Letter: Engineers of change?

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The Independent Culture

Engineers of change?

Sir: Stuart Russell (letter, 14 December) cannot have it both ways. The mass movements from below which he cites were not encouraged, but opposed, by the parliamentary institutions of the day.

The abolitionist movement was declared a dangerous threat to property. When parliament was finally forced to ban the trade in 1807, it delayed the abolition of slavery itself for another generation.

Also, the suffragettes would have been amused to hear that it was parliament which "engineered" their fight against oppression. Would this be the great, liberal, reforming government which imprisoned them for their protests, then force-fed them when they went on hunger-strike?

In the present, the model social-democrat Blair boasts of the most restrictive anti-trade union laws in the western world, and the Seattle police force provides a less than liberal welcome to the mass demonstrations against the ravages of the "free" market.

Mr Russell places faith in the wealth-creators to effect social change. I share that view. I believe that Karl Marx dubbed them "the working class".



West Midlands