Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/835/19766

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 November 2014

Book review

The People Speak: Democracy is not a spectator sport

Pete Mason

Google up The People Speak: Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport and you find a BBC news video. Actor Colin Firth tells a large audience, through playwright Harold Pinter's words, why Tony Blair and George Bush should be in the international criminal court for mass murder!

Firth was inspired by US historian Howard Zinn's documentary project, A People's History of the United States, to develop it for a UK theatre audience in 2010.

The People Speak, by Colin Firth, Anthony Arnove, and David Horspool, now out in paperback, begins with the monk Orderic Vitalis condemning the 'Norman Yoke' of the 1066 Norman Conquest.

It includes a brief, moving account from Edinburgh pensioner Nellie in 1990, who defied the poll tax, in a mass movement led by Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party. Up to a fifth of Britain's population defied the tax, and Nellie was one of the first organisers of the Gorgie/Dalry anti-Poll Tax Union in a movement which removed hated Prime Minister Thatcher from power.

Voices

Nellie's account says, 'I won't be paying my poll tax, no way, even if I had to go to jail'. The 69 year-old details how she had lost all her four children during her hard life, how the pits and the factories had closed. "The poll tax is the final straw."

The epic Liverpool city council struggle of 1983-87 is overlooked, and the great miners' strike of 1984-85 gets only one excerpt, but this is a huge project. The Cable Street battle, the 1888 Matchgirls' strike, the Hand-loom Weavers Lament, an anonymous 'Walthamstow Anti-Slavery' epistle, Engels' Condition of the Working Class in England - this reflects 1,000 voices struggling against injustice.

As Firth says "I hope these voices - socialists, anarchists, agitators, Chartists, suffragists, Lollards or Levellers - serve as a reminder that much of what we feel entitled to today... began as treason."

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 26 November 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

14 day deadline to breadline

Hands off our NHS

Rochester: 'Business as usual' politics falling apart

World economy - heading for the junkyard

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Anger erupts in Ferguson over acquittal of killer cop

Ireland: establishment attacks water tax protests

Anger grows over missing Mexican students


Socialist Party features

Housing crisis! What do socialists say?

Education: "a hurricane of ill thought initiatives"


Socialist Party youth and students

Students march for free education

Victories against sexism in Leeds

Fast Food Rights campaign


Socialist Party workplace news

Health workers walkout in second NHS pay strike

UCU pensions: reinstate the action!

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Are you a socialist?

Council beaten on austerity tax

TUSC says no to cuts in Notts

Way to go, Watford!


Socialist Party reviews and readers' comments

Assassin's Creed Unity

The People Speak: Democracy is not a spectator sport

NHS campaigners must fight all cuts


 

Home   |   The Socialist 26 November 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Democracy:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Capitalist democracy versus socialist democracy

triangleItaly on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

triangleRecord dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

trianglePCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: Workers' democracy vs corporate 'leadership'

Sport:

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Sport and Coronavirus

triangleCapitalism v cricket

triangleGentrification on the terraces: fans say twenty's plenty

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Tax:

triangle30 years since the huge anti-poll tax demo... And how mass non-payment of the tax was built

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleLiverpool & District Socialist Party: 30 years ago - How the poll tax was defeated

Poll tax:

triangleBasingstoke Socialist Party: 30 years ago - the anti-Poll Tax movement

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How the poll tax was defeated

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

27/5/20

Letters

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters

20/5/20

Obituary

Obituary: Rob Crabb

20/5/20

Letters

Going viral: letters to the editors

20/5/20

Upton Sinclair

The Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions

13/5/20

Letters

Going Viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

6/5/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

6/5/20

Review

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?

27/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

22/4/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

15/4/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis

8/4/20

Socialist Party

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

7/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

25/3/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

18/3/20

TV

TV: Noughts and Crosses

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999