Transcript of Tom Mann speech

A hundred thousand people have come to the centre of Liverpool this afternoon. The authorities have allowed us to 'police' this hundred thousand ourselves. Why? Because they enjoy surrendering their power? Or because they're afraid of being trampled underfoot. There's a thin line between order and chaos. The police force of Liverpool may tread it this afternoon. A step wrong and the Mersey will rise a foot by nightfall, with largely innocent blood.

We're gathered here today, peacefully, to demonstrate our determination to win this long and terrible battle against the employing classes and the state. What does that mean? Only this. All the transport workers of Liverpool are arm-in-arm against the enemy class.

We have sent a letter to the employers asking for an early settlement and a speedy return to work. If that brings no reply, if they ignore us, The Strike Committee advises a general strike.

In the face of the military and the police drafted into this city - and of the threat to bring gunboats into the Mersey - we can see nothing except a challenge. A challenge to every worker who values his job. A challenge to every claim each worker makes of his employer. A challenge to every right a worker should expect under common decency. Brothers, we rise to this challenge. And we meet it, head on.