Monday, 28 October 2019

The Eight-Hour-Day dunking

Those who aren't self employed are allowed a public holiday today by courtesy of the government.

It's useful to recall the that today's holiday, Labour Day, commemorates the campaign to introduce the Eight Hour Day -- and that as a central part of that campaign, recalcitrant tradesmen and workers who refused to comply with campaigners' demands to cease work at the appointed time risked "being dunked in the harbour."

Thus, right at the beginning of this country's industrialisation, the local labour movement adopted as a weapon of policy the imposition of force against others -- and that, rather than the "ruling classes," it was other workers who they threatened.

Rather punctures the traditional story of class conflict as the basis for union activity.

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