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    I've always wanted to move to ..., 2005-12-23 11:39:51 | Main | how chavez appears to be doing something but we're still not sure what..., 2005-12-28 13:07:04

    A Christmas Backcarol:

    Dickens' setting is an England where the Combination Laws and Laws of Settlement are still fairly recent, and large-scale waves of enclosures are still a living memory for many. In the previous two centuries, a majority of English peasants had been robbed of copyholds, commons rights, and other customary forms of tenure, and transformed (by state violence in collusion with the owning classes) into a propertyless proletariat. Any worker in an overpopulated parish of London who attempted to vote with his feet and seek work in the underpopulated industrial districts of the north, without permission, was a criminal under the terms of the internal passport system known as the Laws of Settlement. But voluntary movement being prohibited, the parish Poor Law overseers were more than happy to auction off denizens of the poorhouses, by the gross, to factory owners in said underpopulated industrial districts. Voluntary association to bargain for higher wages, likewise, was criminalized by the Combination Law--enforced, not by juries, but by administrative law with none of the customary common law protections for the defendant.

    To summarize: the vast majority of English had been robbed of their property, society forcibly reconstructed from above, and the working majority put under totalitarian social controls by a plutocratic government, exactly as an occupying power would have done to a conquered population--all in order that they might be more easily exploited by the rich. The situation of the English working class during the Industrial Revolution, in other words, was slavery.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-12-23 14:39:29 CST | link


    Comments:
      Thanks for the link!

    posted by KevinCarson @ 2006-01-06 11:22:42 | link




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