Struggle or Starve: Working-Class Unity in Belfast's 1932 Outdoor Relief Riots, by Sean Mitchell

Struggle or Starve: Working-Class Unity in Belfast's 1932 Outdoor Relief Riots, by Sean Mitchell

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In October 1932, the streets of Belfast were gripped by vicious and widespread rioting that lasted the best part of a week.

Thousands of unarmed demonstrators fought extended pitched battles against heavily-armed police. Unemployed workers and, indeed, whole working-class communities, dug trenches and built barricades to hold off the police assault.

The event became known as the Outdoor Relief Riot--one of a very few instances in which class sympathy managed to trump sectarian loyalties in a city famous for its divisions.

“Mitchell’s is by far the most thorough and well-researched account yet of a few weeks in Irish history that shook the ruling Unionist government probably more deeply than any other single event or sequence of events until 1968.” – History Ireland