Can anyone point me to more information on or tell me more about Tom Brown the Geordie engineer who grew up in Newcastle and is hailed as one of the clearest speakers and writers on the anarcho-syndicalist movement in Britain.
His pamphlets are very interesting, I'm currently looking at 'British Syndicalism. Pages of Labour History',
"Revolutionary syndicates are the means, once we brush the cobwebs of prejudice from our minds, to wage struggles with much less hurt to our people and with much greater chance of victory ......".
Post by michele cryer on Oct 12, 2005 18:05:37 GMT
Hiya Mitch..don't know if you've already tried Googling: Tom Brown anarchist syndicalism, but I did and got a few sites...one of which is a link to a download for a PDF file, which tells about Tom Brown's life, and the Social General Strike...I think it's written by him, so you might have already traced it, but here's the link anyway:
Tom Brown was probably one of the best and clearest writers in the anarchist/syndicalist movement had when I met his in London in 1960. Most of the pamphlets of the SWF (Syndicalist Workers' Federation) were written by him at that time. The section in the booklet 'The Social General Strike' entitled 'ARE FOREMEN NECESSARY' we stole after the May 1960 strike of engineering apprentices and used in our apprentice newspaper 'Progress'. It went down well on the shopfloor and helped make our paper notorious in the factory. It was a sell-out and after that our sales increased.
I asked Tom to write something for our paper, because the lads were so keen on how he wrote: it was his colloquial style that went down so well in our Lancashire factory towns. He could always tell a straight forward tale without all the political jargon. He put something of himself into his writing as well so he had a unique style. These are things that few political writers on the left have these days.
Naturally he refused to write for our paper, because he said an apprentice paper ought to be written by the lads themselves. And he was right.
I'm not sure he was a great speaker though. At that time around 1960 I understand that Ken Hawkes of the SWF and Phillip Sansom of Freedom Press were the best speakers among the anarchists. I'm not sure his writing in the pamphlets has stood the test of time either. Though they were clearly written and useful in their time, they may be mainly of historical interest now. Jim Pinketon from Ashton-u-Lyne, who was International Secretary of the SWF and died a few years ago, said he thought Brown put too optimistic a slant into his writing: he tried to make it look too easy for us to change the system.