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Can't Pay, Won't Pay

Can't Pay, Won't Pay

The Fight to Stop the Poll Tax

by Simon Hannah

A history of the social movement that brought down Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Thirty years ago, a social movement helped bring down one of the most powerful British Prime Ministers of the 20th Century. For the 30th anniversary of the Poll Tax rebellion, Simon Hannah looks back on those tumultuous days of resistance, telling the story of the people that beat the bailiffs, rioted for their rights and defied a government.

Starting in Scotland where the 'Community Charge' was first trialled, Can't Pay, Won't Pay immerses the reader in the gritty history of the rebellion. Amidst the drama of large scale protests and blockaded estates a number of key figures and groups emerge: Neil Kinnock and Tommy Sheridan; Militant, Class War and the Metropolitan Police.

Assessing this legacy today, Hannah demonstrates the centrality of the Poll Tax resistance as a key chapter in the history of British popular uprisings, Labour Party factionalism, the anti-socialist agenda and failed Tory ideology.

Simon Hannah is a writer, labour activist and trade unionist. His work has been featured in Open Democracy and New Left Project.

'A timely reminder that if the working class is to defend itself it cannot afford to wait for Labour. It must rely on its own power and independent organisation as much as holding its leaders to account'

- Red Flag magazine

1. A Brief History of Tax Resistance and Revolutions
2. Why a Poll Tax?
3. Scotland
4. Debates Over Strategy
5. The Resistance Begins
6. The Battle of Trafalgar (Square)
7. A Ragtag Army
8. Endgame
9. Social Movements, Class and Strategy
Conclusion: A System Shaken or Broken?

Published by Pluto Press in Mar 2020
Paperback ISBN: 9780745340814
eBook ISBN: 9781786806055

135mm x 215mm

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