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Posted on 23 July 2015 at 18:35 GMT

Tolpuddle march, July 2015

Tolpuddle march, July 2015   (Click to enlarge)

Determined mood at Tolpuddle to defend the unions

Trade unions gathered in Tolpuddle, Dorset, to march to celebrate the founding of the union movement in the 1830s. In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years' transportation to Australia for taking an oath of secrecy. A massive protest swept across the country. Thousands of people marched through London and many more organised petitions and protest meetings to demand their freedom.

This year saw a record crowd as the camp site was fully booked and the car parks were overflowing for the march on Sunday. The whole weekend seemed to reflect a different mood after the government's budget cuts and the anti-trade union laws promised by the Tories.

South West NSSN banner on the Tolpuddle march, July 2015

South West NSSN banner on the Tolpuddle march, July 2015   (Click to enlarge)

Members of the Socialist Party handed out hundreds of leaflets calling for the TUC to organise a general strike to combat the anti-trade union bill, and NSSN leaflets promoting the 13th September NSSN lobby of this year's TUC Congress.

We had three stalls running, with one in the main marquee. Hundreds of people signed our 'Defend the Trade Unions' petition.

As an attendee of the event for years now, never before have I seen the level of response we had this time - we sold 150 copies of the Socialist and collected 200 for our fighting fund. This was a testament to the echo we received for our demands to the TUC to get off its knees and start to defend our movement.

Sean Brogan, Exeter Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 23 July 2015 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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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.

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Related links:

Tolpuddle:

triangleTolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

triangleTolpuddle festival: combative trade unionism and anticipation of general election

triangle'Let the producers of wealth unite - and what can withstand them?'

triangleLarge and upbeat Tolpuddle event

triangleMood to defeat the Blairites

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triangleCovid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

triangleThe 'Lucas Plan'

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

triangleUnited action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

Union:

triangleEnergy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

triangleNo return to unsafe construction sites

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

Socialist:

triangleLondon Socialist Party: Workers' safety before bosses' profits

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Role of the community and voluntary sector

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