GMLC joins the thousands of people who rallied to Manchester City Centre to mark 200 years since the Peterloo massacre and demand ‘democratic reform in the 21st century.’
The event commemorated the gathering of 60,000 people, united by demands for parliamentary reform and political representation of Manchester, which resulted in the deaths of at least eighteen and left hundreds injured.
While a joyful spirit punctuated the commemoration, the activities, performances and music presented an unavoidable truth: many of the factors that caused Peterloo are still true today.
Writing for the Morning Star, GMLC Patron Maxine Peake highlights that ‘the themes of Peterloo still ring loud and clear today. I think our continued fascination with events on August 16 1819 is because the parallels still rage. The constant bullying and victimisation of the perceived “have nots.” The rabid class, racial and financial snobbery which has backed people into a dangerous corner.’
This echoes our manifesto, where we declare our commitment to challenging the stigmatisation of benefit claimants as lazy, feckless frauds who need to be sanctioned, threatened and punished back into work. We condemn that racism has been used to divide and rule, and that this has led to injustices such as the Windrush scandal.
Memories of those have stood up for equality must have a greater purchase on this country’s shared sense of its past.
Removed from the principles that make up the conventional understanding of British national identity, the massacre sits in direct contrast with the notion of Britain as a country of fair play.
The memorial marks the struggle then and as it continues now
The Greater Manchester Law Centre is part of the movements continuing the struggle for greater democratic and civil rights at work and in society as a whole. As part of this, we work with other campaigns across Greater Manchester which share our principles.