Sunday, August 28, 2011
Working Class movement in England
In England, in the first place, there was the movement of the machine breakers. It was started in the textile industry where small crafts and artisan workmanship were most firmly established : clothes, cotton, and knitted goods production. In England this movement at the time of its climax (1811-1817)was limited territorially mainly to three districts : West Riding, South Lanchashire, and Nottinghamshire.These categories of workmen of the cottage industries and crafts suffered most of all from the introduction of machines. handicraft products could not compete against products of mechanistic factories. As factory industry grew an ever larger number of craftsmen and cottage industry workers became destitute. Curtailment of earnings, unemployment, which soared catastrophically in years of an unfavorable economic situation consequent on the proletarians living in poverty towards a struggle against machine and factories.
The protest actions of the machine breakers who destroyed and burned down factory buildings, warehouses raw materials and manufactured goods have been conventionally named Ludhite movement in the historical literature after the name of the legendary "King" ( or general) of the workers Ned Lud, a Leicestershire journeyman who had repeatedly been the first to break up stocking frames . The Luddite movement had started as far back as the sixties of the 18th century and lasted in main until 1830. It developed irregularly with varying intensity. The most violent outbreaks of the Luddite movement took place in 1779 in Lanchashire, in 1802 in Wiltshire, in 1811-1812 in Nottinghamshire. many of these riots were extremely violent. After 1830 the Luddite movement which had used up its resources and was undermined by reprisals to exist.
In France Luddism first became manifest in the period 1817-1823.
As Marx said, " it took both time and experience before the workmen learnt to distinguish between machinery and employment by Capital, and to direct their attacks, not against the material instruments of production, against the mode in which they are produced. Marx and Engels mentioned in their Communist Manifesto; they direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of productions themselves ; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour.
Then the workers resorted to strike to place their demands. The first to use strikes as a method of economic struggle and fairly often for that matter, workers of the textile branches, cottage industry workers etc. in the late eighteenth century and the beginning of the 19th century.