A public meeting/discussion, organised by Lewisham Workers' Liberty
Minnie Lansbury was only 32 when she died in 1922, but she had a full and inspiring life. The daughter of Jewish immigrants, she was one of the Poplar Labour councillors who carried out extensive reforms in the interests of the borough’s working class and, when the council began to struggle financially, led a mass campaign for poor boroughs to receive more funding. Defying the Tory-Liberal coalition government, she went to prison as a result (pictured), along with 29 other councillors (including four other women). They won!
Before that she was assistant secretary of the East London Federation of Suffragettes, led by Sylvia Pankhurst, and a campaigner for the rights of war widows, orphans and disabled ex-servicemen. After the war, when she was a Poplar councillor, she was a member of both the Labour Party and the Communist movement inspired by the Russian Revolution.
The Poplar council which took on the government in 1921 was very different from Labour councils today and Minnie Lansbury was very different from virtually all our Labour councillors. We can draw great inspiration from her story – what lessons can we learn for our struggles now?
SPEAKER: Janine Booth is author of "Guilty and Proud of It!", a book about the Poplar council rebellion, and the pamphlet "George Lansbury, Minnie Lansbury and Modern Feminism". She is an activist in the RMT union and Hackney South and Shoreditch Labour Party.