Project Brief: Protest (by invitation only)

Protest - A new Fiction/Non-Fiction Commission from Comma

This is a new anthology commission, using the 'expert-consultation' format developed with books like Litmus and Beta-Life. The idea is to invite authors to pick a historical moment of protest - a public demonstration, march, or strike - that changed history in its own way, but was made up largely of ordinary people asserting people power - not the 'celebrities of history', well-known political figures, etc. Each story will be allocated a specialist historian or expert of the time who will meet with the author and offer them some in-depth background on the event; they will also write an afterword to the resulting piece, going into the history and historical uncertainties in more detail. The brief is to set a fictional (or semi-fictional) story against the backdrop of this very real, political moment. See below for choices. (Please note this is by invitation only). 

[In Progress...]


Peasants' Revolt, 1381 - TAKEN
Consultant: Professor Jane Whittle, University of Exeter.

The Midland Revolt, (inc. Newton Rebellion) against the enclosure of common land, 1607
Consultant: tbc

The Levellers, 1645-69
Consultant: tbc

The Diggers, 1649
Consultant: Ariel Hessayon, Goldsmiths College.

Venner's Uprising and the Fifth Monarchists, 1661 - TAKEN

Luddite Riots/ Machine Breaking 1811-1817
Consultant: tbc.

Peterloo Massacre, 16 August 1819
Consultant: tbc.

Suffragette disruption of the Free Trade Hall ILP meeting, 1905
With Annie Kenney (only prominent working class woman ever to be involved in the movement) and Christabel Pankhurst (start of Militancy, start of divisions in Pankhurst family).
Consultant: tbc.

Liverpool General Transport Strike, 1911.
Consultant: tbc

The 1915 Women’s Peace Congress, The Hague, 1915.
As the British suffragette movement divided, starkly, over the First World War, many leaders of the international movement met, or tried to meet, in the Hague to map out a peace settlement; part of the delegation’s plans then fed into President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points’, which in turn led to the formation of the League of Nations – and all in spite of the then Munitions Minister Winston Churchill’s attempt to stop the conference by cancelling ferries.
Consultant: tbc

Battle of George Square, Glasgow, 1919
The dispute revolved around a campaign for shorter working hours, backed by widespread strike action. 
Consultant: tbc

National League of the Blind March, 1920 - TAKEN
In 1920, it organised marches to Trafalgar Square from Leeds, Manchester and Newport in support of what became the Blind Persons Act 1920. This action inspired the later Jarrow March.
Consultant: tbc

The General Strike, May 1926
Consultant: Rachelle Hope, University of Oregon

The Wiredrawers’ Strike, 1934
Against the attempted introduction of the Badeux system at Richard Johnson & Nephew Ltd factory long since demolished (now part of the site of the Man City Etihad stadium).

Battle of Cable Street, October 1936
Consultant: Dr Nadia Valman, Queen Mary University London

Jarrow March, October 1936
Consultant: Dr Matt Perry, University of Newcastle

Aldermaston Marches, 1958-63  - TAKEN
Consultant: Prof George McKay, University of Salford

Bristol Bus Boycott, 1963
Consultant: tbc.

Alan Horsfall and the North West Committee for Homosexual Law Reform, 1964
Consultant: tbc

Courtaulds Strike, Preston, 1965
This was the first British major strike by Black and Asian workers in the UK. Held in response to a management demand that all Asian and Caribbean employees increase their work rate by 50% in return for a 3% increase in pay, this three-week strike was organised by the RAAS (Racial Action Adjustment Society) in opposition to the TGWU (who refused to make the strike official). The national union and management actively colluded to support this discriminatory demand. The vice-chair of the factory's shop steward organisation even described the dispute in racist terms - as 'tribal in nature'. Although unsuccessful, the strike was influential in raising the issue of discrimination in the workplace and the discussions that led to the Race Relations Act of 1968. It also influenced the way non-white workers later organised (moving towards more community-based activism outside of the national unions and away from work). Consultant: tbc

The IWA 'Pub Crawl Protests' - Smethwick, Marshall Street, 1965  - TAKEN

Fight for the Turban, Manchester 1966
Seven years after Gyani Sundar Singh Sagar applied to work as a bus-driver in Manchester, and was rejected because he refused to remove his Turban, Manchester City Council’s transport committee still refused to change its regulations. Inspired by the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott, Sagar started a campaign which, with the help of Blackley MP Paul Rose, led to the a change in policy at a city council level (Oct 1966) and action being taken against the T&GWU under the 65 Act.

Grosvenor Square, anti-Vietnam war protest, 17 March 1968
Consultant: tbc.

Post 'Rivers of Blood' Solidarity March, Oxford 1 May, 1968 - TAKEN

The Night Cleaners' Strike - Equal Pay movement, May Hobbs et al, early 70s
Consultant: Prof Sally Alexander, Goldsmiths

Grunwick - Women's Pay Protest / anti-racism strike, 1976-78. 
Consultant: Sundari Anitha, University of Lincoln

Welsh Language Protests, 60s, 70s, 80s  - TAKEN
Consultant: Ned Thomas

Greenham Common, 1982-84.  - TAKEN
Consultant: TBA

Battle of Orgreave, 18 June 1984  - TAKEN
Consultant: David Waddington, Sheffield Hallam

Broadwater Farm riot (1985) and subsequent Tottenham Three protests 
Consultant tbc.

Poll Tax Demonstrations, 31 March 1990
Consultant: Clifford Stott, University of Leeds.

Strangeways Prison Riots, 1990  - TAKEN
Consultant: Eamonn Carrabine, University of Essex

Liverpool Dockers Strike, 1995-98.
Consultant: Prof Sam Davies, Liverpool John Moores University.

The Hawk Ploughshare / Warton Four (disarming of warplane) protest, 1996
Consultant tbc.

Anti-Iraq War demo, Feb 2003 - TAKEN

Gate Gournet Dispute, 2005
Consultant: tbc

Occupy Movement, and Occupy London, Oct 2011 - Jun 2012
Consultant: tbc

Mark Duggan Riots, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Summer 2011 
Consultant: tbc



Japan's Rice Riots 1918
Consultant: tbc

Indian Rebellion, 1857
Consultant: Kim Wagner, Queen Mary University London 

Salt March, India, 1930
Consultant: Prof William Gould, University of Leeds


Defenestration of Prague (First 1419; Second 1618)
Consultant: I: Thomas Fudge, University of New England; II: Peter Wilson, University of Hull)

The Dublin Lock Out - 1913
Consultant: tbc

The Irish Anti-Conscription Committee & the Conscription Crisis (and General Strike), Dublin 1918.
Consultant: tbc

The Limerick Soviet, 1919
Consultant: tbc

Russian Bread Riots, Petrograd, 1917
Consultant: Jonathan Smele, Queen Mary University London

Rosenstrasse Protest, Berlin, 1943.
Consultant: Nathan Stoltzfus, Florida State University.

Hungarian Uprising, 1956 - TAKEN
Consultant: tbc

Paris Riots, May 1968
Consultant: tbc

Prague Spring, 1968
Consultant: tbc

The East German Coffee Crisis, 1977 - TAKEN
Consultant: Gareth Dale

The Contraception Train, Mary Robinson et al, Dublin to Belfast,1971.
Consultant: tbc

Velvet Revolution, Czechoslovakia1989
Consultant: tbc


First Intifada, 1987-93
Consultant: Omar Shaban (tbc)
Cedar Revolution, Lebanon, February 2005
Consultant: Michael Kerr, Kings College London

Tahrir Square, February 2011
Consultant: tbc

Taksim Square, March & October 2014
Consultant: tbc


Aba Women's War, Nigeria, 1929
Consultant: tbc

Massacre of Philippeville, Algerian War of Independence, 1955
Consultant: tbc

Soweto School Strike, South Africa, 1976
Consultant: tbc

Sudanese Uprising, 1985
Consultant: tbc


Tulsa race riots, 1921
Consultant: tbc

Sacco and Vanzetti Protests, 1927 - TAKEN
Consultant: tbc

Harlan County War (Kansas Coal Miners), 1930s
Alessandro Portell, University Rome

Rochester Race Riot, 1964 
Consultant: tbc

Watts Riots, LA,, 1965
Consultant: tbc

Hough Riots, July 1966 
Consultant: tbc

Newark riots, 1967
Consultant: tbc

Orangeburg Massacre, 1968
Consultant: tbc

Stonewall, 28 June 1969
Consultant: tbc

Harlan County Strikes, 1970s
Consultant: Barbara Kopple

Kent State Massacre, 1970
Consultant: Dr Simon Hall, Uni of Leeds

LA Riots / Rodney King, 1992
Consultant: tbc

Ferguson, Missouri 2014
Consultant: tbc


Túpac Amaru II & the Indigenous Uprising, Peru, 1780
Consultant: tbc

Haitian Revolution, 1791–1804
Consultant: tbc

Battle of Ayacucho (Independence of Latin America), Peru, 1825-6
Consultant: tbc

Leper War in Kaua'i, Hawaii, USA, 1893
Kerri Inglis, University of Hawaii

Francisco I. Madero & the Mexican Revolución, 1910
Consultant: tbc

The Beginning of Educational Reforms, Córdoba (Argentina), 1918
Consultant: tbc

The Bogotazo, beginning the Cycle of Violence in Colombia, 1948
Consultant: tbc

Uprising in Puerto Rico, 1950
Consultant: tbc

Overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz / Guatemalan Revolution, 1954
Consultant: tbc

Triumph of the Cuban Revolution, December 31st, 1958
Consultant: tbc

"Some day the Great Avenues will again be Opened", Overthrow of Salvador Allende, 1973
Consultant: tbc

Triumph Of the Sandinista Revolution, Nicaragua, 1979
Consultant: tbc
The Caracazo, as the origin of Chávez, Venezuela, 1989
Consultant: tbc

The Cochabamba Water Protests, Bolivia, 2000
Consultant: tbc