Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17

AlfRodchenko

Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

4. Abolition of property qualifications for M. P.’s.

5. Payment of M. P.’s.

6. Equal Electoral Districts.

Chartist Demonstration

In Rochdale one of the prominent figures in the Chartist movement was

Thomas Livsey. Livsey was a local lad, the son of a blacksmith, who was

educated until the age of 15 in Rochdale. Livsey also worked locally

on such issues as shortening working hours in the mills, restricting

child labour and fighting the Poor Laws that introduced the despised

workhouses. Livsey was an affective interlocutor between the middle-class

and the working-class and a strong advocate for the latter. He was also

involved in the development of the local Co-operative movement.

19

The struggle for acceptance of the Charter raised passions and for a

while there were real concerns that it could lead to an armed insurrection.

Plans to organize a period of sustained protest across the country in

1839 collapsed in disarray. By 1842 when the Charter was still a dream,

it began to be apparent to a lot of people that the way forward for

working-class people lay not in electoral reform but in self-improvement,

a decision which in Rochdale led to Co-operation.

The middle-class fought for parliamentary reform because they wanted

to have access to the power that the Tory gentry had by right. The only

way to achieve the change they wanted was to create a ground swell

of discontent and to do this they needed to enlist the support of the

working-class. The working-class joined the frey in a desperate attempt

to give some strength to their demands for improved living and working

October 2016

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