Thursday, 3 February 2011


"The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is actually something that changed my life" said Ricky Tomlinson, "It was given to me when I was in prison in the 1970s, it was given to me by the governor of the prison."

Robert Tressell, author of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists which has provided inspiration for labour movement activists for years, died 100 years ago in 1911. It was almost lost forever and only by chance published years after his death.

The main character of the book, Frank Owen, seeks over and over again to win his fellow workers to the socialist cause. It is a great book both for winning people to socialism, the great money trick is still one of the best ways I have seen socialism explained. It also has much a longstanding activist can relate to, namely confronting apathy on a daily basis but never giving up untill "the Golden Light that will be diffused throughout all the happy world from the rays of the risen sun of Socialism."

This Saturday-February 5th 201 - there will be a commemmoration in Hastings of the death of Robert Tressell (Robert Noonan) on February 3rd 1911

More information

To celebrate the centenary Philosophy Football have produced an original design of a 'Paintbrush & Sickle' combining the tradition tool of the trade of Tressell's hero, Frank Owen, painting and decorating with a hint of Lissitsky's clasic 'Red Wedge' and a suggestion of the spirit of a joyful socialism which paints the town red.

Available on a T-shirt from here