MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Odger, George (1820-77)

Shoemaker (one of the leaders of a small union of skilled shoemakers, the Ladies' Shoemakers' Society) and for ten years (1862-72) secretary of the London Trades Council (founded 1860). Actively supported the great building trades' strikes, 1859-60. Odger had a great reputation as the most radical of democratic republicans and, consequently, great influence with the London workers. Like Cremer and Applegarth he was identified with the "new model" trade unionism of the 1850s and 60s; with Applegarth he was a leading member of the so-called "Junta." After the extension of the franchise gained in 1867, Odger and his friends had no longer the same interest in supporting the International, they looked to Parliament to change the laws hampering the activities of the trade unions. Odger was one of the first working-class candidates nominated at the elections held after the (franchise) Reform Act of 1867, but withdrew on three occasions in favour of the Liberals. He attacked the Address of the General Council on the Paris Commune written by Marx (The Civil War in France) and declared his resignation from the Council (June 1871) on this account.