Sunday, 4 December 2016


Communication Workers Union Banner with Shelley quote.

Here we are, back in the summer and the Tolpuddle Martyrs March.

This time with the banner for the Great Western Branch of the Communication Workers Union - people who transport and deliver our letters and parcels; it includes people like call-centre workers and postal drivers.

Printed on the banner is verse 91 from a poem by Shelley - the Masque of Anarchy - which he wrote in reaction to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 (in Manchester) - in which ordinary people who had come to hear speeches about reform and the right to vote were attacked by more than a thousand soldiers with guns and with swords, on foot and on horses. Hundreds who had come to the event were wounded and fifteen people died.

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many - they are few.

People who belong to the CWU are not necessarily high earners or in conventionally influential jobs - and this is one of the reasons I'm moved and inspired that these are the words for their banner. David sometimes defeats Goliath. Those who are not well off (or are women!) have, by joining together, gained rights which we now take for granted - like being allowed to vote!

Here are some links. 
Wikipedia entry about the same event.
Here's a link to part of the poem
(It's a very long poem. The link I've given offers further link to the whole thing.)

1 comment:

Taken For Granted said...

Most interesting banner from his historic union with the quote from a Shelley poem. Fine post.