Ed Barrett assesses Tom Mann’s letter

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 22nd July 2011 by Liam Physick

Ed Barrett provides his assessment of Tom Mann’s letter. He draws atttention to the significant points in it, Mann’s sense of humour, and how he cleverly used tactics to ensure the success of the strike

Interviewee: Ed Barrett

Interviewee Gender: Male

Interview Transcript

I like the letter, I think it sort of says a lot about the man that even when his thoughts were with his family, he’s still sharing the news about the strike. I think it’s significant he says “I had no accident and is in perfect health”, because he’s expecting to be run over by a strange horse at some point, accidentally, on purpose! I also think his reference to the, I don’t know if either of the speakers will speak about it, but his reference to the meeting down in London to try and avert the actions of the strikers, is also significant. One thing, just by reading his writing, it might not come across especially as political writing is, his great sense of humour and when there was a, a big meeting down in London with a bunch of politicians aimed at pretty much stopping the strike in its tracks, and they requested the secretaries from all the unions come down, so these things could be hammered out, and it’s pretty obvious that they were going to pose some sort of settlement, so Tom Mann got in touch with all the unions and instead of them sending out their branch secretaries, they actually sent down secretaries, people who took the notes, typists (audience laughs), just sent a bunch of them, cos that’s all was asked for in the letter! As daft as its sounds, these were the tactics that were used, similar to the way with pickets in the right places, it would take 300 men to get a convoy of good through just by having that solidarity and purpose between the people of the working class, they managed to make it impossible for commerce to continue, and once they started hitting their opponents in the pocket, then they were well on the way to victory.

Tagged under: 1911 strike, trade unions, tom mann

Categorised under: Work & Industry

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