For a Kinder, Gentler Society
City of the Sun
Development and Popular Resistance in the Pre-Modern West
  • Michael Martin
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City of the Sun. Development and Popular Resistance in the Pre-Modern West
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Reviewing history from an anarchist perspective, it is clear that the common people were rarely content to suffer domination by the powerful few. This book traces the evidence and patterns of popular resistance to social domination in the ancient and medieval periods, before European imperialism spread around the world at the end of the 15th century.

About the Author

Michael Martin is a leading authority on the history of the Canadian working class. His knowledge is based on research and writing, but also personal study, reflection, political militancy, and lived experience. City of the Sun is his third book. His previous works focused on Canada: The Red Patch: A Story of Political Imprisonment in Hull, Quebec During WWII, and Working Class Culture and the Development of Hull, Quebec, 1800-1929.

Mr. Martin was the main translator from French to English of The City of Buckingham, a history of this Quebec community near Ottawa. As a freelance writer, he has published about 300 articles in French and English on topics in politics, local history, social policy, medicine, health care, housing, architecture, and others. He holds a Master's in Public Administration and an Honours B.A. in Political Science.

About the Book
From Mesopotamia to Khazaria, to feudal France and England, the "lower classes" rebelled whenever they could; they organized, struck, campaigned, rioted, revolted, fought battles and wars, and otherwise resisted the rule of the socially...
From Mesopotamia to Khazaria, to feudal France and England, the "lower classes" rebelled whenever they could; they organized, struck, campaigned, rioted, revolted, fought battles and wars, and otherwise resisted the rule of the socially dominant. All this, well before the existence of modern-day unions, co-operatives, labor and socialist parties, and the philosophical and political movements of anarchism, Marxism, and social or Christian democracy.

Some historians offer the conservative judgment to the effect that the lower social orders accepted the rule of a powerful, wealthy minority; that is by no means true, as this sweeping history illustrates. People did resist, whenever they could do so, and often quite successfully. This book shows how, why, and when they did.

City of the Sun gathers evidence, mostly from secondary sources, of this popular resistance during pre-modern, historical periods in the Occident. Furthermore, it provides context, theory, and a framework for understanding popular resistance as being part and parcel of the processes of development, that is, societal transformation through the centuries, including the development of religion and state.


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La Male de Saint-Martin

�The aristocratic and democratic forces once again had a major disagreement, this time over the appointment of a regent to represent the bishop during his absences. The person chosen was none other than the leader of the popular party, de Blankenheim. The nobles, however, wished to name a nobleman to the post. As had happened five years earlier, the nobles proposed a great regional assembly to resolve the difference of opinion. At the same time, however,...

La Male de Saint-Martin

�The aristocratic and democratic forces once again had a major disagreement, this time over the appointment of a regent to represent the bishop during his absences. The person chosen was none other than the leader of the popular party, de Blankenheim. The nobles, however, wished to name a nobleman to the post. As had happened five years earlier, the nobles proposed a great regional assembly to resolve the difference of opinion. At the same time, however, they hatched a secret plot to take place during the regional assembly. At the regional meeting, the democratic forces held their own, refusing to yield to the demands of the lords, so the nobles were frustrated mightily. The secret plot then went into effect; it had that 400 knights would invest the city of Li�ge in the middle of the night, occupy strategic posts, and set the butchers� shops on fire. In the confusion, an army of knights would deliver a fatal blow to the popular forces.

Somehow, de Blankenheim got wind of the plot. That night, the butchers hid in the darkened building that housed their shops. When the knights penetrated the building that night, the butchers let out a loud roar, setting upon the knights with knives and other tools of their trade. At the same time, the town bells rung, signalling to the vintners, drapers, tanners, and other craftsmen to join in the attack on the knights. All night long, the battle raged. Come dawn, the knights fled in a fighting retreat to a nearby mountain. During the pursuit of the knights, de Blankenheim was killed, which seemed to rally the noblemen, who were further encouraged by the arrival of reinforcement knights.

The popular side seemed to be losing finally, when a clamor arose as local peasants and rural coal-miners joined the fray alongside the workers of Li�ge. The knights scattered to and fro, finally ending in Saint-Martin�s church where 200 of them sought refuge. When the popular army discovered this, they set flame to the church, killing all inside. The common people then went on a bloody rampage, destroying the houses of knights and those of the ruling council, even taking the lives of their occupants. The mayor of Li�ge and the wardens of the cathedral tried in vain to calm the ardors of the populace. The Li�ge knighthood was completely domesticated after this battle, known in the contemporary local dialect as the male de Saint-Martin. A peace treaty the next year made it impossible for aristocrats to sit on the ruling council unless they were also members of workers� guilds. Li�ge was now governed as a democracy rather than an oligarchy. (City of the Sun, p. 340, 341)



Pages 456
Year: 2017
BISAC: POL042040 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Radicalism
BISAC: HIS037000 HISTORY / World
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