死于机器?

伦敦—工业革命伊始,英格兰中部和北部的纺织工人(以织布工为主)发动了一场自发的抵抗运动,砸毁机器、烧毁工厂。他们的怨气在于新出现的机器抢走了他们的工资和饭碗。

叛乱的名字和源头来自内德·勒德(Ned Ludd),据说他是一位纺织学徒工,在1779年的一次“狂躁发作”中砸毁了两台针织机。这个人物很可能是杜撰的。罗伯特·卡尔维特(Robert Calvert)在1985年为勒德写了一曲民谣,开头是这样的:“人们说内德·勒德是个熊孩子/因为他所能做的一切无非是破坏和毁灭。”接着是这样的:“他来到工友们中间,说:‘死于机器’/它们践踏了我们的未来,碾碎了我们的梦想。”

勒德分子之怒在1811—1812年达到了顶峰。警觉的政府派遣大军驻守骚乱区,调动规模比惠灵顿在与拿破仑的半岛战争中动员的数量还要多。一百多名勒德分子被处以绞刑或流放澳大利亚。这些措施重塑了和平。机器获得了胜利:勒德分子只不过是工业革命史的一个注脚。

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