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The Great Labour Unrest: Rank-and-File Movements and Political Change in the Durham Coalfield


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The Edwardian Durham coalfield, the second largest British coalfield at a time when coal was still king, was the scene for an intense and bitter power struggle. Liberals, who controlled the wealthy and prestigious Durham Miners’ Association, were being challenged through rank-and-file movements of socialists and revolutionary syndicalists including a small but active grouping of anarchists.

Drawing widely on a vast and rich body of primary sources, this study charts the course of this struggle during the fascinating and turbulent 'Great Labour Unrest' period, exploring the ideological and generational fractures within the socialist, syndicalist and anarchist challenges to Liberalism and their respective successes and failures as they responded to specific material issues facing miners like the eight hour day and the minimum wage.

This book should interest anyone looking for insights into a past of class struggle, of revolutionary ideas in practice, that can also throw light on the twenty-first century challenges of globalised capitalism facing a crisis of neo-liberalism.  

Hardback (at the paperback price) written by Lewis H Mates, published by Manchester University Press, 2016.

Product Code: 9780719090684

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