Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Day in History October 5, 1936

Here is something that I would venture to say a lot of people don't know about (I sure didn't).  On this date in 1936, a group of 200 men from Jarrow (indicated by the yellow dot) marched 300 miles to London (yikes!).   The trip would take 22 days.  Their plan was to petition Parliament to bring back jobs to their town (which was experiencing 70 percent unemployment) at the height of the Depression.  The shipyard in the town had been closed down the year before, and that caused an incredible amount of jobs to be lost.  The reason the number of marchers was limited was so that the marchers would be ensured food along the way.  Public support along the way was massive.

Upon their arrival in London, they were met in Hyde Park by a wealth of unempolyed workers.  They politely put forth their petition, but the Prime Minister refused to meet with them.  The petition was accepted, but it essentially died in Parliament.

In 1939, England entered WWII, and this helped to ease the job concerns.  This "crusade" or "march" is now remembered by the Socialists as an important part of labor history (even though the labor movement did not support it at the time!).

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