Marches, strikes and occupations.Trade Union and Political Action In South Tyneside and South Shields in the 60s and 70's.
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click for more info.The period around the mid-60s to mid-70s has been recognised as a time of radical change in the arts and in society, colourfully, if misleadingly, identified by the phrase 'drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll'.

The period was also one of worldwide grass-root political action involving workers, students, and community groups. The anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and civil rights movements in America; the 1968 students' demonstrations and general strike in France; the 1972 and 1974 miners' strikes in the UK, typified such events. For a brief few years, confidently, and in retrospect incredibly, 'we the people' could change the world.

As well as demonstrations and strikes the events included factory and college occupations, lockouts, sit-downs, teach-ins and other more innovative actions. In all cases the events were characterised by grass-root direct action to confront the establishment.

Around 1969-1976 South Tyneside, and in particular South Shields, was the unlikely centre for some of these events, concentrated largely on the South Shields Trades Union Council. Many of those involved were seeking a radical change in the social and political structures. Some viewed them with a clearly revolutionary perspective. Others, fearing a charge of what Lenin might have called ‘left-wing adventurism’, would describe the actions as 'pre-revolutionary'.

This book is an attempt to record some of these events in a (fairly) objective manner by reproducing *contemporary documents, pamphlets and press reports. The political/social significance is left largely to the reader - except for my own comments where the reader will need to set my prejudices against their own political sensibilities.

The Introduction sets out the social and political background against which the events occurred. Each chapter is introduced by a brief description of the events covered, and these introductions, read by themselves, will give the reader an overview of the book's narrative. The reproduced documents are accompanied by a running commentary and are intended to give some detail of the events and a feel of the period. The Epilogue briefly considers the impact of these events (and others like them) from a longer perspective.

The book is not intended simply as an exercise in nostalgia but rather with thehope that it will interest and hopefully inspire contemporary political/social activists.

South Tyneside Central Library holds all the original source material.

Please Note, this site is intended to promote the book and therefore does not contain the contemporary documents, pamphlets and press reports mentioned above, with the exception of one image per chapter. Some chapters have been shortened in the hope that your curiosity will compel you to buy the feature laden paperback copy.

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