In 1212, the people of York were told they had the freedom to govern themselves. Eight hundred years later, we’re still waiting…
2012 marks the birth of York as an “independent” city – the anniversary of the charter provided by King John, allowing the city to set its own taxes, elect its own mayor and hold its own courts, among other privileges. In commemoration, the City of York council is holding a year-long event – York 800 – marking different events in the history of the city, the actions of kings and queens, mayors and merchants, artists and intellectuals.
There is another side to York’s history, one which is often ignored and downplayed. This is the history of protest against war and fascism, of strikers and suffragettes, of the Luddites and other political prisoners kept in York Castle Prison over the centuries. It is a history which is often ignored, but which has played its part in the formation of the city as it stands today.
To commemorate this, a group has been set up – York’s Alternative History – to chart the history of protest and resistance here over the years. While still in its early stages, the aim is to collect together videos, documents, news articles and personal histories to be published together online, and to hold events around particular themes throughout the 2012.
Contributions are always welcome, so if you have been active in York – or know someone who has – get in touch, either through York Anarchists or by contacting YAH directly.
Love & rage,
– York Anarchists