International Journal of Law in Context

Articles

Coercion and the labour contract: revisiting Glasbrook Brothers and the political fiction of Lewis Jones

Melanie L. Williamsa1 c1

a1 University of Exeter

Abstract

In his tale of the struggles and privations of the mining community in the industrial south of Wales in the early decades of the twentieth century, Lewis Jones, ex-miner and socialist activist, put aside the usual tools of political activism – of oratory and pamphlet propaganda – and instead turned to fiction as a means of educating and mobilising the political energy of the workforce. In doing so, Jones represented the extent to which the law was pivotal to the social organisation delivering injustice to working people. When one turns to history and to the legal record, the contestable accounts, elisions and absences from the record speak eloquently of the extent to which selective doctrine contributes to that injustice. The resultant message resonates with debates on the relationship between society, politics and the rule of law itself.