An anarchist expropriator in England in 1921

A very short account of the trial of an anarchist burglar called Arthur Richards.

The following account gives an idea of the pressure many unemployed workers had to face in a period in Britain of mass unemployment with very little in the way of social welfare, and the determination of some to resist hunger and poverty.

Arthur Thomas Richards was arrested by the police at 2.15 a.m. on November 29th 1921 at East Mitcham In Surrey wearing a pair of thick socks over his boots, and equipped with a hammer, screw- driver and wire cutter. Appearing in court at the Surrey Sessions the defendant, aged 37, refused to recognise the authority of the court saying,: “ I plead nothing to this court. I don’t recognise its authority. I am an Anarchist-Communist”. He refused to take the oath , commenting: “ I don’t think almighty God has anything to do with this court” and objected to the jury saying that he did not know any of them. Explaining his actions he said:” What else could I do? I am out of work, and don’t intend to starve.”

Sentenced to hard labour for six months Richards responded with “a cheery smile”. Before he was taken down he remarked: “I can easily do that, as I was for five years on the Brighton Railway”.

Evening Telegraph, Angus, Scotland

Posted By

Dec 19 2012 10:06


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