This is a story of a remarkable young woman who became a popular champion and whose tragically early death broke the hearts of her family, friends, comrades and community. It is also the story of Eastern European immigrant Jews in Cockney London, of the fight against poverty and for enfranchisement, of opposing war while defending its victims, of embracing revolutionary possibilities and of defying bad laws.
When Labour swept to power in the 1919 local elections, Poplar council appointed Minnie to the post of Alderman. She and her fellow councillors dramatically improved services, but faced financial crisis in 1921 when the economy crashed and unemployment spiralled. They decided to defy the unfair council funding system, and were sent to prison.
Minnie Lansbury’s experiences and struggles are directly relevant to today’s labour movement, and to today’s campaigns against antisemitism and for women’s equality.
About the Author
Janine Booth is a writer and activist who lives in Hackney, east London. She is a well-known figure in her trade union (RMT), in the wider labour movement, and in disability rights and feminist circles. She writes and performs poetry, which has been widely published. She has researched, written and spoken on the subject of Minnie Lansbury for several years, including writing a book about the Poplar rates rebellion.