Friday, August 16, 2013

Peterloo, The Guardian, the Echoes....

Noticing among Wiki's list of events for today, 16 August through the years, that it's the anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, England, I decided to re-post something originally posted a couple or more years ago.

I first took an interest in the Peterloo Massacre after reading one of Howard Spring's superb novels, "Fame is the Spur". I reached for the book as I was preparing this, flicked to a paragraph from a chapter where the story of the Massacre is being re-told by the novel's leading character, Hamer Shawcross. The words, now, seem to me to reflect a back and forth from 19th century Manchester to 22nd century Earth as described in the movie Elysium (see Wednesday's post), with the view from our current time wobbling somewhere inbetween:
"Ah, my fiends, that was murder most foul, but it was murder in daylight, murder aboveboard. Still - this day - in your midst - the same crime is covertly committed. Not with the sword but with subtler weapons. Want and misery are turned loose upon you as the dragoons were turned loose that shameful day. Your life is sapped from you inch by inch instead of in one clean stroke, and those who should be your shepherds, securing for you your share of the rich pastures that clothe the world - these men are keeping you in subjection to those who swig the wine of life and leave you the rinsings of the cup........."

The post:


Pondering famous examples of mass protest by ordinary people in days gone by, my thoughts turned to this from the history of the north of England city of Manchester, county of Lancashire, during the years of the Industrial Revolution: The Peterloo Massacre of 1819.

In early 19th century England only wealthy property owners were allowed to vote. Ordinary people began to feel the same anger as their cousins in the USA had felt in the previous century about taxation without representation. Manchester was one centre where the Industrial Revolution, via the cotton trade, had spawned a large population, few of whom had the right to vote. Attempts to persuade the government to broaden the right to vote had been continually resisted. The wealthy had much to lose. Memories of the French Revolution, 30 years earlier, still hovered.

On 16 August 1819 Henry Hunt, a well-known campaigner for voting reform was to speak at a meeting in Manchester. In order to avert problems those in power brought in 400 special constables, 1500 infantry 100 cavalry, Hussars and Yeomanry, and Royal horse Artillery with a 6-pounder cannon. Pretty heavy-handed considering the meeting was to be a peaceful gathering of unarmed working-class folk from Manchester and surrounding towns and villages.

A crowd of around 60,000 is reported to have gathered, including some all-female contingents dressed all in white, supporting universal suffrage for males (their own time was to come in the years that followed).

Before the speeches were properly underway, magistrates decided, at the very last minute to ban the meeting, and first sent 60 cavalry in to arrest the speakers, then more and more troops advanced as the first 60 became engulfed in the crush. Cavalry galloped into the crowd wielding sabres. At the same time the infantry, with bayonets fixed, positioned themselves at the main exits and blocked escape routes. Those who did escape were pursued through the streets.

15 or more people (sources vary) were killed and between 400 and 700 injured - trampled by horses, or cut by the wildly swinging sabres of the militia.

From the chart (above right) showing planetary positions at noon on 16 August 1819 in Manchester it's easy to see a challenging situation existed, formed by square and opposition aspects between Mars (aggression), Mercury (communication), Pluto/Saturn (death/restriction) and Uranus/Neptune (rebellion/dreams).

It has been acknowledged that Peterloo was hugely influential in ordinary people winning the right the vote, as well as leading to the rise of the Chartist Movement from which grew the Trades Unions.

Another result of the Peterloo Massacre was the foundation of a reformist newspaper: The Manchester Guardian (nowadays known simply as The Guardian - or affectionately "The Grauniad" - a nickname earned and popularised by satirical magazine Private Eye due to a history of typographical errors including the newspaper's own name .

The Manchester Guardian was founded by John Edward Taylor, a young cotton merchant, on 5 May 1821 in the wake of the Peterloo Massacre. Taylor, a reformer and religious nonconformist, aimed to produce a newspaper committed to political change and based upon truthful reporting.

The Guardian celebrated its 190th birthday in 2011. I wonder if its "natal chart" is appropriate for the birth of a reformist newspaper. Let's see:

Chart is set for 6 am on the date of the first issue of the newspaper....its birth into the world. The Manchester Guardian had Sun and Venus in down-to-earth Taurus, not perhaps the Sun sign expected, but Taurus is a very rooted sign, and its roots have become strong over more than 190 years...the newspaper certainly had had Taurus's staying power and loyalty to purpose. Those 4 planets in Aries, including the sign's ruler, Mars gave it pioneering drive and the source of aggression when called for. Moon in Gemini = communication (Gemini) with The People (Moon). With outer planets Uranus (rebellion) and Neptune (dreams, creativity) exactly and appropriately conjoined in Capricorn (business) in harmonious trine to Sun/Venus in Taurus. Uranus/Neptune was also in out-of-sign opposition to Moon, which represents something of a balancing act between the need to protest or rebel/dream of rebellion and the way to present this to The People in a responsible way.

The chart describes the birth of The Manchester Guardian well.


mike said...

It would seem that over the millenniums of mankind we would progressively develop echelons toward peaceful, progressive co-existence...instead, we advance toward the repeating, circular route of duplicating the past as our future.

Seems that mankind is stuck in a loop. Have you read Clive Barker's "The Great and Secret Show"? There is a time-loop that is the bridge to evil that entrains the Earth, maintained by the evil character, Kissoon. Maybe the book is actually non-fiction!

I thought it interesting that The Manchester Guardian's natal chart has some major inter-play with Edward Snowden's natal chart, particularly each chart's Sun-Moon, but others as well.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Indeed! We humans must take our patterns from the movement of the planets - circular or elliptical. In effect it's more of a spiral, each go around is slightly different in detail but similar in result.....history rhyming rather than repeating- as someone once, very wisely, said.

I haven't read that book. I looked at the plot synopsis on Wiki. Liked the sound of the first few paras, but thereafter my head began to spin. ;-O
My head begins to spin when I think of what's going on in the world in fact though, so why should I expect fiction to be different?

Oh, well spotted on the 29 Gemini Moon at around dawn on the day The Guardian was born! Same degree of Gemini as Ed. Snowden's natal Sun. I'm not a fan of Sabian symbols but looked for this one out of curiosity:

Gemini 29. The first mockingbird in spring. Keywords: communication, news, intelligence, quickening.


James Higham said...

affectionately "The Grauniad"

Affectionately, Twilight? :)

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ Depends from which side of the fence one is commenting.