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Struggle or Starve - Working-Class Unity in Belfast's 1932 Outdoor Relief Riots - cover

Struggle or Starve - Working-Class Unity in Belfast's 1932 Outdoor Relief Riots

Seán Mitchell

Publisher: Haymarket Books

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Summary

“A fascinating account of . . . Catholic and Protestant workers coming together to protest against a harsh state relief program” (Belfast Telegraph).   In October 1932, the streets of Belfast were gripped by vicious and widespread rioting that lasted the best part of a week. Thousands of unarmed demonstrators fought extended pitched battles against heavily armed police. Unemployed workers and, indeed, whole working-class communities, dug trenches and built barricades to hold off the police assault. The event became known as the Outdoor Relief Riot—one of a very few instances in which class sympathy managed to trump sectarian loyalties in a city famous for its divisions.   “This is an important story to tell, part of our lost history. It shows that the interests workers share far outweigh the artificial divisions of sectarianism. It is brilliant that Seán Mitchell has brought these great events backs to life. It will be an inspiration to unite again in today’s struggles.” —Ken Loach, two-time winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival   “Seán Mitchell’s blow by blow account of the great Belfast Outdoor Relief workers’ strike of 1932 masterfully recreates the drama of events as they unfolded, telling the story as it has never been told before, and in a way that is both intellectually rigorous and profoundly humane.” —Mike Milotte, award-winning journalist and author of Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business   “Mitchell’s book is an outstanding testimony to the centrality of united working class struggle, just as relevant today in the light of the Good Friday power sharing agreement which has institutionalized the sectarian divide.” —Socialist Review

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