Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognise the inequity and iniquity of society, Tressell’s cast of hypocritical Christians, exploitative capitalists and corrupt councillors provide a backdrop for his main target — the workers who think that a better life is “not for the likes of them”. Hence the title of the book; Tressell paints the workers as “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.
The hero of the book, Frank Owen, is a socialist who believes that the capitalist system is the real source of the poverty he sees all around him. In vain he tries to convince his fellow workers of his world view, but finds that their education has trained them to distrust their own thoughts and to rely on those of their “betters”. Much of the book consists of conversations between Owen and the others, or more often of lectures by Owen in the face of their jeering; this was presumably based on Tressell’s own experiences.
MetaReaLizard on Oct 31, 2012
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell 1914. I believe this radio series was produced by the BBC 2008.
Read the book online:
The RTP Downsized
chomskyallstars on Aug 12, 2013
‘A TRULY FANTASTIC PROJECT’ – TONY BENN
An appeal to raise funds for a comic book version of Robert Tressell’s ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ aimed at readers ten years and over. More info: http://www.facebook.com/RTPdownsized or http://twitter.com/RTPdownsized
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