Bury Capitalism

The death of Thatcher, British Prime Minister 1979 - 1990, was marked by celebration across the left and by working people everywhere. Members of the Belfast Local of the Solidarity Federation were certainly among those celebrating. Unfortunately the jubilation at her death all too often descended into sectarianism in the north - a figure despised by so many could have provided a focus for much working class celebration.
The ‘Iron Lady’s’ record in power saw working class communities crushed, the miners not least among them, millions were thrown on the dole, in the north her policies amounted to nothing more than pouring petrol on the flames of the conflict.

Unit 20: Britain, 1950-1990 - Decline of Social Democracy

This Unit aims to

  • Continue on from Unit 19, following the economic and political scene in Britain after the Second World War.
  • Investigate the failure of Keynesian demand management.
  • Examine the post-war shop stewards movement.
  • Look at the decline of the Communist Party and the emergence
  • of the ‘new left’ and rank and file movement.
  • Chart the onslaught of Thatcherism on the working class.

Terms and abbreviations

Keynesian Economics: An economic theory advocating government intervention, or demand side management of the economy, to achieve full employment and stable prices.
Macro-economic: The performance of the overall economy, inflation, unemployment, and industrial production.

Strikes in Britain: a selected timeline

1888 - The Matchgirls Strike: Successful strike against poor working conditions in a match factory, including 14-hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines, and the severe health complications of working with white phosphorus.

1901 - Taff Vale dispute: Strikers employ sabotage tactics to prevent scabs working, and the company sues the union for damages - and wins. This would lead to the formation of the Labour Party.