Sylvia Pankhurst

Books on war and revolution

War and revolution has been a theme of 2014. Workers’ Liberty comrades were asked to recommend some books on that theme, all readily available, and ideal for reading over the holiday period. The German Revolution 1918-23 by Pierre Broué This book is the most in depth account of a pivotal period of the twentieth century I’ve ever read. It has huge lessons for us today on the united front, transitional demands and the concept of a workers government. Paul Hampton Regeneration by Pat Barker The first book in this trilogy about World War One, starts by quoting “A Soldier’s Declaration”, Siegfried...

Those who refused to fight

Every time I see the establishment line up to commemorate the “glorious” dead of the First World War I can’t help but think of Siegfried Sassoon’s words: “The Great Ones of the Earth approve with smiles and bland salutes, the rage and monstrous tyranny that they have brought to birth.” The official celebrations of the Great War treat the conflict like a great patriotic tragedy. However even at the time hundreds of thousands refused to go along with the war. Risking their lives, liberty and the hatred of others they raised their voices against the killing, and those voices only grew louder as...

Sylvia Pankhurst: The Red Suffragette

Biographer Patricia Romero ("Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical", Yale University Press) is bewildered by Sylvia Pankhurst's support for the Bolsheviks. But Sylvia knew what she was doing... Click here to download pdf.

Sylvia Pankurst

In History at school, we are often given very distinctive impressions of the women’s suffrage movement – that there were two main groups, with two very different methods of gaining the women’s vote: Millicent Fawcett founded the NUWSS (National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies), a non-violent organisation which called itself ‘suffragist’. And then, of course, the Pankhursts formed the Women’s Social and Political Union. It was these “suffragettes” who were renowned for extreme behaviour – arson attacks, hunger strikes, window-smashing, and the most famous incident in which a young woman...

1917: an anti-Jewish pogrom in London

By Sylvia Pankhurst The following account by Sylvia Pankhurst is of a police-sponsored pogrom against Jewish immigrants in London’s East End is taken from an issue of Women’s Dreadnought from 26 May 1917. The great Whitechapel and Commercial Roads run through the heart of the London Jewish and immigrant quarter. Russians, Romanians, Armenians, peoples of all oppressed nationalities live here, Jews forming the majority, for Jews, the people who have no country, are always most cruelly oppressed by tyrannical Governments. Under the grey skies of this northern [European] city the people of the...

Sylvia Pankhurst: an organiser for working-class women

"The name of our paper, the Woman's Dreadnought, is symbolic of the fact that the women who are fighting for freedom must fear nothing. It suggests also the policy of social care and reconstruction which is the policy of awakening womanhood throughout the world, as opposed to the cruel, disorganised struggle for existence amongst individuals and nations from which Humanity has suffered in the past... the chief duty of the Dreadnought will be to deal with the franchise question from the working-woman's point of view... (and) to review the whole field of the women's emancipation movement." From...

Sylvia Pankhurst and Democracy

The development of industrial society threw masses of women into the factories. Whole industries, like the cotton industry, had a majority of women and children workers, existing in terrible conditions of super exploitation; as Marx put it in Capital, “Robbed of all that had previously been considered necessary for life".(1) Middle-class women, on the other hand, were thrown into the home. Whereas previously such women, wives of artisans and so on, had taken part together with their husbands and children in production, now they became ladies of leisure, locked into the home. They were deprived...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.