Imperial Internationalism? Hull Labour's Support for South African Trade-Unionism on the Eve of the Great War

BĂ©liard, Yann
December 2009
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Dec2009, Vol. 74 Issue 3, p319
Academic Journal
This article aims to analyze the public support brought by Hull's labour activists between January and April 1914 to nine trade-unionists who had been deported from South Africa because of their leading role in a general strike. The speeches made at the protest meeting on 29 March 1914 as well as the articles which were published in the local labour press before and after that day are indeed most revealing as to the nature of working-class internationalism in the United Kingdom on the eve of the Great War. The study shows how intricately feelings of class solidarity were mingled with feelings of national and even racial solidarity. In spite of Hull's maritime character, in spite of their numerous transnational contacts and of their radical claims, the way the local trade-union and socialist leaders apprehended the South African events was almost unanimously shaped by an imperialistic vision excluding both Boer and African workers.


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