Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

John Frost 1784-1877

Reading: BBC News website, Guardian website, Urban 75 politics boards, various websites on Chartism, some pages of Robert Goddard's "Past Caring", E-mails.
Listening: Moby, BBC Radio Five.
Viewing: England B team versus Belarus (nice flag, shame about the fouls!)
Today is the anniversary of the birth of John Frost in 1784, one of the leaders of the 1839 Newport rising, which historians like to term the "last armed uprising on mainland Britain". Frost deserves to be remembered as one who used the opportunities that were open to him, which he could have used for personal gain, to serve the people. He turned his bitterness over a personal defeat at the hands of an aristocratically backed rival into positive energy to fight for the cause of working people. The history of the Chartist movement has much to teach us about the politics of popular movements, the tactics that are used to disarm them, the ebb and flow of struggle and the lasting effect of radical activism, even in the face of seeming failure. The Chartist experience fed into the development of the labour movement, into republicanism later in the nineteenth century, and into various political currents in Britain. A Marxist account of the movement is found here, and a comprehensive and very interesting site covering many aspects of the Chartists and their legacy is here.

Looking ahead, preparations continue for the green left organising meeting in London - Green Party members interested in finding out more can find details on the "Another Green World" blog of Derek Wall.



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