In 1969 a “Free LSE” was organised at ULU in response to the suspension of lecturers Robin Blackburn and Nick Bateson.

Solidarity with the artistic offensive launched by open films and agit-prop in the factories, on building sites, and in council flats. Solidarity with The Workers New Daily, The Newsletter, and the efforts of the printers and editors of Keep Left to provide news that is real news.Solidarity with the squatters’ occupations of empty flats and houses in Ealing, and the help given to them by the anarchist movement.Solidarity with the courage of our Maoist comrades in their determination to politicize every anti-imperialist street demonstration.Solidarity with the wages rises won by the dockers and railwaymen, which will aggravate the commercial deficit and make the arrogant jackals of the [London] City howl with rage.We want our revolution now! We want our revolution now!

*Normal font = “Marxist” voiceover monologues (male and female); “–“ + italics = diegetic speech; red font = “revolutionary calendar” voiceover (with child); green font = “feminist” voiceover monologue; purple font = “televised reactionary harangue”; boldface = sound garbled, translated from the Italian subtitles or guessed at; italics only = non-diegetic “songs and revolutionary whispers”; orange font = inserted hyperlinks, comments, and quotations.