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Swing riots

The History of a Riot: Class, Popular Protest and Violence in Early Colonial Nelson

Petitions, public meetings, strikes, go-slows, violence and armed revolt. Nelson, New Zealand in 1843 was said to be 'in a state little short of anarchy'. In this paper, Jared Davidson argues that the self-activity of the Nelson labourers and their wives had a significant impact on the development of Nelson, drawing on traditions of popular protest, class power and the gendered labour of making shift. The agricultural backgrounds of many of the emigrants and the conflicts of the English countryside – including but not limited to the Swing Riots of 1830/31 – played a role in structuring the gang-men’s response to their situation.

Captain Swing was here!

An example of a Captain Swing letter

A short history of the 1830 Swing riots by Stuart Booth. Farm bosses would receive threatening letters from a fictional “Captain Swing”, and if they didn’t submit to the demands their premises would be attacked.