English Revolution

oliver cromwellThe civil war in the 17th century saw the forces of Parliament battling against the monarchy of Charles I, fighting for power over England. In essence, this was a revolutionary struggle for domination by the rising bourgeois class of merchants and bankers - an attempt to usurp the old feudal institutions of the monarchy. 

Pivotal to the success of the 'Roundheads' (the supporters of Parliament) in the conflict against the Royalists was the role played by Oliver Cromwell, leader of the New Model Army. And within Cromwell's army were an even more radical wing - the Levellers - who wanted to go even further, anticipating the mass movements of the Chartists in the 19th century and their demands for universal democratic rights.

The task today is to fight for a new revolution - one that throws both the monarchy and the capitalists into the dustbin of history where they belong.

I did not believe that it was possible for the low esteem in which I hold modern academics in general, and bourgeois historians in particular, to sink any lower than it already was. But that belief was misplaced. I have just had the misfortune to watch a three-part series put out by BBC Channel Four with the title: ‘Charles I, Downfall of a King’. I now hold the intellectual qualities of our modern historians at a slightly lower level than those of Mr Bean. At least Mr Bean can be mildly amusing at times, but our self-appointed intellectuals lack even that redeeming virtue.

To mark this year's Bonfire Night in Britain, Alan Woods discusses the historical background behind the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the English Establishment and spark a Catholic insurrection against King James I and the protestant monarchy.

On 17 May 1649, three soldiers were executed on Oliver Cromwell’s orders in Burford churchyard, Oxfordshire, England. They were the leaders of 300 men who belonged to the movement known as the Levellers. They had decided to fight against Cromwell who they considered was betraying the ideals of what the “Civil War”, i.e. the English Revolution, had been about.

Today marks 350 years since the death of Oliver Cromwell, the outstanding leader of the English bourgeois revolution of the 1640s. Without him, with his steadfast courage and determination, the Revolution would have been betrayed by the big bourgeoisie who continually sought an accommodation with the Crown. It is no accident that Cromwell has been described as the Lenin of the English bourgeois revolution.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of The Act of Union between Scotland and England. This was accompanied by the merger of the parliaments into one Westminster Parliament. In January 1707, the Scottish parliament voted 110-67 to ratify The Treaty of Union, which became law four months later.